Sunday, July 20, 2008

This post intentionally left blank

Pages in a bookBlank pages in a book
Image via Wikimedia Commons
So Risker pinged me on my talk page, and like these sorts of low semantic content conversations do, it veered off into other topics, notably how posts sometimes have little content... and whether "no comment" really is "no comment" or actually more like "almost no comment"... this led to "This page intentionally left blank" ... and well... I'll repeat what I said there.

IBM is famous for making a great deal of use of these pages (back when IBM published all its manuals in hardcopy form). They would carry a footer with the manual name and the page number of the manual where they belonged. I can recall inserting them into manuals on my desk, many a time. (Periodically one would receive packets of pages in the post containing fixes to manuals, which one duly inserted into the manual binders, hopefully in the right places. Sometimes some of the new pages would be blank, to replace a page that described something that had been obsoleted, and sometimes some of the new pages would be non blank, but would replace a page that had previously been blank, as they described something new which space had been reserved for in the organization of the manual) There is an apocryphal story that there was an APAR opened against the entire publication group, requesting that all pages which said "THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK" be replaced with pages which said "THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT ALMOST BLANK" on the grounds that was a more accurate statement... Needless to say if there was such an APAR, it must have been rejected, as the cost of the PTF to identify, produce and print all those (thousands of different) pages (properly numbered and with proper footers, since that is how things were done), mail them out to every manual receipient, and so forth, would have been enormous. Even for IBM.

(this is not the only apocryphal story about APARs and PTFs, remind me sometime to tell the one about the APAR against IEFBR14)

Oh, and by the way, this whole post is a way for me to NOT talk about what really has me steamed right now.... perhaps I'll, in the best IBM tradition, replace this post with what I really want to say instead.


In accordance with the recommendations made by the This page intentionally left blank project, I decided that my personal site needed one of these. So I created one.

Zemanta Pixie

Monday, July 7, 2008

You got me...

Randall Munroe, creator of the webcomic xkcd, ...Randall Munroe
image via Wikimedia Commons
So, today's xkcd consists of a drawing of the Wood article in Wikipedia, but cut away to show only the lede, and the bottom, which is a large "in popular culture" section, with such gems as "In episode 7 of Firefly, "Jaynestown", Jayne is given a wooden rain stick by a villager", among others.

Wikipedia is big enough time that it now gets mocked in cartoons on a regular basis (in xkcd's case, lovingly... I think. :) )

Random questions:

Does anyone not think this is one of the funniest Firefly episodes? :) (it goes without saying that I expect most of my readership (all 3 of you) to have seen all the Firefly episodes)

Does Randall Munroe not actually like "in popular culture" sections? Or, is he annoyed that Wood doesn't have one? :) (It goes without saying that it doesn't have one, actually)

Was I the only xkcd reader to go check if Wood actually had an "In popular culture" section? (It goes without saying that I did go check)

Zemanta Pixie

Friday, July 4, 2008

Third world country?

Crossed wires shorting out, Troy, Illinois. Af...Transformers arcing
Image via Wikimedia Commons
We are without electric power. A bad series of storms roared through W Michigan on Wednesday afternoon, knocking power out for about 200, 000 customers. As of this writing we've been on generator for 36 hours... we might get power back today, might not. Consumers Energy isn't very clear on that point.

Now, we are fortunate. We have a portable generator. It doesn't meet all our needs, when the well comes on other things flicker and so forth, but it's better than nothing. Others do not have generators ( Others also are not dropping 80 USD a day to run their generators, or getting smelly gas all over everything when they refill them every 4 hours, so maybe they're ahead. :) )

I am not complaining but given that this is our 5th power outage this year, it does make one wonder if this is just bad luck, or something else. I'm inclined to think that yes, storms are getting worse, that Global Warming is for real... that, coupled with the heavy regulation of the power industry (which leads to disinvestment and a grid that can handle only small outages, (local, regional and national) means that we are more susceptible to upset.

I am not complaining but it does make one feel like one is living in a third world country.

OK maybe I am complaining :)

Zemanta Pixie