Aug 13, 2007

Low-Refrig - A/C Off

We spent the weekend in Little Rock (as previously mentioned, the last "hoorah" before school starts). Had a great time - swimming, shopping, eating! Come sunday, we still have a few errands to run, so my Mom and I get in her Caddilac while Shan, the kiddos, and her Mom get into her Mom's van. All is good for the first couple of places, but after the 2nd or 3rd, I notice the car doesn't seem to be cooling as quickly as it had been. I don't say anything because it is 100+ outside and figure it's just my "hot-natured" self acting up. After our errands, we head down the road toward home. Approximately 75 miles or so still TO GO, and the car starts blowing HOT air. At about the same time, a message on the dash reads, "Low-Refrig - A/C Off." No, that can't be right... We turn off the A/C blower (fan) and we try again. The car responds, "Low-Refrig - A/C Off." AUGH! We power down the windows a bit and continue driving in the 106-degree heat (tha is the OUTSIDE temp, who knows what the temp inside the car is at this point!). Being the stubborn fools we are, we try the A/C again. The car responds, "Low-Refrig - A/C Off." Though, I am pretty sure the car would like to respond, "The A/C doesn't work, you idiots! There is no freon and I am trying to save the car by not letting you run the thing on empty!" However, the car refrains, and only responds with the usual message.

I am young enough to "remember" the days of cars without air conditioning. I do not, however remember 100+ degree heat as a child, however. I finally turn off the fan which was still blowing (the A/C had been shut off by the car, but not the fan). If you have never had to endure insane heat while more hot air is blowing in your face, you are missing a real treat, I assure you. About 40 miles away from home, I pulled over to Mickey-D's for a drink (just some sweet tea, folks!). Eventually, we made our way home, where the welcoming comfort of central air rushed over and around me in a big hug when I entered the house!

That little adventure did raise a question, though: At what age does going "slightly" over the speed limit become "speeding?" Both John (you know, my friend at work) and my Mom are about the same age. They both have this "thing" where they like to watch my speedometer and let me know that I am over the limit. Mom takes the indirect approach - "You know, your sister-in-law has been stopped twice near here for speeding..." Where John is more direct - "Uh, you do know the speed limit is xx here, right?" To which I respond (in both cases) - "Yeah?" Of course I know WHAT the limit is, but that doesn't mean I plan on actually GOING it anytime soon... And, really, I am usually just 5-7 miles over. Okay, sometimes it's like 80 in a 70, but even then, I am usually keeping up with the flow (as opposed to setting the pace).

But, I wondered when does that shift in mentality start? It can't be experience-based (I've gotten a speeding ticket before). I can't help but wonder if it is about the same time the ol' "handicapped" driving thing comes about (refer back to the post about handicapped drivers). Or maybe, it is the same time that the radio becomes "too loud." From my experience, I'm guessing somewhere around 50, a switch in our bodies gets flipped. I've already told my kids some things to watch out ofr, and if I start doing or saying some of those things, they are to "correct" me.. :-)

I saw a sign on a grocery store as I was traveling through Texarkana... It read, "2 Leader Cokes - 4/$5" Yeah, I had to read it twice to make sure....

Monday - Spent part of the morning moving an Audioscience ceiling microphone from one building to another in Texarkana. There is nothing quite like lugging an 8-foot ladder around in 100-degree heat... :-) Spent the other part of the morning trying to hunt down and troubleshoot connectivity to the video system. That's not exactly accurate... I stood around waiting for the techs at the school to troubleshoot connectivity problems... I hate standing around. Nothing wastes my time and abilities more than standing around while someone else tries to hunt down a problem that I could usually find and fix within minutes. i spent more than an hour twiddling my thumbs before I finally had to get back to the office. I handled much of the rest of what needed to be done by cell phone. And, it turns out, some of the problem was not local at all, but a widespread problem with the telephone company in that area.

