Friday, January 30, 2009

So long, and thanks for all the oranges.

So - I have guys over today ripping something out.

Yeah - I needed to scratch my construction itch. And keep my guys tethered. Most of them have scattered in the wind trying to survive. And I don't want to loose them.

Giving them work when you can, and paying quickly - makes them come to your jobs over other people's. Especially in those time that you really need them. It creates loyalty in an otherwise disloyal industry.

So when my guy got here, he told his worker "Don't take the oranges"! Which made me laugh. Take all the oranges you want - I said.

For free? - the worker replied. Yeah - are you kidding. For free.

What.. am I going to charge for oranges? Silly.

I really only have that bush because it has thorns, and I think it will at least leave a blood trail if someone broke into the house through the window it sits by. I'm not much of an orange tree gal, but I think of it as a deterrent. So it stays. For now. But, every time I have Mexican workers over - that tree is like a magnet. I'd swear they were crack oranges.

A couple of times throughout out the day the worker asked again about the oranges. It seemed he was making sure that it was still okay to take them. And they still were free. Finally after probably the third prompting - I told the guy - take them. If you want to sell them, sell them.

Then I rushed to talk to Mr S.

Me - Mr S! What is it about the Mexicans and oranges?

Which made him laugh too. I'm betting if they walked up to anyone with an orange tree - the owner would practically pay them to take the oranges.

And yes - this is still California. There are still Mexican workers here. The only difference is that most of them are legal now.

Speaking of Mexico - am I the only one freaked out by what is happening there?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Feedback yeah.

I just have to say that I've been loving that people are taking my polls. I'm not really a poll taker myself. So I thought the idea was pretty lame. Yet, it surprises me how enjoyable I find the poll outcomes. I know the people who hang around here are a highly diverse group of people. More than your average blog. So, it is really interesting to see what my demo is.

Thanks for taking them.

Geeky stuff.

Back at my laser conference - there were a couple of things that caught my eye. As can be expected, with lasers come wafers. Which aren't that interesting. Unless you are in that business. Which I'm not. But, this wafer did catch my eye.



But, it was their secondary product that I found more interesting. LightSmyth Nanostamps. I guess they are going to sell this as jewelry. Though, their site makes them look less impressive than they did in real life.

I didn't get a great picture because this conference was strange in that - I didn't see anyone even taking cell phone shots. So, I was super self conscience about being conspicuous. I'd asked the guy if I could take a photo and he agreed. Once I whipped my camera out he seemed a little surprised. So I had to ask again if he was still okay with me taking photos.



The other thing I found interesting was an iRobot Packbot was there. I hadn't seen them anywhere in a while. But, they were at a booth for Photon Systems.



I'm still not completely sure what the application is suppose to be. I can only guess some type robotic vision.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Windows 7 Beta -- Success!

I retried installing Windows 7 Beta on my laptop (Lenovo X61), this time it worked.

When you install Windows 7, it gives you two options:  Upgrade, or Clean Install.   
  • An 'Upgrade' is where it tries to upgrade your current OS to Windows 7,  but keeps all your current settings and applications and data.
  • A 'Clean Install' is where it just wipes your drive, and installs the OS like new.  You lose all your installed apps, documents, pictures, settings, preferences, etc.
My first attempt was for an 'upgrade'.  That failed.   My 2nd attempt was to try the 'Clean' install.  That worked.  So far, so good.  It feels faster than Vista, and less annoying.   but the audio doesn't work -- I got no sound.

Note: I'm not running Windows 7 on the laptop fulltime.  I just installed it on a spare laptop drive.  I have an alternate laptop drive, where I run Windows XP.  That's my main system for everyday use.


Not driving away customers -- MemoryStore.com

We do lots of rants about poor customer service, so it's only fair that I give props when a company does do customer service right.   So, kudos to you, MemoryStore.com.

Recently, I decided to upgrade the memory in my home machine (a Dell XPS from a few years ago).  I went to MemoryStore.com, and used their web-app which selects compatible memory, and after checking that the price was pretty reasonable (memory is really cheap right now!), I ordered from them.   

