Welcome! This site is a bit of a work in progress, but you can still check out my most recent writings below!
- Wayne circa many years ago
A Lost Entry: Strangers and Obliviousness
Here's you a momentary glimpse into my obliviousness towards strangers, even attractive ones. So yesterday, I went to church and decicded I wanted to go get some ice cream after. I invited one of the guys from church there cuz why not? As usual, I'm quite the speed demon, so even though we left at the same time, I got there much faster than the other guy and I decided to go in and get us a spot in line. There was nobody there except a couple of cute girls having a good ol time just chatting as presumably close friends. They were just far enough from the line that it was hard to tell if they were actually waiting in line or just in the way. I waited for a few minutes, then decided to slightly butt in just to ensure I wasn't wasting my time. "Are you guys in line?" The cuter one answers: "Yeah, just waiting to get served... thank you though". Unphased, I just continue waiting for my turn. They ordered sundaes, so it was a few more minutes until I got to finally put in my order. The other guy had showed up at this point, and he also spotted the girls about as quickly as I did. We placed our orders and sat down not too far away from them. Of course, I noticed the staring, but I wasn't going to do anything about it. I was in the zone with the goal of eating my ice cream before it melted. I had a decent chat with my church pal, and that's about all there SHOULD'VE been to it. We started heading out and once again, those girls were in line for ice cream. Weird, right? Maybe this was a weird attention ploy or something as we looked face to face, but all I quietly uttered was "I guess they're going for seconds?" as I walked toward the door. Yet again, nothing processed in my mind until the last second what was happening. Classic me move.
A Lost Entry: The Curse of the Manager
Have you ever seen that one person who you just can't seem to figure out? It's easy to let your mind wander to the quiet people like me who scare little kids with their silence, but that's not quite what I mean either. It's the talkative ones that can't be understood that make for a much more unique and interesting case.
In my experience, I can count the amount of similar encounters I've had with my fingers, and I hope it stays that way. It makes me very uncomfortable when I can't have that edge in manipulation I'm so used to. I'm only reflecting on such things because I just recently had such an encounter, so why not share it?
Let's start from the beginning. I had this customer that has been a long term regular. They're pretty loaded, but naturally, the boss is too busy spending his money to even bother talking with us. This is where we get the ever changing office managers who step in and out of their positions. Each tenure seem to begin with radical new ideas to make the office great again, then they suddenly dissapear. One of them STUNK (physically), but otherwise they seemed to be fairly normal people. Maybe they were until they started grasping the ins and outs of the position. Maybe the manager's office is haunted? I didn't know any of them long enough to ever know. It must be a stressful position because there are plenty of long term office staff there who would be more than qualified, getting them a pay raise, but they refuse. In my ignorance, I once asked why nobody wants to do it, and nobody could give me a straight answer. The boss would rather have his ex mother in law work in that management position than have someone else do it if that says anything. Even she, despite having just a few marbles left, couldn't handle the position and resigned a few months ago. She decided to start a side hustle in an abandoned bank instead, which was kinda cool to setup internet in at least.
Anyways, about a year ago, there was another opening for the cursed management position and again, nobody batted an eye. The person I found most suitable for the job even left the building not much longer in response. She was that scared of getting asked that dreaded question again. The position remained dormant for a while until I then get an email from the boss to make the new manager an email account. I call in and give the new manager the login information, not knowing anything about who she is. She just thanks me and asks why her computer is so sucky. I had an easy answer. That computer did suck, but nobody would listen to me in replacing it. She found it unbearable and instantly wanted me to look into replacing it. I wasn't going to complain since I've wanted that computer replaced for months, but I did find it odd she was coming in hot on her first day like that. I gathered a quote, and before you know it, we have an order for 3 new computers, dual monitors for all, and a request to replace their practice software.
This struck me as really odd. Why would they replace something they've been using for nearly a decade and start over just because the new chick says so?
This entry and the entry above aren't necessarily complete, but I figured I should upload them anyways just so my forgotten entries from earlier this year aren't lost to time! I'll fix the jank someday!
The Unofficial Apple Repair Guy
Have you ever just said “screw it” and decided to do something you really didn’t think you had the skill to do? That was me today. It’s just too bad that it lead to a series of unfortunate events directly after, starting with an odd repair request at work. My boss really wanted me to fix an iPhone 5.
Odd request, I thought. I knew first hand that the iPhone 5 was a paperweight these days due to the 3G shutdown last year. You may ask why such a techie person would be using a phone on the 3G network. It was a valid reason. Out of frustration with carrier bloat that often plagued Android phones, I had a phase at one time where I would import the latest Galaxy phone from the UK. This was so I could use the typically faster Exynos chip, making the carrier bloat literally incompatible with my phone. It was a genius hustle, and my reception was perfect since nobody used 3G in 2020, until it was shut down the year after. At least I convinced my carrier to give me a free iPhone for the trouble before putting my SIM in a modded Pixel.
Anyways, back to the story. I was pretty sure there was not a valid reason to repair an iPhone 5, unless heaven forbid, someone’s mom had 2TB of photos on it worth saving. I wasn’t going to say no though, so I prodded about it a bit more to make it a pointless repair. Surely enough, I was correct that we were discussing the wrong phone, but that didn’t get me out of the repair. The phone I got was the 1st Gen iPhone SE. The tiny budget iPhone of yesteryear that everyone’s grandparents rave about, despite blowing up the text to an unreasonably large size. It looks just like a 5s externally, so I can see where someone could get the two confused. Along with it came a full repair kit, so at that point, I didn’t have the excuse that I lacked the tools necessary so it was going to happen. Yay.
I pulled up instructions on the disassembly, and it didn’t look too bad. No crazy adhesive machines needed or anything, so that was good. I know modern iPhones can be a nightmare to fix without a laboratory worth of fancy gadgets but this phone predated that nonsense. I can admire continuing to use it in that regard. It has a headphone jack, so I honestly wouldn’t be too upset to still use one. The disassembly instructions I found said basically to pull off the screen “gently, but don’t break it”, so that was great help in gauging how hard to pull on it. After about an hour of casually fidgeting with this glass deathtrap as we had our weekly meeting, I finally got the screen off and started digging in.
Disassembly was easy, but reassembly was awful. The battery was stuck on with this adhesive that gave me ‘Nam flashbacks to trying to replace a 2017 MacBook Pro battery. It’s doable to remove with just prying tools… if you have an hour of time on your hands. That glue is hardcore, and there’s no way you can save the original battery with how much bending it requires. I know a good battery wouldn’t, but the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco came to mind as I was working on the removal. I’d just poke the battery in the wrong spot, causing it to blow up, the office would burn down, and it would be all my fault. At least the insurance money would get us an office with a worthwhile toilet. It’s the simple things. The tricky part of trying to piece the phone back together just right was that all the ribbon cables for the display were in the WORST spot ever, putting stress on ribbons by just moving the upper glass, giving me uncertainty of a solid connection.
My first attempt to reassemble did not give me much hope. The display was blocky and had no touch. I was certain I just broke some guy’s phone and didn’t even bother to do a backup first. Quite the screw up. The boss and I were even plotting how we were gonna dispose of the body given that this corpse supposedly had someone’s important data on it. Turns out, the boss had hyped up my repair skills to the owner and kinda already got paid for the job in advance. Great. Before officially calling it quits on the repair, I did try one more time in reattaching the ribbons, and it did work, somehow. I wasn’t going to question it. I just wanted this phone away from me. It could’ve had the cure to cancer in there for all I knew. I didn’t even bother to mention how the display’s single connector was connected without any kind of shielding to keep the peace in all parties involved.
Feeling accomplished, I even was up to the task of a walk in repair of a customer with a dead MacBook Air. Typically, I would’ve talked cost and tried to run them out the door with my very valuable time, but I was on a roll today. I knew exactly how to diagnose if I had my tools at home, so I was glad to match the official Apple repair price and take on the task. Always gotta give them that microscopic middle finger when it comes to repairs. I felt like the coolest unofficial Apple technician at that point, so why not keep the train rolling with some at home repairs?
