fighting the lack of good ideas

what in the … ?

I was looking at Apple’s Xserve store page today and noticed the following:

Redundant power supply option

For extra peace of mind, you can add a second hot-swappable power supply and connect each to a separate UPS or power circuit. In case of an outage in one circuit, the second supply takes over without a loss in service.”

Huh? If you have only one power supply, how is it “hot-swappable”?

5 seasons brewing

Last night I drove a quick 10 minutes from Vinings to Sandy Springs GA to meet-up with a couple friends for dinner. Skimming opentable‘s restaurant listings, I had discovered 5 Seasons Brewing earlier in the day, and we decided to give it a try. 5 Seasons’ beers are all made in-house (I think), in small batches, so they change seasonally.

From their website, “We’re passionate about serving local produce, all-natural meats, and artisanal cheeses. We bake each of our breads and make everything else – all of our demi-glace, salad dressings, pommes frites, ice creams and sorbets. As part of a sustainable, natural cycle, we add our brewer’s spent grain to our home-baked bread and share the rest with a local organic farm, where it is composted to grow our vegetables.”

I’m a fan of the “buy local” campaigns not because I’m some whacky hippy nut, but because it makes good economic sense: the food travels shorter distances, and is therefore fresher; the money spent stays in the local community rather than some chunk of it going to the corporate center; and the businesses involved tend to want you as a [repeat] customer.

The restaurant in Sandy Springs is dark – but not in an imposing or formal way: the interior is bare dark wood, and very attractive – it reminded me of a mountain lodge; it’s open and airy, but rugged at the same time.

I ordered their Rib Eye with fingerling potatoes, and a delectable mushroom sauce. Chris order the Duck Both Ways, which looked mighty tasty, and his girlfriend ordered the Lamb Tenderloin.

5 Seasons also has an extensive Scotch list (>20), including a couple Islays (my favorite).

The dress code is to arrive dressed: the waitstaff all wear slacks or jeans and T-shirts. Main dishes are all under $30, and they rotate their menu based on locally-available ingredients.

After dinner we all tried different desserts: bread pudding, creme brulee, and peach cinnamon ice cream. If you’re in the area, 5 Seasons is definitely worth a visit.

the psychology of elevators

I travel for work now, so I get to see lots of elevators. I’ve seen elevators that you pick the floor you want to go to outside the elevator, and then the elevator bank directs you to the one it thinks you should ride to get to your destination the quickest. I’ve seen simple elevators with numbers that light up. And I’ve seen ones that have no lights – they just open and you get on.

I noticed that the elevator lights at the customer site I’ve been assigned to the past couple weeks are arrows. But more importantly, when the elevator is going up, a green up arrow displays. However, when it’s going down, and red down arrow lights.

This got me contemplating what subliminal messages this might be conveying. Certainly one that jumps immediately to mind is that going to work is good, and leaving is bad.

It could also imply that before you leave you should STOP and make sure you have everything you need before going home.

But what about when you have meetings on another floor? Does the red light indicate it’s bad to go to the meeting? And, if so, does that mean meetings should always happen on your floor or higher?

How many other common, every-day objects play to preconceived notions of what we should or shouldn’t do?

an oldy…

…but a goody:

HDTV explained!

why alcohol and cars don’t mix

I found out today when I logged into my email that one of my former coworkers was involved in a crash yesterday. 19 year old Justin Crouse was drunk and rammed my friend Philip’s car when he ran a red light in Raleigh yesterday.

Right now, Philip’s in ICU in Raleigh. His girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat, died at the hospital because this underage asshole couldn’t restrain himself from climbing into a vehicle after he had had too much to drink.

I hope Justin gets the book thrown at him: he knew going in that he could kill somebody, and this needs to be treated like the intentional homicide it is.

I also hope Philip gets much better soon so he can start to get to his life.

Phil: we’re all pullin’ for you.