A week later, the memory arrives, and of course  it doesn't fit.  The little slot on the memory card doesn't line up with where the slot is supposed to be on my motherboard.

So far, not so good.

But I call their support line, get thru right away, and the guy on the other end is very helpful.  Once he sees that I have a Dell XPS, he says "let me guess -- the slot on the memory card is in the wrong place?"   He explains that there are two versions of Dell XPS machines, and their software can't tell the difference between the two.    Knowing that the memory they shipped was the wrong type, he says I just need the other one.   And, good news, the other one is actually a lot cheaper.    He issued an RMA #, and I mailed the memory back to them.  

A week later, I got new memory, and it fit, and I'm up and running.

Now, of course it would have been great if I'd got the correct memory in the first place, but I have to say that their customer support line guy was great, and the whole experience after receiving the wrong-memory was very good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Done.

Today, January 27th - I declare that I am bored of lasers. I know! I'll wait for the gasps to stop. Everybody just calm down. I'm okay. I just never thought there was an instance where I could not be entertained by lasers. It's hard to even imagine a world in which I'm not completely thrilled with lasers. But, it exists.

It doesn't help I had a crappy day. I want to punch so many people in the neck. Namely, but not limited to:

The City of San Jose for making me drive around for 30 minutes trying to find a parking place. And, not listing their parking lots as full - when they were.

The State of California for having every single road torn up. You can not drive for more than 5 miles in any direction without road work. And - it isn't projects that have just started. Many projects look to be at the halfway point.

Could they finish one of them before ripping up something else? Hell no. Oh - and it just pisses me off when I see about 20 workers just standing around doing nothing - burning my tax dollars.



Guitar Hero. Oh yeah. I'm so done with Guitar Hero. When I can't go to a conference on lasers without seeing someone working "the Guitar Hero", you know the world is on the brink of collapse.



Things 100% owned by women. How is this a feature?



And most intensely my navsat.

Oh my gawd. I want to kill my navsat. I want to go in the direction of the deep red line that goes out to the right of the screen. Why does it always insist on taking me in the opposite direction I need to be going? I see the freeway, yet it isn't taking me in any one of the directions that are a freeway. Those are all the red lines. I swear I rue the day I ever took good old fashion paper maps out of my car.



Oh yeah! I should add - all of those people who just bought gas saving cars. Ohh.. I so hate those people right now. Those cars can't get up a hill to save a life. And - they won't get out of the way.

Okay, I think I'm done. Someone needs a cookie.

Oh wait.. not done.



Suitcase guys. This picture is actually from CES. But, these people are everywhere. And they suck so much it makes my head hurt.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Because it was there.

What if Cars were made like PCs?

The failure of the big 3 automakers has kind of dropped off the radar lately, what with the government handing out billion dollar bailouts right and left.   But I want to make my proposal for how to fix our ailing auto industry.

There's an old viral email joke about "What if your car was made like your PC?".    But I want to discuss this as a real possibility.  

Currently, when you buy a Chrysler, you get a Chrysler engine, a Chrysler chassis, a Chrysler transmission, a Chrysler cabin, and a Chrysler body and styling.   This is at best a mixed blessing.  (e.g. we love our Chrysler 300C hemi engine, but despise other aspects of the car)

But when you a  buy a PC (e.g. a DELL), you don't a computer designed from the ground up by DELL.   You get:
  • a CPU (designed by Intel or AMD)
  • a motherboard designed for the CPU, but manufactured by a 3rd party (e.g. ASUS)
  • a GPU (designed by ATI or NVidia)
  • a graphics card, designed for the GPU, but manufactured by a 3rd party (e.g. BFG)
  • a power supply, manufactured by a 3rd party
  • memory chips, manufactured by a 3rd party
  • lots of off-the-shelf connectors and components
The only thing you get designed by DELL is the case, keyboard, mouse, and manuals.   The biggest service a PC manufacturer does is to select all the above components for you, and make sure they all work together.

What if cars were made this way?   As a thought experiment, imagine splitting the automakers up into smaller companies, so that there are several companies that make engines, several who make chassis, several who make transimssions, etc.   And then there are companies which function as Styling houses,  which design a final product (body, interior) from the available parts, and assemble the whole thing.