The Mac repair I’d been putting off for a day like this was a frustrating one. I have a 2019 Intel iMac that I recently SSD modded, which was a terrifying endeavor given it was my own computer. I probably would’ve been fearless to do this exact operation for another client, but repairing my own stuff introduces a complex level of potential frustration. I can only be frustrated with myself in the event of a screw up, and also cost myself a LOT of money to make up for it. Anyways, the SSD mod went pretty well, except that I forgot to check ONE port of the board for proper alignment when screwing it back in. That was enough that the USB C was entirely unusable, so I had to take it completely apart a second time just to fix that. I was pretty content with the outcome at that point, having a 1TB OWC Aura to replace the major flaw of an HDD in an otherwise beautiful configuration. The only problem that time was that I bought cheap adhesive for the screen, and surely enough, the adhesive was already starting to come loose in just a month. That put me where I am now. I paid the premium for seemingly OEM Apple adhesive, and got to work reattaching the screen for an hour or so. This was going to end things once and for all. No more having to take apart the iMac, ever. I carefully followed instructions, and took extra precautions this time to really make everything align just perfectly. I sealed it up, and it looked factory new. No signs of intrusion whatsoever. I gave myself the biggest pat on the back, and hauled it back to its usual resting spot. I go to plug it in, hear the fans spin up, and see the Apple logo… on my external monitor. That’s when it hit me; I didn’t reattach the ribbon cable for the display, making that hour of work for nothing. Anyone who has repaired an iMac knows this is a major screw up. Not only does this mean I have to take it apart again, but it means I have to buy another adhesive kit to reattach the screen. In order to get the iMac apart, the adhesive has to be destroyed. Nothing you can do about it, and of course this is by design. I did try my best to lightly remove it this time. It had been literally minutes since I applied it, so surely it wasn’t that sticky, right? I was terribly wrong. My attention to detail made it very difficult to reuse the adhesive after connecting the display ribbon. I was in the zone today, and 2 days shipping wasn’t going to get in the middle of that. In frustration, I did ghetto rig something together, and I’m sure nobody but me will be bothered by it in its current state.
My frustration with the direction Apple is going only continues, and now I have this cruel reminder of a botched repair right in front of my face as I type this. My dream computer of just a few years ago is already about to be obsolete, and now it isn’t even factory new kinda pretty anymore. I regularly consider if I want to sell this iMac while it has any decent value, but I dunno, it’s quite sentimental in the timeline of my computer hijinks, and the SSD makes it silky smooth to use. It’s mostly just the money that’s talking me into selling right now. What really sucks in getting this iMac is the timing I bought it. Being the second to last Intel iMac, I got an amazing experience for the first couple of years, only for it to be yesterday’s news in just an instant. I can’t even have that enjoyment of a “custom” Mac for long, since Intel Macs are already dropping in support like flies. In the Intel days, Macs used to be difficult, but not impossible to mod. Hackintosh was also like… the coolest thing in my mind, but that’s gone now too. I guess my dreams of being the unofficial Mac guy weren’t really viable anyways. Before long, all Mac repairs will be board level, and that’s the last thing I want to be doing with my life.
An Update in These Trying Times
Oh hey, the first time I remembered to post here in 2023! You may wonder what I've been up to (or probably not because I suck with consistency here), so I'll give you the summarized version. For one, I've been working on... myself? Yeah, I aparantly have feelings. They don't take precedence of course, but you know, I don't necessarily fit the "robotic" personality as much anymore these days. Funny enough, that's what actually started me on this blog in the first place. Robots can't have feelings, so I just decided I would share some humorous stories or make random comments on technology. It honestly has been quite the train wreck on the back end in trying to accomplish that. Not only am I inconsistent in my postings, but the quality. In my mind, quality only comes out of truly thinking my stories out, maybe with Annie's help. I have plenty of short one offs that I could spam here, but quality over quantity reigns supreme. However, not a single quality post has crossed my mind in 2023. My only "vault" piece you haven't seen was written in 2022, and it just explains lots of missing details that I probably should've shared sooner to fully understand what I do. Oops. Where does this leave me? Well, today's discovery of the impressiveness of Open AI may explain it best.
For those of you who don't know about it, I'm right there with you. I just know that the guys at work find it infinitely entertaining. The idea is that you can just literally talk to it like a person. It can do things from helping with code to writing pretty decent short stories. Today's was about an affair I had with a PC just from the keywords "Wayne" and "Loves PC". It was quite a tearjerker, and just kept getting better the more time he left it to process and revise the story. We ended up running away together, by the way. The point here is that, I guess my Open AI core is broken or something. No tearjerkers, just rants about end users that all IT techs have. I'd rather not bore you with that, so I will just wait it out until I have that PERFECT story for sharing here. Perhaps a few cringey fables of a hopeless romantic? Annie is typically good at pointing out potential blog entries anyways, so there is a sliver of hope I'll find some sort of inspiration and update you on it!
Speaking of things Annie nagged me into doing, we did release a FRIGGIN BOOK, which you can check out here. She did most of the work, but hey, having my name on it is good enough for me. I also changed this site to use Zonelets, only to realize I was using it on hard mode AFTER the port. Yes, it's possible, only taking me 4 or so hours to realize it. That'll eventually get fixed, and I'll have clickable buttons and subpages. Riveting!
Lastly, I hope you feel equally optimistic about 2023 as I do. I can't help but shake it. Maybe I'll find an audience after all! Maybe I'll finally finish Persona 5! Maybe I'll actually learn HTML! Regardless, I hope you like my ramblings. I'd be absolutely thrilled to see any sort of growth here, so I'll offer you a follow right back for a follow. See you in the next post sometime next year :)
The Fast Food Chronicles: Part III
Lastly, I have a tale of a random DQ in a far away town. It was a Friday, and I was spending some overdue alone time at a client’s place that was about an hour drive away. I only do work for them on Fridays since they’re very busy people, but they are closed on that day. Going out there on a Friday almost feels like an adventure, like for example, how difficult it can be to tame their fancy alarm system. The first time I went to this place on a Friday, I was given a key, a code, and a stern warning that if I fail to enter the right code, the police are automatically called. To make matters worse, it detects when someone is close to the building, so I could be marked as a bad guy just in trying to get the door to take my key. Surely enough, the back door doesn’t like it so I had to suspiciously use the front door. I literally looked and felt like a criminal in my huge coat and hood.
Once I got in, I at least outsmarted that stupid alarm, making it only go off for 5-10 seconds. This smoked my old record of about 30 seconds. Next came the dilemma of if I wanted to turn on the lights. I could turn them on, but then the neighbors next door would be pretty suspicious of me. I just always had that off feeling that if I didn’t keep a low profile while going here, the neighbors would be the ones calling the cops. I already had it looming in my mind that the alarm system would somehow come back to life and get me busted, but what could I do? At least I finished pretty early this time… or so I thought.
It never fails that I end up getting so into my work that I take a 3 o clock lunch, but at least the lines at most restaurants are much shorter at that time. The DQ nearby sounded like a fine solution, which brings me to a brief but odd exchange in the drive through. I pull up and I am the only person there, so the drive through worker is instantly ready for me. “Just order when you’re ready”, I hear from the voice of a 30 something year old lady. Moments later, I start my order, only to be interrupted and confused by a guy with a super strong Indian accent. “I’d like a Dude combo..” “Dude? Dude sandwich?” “Uh, yes. No tomato…” “you want dude sandwich meal?” “Yes, with a Dr. Pepper to drink” “You want drink in cup?” “Yeah, just a medium Dr. Pepper” “Ok. Dude sandwich. Drink in cup. Please pull forward”. I expect to go to the window and be face to face with a goofy Indian dude, but no, it was the lady whose voice I heard earlier. I guess she was doing other things during my order since she seemed oblivious to my confusion. Despite seeing a sign in the window saying “we are low on condiments”, I test my luck by asking if I could get some ketchup. She happily agrees and closes the window, only for me to quietly hear the guy I was expecting to see. “WE DO NOT HAVE KETCHUP. NO KETCHUP”. She opens the window and I get… a single packet. Good for me, but only adds to the questions going through my mind as I made my drive back to the office.
