atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#4258: Who gives a rat's ass?

Yesterday was Friday the 13th and we had a full moon, and--as just about everyone in the universe remarked--it was The Last Time There Will Be a Full Moon On Friday The 13th Until 2049.

And? So what?

There is nothing particularly special about the 13th of a month falling on a Friday. Full moons--while pretty--are even less remarkable since one happens about every 29.5 days. What, then, is so special about the juxtaposition?

As far as I can tell, nothing. I find it unlikely that someone is going to tell his grandchildren in 2035, "I saw the full moon on Friday the 13th in 2014!" while they listen in wide-eyed wonder. No one is going to be writing retrospectives in 5, 10, 20 years or asking people, "Hey, where were you when there was a full moon on Friday the 13th?"

*sigh*

* * *

As for me, "the weird stuff" yesterday confined itself to the copier's control panel jamming.

I was at work, trying to make a copy of a service order because no one ordered label paper and we ran out, so now we have to cut out bar codes and tape them to things until we get a supply of label paper in. (And it's special paper so we can't just go to OfficeMax or something, of course.) I put the SO on the scan bed, lowered the lid, and hit the copy button...and the machine proceeded to churn out several copies. Thinking someone had used the thing and the quantity hadn't reset yet, I tried to cancel the job, but it just re-scanned and kept on going, so I hit cancel again, and it re-scanned, and What the hell is going on here?

After some confused fumbling I tried pressing the button again, and found that it was stuck in the down position; I rapidly freed it and the copier stopped misbehaving.

On the way home, hours later, I was trying to figure out how the hell that could happen with modern electronics. Switches in high-speed circuits--especially simple pushbuttons--need to be "debounced", because when you press a button it actually makes several brief contacts before settling into contact, and a circuit which has a very fast response time will see several presses of the button rather than one. (Your keyboard, for example, contains debounce logic, else typing "toast" would come out as "ttttttooooaaaaaaaaaasssssssstttttt" or the like.) The debounce logic (usually a flip-flop or a Schmitt trigger) ensures that no matter how many times the button appears to be pressed in a single cycle of the switch, only one press will be registered.

When I thought about it, though, I realized a few things. The switch might only be debounced in software; that's trivial for most applications where an embedded microcontroller is already present. There may be an undocumented feature--hold the button down and it makes copies until the button is released. (Why??) There are a whole bunch of ways that a product can be produced that demonstrates weird behavior when presented with unusual inputs, and there's no way for the guys designing the thing to predict and account for all those possibilities unless we want copier/printers to run somewhere in the high six figures.

But I bet if I tried to duplicate the event by holding down that button, nothing would happen.

* * *

For most of the month we've been blessed with pretty nice weather. When it's not been raining, it's been cool and pleasant.

Those days are about to come to an end. Next week: 90s. Whee!

* * *

So today is a day off, and I could have slept in. Most of my shifts seem to be opening shifts, unless it's the weekend; seems like I only close on weekends. I don't really mind that all that much, though, because I've never really been of the mindset that weekend=party time, and I don't care about going out to bars on weekends, unlike the majority of the under-30 crowd I work with.

Today, however, I have nothing scheduled--a rare Saturday off--and could happily sleep in, and what happens? I wake up on my own at 9:30, feeling fairly well-rested. That would be a fantastic thing to have happen any day I have to work but of course it can't possibly happen on a work day. That's just crazy talk!

I'll have my revenge, though: I'll take a nap later. Ha!
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