Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I got an email from a professor in response to a request for an academic reference letter, and she said she'd be glad to write me one. I can't begin to describe how happy that makes me. My job has been feeling slightly dead-end, and it's good to know that I may have an out, and a chance at a nicer future. That may seem overly grim, but I miss academia and school life so much, and am grossly underpaid where I am now.
So that's good news...I also booked a rental car for the drive home this weekend. Saves me about 4 hours each way, and I don't have to worry about getting stuck next to someone who talks to themself or has hygene issues on the bus. And I can stop whenever I want! All in all, a good day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Treating the symptom, not the cause

At the store where I work, I get some interesting customers sometimes. Like the lady who wanted to know if our voice recorders could pick up conversations through a jacket so she could catch her husband saying bad things in the process of a messy divorce. Or the well dressed guy in the sea captain's hat who keeps coming back often to ask about large format printers to add to his expensive array at home.
One conversation with a customer has stuck with me for a few weeks, and just now I was in front of the computer when I remembered it. He wanted to know if there was a way to lock his PC so his kid couldn't use the computer while he was away at work. Apparently the kid had been skipping school and instead playing games at home. He told me he'd tried hiding mice and keyboards, but invariably the kid found them, and the father suspected that the son would buy his own if he took them to work. I suggested a BIOS password, but the kid sounded like he was good with computers, and could find a workaround. I was at a loss, and I think he was too.
Computers are such a huge part of everyday life that if I had suggested selling it a friend and going without one (which on it's own wouldn't be a totally absurd suggestion) he would have thought I was nuts. If it was an alcohol addiction, I'm sure he'd pour out all the booze in the house. But computer dependency in day to day life has reached the point where the line is becoming blurred with addiction. It's spooky, and tragic picturing a kid skipping out of class and sacrificing his future for a few more hours of Everquest (or whatever the kids are playing these days).

Sunday, March 13, 2005

New Shredder

Yesterday I went to RadioShack and bought a shredder, one that I think makes sense for even the most limited of budgets, and has some cool features that the more expensive ones at office supply stores often don't. It's hand crank operated, but a little exercise never hurts, there's no motor to burn out, and for the limited amounts of shedding I need to do, it's fine. It also does crosscut shredding, which makes smaller pieces and thus more secure. One of it's coolest features is how it shreds CDs. It only cuts them into 3 pieces, but I'm not that paranoid that someone would go to the lengths required to assemble the data again. It has a credit card sized slot for shredding credit cards, but I haven't tried that one out yet. Overall, it's the perfect size for sitting on your lap in front of the TV and shredding during downtime. Probably one of the best $30 I've ever spent.


Here's a picture of the shredder I picked up the other day. It's pretty handy, and it was even featured on Engadget, a cool gadget blog I visit once in a while.
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