There isn’t really a basis to any of these stories other than they were strange, but I hope you enjoy them regardless! Make sure you have a Merry Christmas and anticipate for my (hopeful) redesign of the site to not be so jank. I'm finally going to just work with Zonelets on creating a new site based on a template. It's gonna be great when it eventually happens.
The Fast Food Chronicles: Part II
If you haven't read my introduction on The Fast Food Chronicles, I encourage you to do so in order to judge me regarding these fast food stories. I'm fully aware I can be lazy and stingy, but it's good that I just focus my time on what I'm good at, right? Full disclosure, I don't like Gates, but here's a neat and relevant quote.
“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” - Bill Gates
The next story is about a Burger King that I’ve visited more times than I’d like to admit. That location and the food sucks, but the food checks two of the boxes I’m looking for. They’re cheap and quick. My go to before food prices got stupid was just getting things off the 1,2, and 3 dollar menus. I could curb my hunger for under 5 bucks, and the location was super close to the office. I started becoming a regular to this BK as I had days where I’d be stumped on a remote job while sitting at my work computer. I could grab lunch and eat as I’m thinking through the task at hand, so why not stop at the BK nearby? I should’ve just stopped going after the continuous screw ups of my orders, but I didn’t. They enticed me.
The mishaps started with what I thought was a stroke of luck. I ordered a $1 burger and end up with a Whopper. Nice! It had tomato, but I wasn’t complaining. The worker behind the counter seemed to know little English, so I wasn’t going to try correcting her. The next trip, I ordered some chicken nuggets and ranch. I got japaleno poppers and a TON of ketchup. Who does that? The same lady was there and I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I went with it again. The third time, I ordered a cheeseburger and got two fish sandwiches. This time, I’m convinced I got some poor old lady’s order, which makes it even funnier because she was waiting for forever ahead of me and probably saw them hand me what they did. I had come out on top with every order so far, getting something that costs more than what I paid for. This made going to that BK an event, providing wonder of what was I going to get the next time I went. Would they somehow start to screw up my drink orders too? Would I get the bountiful gift of some family’s gigantic order in place of my own? The possibilities were endless, so I made yet another trip there on this principle alone. I had to know if they could top the fish sandwich mishap.
I placed my order of a double bacon cheeseburger with mayo, small fries, and a Coke. I’d yet to order anything of this complexity before, so I eagerly awaited to see what they would come up with this time. I had zero faith they would get it right, and it was exciting. I eagerly checked my bag, and my order looked correct. Burger, fries, and a drink. No fish sandwich or poppers, sadly. The highlights were that I got a root beer instead of Coke and the burger had mustard on it. I was heartbroken. I was going to eat what I paid for, no doubt, but where was this mysterious outcome I paid extra to see? The difference was that the lady who I had gotten used to as the order taker had been moved to kitchen staff while some dorky guy took orders in his proper English. It was disgusting. I didn’t return again until I was desperate and dying of starvation months later. They actually would give me what I ordered, but at least were cool enough to not nickel and dime me for condiments like lots of modern fast food joints. Maybe one day, I’ll go through that drive through and hear that familiar sound of “hi, order when reddy” in a strong Latina accent, but until them, that BK is strictly there for the annoying task of filling my belly. It was nice while it lasted.
The Fast Food Chronicles: Part I
I’ve realized through my work that I am great at what I do, but I fail pretty hard at branching out into other, non tech kind of things. One such example is cooking. My skillset may change if I were to live on my own to try cooking without judgement from literally everyone around me, but until then, I just don’t try. My biggest achievement in cooking so far is that I’ve made edible pancakes and that I’ve found a solid ratio to make a new pitcher of tea. When it comes to packed lunches during the work week, I simply don’t want to pack a sandwich every day, but it’s not like I could do better. Every time I try to make a habit of bringing a lunch, it never fails that I get too busy at a far away location to even get to eat anyways. Given my lack in cooking skills, I leave several of my meals to the hands of the experts at fast food joints. Fast food is honestly a frustrating endeavor for me. Plenty of people would be jealous of all the places I’ve tried, but I honestly don’t have anywhere I would willingly visit daily. It’s always a balance of price, speed, and taste, with one aspect taking precedence based on my mood. Since I spend so much time trying to find that golden list of meals that bring a perfect balance, I have plenty of stories to accompany them, which is what I’d like to share here. I’m convinced that this tendency to be in the right place when weird people strike was passed down to me from my mom if you’ve read enough of my stories.
We’ll start with a story when I was probably 18. At that point, fast food was still a treat for me since I never got to have it as a kid. I was pretty stingy around that time though. I didn’t really have a reason to be, but I just felt wrong in spending any money since I was in college. As such, I decided to hit up Jack in the Box because they had a promo that you could get free tacos if the local football team scored in the first quarter. Being the cheeky fella I was, I figured I would give it a try. I make my order with a typical teenage fast food worker kinda guy. Just as I was finished ordering I decided I’d mention “oh, and I think they scored in the first quarter”. Before I could even get a response out of the monotone kid on the other line, I get a voice of a 40 year old woman saying in an annoyed tone “sir, they didn’t even play yesterday”. Luckily, the exchange was through the drive through speaker. No awkwardness involved, other than locking eyes with the manager who ruined my stingy method of getting free tacos as I got my food. Although, it didn't stop me from using my coupons with a smirk on my face.
Writing is kinda hard...
Sheesh. I write this blog as if I have regular readers, and if that were true, I'd sure be in trouble. It's been nearly 3 months. I even left off with the expectation that my backlog would finally show itself. While this next entry is not from the backlog, it is something I've intended to write for a long time. I believe I just have some aura that attracts weird people and sometimes the results are at least funny or interesting. The story for today was written in three parts and I intend to post it that way to fluff up the entries a bit. It feels weird to release it all at once given that it's just a mishmash of short stories. Enjoy!
I Feel Old
As I age, my relationship with older games gets interesting. Many of my core gaming memories were on Xbox 360 and my crap laptop, so anything I survived back then is perfectly acceptable to play today. Or so I thought. Man… them graphics suck sometimes. This furthers my appreciation for the devs who made their games have a simplistic style rather than trying to be realistic. Realism typically DOESN'T age like fine wine. The smoothing introduced with backwards compatibility on Xbox One kinda fixed this, but at the end of the day, I feel like OG Xbox has aged better its successor because devs didn’t try anything cute back then. Everything was so chunky, so games were designed so there was no room to second guess what things were. Plus, you gotta consider that they had to make these games look presentable on tiny CRTs of the time. The worst offender of the jank I experience would probably be old PC games. When I had all the time in the world with a crappy laptop, that was my life and I was much more tolerant of old games. I actually finished several throughout my early teen years. Going back, with a nice rig that can actually play them above 20 FPS, my patience wears thin. Not to mention the niceties of stuff like AutoSave and suspending being left out to really screw over the experience.
BUT… nothing beats real hardware when it’s a good game. The aesthetic. It’s beautiful. Yeah I could be playing KOTOR on a modern PC with graphics mods, but why not go for the ugly 480p textures of the OG Xbox instead? It’s the system the devs made the game for in the first place anyways. N64 with RetroTink playing Mario Kart 64? Wonderful. Battle for Bikini Bottom with a Duke controller? What could be better than that? I have quite a love hate relationship with my collection right now for those reasons. The pandemic really drove up the price of a lot of my favorite gaming goodies right now and it’s honestly a regular struggle if I should sell. Sure could get me some shiny new toys. I’ve collected just about all the old games I want at the moment anyways so it’s not like there are any extras I could easily pawn off. They do take up way too much space I can say that much. I can't win either way.
It begins! A glimpse into the backlog!
Welp, I admittedly have a bit of writer's block right now. The more I focus on work, the less my creative juices flow it seems. I really need a dedicated quiet place to go to after work. I've told myself that for years. I think it may be officially time. Until I'm back in the groove, enjoy the backlog of stuff I wrote earlier this year!
