Posted by: David | April 4, 2015

Operating System

Since I’ve been around for well over half a century, I’ve had time to learn a little. A vanishingly tiny quantity. In spite of this woeful ignorance, my friends sometimes (rarely) say they think I’m smart. Yikes! Working with computers makes people think you must be a genius, but no. Alas. Like I said, a vanishingly tiny quantity. Below is a mathematical expression to help perpetuate the illusion of my intelligence and simultaneously illustrate my keen sense of irony.


QED. So anyway, I do work with computers and their so-called end-users. Not sure why they’re called end-users but I spend just as much time working with the computers as with the end users. On the job I like to call myself Desktop Dave since the “desktop” is my realm. The Windows desktop mostly (but also Mac OS). So what’s a “desktop” anyway, besides really really BORING?

The Desktop is an analogy. It was constructed to familiarize computer operation to common office tasks. Everyone please yawn now. All at once. Get it out of your system.

A nice retired fellow once emailed me with some questions about his computer’s “table top”. Isn’t that cute? His consistent use of this term told me that he understood the desktop analogy. Sure, I know he meant “desktop”, but a table top is also a work surface. It’s a place where you open your folders and spread files out to work with them (physically or electronically). That’s what an operating system provides- a work space. It should be just as trivial as tables and chair. The good news is that today’s major operating systems have practically achieved this transparency! Users barely even know they’re there. Like air.

Humans have operating systems too. Our OS (Operating System) is more complex than any computer OS, but shares some basic features. For example, when you wake up from sleep, as when you turn on a computer, your operating system loads up. You don’t really notice it, but as you surface from slumber, your OS loads the time, date, your location and identity. Next comes the task list pursuant to waking up this fine day, and the magnificent machine which is your body registers its needs for the morning. Have a pee, cuppa tea, etc.

Do we really need to know what an operating system is? Maybe not. Maybe no more than we need to know what air is. Which we don’t. But we’d be dead without air, right? So I’ve felt compelled to blather on about operating systems for a while now. Years. So if you didn’t get in your yawn before …

Posted by: David | March 28, 2015

Identity Repair

My health insurance carrier was in the news recently. They were hacked. It was a news item back in early February. Six weeks later comes the letter to affected policy holders. The first page details how little they knew about what information was actually stolen, how long they “believe” it may have gone on (since December 2014) and what timely action they took. No snark intended here; as an IT worker I understand the impact of such attacks, and the time it can take figuring out what happened. As many news reports stated, this attack was stealthy and sophisticated. An A for effort on disclosure.


That said, I restate my crackpot claim that health insurance is the second most reprehensible of all the organized crime industries. The first? ADVERTISING!

What I really liked appeared on page 2 of the letter. The insurer has provided 2 years of free protection, contracting with AllClear ID. “The team at AllClear ID is ready and standing by if you need identity repair assistance.

I really could have used some of that back in the mid-1970s!

Posted by: David | March 21, 2015

Spoiler Alert!!

The title makes you hopeful, huh? Sorry, no, but there’s time to turn back! Confirmed. This  post is 100% non-conclusive! And note that NOTHING  has been posted here for close to a year. This is my perfunctory apology for non-blogging. You’d think that WordPress would automatically delete this blog for exceeding inactivity limits, but hey! It’s improved! It’s gluten-free and biodegradable! And no nuts were harmed in the creation of this post.


So I was recently telling some friends about a movie called Side Effects. It was a much better film than I’d expected it to be from its cheesy graphic (above). In the tradition of judging books by their covers, it was frequently bypassed while browsing the Netflix offerings. I was trying, struggling really, to sell the plot to my friends without giving it away. It was a film I thought that they might really like. But, regretting the words as they escaped from my mouth, I said “… the psychiatrist is vindicated!” This was met with a withering stare. It was like I’d just pissed in the punch. Puked in the pistachios. Pooped on the pastry … you get the picture. By revealing the Hollywood ending, I’d nailed the coffin shut. No reason to watch it now. Well that’s just ridiculous. And that’s the topic of this here post.

Proclamation: There is no such thing as a SPOILER. It’s a marketing ploy used to enhance sales of perishables.

We all know that our lives are going to end, but we live them anyway. If you’re willing to expend the requisite effort to “suspend disbelief” when reading books like Watership Down or The Hobbit, or watching things like Dr. Who, The Bachelor, The Daily Show or any musical production whatsoever, then you should be willing to follow and enjoy any story in active defiance of your brain’s irresistible attempts to prefigure the denouement. I mean really, how many NEW stories are there? Let’s count them up: ZERO.

Is anything lost by knowing the ending of a story well told? Is it the destination or is it the journey? Well I’m here to tell you that it’s the JOURNEY. The destination? Death. We know that. We know the magician isn’t really sawing the lady in half, but if we’ve made the horrible choice to be in that audience, then we’d better just go ahead and enjoy it and pray that the magician doesn’t call us up on stage to pull coins out of our noses. Or else take it up with management and see about getting a full refund of ticket price. That would be the smart choice, having failed to make the smartest choice of not buying those tickets in the first place.

If you have a favored book, film or TV series that you love to read or watch over and over again, then you get what I’m saying. I guess the same applies to music. We listen to the music we love repeatedly, which only makes us love it more.

The End.

Posted by: David | May 4, 2014

Muse Neglect

Or has it been muse abuse? Probably neither. Fact is, this here blog receded to the very back-est burner of my life. Then we got a whole new stove and the delivery guys carted away the old one, complete with its uncleanably greasy recesses and that aforementioned back burner. The dented aluminum pot which had been simmering there for 4 or 5 months boiled dry before last xmas. Possibly. Not like I was paying attention to it. ‘Twas not a watched pot.

It’s been The Spring of Frosty Windshields.

And it was a long long winter. It wasn’t the winter of my discontent, but I did learn a few things. Things I Thought I Already Knew. Things I should not have had to relearn. You know that old saying some things are better left unsaid? It’s SO true. It might even be the case for me that MOST things are better left unsaid. Not to be cryptic or anything, but, well, I don’t want to talk about it.  What I’m doing here is trying to make excuses for the fact that there has been no Thought-0-Dave posted here since before last Thanksgiving. So lucky you, you’ve had a nice break.


Only yesterday, May 3rd, did the first bicycle ride of 2014 happen. Over the winter I read and listened to many works of fiction. Watched many TV shows and movies on the Netflix and Amazon Prime. Also found some music to keep my brain humming along. Notable among the music finds were these: An Awesome Wave by a band called Alt-J. A Quiet Darkness by a band called Houses, and Repave, by a band called Volcano Choir. There were others, but these 3 kept my auditory attention for weeks and played in my mental music box through all the waking hours …

One of last autumn’s more successful if not extremely tedious projects; black walnuts from a tree on our property. This bag of about a pound of nuts represents about 10 hours of work.

Things at work have been moving along at breakneck speed. This academic year is about to end already, and another busy summer of projects begins to unfold. In the previous post I was complaining about all that stuff, so why go on? Instead, here is a photo of an odd collection of stuff on top of the file cabinet in my office where filed software on optical disks gets rancid and moldy. Nothing decays faster than software, I always say … Maybe this summer I’ll throw all those disks out. All the software I work with now has been downloaded for a few years now. No more disks.

I think you’ll agree that this is an odd collection of stuff.

One does what one must in order to maintain one’s sanity, doesn’t one?

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