Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

October 19th, 2009:

Odd Lots

  • There appears to be a new online scam that is a first cousin of scareware: Driver updaters. Drivers ride with hardware, and install with hardware, so unless your hardware changes or you do a major OS upgrade, drivers do not need to be updated. Every such updater I’ve researched appears at best to be adware and often much worse. Get your drivers from the hardware manufacturer (or built into the OS) and nowhere else.
  • While trying to determine if Chicago had ever had a radio station WYNR (it did, briefly, from 1962-1965) I ran across this exhaustive list of all broadcast radio stations that have ever operated in Chicago (both AM and FM) with brief discussions of their history.
  • There’s a downside to modern optical drives that spin discs at 50X Not all discs can take it–and when they go, they turn into daggers. I know it took the Mythbusters guys awhile to detonate a CD by spinning it on a Dremel tool, but one wonders if a disc accumulates stress fractures over time and one day just…lets go. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.)
  • Among other things that Carol and I have been using since we were married in 1976 are a Realistic STA-64 30W tuner/amp, a Rival crockpot, and a Sunbeam 16-speed blender. Admittedly, we don’t use them as often as we use our flatware, but we use them regularly, and they all work basically as well as when they came out of the box, way back when I still had all my hair.
  • While not as old as our Rival Crockpot, I still have and use my TI-30 SLR scientific calculator, which I bought in 1983. Won’t do hex, but it’s handled every other piece of math I’ve ever thrown at it.
  • A nameless source in the filesharing community tells me that MP3s of every pop song that has ever charted on Billboard will fit on a single $50 500 GB hard drive. I have no way to verify this, but if true, it’s a good demonstration of what the music industry is facing, and perhaps why they’re as nuts as they’ve gotten in recent years. (I already have an external 320GB USB hard drive that slides into my shirt pocket–and disappears. For $125, I could have one containing 500GB. All of pop music hiding in one shirt pocket. Egad.)
  • From the Wines-To-Avoid-At-All-Costs Department: Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir 2006. A whiff of galvanized iron is not a plus. (Dumped it.)