TextEdit - The Greatest Tool Known to Man
If you’re weird like me, you like to open the most convenient word processor as you’re using a computer just to have a spot for easy copy and paste access. I’d argue this is a core feature of any OS, and I judge the built in editor as a heavy component of what OS is best for the job. Of course, there are only 3 major OSes out there, so it kinda is, kinda isn’t a loaded request to touch upon each of them, but that’s not even the point of this writing in the first place. Don't even get me started on Linux distros. Anyways, today's ramblings are an appreciation piece to bring to light the BEST word processing application, TextEdit.
TextEdit is, in just a sentence, the Mac equivalent of Notepad for Windows. Upon first glance, they seem pretty much the same. Just a blank background and an empty canvas to write on. However, once you start clicking through the options, that’s when you realize how drastically different the two are. TextEdit can do everything.
Probably the best way to portray how great TextEdit is would be comparing it to Notepad. In Notepad, you can type. You can set “Word Wrap”, where the text either goes past the viewable parts of your window, or so you can see it all. Then you can save as TXT or print. That’s it. Honestly, it’s beautiful. The lack of bells and whistles is just what I need when I use it. It launches on literally anything in seconds. There’s absolutely nothing in your way to scribbling your ramblings. Not even auto correct. Plus, it works as a pretty decent way to decode what practically anything does. Go on. Open a script, or some other random file type in Notepad. Good chance you’ll see something of interest. Opening random things in Notepad and 7 Zip was honestly a core memory of my teenage computer hijinks. Man, Notepad was and is great. Can’t even knock it. BUT… this is where TextEdit comes in. My true love.
TextEdit starts up and looks practically the same as Notepad. Word Wrap is on by default and as far as I know, there isn’t a way to turn it off. Just fine by me. Only slightly annoying for when I want to edit a snippet of code since several lines on my screen could represent what is actually one line of text when thrown into a compiler. You do notice that there are a few Word-like options at the top though. The text size can be changed. You can change the font. You can bolden or underline text. Amazing, right? Really basic features when you compare it to Word, sure, but they are welcome and appropriate options. You can even then convert the text to Plain Text, giving it formatting that will carry over when viewed in Notepad. The Notepad master race has no room to talk this time. I haven’t even mentioned the best part though. When you go to the Save As menu, you can save as RTF, HTML, DOC, DOCX, or XML. The inclusion of DOC and DOCX is a HUGE inclusion since these are the industry standard text file types of today. I’ll proudly admit that my first few job Resumes were written in TextEdit because I didn’t want to have to install Office. It worked! By extension, DOCX compatibility allows opening of Word documents in TextEdit. That alone made it my most used app throughout college. Making my assignments and lab instructions look the most boring and basic way possible helped with my concentration tremendously. I no longer had to cringe at how badly the teacher was at using Word or fight the auto formatting just to answer questions! Side note, LEARN HOW TO PAGE BREAK AND PARAGRAPH PROPERLY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR. TextEdit allowed me to work on most school related things without ever installing the Office suite. This was all while sipping battery in comparison to Word full on chugging that battery juice. I can even pick up my work without a hitch on the ol’ reliable White MacBook. That’s insane.
To this day, TextEdit is just as important to me as a web browser in my everyday computer tasks. I’m doing all my coding for the blog… in TextEdit. I’m writing this entry… in TextEdit. All my notes… are in TextEdit. I do believe it only remains in Mac OS as a remnant due to how little it has changed over the years, but I’m perfectly fine with that. The simplicity is what makes it so great. I only have one concern regarding TextEdit as Apple starts making major changes to Mac OS. Please. Pretty please. Leave it alone.
M2 Thoughts (Post Announcement)
Notice: I wrote this on 6/8/22 to be precise. My thoughts on the M2 introduction were fresh and likely a bit uninformed at the time.
- Sent from my 2010 White MacBook :)
Here we are just days after WWDC 2022 and the second generation of Apple Silicon has been announced. If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for this day since the release of M1 since Apple notoriously skimps out on the first generation of new technology. The new Air is announced. M2 Processor, new colors, MagSafe port, Liquid Retina display. Man, what a fine piece of machinery. Only one problem. NO PURPLE. I was really hoping that like the rumors said, the new Air would release in a color scheme like the new iMac. What we got instead was a new Midnight Blue color and a Gold color. Lame.
I know how ridiculous it sounds to turn down a new laptop just because it doesn’t come in the color I hoped for, but there was also an underlying factor that kept me away from the new generation of Macs. Modularity. The fact that the color I wanted wasn’t an option just reinforced my plans. With the introduction of M1, gone are the days of any sort of end user repairs. Sure you can replace standard laptop components like the screen and keyboard, but the majority of what we care about is on the board. The single board that houses almost everything on the computer. The board that doesn’t have any removable parts. Boo. I understand this is a necessity of switching to what are essentially beefed up iPad chips, but it still rubs me the wrong way I can’t do any sort of service to it like I could before. My current daily driver is a 2014 MacBook Air. Like many, I also patched it to run Monterey since Apple’s prevention of allowing it to run on there is 100% pointless. It gets the job done exceptionally well. I rarely hear the fans running and it stays snappy in all the everyday tasks I do. No complaints. Yes, I could compare it to the M1 Air and see that the M1 wipes the floor in comparison, but what good does that do for me? The Air is a lightweight laptop for basic tasks. Why do I care if it can outclass a gaming rig? I just want to be able to fix stuff when it fails and it can continue its job as it has for years now.
Now let’s compare that to an M1 Air. Excellent machine. For now. What about when it needs a new battery in a few years? There are dozens more steps involved than just the few screws it takes for the old Air. It’s all to encourage the end user to go to Apple for repairs, but admittedly, the challenge is what I enjoy about Mac products. The older, modular ones that have a cool community of third party parts to choose from. That’ll be gone almost entirely in just a few years with the transition from Intel.
I and many others get a kick out of doing “custom” Mac builds since Apple discourages any sort of modification through difficult to repair builds, and the M1 makes that challenge nearly impossible now. Hackintosh is essentially dead. RAM upgrades are going to be done strictly through custom order. I can’t even insert a new internal drive. It’s a sad state of affairs, and I hope that a crafty community comes up with solutions that will bring the somewhat openness of Intel Macs back to this new generation. Until then, I plan to use my Air until it is too unsupported to use securely. Or when Apple releases a purple MacBook already. That will shut me up.
My Experience with Bumble
My experience with Bumble was quite scarring, but went as I expected it to. The concept sounded promising enough in that you just swipe left or right based on your preferences. I always felt sleazy in using this system though. It’s like I’m itemizing people or something. Something about dating apps just rubs me the wrong way and my experience of actually trying it just furthered my beliefs. To start, I set a few guidelines for myself. First off, I was not going to spend any money on it. Second, I would install it on an old phone, not my everyday phone to avoid temptation. Third, I wouldn’t keep it for longer than a month, also a counter measure so I don’t get too addicted to it. I logged in via phone number, excited for the possibilities awaiting me. I go to edit my account and… ouch. I created one long ago that I totally forgot about. The pictures I had there were easily 4 years old and pretty terrible. Deleted them. Now to insert a new picture of myself. Too bad I didn’t have any. My graduation photo will work, I guess. Onto the “About Me” section. I decided to be purposely vague on my stances of a lot of things when it asked about things like smoking and politics. Nothing is more of a turn off to me than when someone is loud and proud about any of their beliefs on this list. Can’t they have a personality outside of “I drink a lot”? If people would be cool enough to at least swipe on those that they are halfway into, it would go a long way in my opinion. Just pictures and a basic description are pretty terrible in representing most people. I feel this is especially detrimental to myself. On the surface, I’m a very boring person, but I have plenty of interesting things to say. Things that aren’t really worth sharing on a dating site. I also feel for the inevitable perfect matches I turned down just because they were just as discouraged by this app. Don’t really know how it could be improved, but I do feel for people that really see this as their only method of finding a significant other. It’s easy to think that when alone.
