• XKCD: The East/West terminology always bugged me too. But then, living in California, I figure we’re also Pacific Rim. #
  • What makes people think it’s OK to post insults/threats just because your old blog post isn’t what they wanted to find on Google? # It was on the one about using the disarmed emergency exit as a shortcut during construction…5 years ago. WTF?
  • You know, it would be nice if ABC would SAY things like “In 3 weeks” when they’re going to preempt Pushing Daisies 2 weeks in a row. #
  • I like having (nearly) full movement in my arm again. #
  • End of an era: Our last box of real Sudafed has expired. #

Katie and I got up early so we could hit the polls first thing in the morning and not have to worry about whether we’d be stuck in an insanely long line at the end of the day, like we were in 2004 and 2006. The first thing we noticed was the sound of rain falling outside. Since we were expecting a huge turnout, I’d planned on walking, fearing we might have to park far enough away that we might as well have walked. Fortunately by the time we left, it had died down to little more than a drizzle.

We got to the polling place, an elementary school, about 7:05, just after it opened, found the right line (they had two precincts voting at the same location), and there were only about 15-20 people ahead of us. We got into a conversation with other people around us about the merits of early voting (one guy joked that he’d already voted for the 2012 election), exit polls, and the electoral college.

The poll workers were a surprise. Usually in this area it tends to be older people who volunteer to run the polls, but it seemed like 2/3 of them were in their late teens/early twenties. Katie figured it had to do with the economic slowdown: we know who’s out of work.

They’ve mostly worked out the kinks in the electronic voting system, though they’re now offering a choice of electronic or paper ballot when you sign in. You go through several stations, signing the roll of voters, confirming your address, and finally getting either a paper ballot or an access key for the electronic ballot.

I still don’t like the user interface on these voting machines — it’s a paddle wheel interface, where you rotate a dial to move the selection on the LCD screen forward or back, with buttons to check things off — but it does at least include a printed record. There’s a roll of paper in the machine with a window, and after you’ve confirmed the summary of your selections (with a big red button that says “Cast Ballot”), it prints them out, asks you to confirm the printout, then scrolls it out of view so the next person can’t see what you chose.

Anyway, the whole process took only 35 minutes from finding the line to picking up the “I Voted” sticker. Kids were just starting to line up for class. We went home, dropped off the umbrella (which we never actually needed), picked up our stuff and drove off to work only 15 minutes behind normal schedule.

(Cross-posted from LiveJournal, originally linked in the list below.)

  • It’s like raaaaaain/on Election Day.
  • #votereport #good Only 30 minute wait, no problems with machine around 7am in Orange County, CA. No idea what it’s like now, though.
  • Voting freebies: Might hit Ben & Jerry’s, but don’t see much point in a plain coffee at Starbucks. Maybe if they offered a mocha.
  • Ah, this would explain the 4-hour delay on my “I Voted!” tweet.
  • Wow… 38% of registered voters in Los Angeles County had cast ballots by noon.
  • Deep pink clouds at sunset. Camera turns them orange.

Update: It’s been a while, so I don’t remember for sure if this is the right photo, but the date’s correct and it fits the description.

Sunset clouds

My desktop computer has been a bit flaky for a few months now. Well, more than that. There’s the problem where it won’t display anything in plain-text mode, but that’s not really a big deal. It was when it stopped running anything higher than 1024×768 that I started getting annoyed.

That turned out, oddly enough, to not be the video card. And not the monitor, since I could display higher resolution from the Windows box perfectly fine. And not my OS, since running a live CD had the same problem.

So I figured it was a motherboard issue. Fine, I’ll upgrade. Eventually. Wait ~4 months, and I’m starting to notice data errors on the hard drive. Great.

You know that old saying about how any project requires at least 3 trips to the hardware store? It applies to computers, too.

I finally got around to looking for a decent mobo/CPU/RAM combo, and a new hard drive. Ordered online. Arrived yesterday. Ran backup last night.

Today I dismantled everything, hampered by the fact that I could not find the box that has all the case components (faceplates so I could remove the ZIP drive which I haven’t used in 3 years, etc.), though I did eventually find the screws. After I installed the motherboard, I started plugging in connectors… only to discover that the power supply didn’t have the right kind of connector.

Off to Fry’s to get a new power supply, after stopping at storage to see if I could find that box with faceplates and stuff. No luck, and power supplies are astonishingly expensive, though I found one that fit my specs and was on sale and had a rebate, so that worked out. (Some of them are 1000-watt monstrosities that cost as much as a cheap computer, and in the words of another customer, “look like they should be in a Chevy.”)

Came back, hooked everything up, moved it back into the bedroom to hook everything up…and couldn’t go into the BIOS to set the boot device. After messing around a bit, determined that the text-mode problem, at least, actually was the monitor. So I’m borrowing Katie’s monitor while I install an actual 64-bit OS. Once it’s at the point where I can let it sit for a while, I’m going to run out to Best Buy for a new monitor. I suspect the resolution problem is different, but at this point I’m no longer inclined to suffer through it.

Still, it’s worth the upgrade (assuming, of course, that everything continues to work once I close up the case), since the old system was single-core, 32-bit, and ran on an IDE drive, and the new system is dual-core, 64-bit, will have more memory, a faster bus, a SATA drive, etc. This should be much faster.

Once it’s done, anyway.

Originally posted at LiveJournal.

Current Mood: 😡frustrated