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Greetings, all! If you're not plugged into the whole antique-dealer market, you wouldn't know just how slow things are. Not just for us: other dealers we've talked to, not just around Fargo, have all commented on it. Sales are slow.

So, to help make ends meet, I've taken a job delivering pizzas. Huzzah! Eh, it's not quite so exciting. I got to wash dishes and clean the bathrooms -- but I also got to catch a cat who made a break for it at one house, I got several comments about my cool glasses, and I made $17 in tips & fuel expenses. That's on just a 4-hour shift, so I ain't complaining. It's a nice break from being stuck in front of the computer, and for the time being it's a bit more profitable.

In the Wall Street Journal, there's an article on things found in used books. This is exactly the reason I'd want to own a used book store! One may note that my neglected Thingsville website has examples of such entertainment. We've got little remnants of other such items scattered around the office: love letters, scraps of homework, membership cards, business cards -- and D claims to have found money in a box of used greeting cards. I'm a magpie, D is even worse...we keep everything that slightly catches our eye. Look at the volume we sell on eBay -- and consider what we must be keeping!

Speaking of which...we've launched a new bloggish retail space, to collect our various items in one area. We Have Your Collectibles dot Com is the place to go for the best of our wares, all in one place!

1 comment
Day Four of my Macintosh Adventure

Wanna know the one thing I really, really like about the Macintosh?

Actually, it's not on every Mac; and I think it might have been rearranged on newer ones.

I have one of the extended Macintosh keyboards -- have a look at the picture. Direct your attention to the numeric keypad on the right. It looks a little different from a PC keyboard...there's an extra key.

That's right -- some brilliant person added the EQUAL SIGN to the numeric keypad! For those of us who do a lot of spreadsheet work, this is amazingly handy. I often cursed entering mathematical formulas, using everything available with the right hand, then having to bring the left back into service to hit the equal sign.

But, as always, I have to complain...You may notice that there's both a 'return' key and an 'enter' key. Without surprise, yes, they DON'T do exactly the same thing. Many times, the 'enter' key does absolutely nothing when you hit it (much like the 'home', 'end', 'ins', and 'del' keys).

I'm still no closer to repairing my PC, so I better get used to it...

Day three of my Macintosh adventure

I'm doing OK now -- My powerbook has a 30GB hard drive, and 300MB of RAM...but I couldn't figure out why it was running so slow. Here's #1 thing I learned about pre-OSX macs: You can control how much memory is assigned to each application, on a program-by-program basis. IE was the biggest dog -- it would often give me errors about 'not enough memory to..." (mostly with large images or Flash animations). Open it up, to find out it was only assigned 8MB of RAM by default (or by the previous owner). Cranked that baby up to 50MB of RAM, and it runs slick. The pain in the ass? I have to go through now and 'turn up' all the applications as I figure out which are running poorly with low memory. Photoshop gets another 50MB, Word gets 20MB, Mozilla gets 20MB (I no longer use IE; very slow on it's own anyway). While I can see the advantage of assigning memory windows individually, it's a pain that it has to be handled manually.

The next thing I learned about Macs is that key combinations don't work the same way. Sometimes, they do, but not always, and that's what makes it a pain.

Next, I learned I really, really like a two-button mouse. Having to hold down a button on the keyboard (which one? Depends on what you want it to do) is a pain.

The next thing I learned? My 266Mhz PowerMac really isn't so slow. Yes, it's noticably slower than my 1.1Ghz PC with 1GB of RAM, but not as different as a 266Mhz PC is. a 266Mhz PC running the software I'm running on this Mac, well, it might not even be possible (I don't think I could get Photoshop to run properly on that slow of a PC).

And, the Mac has an add-on USB card (which wasn't technically supposed to work, but drivers for a different card work fine), and my USB SmartMedia reader has Mac drivers, and my Epson has Mac drivers, and I haven't check on my scanners yet, but I'm sure they have Mac drivers somewhere around here, too...Macs might be a pain sometimes to use, but it's not from incompatibility or lack of software.

In other news: business is horrible, money is tight, and one member of the family has no legal proof of her own name. Life's grand, ain't it?

If you read far enough in my
archives, you'll see
evidence of previous
computer deaths. Today,
I'm experiencing another.

Unfortunately, due to recent
events (namely, the
birthdays of three children,
two trips to Wisconsin, and
the moving of the antique
store), I'm out of flex-money.
So -- I'm computerless until
I can scrounge up $60 for a
new motherboard.

How am I posting this, you

I've got computers lying
around like you wouldn't
believe. I had to run down
the list of which ones were
running, what they'd handle,
and what software I need to
keep things moving.

Surprisingly, I picked a
computer that's not running
Windows at all. "Linux!" you
all gasp in awe...

...but it's not. It's OS9, from
Macintosh. I bought a
Powerbook G3 a year ago,
and it's mostly been a toy.
Need internet from the living
room? Grab the laptop.
Need someplace to save
pics off my digital camera?
Use the Powerbook. Want
to look cool wandering
around with a laptop in
hand? Grab the laptop.

The laptop, thanks to the
dot-com bubble burst that
caused the liquidation of
the design firm's assets,
has Photoshop, Flash,
Fireworks, MS Office, and
all the other trappings of a
useful computer.

I removed my PC keyboard
and mouse, replaced them
with a full-sized Mac
keyboard and mouse,
hooked up everything
(including my 19" monitor)
to the back of the laptop and
-- viola! -- I'm back in
business. It's slightly
disturbing...I don't notice a
whole lot of difference. The
mouse is slower, the
keyboard has less tactile
'click' to it, but I can still do
all my image editing, eBay
listing, web browsing, and
other shenanigans on it.

Watch you, PC fanatics....I
might convert! Shiny new
G5, here I c--

No, wait, I'm poor....Macs
are definitely not in my
future. This will do for now,
until I can get my PC back
up and in working order.

Derek Is Reading:

Small Things Considered, Henry Petroski

The most striking thing about this book is a personal one: on the first page, he starts recounting a NPR show where the guests discussed the design of various household items, including the comments of listener phone-ins. I vividly remember listening to that show back when it originally aired, and was enrapt in the discussion. Why were things designed that way? Petroski took that theme and expanded it into a whole book, with easy-to-read commentary on doorknob positioning, phone keypads, paper bags, and office chairs. I admit, there's a few places that fell a little flat, mostly because they did not seem researched enough or he glossed over the information without explanation (something a book on explanation should avoid), but overall it's an easy and interesting read, making you think a little more about why staircases are shaped the way they are.

Best of the Fargo Police Blotter for 6/8/04:

06/08/2004 0:27:32


700 BLK 3 ST N

All I gotta say is, it wasn't me! I'm more discering in my taping -- all MY videos are all at!

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