Power Outage

Had a line of severe storms pass through late afternoon yesterday. Lots of wind and about 1/2” of rain but nothing to worry about. Reports of power outages all over but we held up nicely. Then about 7PM or thereabouts, our lights flickered, I heard a big boom, and it was lights out. Clearly a transformer had bit the dust. It was fairly dark and I didn’t feel like starting messing with the generator in the dark with heavy rain and lightning popping all around. We broke out the battery lanterns and decided just to get a good night’s sleep about 10PM. The power company said it would be repaired by midnight. Got up about 7 AM with no power and a promise of noon for restoration. So I broke out the generator. We bought the generator several years ago and have never had to use it so this was it’s breakout moment. Cranked up on the first pull and just as planned, we had lights. About the only thing I keep powered off is the A/C, hot water heater, and stove. Nancy is not a totally happy camper but I’m lovin’ how all my preparations have played out exactly as planned. I’ll go out at noon and refill the fuel tank.

Speaking of power problems, just read an interesting thing relative to the Japanese power crisis. Turns out that power can’t be shared between Western Japan and Eastern Japan because of a historical quirk from the 1890’s. Western Japan decided to electrify using German equipment which is 50hz while Eastern Japan chose to go with American equipment, 60hz. To this day, that’s the situation so the systems are totally incompatible. When it rains, it pours.

People who know me well know that I am basically a hermit. I guess more like a hermit crab since I do crawl out of the shell occasionally. But I got something at the Apple Store that completes my hermitude. I bought an Ipod Nano, loaded it up with music and now I can be totally off in the ether. I picked the nano because it has a built in FM radio receiver which, it turns out, doesn’t work at the lake. I kind of expected that since my Bose radio doesn’t pick up any FM stations here either. My objective was to have it for the beach and I’m betting there I’ll have plenty of selections. So far it only took one call to Apple, which for me is pretty good. One bad thing is that the small size is tough for me with monster fingers and I also think it might be tough to read the screen without glasses or in a high light environment. I’ll have to deal with that. I can also tell this thing could become a money sink. I can see where a docking station with built in speakers and stuff like that will be eating away at my resistance. How ‘bout nicer noise canceling ear phones. I can already tell these button ear speakers are not going to be too comfortable for extended periods.

Wait till you hear this one though. I somehow got the music transferred from my laptop to the nano and listened for a while until I had something else to do. So I tried to turn it off. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t turn off. I had downloaded a rather large operating manual and, just like you’d expect, on page one it described how to turn it on and off. Trouble was it wasn’t turning off. So I’m thinking this is going to kill the battery. I decided to take the next step and call Applecare. First question – what version of the software are you running? The screen tells me I have version 1.0 and he says “oh, that’s your problem”. Turns out, get this, that in version 1.0 you can’t turn it off with the on-off button. He has the whatever’s to tell me they did this so you would keep the device plugged in. I asked why the manual was so clear about how to turn it off and he says, get this “the version of the manual I downloaded is for the latest software”. Correct answer, the programmers screwed up the code in version 1.0 so that the on-off function didn’t work. So I have to go online to download new software and chances are it will be one of those terra byte downloads that takes hours. I kind of expect this from Microsoft, but Apple?

And got another wakeup on Apple/computers. I mentioned that I had some sort of lock up problems that brought me to the Apple store. The support tech agreed and said it was most likely a software problem and would I like him to just reinstall the operating system. I told him to go for it. He did and when I got home and started playing with it, I found several new problems. When I called they said I had to update the software. Wait, they just installed it an hour or so ago. Oh, they don’t install the latest and greatest. They install some base set and you have to go online to get all the updates. That was a 1GB update. I mentioned this to Tom and he said that anytime you install new software, you have to go online to get it updated. Everybody knows that. I guess it’s now everyone since I was the only person who didn’t. In the end, I went to the Pierson library, connected via the wi-fi and in 30 minutes, was totally up to date and it works again like a world champ.

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