I think such a division would produce better, cheaper cars than the current situation.

Update: I guess I'm not the first person to come up with this idea.   A more in-depth exploration of this idea can be found here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Windows 7 Beta Fail

Last year, for my birthday, I got a Lenovo Tablet PC, with Windows Vista installed on it.   But running Vista sucks so hard that I eventually shelled out $60 bucks to downgrade from Vista back to Windows XP, and I've been happily running XP ever since.

I've been reading nice things about Windows 7 (successor to Vista),  how they'd fixed (or at least improved) the suckiness, so I thought I'd install the public beta, and try it out myself.   After going thru hours of installation, it finally got the "Welcome" screen, and prompted me to enter my Windows 7 Product key.   At this point I discovered that the neither the mouse nor the keyboard would respond to any input.   I'm stuck at the Welcome screen.

So, so far, Windows 7 is exactly as good as Windows Vista.

Update: It looks like someone has successfully done this on the same model Lenovo tablet as mine.  The one difference being he install the 64-bit version, where I installed the 32-bit version. 

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Strike a juxtapose.



To tell you the truth. Yesterday was sort of an odd day for content.

It started out at the trade show. Which I don't have pictures of. It was mostly lasers and boring stuff anyway. Except for the LED's that were pretty damn close to as bright as lasers. At one booth I refrained from staring at what I thought was a laser. I like my retinas. But, it turned out to be an LED bar. Impressive. It was also one of rare events where photography wasn't permitted. And no one was breaking the rules.

They did have a product at the show which I found pretty interesting. And paranoia inducing. I've been seeing this type of technology trying to take hold. Sadly, as I was attempting to find you an example of its awesomeness. When I ran across the worst product demo for it ever. Now my brain just won't let me look anymore. It's just too goofy.

Anyway. 3D Recognition technology is getting scary good. Like Lidar. Which this wasn't. But, it's so good it can even pick up a pattern on your shirt.

After the conference we wound up in Colma. We'd driven through there a while ago, and I vowed it would be a great place to take pictures if it ever rained. Since we've had a few days of rain - up we went. In the distance I saw this Best Buy sitting right next to a cemetery. It would have totally been a better picture if it was a Circuit Shitty. But I still like the idea of picking up an ipod in the so called after-world.

I was looking at this experience as art. I figured these places were pretty desolate except for the newly "checking in". But, I found it quite touching in a lot of ways. I was trying to get a picture of the Best Buy when I spotted this in the trash can. It was touching.

You Decide.



These are actually not the same photo. One has my infrared filters on. The other doesn't. Normally it is easy to choose which spectrum things look better in. Not here. So I give you both.

Friday, January 23, 2009

On the list of nothing new.

I'm going to a biotech thing this weekend. Why? I don't know. I blame lasers. So all I have for you is this conversation with Mr S. from last night:

Me - Are we going through a high five boom or something right now?

Mr S. - Yes. I think we are.

Me - I thought so. Because, this whole high five thing is getting exhausting.

You see. I think it all started back when we were fixing up the crap shack. We were watching those goofy fix-up shows. (which isn't what prompted us to buy the crap shack. In case you were wondering.)

Anyway. People were always high five-ing on those shows. Since we were on our second crapshack, we thought it was really goofy and retarded. Ripping out a wall? Glad to be done. Exhausted. Not a single thought of a high five.

But, it became a running joke with us, that whenever we saw someone high five-ing - we'd have to do one too. Which somehow encompassed fist bumps too. But, it happens to so often now, that we don't even move in the direction of one another. We just virtual high five, or fist bump. And I think I'm starting to get tennis shoulder just from that.

What is it with all the high fives lately? It's ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The trail of broken pillows.

It occurred to me last night that Mr S. and I have way more conversations about pillows than should be permitted by law. It's pretty ridiculous actually. More than any man should have to put up with in fact. He's a saint, but I'm guessing some of you might have already suspected as much. Putting up with me and all.

Anyway... any rearranging of the pillow cases can send me into a complete tailspin.

Me - Mr S! Are you on my pillow?

