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Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
Today's education in intelligent pricing: My 3.5-year-old Lexmark Pro205 multifunction printer told me there was a printhead error (on this model, the printer cartridges are just ink: the printhead holds the four cartridges), and after trying the suggested remedies, said "replace the printhead." (cont...)
So...I went to the Lexmark site, where I have an account (they have a good cartridge recycling program if you buy direct), and looked up the printhead. Note that I paid about $130 for the printer 3.5 years ago, although that was after a $40 Lexmark promotion, so call it $170. Guess how much the printhead costs? - Walt Crawford
$313. That's right: More than twice the price of the whole printer, for one chunk of plastic with circuitry. I'm sure it's a very high-tech part, but... Let's just say that I plan to go printer shopping later this week. Probably not for a Lexmark: pretty good as a printer, pretty poor as a scanner. - Walt Crawford
And, of course, replacement parts pricing that boggles my mind. - Walt Crawford
Sounds insane but correct. They don't have a support process for consumer printers much past a year. Replacement parts are likely held mostly for business accounts. Everyone else gets to buy a new printer. - Eric - Watch Me Now
The funny thing is, the damn thing supposedly comes with a five-year warranty. I have let them know I think the whole thing is nuts. - Walt Crawford
50 Movie Gunslinger Classics, Disc 8 -
It's been a while, but...another astonishing Bing photo of the day: Under the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge in Florida.
holy cow that's beautiful - ellbeecee
^^^ - Betsy
Trying to decide at what point I admit that I'm now too old and shallow to cope with John Barth, or specifically with "Once Upon a Time." I'm about 1/3 of the way in, and while part of me admires the lapidary prose (but wishes he wouldn't be so obvious about the endless polishing), another part wants to scream "FOR GAIA'S SAKE GET ON WITH IT!"
Having now glanced at Goodreads and Amazon reader reviews, it's clear that if I can no longer cope with Barth, it's my problem, not his. (I've recognized the same about some other, what, post-modernist? writers I used to admire greatly.) - Walt Crawford
I have a Goodreads shelf labeled "it's me not the book" for these types of situations. :) - Katy S
Katy: If I ever actually start using Goodreads, I might do the same thing. (For people like Thomas Pynchon, specifically Lewis & Clark: It's the book, not me. For Barth this time around, still not *quite* sure.) - Walt Crawford
I figure Barth is one of those guys I'll read after I die. - laura x from iPhone
Laura: I was hoping you'd respond. And I *love* your response. - Walt Crawford
Walt - I also have a shelf titled "Took one For The Team." It includes things like Rush Limbaugh's children's books. - Katy S
I stole it from a discussion on Fiction_L years ago. I think it may have originated with a typo, but it took on a life of its own. - laura x from iPhone
Katy, that may be my favorite folksonomy term ever. - laura x from iPhone
laura - Did you give that one to me or someone else when I was discussing my need for a shelf for those books and others like it? It is definitely coming in handy since I seem to like torturing myself by reading these books so that I feel like I can legitimately complain about them. ETA: Search is working and I see it was Holly. Holly gets all credit for that great shelf name. - Katy S
Followup: While I persisted right up to the halfway point, a TEN-PAGE discussion of Jack & Jill (the nursery rhyme) finally did me in. It's a library book, so I refrained from throwing it across the room or setting it afire. The next book will be a Robert Parker "Spenser" book; it's been a while. I'm 99.999% certain I'll enjoy it a whole lot more, even if it's not an English "Making sure college students hate literature" Professor's prose. - Walt Crawford
An odd ars technica item. It strikes me that, in a neighborhood with casual crime (snatching smartphones) problems, a clown grabbing Google Glasses off your face might *not* be a hate crime...but decide for yourself:
Just read more of the comments. I failed to notice that ars tech got the item from Business Insider, where there sometimes does seem to be a "if it bleeds, it leads; if it doesn't bleed, cut it" sometimes seems to prevail. - Walt Crawford
Just what I needed on Friday evening of a, well, tricky week: Peter Suber praised my Bohannon/sting essay on Google+. My week's just gotten much, much better.