News stories here.

am i the only person who *didn’t* skip that day…

I seem to recall – and not too horribly long ago, either – that people used to at least approximate being polite. I’m pretty sure we as a nation used to encourage being polite, sharing, and thoughtfulness. We used to try to make our kids be those things starting before kindergarten (Sesame Street pops to mind). And during kindergarten. And school.

Not anymore. Nope: now everyone seems to be a narcissistic asshole. So tied-up and consumed by themselves to not even take a fraction of a second to THINK about anyone else.

Cases in point: I fly a lot for work, and I was sitting in an airplane last week when the jackass in front of me decides to slam his seat back into me. Didn’t look behind him to see if anyone might be bothered. He didn’t even lean his chair back in a fashion I might have had a chance to notice and shift out of his way. That was bad. But it didn’t stop there: next he decided to start bouncing in his chair, repeatedly driving the seat into my knees over and over again. I tried to get him to stop, but was unsuccessful. So I was forced into being a jerk back and repeatedly kneed him in the kidneys.

Or have you driven recently? Anywhere? It used to be that certain areas of the country were notorious for having bad drivers (aggressive, incompetent, lolly-gagging, etc). Not anymore. Now driving involves taking your life in your hands and hoping like mad nobody fouls up so badly you die. No one uses turn signals. They drift lanes when turning. They cut corners early on lefts. And if you happen to find some kind soul who DOES signal, they’ll turn the blinker on as they’re moving into the new lane.

I hate gum. I hate the smell. I hate the sound. I hate the sight of it. Especially when the jackass chewing it chews with his mouth open (wasn’t that an express no-no growing up – you chew with your mouth shut?); or worse: if they’re blowing bubbles and cracking it.

I tell people I hate gum, generally in no uncertain terms, and ask they not chew around me because it really bugs me.

Some folks when I tell them this seem to have the decency to stop. Most don’t. Some chew louder just to piss me off. Others don’t care, and keep doing what they’re doing because they can. It used to be that folks had a common courtesy to chew with their mouths shut. No more.

It used to be that folks would at least pretend to respect the teacher (in class), presenter (in work meetings), or whathaveyou and refrain from being assholes – at least in those settings. I’ve had professors inform the class on the first day that gum chewing, food eating, etc would not be tolerated. I’ve seen kids proceed to do those verbotten activities, and get upset when they’re told to leave class.

The church I grew up in had a standing policy to not eat during the service. A candy or cough drop was fine (you suck on those), but chewing was right out. The leadership (and members and attenders) wanted everyone to be able to listen without being unduly distracted by unnecessary activity. If you were really so bored or tired you needed to do something to stay awake: stay home – or go to sleep. Lack of preparation on your part was no excuse to distract everyone else in the room with your incessant moving or chewing. It was a church service, not a park. It was a worship time, not a buffet. What you did in your own time was your business, but when in the specified meeting, you were there for God. And you could at least pretend to care about what was going on.

It used to be that you could count on “public venues” (such as a theater, train, concert, etc) to be pleasant places to go where people were generally considerate of others.

Sadly, this seems to no longer be the case.

I don’t hold an idyllic nostalgia for bygone days, but it was nice when people weren’t in a constant rush, and they’d take even a second of their day to stop and think about what they were doing and decide to NOT do it because it was likely to bother other folks. It was nice when you could count on knowing your neighbors. It was nice when folks would take more than that second, and actually intentionally go out of their way to help somebody else.

Maybe I’m a romantic, or a damn fool. But I wish we could return to a nicer society where folks would take a second to at least warn the poor slob behind them on the plane they’re about to lean their seat back.

mellowing a mushroom

I’ve been working for one of our larger customers near Atlanta recently. When I arrived last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find out there’s a Mellow Mushroom a mile from their office in Vinings.

I was first introduced to the Mellow Mushroom in Durham a couple years ago. I’ve since started enjoying the one in Raleigh, too.

Tonight I’m trying one of their ginormous salads for dinner. Typically I’d go for one of their specialty pizzas or calzones, but it’s hot: and I’m in the mood for something light.

I don’t usually write-up chains or quasi-chains, but the Mushroom is one worth going to.