Him - NO. This is my pillow.

Me - Are you sure? I don't want you squashing my pillow.

On and on and on. Even as I type this - it sounds really crazy.

You see, as an insomniac - pillows take on a great deal of importance. They can not be too flat, or too.... not flat. And flattening one of my good pillows. Well - it's a tragedy.

Why? Because buying new pillows doesn't always solve the problem. I try them in the store, yet I still have a corner filled with pillows that once I got them home sucked for some reason. I hope they will magically transform shape and become "one of the good ones". But they don't. Toss and turn all night, then get back to me on the crazy part. You become really attached to a good pillow is all I'm sayin'.

At least I can eventually offload them onto Mr S. Who I think has never officially forgiven me for yanking a pillow out from under his head in the dead of sleep. Not just taking the pillow, but flat out yank - head hit the mattress yanking. When he told me the next day I thought it was pretty funny. Though unintentional. But, this just shows you the level of pillow problems that exist.

Why am I telling you this? Because.

Our Economic Crisis, explained

Our current economic crisis in a nutshell:  Too much debt, not enough assets.

You can't fix this problem by spending more.   Any additional bailouts, stimulus packages, etc. will make the problem worse, not better.

Could someone please explain this to the government?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's a question, People.

Do you think I can become seriously injured from rolling my eyes too much? I'm fearful they might get stuck in the upright position. Just curious.

Updated:

Am I the only one who finds the comment "if a black man can be president, then anyone can be president" the most condescending phrase ever? He's just black People. The bigger question is, what excuses are going to be made now on why young black males can't get jobs? Yeah - I said it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

In the future.....

Watch in high quality.





When I saw this technology in the fall (here) I guess I didn't realize that it was really trying to take hold. There is even an iPhone app.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

3Dmeh.



I always feel uncomfortable taking pictures inside theaters. But, its one of the places I love most to take shots. It makes me feel somewhat creepy though. In the dark fiddling around with a huge camera. Which is the only reason I can get shots in very little light. But. it isn't like you can be stealth in a movie theater.

Anyway. 3D movies. Not so much for me. I knew the movie would be bad. But, 3D movie technology doesn't seem to have moved that much. Which perplexed me. I've been seeing a lot of 3D stuff lately which I thought was pretty good. But, movies still - not so much.

The other thing is, I walked away with quite a bit of eye strain. I don't wear glasses, but I noticed it quite soon after leaving the movie. I also feel it today. A little like sand paper in my eyes.

Mr S. thinks my problems both might be related to infinite focus. 3D games seem to have them. 3D movies seem to not. Which is maybe why my eyes also feel strained. The things that were in focus, and not in focus - in the depth of field were really bothersome for my eyes.

Oh, and did you know you can buy movie tickets from a kiosk machine? It seems to be new in my area. Maybe ya'll already have this. The lines outside about 30 people deep. Movie kiosk? Almost empty.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I guess I shouldn't be that surprised.

Circuit Shitty liquidates.

Yet, just last week they were still sending me notices to renew the warranty on my TV. Which met with the usual response of "are they high"?



Trackback of my last post on this here. RIP Circuit Shitty. Hard to believe in 1994 they made 9.75 BILLION. And in 4 short years died.

Update: Um.. I guess that would be 14 years. That makes more sense. But, I'm leaving it because - yes I can be a tard too. See. Mr S. informs me I'm being innumerate. I might as well add that to all the "ate's" I am.

Seen this morning.



I love a car that encompasses so much.

1. A notifier on the bumper so I know what to expect of the guy.

2. Some super stealthy way to block out his license plate.

(Other than adding some arrows and sharpening the picture - I didn't protect this guys license plate. In California there are rules so you can't get any information on someone from a plate. So I never bother blurring them.)

3. A scrolling marquee. Which I couldn't read very well, but said something about "him needing the money". I'm guessing this is the new world bumper sticker.

I'm studying to be the nut-baggiest neighbor ever.



This weekend I'm going to be doing the important work of - garden prepping.

Yeah.. I'm that girl. You don't know me. Of course this will be the most expensive garden on the planet. Way more expensive than what you'd pay at swanky Whole Foods, or the local farmers market.

