Long as I'm grousing about slight frustrations,
here are a few more.
(1) In April I had the trees removed
from my yard. The move was justified because the preceding 12 months, 4/2010 through 4/2011, had been exceedingly windy. (Most likely because of La Niña).
Almost every day was 10-20 MPH, and serious tree-busting storms were happening every couple weeks.
Turns out the exact day when the trees were cut down marked the end
of that mode. Since that day, local wind has returned to a more average routine: most days calm, 10-20 once a week, serious wind once or twice per season. Rationally the frequency shouldn't make any difference; serious winds still occur, and now I don't need to worry about them. Also, I've been enjoying the open and sunny yard, and the absent trees will make it much
easier to rake the roof
when Big Niña brings Big Sñow. One of the trees was blocking half of the back roof, and the others formed obstacles for the long rake handle. So I have no reason
for frustration, but it still intuitively feels like shutting the barn door after the horse was taken.
[Later update: The wind returned massively in July 2014 and November 2015, taking down lots of trees and houses. I survived because I'd cut down those trees in 2011. It was ABSOLUTELY WORTH THE TROUBLE AND EXPENSE.]
(2) Unlike the first, this peeve is fully justified. What happened to white keyboards?
For many years I'd used a Fujitsu keyboard that was Just Right. Perfect ergonomics, perfect visibility. When I bought a new computer this year, the Fujitsu's PS2 connector was obsolete, and for some reason a PS2 to USB adaptor didn't work with it either. So I looked through my spare keyboards and ordered a couple new ones, and finally found a Logitech model that has a good enough arrangement and feel. It's not Just Right, but it serves. Trouble is, all new keyboards are black with white letters. In the dim room light that I prefer, this combination is hard to see. The limitation got serious lately when I (finally) started on the latest courseware revision. Lots of text editing, lots of graphics work, all requiring fast hits on the Function keys. On the black keyboard in a dim room, the F keys are hard to spot. I had to buy a little LED lamp to illuminate the board, but that shouldn't have been necessary.
The only white USB keyboards are either Apple-format, reduced keycount, or weird Salvador Dali shapes. Absolutely zero
white keyboards with standard specifications. What's going on? Can't be a matter of cost. The natural color of ABS plastic is white,
so it costs more to dye it black. Jesse Jackson lawsuit, maybe?
= = = = =
Later update on keyboards (June 2012): Found a USB to PS2 converter that actually works.
This fact isn't well advertised or documented, but most of the USB/PS2 adapters
are useless. They simply carry the wires from one plug to the other, which almost never works. The converter that works
contains a chip that transfers the signals
properly between the two protocols. Now I've got my old perfect Fujitsu white keyboard running again, and my hands and eyes are MUCH happier!
(3) Windows 7 is pure ratshit. This new Dell computer came with W7/64. Nominally, the machine is about 4 times more powerful than my old one. Should be faster, right? Wrong. (1) Nothing runs faster. (2) The audio system turns off sometimes, requiring a reboot. (3) Many programs crash several times per day. The whole fucking machine crashes about once a day. (4) The file system has zoomed backwards to sometime before DOS was developed. You can't open more than 15 files at once unless you fiddle with a registry value. (5) Often Windows refuses to open the file you want; you have to open some other file in the same directory first, then you can open the file you want. (6) There seems to be a limit on length of filenames. When doing mass-production graphics work in PaintShop, I was accustomed to loading up 20 or 30 images at once, checking and comparing them, modifying the ones that needed it, and saving. This worked fine on my old XP computer. Never a problem. Now I can only reliably load 3 files at a time, depending in some irregular way on the length of the filename. (7) And just to make it even more wonderful, you can't mix file types in a multiple selection. You have to load only BMPs or only GIFs or only JPGs. (8) The file listing shown in file-open boxes is usually out of date. I didn't notice this until I started beta-testing my courseware and keeping a version log. When you put a newer version of one file into a folder, Windows just keeps listing the earlier version no matter how many times you hit Refresh. I didn't notice this before because I normally use one of those Norton Commander things for file actions, and the NC thing refreshes properly. It does EVERYTHING properly, which indicates that the correct filenames and times are still available to other apps, but Win idiotically refuses to use them in its own Explorer and file-open.
Great work, Microshit! One Great Leap Backwards, wiping out 20 years of incremental improvement, bringing the PC back to the great old days of Hollerith punch cards!