Being Vegetarian

Thankfully, my personal experience is not like this one. That said, nearly every veggie forum I have visited has a large share of hostiles.

Toyota Knows About Tacoma Frame Rust, Keeps Quiet

This is part of my campaign to shame Toyota. Until a week ago, I respected Toyota, but they did me wrong, and I want to tell my story. If one person reads this and has a better outcome than me, fantastic. If a lot of people read this and Toyota gets slapped, then my mission will be accomplished.

TL/DR: I know a lot of you have Toyotas, and I hope you are happy with them. Please get your vehicle’s frame checked regularly. Some models have a severe problem with frame rust, making them profoundly unsafe. Unlike other vehicle safety issues you may have heard about, there is *no recall* for this, and as I found out, there is no remedy for the owner either. Read more of this post

The World is Made of Zettabytes

Science News published an interesting article describing how the volume of data we generate, store, and consume has dramatically increased over time. The numbers are genuinely interesting to me. How anyone measured (or estimated, more likely) this stuff is a bit of a stretch for me.

All that said, I don’t think there are really any surprises here. One thing the article does not mention is that while data volume is up, that doesn’t necessarily translate as information volume is up also. The article does speak to our limited ability to consume data–there’s only so much we can read, watch, process in our own minds. But what I’m suggesting is increases in data volume to some extent manifest as a higher data/information ratio; higher data density.

As an example, compare a typical HD movie of today vs. the earliest DVD video. In nominal terms, the HD movie has many more bits of data due to the larger frame size and higher frame rate. In terms of information though, it is still just a movie. It might look crisper–and arguably perhaps this equates to a marginal increase in “information”–but it can’t really deliver any more salient content than before.

The other point I wanted to make concerns one of the comments:

By now at least 1/3 of all computing is done by game consoles and cellphones, and that number will probably hit 50% within a year or two. To me it’s a bit disconcerting that half of our computing power is wasted on the pursuit of trivial nonsense.

My response is, assuming the commenter is correct, I don’t know why it should be disconcerting. If the gaming/cell phone industries have found ways to leverage technology to become this prominent, they didn’t do it at the expense of “nontrivial” pursuits. In fact, they probably helped to advance the technology we all benefit from.

Strange Arrangements in MS Word

I am a reluctant user of Word, but at times my hand is forced. Real pro uses of the Word probably understand its idiosyncrasies, but I sure don’t.

In Word (2007) “single document interface”, aka “SDI” is the default. In SDI each document opens in its own window, which you see represented as a task bar button. SDI never worked well for me since I frequently have many applications and many documents open at one time.

Luckily, for a few versions now MS has offered this nice option found under Advanced | Display | “Show All Windows in the Taskbar”, which effectively toggles off the “MDI” mode or “multiple document interface”. MDI is king for me because it reduces taskbar clutter and therefore the number of alt+tabs I have to do to find my way back to the right document when I have 10 applications open, some of which have 4 documents open.

Here’s the strange thing… Whether in SDI or MDI mode, for some reason Word cannot arrange multiple documents in a vertical (left-and-right) arrangement. Only horizontal (top-and-bottom). This is absurd. In a world where monitors are wider, not taller, why must I be forced to split my document views along the long axis? Adding insult to that injury, the vertical pixels the ribbon nearly uselessly commands detract from usability even further. And by the way, Excel 2007 can tile vertically, but Word 2007 can’t. What?

Stranger yet — and thank you if you followed me this far — in MDI mode, you can still work outside the Word box. I just discovered this Windows trick, maybe three months ago actually, after oh, maybe 13 years of using…

Ctrl+Click taskbar buttons and ask them to tile vertically. Just what I wanted! So why it that so hard to do in Word?

First Post!

I have decided to try blogging as a vehicle for creating instructional material. Since I often find myself writing extensive documentation at work–oh wait–I don’t actually do that. But I should. And there is much that needs to be told isn’t there?

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