Stupid DVD drive, semi-stupid SpamKarma2

The DVD drive in my Powerbook has been a pain in the ass. It frequently refuses to eject a disk in the drive completely, sometimes showing me just a sliver of the disk which if I’m sufficiently alert I can grab before it gets sucked back in, and sometimes refusing to show anything before it acts as if it had just been re-inserted and mounting it again. Last time I took it to Apple, they replaced the drive under Apple Care, but said that because the laptop’s case has a bit of a dent in it, next time it happens they’re not going to cover it because it’s probably caused by damage to the frame of the case. (Yes, I admit I’ve dropped the laptop a few times. Being a geek means being hard on equipment.[1])

I got a couple of multi-disk audiobooks for Christmas, and I’m in the process of ripping them to MP3 so I can listen to them on my iPod. But in the 6 disks that I’ve ripped so far, I’ve had the computer pull the “Here’s a sliver, and there it’s gone again” trick several times, it’s locked up ripping a track once, and iTunes has gone into a “Not responding” state 3 times. I’ve had to reboot three times so far, two of those times I’ve had to use the power switch to reboot because iTunes wouldn’t quit. This last time I rebooted it, neither Finder, iTunes, nor Disk Utility will recognize that there was a disk in the drive. But it’s there, all right. I can just see it if I pry the disk slot open a little. Oh well, time to reboot into OpenFirmware and try the eject command there. But if I remember the last time correctly, that won’t work either. And then it’s back to the Apple store to price out a new case and frame for an “obsolete” Powerbook.

In other stupid news, I use SpamKarma2 to protect this blog against spam. I also recently started to use Akismet, but I think SK2 does a good job so I’m reluctant to switch entirely over to Akismet, in spite of the fact that SK2 isn’t actively maintained any more and doesn’t work well with the OpenID plugin. Every day SK2 is supposed to send me an email telling me how many spams it caught since the last report, and whether any have a score between 0 and -20 (which means it flagged them as spam, but it’s not 100% sure). I click the link, look at those doubtful ones, and then tell it to purge everything. For some reason, it doesn’t come the same time every day – I think it’s on a 25 hour cycle. Last night, for some bizarre reason, it sent me 5 copies of the daily report, all within minutes of each other and all identical. Strange. It’s not even like there was a time change or end of the month or something that would explain it.

Footnote [1]: Let me explain the logic behind that statement. Geeks are hard on equipment because they need to have it around all the time, which means that laptops don’t get put in fancy padded sleeves or left on desks, they get balanced on the arms of chairs or put on the floor sideways with the hinge open, with power cords running across the floor where they can be tripped over or run into by small dogs. iPods and cell phones get crammed into your pockets instead of living in some nice padded case or locked in a desk drawer, which means they fall out when you reach into your pocket to get your keys out (said keys also scratching the screens and doing other damage), and in one case, even falling in the toilet when they fall out of your pocket as you’re putting your pants back on. Keyboards accumulate crud because you don’t put them aside to eat, and TiVos and desktop computers never get their cases screwed back on because you’re always opening them up to do yet another upgrade or using them to do other work.

Upstairs TiVo upgraded without a hitch

Ok, a few weeks ago I bought a 320Gb drive to upgrade my upstairs TiVo, and discovered that although I had rejected a couple of earlier bargain drives because of it, this time I’d forgotten to check it was SATA or not. But then my coworker Rob pointed me towards, where they sell a little adaptor doohickey that you slap on the back of a SATA drive and it can be plugged into an IDE cable and Molex power connector. Nifty.
Continue reading “Upstairs TiVo upgraded without a hitch”

The stupid, it burns

Last night, I heard somebody say possibly the stupidest sentence ever uttered in the English language. Now, I could tell you that it started with “Bill O’Reilly hit the nail on the head last night”, and most of you would say “Stop right there, you’ve already won the prize”. But the stupidity continued to pour forth like sewage: “when he said that Putin got Time Magazine’s `Man of the Year’ instead of PatreiusPatreaus because PatreiusPetraeus is winning the war in Iraq and Time would never admit that”. At this point, I threw up in my mouth a little.

But because I hang around with pilots, and a large number of them are the types who believe any bilge that Fox News tells them to believe, I shut up and try to steer the conversation away from the things that would make me have to stab this guy in the face.