This Does Not Compute

Technology, gaming, music and things that just don't compute

Category Archives: Rants

Writing Instruments vs. Utensils

This is something that caught my attention in this week’s Target newspaper ad. They had mechanical pencils on sale, and also noted that “all other writing utensils” were 20% or whatever. This kind of grammar nonsense gets my goat, especially since I was wearing my new Woot “Costa Nostra Grammatica: Every Time You Miss a Typo, the Errorists Win” shirt.

While “utensil” and “instrument” in general terms, according to the dictionary, are largely interchangeable, here’s how I’ve always used them:

  • Utensils are tools or implements with which generic tasks are performed. Spoons are utensils because they don’t require precision to use. With spoons you can stir, scoop, mix, etc.
  • Instruments are used to perform precision tasks. Pencils are used for writing, and writing doesn’t involve just scribbling all over the page. It takes skill to use an instrument, and instruments for the most part only perform one specific function.

In short, here’s the example I gave my wife while explaining why I was mumbling to myself at the Target ad: Would you rather have your doctor use a surgical instrument on you, or a surgical utensil?

I’m ready for stuff to just work for a while, part 2

So, I guess I’m continuing my once-a-month blogging tradition. And oh boy, do I have a story to tell this time.

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I’m ready for stuff to just work for a while

I had a bad weekend.

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Fear and Loathing in Minneapolis

Courtesy Bring Me the News

This is likely the Rant to End All Rants.

So, on the day before my birthday, we got a stupid amount of snow here in the Minneapolis metro area. Something like 3000 feet of it fell, at about 125 feet per hour. Pretty much everyone got snowed in, sometimes literally (my neighbors across the street had 4 feet of snow up against their front doors). We got so much snow they had to truck some of it away because parking lots didn’t have enough places to put it.

The snowfall stopped that night, and we all breathed a sigh as that meant we had to go out and, finally, shovel our driveways. (I had to shovel 3 times over the course of the day.) And the next morning, my birthday, we woke up to find that the roads had been plowed, the shopping malls had reopened and were eagerly awaiting holiday shoppers, and the roof of the Metrodome had collapsed.

And thus began the Minnesota Vikings Need a New Stadium media hell.

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Speech you don’t like is protected, too

Courtesy LiveSoMa

With all of the stories lately about how Big Media is killing fair use, cops heckling (or arresting) photographers who didn’t do anything illegal, and this whole ACTA debacle (that the American public doesn’t even know about…yet), it was refreshing to see a victory for free speech. Recently a federal appeals court laid the smack-down on the FCC for its aggressive stance (and fines of) unscripted, accidental expletives on TV.

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Everyone shut up about the iPhone on Verizon already

I just ran across this article, and it seriously has me shaking my head. For the TL;DR crowd, the story basically surmises that the manufacturing delay for the white iPhone 4 is actually due to the fact it’s going to be the CDMA iPhone that Verizon will carry soon. I have officially decided that I will never buy an iPhone on Verizon simply because I am sick and tired of all the frenzied clamoring that the uninformed masses have to get away from AT&T.

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On bloggers, journalistic integrity, and the stolen iPhone debacle

As promised:

Pretty much everyone who follows tech news knows at least the basics of the story about the stolen iPhone prototype.

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Buy Other Sound Equipment

I wouldn’t consider myself an audiophile. I don’t buy into the arguments that you need $5k cables to make your speakers sound their best, or that CDs were the worst thing to happen to recorded music (yes, there are people who believe that vinyl has more resolution). However, music is a very big part of my life, and the pack-in iPod earbuds or $20 Logitech computer speakers just won’t cut it. I have a headphone collection, and at one point there were more subwoofers in my house than there were people.

Now, let me digress for a second. One of these days, the Google crawlers will hit this site and find this post. To make sure I end up being associated with the correct keywords, I’m going to put the post tags up front and center:


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Why telcos are evil (hint: it’s because of the customers)

Source: Edgadget

With the announcement this week of AT&T Wireless increasing its ETFs on smartphones, I got to thinking about telcos again. I’ve always hated them; in fact, I pretty much hate any company that is responsible for moving information from one place to another (I’m looking at you, Comcast). Telcos are large, lumbering organizations that are very customer-unfriendly, offering overpriced services with spotty quality and brainless customer service. I think I’ve figured out why this is, though.

It’s the fault of us, the consumers.

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Steve Jobs is cranky

Just read this article, and it speaks volumes.

Normally I stay away from Gawker, Inc. owned sites, because Gizmodo really, really pissed me off about a year ago and the whole company is pretty arrogant (more on that in the blog post I promised earlier). But the e-mail exchange in the story is balanced out by Steve Jobs’ own arrogance.

I just fired this e-mail off to Jobs:

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