Category Archives: Technical Stuff

Why Do I Still Get Forwarded Email Warnings?

It amazes me, that in our world of Google and Bing that people still forward dire warnings of horrific dangers.  I mean, it only takes a couple seconds to type the heading into Google and get a bazzilion web sites telling me that there is no truth to the story.

Facebook seems to be the new forum for delivering these messages.  It is easy to ‘share’ a post to your own time line and it get’s proliferated throughout all your friend’s time lines.  Most recently, I saw one warning that the police are warning drivers not to flash their head lights to another car that doesn’t have their headlights on.  The result will be that you will instigate a gang initiation ritual that will result in your getting killed.

Dire warnings, indeed!

Maybe I’ve just been ‘on-line’ so long that I’ve seen it all before.  Maybe with the advent of the iPad and the smart phone, people who never had a computer before suddenly have access to this information.  And, they don’t know the power of Google and the existence of sites such as snoopes.com.

So, what’s my point with all this?  I mean, it’s just an email, it doesn’t hurt anybody or cost anything?

I would argue that there is a real cost to perpetuating such stories.  The first is that it costs the person who forwards it or shares it — it makes them look gullible and nobody wants to look like a gullible fool, do they?  It also costs my time to look at this email and delete it.  It clogs up my in-box and my time-line.

I would also argue that there is potential for real injury here.  I believe that if we keep bombarding people with horrible stories, people will become increasingly paranoid.  It continues to erode our faith in humanity — we see enough of this on our local news, we don’t need it in our in-box.

The story about the headlights is particularly scary for me.  Let’s just imagine that I took this message as true and decided that I was not going to flash my headlights anybody from now on.  So, I’m on my way home and I notice a guy who didn’t have his headlights on, but I don’t flash him.  He drives around the corner where there are no street lights and ends up running over a couple out for an early evening walk.

You know, there are so many of these stories out there, I could write a series on them and why I think they are insidious…  It would be a sort of series…  I think that from now on, each time I see one of these, I’m going to write a blog post here about it and why it’s not only wrong, but dangerous to forward it!

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Filed under Email Hoaxes, Technical Stuff

My Riding Lawnmower

When we moved out to the country, I had to buy my first riding lawnmower.  Everybody I talked to said “Go to the local place and get one that they service there”.

So, I went to the local tractor place and got me a big riding lawnmower.  It’s a big monster — 25 horsepower, 54 inch cutting deck…  I want to grunt like Tim Allen whenever I talk about it.  It’s orange, too!  Made with pride in America, no less.

Unfortunately for me, it has been trouble almost since I got it.  The first mowing was okay, but the second time I ran it, it seemed to be really getting bogged down in any kind of grass.  I got a grease gun and added some grease to the mower deck hoping that might help it out, but no, the next time, it was worse.  I couldn’t get it to cut anything.  I called up the dealer and they came and took it back to the shop.

They ‘cleaned out the fuel system’ and brought it back.

It didn’t work any better.  I called them and they came again to get it.

This time they adjusted the ‘deck’ because it was pitched slightly forward.

Really, said I?  That’s crazy.

It didn’t work any better.

This last time they kept it for a week and gave me a “loner” to cut my grass.  That one worked well.

So, now it’s back.

They had to adjust the ‘float’ in the carburetor.  Apparently it was running too rich and causing the problem.  I, needless to say, remain a skeptic.

I   have just finished mowing the lawn.  It ran pretty good.  Cut the grass like it’s supposed to.  It could be that they have fixed everything and this was the problem the whole time.

The problem is that I’m very much paranoid about it now?  It’s like when you sprain your ankle, you’re always over cautious about using it?  I believe that I’m going to be overly concerned about this machine for the rest of it’s existence.  Any little thing that goes on is going to make me jump right over the top.  And, I’m afraid that I’m going to have more problems and more problems until the warranty runs out and then I’m going to have to start paying to fix a problem.

I got to thinking about what would alleviate me of this first world burden…  The first thing would have been that they send it back to the factory and give me a brand new one.  If there was something seriously wrong with it, say it needed the engine reconstructed, then I would not want that mower — I bought a ‘new’ machine, not a factory refurbished machine.

Therefore, it had to be a small problem.  Which, I guess it has turned out to be.  The problem is that I’m not convinced that it’s fixed.  I don’t know what’s involved in ‘fixing the float’ in the carburetor.  Maybe if I knew that I’d feel better, but probably not.

At least the dealer has been pretty good about picking it up and dropping it off right at the house.

I just wish that they had fixed this the first time around… or better yet, there was no problem.

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Filed under Family News, Lawnmower

A New Camera For Us

The other day, my wife asked me to keep an eye out for a cheap digital camera.  As a teacher, she was interested in getting into more ‘multi-media’ type stuff with her students — a great idea, if you ask me.

So on Thursday, an email from a liquidation store entered my in-box advertising a digital camera for $49.99 (it’s not spam, I subscribe to it — sometimes there are good deals there).  It looked pretty cool — it came with a bike mount and a water proof case so you can video your bike ride in the rain.  Or, more likely, take pictures of the kids in the water park without fear of getting the camera wet.

When I got it home, we had a look at it and decided to take it back.  Way to small, no flash, and generally a cheap camera.

So, with the $50 of store credit, I went looking for a better camera.  They had a Nikon Coolpix S3300 camera.  It was more money, though — $69.99 — an extra $20.

I think we got a really nice camera for very little money.  Maybe I’m wrong, maybe $69.99 is the going price for this camera, but I am very impressed.

Well, it’s time to bath the kids and get ’em to bed.  I’ll see if I can post some comparison pictures between the S3300 and our P5000.

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Filed under Digital Photography, Family News