First Contact and the Black Death

At first glance the two wouldn’t go together. I’m glad to discover I was wrong.

Eifelheim is a book in two ages. A near-future where a historian tries to puzzle out why a town site was abandoned and never resettled, and a small german town in the 1300’s where the local preist is amazed to discover the most unusual pilgrims.

In and about the story, the typical questions are asked and explored about the nature of humanity, as well a few about faith, religion, and the nature of science and research.

I can definitely say I’m glad I read it.

It May Be an Edge Case, But It Shouldn’t Even Be an Issue…

I’ve taken to joking that I love my Macs, but Microsoft does more to give me business… fixing problems.

The latest? Installing an upgrade from the student/teacher version of Office for the Mac to the full version. The installer never asked me for the new license key, which should have been a sign of something going tremendously wrong, but I missed it.

The first sign I caught was not being able to open the existing email libraries. It turns out the S&T version had been updated to 12.1.5, and the version on the installation disc was still 12.0.0, so the libraries could not be opened by the “older” version of Office 2008. Not a huge deal, just run the updates, right?

Well, unless the updates won’t run. I tried running the built-in updater, and downloading the updates separately, but I kept getting the error that there was no software to update, or that the update could not run.

For whatever reason, either the key not being checked against the software version, or the patchers seeing more recent files spread across the computer not affected by installing a fresh copy, would NOT upgrade the older version until I not only uninstalled the application with the built in uninstaller, but deleted all references and preferences in both the system and user directories.

A completely clean install later, and the updates ran, and everything worked. Getting there only wasted five or six hours of working time for two people as well as my time fixing it for a process that should have only taken thirty minutes.

A Year With the iPhone

Well. It has now been a whole year since I got my iPhone.

Insofar as changing my life, well, I’m not making millions in Hollywood, and I don’t have hundreds of devoted followers.

All in all, I’d say that’s a good thing.

It definitely has been a boon though. The ease of email, texting, keeping my calendar on me, etc. has made it much easier to keep my life in order. My wife called it the first phone she didn’t want to throw across the room. It definitely is the first phone she knows how to use everything. Of course, I would not be as happy if the iPhone were still stuck with its original capabilities, as the added software has made all the difference in the world. Google maps and street view have helped me get directions and verify them. Facebook has let me keep in touch with friends. Remember the milk has made todo lists that I can keep with me EASY. I can even read ebooks from Baen and other publishers, IM, check bank balances, keep up on Twitter, or write entries like this to my blog. And then there are the games.

All is not perfect. While most places had better coverage under AT&T, my home coverage continues to be flaky at best. It’s an awkward shape for a phone (though no worse than many Blackberries), and sometimes you trigger something you don’t want to because of the touch screen.

But I’m glad I have it.

–fixed some typos due to my fat fingers while punching it in on my iPhone