Critical Section

Archive: May 13, 2005

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Lake Geneva winter

Friday,  05/13/05  08:18 AM

File this one under "Global Cooling"...
[ thanks to my colleague Mark Wrenn ]

Winter in Lake Geneva...

[ Thanks, Iain, Mike, and others, for the correction from Newfoundland ->Lake Geneva ]



As the laptop turns - episode 10

Friday,  05/13/05  10:27 PM

The saga of my laptop trouble continues...  (Links to 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 4.5, 6, 7, 8, 9)  Here is episode 10...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ole Eichhorn []
Monday, April 04, 20055:48 PM
Subject: episode 10 - as the laptop turns

By this time you’re either on the edge of your seat, waiting for my next laptop episode, or so sick of this you’ve already clicked delete.  Anyway for those of you still reading, here’s the latest news…

Remember I had some choices?  And well I chose door #2.  I called HP and rather sheepishly explained my plight to a sympathetic service advisor.  So guess what?  No, no donkey behind door #2, it was another new laptop!  My plea worked!  They went ahead and sent me another brand new laptop, this time the exact model I wanted.  Nobody deserves this, right?  (I know what you’re thinking: “you sure don’t”.  You’re right :)

So I now have a Compaq nc8230 which is even thinner than my original laptop, and a wide-format screen at 1650x1050 pixels.  It is pretty darn cool looking, sleek, gray and black, blue LEDs, the works.  Nice keyboard.  And the specs are better in every way than my old laptop.  Traded in the SUV for a sport coupe, I did.

There have been a few drawbacks.  First, I’ve had to migrate my entire working environment three times in the last month, first to a desktop after the original disaster, then to the new laptop, and now to the newer laptop.  I’ve become pretty good at configuring the thirty-seven programs I use every day.  Then there’s the fact that I now have to get a new port replicator, a new spare battery, etc., because all of my laptop accessories are incompatible.  So be it, a minor inconvenience and expense considering everything.  And finally this laptop is so  w i d e  that I needed a new laptop case.  Oh wait a minute that’s not a drawback, that’s a shopping opportunity!  Yay, time to buy a spiffy new  w i d e  laptop case.

All’s well that ends well.

Of course, it hasn’t quite ended, yet.  Here I sit, with my old laptop and all it’s various accessories (which sort of works, but is a bit cranky), the new laptop (brand new, back in the box with all the original packaging etc.).  And it appears HP does not want either the old laptop or the new laptop back!  This can’t be, you say?  Well I’ve called several times now to ask what I should do, and they take messages and say they’re going to call me back, but so far – nada.  So there will be at least one more installment to the story.


P.S. At the highest level you could conclude HP has lost a fortune on this incident, clearly you should short their stock.  But I don’t know about that.  I am a happy camper, and I would definitely buy another HP laptop.  (If I they don’t keep giving me new ones).  Their service was crummy in the beginning but they made it up to me in the end.  And finally, I’m telling everyone I know about it.  So maybe you would buy an HP laptop, too.  That’s the thing about customer service, the ROI is so hard to compute.  Based on this, I think you should go long …

Continue to episode 11...


Friday,  05/13/05  10:43 PM

Curse of the Were-RabbitThis is excellent news; there's going to be a new Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit!  (A trailer is out, but the quality sucks, unfortunately.)  [Update: here's a good one at Apple.]  Also good news, John Cleese is currently writing a pre-historic comedy for Aardman (the people behind Wallace and Gromit).

Robert X Cringley thinks we've reached an Inflection Point.  The combination of the launch of xBox 360, Google bringing out their Web Accelerator, and Apple's Video distribution moves (H.264, Quicktime).  Read it all, for he concludes: "So Apple takes over video and movies while Yahoo threatens with a low-priced music subscription service and Google threatens to take control of, well, everything.  And Microsoft?  Microsoft kicks the dog."

BTW if you're a geek you might enjoy this discussion of the chip strategy in the xBox 360.  "Officially launched Thursday night (May 12) over broadcast TV, the Xbox 360 uses three custom 3.2-GHz PowerPC cores, each handling two threads.  Each core includes a 128-bit vector graphics unit sporting a full 128 registers and a 1-Mbyte cache.  In addition, the console includes a graphics chip from ATI Technologies Inc. that processes up to 500 million triangles per second.  The ATI chip contains 10-Mbytes of embedded DRAM and works with 512-Mbytes of external GDDR3 memory running at 700-MHz clock frequency."  In with the new (IBM, ATI), out with the old (Intel, nVidia), so be it.  [ via Scott Loftesness ]

dual photograph card trickDual Photography: a technique in which you shine light from a light source to a camera, record the result, then use it to synthesize the view which would have been seen at the light source.  The physics works and actually the technique works (watch the video!) but it sure seems counter-intuitive.  [ via a slashdot thread, where the posters were a lot less impressed than I was... ]

Excite query distributionJoe Kraus: The Long Tail of Software.  I find his posts fascinating, especially wisdom drawn from "the old days" when Joe was a co-founder of Excite (I was an interested observer in the front row when I was with Intuit).  His focus in this article is the market rationale behind his new company JotSpot, which is understandable, but I see another point, too; unlike other markets like Media (Books, Audio, Video, etc.), software has always been bits only, and software distribution has always been easy.  In some ways there was more of a long tail to software in the early days of PCs then there is now; these days every company with an excellent product for consumers is trying desperately to move up the food chain and sell it to businesses.  (Labeling something "Enterprise" means "expensive" and "doesn't work".)  The essentially greatness of the Internet is that anyone with a computer can create something cool, and then everyone can use it.  At really close to $0 marginal cost.  Now that is a  L O N G  tail.

Interesting post for those of us in Software Development: Schedule Games.  Jeff Attwood links Johanna Rothman's posts.  Personally I like #4, Hope is our most Important Strategy.  Yes, until you've passed the deadline you can always hope.  Even after you've passed, you can hope nobody noticed :)

Final thought - why do bloggers so often tell you when they're travelling?  Even the most interesting bloggers will post "I'm off to San Francisco", like we care.  Hey, if you have something interesting to post about, like why you're going to San Francisco, or what you're going to do there, or even how you're getting there, great, post it.  But your iternary is not interesting.


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this date in:
About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained