Brain Bite #15

Posted by Rob on 6th August 2015 in Brain Bites |

A lot of things going on at once means I’ve been struggling to write much of anything over the last few weeks, blog posts or otherwise. However, I’m taking a break at the end of my day to throw out some things, mixing everything together into a happy little Brain Bite. And naturally, to start with…

Black Sabbath — Children of the Sea
Dating from the Ronnie James Dio era rather than the Insane Ozzy one, this is easily my favourite Sabbath song (and it also inspired Children of the Damned by Iron Maiden, which is one of my favourite Iron Maiden songs, so it’s a double winner). As much as I like Ozzy-era Sabbath, I love Dio’s voice, and this song really showcases that.

And, moving on from here…

Copious Amounts of Spam
The internet is full of robots. These robots are about as bright as a brick, and they post comments to blogs. People don’t find my blog, but robots do, and they say things like “Hey, I saw your Brain Bite #12 Blog, and it could be getting more views if you just pay us money”, or just as often, posts with surprisingly coherent but unfocused content, posted by someone called “The Three Day Diet” or something equally imaginative. So I now get to delete a lot of spam comments. What fun it is!

PC Builds and Future Preparation
I program for a living, but thanks to my work providing my hardware, I’ve never built my own PC (though my sister and brother-in-law have been doing so for years). Now that I’m out on my own, my next system will be home-built — but for now, I’m just upgrading my stock-built HP to help it last longer. Thanks to sale-prices and rebates, I got a new GPU, a new PSU (too big, but a heavily discounted bargain), and more memory — hopefully delaying the costs of building a whole new system for at least a few more years.

A nightmare of cable management, but it was the best I could manage with what I had.

But even when I do get round to building one of my own, I have no designs on building a “high-performance” PC. I’m curious about things like water-cooling blocks and performance tuning, but only in the same way I’m curious about how they construct space-stations and the like. Neat stuff, but not actually anything I expect to be ever doing myself.

And no more mousy wheel-clicks!
I opened my wireless mouse up, cleared out the fluff from the scroll wheel, and then accidentally pulled out a spring along with it. Turns out, the spring’s sole purpose in life is to take a smoothly scrolling wheel and make it go clickety-click while scrolling less easily. I’ve left it out, and I now like my mouse even better (which is saying a lot — I’ve had this mouse for so long now that the rubber padding on the outside has worn completely through where I rest my thumb).

And lastly, accents…
In England, people think I sound American now. Over here, people think I sound British (or, sometimes, the more generic “From somewhere else”.) And it seems that familiarity with accents really affects how well you can understand each other — so for example, I find Indian and Scottish accents mostly a breeze (excluding the insanely-thick-accented far North West Scotsmen, who sound like they’re growling cheerfully to me) while my wife can understand Hispanic accents much more easily than I can.

But it’s my own accent that seems to cause the more bother. Sometimes, I run into someone who doesn’t understand my accent or what I’m saying (case in point, trying to order “macaroni & cheese” through a drive-through, and the order-taker asking I’ve I’d requested “chocolate cake”). Responding to this, I try to talk more clearly. But when I do this, my accent becomes more clearly English, and people have even MORE trouble understanding what I’m saying. Bah…

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  • The Ould Git says:

    I reckon I’m past building bigger and better PCs, on reflection. Superfast gizmos that can wipe my arse for me aren’t on my want or need list, and I’m deaf to all this 3G and 4G crap as far as mobile stuff goes. £5 a month for unlimited data, 500 minutes , 300 texts, and a free handset capable of basic browsing and text/phone is fine for me.
    A lot of people have probs getting their lugs around a north-east accent even in the UK, so I guess I’m not surprised. That said, I do think you’ve developed a distinct American twang, which might make it even more difficult for your US friends – a bit like a broad Scotsman trying to put on a proper English accent.
    I had a friend at teacher-training college called Alex Temple, who, for the first six weeks I knew him, sounded like he was continually chewing a brick, until he eventually spoke in his own broad Glaswegian accent.
    Apparently, the ‘English’ tutor, Miss Yates, had told him to speak clearly and in an ‘English accent’ so the children and his fellow students would be able to understand him.
    As for your mouse, I can’t count the number of things I’ve broken and fixed badly, or had bits fall off, which seem to work just as good … I reckon there’s a law which says if you like it, and it’s broke, don’t fix it better than you need to, as long as you’re not too bothered by the cosmetic aspect or that missing LED or screw here and there.

    • Rob says:

      Also (in addition to the below) I have many fond memories of things tweaked and repaired around the house. I’ve made a habit of fixing things myself since then, sometimes with them ending up looking a little odd (such as the switch that dangles out of the front of our vacuum cleaner because there were no right-angle wiring connectors for me to work with), but they do all work!

      For the PC — I miss the days of computers that stayed roughly the same for any length of time. Once you owned an Amiga, you were pretty much done for years — it wouldn’t die, short of abuse, and it’d run almost everything released for an Amiga for the next however many years. These days, they actually have games and patches released that even the most powerful crop of current PCs can’t actually fully handle — and I’m not inclined to get caught up in that crowd. Most of my games are a little older — I don’t play nearly so many as I used to anyway — and the few more recent ones I have don’t tax the graphics card to that extent.

  • Rob says:

    With regard to accent, I think it’s a bit of a culture clash — where I struggle more with a pronounced Hispanic accent than my wife does, it also seems that people with that accent struggle a lot more with mine. My laid back accent has more of the American twang in it than my trying-to-speak-carefully one does, though, so the solution is probably for me to try to speak more carefully by trying not to…

  • Cloth Ears says:

    Loving the black Sabbath track. Any chance you could send me a few tracks from that era?? As for computers, you know me. I had Dad, you and Chris. Why would I bother. One of these days I’ll probably come a cropper, but so far, you lot have got me out of any holes I’ve dug myself into. And as for accents, I start by struggling to even hear!

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