I couple of nights ago I noticed my iPad wasn’t holding a charge quite as well as it used to. The cover is pretty tatty and the aluminum housing is scratched and scraped. Every now and then it even stumbles trying to render a website.
I didn’t think much about it until it popped up a notification that I was due for a software update. Poking around in settings (since I was there anyway), it dawned on me – probably not for the first time – that I was updating an almost 9-year-old piece of equipment.
I suppose that realizing that my venerable iPad Air crossed the pacific in 2013 made me a bit more forgiving of some of its latest foibles. With a little effort, I’m sure I could keep it limping along another few years, but I think maybe it really is time for an upgrade.
Yet another thing to be added to my after Christmas list. That should give me enough time to properly convince myself it’s a need and not just a want.
1. Facebook. If you’re looking at a meme I post and think to yourself “By god, ol’ Jeff is right. It is my Constitutional right to stick a fork in this power outlet,” I’m not sure Facebook should even try to save you from yourself. Similarly, Facebook needs to refine its sarcasm detector, because this is some ridiculous content to spend a lot of time trying to eradicate from everyone’s precious feed. Lighten up, Francis.
2. Updates. At some time during the weekend, my home computer updated itself automagically. As part of this helpful update, “dark mode” was turned on by default for all my Microsoft Office products. Look, I get that software updates are necessary inconvenience. Some of them are downright critical. Still, it would be helpful if changes I didn’t request or expect wouldn’t randomly change the settings I’ve left alone since basically the dawn of personal computing. Then again, I wouldn’t get the opportunity to spend 20 minutes trying to diagnose why my computer was going off the rails.
3. Sizes. I’m going to need food and beverage companies to just stop fucking with product sizes. I suppose the theory is that as long as the price stays the same, people will never notice they’re getting less and less of whatever product they’re purchasing. I’m old enough to remember when coffee was still sold in one-pound packages. Now it’s 12 ounces if you’re lucky. Most packaged products seem to be going the same way. What is now selling as “large” or “jumbo” is what a decade or two ago was just the regular size. But hey, if I need sixteen ounces of something for a recipe it’s definitely better to buy two 14-ounce cans, take a scoop out of one of them and then toss the remainder. Maybe I’ll start mailing these leftover ingredients destined to go bad in the fridge back to their corporate offices. I’m a generally reasonable human being who understands inflation happens over time and price increases are the inevitable consequence. How about just passing along that increase instead of adopting slick marketing gimmicks?
I’d just like to thank the folks who manage our network for pushing the patch that resulted in my computer updating at 12:54 in the afternoon on a damned Tuesday. The middle of the day is a notoriously slow time and rarely involves anyone racing the clock to complete a requirement. It absolutely wasn’t when I was setting up my computer to show pretty charts and graphs to 25 people gathered in one of the conference rooms. I mean who would have the unmitigated audacity to plan a meeting in the middle of the afternoon? Am I right?
I’m sure there’s some brillant reason the people at the Central Network Enterprise Control Center, Cafe, and Giftshop do what they do when they do it. I’m sure they’ve conducted countless studies to show why it’s utterly impossible to run updates and patches in the middle of the night when computers are more or less standing idle and could be completed with minimal interruption to the people who might, conceivably be using their machines in the middle of the goddamned work day.
After two hours and three or four reboots, I was finally able to get back to work… having once again justified the number of magazines I keep on my desk to provide something to do when my computer inevitable craps out and actual productive effort grinds to a halt. My boss was nice enough to schlep back to the office and come back with her computer so we could at least show the second most recent iteration of the material being discussed this afternoon. So it wasn’t a complete farce.
Honest to God, sometimes I wonder if we should just go ahead and contract with the Chinese to provide our tech support directly. Sure, they’d see all the information on the network, but that at least would be some kind of incentive to keep the damned bloody thing up and running and connected to as many computers as possible without random, unnecessary interruptions.
1. Performance appraisal. I’ve spent more time than I want to admit this week dicking around with the required “self assessment” section of my annual performance appraisal. It feels like a monumental waste of time. The “old” evaluation system was a pain in the ass too, but at least it was consistent. You could copy and paste big chunks of content from year to year, change some dates and key words and then move on with a minimum amount of fuss and trouble. Since the system we’re now under is “new to us” if not exactly new, it’s starting from a blank page… which translates into more time fiddling. Look, when you’ve been told, albeit in a roundabout way, that the system is designed to drive people to the middle and prevent too many from being way out in high performer land, the incentive to make the end product immaculate is pretty low. Instead of the time and effort going into this new evaluation, it feels like we could have been just as well served by accepting that if we were fucks ups, someone would have told us by now, and that our raise will in all likelihood be within a hair’s breadth of the average unless you’ve done something breathtakingly good or bad in the last 356 days. Going though all the added motions really just adds insult to injury.
2. “Upgrading” software. I don’t mind software upgrades that improve the function of my equipment or make it somehow more secure. I do mind software upgrades that fail to install on the first attempt and then run in the background indefinitely consuming system resources while providing no way to stop them from the user side. Sadly there is absolutely nothing I’m empowered to do about the low bidder equipment or substandard tech support we’re saddled with other than bitch and complain about it at each and every opportunity. So I guess I’ll either limp along as is until the aborted update grinds my system to a complete halt or the admins throw my machine off the network for not having received the update. If only there were a great big organization in change of electronic communications I could call on for help in these situations. You can’t see it but I’ve rolled my eyes so hard I’m currently staring at the inside of my head.
