stoutfellow: (Winter)
I am going to San Diego to visit my family during the holidays. I booked my flights with - a certain booking site which shall remain nameless.

Since then, they have been bombarding me with e-mail.

Hey, we have discounts on hotels you can stay at!
I'm visiting my family. I will be staying with my brother.

Wanna rent a car? We can get you discounts!
I don't drive. My brother has a car.

Hey, here are some neat things you can do while you're in San Diego!
I'm visiting my family. There will be parties: Christmas parties, birthday parties, and a wedding. There will be trips to the movies: Arrival, Moana, Rogue One. My family and I are quite capable of amusing ourselves.

I can't filter them out, because I need the notifications concerning my flights. But everything else they send me goes straight into the bitbucket.

Gee, Thanks

Dec. 4th, 2016 02:15 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Amazon has taken to sending me notifications of the availability of books it thinks I might like.

It sends me their titles (and links). It does not send me the names of the authors. Nor does it send me any information about content (unless "Series ***, Book #n" is to be considered such).

Sorry, guys, I'm not clicking on your links just on the off chance that it might be good - not on skimpy information like that.


Nov. 12th, 2016 07:31 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I'm currently reading Brian Fagan's The Little Ice Age, on a recommendation from [profile] desert_vixen. I haven't gotten very far yet, but it's been interesting so far. However, I just ran into the following passage.
"Every man should have a lord", proclaimed the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Only the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor in Constantinople were exempt from this stricture, and they were vassals of the Lord.
Um, the Holy Roman Emperor did not sit in Constantinople; that was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

Ah, well, I'm not reading the book for political history, but for climatological history.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
My left elbow continues to give me trouble.

Today, while trying to dry the hair on the left side (right-handedly), I managed to clonk myself on the head with the blow-dryer's nozzle.

C'mon, bursa, re-inflate!
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I'm reading Verne's classic From the Earth to the Moon / Around the Moon. Verne is the prototypical hard-science SF writer (and oh, my, is this text larded with technical details), but I just hit a major mathematical blunder.

The astronauts have passed into the shadow of the moon, and the excitable Ardan is asking what their fate is to be. His (more technically educated) companions respond by discussing orbits (which, of course, Ardan does not understand).
"Just so", replied Barbicane. "With a certain speed it will assume the parabola, and with a greater the hyperbola."
Um, no. There are three options, not two; Barbicane has omitted the ellipse. But, beyond that, there are only two genuine possibilities. Parabolas do not happen. A parabola is a conic whose eccentricity is exactly 1; an ellipse has eccentricity less than 1, a hyperbola, greater. Pick a positive real number at random, using any continuous distribution you like: the probability of getting exactly 1 is literally 0.

But what about Galileo, you may ask? Sadly, the acceleration due to gravity, even close to the surface of the Earth, is not quite constant, and the parabolas his equations predict turn out, in reality, to be arcs of extremely narrow ellipses.

And, of course, all this ignores the fact that the crew is involved in a three-body problem, so Keplerian conics are not in the picture. (Actually, it's at least a four-body problem, since the vessel was diverted slightly by a close encounter with a hypothetical second satellite of Earth.)

Oh, well. Only Hal Clement ever actually got things right.


Jan. 17th, 2015 12:44 pm
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Shop'n'Save is only two blocks from my house. Shop'n'Save is on the bus route that I take to and from work. I know most of the checkers at Shop'n'Save. Shop'n'Save is convenient.

Shop'n'Save no longer sells whole coffee beans.

Tomorrow I will go over to Schnucks to see if they still sell whole beans. If they do, I will give serious consideration to switching my business there completely. (They're slightly, but only slightly, less convenient.) In any case, I will buy beans there, if I can. If not, I'll check out Dierbergs. If they don't have beans, I may sit down in the aisle and cry.

I am seriously unhappy with Shop'n'Save.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Today, I was browsing on Wunderground when I saw a reference to "Kellog, Russia". Curious about the name, I googled it. (Was it named, somehow, for the Kellogg of Kellogg-Briand?) Not wishing to read about breakfast cereals, I entered "kellog russia" - and was greeted with a list of references to the cereal company's activity in Russia.

