Breakage ahead…

… and breakage behind. I’ve been told that my RSS feeds is “hosed” for Google Reader users. (Thanks, Paul.) That bumps up the priority of upgrading WordPress. A theme/plugin upgrade will happen sometime thereafter, once I’ve sorted through comment spam options.

In the meantime, check out Y Combinator: Startup News.

An unexpected “honor”

Tonight, without warning, and in the presense of friends who were already members, I was inducted into the honorary society of back yard grillers who’ve run out of propane in the middle of cooking for dinner parties.

2006. A year of warranty returns.

Among various trends from 2006, one stood out: I sent more consumer electronics back for warranty replacement than in prior years. The tally included:

  • two laptop batteries, of the “let’s catch on fire!” variety
  • an LCD monitor that lost two rows of pixels after a month of use
  • a remote control plane, notable because the shipping charges cost half as much as the plane itself, and because the replacement from the factory exhibited the same fault
  • A dead-on-arrival disk drive
  • A cell phone battery that stopped taking a charge after a few weeks

Aside from a bit time on hold waiting to talk to tech support, and having to stand in line one time at the post office to mail a box, the process of getting replacements wasn’t much of a nuisance, though it did eat up time. (I’m not counting having to endure the return line at Fry’s, because buying the wrong type of video card was my own damn fault, not a warranty issue.)

I’m wondering if we’re seeing more electronics companies manufactur and ship closer to the edge, and whether what’s been a run-up in quality over the past several years is going to reverse.

JUROR SUMMONS

Tag, I’m it.

The last time I was called up for Jury Duty was for the week between Christmas and New Years two years ago. That’s probably the one week out of fifty-two that has the lowest likelihood of a Court starting a case. This time I’m on-call in early December.

The jury selection process, at least in Santa Clara County, California, is monumentally boring unless you’ve brought a good book. You sit in a holding room for some number of hours until your block gets called in to court, where you sit for another hour while smaller groups of people get interviewed to screen out relatives of the judge, the defendant, spouses of police officers, hardship cases, anyone carrying a “Jury Nullication” book, etc. The prosecution and defence lawyers then have a set number of “peremtory challenges“, which let them excuse a prospective juror without having to give a reason. (In Santa Clara County, the joke is that they’ll reject anyone who thinks for a living.) Eventually, both sides run out of challenges, and the first Jury’s worth of people left, plus two for alternates, are it.

Having to hang around the court for a day does have some unexpected benefits. If you hit the right day, one of the Bail Bond companies, being demographically astute advertisers, might be giving out free t-shirts. I missed my chance at one a few years back, and hey, Christmas is coming up.

The Gremlins of Dawn

No morning is truly complete unless you can spend part of it on your back under a desk, trying to reach a USB cable so that you can unplug it long enough for an attached device to reset. Bonus points if, while under the desk on your back, you notice fresh blood on the side of a computer, but can’t see how or where you got cut. Thoughts like “I shouldn’t be trying this without caffiene” or “Wow, it’s a mess down here” may attempt to distract you. Ignore these thoughts. They are traps set by the Gremlins of Dawn to divert your attention from the power strip switch that they’ve stealthily maneuvered into a perilous position.