Tuesday, May 11 2004
I was going through my web logs the other day, one of my typical methods of procrastination, and this sent me to a search result page on which one of my pages had evidently appeared. It was no longer there, but I did find a seemingly genuine page about Hip Hop Dentistry.
Another odd thing I saw recently on the web was an article containing a series of interviews with people from the West Virginia hometown of Lyndie England, the most famous low-level abuser of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib. Back when I was a schoolboy in Western Virginia, there were plenty of jokes about backwards West Virginia rednecks, but those insults were nothing compared to these words from their own tooth-flecked mouths.
I mowed the grass for the first time this season, a task made somewhat more difficult by the height that the grass had already attained. Interestingly, as high as it was, it didn't jam the lawn mower as much as similarly-tall grass I'd encountered late in the season last summer. Maybe this is because grass at this time of year is so much tenderer than late-summer grass.
I decided not to mow the grass in the several thousand square feet of lawn nearest Dug Hill Road. This area tends to be something of a wetland and I think it would be best if it reverted to natural vegetation as opposed to the wiry grass struggling for survival there. Also, I don't like taking the risk of running over wildlife with a lawnmower. I've seen lots of frogs hopping through the grass there and today I saw a small black vole retreating from the front of mowed grass.
Several weeks ago I made the mistake of buying a cheap Tecra-series Toshiba laptop on Ebay because I was hoping to use it as the controller for one of my oft-mentioned-but-not-yet-developed dynamic sculptures. Though the laptop works, it has proved less than useless because it contains no hard drive and I cannot plug one into it. In the Tecra series of laptops, you see, the thoughtful engineers at Toshiba engineered the motherboard to have a proprietary 60-pin D-shaped IDE connector which requires a special physical adapter (a "caddy") in order to accept conventional 44-pin laptop IDE drives. Given this landscape, the people selling old Tecras on Ebay are pulling the caddies out of the computers before selling them. Then they sell the caddies separately at exhorbitant markup. What should be a $50 laptop ends up costing at least $75 - and that's without a hard drive in the caddy. But what choice do you have? New Tecra caddies are sold for $160. That's a lot of money for something that contains no electronics and is useless except in antiquated laptops. The whole point of buying the Tecra was to have a cheap, low-power computer to use as an embedded controller.
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