Anyhow, the app itself. I saw a decent amount of girls I’d like to hang with. I’d swipe right. I’d run out of swipes. I’d repeat the process the next day. It never really went anywhere though. I’d carry around that old phone with me in anticipation it would go off with anything. Nothing at all. The second day I had the app was arguably the most exciting. I got a match! I excitedly check it out. Not only was it an accidental match, but she didn’t bother to send me a message. What a rush. The process continued. Swipe till I run out. Try again the next day. Nada. I get the really smart idea that maybe I should make a new profile picture. One with… my dog in it. That’s what all these girls are using in theirs. That’s the ticket. As I’m awkwardly sitting alone with just my dog, I force her to cuddle up with me. It was important! I tried to smile in each take, but something felt off. I guess my small mouth and big teeth were really showing at that angle. It never bothered me before, but it suddenly did here. I couldn’t help but be dissatisfied with the result no matter how I angled it. I was self conscious when I otherwise wasn’t, but I also was not about to stoop to using filters or something like that. That’s where I got a good angle of my dog’s big antenna ears covering some of my mouth. Bingo. Pretty meh picture, but it was a decent representation of myself I suppose. It’s got a dog in it. Not much more you could ask. I upload that photo as my profile picture and keep at the daily grind. I was determined.
It was the next day that it hit me I had been very much manipulated by this app in just a few days. I installed, spent hours trying to fix up my profile, spent several more trying to make it more appealing, then spent almost the majority of my evenings swiping until I couldn’t anymore. There were evenings where I would legitimately spend all my time off work just on that phone. I’d leave it on and plugged in, full volume with notifications, waiting for that dose of dopamine that signaled acceptance. Only… it never came. Not once. The final straw for me was the proceeding night. I’d left the old phone turned on before I went to bed. My main phone is scheduled to go into Do Not Disturb, but for some reason it didn’t this time, and it went off from a 2AM text I got. I instantly sprung awake. The only time I ever wake up from a notification on my phone is if I’m expecting something important. My unconscious mind was that desparate for that ding of acceptance.
In a last ditch effort, I decided to try out the BFF section. Yeah, I wasn’t really expecting to find any real friends there, but maybe the friends I made there would lead to references to get me a date? Worst case, I find people that I may vibe with, I suppose. I had my filters set to just about anyone. I got to work. This time, I really gave anyone that didn’t show red flags a chance. I actually spotted a few guys I wouldn’t mind hanging with. That’s pretty rare. However, same result. The swipes were at least more common though. I had 6 in one day towards me, but I sadly didn’t match with them. I make my first match and we get far enough that we add each other on Discord. That was it. Second match started with a “hey”, and instant ghost after I came in way too hot with the questions most likely. I honestly don’t blame her.
What was my take away from my time on Bumble? I’m glad I did it, but only because it confirmed what I already thought about dating apps. They are a toxic waste of time. The entire experience provided almost no positivity and gave me a good idea of the kinds of girls I should expect to see. Sheesh, it sure makes me feel like I’m picky. Ironically, that’s the root of the entire fault in using the app. When given so many choices of dates right there, it’s easy to dismiss anyone who doesn’t meet 100% of the desired criteria. If anything, I’m now emboldened to try making moves in person. Less to lose if I’m a stranger talking face to face, right? I don’t have social media of any kind, so I’ll just be that weirdo handing out my phone number like it’s 2008. I get why they romanticize high school crushes so much now. At least there, it was easier to date because everyone visited the same building as their crush for 4 years straight.
Evenings with the Sales Guy
Ya know… sometimes I wonder. Am I a tech guy, or a sales guy? It’s a regular thought that crosses my mind both personally and professionally. Let’s start with a bit of background first. I pursued a degree in Computer Science, eventually moving to Computer Information Systems. That’s great and all. I even got a job in the field, but I have noticed a gradual shift in my work flow over time. For one, I decided to not be a complete hermit in leaving the programming gig. Instead, I’m now convincing people to spend 50 dollars on basic hardware upgrades like my life depends on it.
Although I’m somewhat comfortable with people these days, I feel like I have to spend more time convincing them of things more than actually working on computers. The end goal? I just want people to see what I’m envisioning which is almost always impossible to portray to the average person. I’d argue this isn’t limited to just my work life either. You don’t know how many times I have felt that I had the most genius of an idea or a worthwhile discussion topic, only to not get a single response. Maybe a pity response for good measure. Literally one of several reasons I got off social media. Our attention spans as a whole have gotten shorter as a result of social media consumption. Twitter’s character limit. Vine, then eventually TikTok perfected the short video format. It leaves us with such little room to actually… think. To process what we just saw. To ask questions. To call out someone’s bluff. No, we would rather continue to let the AI behind these apps feed us the info that makes us feel we are right. If not that, we just give in and start to go with the crowd anyways because they won’t shut up that we are different.
This is where people like myself have to turn themselves into salesmen. The product? An invitation to think. Like a traditional salesman, it’s a tough job. People slam the door in my face. They ignore me. They don’t take me seriously. No matter the subject. Even a simple gesture of genuine concern is enough to be unfittingly labeled. That’s where the loud, ultra friendly salesman comes in. He’s the only way I can get a lick of credit in what I’m saying. People will eat it up. “Wow, he’s such a smart and talented young man”. “Such an old soul”. “You should sell cars”. It’s all for nothing. They see it as a cute trick. They get impressed by the sales pitch, but if the product isn’t sold right then and there, it never gets sold. No wonder sleazy salesman make the push for a same-day transaction so much. It would be one thing to be taken seriously, regardless of the context, but it would also be another to hear someone actually asking good questions. Someone who can discuss the same topic for more than a few minutes. Someone who can look past the dozens of stigmas associated with first impressions. Let me know if you find them.
Life and Death of a Salesman
I sold some computers to an interesting fella today. I got in a lot of these nice older business laptops. Our recycler guy decided he would rather just sell them as is to us than to clean them up, get new batteries, get chargers, the works. Since they were significantly cheaper this time because they were as-is, we took advantage and bought all that he would let us. It totaled out to 23. I decided I would separate them into 10s. There were 10 with 8GB RAM, 13 with 16GB RAM. May as well save the 3 extra for people who may want a laptop in person.
Anyhow, I sell the 8GB laptops just fine. Easiest 300 bucks in profit ever. Just had to awkwardly pack and ship 10 laptops in a big box intended for a desktop. The guy who bought them did the standard approach that many of our reseller buyers do. “Give me your email or phone number and we can do future business under the table”. Hard pass. I sell only on a trusted platform for a reason. PayPal scams are way too easy.
Now to sell the 16GB models. Given that 16GB still makes for a pretty premium machine these days, I figured I can probably charge a somewhat premium price. Maybe I’d attract a premium buyer too! I take my standard approach. Price high, then click that promote button daily to lower the price till someone bites. This time, I got a decent amount of attention across the board. Of course there were the low ballers who just send a DM saying “100”, the type who tries to get you to sell outside the site, then you have the type who asks a million questions. I got a mix of all this time! The low ballers struck early. I got to proudly tell them that they are stupid. The scammers, they tried to scam, but I wasted their time as any reasonable person would do. One scammer stood out. A guy named Joe. He messaged me with actual questions. Now that’s a breakthrough. Just as I thought I had a good match, I got interest from someone else. They wanted to buy with just 8GB RAM. They would not take the 16GB even if I lowered the price to what the 8GB sold for. Odd request, but I entertained it. However, I knew for sure that I was never going to use these RAM sticks if I got stuck with them. They were DD3L. Too old to use in a new laptop. Too new to use in an old laptop. I tell the guy I’ll get back with him.