Some people grow their own food to save money. That isn't going to be how it works here at the Snarkolepsy house. You see, there are many lessons I've learned during this economic down turn. One of them is - California truly and deeply is a desert. Which really has nothing to do with the economy. But, the concept truly sunk in during the down turn.

Growing up here, I felt we'd go for years without rain. Then - Bam. Rain so hard - it rips houses from hills and ruins everything in its path. Somehow I thought it might be this year. But no.

We've had so little rain the last few years that I let my backyard die last year. So - no garden. After all, my water bill shot up 100%. This year, I really want my garden. So I'm devising a plan to recover water from the street gutter. Which sounds even crazier in text, than when I proposed it to Mr S. Mostly as a joke. Mostly. Not just any water mind you. The neighbor 3 doors down on the other side of the street apparently must be filthy rich. And when he waters his lawn (which is truly a modern marvel of lushness) - a mini river flows from his house.

So - it is clean water. I should be able to steal his water right? After all - he and all his brethren is the reason my rates have spiked.

At any rate.. I'm probably not motivated enough to actually do it. But, I will fantasize about it all summer long as I pay ridiculously high water prices. Oh what I could do with a water pump. Just sayin'.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Robomower Rant

As you may have guessed, we at the Snarkolepsy household are early adopters of technology, especially home robotics. Roombas, Scoobas, Lawn mowers, gutter cleaners, we've got 'em.

And I'm generally pretty forgiving of version 1.0 of any product. I accept that the first version is going to have issues. But I expect version 2.0 of the product to be noticeably better. e.g. the current generation of Roomba is noticeably better than the earlier versions.

Which brings us to robot lawn mowers, specifically the Friendly Robotics robomowers.

We initially purchased an RL550 model (which we named "Moe") back in 2004 (read about it here)

When Moe died in 2008, we upgraded to a later model (an RL850, named "Shemp")

Sadly, there's no improvement in the usability of the later model. It works exactly the same as the previous one, it just costs more.

The biggest issue is manual mowing. There are always places where the mower misses spots b/c of lawn obstacles (trees, walls, ditches, etc), and you have to go back and drive the mower manually around these spots to get them. The problem is the mechanism provided to pilot the mower manually is something that looks like an Xbox controller. You have to use a joystick/thumbpad to steer while pushing two other buttons simultaneously to mow. No one who has ever tried to do this can possibly think it's a good idea. This stupid controller gives me a hand cramp every time I have to use it.

I'm not convinced that the people at Friendly Robotics actually ever use the product they sell, b/c otherwise they would have fixed this stupid system before releasing new models.

And all the other robot-mower makers use a similar system too (some kind of remote control joystick)

Hey Robot Mower makers - you know what would be better? Handle bars! Just like a regular lawnmower. When I have to run it manually, just let me use it like a regular mower.

No one loves you when oil is low.



In light of the further collapse in oil - I give you this shot from the car show. It isn't a bad-ass car. So, normally I might not have posted it. But, I'm always fascinated by stated preference, over revealed preference. You can read about it here.

I think this picture says a lot. When people aren't forced into buying small cars, they won't. You may think that most people's attention was diverted to sports cars, or concepts. When in fact 90% of the show were just normal cars. The super small cars never seemed to have too many people looking at them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Corporate America Needs to be Taken to the Middle of town and Beaten.

Yeah - it's an odd theme I have lately. Isn't it?

When the layoffs started happening in earnest, I began to feel bad for all my customer service hating ways. I felt bad so many people were loosing jobs. And still do. However, the last couple of days I have regressed in my pissedoffedness with companies. As painful as the process is - I'd hoped this huge tectonic shift in the economy would force companies to get back to the basics. CUSTOMERS. You know. The people who buy your shit, and pay your salaries.

But, what I've noticed recently is quite the opposite. Companies have become less efficient. Not more. It is like they woke up one day and said "oh shit, I'm a company and I have customers - but I have no idea how to get people to buy my stuff. People just used to come, and it didn't matter what kind of crappy shit I was selling, or how many times my sales people acted like morons. They had no choice, so they bought".

