Have you ever wondered where your industry got its start? Since a lot of us are in IT, I bet you're thinking WW2 and the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, Alan Turing and all the rest.

Would you be surprised if I told you it was the loom? Or even further back, the water wheel?

In the 1970's the BBC produced an absolutely brilliant documentary series call Connections, hosted by James Burke. It had a wonderful way of showing technology advancing, not by a solitary inventor, but by taking the work of someone else, often in a completely different field and applying it to the problem they were working on. It's absolutely mind blowing.

Fortunately the internet archive has all three series available to stream, for free. Each episode is about 45 minutes long. There's a lot of anachronisms, the World Trade Center towers make a frequent appearance, for those touched by the events of 9-11, be warned. But, if you have the time, I promise that it will not be wasted.


And if you want to see the origin of IT.


7/8 '20 2 Comments
Right, the punch cards for patterns in the loom. I had forgotten that, thank you!

We saw a punch card loom in ... the Smithsonian, I think.
Thank you for that - I'll definitely be checking it out!

I seem capable of running out of worthwhile streaming content despite its seeming endlessness....

Google sends you a monthly map of everyplace you've been the previous month. If you're like me, and based on experience, you're probably not, this has always struck me as a little big-brother-ish. Hmm, thinks I. Can I add navigation to my truck? Sure enough, there's ways. Now usually when I'm adding a factory option that didn't come with my vehicle I will ply one of my favorite you-pull-it salvage yards. But it seems that Ford used a module that is coded for the VIN of your particular vehicle. And to get a used module re-coded, requires you to bring a large valise full of money to a dealer. Or just getting a Ford dealer to install a new module requires a foot locker full of money.


Yes, as it turns out, there are a multiple companies who sell the module, cutom coded to your VIN. Although you have to do the installation, it lands somewhere between a valise and a footlocker. Call it a large suitcase full of money.

What ho, let's check Ebay. And again, there are plenty of people selling the module. Some as low as $100. But excluding anybody not in the US (easier to wrangle a refund if the part is bogus) The lowest price was still above walking around money, but about one third of the price that Ford would want to install their component. After receiving a windfall from the department of unclaimed property, I pulled the trigger, bought the part and sent the seller my VIN.

The part arrived in five days. I had taken the time to review the installation procedure. Fairly easy, no special tools required. One heartening sign, when I opened the box the seller had included a printed out copy of my truck's build sheet. Obviously the seller has an in with Ford technical support. The process was supposed to take an hour, I had it installed in half that time. Nav works great. I didn't even lose my radio or satellite presets. All I had to do was re-pair my phone to the truck and join my home wifi.

I am sure my descendants will be Morlocks, maintaining machines and popping up to the surface to have the Eloi descendants of politicians, phone sanitizers and marketing wonks down for dinner.

7/1 '20 3 Comments
How big a container of money do I need to send to have your descendants not eat my descendants?
My Google Maps report of all the places I've been in April - June were a single blue dot over my house, with one jaunt up to my folks'.

I imagine our January report will be on dot solely over my folks' place.

But yeah, it's all quite Big Brothery and feels oooky, I agree. I'm also too lazy to do anything about it.

Good on ya!

72 hours post carpal tunnel surgery. Pain was higher than advertised. I know this next comment is going to make me sound like a bastard, but I'm in pain. And thanks all you fuckwits who can't control your addictions. Because of you I can't be pain free after they cut on me.

So, carpal tunnel surgery increases the difficulty of doing anything by 100% and increases carpal tunnel pain by 100x. Even small movements are agonizing, with pain shooting up and down my arm. And this is only the left arm. I'm getting by, but I'm right handed, so next month is looking like a shit sandwich.

Getting old ain't for sissies.

3/11 '19 6 Comments
Holy shit, I had no idea you just got chopped! I'm so sorry! Of course, had I known it was on your agenda, I would have told you "hey, it's easy peasy" because my dad's was... so I *really* wouldn't have been helpful at all. Shit. I'm so sorry you're having such an awful time right now. You're not a wuss. If you're hurting, you're HURTING.

Are you allowed to call your doc and tell them your pain is beyond what Ibuprofen/Tylenol/whatever they told you to do/prayer/meditation can control? They err on the side of caution by not just giving out a narcotic scrip my default, but my understanding is that they will prescribe a small amount if it's needed.

