January 1st, 2014

#4079: Happy New Year!

2014!

My plans for today involve going out into the cold and the snow to have a gander at what is ailing Mrs. Fungus' car. I'm going to do about that what I can--which is not likely to be much since I expect most of the parts stores are closed--and then we're going to go visit my aunt and uncle.

Tomorrow I must be at work at 8:45, but after that I have six days off in a row. This is the reality of the post-holiday season in retail. Whee!

...actually several of my coworkers have had mini-vacations like that this season; I'd wager that it was probably my turn for it as well as it being January.

* * *

Someone's got to remind me what the custom is for wedding cake on your first anniversary. We didn't have an actual wedding cake per se, but a week or so after our wedding my brother and sister-in-law took us out to dinner, and they got us a nice cake, of which we froze the uneaten portion. I don't know what we're supposed to do now.

We watched, last night, the video of our wedding, and I dumped it to DVD. I've only been wanting to do that for a year, but I didn't want to watch it by myself and Mrs. Fungus kept saying she'd cry too much if she watched it. Well, last night she laughed more than she cried, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching it together.

* * *

"...[U]nder $200 per megabyte." Wow, is that all?? And that's an 8" hard drive, taking up a considerable amount of real estate on your desktop.

...a few days ago I paid $10 for an 8 GB memory card for my wife's camera. That's under $0.0013 per megabyte, and in dollars that are worth (considerably!) less to boot. It's the size of a postage stamp, and not much thicker.

It really is hard to believe how much computing technology has advanced since I was in junior high school. When I was 12, there were a huge number of different models and OSes, all incompatible with each other, and hardly anyone had a computer at home.

Now there are approximately three OSes (Windows, Macintosh, and *nix) and virtually everyone has one, or unlimited access to one. Nearly everyone has a portable computer terminal they carry with them wherever they go, though we call it a "smartphone" rather than what it actually is. It's unusual for someone not to have at least one e-mail address (even though e-mail was invented within my lifetime) and there are plenty of companies who are eager to give you an e-mail account, free of charge, in hopes that you'll see an ad or three when you check your e-mail on their server.

When I was 12, Internet access cost you $10 an hour or more. Now coffee shops give it away.

It's been 35 years since I first cracked the cover of Creative Computing magazine. I used to read each issue of the thing cover-to-cover, several times, even taking it with me to school and reading it in class instead of studying. I kept the magazines until they got caught in a flood; pity I don't have them now because it'd be a fascinating read and an excellent time capsule.

35 years on, most of my career has revolved around computers, and though I got out of them for a while I'm right back in that industry again.

* * *

Thinking about Wargames I notice that David Lightman never did get his hands on those fancy computer games he was looking for. The computer games constituted a MacGuffin--something that drove the story--and once he found himself up to his eyeballs in a national security breach and potential global thermonuclear war, that bit kind of fell by the wayside.

A proper denouement for that movie would have involved him going to jail, and the movie couldn't have scored its peacenik points if it didn't end with the computer intoning gravely, "The only way to win is not to play."

Funny how a scant half-decade later the US did win the Cold War. But the lefties don't like to think about that one.

* * *

Anyway, it's not going to get any nicer outside and I must figure out what's wrong with Mrs. Fungus' car before I can let her drive it to work tomorrow. It's probably okay enough to drive tomorrow, but whatever's going on has to be fixed, and in order to fix it I've got to figure out what's wrong.

Off I go.

#4080: One of those good news/bad news kind of things

The good news is, Mrs. Fungus' car is drivable and can be safely operated.

The bad news is, it needs tires and an alignment.

The thing needs at least two new tires. The driver's side front one has the characteristic asymmetrical wear of a car that is badly out of alignment; it's down to the wear indicators on the outside edge but is just fine on the inside. The right front is better, but "better" isn't "good".

So I rotated the tires--back to front--and that should alleviate things in the short term. We still need to do something about the tires, but now it can wait until Monday. I'm hoping to locate two used tires, then get them installed and have an alignment done. This is probably the worst time of year for this nonsense, so it has to be done on as little money as we can manage.

But count the old blessings: it's not something major and the car is usable. I was cudgeling my brain trying to figure out what I'd do if it wasn't safe to drive her car; we both have to be at work on Thursday and our schedules preclude one of us dropping the other off at work.

* * *

The visit to my aunt and uncle was called off. My aunt has cancer and received a chemo treatment yesterday; she's feeling very ill today and does not want to receive visitors. I told my uncle that I was a bit disappointed but that I understood, and we'll get together some other time.

It actually kind of works out for us since Mrs. Fungus is feeling under the weather, too.

* * *

Work on Mrs. Fungus' car was aided by the compressor, floor jack, and a garage with some f-ing room in it. It's so nice to be--for the most part, at least--out of the snow, and this year I resolve to get rid of even more of the crap clogging up the garage. Whee!

My other resolution is to do something about the basement--clean it up and get it usable again. I would like to set up a workshop down there--something I've actually wanted for a decade now--but of course it's going to take some doing to get there. Well, I've got a cold winter and some time off in the next two weeks, so here's hoping.

Among other things I need to figure out what I'm going to do with:
1) Commodore Amiga 500
2) TRS-80 Model I
3) Macintosh SE
4) NEC MultiSpeed
5) generic Celeron PC
Am I going to haul these things to the recycler? I suppose I ought to eBay the "classic" computers before I trash them. I might get a few bucks for them. (The TRS-80 looks to be worth about $200 in working condition, so, yeah.)

Man, what a mess.