No, I don't know how to link to it, or I would. He was commenting on an OATP note on the essay. Google+ has become something of a focal point for OA folk, much like FF for a few hundred library types. - Walt Crawford - Actually similar to Friendfeed. The link is in the "time since post" text. This link works for me anyway. - Cameron Neylon
Cameron: Thanks. For some reason, I wasn't getting a link when I did hover-overs anywhere. Maybe just wasn't paying attention. (Admittedly, if it wasn't for OA/Suber, I might not use G+ at all, and as it is it's infrequent.) - Walt Crawford
Neat thing on yesterday's hike (on a road because of heavy rain making most trails muddy, but the road has spectacular views and one-truck-per-three-hours traffic): A hummingbird flew up to me, sat in front of my face (maybe a foot away) for 2-3 seconds seeing whether I might be a flower, then flew away.
Also tiny amounts of snow on the foothills just south of Livermore...snow the way I like it, nearby but not actually in town. (Probably more on Mt. Diablo, but it was too cloud-shrouded to tell.) - Walt Crawford
Good news for my public library: They apparently found a new operator for the coffee shop at the library (the old one shut down a couple of months ago). Also a name I bet nobody's ever used before: The Daily Grind.
OK, so not real original, but it's a great space and was always actively used, but apparently not profitable enough under the old more-or-less-a-full-deli model. Maybe this time. Notably, it will open at 7 a.m. on weekdays, hours before the library does. - Walt Crawford
We gave up on HIMYM at the start of the 2012-13 season; it just got to be too...well, anyway. We'll probably catch those two seasons on DVD at some point. Meanwhile, watched "Liberal Arts" last Saturday, which is very much a Josh Radnor project.
Which is to say: He wrote it, he directed it, he stars in it, he's one of the producers. And, you know, it's pretty good. We enjoyed it quite a bit. - Walt Crawford
An unusual Bing photo of the day--the Taj Majal framed by colorful rickshaws.
Tiny personal technology triumph today. Forced to switch to VDSL last week (I posted about that earlier), and the shipped equipment is a modem/wifi combo. Since we already have a reasonably secure wifi net set up with our owned router, didn't want the combo to be working as a router. AT&T guy said "just don't connect to it."
But, after three or four days using it, suddenly saw fifth light on: "Wireless." Checked, and there was suddenly a new wifi net with the name provided by AT&T (with a ten-digit password). No obvious way in setup instructions to turn off the wifi. - Walt Crawford
But, navigating the menus of AT&T's Uverse site, finally got to specific instructions to connect to the modem/router; easy process to turn off the wireless portion. Shazam: the light went out. (Not paranoid, but just as soon avoid *any* chance of outsiders using our data allocation.) - Walt Crawford
(I read that as modem/wife combo) - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
Oh, I guarantee that the modem/wife combo was a primary reason we were upset when AT&T switched the ADSL to VDSL 12 hours early...if I had gone on my usual hike, my wife would have been *damned* upset about losing a half-day of access! - Walt Crawford
I'm going through the forced migration from DSL to Uverse now. Not a happy customer. - Greg GuitarBuster
Have to admit: the "Uverse" has been working more reliably than DSL was, although since the speed cap--and the fastest available--is still around 2.5mbps, I'm not sure it has much relationship to real U-verse, like my brother has across town. I wonder whether our neighborhood's underground utilities have something to do with it, or objections to the big ugly U-verse distribution boxes...or there just isn't enough local interest? - Walt Crawford
[That is: we *can't* get U-verse TV, and we *can't* sign up for a true high-speed broadband package, e.g., 5 or 10 or 20mbps.] - Walt Crawford
Reading a story in today's San Fran Chronicle about the Glasshole who filmed herself claiming "I'm not filming!" in a nightclub... she's also had restraining orders for phone-camming into a neighbor's window and restraining orders from her mother. She informs us she's a "super-nice person."
What most impressed me: Every single quoted person in the article was either an SEO person, a marketer or something similar. (Oh, and if you don't like Glass, you're a Luddite who will eventually use it, because.) - Walt Crawford
For those who've avoided it: Yes, the article uses Glasshole for Google Glass users who feel the need to be assholes about it. - Walt Crawford
Aha: Here's a link (with video I haven't yet viewed): - Walt Crawford
" She's like the guy in font of the tank at Tiananmen Square." Especially if that guy uses f**k as every fourth word and is actually the one driving the tank. (Watched the video. Not impressed.) - Walt Crawford
A concise example of why Fast Company has become my Wired replacement for technophilic silliness: March 2014, p. 30, "Spring Cleaning--with Tech!" (five apps), the description in full of "Happathon":
"Incentivize happiness with this app that suggests rewarding activities." Has YOUR happiness been incentivized lately? - Walt Crawford
I should note that my browser's spellcheck doesn't like "incentivize." That's OK: Neither do I. - Walt Crawford
You know, it's really not such a bad thing that the world is ending. - laura x
I deal with it by hearing Jimi Hendrix in my mind singing "Have you ever been incentivized?" - Walt Crawford
Recognizing my trigger points: Reading email promoting some Library Futures thing where the futurist talks about "libraries transitioning from patron to customer" and just closing the mail, sighing slightly.