And yes-- I am with you a billion-fold: Eff the fentanyl-producing/dealing assholes who have now prevented even *cancer patients* from receiving pain meds for fear of a damn DEA raid. It is BULLSHIT. Being a hematology patient, I'm often lumped in with cancer patients, so I'm on a bunch of hematology/oncology listservs and message boards that both doctors and patients participate in. It's staggering to see how much fear and damage this "opioid-epidemic" has caused because politicians decided to tell doctors how to practice medicine and invented arbitrary dosage and prescription limits. Friggin' *cancer patients* are having their pain med prescriptions titrated down or terminated because of these hideous and inhumane rules.

We have a Chinese fentanyl problem, not a 5mg prescription vicodin post-surgery problem for fucksake.

I'm so, so sorry you're hurting, especially this much after 72 hours. Please let me know if we can go to the store for you, walk some doggos, etc.
Thanks. Pain is down a bunch, most pins and needles unless I forget and try to use the hand for balance. Hilariously, I'm relegated to wearing sweat shorts. Long pants cannot be pulled up and belts cannot be fastened like this. Glad the weather isn't 20 degrees any longer.

They pumped me full of IV antibiotics and slathered me down with antibiotic cream, but I have to leave the bandage undisturbed for 17 days. It's gonna be a real stink-o-rama by the time they take the bandage off and take out the stitches.

I have zero tolerance for these new drug rules. I can get tramadol for my dog easier than I can get a prescription for me. And tramadol is nowhere near vicodin or even tylenol-3 FFS!
Oh man. I just wrote this huge reply and I accidentally closed the browser window and it went kablooey. Anyway!

I'm really happy to hear things are subsiding a bit, painwise... but no dressing change for 17 days?! What the heck is that?

Anyway, it's so strange to compare your experience to my dad's. I was there in northern NJ with him for the whole thing, and some of the differences in approach seem funky to me.

Like, 30 mins after we got back from his surgery he was making himself an omelette with his new hand (cockily, thanks the anesthesia... which didn't last long, and he was appropriately babying it after the remaining local anesthesia wore off.) His pain was the worst (but definitely not crazy) on days 2-3, and after that it got markedly better quickly.

Pain-med-wise, they tried giving him to a 3-day vicodin scrip which he refused, to their puzzlement. He believes all of the opioid panic he reads and is convinced he'll go from taking one vicodin post-surgery to shooting up heroin in a walmart bathroom in 30 seconds. But he said he really didn't need anything beyond Advil/Tylenol, and one ancient Tylenol 3 he had laying around.

We went back to the doc's office 3 days later for a post-op visit so they could take the dressing off and check him out. They put on a different, lighter, looser, fresh dressing, and he could change the dressing whenever he wished. He could shower, and when the dressing got wet in the shower, he'd just put on dry one when he got out of the shower. It wasn't anything elaborate.

When he had the stitches still in, they said "Use your hand as comfort allows, but the second you feel any tug on your stitches, you STOP." There were times he got cocky but then felt a tug on the stitches, which reminded him to take it easy and maybe not continue replacing his truck engine that week.

The stitches came out after 15 days (which seems fairly close to what you've been told) and he was told to continue to use his hand as his comfort allows, which he did.

Anyway, he said overall it was easy-peasy, though things were at maximum pain level at the 3-day mark and then got rapidly better.

I'm wondering if there's something drastically different in your diagnoses or medical histories that make your aftercare routines so different. (Not that I need to know.)

If you wanted to go to my dad's guy for your other hand, his name is Dr. Murphy at Skylands Orthopedics in Hackettstown NJ, but he works out of other places in NJ, too. He's awesome and funny. I'd be happy to help facilitate in whatever way I could be useful.
My doctor did my right rotator cuff surgery, so I'm pretty happy with him. Funny, just two years ago they didn't stint on the pain meds. This time I got Tylenol-3, which were not sufficient for the pain, either in strength, duration or size of prescription.

Yeah, the dressing being on for two weeks without changing is weird. I had to read my discharge instructions twice to make sure it wasn't an hallucination, but there it was.

Right out of surgery I was famished, so we went to the Metro Diner near Christiana hospital. The place is nice, I hope it lasts. But then we went back to my friend's house and the anesthesia was worn off. So I took a pain pill, my morning meds and went nappy bye for an hour or so. Lather, rinse and repeat for the rest of the weekend with ice off and on. I was of zero utility for the whole weekend. I couldn't even feed my dogs because I couldn't open the dog food can with one hand.

Typing was a dead letter issue. Couldn't happen with my surgery hand. On Wednesday I could type, but not fast and kept losing placement. Today is better. I'm not up to my close-your-eyes-and-type speed, but it's better.

