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Arts & Entertainment / Re: What are you reading lately?
« Last post by Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 10, 2020, 03:56:48 PM »
Right, I loved the Pelican Brief, but I can credit myself for having read them all that I've read that one.
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by flipper on January 10, 2020, 01:42:30 PM »
I vote for the facade.  The gas station food sealed that for me.
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General Discussion / Re: Weather ... or not
« Last post by random axe on January 10, 2020, 11:43:53 AM »
WELP it's about 45 F today, with a drizzle of rain.

After 7 PM, we're supposed to get two freaking inches of rain by morning.

Then we're supposed to get half an inch to three-quarters of an inch of ice.  I'm not sure I even believe there'll be THAT much ice.  We'll get sleet and rain and maybe snow mixed in.

Then more of the sleet / freezing rain into Sunday.

Then temperatures in the mid-30s Monday and in the 40s on Tuesday.

This is the new normal -- rapid crazy changes of unusual nonsense.  :nonplused:
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Arts & Entertainment / Re: What are you reading lately?
« Last post by random axe on January 09, 2020, 01:18:48 PM »
I read Pelican Brief and Time to Kill by Grisham.  Pelican Brief was surprisingly good, although the film was surprisingly bad.  Time to Kill was . . . either just terribly naive or a great example of a First Novel.  But from what I hear, his later novels were of the If You Want More Of That variety.  Eh.

I haven't read Robert Harris.  All we have at the moment is Archangel, which looks like more of an investment than I have time for right now, but I'm gonna watch for The Ghost.

While I was looking, I found a 1972 Harry Harrison spy-thriller called Montezuma's Revenge, apparently one of two about an art expert who works for the CIA.  I had no idea Harrison wrote non-SF.
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Arts & Entertainment / Re: What are you reading lately?
« Last post by Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 08, 2020, 07:48:39 PM »
I recently read, in rapid succession, "The Broker" by John Grisham, and "The Ghost" by Robert Harris (Enigma, Fatherland, Archangel, etc). What a contrast. The Grisham is so freaking routine as to make me wonder if he's actually far more clever than we ever realized and has come up with an AI to write Grisham novels. My wife was ranting about his consistent, rigidly followed formula. Anyway, it mostly takes place in Italy, which is why we bothered, because we just went there! Anyway.

"The Ghost" is one that it turns out I've read before, duh, but dang, Harris can write creeping dread better than almost anyone. The story is, a hack ghostwriter is retained to write the memoirs of the recently retired and extremely unpopular British Prime Minister (and obvious Blair clone) because the previous ghostwriter fell drunk off the Martha's Vineyard ferry in the middle of the night on a trip no one knew about. Not suspicious at all! And, of course, like in all Harris novels, there's a Big Secret, worth killing to preserve, and the tension ratches up on the main character as he closes in, wittingly or unwittingly, on the answers. Also, utterly formulaic, but so much better somehow than the Grishams that I don't feel bothered by it.

And speaking of formulaic ... well it's not like that, but I read a new Louise Penny Inspector Ganache novel, "A Better Man." I might be done, there, even though I like the characters, the silly little invisible Quebec town, and the murderous office politics in Montreal. But they're all about the same. A bit overwrought. And I should have realized from the title that it was going to be about domestic abuse (oh yeah, that pearl jam song) so meh. Or méh, as they say in Quebec.
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Arts & Entertainment / Re: What are you reading lately?
« Last post by random axe on January 07, 2020, 11:36:42 AM »
I read a few detective novels by Jeremiah Healy, an author I only heard of when a customer asked if we had any of his books.  I don't know why I'd never heard of him -- Healy wrote something like a dozen "Cuddy" novels, about an Irish private investigator in Boston, and three novels as Terry Devane, about an Irish female attorney who turns PI, also in Boston.  He was publishing from something like 1984-2003, and the Cuddy novels aren't terribly similar to Robert Parker's Spenser books, but I'd think there was considerable audience overlap.

The ones I read (Blunt Darts, The Staked Goat, Invasion of Privacy) were all fine -- it was easy to read all three of them in the same month, which says something.  The structuring is a little odd, but not broken, and it helps keep them from being too predictable.  They're not stunning, but I'll ready more of them if I see more of them.


Right now, I'm re-reading Wintersmith, by Pratchett, which I haven't read since not long after it came out.  I'm impressed by how little I remember of it.  :lol:  :whatever:
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on January 07, 2020, 11:22:07 AM »
His aim is probably terrible, so I should warn people not to stand near me.


Last night he texted me to say he was "trying to compute" but had two cords left over.  He said the monitor wasn't showing anything, and he didn't think the mouse was working.

He sent me two photos.  One was a DC plug and the other was a blurry picture of part of a transformer brick.  He doesn't have a laptop, and it was too big to be powering any external speakers he realistically might have, so . . . the modem?

The monitor was probably turned off.  Over at the other shop, they OFTEN contact me with computer problems that boil down to (A) something is turned off or (B) something is unplugged.  Shit gets unplugged so often and randomly that we blame poltergeists.


His old machine had nothing on the Desktop except the default icons and the MS OneDrive link, plus the HP Dock thing that is, for some reason, only 1% as good as the Windows 3 HP Dashboard.  Impressively, he'd installed Malwarebytes, Avast, CCleaner, and a dozen toolbars . . . without adding a single desktop icon.  He even still had the default Compaq wallpaper up.

I can't explain that.  He usually covers the Desktop in documents and random crap.  :shrug:


In other I Guess I'm Old news, one of my clerks who was trying to help expressed astonishment that we had computers that had hard drives.  He's never owned a PC or laptop that didn't have an SSD.  I've never owned a machine that did have an SSD.

I went to Banggood and looked at external SSDs, like giant flash drives, that were less than a dollar a gigabyte.  :nonplused:  But my home machine is a laptop (sadly, dying now, an old ThinkPad), and it's not like I'm going to retrofit its drive.  Still, I guess my next laptop will have an SSD.

Actually, the ChromeBook I have must have an SSD.  Not a big one.  That thing is basically a big phone with a keyboard.  It's . . . OK, but I could have gotten a used laptop for the same money, and it would've done the same things plus 500 other things.  :shrug:
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 06, 2020, 05:20:57 PM »
It also occurred to me that there are some cracks occurring in Ray's carefully maintained bumbling incompetent verging-on-bankrupt facade. You'd better not let him guess that you're on to him, or you may turn around to find him pointing a Luger at you in a very steady hand, and with an icy voice you haven't heard before and a slight German accent, he'll say "So. You have discovered that not all is as it seems. How unfortunate for you, Mr. Axe ... or should I say Double-O Nine?"
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 06, 2020, 05:14:34 PM »
It occurred to me that there might be nothing in the Documents folder because he's keeping it all on the Desktop
just a thought

lol ups
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Science & Technology / Re: Endless Complaining
« Last post by random axe on January 06, 2020, 11:03:50 AM »
He finally sent me photos.  It's just a UPS.  :lol:  :eyeroll:  He had two things plugged into it, although he's not sure which things those power cords go to. 

I did not have a follow-up question.  :nonplused:


His new computer is apparently working fine.  So there's that.
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