Customer- But here, I'm begging to buy some of your product. I'm practically throwing money at you.

Company - Meh. Maybe. How much pain do you want to go through to get it?

The other night I actually heard a company saying "we need to have a new thought process for the new marketplace". Or some such bullshit.

No! No you don't. This is what you need to know. Make your customers happy! Make it easy for customers to buy your product, and don't piss them off once they do. Quit giving us more of the stuff we don't want and less of the stuff we do. Create customer loyalty. So they stop company hopping. How hard is that?

And then, this gem from the biotech conference that happened recently. A reporter was asking what the plan for the biotech industry was. The person being interviewed actually said "make things that people actually will use".

No wonder we are in a recession.

Are T.V.'s a thing of the past?

For some reason, by the end of the day in Vegas - Mr S. and I wind up cab sharing. Sure, the obvious reason is the line gets 3 miles deep. But, by the end of the day I'm pretty tired and surely. I've mentally punched a million people in the necks. Most notably those people who drag their luggage around to a trade show. Punch in the neck.


In the cab line there always seems to be someone willing to walk up and say "look, I've got a car waiting right there - it costs a little more. But if we share - it will work out about the same". It rarely does.

Normally this is something I would be disinterested in. But, at that point my resistance is low, and I just want to get out of the line. Anyway, I'm making a short story long.

Oddly, the cab sharing people turn out to be pretty interesting. This year it was a couple from San Diego who's business was those headsets drive through restaurants use. Which doesn't seen interesting on the surface. But, it kinda was. They said most people don't realize it, but those franchises can do about 4 million in business. And, they collect a lot of data on what people are buying. So when you go through a drive through, your habits are being put into a database somewhere.

The other thing they said, which I found completely interesting was - in their area local news was dying. The local news was already struggling, but after they lost ad dollars - they just don't come on anymore. They said they'd lost 2 local news programs recently.

Now, we can download almost anything these days. But, do you download local news? And if we are just downloading stuff. Why even own a TV?

Keeper of the hearts.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today, I talk about beating children.

Oh yeah. I said it. Here I'll wait for you to get settled in. Because surely, you think I've lost my mind. Ready?

Readers, I don't have children of my own. Which is what makes me uniquely qualified to comment on how other people should raise theirs. Most of the time children are just fine. Even when they are acting up. Some children however, need one good swift five finger plant to the ass. In the past couple of years, I could count on one hand how many of these kids I've encountered. But, they leave a big impression.



Back at the car show, this family was right behind us. They immediately got onto my radar because this kid was screaming at the top of his lungs. You'd have thought he was being kidnapped. We went through the ticket booth, up the escalator (which was in the middle of the building) and walked completely to the far side of the hall. I could still hear this kid. And he went on for about 10 minutes. Screaming at the top of his lungs.



Now, I wouldn't say I'm a huge advocate for corporal punishment. I much prefer the look of death that makes kids think you are going to beat them - over the actual beating. But every once in a while, I swear to you - some kids need a single smack to the ass. Just say'in.

Light Graffiti.



Vid is a little on the slow side, but stick it out. HT- Light Design.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yet Another "Cell Phone Companies Suck" moment

As you might have gathered from recent posts,  Mrs S and I have the itch for new smart phones.  But every time we're ready to upgrade, the cell phone provider manages to talk us out of it by being really really annoying in some way.

Blackberry Storm / Verizon:  the Verizon store managed to talk us out of upgrading to Blackberry Storm b/c the salesman was intrusive and rude.  (Described here)

iPhone / AT&T: the AT&T store utterly ignored us, even when we wanted attention, thus no iPhone for us.     In contrast, the Apple Store was really nice and helpful, which made us reconsider.  We were almost ready to sign up, but AT&T requires a 2 year contract.

G1 / T-Mobile: Loved the phone, but T-Mobile also requires a 2 year contract.

if either AT&T or T-Mobile had offerred a 1-year contract, we would already be a customer.