Tomorrow is a week since surgery. I can close my hand into a loose fist and extend it flat. I can even carry light objects, like a cup of coffee. But my thumb still won't reach to touch my little finger. Not sure if it's swelling, or the bandage that's like putting a falsie in your palm. The worst is when I forget and reach out to put my hand palm -down on something. The pain makes me remember to DON'T DO THAT!
Your dad sounds a lot like my dad. My dad had a cocky pic of himself on a treadmill 4 days post hip-replacement. (He did not actually walk on it, though.)

As for this, "....convinced he'll go from taking one vicodin post-surgery to shooting up heroin in a walmart bathroom in 30 seconds." Yep, hear this a lot, and then often hear that the pain got out of control (right around day 3 is spot-on) and then it's a night of agony and even tears till it gets back under control. I tell folks not to try to be a hero, you don't get addicted after 3 days, hell you don't get addicted after 3 weeks if you're still tapering down from surgery. I don't have the information in front of me atm, but I believe the initial wave of addiction issues came with docs using a 3-month regimen with no plan in place for tapering off.

Ray, I hope you are feeling better by now. I'm sorry you had to go through all that recovery without adequate pain control. It's not just a matter of comfort, it can really affect the healing process, too.

We really need to get this "crisis" under control, and end the war on drugs.
Things are much better. The pain is mostly gone, just occasional flares when I use the hand. I have been wearing long pants since Sunday. And boy, let me tell you, you miss long pants when you don't have them. Just today I can touch my thumb to my pinky finger. The bandage is getting a little grungy. Not ripe yet, but I can't wait for Monday afternoon to get it off and get the stitches out.
I'm going to wash it right away.

Friday I go in for the first of the age related maintenance procedures. Carpal tunnel syndrome. The first three fingers of my left hand started going numb a few months back. Now they're number 24/7. Tests have shown that my carpal tunnels have progressed from 'moderate' to 'severe' in two years. 

Computer nerd life, yo.

So, pins and needs this morning, worse in the left than the right. Fortunately the left is getting addressed first. Right gets done next month.

Fuck this. I'm ready. Let's go!

3/4 '19

Today is the "birthday" of Schrödinger's Cat. Don't forget to wish it a happy birthday. (Or schedule the funeral.)

11/29 '18 3 Comments
I think of Schrodinger's Cat often. This morning I woke up and thought about the text messages that may or may not be on my phone before I checked. For a moment, they didn't really exist, and therefore neither did the inevitable obligation to act on them, because I did not see them (not a perfect analogy, but I was still waking up.)
Obligations existing in a quantum state. Interesting wrinkle on Schrödinger's Cat.

Napoleon once directed his secretary Bourrienne to leave all letters unopened for three weeks. A large a part of the correspondence had thus disposed of itself and no longer required an answer. I tried doing this with bills once and it didn't work out so well.
That's funny - Mark and I were just discussing this particular feline over Thanksgiving. Thanks for the head sup!

I've been warning my vet that her laptop is walking wounded for literally, years. So, it up and dies last month. They come to me in a panic. Nope. Nothing can be done. Unit isn't even powering on. Battery's good, power supply good. Buy a new laptop. I send them a recommendation.

And nothing happens for 3 weeks.

Then it comes in last Friday and it's assholes and elbows to get it ready for this Friday. Okay not a big deal. Install office, install AV, install AM. Except that her equally ancient portable printer doesn't want to operate on USB 2 or 3. And despite being advertised as Bluetooth, doesn't have the validation code on it anywhere.

Le sigh.

Digging around in HP's moldy basement I find a version of the installer that is marked "For IT use only". Well, I always was one that couldn't resist pushing the big red button labelled "Do not push".

After a couple of passes the IT use only installer finally installs a critical, missing SYS file and the printer groans to life. Huzzah!

So it's on to other problems. Notably that I use robocopy to create a running incremental backup of the practice management software's data that her veterinary business requires to an installed SD card. Ah, now it's Microsoft's turn to mess with things. It seems they've been busy monkeywrenching the schedule tasks interface. But really, it was just a matter of making sure the scheduled task runs at the highest level of authority. Nota bene, all is well.

But this time I installed remote access software so I can take a peek at problems from the comfort of my own home, the NEXT time it breaks.

6/14 '18 4 Comments
My brother learned that trick of installing RAS on every machine he's responsible for, and I'd say 98% of the time he can solve issues via his phone. Technology, man.
Hey, in unrelated news, does your cousin still own that salon in Philly? I need to confess something to her and see if she can help me atone for a sin from long ago.
Niece. And yes, she does, Fringe Salon. Looks like they moved to new digs. 1901 South 9th Street Room 505, BoK Building, (215) 339-1778.
Many thanks, my good sir!