3. Thursday. Well, not just Thursday. I’m just really kind of over weekdays in general. I’m tired of dealing with people. I’m tired of the same bureaucratic and administrative Groundhog Day experience every five out of seven days. I want to sit on the living room floor dispensing ear rubs and playing tug with the dogs, drinking coffee, and reading books… and I’d like for that to happen without finding myself quickly driven into bankruptcy. The dogs have become accustomed to a certain level of lifestyle (and medical care) and I need an ever increasing amount of space for book storage, so that pretty much precludes any radical changes to how I spend the average weekday. Most of the time, the week goes by with a dull “meh,” but this week it’s more of a roaring angsty rage. Good times. Im glad we’ve had this chance to talk.
1. Filling up the quiet time. Some people assume that because I’m not talking they need to find a way to fill in all the quiet time. Rest assured, if something needs said I’ll say it in front of princes, profits, potentates, or presidents without regard to their rank, race, or religion. I’m quiet, not shy. There is a difference. On the other hand, when I don’t have anything of substance to add, I’m happy sitting quietly. I don’t need an endless nattering buzz of small talk in my ear to make me feel connected. Most days I desperately wish some people didn’t have a pathological need to fill in the quiet times with pointless chatter.
2. iPhone. I love my iPhone 5. It’s been a workhorse since the day UPS handed it to me. Since then, we’ve gone everywhere together. We’ve been inseparable. Sure, the UI could use an update and I wouldn’t mind a bigger screen sometimes, but those aren’t the issues that make up the hate end of my love-hate relationship with this phone. It’s the battery life. It wasn’t great right out of the box, but over the last few months it’s gotten progressively worse. Through resets, wipes, switching off functions known to draw lots of power, and aggressively managing what apps are open, I can sort of slow the battery drain a bit, but that’s not exactly a substitute for a battery that doesn’t suck. I’m trying to think of a good reason why after three hours of pretty limited use, my battery is drawing down towards 50% and none really come to me. I’ll limp along with a handful of cables and a external battery pack until the 5S comes along… but if that battery doesn’t show some significant performance enhancements, it might be time to reevaluate iPhone’s place as my daily carry.
3. Turning left. When you’re the first vehicle in the left turn lane, you should go ahead and pull all the way forward to the stop line. That way the invisible traffic gnome knows that you’re trying to turn left at the intersection and can wave his green light wand to change the signal. When there’s a line of traffic 40 cars deep sitting behind you in the left turn lane, it’s sort of a bad time to be confused by basic effing driving skills, you useless excuse for a meat sack. I have no idea why it’s socially unacceptable to drag people from their cars and beat them with a Stick of Shame for such mindless asshattery.
Well, with this morning’s update from the archive, we can finally close the door on June 2007. I have to admit, there’s at least one pretty good rant in there. It’s always reassuring to find that my opinions about people and life haven’t really changed that much in the last six years. I’m a big fan of consistency and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been nothing if not consistant over the intervening years. Seriously, if I’d have posted it as “new,” I’m pretty sure no one reading would know the difference. Maybe my style has improved slightly with lots and lots of practice, but other than that, the sentiment is right on target.
I did notice that one of the archive updates slipped through into my “regular” feed and is showing up on Facebook and Twitter. I usually try to avoid that so you’re not getting spammed with six “new post” notices every Sunday morning, but in this case, I think I’ll let it stand. If you have any love for Johnny Cash, the Army, America, or some combination of the three, it’s worth a watch. And with that, I now return you to your previously scheduled Sunday activities already in progress.
The latest batach of “memory lane” posts from April 2007 are loaded up for your reading pleasure and cover the last few days of the Italian vacation and a bit of commentary about how jacked up the moder world had become. No, the irony that I continue to comment on just how stupid the world continues to be is not lost on me in the least. When you write about people doing dumb stuff, one thing you never worry about is running out of new material.
Enjoy the latest posts from the archive and be sure to “like” me on Facebook for the latest on What You Didn’t Learn in College: A Field Guide to Surviving the Cubicle Wars… Coming soon to an ebook retailer near you.
Moving right along with cleaning up the archive and making this place look respectable, we’ve finally stumbled into the old blog posts from March 2007. From everything I can gather, I was spending alot of time in airports shuttling back and forth between the nation’s capital and west Tennessee. Then again, that could have been just about any point in a five year period, so that doesn’t really narrow it down all that much. Regardless, it’s still an interesting read.
If you’re curious about what’s on tap for next week, it looks like hippies, TSA, grad school, and a sprinkling of other “areas of interest”. You know, pretty much the usual.
The next posts don’t need much in the way of introduction. I think we’re getting into one of the parts of the old MySpace blog that everyone seemed to enjoy. Yes, we’ve reached the end of January 2007 when the old blog took on a real “Jeff’s gonna bitch about work in almost every post” flavor. Like most of these other old posts, some are better than others. A few might actually rise to the level of being insightful in their own way, but even the least of them is jam packed with snark… and after all, isn’t that really what you want to see? So go ahead and grab a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy today’s feature… posted live in and color in January and February 2007.
Jeff would love to write a real post tonight, but instead he’s busy upgrading his iPhone and iPad to iOS 5, playing around with a bunch of new features and apps, and trying to decide if he wants to set up an iCloud account. Rest assured, he is working hard to bring you the finest blog posts available and will be back tomorrow with his regularly scheduled edition of What Annoys Jeff This Week? Until then, bye-bye and buy bonds.