This is Skimbleshanks. I name all my laptops after cats in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and the prior ones have been Macavity and Mistoffelees. This is part of my larger computer naming scheme, the poems of T.S. Eliot, of which I’ve had desktops bearing the names of wasteland, prufrock, and hollowman. You can also read dad jokes right here for entertainment.
I bought Skimbleshanks in 2013, and even though I bought a top of the line gaming computer at the time, it’s starting to show its age. The nice graphic card burned out because the laptop had a heat problem. The ports on the right side of the computer don’t work because, in trying to release a busted DVD drive from the slot, I accidentally dropped it, forcing the little USB receiver that goes with my mouse which I had left in a USB port to shove the motherboard to the left. Most recently, I managed to spill water over the computer. Thankfully, it only killed the keyboard letters z, x, c, v, m, period, comma, right shift, and enter. That’s why there’s a second keyboard in front of the laptop.
Alas, money to replace anything doesn’t exist, so I’ll just have to deal with Skimbleshanks’ quirks and hope it doesn’t get worse. I hate not having a job.
(LJ/Dreamwidth readers: The crossposter I use for both these services does not attach the featured image, so you will have to click through the link at the bottom of the post to see the image.)
Prior entries in this series:
So I’m at work, and I’m reading up on how to write a functional specification, which seems to be my next task. Now, I’ve never written one of these before, so the Google is my friend.
I stumbled across Joe Spolsky’s blog in my search for how to write one of these, and in reading the sample functional spec he provides, I found:
(Your results may vary. We are not responsible for delays in transmission or on your computer which could cause the actual time to be a bit later than the time displayed. This service is provided as-is and is merely for entertainment purposes, not for accurate time-keeping. Do not stick WhatTimeIsIt.com in your ear or use it to clean your ear.)
I spent several minutes in my cube just giggling madly at the thought of using a web interface to clean your ear. Of course, this is work, and there’s nobody to share with, so I am sharing with the Internets.
EDIT: Later, in the same document:
The exact wording of this email is still being debated hotly by the board of directors and will be provided sometime before shipping. [ Developers: for now I suggest using a nasty word. That will light a fire under Chucks’ seat. ]
So funny, and yet, so true.
I’m flying to Denver tonight.
Of course, this story’s been about twenty-eight years in the making. It starts with a two year old in Redding. This was back in the bad old days before airline deregulation, which meant that a couple airlines actually found it profitable to run jets into Redding.
Now, my dad worked at the airport, so I practically grew up there, conning travelers into buying me candy from the vending machines as soon as I could talk. And because I was always there, the airport employees adopted me and gave me free run of the place.
Maybe I was destined to work with computers, because a story that’s often told about me is that I once brought an airline’s computer down when I was barely two. I had found the keyboard open and decided to smash around on the keyboard, much like a two year old does. My mother tried to get me away from it, but the airline employees dissuaded her, saying they had locked the computer and I couldn’t do anything to hurt it.
And so they let me be until a customer came, and they found their computer unresponsive. It took a reboot to get things running again. Nobody was quite sure how I’d done it, but it had happened, just as if I had decided to show them just what I could do. I like to think it was because I was destined to work with the things for a living.
Of course, you might ask what this has to do with the flight tonight, although I’m sure the more shrewd of you has guessed.
The airline all those many years ago is the one I’m flying to Denver tonight — Frontier Airlines.
You bet I’m amused.