Here is a bit of useless trivia for you... The Internet connection to Texarkana, Arkansas, is in the Texas LATA. So, in order for data or video to be seen by the folks IN ARKANSAS, their information must travel from Texarkana, Arkansas, to Texarkana, Texas, then to Longview, Texas, and finally be routed back to Little Rock. Honestly, it's a wonder ANYTHING works down there..... For the districts close to Texarkana, it's even worse... Genoa has to send its data to Texarkana, Arkansas, in the first place before taking that whole convoluted trip.

It is very akin to taking a trip from New York to Paris, France, by way of Los Angeles. Or Pittsburgh to Cleveland by way of Philadelphia! Say what!? (All together now - "WHAT!?")

(WARNING - serious geekiness ahead, and on a soapbox no less)
While looking for a way to try to force a web browser to open a new TAB instead of a new WINDOW, I came across the following discussion: ...tabbed browsing question. Now, the gist of the article covers the possibility of forcing a site visitor's web browser to open links from a page in a new IE7 tab, rather than in a new window. But, far and away the funniest (and possibly the most problematic) comment came from the author of the post in response to another person's reply. DIGITALV (the author of the question) says, "I don't care about the W3C and any of that other hippie crap."

Why problematic? For starters, let me say that the author is working on an INTRAnet site (no one from the outside world will see it). That said, I find it more than a little reckless that we have someone who is writing code for an application that becomes highly proprietary. He says he doesn't care because it "is" proprietary. the problem with that logic is that when he leaves for another job, would next person coming in behind him be able to decipher his 'proprietary' coding? This is not some software application we're talking about. We're not creating Windows or Pagemaker. It's a web site. By throwing away the standards set up by the W3C, we go back to the early days of HTML and "the web."

Perhaps that author is too young to understand what life was like circa the early 90's when the World Wide Web had just been invented/created. The INTERNET has been around since the 40's, yes, but the graphical, name-based WEB we have all come to love to hate (or hate to love, or hate, or love for that matter) was not 'born' until the early 1990's. *I* do remember those days. Vividly. Code would work for one browser but not another.

I know, he is only using it within his organization and only with IE7. Still, the fact that he is only seeking a solution to solve HIS problem and not try to come up with a solution that is farther-reaching is irresponsible, in my opinion. And though it may be cool to force new tabs when a user clicks a link, I would not want this person working for me! I am not so dumb to think this person will be at the same company 5, 10, 20 years from now. Yeah, I know, his code would be long gone by 20 years. But, I think you follow, right? You may not agree, but I haven't lost you (for the most part) right?

We have standards for a reason - so that things can be done in different ways, using common methods. Anyone, anywhere can replicate a solution by using those standards. It's the reason a 3/8" screw is the same whether you buy it in Arkansas or Oregon. By using the "hippie crap" (web language) standards put in place by the W3C, any one can use any browser and see standards-based content. When that author leaves his company and no one seems to be able to figure out what he did, they will end up scrapping it all and starting over with something else, most likely standards-based.

I realize that by not following the standards, other standards may come about (monitor and adjust, rule and adapt). So, it is something of a catch-22. Frankly, I don't mind someone playing around with features, creating new features, etc in a non-production environment. But, where you have mission-critical data and applications that serve the organization on a daily (if not minute-by minute) basis, no way... Not on my dime, buddy...
(Okay, I'm off this soapbox for now. Mainly because I started this on a Friday, left it over the weekend, and kinda lost interest in it by the time I got back to it on Monday)


  1. Okay, I don't think the speed limit thing happens at 50. Dean (and I) are almost there, and I think it depends on the person. The other day, Dean engaged the cruise control for a 40 mph zone. AND SET the cruise for 40! I mentioned it and he said that that ws the speed limit. (See my post) But, he still goes 70 - 80 mph on the parkway (where it is posted 55 mph)when going to the racetrack! I don't get it.

    I think that when the passenger is older than the driver, they are just trying to protect them against getting a ticket or an accident.

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