Listen up Phone Companies -- Smart Phone technology moves fast.  The customers who want to buy the top-of-the-line smart phones realize that whatever phone they get will be obsolete in a year.    I don't want to be locked in for two years.   Two years for a cell phone product cycle is like five years for computers.  I understand that you discount the up-front price of the phone b/c you expect to make it up in the two year service fee.  Fine.   I'll happily pay the extra money up-front for the phone for a 1-year contract.    Just give me that option.

People are really.. really.. strange.



On Sunday Mr S. and I started our routine by grabbing some breakfast. It was a restaurant we go to - somewhat often. Since we'd gotten up crazy early to pack in all the days events, I'd taken my coffee with me.

We get to the restaurant, and I spot this sign. Mr S. says something about them not caring. After all - my coffee was in a blank white Styrofoam cup. I was done with my coffee anyway, but they didn't have a trash can out front. So I took it inside.

As soon as we were seated, up pops a guy with one of these Italia D'Oro cups wanting to swap out my plain white Styrofoam cup for the restaurant one. Which I might add, was not even branded for the restaurant. The place is called "The Original Pancake House". We also found it funny that he didn't just pour the coffee into one of the plain white ceramic cups they had right on the table.



I was so amused by the whole thing that when the server came to take our order I had to ask her "So... what is up with the rule of not bringing beverages in"?

She looked at me and laughed. "It's funny isn't it"? Then said something about the restaurant not wanting Starbucks cups in the place. Which I can totally accept. But, there was absolutely no branding on my cup, and if they'd had a trash can outside - I would have dumped it anyway. We wound up making a ton of jokes about the whole thing. But it just proves.. I don't understand why people do the things they do.

Here at the snarkolepsy blog, you never know what yer gonna get.

Today, it is a protest.



Mr S. deeply did not want to go. Well... maybe that is too strong. He was okay with going, but observing from afar. It was only 10 minutes away from the San Jose car show, so I talked him into it. It went a little like this.

Me -
Baby, it will be fine. The Santana Row shopping center doesn't have a GAP. These nut-bags never destroy anything unless there is a GAP nearby. When we got there I even asked the police if there was a Gap anywhere near. Which made them offer up a Gucci store. Which was confusing.

Anyway, I was a little nervous, but actually wound up walking right through the middle of them. Mr S. hated that.





In the Bay Area you get pretty used to the protests. I think San Fransisco probably has one every single calendar day. Things are very good for us here. We have a lot of spare time.

It turned out I was very affected by the amount of small children they had at the protest. Can't these people find baby sitters? It is a joke People. I know it is part of their manipulation. I was also incensed by how many wealthy BMW driving white people there were at the rally.

One old white guy was even wearing an impeach Bush hat. Which seemed well... a little late. In general, everyone seemed pretty middle class. The cars which held people for the rally, newer. The clothes people were wearing showed they didn't seem to be suffering. Perhaps they could better serve their people better if they convinced them to start making things the world wants to buy. Oh, and to stop using their children as shields. Just say'in.



Sunday, January 11, 2009

Um... we need a sign for this?

Bass Ass Cars - January edition.

Settle down People. If you've been reading the blog long enough you know these car posts come in phases. Though I question how you can really love this blog if you aren't slightly amused by my car shots. At least I try to get you unusual stuff.

Like a Bugatti Veyron. Ooooh. Worth the price of admission in itself.



The news just said these run 1.6 mil People. One...point...six.



This is some electric concept car.







Viper hood. I'm sure you've seen a viper before, but I think this hood is new.



Chrysler seems oddly fascinated with these cars that you can't tell if its coming or going. Remember they had one last year. Here.







Hard top Solstice.



My Thoughts on CES 2009

The big winner for CES 2009?    The games "Guitar Hero" and "Rockband".  Every single booth which any kind of flat screen had either Guitar Hero or Rockband running.   Even the booths which were showing off 3D stereo TVs were running Guitar Hero in 3D!  It's amazing how ubiquitous those games are.

Yesterday's traffic report.

I have so many posts to get out. Here at the snarkolepsy blog, it is either feast or famine. Right now - feast.

