CSotD: Friday Funnies and other Foolish Things

Alex shows that the British are more environmentally aware than we are, even if it does show it by having its title character whinging over the fact.

I actually saw a Hummer the other day. GM quit making them in 2010, but this one was bright and shiny and all I could think was that the driver was bragging about being able to afford an expensive gas hog.

Or perhaps he was bragging about not having to work for a living, since it was clear he never used his Hummer for anything more than tooling around town. Out here in the land of ice and snow and dirt roads and mud, you don’t have to go off-road to bang up a vehicle, and if I bought something Big Strong and Mighty, I’d take a hammer to it just to make it appear that I lived up to my ride.

It also occurs to me that, before we can all start driving electric cars, we’re going to need a lot more recharging stations and that, given the gummint’s lack of interest in such matters, it will be a very long time before they reach out here.

When I lived in Maine, I had a discussion with Olympia Snowe about the lack of high-speed Internet and dependable cell reception in rural areas. She cited it as both a safety and an industrial development issue, comparing it to the extension of electric power in the 1930s, when the government simply put the lines out there without calculating how many homes per mile or any of that.

It had to happen for the good of the country and so they made it happen.

Perhaps she got tired of banging her head against a wall of indifference, because she retired from the Senate shortly thereafter, and that was before the current, even less socially-engaged flock had come to power.

My suspicion is that long after the cities are full of self-driving electric vehicles, we’uns out here will be like the Cubans, with tourists coming to photograph our picturesque fleets of classic cars.

But, as Alex suggests, they’ll be affordable, and, with luck our new BFFs in Venezuela will make sure we’ve got gas and diesel to run’em.


As long as I’m in a cynical mood, let’s go to xkcd, because I just bought a new hard-drive backup the other day and I do kind of feel like the fellow who keeps his money in the mattress because he doesn’t trust banks.

My laptop has been behaving oddly, but there was a major “update” recently and I put that in quotation marks because this ain’t my first rodeo and I’m well aware of updates that are later followed by corrective updates, so I’m inclined to wait and see if the wonkiness is in here or out there.

But backing up your computer is generally a good thing, and there’s a lot of social pressure to back it up to the Cloud, but I kind of like to know that the security of my data is separate from the vagaries of corporate whatevers, because the same screw-ups who mis-plan these periodic updates are running the Cloud.

I’m also well aware that the folks who run the Internet Archive spend a lot of time looking for old hardware that can process the data they’ve stored, so, yes, that system has its Achilles heel.

As does mine: About a decade ago, I quit hauling around a collection of 5.25 floppies because I knew that, even if I had a computer that could bring them up, they were probably degraded beyond all recapture.

Fortunately, 98% of it was ephemeral crap that won’t be missed, which brings us to our …


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Between Friends)


(Pajama Diaries)

I don’t know when Marie Kondo first appeared, but her inescapable presence is no more surprising than the sudden attention being paid to Peloton workout machines: It’s January and a time when people try to get a grip on clutter and flab.

Whether that has to do with “New Year’s Resolutions” or simply a two-week period when you might be off work and liable to ponder such things is irrelevant, but I would note the connection between the sentimental things in both strips and those aforementioned floppies.

When my mother downsized, she sent a lot of stuff off to us, and I’ll admit that I had something of Emma’s reaction, that it was just junk and could go out, but I was touched that she had saved it.


On the other hand, Ben has an arc about a coffee mug with a picture of him and his then-tiny daughter on it, and I’ll admit I took a similar souvenir — one of my boys with my first newborn granddaughter — out of circulation because constant washing was making the picture fade.

However, I did toss the collection of baby teeth that had been in a silver baby mug in the leaded-glass china cabinet in our old house. I don’t know how they hold up in the moist atmosphere of Pajama Diaries’ Midwest, but out in Colorado’s desert air they had dried up and crumbled to pieces.

Sic transit.


And then, as seen in Rhymes with Orange, there are the things you’d just as soon leave behind but cannot.

Imagine if Voldemort had won. That’s what happened at my old college, which has, since our time, shifted from Ted Hesburgh/Mario Cuomo socially-conscious Catholicism to Scalia/Thomas neo-conservative militancy.

Mail from them goes straight into the recycling bin, except for the magazine. I turn to the back of that to see who has died, then toss it into the bin.

However, I have not found a way to filter my email to avoid their electronic pestering without also blowing off messages from the few schoolmates I care about and who have not yet been listed among the dead in the back of the alumni magazine.

And I’d hate to miss hearing from them, because I will always have room for sentimental clutter.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies and other Foolish Things

  1. Everyone should have a couple different backup strategies, so by having a new backup disk you are one of the smart kids vs. one of the cool kids. Having some kind of disconnected backup (so everything can’t get fried by lightning at once—you have lightning up at the pole, right?) is good, and having an off-site backup (to deal with fires and godzillas) is equally good. “The Cloud” is one way to achieve that without having to run to the safe deposit box periodically.

    However, I am trying to encourage a kind of Truth In Everyday Speech in my role as That Guy. Whenever someone mentions “the cloud,” I remind them that what they really mean is “other people’s computers.” This is especially important for discussing things like vital business data and processes and private information.

  2. Recent events reversed my attitude toward Cloud storage. Like you, I was skeptical. Didn’t trust it. Didn’t trust the people who operated it. Didn’t like even the remote theoretical potential for someone poking through my stuff.

    Then I lost my computer (and everything else), and if I’d been away from home or hadn’t thought to grab my back-up hard drive that night, I’d have lost everything on it as well. THAT would have been an irrecoverable disaster. Now I trust the Cloud.

    Also like you, I’m a belts-and-suspenders kinda guy. I back up to the Cloud. I back up to hard drives. And I have USB drives containing my most preciousnesses (photos, book files) in a safe deposit box. All kinds of things for my kids to throw away someday when computers no longer have USB ports and can’t read DOC, PSD or JPG files.

  3. Yeah, I probably should keep this thing somewhere other than right next to my laptop. Actually, the instructions apparently want me to keep it permanently plugged in and backing up every hour or so. Not sure the benefit of that.

    And my desire for a new laptop does indeed cool when I see that they’re slowly eliminating USB ports. As it is, I have to unplug my external speaker to do anything else, given that I also use a wired mouse because I was tired of asking the wireless mouse to do things two or three times.

    Y’know, I would think that, if all the kids who just use their computers for texting and messing around have switched to phones, there’s no reason to make laptops and desktops less functional for those of us who use them for work.

    But that’s prob’ly why I’m not head of a major computer company.

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