Month: July 2010


How many of you have had a similar experience to this when dealing with computer stuff? I just did… again.

Douglas Adams – Dongly Things

Time to declare war, I think, on little dongly things. More of them turned up in the post this morning. I’d ordered a new optical disk drive from an American mail order company and, because I live in that strange and remote place called ‘Foreign’, and also because I travel like a pigeon, I was keen to know, when ordering it, if it had an international power supply.

An international power supply is the device which means it doesn’t matter what country you’re in, or even if you know what country you’re in (more of a problem than you might suspect) – you just plug your Mac in and it figures it out for itself. We call this principle Plug and Play. Or at least, Microsoft calls it that because it hasn’t got it yet. In the Mac world we’ve had it for so long we didn’t even think of giving it a name. Nowadays a lot of peripherals come with international power supplies as well – but not all. Which is why I asked.

‘Yes, it does,’ said Scott, the sales assistant.

‘You’re sure it has an international power supply?’

‘Yes,’ repeated Scott. ‘It has an international power supply.’

‘Absolutely sure?’


This morning it arrived. The first thing I noticed was that it didn’t have an international power supply. Instead it had a little dongly thing. I have rooms full of little dongly things and don’t want any more. Half the little dongly things I’ve got, I don’t even know what gizmo they’re for. More importantly, half the gizmos I’ve got, I don’t know where their little dongly thing is.

You can read the full article here. If you do go that site then I recommend you take a look at the The Private Life of Genghis Khan while you are there.



A lesser-known Howard Zinn quote I found really interesting lately was…

“It’s very interesting that intellectual giants and intellectual pygmies often have the same policies.”

He was referring to Reagan and Kissinger. I’ll let you work out which one is which.

However, it raises a few possibilites…

  1. The idiot in the relationship is manipulated by the clever one
  2. They are both clever
  3. They are both idiots

Zinn was actually getting at numbers 1 and 3. In these kinds of political relationship a bad policy is often blamed on the one seen to be less intelligent (Bush, Reagan etc) because they are seen to be stupid. However, if the policies are coming from the more intelligent guy in the shadows…doesn’t that make him an idiot too?


“Sometimes I think that the greatest sign that there is intelligent life somewhere in the universe is that it hasn’t tried to contact us yet.” – Bill Watterson, “Calvin and Hobbes”

“Earth is an insane asylum, to which the other planets deport their lunatics.” – Voltaire, in Memnon the Philosopher

Another cartoon from Rick…


I have been very busy. Things calming down now though so should have some more regular posting.

A small point though. BBC were saying tonight that New Zealand were the only team ever to go out the world cup without losing a match. This is completely untrue.

Several teams have been in this position but the unluckiest were in fact Scotland in 1974 who won one game and drew 2 but still managed to go out.

Here is a BBC photo to prove it…