Then comes ol Joe again. He wants to know if I can clean the laptops before shipment. Again… not really what these are intended for. It’s a cheap bulk lot. I agree anyways. I just want these things gone. My ego is too strong for me to not make some sorta sale today anyhow. I send the offer. He says “I thought we agreed on 900… lol”. I respond in the most authoritative way possible. “I only consider your offer in the first place because I have another party interested in a stripped down variant. I will not take less than 1000. Sorry”. Joe understands, but he decides to get desperate a few hours later. At that point, I had already re-listed the lot. I was not gonna let Joe waste my time by low balling me. He had reconsidered though. He kept it as professional as possible with hours of “hello?” “Are you there?” “I am interested” messages while I was busy. I go the tiny brained low baller route. My response: “1000”. He responds. “1000”. He responds “I beseech you in the name of God that you take 950”. “1000”. He eventually gets desperate and takes the offer, thanking God for my excellent customer service. Whatever, dude. I make the shipping label. Of course, the dude’s name is at least 50 characters long. At this point, I don’t care. I know the rules of this site well enough to not get screwed. Before I print the label, I check out this guy’s seller profile. No sales. Member since 2021 (so good sign he at least didn’t make a throwaway account). What cracked me up was his bio. “I am Joe. I’m a laid back person [highly debatable] who likes to go out and have a good time. I enjoy fine restaurants and sports bars. I enjoy traveling, either a weekend roundtrip, or flying off to a sunny beach with someone special”. Today I learned I’m selling stuff on a dating site. Now here’s the icing on the cake. I figured that for the most part this guy is out of my way, at least until he inevitably has questions once the laptops arrive. Nope. Joe just had to remind me a couple hours ago. “You didn’t ship lol”. The urge to blow up on this dude was SO strong. However, I had shipped earlier today so hopefully he sees that and can just shut up and pay me. I managed to force a scammer to keep a 1000 dollar MacBook before, so if this dude tries something, it’s on.
Like many kids, I grew up with the cool uncle. You know the type. He’s always got the sickest new toys. A Playstation, a dope PC that could run Doom, the works. What made him even cooler? The moment he grew tired of one of his toys, I knew what I was gonna get for my birthday that year. One year in particular, he decided he wanted to put all his virtual eggs into one basket. The PC master race. Windows XP had just released, and the future looked super bright for the hottest new games. For me, that meant I could finally play Doom on the old PC he was inevitably going to hand down to me. I was ecstatic. I had no idea what a computer was, how it worked, or how to type, but that didn’t matter. It was mine.
My uncle, being the cheeky guy he was, had wiped the PC clean but left me with all the install disks I would need to get going. He’d gotten some kinda virus that pushed him to getting a new PC instead of fixing it so that’s understandable. Why not make this a learning moment? I imagine him chuckling to himself as he nuked the hard drive before driving over to my house. “It’s got all you need. Have fun”. I was 8, but I was determined. I even kicked out my friends who were going to hang around after the party. I was on a mission. My first chore was sorting through my uncle’s extremely unorganized floppy case. Almost all of them were crudely made copies of popular games from a few years ago. It was an event just to see an authentic one in the mix, and not labeled in German with Sharpie. Finally, I found it. A Windows 95 installer! Disk 1 of… 13. My heart sank. No way all 13 of them were in this case. That alone ruined any sort of enthusiasm in seeing this computer through. It ended up sitting there for a good year or two until my uncle was cleaning out his garage and found the box for the installer. My excitement was through the roof.
As I rushed home that afternoon, I began the install process like a pro. Nothing was stopping me. Not even the 13 times I had to swap floppies. I was gonna play some Doom, darn it. Hours later, I was finally greeted to that beautiful startup sound. I had done it. It was old, but it was mine and it worked.To my surprise, I SUCKED at Doom. It instantly lost its appeal for 10 year old me. It was one of those things where you feel so grown up getting to watch a PG13 movie, only to choose the worst movie ever. Such a disappointment. I also think the tech had just advanced that much in this short time that it no longer felt cutting edge to me. The PlayStation was getting dusty at my uncle’s place and it still felt like it was quite the step up for me compared to the blocky graphics this PC put out. I wondered if maybe it was the lack of that amazing Voodoo card my uncle was so proud of. Later on, I’d realize that was the case. He had stolen the card from that computer before handing it off to me to recoup some of the costs of the new one. Anything 3D was pretty much completely off the table. Software rendering was the only alternative, and it was painful. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but it was all I had and used for years.
My parents did have internet at the time. Quite surprising considering how dad found cable to be a rip off. Although many will tell you that it was their gateway to cool blogs or chatrooms at the time, the internet made for my first exposure to piracy and the concept blew my mind. Free stuff in a digital form? I didn’t have to go to the store for my games or music ever again. It would just take weeks to get the freebies, but it was worth it for a broke kid. Of course in those days, the internet was absolutely in the Wild West. I’d look for this illusive leaked Metallica album and for every legit download that existed, there were 10 fakes with viruses that looked just like it. It sure did make for a fun project to get rid of the viruses, which started to become a pretty regular occurrence given I was 10 and on the internet without supervision. If I told mom the computer had a virus, I was done, so it was up to me to fix things. She would probably find a reason to make me grounded if she learned that I broke that computer that was generously gifted to me. In hindsight, I think it shows how little she knew about them. I realize now that I could’ve just wiped and started over, but to her, we would’ve had to throw the thing out. It was infected. With this in mind, we can cringe together at what I’m about to tell you on how I officially broke the computer I cherished so much.
It was an average Saturday. I fired up the computer and felt like playing some Unreal Tournament. I’d finally built up the courage to upgrade this PC and it was quite the show piece in my humble opinion. I hop into a game. All is well. I start up a chat with another player. Unreal was a few years old, but it was still cutting edge stuff to someone like me. I wasn’t quite satisfied with the frame rate and I told him about it. His suggestion? Go to System32 and delete. Apparently that’s some kinda cache that bogs down Windows pretty bad, so I’ll get better frames. Excellent idea! A few forums even backed it up. I had no doubts in mind that was going to be the miracle fix. Deleted. Turn off the PC for the day.
A couple days go by and I sit down to hang with my well-acquainted computer friend. Only, he isn’t starting. I just get this scary blue screen with words I don’t understand. Ok, turn off, turn on. Nope. One more time, same thing. I went into a panic. I’d just started doing school stuff on it with a pirated copy of Word. Maybe that was the culprit? Yup, that had to be it in my mind. I was hacked. This time, I didn’t even have my uncle to bail me out with free tech support. He had moved back to Germany. How am I gonna explain this to my mom? She had just started borrowing my computer every once in a while to check email and now that was gone. It was not a matter of if she finds out, but when, and boy was she gonna be mad when she learns her email died with the computer. I call up my local nerd for some advice. If any 11 year old was going to know what to do, it was gonna be this kid. He looks at it, fires it up, and… it’s a goner. The diagnosis: “The hard drive was infected by the virus which told it to stop working”. My computer had the most deadly disease and it was all my fault.
Instead of telling mom, I improvise. Why not sell her on getting a new computer? That one was old at this point anyways. After all, she knew I did school work on it so it wasn’t just a toy. It was in my mind, but she didn’t have to know that. She says that is an excellent idea. After all, she needed the best in email checking technology. She says she will buy herself a new one and I can keep what I have for my school stuff. I could just borrow hers if I need to. Swell idea, mom… as I die inside. There was only one way out of hiding my screw up at this point. The computer had to die. She couldn’t see that virus.
In my crafty mind, the master plan was simple. Move my computer from my upstairs bedroom to the downstairs computer room and “accidentally” drop it while going down the stairs. Absolute genius. I make my journey to put this guy out of his misery. Poor thing had a long and fulfilling life at least. I give it my last goodbyes and start to head downstairs. As I start to literally throw this thing, I realize… this thing is heavy. Really heavy. What do you know, seconds later, it slips out of my weakling kid arms, right onto my foot, and tumbling down the stairs. Mission Accomplished? Yes and no. The computer was officially broken, but so was my foot.
Dad tended to my screams in pain while my mom was absolutely devastated that she could never see her precious baking club newsletter ever again. I ended up with the standard treatment for a broken foot. The stupid little cart thing and a cast. I couldn’t even go to my room for months because I was apparently too grown to be carried up the stairs. Mom’s computer was pretty sick though, at least. I just couldn’t do anything remotely fun on it. I didn’t get another computer for probably 5 years or so, when I eventually decided that I should really invest in one as a tool, and at that point, it was nothing like what I remembered. Things were easy. I was using Broadband internet so music would download in an hour or so. My computer far exceeded the requirements for XP at that point. It was great to see progress, but also saddening at the same time I will never get to see that computer again. Dad trashed it in anger that I screwed up so bad on that painful day. Oh well. To say I started my career in computers from humble beginnings is an overstatement. That era in technology was truly a golden era, especially for me.