Anyway.... yesterday Mr S. talked me into going to the mall to visit T-Mobile. Even though we'd just spent all of Friday at the consumer electronics show. We'd gone by the T-Mobile booth, but we just didn't have time to play with the gphone. I was feeling pretty secure that the mall would be pretty empty, and thus agreed to go. Plus, I wanted cinnabuns.

As soon as we get on the freeway, I was pretty shocked. Traffic is way up - I said. Isn't this the worst depression since the 1940's? Mr S. replies - yes, in the 40's the freeways were packed too. As for me - I don't really care what the retailers are saying. When the freeways are packed, people are spending money.

We get to the mall we find a spot right up front. This is good - I thought. I have blisters from walking, and a lot of people makes for extra dodging. We walk into the mall, only to find it was pretty packed.

Now, I'm super shocked about this. January is suppose to put us deeper into a recession, and - where did all these people park? The lot was pretty empty.

We find the T-Mobile kiosk. There were a couple of people there. Mr. S. hung out to wait for a sales chick, and I went to take pictures with my crappy one year old cell phone camera.



About ten minutes later I find my way back to the T-Mobile kiosk. Where I asked Mr S. if he'd been helped yet. Which he hadn't. I immediately say "I'm out". The mall was busy, and the sales people didn't seem to be motivated to multitask. So, I was done. Mr S. wasn't happy with that. We'd driven all the way there after all.

He finally gets his hands on one of the google phones. And it turns out we really like it. If the sales people hadn't have been so unwilling to make a sale, we would have had a new phone. Which is kind of a big deal. We've been with Verizon for about 4 years. If Verizon had a gphone, we wouldn't even switch. As I haven't been annoyed by their customer support yet.

I'm not sure what is up with sales people. They are either completely disinterested in selling anything, or stuck to you like glue.

At any rate. Back to the mall being packed. While I was taking pictures I made sure to look at what bags people were carrying. Macy's clearly was a big winner, but it wasn't just that there were people there. They were buying. I'd say 20% of people had at least one shopping bag. Which was very surprising.

As we were leaving we realized that everyone had just parked in a different lot.

New Year's Resolution - Post Something!

Hi.  This is Mr Snarkolepsy.  I have been a silent partner here.   That wasn't the way the blog was initially conceived.  Mrs. S. and I were supposed to both post.   I just never got around to it.   (Yes, I've been procrastinating for 3 years now...)

So my resolution for this year is to try post regularly.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

CES 09'. Part - 3.

I'm getting pretty close to the end on this. But - whatever I don't get out today, probably doesn't get to the blog.

So - I don't know why, but the AVN's are at CES. It has been that way since the beginning of time. I've always been curious to go. Some of the reason is because I've known a ton of techies who have gone, and it just seems like the thing to do. On the other hand - I'm not sure what my point is. I'm not in it for the pern angle. Yeah - I mis-spelled that. You understand why.

Since I'm sort of neutral on the whole pern thing - I don't know if I feel right just going to harsh the girls. Lets face it, some of the girls that are on the outside of the AVN's look ridden pretty hard.



I'm not sure I feel comfortable being that blog. Then the question becomes - what is there that is interesting to photograph?

Maybe just the interaction would be interesting. Like with this gal.



She noticed I was taking a shot at her, and in the most confident way grew a large smile. It was a brief moment, but it made me smile. I took my one shot, and gave her the thumbs up. She nodded, and I was off. Those are the moments I like in photography. I'm not sure that's what I'd get out of that whole show. But, I guess I do want to go once.

And in an effort to contradict myself - booth babes. When - oh when - is the tramp stamp trend going to end? When? It was almost like a dress code.



Oddly enough - this year when we were leaving the Sands where the AVN's are, there were protesters.

CES 09'. Part 2.

In the future People.... things are going to be very thin. Shockingly thin.





Biggest trend at the show. Rockband. Still!





A few weeks ago I asked the question if 3D was in or out. Here. Now, I don't know if this is where the industry is going - but I know a lot of companies are putting a hell of a lot of effort into it. These are just the ones I got - and I know there was a bunch more.











In the future - things will be very hard to photograph. Between 3D t.v. and holographic everything. Can stereo cameras be far behind?

These were holographic bathroom tiles.



Images displayed on a windshield.

 
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