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Thursday, October 27, 2011

"As far as the laws of math refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain, they don't refer to reality." -- Al Einstein

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Down with CAPTCHA! Start a demonstration of the instruments!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Two New Facebook Scams To Watch Out For ~ LockerGnome Craighton's Logic http://ping.fm/gLtBv

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Talking Brains: TB Biography: Harold Goodglass http://ping.fm/SaH5P

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Other Handsome Blog: The Death of the Salesman http://ping.fm/SJwes
Has this been fixed yet?
My Other Handsome Blog: The Death of the Salesman http://ecordell.blogspot.com/2011/10/death-of-salesman.html

The Death of the Salesman

I'm so tired. I hardly feel able to post this rant, and as stories go, it's nothing new. It's the typical bad shopping experience of today's age, deriving its title from both an Arthur Miller play and the notion that customer service in the U.S. has fallen out of style.

My experience, today's latest in a series was at Safeway (a grocery store). One annoyance is that their automated checkout system has no routine for deducting the tare weight of an already-present shopping bag from the gross weight of the items scanned later, hence it complains that a bag is an "unexpected item in the bagging area." A bag in the bagging area? How unexpected!

I've been in quite a bit of pain lately from what seems to be a shoulder that did not seat in the joint properly after being dislocated. As it heals, I've tried to institute procedures that will minimize discomfort, but Safeway always seems to be able to undo my efforts with some new policy that would unnerve even a healthy, young athlete.

Today I struggled with the automated checkout and did receive some assistance from a cashier, though it changed no outcome. Nonetheless, it was a charming good-will gesture. Of course, I still have to carry my groceries home (yes, it's still done in the city), so the battle was not over for me.

Nor is it over for me now. I just posted this story plus whatever lines I wrote before and I received a "Posting Error" message. Of course, everything I typed beyond this point was lost, so I have to write it again.

Not having my former youth and vitality and also recently injured, I had decided to bring two canvas bags with the semi-rigid plastic bottoms, one for heavy items and another just for 4 loaves
of bread that I would carry with my bad arm. It was in the lighter bag that I put my receipt for easy retrieval. To my surprise, as I exited, a young lady working in the store requested this very receipt (something which has yet to happen with me in that store).

I extended my arm so that she might see the contents of the lighter bag (4 loaves of bread and 1 receipt, clearly visible) and before even looking she said, "I don't see it."

I told her, "It's in the bag." She looked at me as though I were mad for expecting her to look, but I was already at a walk next to the exit and there were no tables where I could relieve myself of my burden in order to take out the receipt for her. All she held was a clipboard, and she seemed to be young and in excellent shape.

In response to her demeaning glare I asked, "You do want to see it, don't you?" She extended a single fingernail to the edge of the bag as though she might contract a horrible contagion from reaching into it and without positioning herself to look into the bag, she repeated, "I don't see it."

I quickly understood that this wasn't about producing a receipt: It was a matter of a member from the ranks of today's amateur police abusing whatever minuscule power she was given over someone weaker than herself.

Sparing myself and them the pain of raising hell right there and then, I opted to treat the harassment as though it were no more than a fly buzzing about my head and I quite slowly and deliberately walked out of the door and down the street toward the building where I live. I didn't expect anyone to pursue me, but if someone had, I'd have simply offered my receipt again, hopefully to a more cooperative person.

Since I've had little success in lodging a complaint locally in the past, I came to my laptop to report the incident to the website. Naturally, my online account information had been lost. I called the website's customer support facility where an operator noted that my current loyalty card had been in effect since 1999, but there was no sign that I'd ever registered an online account (and I doubt that there is any source that documents my full 35 years of patronage and the vast sums of capital I bestowed upon Safeway in that interim).

He reported the mysterious disappearance of my account to the support staff in their IT department, but somehow I don't think all of this will resolve cleanly.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

C++11 FAQ http://ping.fm/9MAeZ
My Other Handsome Blog: Richard Stallman's comments on Steve Jobs http://ping.fm/L4i37
My Other Handsome Blog: Richard Stallman's comments on Steve Jobs http://ping.fm/9fumA

Richard Stallman's comments on Steve Jobs

I've found articles on this subject twice and tried to post them to facebook. Facebook refused to post them with the "Something went wrong here and we're working on it" message, which has been its clever refrain for a couple weeks now every time I try to post.

I then posted a "note" with the same result and it didn't even have the decency to preserve my copy. Fortunately I saved my original comment that I had expected to post with the article(s) and here it is:

I understand the backward-looking grief over the loss of our techie-dominated black-or-green-screened havens, but making computing accessible to a larger community did not take that away from us. As much as I'd like to blame Bill Gates (who threw over XENIX for CP/M because of big blue dollars), it was unawareness of learning curves, market share-building and even belief in how much people would spend on the 'toys' of the early era of personal computing. I recall engineers laughing at me when I said we'd all have computers on our desks: "If you expect to have any core, your desk better be as big as this building!" They are the true dinosaurs, now, and so is anyone who opines that reaching a larger community has enslaved us: It didn't stop me from writing console code. If you want to say that using a computer as a typewriter is threading a needle with a sledgehammer, fine: But don't disrespect the guy who took the local traffic out of the fast lane.
Dennis Ritchie: 1941-2011 http://ping.fm/hkwyq
(1) Ghostbusters's videos http://ping.fm/GvT1L

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Coot! Facebook won't let me post anything over the last few days, but they're "working on it" until your birthday is over.

Did you know you can now send a link with a question & that we launched 2 new ways to get more questions?

No, but it frightens me no less.

Ask me about shifts and flip-flops.

How did you celebrate your last birthday?

Do I look that bad? I wasn't aware that I had reached it yet.

Ask me about shifts and flip-flops.

What does your dream house look like?

It changes as I walk from room to room.

Ask me about shifts and flip-flops.

It's not that this is fruitless, but I'm pretty sure I don't want that fruit.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

As Ernie coiled slender curls off the plane, he heard the old, chugging № 56 with the rhythm "Акадим Городок." Odd sound, why not "ПУЩИНО?"

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Graduate level pain [flowchart] http://ping.fm/x4vMH
Steve Jobs was not the wizard of all computers: He was the wizard of the non-dictatorial, easy-to-use, affordable personal computer.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple co-founder, Chairman Steve Jobs dies | Apple - CNET News http://ping.fm/V7Boa
Persuasion is overvalued: You can peddle enough biscuits to get rich, but if you invent utility itself, you earn nothing until it's sold.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Are You Wasting Your Time on Facebook and Twitter? Business on Main http://ping.fm/HoQM7?voted