Archive for the ‘Silliness’ Category

Boost C++ library and the end of the world

November 8, 2015

While working on some C++ code, I made a mistake and got this error:

ERROR: Throw location unknown (consider using BOOST_THROW_EXCEPTION)
Dynamic exception type: boost::exception_detail::clone_impl
<boost::exception_detail::error_info_injector<boost::gregorian::bad_year> >
std::exception::what: Year is out of valid range: 1400..10000

I find two things rather interesting here. The first is that the Boost date_time library isn’t using the Boost exception library. The second is that the date_time library has defined the year 10000 as the last in the Gregorian calendar.

Based on this, I predict that the end of the year 10000 will be the end of the world. Using the Boost libraries to make end-of-the-world predictions should work about as well as using the Bible, right? The end is nigh!


Personal Cloud

July 13, 2014


A cloud so personal, it senselessly gathers your intimate details that it doesn’t need.

Steel Bound Keys: Replacement Risk

May 11, 2013

I’ve been out of a car since someone rammed mine about a month ago. On two occasions thus far, I have rented a car from a local Enterprise office so that I could get a few things done, like buy a lot of groceries or obtain a copy of the police report about the collision. The people at the Enterprise office/location have been great, and seem to handle the stress of being very busy quite well. I’m surprised just how busy it is since the place isn’t located next to an airport.
Steel bound keys

The second rental I got was a Toyota Corolla. All the keys were bound together with a steel cable along with a tag showing the replacement cost. I can understand the rental company wanting to impress upon its customers that losing keys is a bad thing, but the steel cable isn’t helping. With all the keys bound together, that means if one key is lost, all the keys are lost. This will make life more difficult for a customer who loses the keys, and will increase the replacement cost. Further, it makes giving more than one driver access to the car less convenient since two people can’t each have a key simultaneously.

Most ridiculously and silly, though, is the inclusion of the valet key next to the regular full-function keys.

This bit of absurdity really has nothing to do with the local rental office. I’m sure it’s just company policy.

What to do on the Enterprise-D

May 1, 2013

I found myself recently contemplating what I would do if I found myself on the Enterprise-D from Star Trek.

First, I would find the holodeck and destroy it before it could destroy me. That thing is way too dangerous. Where was the months long, if not years long, investigation into what went wrong the first time someone was hurt in there? After it managed to take control of the ship, why weren’t these things removed immediately from the entire fleet? I’m not going to take any chances; I won’t even step inside that room. I can use one of those phaser thingys to scar the walls while standing outside after I wreck the power supply and control system.

Second, I would install fuses and circuit breakers. It seems like every time something slams into the Enterprise, nasty dangerous sparks fly out of exposed cabling. The crew members doing damage control have enough to worry about without sparks igniting something. It shows up on lots of fiction shows set in space in the future. I guess we’re supposed to think that people will forget how to make fuses or how to use circuit breakers because sparks get safer, but hat doesn’t make any sense.

For that matter, why are there so many wires that can fall down from the ceiling of the bridge? Didn’t they network together everything? They ought to be able to send plenty of data on a single cable, and I bet some things don’t even need much bandwidth. That leaves power. How much power do they need in the ceiling? Do they have 50kW stage lighting?

Oh, that’s right. It is stage lighting because it’s a stage. That makes the Enterprise-D much less exciting, but still not bad. In that case, I’d bring my camera.

60 Gigahenries Per Second

March 24, 2013

I found this ad recently on Slashdot:

60 Gigahenries Per Second

60 Gigahenries Per Second

It prominently shows the text “60GH/s”, which seems quite peculiar to me. That is the proper way to write 60 gigahenries per second. The unit Henry (H) is the SI derived unit for electrical inductance. I’m sure inductance plays a role in whatever the product is, but I doubt that henries per second is something worth advertising. I think henries per second is equivalent to ohms (Ω), the unit of electrical resistance. I’m sure there are cheaper ways to get something with 60GΩ, like use the insulation on whatever electrical cable is nearby and decide that the difference in resistance is within the margin of error.

Rebel Resistor Mho

December 7, 2012

resistorMhoAdafruit has got a plush resistor toy thingy on the way. They’re naming it Mho. It must be the rebellious resistor who wants to be known as a conductor. Mho will probably change its color bands like people dye hair so that they indicate Mho’s conductance.

I know maybe two people who will understand that and might get a giggle out of it. For everyone else, one of the names proposed for the unit of conductance, the multiplicative inverse of resistance, was Mho. It does still get some use in that capacity. I first came across it in Issac Asimov’s Understanding Physics; he was quite amused by the name.


October 21, 2012

I found this in the mail recently:


Town of Jupiter: 1+1=10

A difference? More like you can make a sum in binary. I may be employed for software development, but that isn’t a big part of what happens here. Nor are electronics. This makes it doubtful they intended to use binary, in which case they can make a difference by having someone else teach math.

Windows XP is incompatible with Windows XP

September 25, 2012

I had to go through an excruciatingly lame ethics “course” for my employer that was really a slide show. The only challenge was figuring out which button or link to take next since their interface was horrendous, but that didn’t take long. There weren’t even any questions; I could have ignored all the text of their fit-for-elementary-school tale.

Before I could look at their ethics tale, I had to convince the web server to let me see their crap. In the process, I received a turd that I have tried polishing for you, but the poor fonts and scaling mean you may have to take the link to read it.

System Compatibility Check

System Compatibility Check

One of the computers I use at my job still runs Windows XP. The claim that it isn’t optimized enough shows whoever wrote the error doesn’t know the meaning of optimized. Even better is the suggestion that instead of running Windows XP, I should try running Windows XP. To get this far, I had to use Internet Explorer; the installed Firefox was too new according to the server, but I’m sure it would have worked fine. I tried to print the error page, but IE choked, quit responding to events, and crashed three hours later.

Superhero Supply and other shirts

September 24, 2012

I neglected to mention in my last post a couple of interesting shirts I saw. I got them both in the same picture and didn’t notice until I was looking through them at home.

Brooklyn Superhero Supply, and "I was there!"

Brooklyn Superhero Supply, and “I was there!”

The one in the middle is for Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co., which actually exists. On the left is a shirt with two pictures of the guy who is wearing the shirt, which is a bit strange. However, the pictures include astronauts and he seems excited over his connection to the space program. He’s like the science fiction fans who show up at conventions wearing detailed costumes, only he is doing it about non-fiction, so it’s cool. Really, everyone who gathered to see Endeavour were fans, even if no one was wearing costume. Some were wearing “Endeavour fly out” shirts; while nice, they weren’t quite as interesting in this context.

I went in my “Low flying spacecraft” shirt. It seemed appropriate. I don’t have any pictures of that; it’s hard to take your own picture with an SLR.

Gazebo of Standing

September 16, 2012

It’s a gazebo covering nothing but a concrete slab.

Gazebo of Standing

While it has a light, there doesn’t seem to be any point in bothering to provide illumination. Apparently the gazebo fell victim to the fence, who stole the benches that made the gazebo useful.

False Steps

The Space Race as it might have been

You Control The Action!

High Frontier

the space colony simulation game

Simple Climate

Straightforwardly explaining climate change, so you can read, react and then get on with your life.