In case you were wondering, yes we're alive!
Two weeks ago the hard drive on the laptop started to act flaky again. I suspected it might when I reformatted it. Alana decided that I couldn't be without a laptop, so we went and ordered a new one. She got a great deal through an e-mail from Dell, because she works for the State of Louisiana. We bought a 1.6 GHz Duo Core Celeron, with a 100 GB hard drive, dual layer DVD writer, 1440 x 900 resolution screen, multi card reader, four USB ports, built in wireless networking and Bluetooth, and (most important!) a three year warranty. It also came with 90 days of training. The package came with a $100 rebate and an 8% discount for Alana working for the State.
I know I said I wouldn't buy another Dell, but as I mentioned some time ago there isn't much to choose between any of the big laptop manufacturers. They all have crappy support and are just about as reliable. So, we chose on the basis of cost. Plus this one came with a three year warranty. I'll never buy another laptop without at least a three year warranty.
The laptop arrived Monday. It took the better part of two days to reinstall all my applications. It took a third night to install all my old files, including stuff I had backed up to disk. This morning I installed a few games (though now I can't find the Diplomacy game I got at Christmas...).
So far I'm pretty happy about the computer. The only thing I don't like is that about 20 GB of the hard drive is in a hidden partitions. This is for some Dell diagnostic utilities, and for something called "Media Direct", which allows the computer to play DVDs and such at a touch of a button. I'd rather have the hard drive space; I haven't tried Media Direct yet to see if it's worth having. I could have removed it by reformating the hard drive, but I didn't want to risk invalidating the warranty.
So, now you know why it's taken me until the 6th to post something to the blog.
As for actually content on this post, here are some offbeat news items. I have a few other things I've been saving in the last few days, which I'll post later this week.
Today, though, these items come courtesy of Alana:
A Dutch designer has developed a levitating bed. He does this with magnets, powerful magnets in the floor and the bed which repel each other. He's asking 1.2 million euros for it. He warns that people with metal piercings should not get between the bed and the floor...
You can find the bed story here.
A 17 year old girl in Indiana lost control of her car and crashed into a hollow tree, breaking her legs. Unfortunately the tree was home to tens of thousands of bees! Firefighters, the police officer, and the girl had to be treated for multiple bee stings. As a bee expert said, they don't like to be jostled.
The bee story is here.
In Montana, a police officer saw a driver heading in the opposite lanes doing about 95 miles an hour. He crossed over the median and gave pursuit. He was just about to call off the chase when his rear tire blew and the car went out of control. The next thing he new, the speeder was at his side trying to help him. Apparently the speeder didn't know he was being pursued, and he stopped to help out. As of Thursday, the speeder had not been cited, probably due to a grateful officer.
The speeding story is here.
Finally, if you have a dog you know that sometimes they'll get into things they shouldn't. When puppies are teething they'll chew anything. Sabine, our dog, has grown out of this stage. Midget, the dog we had when I was in high school, liked to chew paper. She once tore apart a "Cyclopedia" from the 19th century that someone gave me, and which was stored in my parent's closet.
That's nothing compared to this last story. A guard dog in a London, England children's museum went on a rampage Thursday and tore into a teddy bear collection valued at $900,000. One of the bears used to belong to Elvis Presley, and had been purchased at an auction for $75,000 (it was on loan to the museum). Suddenly Midget's paper rampages and Sabine's puppy chewing don't seem so bad.
The dog versus fuzzy story is here.
4 Good Years
5 months ago