I Find It Hard To Believe

The other day I was sitting in a beach chair, reading restaurant reviews on Open Table and Urbanspoon. I was trying to find the perfect spot for the one “date-night-out” my wife and I were going to have during our week of vacation.

As I read, I found it hard to believe that the reviewers were talking about the same restaurant. Where some praised the food, service and ambiance, others relegated the place to a status just above filthy slum. I found this to be the case over and over again, no matter what restaurant I picked from the list.

Even if you factor out the good reviews written by the owner’s cousin, and the expected (for whatever reason) haters, there was still a wild swing in what people thought of a singular establishment. I wondered how this was possible, but then I remembered something. […]

Confessions Of A Game Show Contestant

When I was in college, I worked part time, as a technician, at the university computer store. At the time, there was a school-wide upgrade initiative, so many afternoons I would take my tool bag and head to a professor’s office to upgrade a PC from a 10MB hard drive to a 60MB hard drive.

That is not a typo. The PCs were being upgraded from 10MB to 60MB.

Each new hard drive took about twenty minutes to install, and then it had to go through a 2.5 hour initialization process. So the routine went like this: […]

Not Everything Is Scalable

The audio electronics company I worked for in the 1990s was called Crest Audio. I was hired to write the user manuals and promotional literature for a new series of mixing consoles called the “Century Series.”

This new line of consoles was a shift down market from the rarefied air that the company’s Gamble EX series occupied.

As colorful and exciting as mixing consoles are, the company’s bread-and-butter was power amplifiers. Having been an innovator since the 1970s, the Crest had a reputation for building amplifiers of both the highest power and quality. […]

A Tradition Of Silliness

Families are funny. There are subtle genetic connections that run through families that inspire statements like “you have Uncle Frank’s eyes.” Physical traits, and other hard-wired details in a family are one thing, but there are other (non DNA based) things shared by families that may be as (if not more) important.

Family and friends alike share traditions that are serious, and rooted in holidays, schooling, culture and other things. However, it is the organically developed, silly traditions that may actually mean the most. […]

MTBF – In Defense Of Refurbs

There is a term used in engineering – Mean Time Between Failure, or MTBF. MTBF is a measure of how reliable a hardware product or component is expected to be, and in essence will tell you how long a particular thing will function before it is likely to fail.

This is not information that companies prominently display on product packaging. In some cases, if you dig really deep into the documentation of a component like a raw hard disk drive you can find a MTBF statement, but for the most part this data that manufacturers keep to themselves. […]

Rotten To The Core

There will be no post today. Okay, that’s not true, but unfortunately I am too mired in an act of creative problem solving to write much about it.

My wife’s 2007 KIA Minivan is having an air conditioning issue. By issue I mean it doesn’t get cold.

I’ve twice added refrigerant and some “leak-fix” additives, but after a few days the icy cold comfort declines to the sweaty feeling I remember from family vacations as a child. […]