The Quoroom

  1. Even with 50 years experience in the information technology field, I've never prided myself on hardware repairs.  Occasionally, though, even we software people need to know a little bit about the nuts and bolts inside the physical equipment that we use in plying our craft.  Ever since someone told me (back in 1995) about the internet, I've been able to teach myself some basic IT mechanics to perform a range of tasks without spending a fortune on specialist repair work.  I've been able to re-use old computer gear, like DVD players, disks, etc.  I've even been able to add additional memory and solid state drives.  There are some things that I wouldn't attempt (like assembling a PC from scratch) and it's worth spending a couple of hundred dollars to get someone else to do the dirty work.  However, today I think I surpassed my wildest expectations.

    Some years ago I inserted a CD into the car stereo system and, hearing some uncharacteristic clicks and whirring, it appeared the CD was never going to work.  No matter how many manuals I read, pressing the "eject" button, etc., nothing was going to remove the CD that had apparently gotten itself stuck inside the system.  When you look at the CD changer (located in the glovebox in the car) it's not intuitively obvious how you remove the beast so that you can get inside the guts of it to see what's the problem.  I telephoned the Audi service centre and they told me, "Yes, we can have a look at it for you but it's going to cost you $650."

    Ouch! So the next place I called was a car audio specialist centre who said, "We'll have a go but the cost is $350."  I'm beginning to think that someone's slapping too much icing on this cake.

    So, for some years we haven't had a working CD player in the car and I'm thinking that, when we eventually trade it in, they'll rip a couple of thou' off the trade-in price because of a dud accessory.

    About a month ago I was surfing the 'net and I stumbled on a YouTube video video that explains how to remove the CD player from the car.  Beaut'... all I need now are a couple of those special removal keys.  Hop onto eBay and $6.00 less later, I place my order.  The keys arrived today.  Into the car and one-two-three out comes the CD player.  An hour later,  I've jiggled the stuck CD enough that I could press the "unload" button and out popped the [very much worse for wear and cracked] CD …which, of course, isn't even coffee coaster material.  Reassemble the unit, slide it back in, insert a new CD and everything works beautifully.

    The internet is a wonderful place … sometimes.

  2. I had my second COVID vaccination today and so I’m feeling particularly pleased with myself.  Not having anything else on my plate (because we’re in lockdown after all, aren’t we) I was in an especially cheeky mood when it came time for me to get the jab.
    Knowing the long list of questions they get you to answer (and a lot of these questions seem to be more of a memory test for those who are in their “advanced years” of life) I thought I’d cut through them quickly without being prompted:
  3. One bright sunny morning a jolly rooster did what he had done a thousand times before and announced the beginning of the new day with his characteristic—if not suitably endorsed, trademarked—“Cock-a-doodle-do”.

    Happy in the knowledge that he had done his duty, the jolly rooster went back home to have a rest.

    On arriving home, the jolly rooster noticed an envelope pinned to the front door of his house. He opened the envelope and there was a letter inside that read

    Dear Jolly Rooster,

    It has been reported that your morning call contained a word that could be misunderstood by the rest of the community. The specific word was “doodle”. Would you please remove the word “doodle” from your morning calls in future.

    Thank you

    The farmer.

    The jolly rooster did not feel too jolly after reading this letter. He thought to himself, “I wonder who reported my morning call to the farmer?

  4. Laugh at him or admire him, Dick Smith as as fair dinkum as The Wiggles, Qantas, sausage sizzles at polling booths and Akubra hats.  It is with some sadness that our favourite and preferred brand of peanut butter—OzEnuts (crunchy, of course, what else?)—will soon disappear.  We read in the news a couple of days ago that Dick will be closing his food products business for reasons best known to him but, as he says, putting the blame on the supermarkets for making it impossible to compete on a level playing field.

    When you visit your supermarket, finding Dick's OzEnuts can be a challenge; more often than not, they're placed on the bottom shelves.  Coupled with the fact that they're higher priced than their competitors, OzEnuts (and other products from this business) are not turning customers on.  Indeed, one commentator suggests that the failure of Dick Smith Foods is a natural consequence of being too pricey.

  5. I don't know too many people who haven't received these telephone calls that come out-of-the blue and start by a heavily-accented person on the other end introducing themselves as "I'm from the Telstra technical department and we've decided to disconnect your internet for the next x days...". The problem with these phone calls is that they prey on the innocent, the naïve, the technically clueless and the gullible in our society who are ready to believe that they're at risk.  In particular, because we read each day about the latest virus that jeopardises businesses and institutions around the country and around the world, because of the recent surge in cyber-terrorism, ransomware and other threats to our liberties, we're worried that we might be unknowing participants and how we should prepare ourselves in case these threats appear on our own doorsteps.