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technological musings

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The cable internet connection is very, very flaky this afternoon.   Somehow, reminding myself “at least it’s not dialup” doesn’t make me any the less irritated thereby.   Probably because I pay the bills and I know how much the cable company is gouging us for every month.   At those prices, it oughta work.

I was wondering this afternoon what we’ll do when our trusty call-blocking Caller ID boxes finally give up the ghost.   Nobody makes Caller ID boxes like that any more, as far as I can tell.   I suppose the next best thing would be to get another Fry’s bargain-basement no-name Linux box and set it up as a call director, or add that into the one we already have, since it’s on all the time (although we’d definitely have to get a larger hard drive for it if so).   I’m sure there must be software out there that can answer the phone, tell the caller they’re not welcome, and hang up on them (besides being a straight-up answering machine).   We even have an extra external voice modem to contribute to the cause, although making it work under Linux might be problematical.

We used to have a great two-line answering machine that let us have several different customized outgoing messages, had three mailboxes (we only used one, but at least the other two were there), and read us caller’s phone numbers if they appeared on the Caller ID.   I think it was made by GE.   Alas, it gave up the ghost, and that was something else I couldn’t find again anywhere, not even on eBay.   Just try to find a two-line answering machine of any kind, as a matter of fact–I guess either having two phone lines is less popular than it once was, or having one machine answer both lines is out of favor, or something.   We had to replace that one machine with two separate machines that aren’t nearly as versatile as the one they replaced. At the time we bought the replacements we thought it didn’t matter about the machine on the second phone line; that machine could be as cheap as possible (and it is) because we never answered that phone.   However, I’ve come to the conclusion that that phone number is better to give out than my pager number (I think after this year’s subscription is done, I’m canceling the pager) so I’m back to the “could we use a cheap computer as a call director” consideration again.

We were late adopters of a lot of (nowadays) common-garden technology because we had to wait for the price to come down.   Poverty had its benefits, though, because by the time we’d saved up for gizmos like an answering machine and a VCR, we were able to buy a much better one for a much lower price than when we’d first decided we wanted it.   I’m still a firm believer in not buying version 1.0 of anything, even though we can afford it now.

I still haven’t worked on the put-the-flash-drive-into-the-Lego-brick project.   The little container of Legos and the flash drive have been sitting on my desk looking at me for quite some time now.   Of course, now that I have a PanaVise, that job will be a lot easier.   I just haven’t decided on the best way to install the PanaVise on my work table.   Or the best location for it, for that matter.   I also need to figure out how to install my bench pin, since the frame of the work table is way too thick for the clamp for that.   At least I know where I want to put it.

Corollary:   Everybody and their dog seems to have flash drives on sale for next to nothing these days.   I keep eyeing them in the ads.   But I’ve got three of the silly things already and not even the 256 meg one is half full.   I wish my old Toshiba had USB, because the combination of a small, light laptop and a USB drive to securely store my writing on would be a winner.   The HP is a glorious machine, and I’m forever grateful to Blink for giving it to me, but we both know, portable it ain’t.The cable internet connection is very, very flaky this afternoon.   Somehow, reminding myself “at least it’s not dialup” doesn’t make me any the less irritated thereby.   Probably because I pay the bills and I know how much the cable company is gouging us for every month.   At those prices, it oughta work.

I was wondering this afternoon what we’ll do when our trusty call-blocking Caller ID boxes finally give up the ghost.   Nobody makes Caller ID boxes like that any more, as far as I can tell.   I suppose the next best thing would be to get another Fry’s bargain-basement no-name Linux box and set it up as a call director, or add that into the one we already have, since it’s on all the time (although we’d definitely have to get a larger hard drive for it if so).   I’m sure there must be software out there that can answer the phone, tell the caller they’re not welcome, and hang up on them (besides being a straight-up answering machine).   We even have an extra external voice modem to contribute to the cause, although making it work under Linux might be problematical.

We used to have a great two-line answering machine that let us have several different customized outgoing messages, had three mailboxes (we only used one, but at least the other two were there), and read us caller’s phone numbers if they appeared on the Caller ID.   I think it was made by GE.   Alas, it gave up the ghost, and that was something else I couldn’t find again anywhere, not even on eBay.   Just try to find a two-line answering machine of any kind, as a matter of fact–I guess either having two phone lines is less popular than it once was, or having one machine answer both lines is out of favor, or something.   We had to replace that one machine with two separate machines that aren’t nearly as versatile as the one they replaced. At the time we bought the replacements we thought it didn’t matter about the machine on the second phone line; that machine could be as cheap as possible (and it is) because we never answered that phone.   However, I’ve come to the conclusion that that phone number is better to give out than my pager number (I think after this year’s subscription is done, I’m canceling the pager) so I’m back to the “could we use a cheap computer as a call director” consideration again.

We were late adopters of a lot of (nowadays) common-garden technology because we had to wait for the price to come down.   Poverty had its benefits, though, because by the time we’d saved up for gizmos like an answering machine and a VCR, we were able to buy a much better one for a much lower price than when we’d first decided we wanted it.   I’m still a firm believer in not buying version 1.0 of anything, even though we can afford it now.

I still haven’t worked on the put-the-flash-drive-into-the-Lego-brick project.   The little container of Legos and the flash drive have been sitting on my desk looking at me for quite some time now.   Of course, now that I have a PanaVise, that job will be a lot easier.   I just haven’t decided on the best way to install the PanaVise on my work table.   Or the best location for it, for that matter.   I also need to figure out how to install my bench pin, since the frame of the work table is way too thick for the clamp for that.   At least I know where I want to put it.

Corollary:   Everybody and their dog seems to have flash drives on sale for next to nothing these days.   I keep eyeing them in the ads.   But I’ve got three of the silly things already and not even the 256 meg one is half full.   I wish my old Toshiba had USB, because the combination of a small, light laptop and a USB drive to securely store my writing on would be a winner.   The HP is a glorious machine, and I’m forever grateful to Blink for giving it to me, but we both know, portable it ain’t.

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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