2015 — 1 August: Saturday — rabbits!

Start the new month the way you mean to go on, I always1 say. Which is why my first few minutes of compute time have been expended on the pesky Android SHIELD Tablet PC. Having fought my way through the laborious keying-in of its ridiculously long serial number, the ditto of my name and contact details, the ditto of the first, and — when I eventually realised what I was doing "wrong" — also the second of a pair of alphanumeric strings... the little potential fireball is now (apparently) backing its little memory of stuff up to a Google server somewhere in "the cloud".

This is all in prep, if you please, for its automatic remote bricking "when I activate its free replacement". How nice to know it can be turned into a useless brick by OTA command, heh? There's me thinking to do that you first had to fail to fit a new cooler. (Recall my mishap?)

SHIELDS Up! indeed.

The process to trigger automatic recall triggered my recall of a piece titled "Our Options Have Changed ..." by Evan Eisenberg in Slate magazine, 30 Aug 2004. Here's the bit that's particularly germane:

The serial number is the 37-digit number inscribed by means of laser nanotechnology on the underside of the unit and is not visible to the naked eye.

Evan Eisenberg

(I had to use my LED-assisted magnifying glass, I admit.)

I still need to gouge open and extract from the almost equally miniscule microSD slot the extra memory card I added. But it seems I have "two to four weeks" to do that (unless, of course, the device goes into "thermal runaway" in the meantime). Besides, there's the more pressing issue of another cuppa and some breakfast to attend to first.

I've never been...

... unemployed, and am thus largely unfamilar with the early "life stories" of the several excellent writers profiled in this fascinating piece. There's also an interesting radio piece playing in the background as I type this snippet:

The atavistic moral hatred often directed towards the unemployed and "scroungers" should have been dealt a body blow by the parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009 and the 2008 collapse of our systematically corrupt banking systems. It wasn't striking miners, trade unionists, "Marxist totalitarians" or abusers of the social security system who emptied out the state's coffers; it was the high priests of the so-called free market and their political allies in Westminster. Billions in state bailouts have been paid to those who cruise like rock stars in their limos, and very few of those suited chancers will be sharing a court cell with benefit fraudsters any time soon.

Alan Warner in Grauniad

I couldn't agree more.

This tasty morsel of arcana...

... is nearly six months too late to have salvaged my Win8.1 Pro bacon after my, erm, aggravating 'incident'...

Unlocking a system disk

Had it worked, I might well still be using BlackBeast Mk II. But I'd have missed out on all the healthy neural exercise of my transition over (up? down?) to Linux Mint 17.2 :-)

Back when you could still buy...

... a new Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud for $13,995 David Ogilvy's famous ad used a tag-line that quoted what had been said by the Technical Editor of "The Motor":

At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new
Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.

I recall a joke (very possibly a cartoon in "Punch") current at the time about a supposedly-irate chairman of RR addressing his board saying, "Gentlemen, we must do something about that damned clock!" So, when I read the following anecdote, I had to chuckle:

Bentley clock

You'll find it on page 74 of the book I mentioned last Monday evening. It arrived today: J Michael Ramsden's splendid biography of "GdeH", perhaps better known as Sir Geoffrey de Havilland. It's my Xmas present for Big Bro (in exchange for a new hat!)


Fascinating, highly readable, and only one typo (in a 'Pylon' magazine cartoon caption on page 57) in the whole 220+ pages. (Caveat: I didn't check the Index.) Bro will be enthralled, I predict.

I've just upgraded my Laptop PC to Linux Mint 17.2 (Cinnamon). The upgrade took less than ten minutes, and seems flawless. Let's hope the Android Tablet PC recall / replacement is as simple. I think that will do for today.



1  From now on, anyway.