As I mentioned in my ice storm entry, my Powerbook 520c died and I figured out the problem with the Powerbook 5300c adapter. I went to Radio Shack and bought a pack of butt connectors (despite what it sounds like they are plastic-coated metal tubes that you crimp on to wires) and was able to connect the wires to a standard power adapter tip that came with my Recoton Universal Car Adapter power supply. It is surprising that Apple would settle for a standard power adapter tip for one of their pieces of hardware. I got the adapter crimped on, tested the polarity twice, and hooked it up. The laptop, which probably hasn’t started in five years or more, made some awful beeping noises, and started right up. And the clock was only a little over a year off, stating that it was 1/1/04.
Yesterday it got very cold with the high in the 30’s. Then last night it started raining and sleeting. By this morning there was a layer of ice on everything and it continued to rain and sleet off and on all day. My car is covered in icy armor with icicles hanging down off the bumper and over the license plate. Katie and Clio do not like the ice. It crunches under their feet and covers up the grass. They don’t seem real sure about where they can go to the bathroom.
I didn’t go anywhere today, just sat around the house and watched TV and played on the computer. I pulled out the Powerbook 5300 Jeb gave me and figured out why the power adapter isn’t working: there’s nothing wrong with the adapter itself but the tip appears to be broken. So I cut it off and I get voltage through the wires, but will now need a tip. Meanwhile my Powerbook 520 seems to have died completely. I’m not sure why it won’t work anymore, but I think it is a fuse in the Powerbook itself (or the keyboard won’t work and that’s where the power button is).
I couldn’t even walk up the slight hill of my driveway without going into the grass where I could get footing. The street is mostly ice, but people have been driving enough that there are two tire tracks that are clear. I haven’t lost power, but I charged up all my batteries just in case. I’ve heard a couple of big branches snap and fall, but nothing major yet. Tomorrow it is supposed to go into the 40’s so all of this should melt.
I saw a commercial for Time Life Romantic Classics. It’s an 8-disc set of oldies (plus 2 discs free if you buy now) for $120. It’s a long commercial and they have a lot of great old songs featured. Rather than spend that much money I got on their web site to see the complete list of songs, figuring I could buy what I liked off of iTunes and wind up getting maybe 30 songs or so.
Since 2001 I’ve been using Tax Act software to do my taxes. They let you download free software that will do all of your forms and then charge you $7.95 to e-file, but you can always print everything out and mail in your forms at no charge. For the first two years I took advantage of the free software and paid for the e-file. The last couple of years I’ve sprung for the deluxe version for $12.95 that includes a free e-file. The free version of the software constantly bugs you about upgrading to the deluxe version. Also it doesn’t pull your information from W-2’s, 1098’s, and 1099’s from the previous year. So for $5 more I get a better product plus I feel like they deserve something for the efforts anyway, though why the IRS doesn’t write their own software and give it away I have no idea.
It’s nice because I can download the software and file my taxes without going to the store, without rebates, and without having books and CD’s to keep up with afterward. They also have an online version that is a couple of dollars cheaper and still includes the e-file, but I would rather have the software on my computer (not that I’ve ever used it again; I print my forms to Adobe Acrobat files when I’m done). You can pay another $10 and get the state version, but I do the state forms by hand since they just use the federal adjusted income and deductions anyway and are very easy.
I just downloaded it tonight and did a rough draft of my taxes. Looks like I owe a little bit this year.
I’ve been checking in to Mac5’s recently installed stats. Web statistics are always informative. I like that Eric is getting a lot of hits for not knowing how to spell “renege” in Euchre and people search for it the same way he spelled it.
Also I wondered about why the site was getting referrals from sites that were obviously junk ad sites (web4u). It seems a lot of people with blogs will show a list of the most recent referring websites on their page (I guess because they can). So these companies have web bots that do referrals so that they will in turn become listed as one of your referrers. They don’t really expect people to click on the links as much as they hope that Google will see how many websites link to their website and increase their rankings.
However in a recent attempt to find out why Google has forsaken me lately, I found that Google has turned the tables by using the number of sites that link to yours *against you* in the rankings. Apparently Google has to make constant changes to their search algorithms to keep ahead of junk ad sites and in an effort to provide better search results. It’s Spy vs. Spy all the time. They must have made a big change at the end of November when I noticed the drop off on my site. Now people are complaining because Google is sending fewer people to their websites and they aren’t making as much money. So they complain that Google has no right to destroy their business like that. Amazing.
Anytime I have a promotion hanging in the balance I like to do something that will guarantee I don’t get it (and it worked). This year I decided to weigh in on the current “public-private initiative” for a private company to finance and build improvements to SR 316 to Athens. They would pay for this by charging tolls and it would cost something like $8 to drive from Atlanta to Athens using SR 316. If you want, you can still comment on this proposal (for two more weeks), but only if you agree with me. I wrote, not as a DOT employee, but a guy whose brother and family live in Athens. I sent it to the Commissioner of the DOT but found out later that it was supposed to go to email@example.com who is the Chief Engineer (and my boss’ boss’ boss’ boss). They sent me a nice form letter a few days later. I also cc’d the e-mail to my State Representative. I sent the e-mail on a Saturday (not at work) and within a few hours she had responded by e-mail and said she would bring it up when she met with the DOT board the following week. She also asked if I supported a higher gas tax and I replied “Of course!”
It’s been one year since I wrote Memoparser and I get an occasional hit on its web page and 187 have downloaded it at Palm Gear. I did a search for “memoparser” and found one guy’s blog entry that said “Memoparser 1.0 sounds interesting”. That’s pretty good, I think. The guy that wrote Palm2iPod still hasn’t come up with a new version that exports memos so I’m glad I wrote the program.
However, I have to admit that I don’t generally use the notes on the iPod since I usually carry my Palm with me.
I still think the perfect MP3 player would be a Palm with a 20 GB hard drive. And it would need some kind of open source community to keep it constantly updated and configurable, unlike the iPod.
Unfortunately, I think Palms and other non-wireless (wireful? it still has no wires) PDA’s are dinosaurs. I was at Best Buy and they had maybe 3′ of shelf space for PDA’s and accessories. I think cell phones are doing more and more but I don’t really want a cell phone. I think eventually people will make fun of me for using an antiquated wireful Palm, like it’s a slide rule or something.