July 2002

Another mouse story

by Michael Alderete on 7/29/2002

I had been using Kensington (ADB) mice with my computers for years when I finally upgraded to a new Mac G4 with USB. I was really looking forward to Apple’s new optical mouse, after 10+ years of using micro-tweezers to clean out my mechanical mouse every few weeks.

I gave the Apple Pro Mouse a workout for a couple months, and finally decided it was hurting me. The cable is too short, even when connected directly to my keyboard, and because of its rocker switch (instead of a proper button), picking it up with the mouse still down (when I ran out of desk space) was quite stressful on my hand. I also found I hated going back to a single mouse button — it’s inexcusable that Apple doesn’t make a multi-button mouse.

Rochelle had been using a Microsoft IntelliMouse for almost two years, and liked it well enough, but I found it too big for my hands. I like to be able to actually enfold the mouse with my hand, not just lay my hand upon it and move it around. I’m just a Grabber, I guess.

I finally found the Logitech Cordless Optical Mouse (not the MouseMan, the product name is exactly as written). It’s a lovely shape, symmetric for Lefties as well as Righties, and fits my hand beautifully.

It’s got two buttons and a scroll wheel (which can also act as a third button), and works with Mac OS X without additional driver software (I haven’t even tried Logitech’s software yet). It’s also PC-compatible.

What’s more, I found “Cordless” to be the most surprisingly ergonomic part of it. I’m not managing a cable every time I mouse around anymore, it’s truly liberating. The batteries last for a few months at a time (I’ve replaced mine once). Wireless mice is the only way to go, I’m now convinced.

I liked my mouse so much Rochelle decided she wanted one, too, and it has now replaced the IntelliMouse on her PC.

Hopefully this mouse story was less gross than some of the previous ones!
Apple Mouse
Logitech Mouse
Mouse Story #1
Mouse Story #2
Mouse Story #3

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by Michael Alderete on 7/26/2002

As if we didn’t need more proof that the economy is crummy, here’s the exceptionally literate journal of a porn store clerk. It’s funny, a little sad, and very disturbing by turns. I just spent 1 1/2 hours reading the entire thing, and there’s no question the woman writing it deserves a better job, she’s a very talented writer.

Best of luck, Ali!

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Installing Windows

by Michael Alderete on 7/26/2002

A few weekends ago I finally started the upgrade project for Rochelle’s computer. She’d been running Windows 98 for two years, and it crashed all the time on her. So I was going to upgrade her to Windows 2000.

The job was truly unbelievable. It is amazing how bad the experience of installing Windows is. I spent 8 hours installing a chunk, rebooting, downloading an update, rebooting, changing a setting, rebooting. I must have rebooted the computer 15 times while installing Windows and all of the updates to it from the Windows Update web site.

It took me way longer than I’d expected or planned for, and it caused a snit with Rochelle when it threatened to delay heading up to Napa. (Things only got better once we were on the road, and realized we were in danger of pulling a hat trick. Rochelle was speeding, had lost her driver’s license, and I had let the vehicle registration expire by accident.)

In the end, her system is upgraded, and running much better than previously. Windows 2000 is OK once it’s installed, though nowhere near as reliable as our FreeBSD server, which has run for 6 months without rebooting on more than one occasion.

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HBI on “nice guys”

by Michael Alderete on 7/24/2002

I saw more than a little of my (much younger) self in this rant at HBI. I’ve come a long way since my younger days, but reading this made me cringe. I wonder who I would be with if I had learned some of these lessons earlier.

Of course, I think it worked out rather well in the end.
Why Nice Guys are often LOSERS

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Tequilapalooza 10, Michael and Rochelle 14

by Michael Alderete on 7/23/2002

Sunday was Tommy’s tenth annual Tequilapalooza, an afternoon celebration of tequila, available only to those who have achieved a Master’s rating or better in Tommy’s Blue Agave tasting club.

Naturally, Rochelle and I were there. (And we brought friends.)

The way it works, you buy tickets in advance, and then exchange the event tickets for drink tickets. Every person gets seven drink tickets. Which means seven margaritas, or seven shots, all doubles (because that’s the way they pour at Tommy’s).

Yes, we did take a cab from the event.

Tommy’s is internationally recognized as one of the premier places on earth to drink tequila, and has been featured in Time Magazine and CNN, among other places, so it’s with great pride that we drank ourselves stupid with the Tequila Masters.

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36 wines in 3 hours

by Michael Alderete on 7/16/2002

On Saturday we drove up to Copia, and attended their “Tour de France” walk-around wine tasting. There were 39 French wines in one room, and the only ones we didn’t taste were the ones they ran out of before we got there; most wines had multiple bottles, but a few had just one, including a 1er Cru Burgundy that I am terribly sad to have missed.

36 wines in 3 hours works out to 12 tastes per hour…if you’re pacing yourself. I think many people didn’t have the stamina to go the whole distance, the room was a lot less full at the end, but we managed.

You’d think that 36 tastes would have added up to enough to make us drunk, but we were spitting (some of the time), so it was less booze than it sounds like. Of course, I’m pretty sure we were not tasting the final bottles at the same level as the first few. And we did end up going to a liquor store next door and buying $300 in wine…

All in all, a great day. I highly recommend joining Copia, or just visiting. They have a great range of programs that are definitely worth checking out. We paid $15 each to taste 36 quality imported wines, a huge bargain.
Copia Programs

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Investment advice

by Michael Alderete on 7/13/2002

Rochelle recently found this on another web site:

If you had bought $1000 worth of Nortel stock one year ago, it would now be worth $49. If you had bought $1000 worth of Budweiser (the beer, not the stock) one year ago, drank all the beer, then traded in the cans at a redemption center for the nickel deposit, you would have $107.

The blurb concludes that, considering the current economy, the best possible investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle.

Which is pretty funny. But what I don’t understand is why Rochelle was at the Betty Meets Boris web site…

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As if I need an excuse to eat fois gras

by Michael Alderete on 7/7/2002

Just in time for Rochelle’s and my vacation in France (a mere few months away!), news that the low-fat, lots of grains diet may not be good for you. An article in the New York Times asks whether Dr. Atkins isn’t right after all, and we should be eating bacon double-cheeseburgers, without the bun:

Willett is the de facto spokesman of the longest-running, most comprehensive diet and health studies ever performed, which have already cost upward of $100 million and include data on nearly 300,000 individuals. Those data, says Willett, clearly contradict the low-fat-is-good-health message “and the idea that all fat is bad for you; the exclusive focus on adverse effects of fat may have contributed to the obesity epidemic.”

Not that this was going to stop us from being total pigs in France. My personal goal is to eat fois gras every day I am in France. Every day.

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A 50/50 split

July 6, 2002

Thinking about the difference between the public and private sectors, I realized that my professional life is roughly split between the two. I was in my first job, at UC Berkeley, for more than five years. I recently hit the point where my professional life after UCB is longer than the time I spent there.

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The difference between government and private sector

July 2, 2002

Yesterday I tried to register my car at the DMV, and then at a CSAA office. The wait looked like 2 hours at the DMV, and was 2 minutes at CSAA.

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