"...profound changes are impending
in the ancient craft of the beautiful..."
Addressing the changing media and aesthetics on the digital frontier, with occasional forays into "What the heck should we do with it all?"
I was frustrated not having constant wireless access, so I decided to try out one of Madison's two "ubiquitous coverage" wireless services, ResTech. For about $20/month, there's "unlimited" access.
Fine, except for the "access" part...which has speeds resembling the good ol' dialup days, but not quite as reliable. The killer is that the break area here at my work cannot receive their signal at all...which is a dealbreaker to me. Of course, their website doesn't have a clear way to cancel an account, so I've got a phone call, and customer service, to look forward to.
But to add insult, I got this spam in my mailbox, advertising the "Ruckus"--a wireless card designed to optimize their service, for only $104 (don't they realize most laptops come with wireless built in? How about fixing their network, instead?). There is this "incentive":
There is a 15 day trial period* during which you can return your Ruckus for a full refund.
*Users returning a Ruckus after the trial period will be charged a $25.00 restocking fee.
Huh? So it's a full refund, except for the $25 they keep? I don't get it.
Can't cancel this service fast enough. Kind of scared to try out the other, Merr.com....
The website SearchMash seems like the logical next step in the Web 2.0 search engine wars. A Google Killer? Well, no, because actually apparently Google owns searchmash, and this is sort of their sandbox to see how it works.
Gina Trapani isn't very impressed due to the lack of supported filetype delimiters, but I think that's simply something that's not in the first iteration. I also don't use those very much in my own searches. On the other hand, having images, blog entries (wonder if this could work with Technorati?), and videos all easily accessible on the page, I think that's fantastic.
The ability to drag-and-drop your results into your own order is nifty, but not very useful until they add a "save results" or "export results" (or hey, how about an RSS feed?) to the page. Still, if it's really Googles experiment...can that really be too far off?
A long time ago I came up with what I called the "Rules of Technology." In brief, they are:
It works better if you plug it in.
It works better if you turn it on.
It sounds better if you turn it up.
There is also Murphy's Law of Performance Technology, gleaned after many, many stage performances involving tech. It states:
"Everything that can possibly go wrong already has--you just don't know it yet."
That being said, there is another side to technology than making it work--there's also not letting it control you. "Don't live to geek, geek to live!" is the LifeHacker mantra. The Rebel Dad came up with some really useful rules for that, including the counter to number 3: Sometimes it sounds better when you turn it off. Five Tricks to Tame Technology - On Balance
I've been having troubles with a printer all day. It needs to print--and ONLY print--to some DVDs. Not burn them. And it's been finicky, and randomly shut down, and at one point my mac--yes, that's right, I'm using a dear old Mac to do this--it just refused to print anything anywhere. "Error while printing" was the only message it gave. I deleted prefs, I tried this, I tried that...finally I did a google search, under "error while printing mac osx."
It led me to a help page on the Mac website, where it suggested:
Open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/).
Type: ls -la / | grep tmp
Look at the resulting text. If it matches the following line (which would indicate that /tmp is still present) then this document does not apply to you, and you should stop here and try another troubleshooting path.
lrwxrwxr-t 1 root admin 11 Jan 15 11:00 tmp@ -> private/tmp
The timestamp following "admin" will reflect the current date.
If you do not see the line above, then type:
sudo ln -s /private/tmp /tmp
Enter your administrator account password when prompted, the press Return.
I hate directions like this. They make no sense, they do not tell you what it is you are doing. They could have put "dance a jig and say booga-booga three times" and I would have done it, because to me it makes just as much sense as what I did.
But worse than that: it worked. Like a dream. The printer is humming along, happy as a clam.
I think that's even more annoying. And I'm not sure if it's simply because I've hit my head against the wall of my own ignorance, or if it's really bad user support. A little of both, I suspect.
It certainly makes me want to break out the old linux manual..