Random Friday: Bad shipping, bad users, & bad machines.

swtor 2015-08-09 20-33-44-78
Speaking of wastelands of the soul… from Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Am I the only person…

*Spoilers for the latest episode of Legends of Tomorrow.

Like many, I was waiting eagerly for the next episode of Legends because omfgzomg, Constantine! It would be nice (I’ve said this before) if they’d just get a fucking clue and bring him back somewhere on a regular basis, but hey — at least he’s still kicking around, right?

So, yeah… am the only person who did NOT want to see Constantine and Sara get it on? I can’t be. There’s no way. I mean… no. That was unnecessary and… no.

Sure, their little exchange (of words, of WORDS!) just before was hilarious, but…

We finally saw a bit more of the real Constantine, complete with nic fits and bisexual flirting. Hurray! And then… it’s like they wanted to take the edge off by immediately tossing him at a girl for a little hetero sex. It’s almost like they were saying, “Oh, yeah, that flirting with Leo? Ha ha ha, he was just kidding.”

I mean, it was true to his character. Leo made it clear he was taken, so John moved on to someone who was willing and available. But… it just left me feeling like this wasn’t the best idea. Anyone who reads Hellblazer knows that John’s bi, but there wasn’t much evidence of that on Constantine or in his appearance on Arrow. Having sex with either gender should be totally normal for bisexual characters, but it felt like the wrong move here. John was finally showing overt interest in another man… why couldn’t we leave it at that for this episode? Why did they immediately send him to go shag a woman?

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. It just bugged me.

Mick still (always) gets the MVP award for refusing to distinguish between Brits in trench coats, bailing on the whole weird scene (“This is too much for me. I’m gonna watch TV.”) and spending the rest of the episode watching football. (Yes, there’s another thread there about macho stereotypes, but… I actually appreciate that they haven’t tried to insta-resolve Mick’s issues and tie them up in a tidy bow. That’s not how issues usually work.)

That’s not Constantine. But it totally could be. From Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered.


I mentioned in a previous post how people come to me for the strangest things. What I didn’t mention was how very, very much I sometimes want to throw something when they do.

It feels like the number of people in this organization who DON’T KNOW HOW TO REFRESH A WEB PAGE is utterly unbelievable. Astonishing. Jaw-dropping. Not to mention irritating as fuck. I swear, I must send an average of an email a day telling people to refresh their damn browser. Last week, I actually got up and went to another floor, into someone’s office, so that I could point to the refresh button on their browser. At which point she said, “Oh, that’s what that does?” No joke. You can’t make this shit up. I wanted to scream, “Then what were you doing the OTHER twenty times I told you to refresh your browser???”

I’ll tell you what. People, for some reason, hear (or read) “refresh your browser” and think that it actually means, “Close your browser and then open it again.” They are astonished when I tell them that this does not actually mean that their browser is refreshed.

My emails are like mini tutorials. I tell them to hit the refresh button, give them instructions for hitting F5 / shift F5, and explain why they may be seeing old content. I suggest pulling the page up in another browser (not their usual one) to verify whether they can see updates that way. I’m not just shooting back an email that says, “Refresh your browser, moron!”… no matter how much I want to. And yet they’ll STILL close the browser, open it, and then tell me my instructions didn’t work.

From Watch Dogs 2.

Did I mention this isn’t in my job description? Do people just not know what I actually do around here? And WHY don’t these people know how to refresh their browsers? Am I wrong in thinking this is like, internet 101? Something very, very basic?

I know better than to assume that people know stuff. Or that they actually read anything. But it just feels like… gah… rrrrr… *choke*

Someday, I’m going to have to tell someone to refresh their browser one too many times, and I’ll end up checking myself into a rubber room and refusing to come out. Ever.

Rise of the machines.

So, they’re teaching robots how to open doors now, because apparently we learned NOTHING from the velociraptors. Seriously, this is a terrible idea. Watch the video a little ways down the article. That moment when the second robot opens its claw and rears its neck back? That just screams evil robot attack. I can just imagine its claw whipping forward to grab my face while the rest of its body follows along behind, slamming into me and taking me down.

Some other stuff happened, though, and I realized that I’ve already accepted our future robotic overlords, whether I want to or not. They’ve already got me.

Thing 2 has been utterly terrible with gadgets in the past. I can’t even count the number of iPods & other mp3 players that went through the washing machine. Once, his phone allegedly fell out of his pocket when he was on his bike, and before he could stop and grab it, a car allegedly ran over it. Once, he allegedly shot off an Airsoft gun in his room at his dad’s house “by accident”, and the pellet hit and shattered his phone’s screen. He killed another handful of phones in ridiculously short periods of time. I just replaced his latest phone twice in two months (in his defense, though, it was an insurance replacement, and they gave us a bad refurb). After he killed two PCs, I got him a Steam box, which he took to his Dad’s house. It immediately, mysteriously, died, and despite my repeated pleas for him to bring it back so I could return or exchange or fix the damn thing, I never saw it again.