Its funny how much we can manipulate others without realizing it. For example, I'm in this bus and decided to read a long article. My preferred method is leftie for stuff like that. Why not? The longer I kept looking at my phone though, I noticed the guy next to me become leftie. Then the guy listening to music decided to change songs with his left hand. I even went as far as subtly letting the guy in front of me notice my otherwise odd way of holding my phone. He switched too after 10 minutes or so. Everyday oddities like this are always fun. I also notice distinctly weird things I do rubbing off on people. I got a co worker into snapping at random things and drinking energy drinks without words in just a month of him working with me. Then comes the arm crossing. A bad habit of mine. People love that apparently. I've gotten all 4 peoples in a chat doing it sometimes without noticing. Now let's explore that from a sales perspective, shall we? I run a modest online store for anything I don't want for both personal and work purposes. I'll start with my personal store.
The personal store, I buy lots of things, so I look pretty credible with my hundreds of ratings even though my days of online spring cleaning are long over. The times I did sell were great though. I angled my store as a bargain shop for stuff I didn't wanna bother fixing. People eat that up. It's broken but 10 bucks off the price of a working one? What a deal. The key was that I'd clean things to make them pretty and market the crap out of this broken hunk of junk I thrifted years ago. Zero negative words in the listing also made a major difference. I think at my peak, I was making a few grand in a year off stuff I paid nothing or basically nothing for. I once considered selling full-time as a gig, but "hustle culture" ruined that as them dern Californians started taking over my community. No inventory. No sales. Oh well. I was running out of junk I'd accumulated anyways.
Now for the business sale. This one started as a promising endeavor. The boss left me with a grand and said to go crazy. I did for a minute, but I realized pretty quickly how careful I had to be about selling things I buy for resale. No wonder GameStop offers 10 cents for the latest releases. People suck. They're needy. They ask too many questions. The first sale I ever made, I remember the lady who bought it messaged me "I'm very excited to receive this product". Greatest first impression ever. I quickly changed where I'd get my inventory afterwards. It started with buying cheap PCs from a local recycler guy who would generally cut me a pretty good deal, but then the profit would only be like 20 bucks, and this was if I kept the PC bone stock. Goes back to the whole illusion of value when people buy cheap. Once,my boss offered 10 bucks a piece for 20 piece of junk PCs. Yes, 20. Sitting in the corner in my office. I got to work, hoping to pimp out 5 of them and then angling them as affordable and speedy antiques. 80 bucks. We would be making 30 a piece accounting for parts purchased. Golden config in my eyes. Not to the buyers though. No bites for weeks, then months. I decide to post one of those PCs as is. Bone stock. Not even cleaned. 20 bucks. We would make 10, and get 1 of these 20 clunkers out of Here. Sells immediately. I take it a step further. 20 bucks with a terrible laptop drive. May as well get those paperweights out of Here. Boom. Boom. Boom. Selling like hotcakes and idk why. I'm convinced the people who bought them were just 20 suckers who don't know about computers considering how many times I was asked if they can play Minecraft and Fortnite. 3 or so months, and I sold all 20 clunkers and continued my generous "recycling plan" for customers looking to get rid of their old PCs, steal the good parts, sell that clunker for half off its eBay value. Quantity over quality is what I didn't want, but the thrill of some sucker buying my junk was there for me to see each time I logged into my work PC.
The beginning of my venture in sales for work was humble. Sell off junk. Make a couple bucks. I'd even be helping the environment a bit by reusing any boxes we would go through at work. We used a lot. I think my sales report showed nearly 100 sales in the 1 year I really worked for it. I didn't even care about the money either. It was honestly just a rush that I tricked so many people who left the transaction as happy customers. They probably weren't for long but its not like I'd see their faces again. Fast forward to today. Same ol plot. I just sold two clunkers for 100 bucks each. Man... What a high. Maybe its just me being a hardware snob, but I'm just gonna continue believing I'm a master in manipulation.
Just as a bonus, here's some short stories from my selling adventures. One time, I was given a box of hotspots from a school. Free. They didn't want them because covid was over and plus those hotspots got a factory recall. I post them. People buy them like crazy. It wasn't until the second to last one was sold when someone asked me if I could deactivate it from that school. Turns out these things are literal paperweights registered to the school they came from. Nobody told me this all that time. Next, I got some laptops in from our recylcer guy. I give them a pretty nice treatment with junk parts, but some Indian dude wants to haggle. We settle on him buying them bone stock. Dude paid us double what we paid for them without any of the components to make them valuable. Apparently he flips them in India, so the scammer is paying a scammer to scam someone else overseas. The dude was a repeat customer but it wasn't my business what he did with them so I was happy to sell to him. Lastly, we bought a pretty new MacBook for cheap because the seller claimed the battery was shot. New MacBook battery repairs suck, so this worked pretty well in my favor. Got the new battery, installation only took 3 hours, slap that baby online. Its a hit with people hitting the follow button. Just buy it, people. Then the DMs happened. "This Mac is perfect. If you'll take payment over CashApp, I'll pay you 1000". They did not stop. Over and over and over. At that point I was ready to sell it so we break even. Not a single inquiry was legit this whole time. I even bought a cheap box to make it feel new for marketing it as " Like New". Someone buys it. Hooray! But the account is pretty weird. It honestly looked like a legit account that was hacked after so many years of inactivity. Address was legit though. I even sent a message as a test saying "I just wanted to ensure you knew this is a 2017 model in the box for a 2019" to get a feel for this person. They respond "hello friend, this MacBook is perfect and exactly what I'm looking for. Please ship to me promptly." I was desperate and decided to ship anyways. Laptop arrives. We got paid. Cool. Months later, I get hit with a return case that the laptop was "not what the buyer expected". Called it they'd do something sketchy. We send eBay the screenshot of the buyers message. We won just because I happened to have a suspicion. Otherwise, I fully expected a return to take place with a super beat up and stripped for parts laptop or not even the laptop at all. The internet is a wild place, man.
A Quick Look into Windows 11 Requirements
Last year, a fairly well off client of mine was doing some tech spring cleaning. She had accumulated quite a bit over the years, and half of it was practically junk at this point. Old printers, unusable servers, random remotes to long gone devices. I told her I’d take it all. I needed inventory for my eBay store anyways. I’d always eyeballed all these old Macs in the computer room and yup, those had to go too. I deviously took all these garbage machines off her hands, knowing that someone like me could absolutely find a use for them. I ended up leaving with a car full of PCs, servers, printers, and other junk I don’t need, but the goods were worth it. A pile of MacBooks awaited me. The cream of the crop was a 2009 MacBook Pro 15in. A very… modest device to today’s standards. Bone stock, super dirty, but lots of potential. Shot battery. Big dent where it took a heavy hit. Everything I could want in a cheap MacBook to use at work. I upped the RAM, gave it an SSD, installed a new battery, and got it on a pretty new version of Mac OS. The typical thing nerds do with the pre-Retina models. It ran pretty great… for basic things. Admittedly, it was pretty slow for an enthusiast like me, but I could see many people using this 13 year old computer for their daily needs, no problem. This is what took me down an interesting rabbit hole in light of the recent Windows 11 controversy.
Alongside the Mac OS install, I did an install of Windows 10 just to see how it would run on such dated hardware. It took a bit of work to get it going, no doubt. I had to mix and match Apple’s drivers (installed via command line to bypass certain checks) and custom drivers created by the community just to have all functionality of the MacBook working. That’s the thing though. Drivers aside, it just worked! I wasn’t prevented by anything other than the occasional graphical enhancements that Windows caters to when using higher end GPUs. This is what got me curious on the system requirements for Windows 10 in the first place. I’d dealt with so many computers in the past that ran worse than this seemingly hunk of junk, and they meet Microsoft’s official requirements. My research led me to a Microsoft requirements page listing supported processors for Windows 10. Looking on the Intel page, the minimum was more or less to have a 5th Gen or newer. This confused me since I’d installed Windows 10 on countless, less capable machines without a hitch. Windows update would even be kind enough to install drivers and other necessary software for these seemingly unsupported processors. What gives?