I typed in "kellog" - and was returned to the same page.

I tried again, and got "Results for 'Kellogg'" with the usual "See results for 'Kellog'". I clicked on the latter, and finally got somewhere near where I wanted - but with a querulous "Did you mean 'Kellogg'?"

Would it really be that hard for Google to remove that last bit when someone clicks on "See results for..."?

[Oh, as for the original question, all I found was a Wikipedia stub, with no information about the origin of the name. I thought for a moment I'd glimpsed an explanation, but the local language is "Ket", not "Kel". Grmph.]
stoutfellow: (Winter)
According to an e-mail I just received from Amazon, this is "Black Friday Deals Week".

I guess I missed the Presidential proclamation; I think we used to call it "Thanksgiving Week".

The song is apropos.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
The immediate prompt for my changeover to dual-monitor was this: I wanted to be able to use my Skyrim database at the same time that I was playing Skyrim, so that I could enter data and make decisions using the database in real time.

I will be able to do this, but it isn't going to be as clean as I'd hoped. To make it work, I have to run Skyrim in windowed mode (maximum resolution). After starting it, I have to hit C-A-D and bring up the Task Manager; from that point on, I have to use the TM to switch between Skyrim and the database.

Oh, well, I can live with it. The gains are definitely greater than the inconveniences.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Is it really that hard to remember?

"-eth" is third person singular: "he thinketh".
"-est" is second person singular: "thou thinkest".

Is it really that hard to remember?

:wanders off grumbling to self:


Aug. 15th, 2014 01:58 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I am becoming seriously annoyed with my Kindle.

This is new behavior, only appearing today, but it has become extremely sluggish, responding very slowly to a "next page" tap. After only a few page-turns, the next tap results in Kindle's version of a reboot; it eventually returns to the front page - the list of documents on the machine - but, when I tap on the book I was reading, I am returned to the first page of the chapter, not to the last page I had read. This is happening with PG books and with purchased books. (I'm also getting frequent, unexplained "The selected application could not be started" messages. What application? The "let me read this book" application?)

Does anyone know what could be causing this behavior, and/or what can be done about it? If this keeps up, I may have to switch to a different e-reader.(Everything I have, I have on my home computer, cataloged with Calibre.)

Addendum: And, of course, as soon as I publicly complained, the misbehavior ceased. Still, if anyone has comments to offer, I'd like to hear them, in case of a recurrence.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Prompted by a recent retro-review by James Nicoll, I decided to reread Alexei Panshin's Villiers trilogy. The first book, Star Well, begins as follows:
To history buffs, the year was 4171 A.U.C. To Christians, it was 3418. To Moslems, it was late in the year 2795. But by common reckoning, the year was 1461.
Two of those four numbers are certainly consistent. Another is consistent with them, given an assumption which at the time (A.D. 1968) might have seemed plausible. The fourth, however, is flatly wrong - utterly inconsistent with the other three.

Challenge: which one, and why? I'll be screening replies (on the off chance that there are any), so as not to spoil anybody, and I'll explain the problem later.


Jul. 9th, 2014 07:29 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This week, I bought a sack of bosc pears for my daily fruit. Now, SnS puts little adhesive UPC tags on fruit, which is OK for, say, oranges, but for thin-peel fruit like pears they can be a pain to remove.

Today, I took a pear from the fridge, carefully removed the tag (losing a little of the peel in the process), and washed it under the tap.

That was when I noticed the second tag.

They're even harder to remove when they're wet.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Apparently a lot of people are up in arms over the most recent revision (v29.0) of Firefox. I haven't noticed anything troubling about the interface, but something odd seems to have happened to the shutdown procedure: a significant fraction of the time - more than a third, less than a half - the interface shuts down but the process continues. I don't usually find out about this until the next time I try to start the program, at which point I get a message prompting me to open the Task Manager and stop the process.

