Headphone upgrade

A couple of weeks ago I lost the cap (earbud cover) to my apple in-ear headphones. Probably not worth the $40 I paid for them, but a lot more comfortable than the ones that come with an iPod, so I was disappointed to find that apple did not sell replacement caps.

Googling one day, I stumbled upon this page which indicates the ear sleeves from some high-end headphones would fit the apple headphones. Hooray! I opted for the more permanent flex sleeves rather than the disposable foam sleeves recommended there, and now they’ve arrived from amazon I’m pleased to say they fit, and work great. Makes the headphones have a lot more bass too. Maybe too much?

Enterprise Calendaring for Dummies

or- you know something is desperately wrong with your mail/calendar infrastructure when you see a note like this on a conference room door:


8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Outlook has been hanging,   so
I wasn't able to submit an
electronic reservation

That’s the mark of a solid infrastructure. At least the printer worked.

Please Sir, May I Pay Some More?

I did my taxes this past weekend, and had to laugh when I was presented with the opportunity to voluntarily pay a higher tax rate than I would otherwise have to (5.85 % instead of 5.3%):

Extra Tax Prompt

You bet your sweet ass most people say no! I did some quick (read flimsy) research to see just how many people say no and turned up a page taking Kerry to task for not opting to pay the higher tax rate,
which also had the only numbers I could turn up. I think it was something like a tenth of a percent of taxpayers, netting the state something like $20k in extra revenue. Yay.

Blockbuster’s No Late Fee Policy Keeps Me In Touch

I don’t recall hearing about how Blockbuster’s fine-print laden no late fees campaign is paying off for me, but I can say that I do rent more movies now because I know that regardless of what the sticker on the box says, the real due date is in 7 days. Can’t make it back by Monday, no problem! I’ve got to wonder how that is affecting their bottom line.

For me there’s an interesting side effect. My membership is still associated with my parents’ house (for the record, I haven’t lived there since 2000), so they get little reminders in the mail when my movies are “late” before the real deadline is up. Then we can talk about said movies. Everybody wins!

Except those poor people waiting for the movie.

Sometimes Ambulances Get Lost Too

This morning I was walking down College Ave to catch the T in Davis, and an ambulance goes screaming by, sirens blaring. Next thing I know it sort of pulls over. Sits for a few seconds. I see the driver take a swig of coffee, and then the copilot jumps out and runs backwards up the street where some dude is standing. Talks to him a little while – meanwhile the driver’s coffee may have told him where they are because he gets on the loudspeaker (I didn’t know they had that sort of capability) and says “John, John <whistles to get his attention> lets go” – so “John” runs back and they fire up the siren and continue on their merry way.

I bet a an accountant and a lawyer got together and decided equipping the fleet with navigation devices would cost more than the expected value of any lawsuits from them getting lost and killing people by being too late.

If anyone is looking for an ambulance to get lost in, it looks like there’s a roaring trade in used ambulances.

How to create brown and blue web apps

I case you were having trouble creating brown and blue-colored web applications on your own, oracle has been kind enough to put a guide online!

If anyone can explain the mysterious “i’m gonna kill you” focus symbol (in addition to the selection column) in the “HGRID” spec here, then you’re a better man or woman than I.

Update: “Former coworker” mentioned Jakob Nielsen in a comment – so I clicked over there to find 2006’s best intranets. Guess who’s intranet isn’t on the list (hint: look at the guide above). Btw congrats to Brian/Rooney etc over in on demand workplace land for making the list.

News reporters “on location”?

I work next to a big courthouse in Cambridge, and fairly often there are rows of satellite trucks parked there, idling all day long, so that come the 6 o’clock news some talking head can blather on about the latest case of society gawking at truly unimportant crap while standing in front of it. Does standing in front of the courthouse mean their information is more valid, their comments more intelligent?

I’m pretty sure the local news (Is your toilet trying to kill you? Find out at 11!) watching public could be duped by just as satisfied with someone standing in front of a bluescreen, like on the Daily Show.

If supermarket loading docks can post signs prohibiting idling trucks to protect the neighbors, I think its time the courthouse did too.

Massachusetts has anti-idling legislation but it appears to contain an exception for vehicles that require their engines running for situations like this:

(c) vehicles engaged in an operation for which the engine power is necessary for an associate power need other than movement and substitute alternate power means cannot be made available provided that such operation does not cause or contribute to a condition of air pollution.

Maybe there should be some new legislation to incent those that operate vehicles of this type to install and operate auxillary power units instead of their primary engine.

IBM Five Year Service Award on Ebay

Apparently news of this ebay action for a IBM 5-years of service award is flying around the IBMer and ex-IBMer ranks.
I apparently got shafted on my 5-years of service award which I should have received right about 2 weeks before I got my proverbial pink slip (which was really a half-inch stack of paper, a “memorandum”). Just another thing my totally inadequate Lotus mis-management chain didn’t do right.
One of these days I have to enumerate the ways in which getting laid off from working on IBM Workplace Client is the best thing to ever happen to me…