First of all, I will say that most of my research is based on assumptions since I could not find any Microsoft documentation answering my questions, but these are safe assumptions given their contexts on Microsoft’s website. The documentation as linked seems to be intended for developers. My guess is that Microsoft says that developers for Windows must create apps with full compatibility for certain hardware in order for Microsoft to give them their blessing. This is furthered by the Windows 7 requirements sheet in the same area indicating the same minimum in processors. A 5th Generation Intel processor or newer. Considering the 5th generation wasn’t released until around 2014 and Windows 7 released in 2009, the theory that this page is for developers is the most logical conclusion. It does get weirder from here when considering what Microsoft calls the minimum.
Inaccuracy 1: The computer must use UEFI Secure Boot. I’d wager that at least 1/4 computers in production today still are booting MBR. I don’t understand that. While almost all of those computers can also likely be switched to UEFI, why make this a requirement? Even new computers shipping with Windows 7 in 2019 booted MBR straight from the manufacturer. Not to mention, most motherboards until a few years ago defaulted to Secure Boot being off.
Inaccuracy 2: A display of at least 1024x768. Have you not seen how CRTs can scale Windows 10 just fine? Doesn’t matter for 99% of people, but I found it odd Microsoft even bothered to put this requirement in place. Windows 11 was even weirder in saying the display must be 1280x720 or higher, but again, no problems with lower resolutions. Why bother with this requirement?
Inaccuracy 3: PC must have a TPM 2.0 chip installed. This brings out my inner conspiracy theorist in that Microsoft put an official date in which “all new device models” must comply. Because of Microsoft’s mention of ISO standards, this may have been a corner Microsoft was painted into, but if that was the case, what was Apple up to all this time? Wouldn’t Microsoft have done something to prevent Windows 10 from officially being supported by Mac products at all if this was a heavily enforced policy? Additionally, Microsoft made headliners about the absolute need for TPM 2.0 with Windows 11. What if this was their way of having a reference to use against enthusiasts who criticize Windows 11? Their defense to 11, “incompatible” computers shouldn’t be on 10 in the first place. Not to mention, the 2009 MacBook Pro I mentioned before definitely does not have TPM of any kind. Why didn’t the installer warn me?
Why does any of this matter? It honestly doesn’t. I just found it interesting to see that Microsoft more or less had a plan to release a bombshell of an OS like Windows 11 in the works at least since 2016 with that TPM requirement. Windows 10 was touted as the last version of Windows to ever release, going the route of major updates each half year, and I think that the idea sunk in that change was needed in order for Microsoft to continue to make money. How do they do this? Step 1: Release Windows requirements that nobody will read. Step 2: Make Win10 a free OS to gather as much data as possible on hardware configs and confirm they can get away with their strategy. Step 3: Call up all the major PC OEMs a couple years earlier and then release a new OS with crazy high requirements to force consumers to upgrade. As far as the average consumer sees though, Microsoft looks good because Win11 is another free upgrade. Just costs an arm and a leg in computing requirements… for an OS that is claimed to be more lightweight than Win10, mind you. Here’s a few pros and cons with that approach:
The software is free, encouraging users to upgrade even if they don’t want to. This time around it seems to be a permanent offer compared to the limited time Win7/Win8.1 to Win10 offer window.
Microsoft can finally break free from legacy code in Win10.
OEMs will make more computer sales of people wanting the latest and greatest. (Arguably a win for someone like me)
The majority of Windows 10 users probably can’t run Windows 11.
OEMs will be shipping computers that aren’t compatible with Windows 11, causing confusion among consumers.
The requirement of a Microsoft account forces users to give up their privacy even further.
The first point alone makes for a bleak future in the world of Windows. Microsoft has mentioned interest in backtracking their requirements for Windows 11, but I imagine this was just fluff spoken while the news of the requirements was fresh on everyone’s minds. Now, we are required to be tracked via a Microsoft account. Now, it takes a dozen clicks to change the default web browser away from Edge. Now, we have to deal with nonsensical UI changes. Now, we have to activate just to be able to customize the dock which is in a position nobody endorses from the get go. I know it’s an ongoing joke that every year is the “Year of Linux” where Linux will start to gain a following, but 2022 actually is appearing that way given the situation consumers face on their old hardware. What an exciting time in tech.
I initially wanted to build a catalog of tech and gaming related stories to set the tone of this blog, but I've realized as I choose what to upload in this first batch that my writings are all over the place. Nothing wrong with that, but I do hope to make a few more write ups before I dive into other topics. Hope you enjoy my first entry! (And ignore the jank going on with the other sections)
The N64 is seen as a mostly failed system outside of the US, where it had quite the cult following at the time. Of course, I didn’t really experience it to know, but it seems to be the case with how fondly people see it. I’d argue it’s brought up more than the PS1 when people talk about 90s video games despite the PS1 being easily the winner of the 5th gen of consoles. What’s interesting about it these days is that we are in that weird phase were people are buying up games for it because they were nostalgic for it and want to play those games again. This led me to just putting down the cash for an Everdrive 64, giving me access to any N64 games or ROM hacks I could ever want. Suddenly, my 30 actual carts are just not necessary anymore. Of course I don’t intend to sell them or anything. I don’t feel like paying double for the same game down the line. However, the Everdrive did put a convenience factor to the N64 that I didn’t think I would care about. I never have to get up and swap cartridges. I got the X5 variant, so a reset is needed to ensure the game saves, but otherwise, I’m sitting comfy. Absolute game changer. My interest in games hasn’t changed much over the years. I want an authentic experience when I want to play a game I’m interested in. When I wanted to play Mario 64 for the first time, I bought my first (of dozens) N64. When I wanted to play Mappy, I got a Famicom and the cart. The feeling of real hardware just felt so right to me. I’ll even bust out a CRT every once in a while just to go another step further. However, due to a lack of space, it just doesn’t make sense to have all my systems connected at once. This keeps me selective and if I’m feeling a quick round of Mappy, I rarely ever feel like getting out the Famicom for it. Now the setup is just a Wii U, Series X, PS4, and the N64. Funny enough, the N64 still gets most of my time these days. There’s just some kind of allure to it that draws me in. The simple graphics. The beautiful gold design of my main system. The extremely accurate controller. The plug-and-play nature of the system. Yup. That’s exactly it. In comparison, gaming today is literally painful. Try to start a Series X without having some kind of update to one of the hundreds of games you hoard on your system. Go on. I dare you. It’s at least gotten better about system updates not holding things up too much, but the extra button presses just don’t appeal to a working man with a few hours of game time. Before I had internet of the 21st century, if I started my system and had any sort of update, there went my chances of getting to do anything for that evening on my Xbox. If that’s such a bother, why not just bust out the PS2 or Dreamcast? You’re right, but I’m lazy and paranoid I’ll scratch the discs. The series of adapters I need to connect either of them to a modern TV sucks all the fun out of the “plug and play” aspect of these systems anyways. Imagine an alternative that’s got ultra low load times and will probably outlive me. That’s the N64. It’s as hassle free as it gets. Though the N64 was criticized in its time for using cartridges instead of discs back in its day, I’d argue that the cartridges are much more likely to work today than old CDs. Find a cart at a nasty flea market stand? All you gotta do is clean it up. Wanna make the “ultimate” N64 like I did? Simple disassembly of the cart slot to make it region free, put in expansion kit. Boom. You’re done. Tired of the game you’re playing? Turn off, swap carts, the game loads in seconds. None of this can be said for the other consoles of its time or anything that preceded it. One could argue the Switch takes that spot, but I touch mine so little, it may as well be just another machine that needs updates each times I power it on. Nintendo themselves are also ultra shady these days, but that’s another topic. It’s nice to just go home, turn on the system, and play the game. That’s it. I’ve yet to find a more enjoyable solution.
It's Alive! Sort of...
Today marks the day I'm actually posting stuff! Turns out my edgy Firefox fork was causing all the problems I had in my first attempts. Stay tuned!