Has anyone else been having this problem? Is it related to the new update? And, most importantly, is there any way to keep this from happening?
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
Feeling a bit down today. Yesterday was one of those days that makes early retirement awfully tempting. The college has asked each department to come up - purely hypothetically ;-) - with plans by which they could cut 3, 6, or 9% from their budgets, in anticipation of expected state budget cuts. Also, the state is monkeying around with pension payouts, cutting back from what was promised when we were hired. (Funny: when a struggling company gives a CEO a golden parachute, it's all about "the sanctity of contracts", whereas when state employees ask for the retirement plans they've been paying into and counting on for decades, suddenly it's "greedy suckers at the public tit". Pfeh.)

Fortunately, the rest of the week was the kind that encourages me to stay on. I think I gave pretty good lectures in both History of Math classes this week, and we wrapped up Gauss-Bonnet in the differential geometry class. (Not sure what I'm going to do in that class *next* week, which is the last week of the semester, but I'll think of something. A couple of students have made reasonable suggestions.)

Gah. I may not want to quit, but I could sure use a break - and not one spent flat on my back in a hospital, thankyouverymuch.


Apr. 11th, 2014 08:07 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
I really don't like door-to-door salesmen. Even when they represent a reputable corporation, I resent the high-pressure tactics characteristic of the breed, and the way they exploit the conventions of courtesy to stampede you in their chosen direction.

I find that I am even less tolerant of them when I'm recuperating.

Further deponent saith not.
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This is really starting to rub me the wrong way.

I'm not on Twitter, and can't follow people that way. Still, there are some Twitter accounts that I like to look in on from time to time, and I have them bookmarked in a special folder.

There is at least one such account that misbehaves: if I bookmark it, it will only show tweets up to a certain day - in this case, February 14. If I go to it another way, via the person's website, sometimes I get the more recent tweets and sometimes I don't.

I know for certain that this happens with one particular account, but there are at least two others that I suspect of behaving this way. Does anyone know a) why this happens and b) how to stop it?

Week's End

Feb. 28th, 2014 09:19 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Well, the things I was worried about seem to have resolved halfway decently; there's still a chance of a blowup or two, but it seems much diminished.

We've got another winter storm en route. It's only the southern fringe of the monster that's headed for the Northeast, but we're looking at 5-8" of snow over the weekend, starting Saturday evening. I guess I'll have to make my weekend grocery run on Saturday - Sunday will be impossible. It's supposed to be clear on Monday, but I wouldn't be surprised if the campus was closed.

The Post-Dispatch seems not to be getting my message. When I paid my final bill, I carefully did not check the "resume service" box. Nonetheless, I received papers Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I called them to officially cancel and let them know I was getting papers; they apologized and said they'd take care of it. Yesterday and today I received papers again. Maybe I'll try again to get through to them next Monday. I'm certainly not going to pay for these unwanted gifts.

I didn't feel like cooking last weekend, so I've been letting Marie Callendar feed me this week. I like their chicken piccata, enough so that I'm going to look online for a recipe. Definitely going to get back to cooking this weekend.
stoutfellow: (Winter)
There were a number of things I was going to do this afternoon. Most of them, unfortunately, relied on considerable two-handed typing.

Thanks to flight delays, I managed to miss the snowstorm/deep freeze that began last week here. The last day or two have actually been warmish (highs in the 40s F). Unfortunately, the lows have been subfreezing...

allowing the storm to strike from out of the past. On the way to Shop'n'Save this morning, I trod a little uncautiously, and hit a sneaky patch of ice. I took the fall on my left arm, and specifically my left wrist.

This message is about as much typing as my left can handle today. Gonna go soak it now.



Nov. 12th, 2013 07:19 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
Camillus, my current Skyrim character, recently ascended to the rank of Archmage of the College of Winterhold.

The NPCs pronounce the first syllable in "Archmage" as in "architecture", not as in "archbishop". I find this annoying. I've been staying away from the College because of it.



stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

September 2017

345678 9
1011121314 1516


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 21st, 2017 12:14 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios