Odds & ends

fr33 mp3z d00dz

Here’s a kickass site I found: Jamendo. Download and share mp3s, free & legal, without worrying about keeping the RIAA out of your cornhole. All albums released under a Creative Commons license. (And they’re actually pretty good!)

Sync on Green, or something to that effect

I’ve long been bothered by an unparseable street sign endemic to New England: “Bicycle Stop On Line for GREEN”

Err.. does that mean stop while(green) (a la “I brake for teddy bears”), to avoid being clobbered by people making right turns? Or does that mean stop UNTIL green (while(!green)), the way the secret red/green traffic signal color code works in most other places? A mixture of boredom and curiosity had me research this today.

Short answer: NEITHER.

According to this, this strange sign was originally supposed to say/mean “Bicycles stop on (indicated spot) to request green”, since bicycles don’t have enough metal in them to trigger the inductive car-detector loops embedded in the road in most places (same reason you can’t walk up on a drive-thru and get service). The plan was to place a mark* to indicate the edge of the loop, where it’s most sensitive. The actual sign text, and the lack of any actual mark (or correctly placed mark) on most streets is, as you guessed, the result of Mass. Highway Department bungling.

the smell of vinyl in the morning

My office building was recently recarpeted. As part of the lease, everyone in possession of a wheely chair now has to have one of these silly plastic chair mats under their desk. They’re brand-new, and whatever plastic they’re made out of is the same kind they use to make inner tubes and other swimming pool toys. Now everytime I come into my office it reminds me of inflatable alligators.

(Between that and the fumes from the new carpet and carpet glue, I’m really enjoying coming in…just not getting much done…)

Have ye tried… the power button?

Speaking of the office, it’s great that we have an electronic engineering department. During the recarpeting, our Pure Water Technologies water cooler, which btw is a piece of crap and in for repairs it seems on a weekly basis, had to be unhooked and temporarily moved. When it was hooked back up by AC, MvS sent out an email saying the cooler was hooked back up, but the “hot” tap wouldn’t be hot for a little while yet. A couple minutes later (presumably not seeing this message), AC sends out an email saying the cooler is back, but to wait a little while for hot water. Pretty much word-for-word identical. This email pair was amusing (again, in the you-had-to-be-there way), resulting in a cascade of humorous replies which won’t be repeated here. Anyway, this morning the hot tap still wasn’t hot, so more emails. AC scratching head, and there’s talk of sending the unit back (again) for repair. This is when the EE swoops in to save the day, finding the big red “Hot Tank” switch on the back and flipping it from the OFF position to the ON position. Eh…

Tests Tim Can’t Pass (check all that apply): [x] Math [x] Blood [x] Field Sobriety [x] Turing [x] Voght-Kampff

So I was surfing teh intarweb yesterday, on a Japanese site via Google Translator (I was, er, mostly interested in the pictures). All of the sudden, instead of unintelligible translations I’m getting this error page. Google thinks I’m spyware! (Now granted, the typical male specimen looking at the internet’s primary content-type* may approach the task at “hand” with machine-like precision, but seriously. Run a virus scanner?)

This part amused me: “We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope we’ll see you again on Google.” Actually, if you’re Google, and think I’m a zombie botnet machine, you’re (aside from undertaking technical measures to ensure same) hoping you’ll NOT see me again :-) This line is as authentic as “I don’t mean to be a dick….”

*There aren’t, and never were, any lines. There’s supposed to be a white bike symbol, but many contractors claimed that they were unable to paint a symbol that small. Pardon? They should talk to the local graffiti artisans in my area, who can scrawl on jagged cinderblock with a resolution of < 1/8". ** Content-Type: Image/jpeg Content-Disposition: Smokin'

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