Thursday, January 22, 2009

Simon In Print!

Not in a million years did I expect this....

About a year ago on a slow news day I wrote an op-ed piece about a new Temple that had opened in Canada. It cost $40 million to build, and my contention was that it was a waste of money. $40 could finance a good deal of low cost housing, which would be a lot more useful than an ivory tower of worship. Needless to say this article resulted in an amount of hate mail. This of course was the whole point of the exercise, to create dissension.

Yesterday I received an email from a publisher seeking my permission to use the piece in a soon to be released school text book. Get this, it is for a course on religion!

So as of May/1st a bunch of British school kids will be reading my Perls of wisdom hahahahaha

Saturday, January 17, 2009

(Mis)Adventures In Reviewing

Occasionally I venture into product reviews, I don't do it often, and it tends to only be techy type gadgets that have something unique about them. I recently saw a press release for an ultra small external hard drive, the thing was barely bigger than a pack of cigarettes yet could hold 320 gig of data. Better still it appeared to be very flexible, it can be connected via USB, Sata, or Firewire.

I decided that I wanted to play with one, so sent off for a review unit. The PR people were very helpful and told me a unit had been ordered for me and it would be shipping shortly. Fed Ex delivered it on Thursday, and two minutes later I had it in my hot little hands.

The bigest challenge was determining which computer to try it on first. I run a Linux box, and I have had a few hiccups in the past with USB so my first attempt was on an old IBM Thinkpad. I pugged the unit it and absolutely nothing happened! I was not totally surprised, I am pretty certain the Thinkpad is USB 1 and the drive specifically stated USB 2, plus it runs Win 2k, and that may be an issue.

OK, on to the next computer, I decided to hook it up to my linux system and cross my fingers. I plugged it in, and..... absolutely nothing happened. Well once again I was not hugely surprised, I have a IOGEAR media player/hard drive that also does not seem to like Linux.

Oh, don't worry there were still plenty of other computers laying around!

The third attempt would be the proverbial charm, my wife runs a Win XP system with USB 2, this time the unit should bolt right up! So I persuaded Jan to give up her computer for a couple of mins so I could hook up the drive.

I plugged it an and..... nothing happened! Well now I am confused. The company making this gizmo make much of the fact that the unit is easy to open and you can stick in whatever sata drive you want. In fact the box even contains a small screwdriver to get at the ridiculously small screws.

The tech inside me needed to get a peek inside, maybe I could spot the problem of why it wasn't working.

It took no time at all to figure out the problem. There was no damn hard drive in the unit!

I fired off a quick email explaining that it was kind of difficult to review this item, and the following morning a very apologetic company rep called me and told me that a new unit was being sent out asap.