Also, I'm afraid, Kevin Kelly's "1000 fans" being mentioned as semi-plausible. I'm sure Mita is fantastic. But I found my attention wandering after that... my problem, not hers. - Walt Crawford
It is not that the patron is broken, the customer is broken. Duh. - Joe - Systems Analyst
New blog post: "Last chance for public libraries*"--and no, I haven't turned doom-cryer. The asterisk is critical: it's about my self-published public-library-related books and admitting I'm wrong.
They say some southern Fox station had an "accidental editing error" that caused 15 seconds of the first Cosmos episode, discussing evolution, to be replaced by an ad. I can only assume that station had an accidental power outage for the entire hour last night.
Nope, it didn't. It was the OKC station, and yes, they "somehow" re-played an ad for their local news just a little bit into one of the later segments of the show last Monday, cutting out the one mention of human evolution. Surprisingly, last night's show aired in its entirety as far as we could tell. - Kirsten
Amazing. Wonder if there were incidents elsewhere--I mean, Tyson didn't especially sugar-coat the science. (The "***here***'s how you get eyes without Intelligent Design" segment was, I thought, especially well done and pointed.) - Walt Crawford
Forgot it was on last night. :-( - Betsy
I think they're reshowing episodes on the following Saturday (and there's on demand, Hulu, Fox, etc.): I thought it was a very good episode, much more focused than the first, not surprisingly. - Walt Crawford
FWIW, Cosmos is on Hulu Plus (which is what allowed me to watch it with Mr. 11 over the weekend). - Stephen Francoeur
Honestly, i kept expecting to get one of those "Please stand by. The station is encountering difficulties" messages! But yes, very well done episode. - Kirsten from Android
And there wasn't even the anticipated (by me) disclaimer at the end, denouncing evolution. (Which, given on what level evolution stopped for some people, would be entirely possible.) - Uli
So there was a 4.4 quake that *everybody* must have felt in LA? Including all the native Californians" The AP report, from eastern US correspondents, includes "Californians are taught and practice the "drop, cover and hold" technique to prevent injury from falling debris." Huh. I never knew we practiced that.
Another neat Bing photo, the Poulnabrone dolmen in Ireland--and this time you need to click on the leftmost hotspot, a whole bunch of dolmen pictures.
I finally came up with the conclusion to my Beall article that had eluded me until now:
Wanna go the Sizzler and get some grub? - Joe - Systems Analyst
Always interesting to get one of those "we have clients who really want to buy a house in your neighborhood: wanna sell?" letters--this time with specifics about the couple from the next city over. (We don't want to sell, and houses that *have* come up in our neighborhood have sold quickly.) Caused me to look at Zillow for the first time in...
...a year or two. The good news: They say our house is worth about 10% more than we paid for it. The less thrilling news, if we regarded it as an investment: We've been here just under five years, so that's 2% per year, not compounded. But hey, it does mean Livermore's doing fairly well and pulling out of the long slump. (We still both plan to only move out of this house feet first...) - Walt Crawford
Sign that I'm getting behind on science fiction magazine reading: Seeing a novelette nominated for the Nebulas three days after I read it.
Torontonians (or whatever you're called--Fordites?) will appreciate today's Bing photo.
Failing to connect the pieces: Somebody commenting on the new Cosmos and how they were happy that it was also on FX, since they don't like to deal with Fox (of Fox News infamy). Gee, I wonder who owns FX? (Yes, I'm surprised that Fox is running a heavily pro-science series. Too many ads, otherwise very good.)
