over xmas

I’ve been spending most of the xmas vacation season reading and hanging out with family.

A couple of anecdotes:

We bought my parents a copy of Microsoft Word for their new iMac, but when they got around to installing it, they couldn’t.  They called a couple of times about it.  I told them about the all-important product key on the packaging (which they fortunately hadn’t thrown away), and was puzzled and a little worried by their claim that the key didn’t work.

Turns out that the installation procedure on the Mac asks for your administration password, and they had no clue about what that meant (entering the right password there gets you to the real installer, which has crystal clear instructions on what to enter).  Yet another case of end-users not understanding something that a computer-savvy person wouldn’t even think about.

[I am reminding of products which required many different keys: one of them needed a download code, an installation key, and an activation something-or-other, all of the keys time-locked in such a way that a reinstallation was impossible.  Needless to say, I don’t use that company’s products any more.]


We recently had our back yard landscaped; it looks really nice (where before, it was practically inaccessible).  Part of the final bit of the project was putting in smallish plants.

The other morning, a small conclave of the neighborhood’s crows was gathered.  They moved from plant to plant criticizing what we’d put in, extracting what they didn’t like.  Caw!  Pick, toss.  We had to reseat maybe a dozen of the plants that the crows objected to.  Tough crowd, though you could argue that it’s more their home than ours, since we’re gone to work half the day.


I got an OLPC just after xmas.  It’s nifty (though tough to type on).  One thing I found interesting from a project standpoint is that the software they shipped was not fully functional (for instance, the laptop doesn’t support a sleep mode yet, and there are buttons on the keyboard that are not currently implemented).

Author: landon

My mom thinks I'm in high tech.

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