Sunday, April 17, 2005

Long Time, No Post (And Some Product Reviews)

Too long. I'm not very happy when I don't write. And I don't write when I'm not very happy.

I'm on yet another experimental drug regimen. Is it helping? I dunno, you tell me. No, I really mean that...would someone please tell me?

So a very dear friend of mine, Diane in (near) Milwaukee, called me last night. I wasn't able to answer the call at the time, so we got in touch today.

Diane is only semi-digital, so at times she has an email address, and at times she doesn't. Well, now she has one again and I'm thrilled because that's just about the only way I can bring myself to communicate with someone on a regular basis nowadays (and it's cheaper than long-distance calling). Diane, it was wonderful talking to you today. I hope that you and I will know one another again as well as we used to.

Jeff and I have been going to Leon's to play billiards on the weekends. Last time we went, it was decided that Leon was getting too tired and needed a Slurpee. So we went, and as Jeff and Leon both owe me Slurpees, they decided amongst the two of themselves that Leon was buying.

We got there, acquired the desired Slurpees and went to pay. As we were standing in line, I glanced at the magazine rack, and out of the corner of my eye, saw something looking like money. When I looked directly at it, there was a five dollar bill tucked neatly in front of one of the magazines.

I picked it up, showed it to Leon, and tucked it away. Leon presented his debit card to pay for the drinks, but the lady ran the card wrong, so it declined. He was taking a while to get the card back out of his wallet again, so I quickly presented the found $5 bill.

I still think it's amazing and incredibly unlikely that we just found three Slurpees and some change sitting in a magazine rack like that.

I just finished reading "How To Find The Work You Love," by Laurence G. Boldt. It was an utter waste of paper and ink, because the title of the book and the description on the back cover are simply incorrect. A more appropriate title would be something to the effect of: "A Collection Of Quotes Meant To Inspire You, That Unintentionally Come Off As Cheesy, And Some Thoughts On Ignoring The Discouraging Voices In Your Head So That You Can Pursue What You Really Love, But That You Would Already Have Heard From Your High School Career Counselor, Had You Been Listening."

Fortunately, I paid a dollar for the book on clearance in the university book store. And now I see why.

I recently found a Canon PowerShot SD100 Digital Elph refurbished for about $160. The review linked to lists it for its original retail price, $499. So yeah, $160 is a screamin' deal, and I buy refurbished electronics all the time with good results overall.

Aside: Here's my theory on refurbished goods. I don't understand why they cost less, but I like it. I've got oodles of experience in buying electronics, and the refurbished items I've bought don't break more than the new ones do, they break less. No, really, it's true. I figure that any item that's been through quality control twice instead of once is likely to be in pretty good shape. And that's why I don't shy away when the words "refurbished" or "factory reconditioned" are thrown around. I dig the concept.

At any rate, the refurbished version comes with everything but a memory card, and it's actually a good thing, because the card that's included with a new one is only 16MB. Well, I burn through 16MB in about 14 seconds, so I was going to have to buy a new card anyway. I found a cheap Kingston 512MB card and bought it (of all places, from Dell. Who knew they had such good prices on items other than embarrassingly underpowered PCs? But I'm still testing the ice with them.).

Anyway, I got the camera and LOVED it. Excellent feel, excellent interface, superb picture quality, and a price that made me feel like the cops will be here any minute. Loved it. And then it broke.

Yep. The darn thing broke. I suspect that it simply did again what caused it to be returned in the first place. The lens mechanism jammed open while powering it off. The first couple of times, I cycled the power over and over, and the camera figured out the problem and fixed itself. But the third time, no amount of power cycling fixed it. Ah well. At least it jammed permanently while still in warranty. I was grateful.

So, I returned the SD100 and found a new, not refurbished, SD110 at Amazon for only $10 more. The next model up, new, for just ten bucks more. And at Amazon too, so free shipping.

So now I'll have a 16MB SD card and nothing at all useful for it to do. It's too small to use as a bookmark. Too fragile to pin up on the wall with a thumbtack. Not recognized by the US Postal Service as actual postage, even though the makers of such cards compare their size to postage stamps, so I can't mail a letter with it. Not even with tape. Hmph. I guess it'll go into my drawer with electronic odds and ends. Can't Amazon just keep it and discount me the $10? I suppose not, as it's already at the local UPS office and will be delivered tomorrow, along with the camera that I hunger for. Grrrrrrrrr...

So, you ask, why no posts for so long? I'm choosing not to say for now. But I think things will be better for a while now.

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