I always have to remind myself that Fox broadcast and Fox News Channel are managed very separately. Look at all the crap the Simpsons give Fox News. - Eric - Watch Me Now
I don't watch The Simpsons, but that makes sense--and fortunately, 'cuz otherwise we might feel the need to boycott not only Fox but 20th Century Fox movies. Not ready to give up Bones or a bunch of good movies. (Or Almost Human, if it gets renewed.) - Walt Crawford
Reading in today's paper about the new Stanford CS+X major, computer science plus (English or another humanities dept.). Geez, I wish Berkeley had had that in 1962... it would have been perfect.
Great suggestion my wife made last night: A mini-rebellion against Daylight Savings Time. We'll change the clocks some time mid-afternoon. Terrible to lose an hour's sleep; not so terrible to lose an hour of Sunday afternoon.
We tend to do it on Saturday evening, but we still stayed up last night. - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
I think I like your way better. - WoH: Professor MOTHRA
It worked: We both got a normal night's sleep. At 3 p.m. I'll go around and change the clocks to 4. - Walt Crawford
Apparently Business Insider thinks the Spritz one-word-at-a-time software is great because you could read a whole novel in less than two hours. If your goal in reading novels is to take the least possible time, there's a more effective way: Don't read them.
I mean, with any modern DVD/Blu-ray player, you can get through a movie in half the time by using the single-press fast-forward, which keeps music & speech at normal pitch but goes through everything double-speed. But unless the movie's awfully boring, why would anybody do that? (Most pro-Spritz pieces I've seen say it's for nonfiction: that you should, you know, ENJOY fiction.) - Walt Crawford
One problem with being older than some is that I grew up before Roald Dahl was a thing, so never read James and the Giant Peach (or any of his books) as a kid. Made up for that yesterday. (We'd seen the movie years ago.) The best part of a pretty good Friday.
Since I'm a Randy Newman fan, you won't be surprised that "My Name is James" kept running through my head as I was reading it--alternating between the movie version and the version with Newman's vocals. (Must admit I prefer Newman's vocals to the kid's.) - Walt Crawford
And now I have "Good News" (the upbeat song from the same movie) as an earworm. Could be lots worse, although my wife isn't fond of that particular song... ah well, time for farmers' market & Safeway. Back in a few hours. - Walt Crawford
I hadn't read it until I was a parent. My then-spouse was amazed that I hadn't. I knew of Roald Dahl but was confusing him in my brain with Roald Amundson, and then there as former pro baseball player named Roald (who had grown up and then retired in Wisconsin.) Cognitive dissonance. Too many Roalds! That's my excuse. Also, I did love the movie, and I also love Randy Newman. - Jkram|ɯɐɹʞſ
Seems to me somebody was grumbling about Raley's/Nob Hill and said it was the dominant supermarket chain in the Bay Area (I may be misremembering). That bothered me at the time. From the news reports of the merger about to happen, it's pretty clear that Safeway is the biggest supermarket chain in the Bay Area and California in general.
(It's the second largest in the nation.) Merging with Albertson's: unclear how that will change things, if at all. Full admission: Safeway's our primary supermarket, Lucky secondary. (Well, farmers' markets primary for produce...) - Walt Crawford
Reminded myself why I don't go to YouTube too often: Because I was thinking we needed a song like "We Don't Need Another Journal" for a project I'm toying with, went to remind myself how the original went. (The official Tina Turner video's there.) After hearing it, don't think I'll suggest this to Pete...
But that led to We Are the World (the first suggestion on the right), which I hadn't heard in many years and had never seen. Funny how my first thought at the end was "Harry Belafonte doesn't get a line?" Went to Wikipedia (a REMARKABLY good article)... - Walt Crawford
And found that the whole thing was partly Belafonte's idea, so maybe he was fine with being relegated to the chorus. And that Marcus Greil was just as much of an asshat about the song as I'd expect him to be. It's the Duty of Serious Rock Critics, I think. - Walt Crawford
Any nonsense there is excused because it's Wed. p.m., and after The Hike I'm always a little off, especially a hike where the 900' vertical is seeming all at the very start. (Only 5.2 miles, not a big deal, but I'm old and tire easily.) - Walt Crawford
Or Greil Marcus, as the case may be: I always thought Marcus was his first name. Oh good Gaia, he's three months older than I am and we were almost certainly both at Berkeley at the same time. - Walt Crawford
Well, it is a terrible song, though affecting in specific ways. - laura x from iPhone
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