Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sleepless in Sanford

Guess it's my turn to do the not-sleeping-at-night thing. We'll see how I get by tomorrow on three hours of sleep. At least I had a chance to catch up on bookkeeping and filing, making the to-do pile in the office somewhat smaller. I'm still sorting through computer problems as well; trying to get a Win7 and a WinXP machine to play nice is nearly impossible. I know it can be done, but getting it all to work last time involved me making random changes and rebooting both machines until it started to work. I have no clue which random change actually made things work and I frankly don't have the patience at this point to deal with it. Sneaker-net still works (or will as soon as I can figure out which bin has my thumb drive rattling around in it).

Yea; it's been that kind of a week.

Speaking of which, either Win7, iTunes, Songbird, or some random cosmic ray decided that around 700 or so of our MP3 files didn't really need metadata. Song title, artist, album, comments, everything. Poof. I have not a clue. So while they are available, I'm re-ripping our 350 or so CD's. It needed to be done anyway. Most were ripped many many years ago when relatively low bit rates were the norm and embedded album art was still a distant fantasy. I set up a little mini photo studio in the office to get digital copies of the album art (at least half of the album covers for our CD's are nowhere to be found online) and have been ripping and rebuilding our MP3 library. Now that I have what amounts to unlimited disk space, a copy of said library will be tucked away someplace safe where the crapware can't get to it so I don't have to start over every time some pimple-faced geek living in Mommy's basement fat-fingers the code for something I use.

Anybody remember when computer software used to be tested by the people who wrote it instead of unwitting users? I seem to recall something like that waaaaaay back in the mists of time.

With all that going on and some heavy-duty reading on the to-be-read pile, I'm still relatively out of touch with the goings on in the big wide world. I did notice that Roubini is expecting around half of the 800-plus banks on the fed "watch list" to go under. Given that yesterday saw bank number 119 make its last trip around the drain, Roubini seems to be implying that the economy isn't going to make a big bounce in the last quarter of 2010. It will be interesting to see if Roubini is a broken clock or if we should start taking what he says a bit more seriously that we have been. Or not; ramming face-first into brick walls is way more fun.

A meme regarding the usefulness (or more accurately, the complete lack thereof) of many college degrees is gaining traction, this time in the Washington Post. Many of the subjects studied in college used to be taught by apprenticeships. Why are people racking up debt they will be paying off for decades to take college courses in auto mechanics, HVAC and interior design? One point from the article, then I'll shut up. About this. For now:

"There's a billion other things you could do with your money," Altucher says. One option: Invest the money you'd spend on tuition in Treasury bills for your child's retirement. According to Altucher, $200,000 earning 5 percent a year over 50 years would amount to $2.8 million.

Few families have that kind of money lying around. But if you can give your child $10,000 or so to start his own business, Altucher says, your child will reap practical lessons never taught in a classroom. Later, when he's more mature and focused, college might be more meaningful.

Well, it's now about the time I usually get up anyway, so may as well have breakfast and get at it.

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