Eight years ago, I got an Alienware M11x, which at the time was a pretty awesome litle portable game machine. I used it for a couple of years, decide to get something bigger and better, and gave it to Thing 2. He took it to his dad’s house and killed it less than a month later. That time, I actually managed to get him to bring the thing back.

I still have no idea how he did it, but the bottom line was a) the computer no longer recognized that it contained a GeForce card in addition to the Intel card (and didn’t know what kind of card the Intel card actually was), b) it no longer recognized that it had wireless capabilities, c) it no longer recognized that it contained a sound card at all, and d) it had stopped running basically everything. It would just sit there and look at you. It wouldn’t even give me the courtesy of an error message. I think it was traumatized.

I did a factory reset, which changed nothing. At that point, I got mad, tossed it in a corner, and all but forgot about it. I meant to sit down and fiddle with it when I had the time, but that just never happened.

Thing 2 came over last Friday to pick up the replacement phone when it was delivered on Saturday. (We’ll skip the part where I wonder why the hell I’m still providing phones and phone service to my adult children… oops, too late.) (Because I’m an idiot, that’s why.) It snowed pretty hard that day, so rather than bolting the minute he got the phone, he ended up staying the whole weekend. We corralled Thing 1 (who lives very far away now) and ended up playing Killing Floor 2 a lot. It was fun. And I started thinking about providing Thing 2 with a laptop so that we can do this more oft…


Long story short (too late), that brought to mind that old Alienware, which is eight years old now and completely out of date… but for some reason, I decided to sit down and see if I could fix it. The thing needed three solid days of intense software therapy, a whole lot of fiddling, and about a billion Windows updates, but I did it. It’s now in perfect working order, and to my surprise, it’s actually not doing too badly, performance-wise. It’s slow as hell when you’re dicking around in Windows, but it ran Fallout 3 smooth as butter.

Then I gave it back to Thing 2, because I’m an idiot, and that’s when I realized that the machines already have me clutched in their creepy metal claws.

Because here’s what happened. When I thought about giving it back to him, I got really, really anxious about it. It had been sitting in my office, nonfunctional, for over five years, clearly doing me no good whatsoever… but I didn’t want to let it go.

When I thought about giving him my good laptop, I got even more anxious. That one is four years old, but it’s still a pretty awesome beast that can run everything I’ve ever thrown at it. I don’t use it very often, though, because it’s too big and heavy to travel with and my desktop is a much more current and far more beastly beast. Even setting up in the living room with that laptop is kind of a chore. (As the spousal unit says, “It’s not a laptop, it’s a tabletop.”)

At that point, I had an epiphany. I realized that I’ve been this way for a long time. I have to have computers around me, or the world feels totally off-kilter. At the moment, I have one working gaming desktop, one desktop that needs some attention (but I haven’t had the time), one gaming laptop, one touchscreen laptop that I use when I want to watch movies when I’m in the kitchen or puttering around the house, and a Surface that I mostly use for work. Plus the Alienware that I just handed over to Thing 2, machine killer. Plus assorted old tablets. They’re… they’re security blankets. I have to know that if one chokes on me, there’s another within reach. Preferably more than one. I don’t always need to be using them — I can happily spend a whole weekend reading books and never even boot one up — but I have to know they’re there.

My very first computer was a Commodore 64. I played games on it, sure, but what I mostly did was teach myself to program in BASIC by turning “Choose Your Own Adventure” books into text-based games. Pretty simple stuff, but at that age, it felt like magic. Everyone else in the house messed around with it for like a minute and then got bored, but I was enthralled. My first PC was an Amstrad. I did my time in BBSes, MUDs, and MUXs. I ended up in IT. My path in life was basically determined before I hit puberty, because I’d fallen in love.

When an AI rises to take control and conquer the Earth, I figure chances are good that I’ll already be in thrall to it.

I am taking steps to solve my current problem, though. I found a new, upgradeable ultra-portable gaming laptop with some kickass hardware at an excellent price, so come Monday I’ll be spending time trying to decide if I’m comfortable with the new one and ready to let the old one go. Then I’ll have to give Thing 2 lessons in how to treat the old one right, and then get him to sign a contract in blood, and he always whines about that something fierce, so we wind up in negotiations, I mean, he’s already asked me if he can sign it in milk instead, which is utterly ridiculous, because yes, signing in blood is kind of cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason, and, “You must sign this in… milk! Bwah ha ha!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…


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