Space technology fails; Harry Potter game

I just don’t know what the world is coming to, what when a site as prominent as mine can post the wrong date and leave it up for two days without anyone emailing to bitch about it. I would have expected more from you. Of course, the “you” in that statement is mostly me at this point, and I didn’t even notice the mistake until just now when I was adding the page to the daily archives. I will hold myself to a higher standard in the future, or not, depending on my mood.

• Something that I have been hoping to write about for a week now still has not seemed to happen. I am talking about that multi-billion dollar device that is now in orbit around Saturn, and the spectacular images I was expecting it to be sending back to earth. After a week in orbit this is the best it can do? I have seen better images of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. I was expecting images more like those that are being sent back by the Hubble Telescope, which, while beautiful, are hard as hell to find a hard link to, I have linked to a half a dozen so far but the links just never work when I try to click them. If you really want to see some unbelievable images of space just do a quick yahoo image search for Hubble Telescope, simply amazing.

Shouldn’t technology have advanced at least some since the ’60s when we first started shooting crap at the moon? How is it possible that something that was sent into space only six or seven years ago can be sending back images that look like they were done on a Spirograph? Sure they have to travel millions of miles and the such, but come on! If we were going to spend billions of dollars on the technology to get this thing all the way to Saturn, don’t you think we could have gone the extra couple of bucks to get a color camera? I could take a close-up photo of the grain pattern in a block of wood and come up with images as good or better than what is coming back from Saturn.

I am just a bit disappointed with the results so far, that’s all. Perhaps it will be like what happened with the initial launch of the Hubble Telescope and there will be some minor problem that can be repaired to make the images more vibrant. I sure do hope so, I have been waiting to see these images ever since I heard of the launch all those years ago. Not that I am a space-nerd so much, just that the images captured in space can be so far out of the ordinary that they really seem to be more a fine work of art than something happening randomly…The current photos are also art I guess, just art done by blind people with only one crayon.

• Today was the first day of the new grocery ditributor era at work. The truck showed up an hour and a half early, which is a major plus, as the old distributor always showed up late, or later, if at all. The only problem with that is that I was just stepping out of the shower when I got the call. I do hate to make their drivers wait. I got there as quickly as I could and the two of us had finished unloading the merchandise in about thirty minutes. That is about how long it always takes, unless the load was particularly large or small. It didn’t seem so different at all.

Then something strange happened.

The guy gets off of the truck, comes onto the landing, and starts helping me check in all of the perishable items one at a time. This was something that the other company Never did. The new company requires it. I love that all the way around. There was a mispick (just like it sounds, wrong item) in the frozen and a short (just like it sounds, not there) in the dairy, and he gave us an immediate credit for them. He went further to give us the immediate credit for a bag of dog food that was torn and a case of condensed milk that had been damaged. Wow.

Here is how that last paragraph would have gone down with the old company. The driver leaves the second the stuff is off the truck. I find the short in the dairy section and call it in. The boss finds the mispick in the frozen section and calls it in. We put the damaged dog food and condensed milk off to the side and call that in. I write down everything that is wrong on a piece of paper along with case costs and item codes. The next week we should have a credit for the short, but often didn’t and would have to call again. The mispick and damaged items would be returned, though no paperwork ever changed hands (which is why we had to keep a running tally of it all), and within three weeks or a month the store would get a credit for it.

Being a small business it is difficult to keep track of all of this in the first place, but even worse is having the money already paid and having to wait for them to issue a credit. It often took three or four phone calls over the course of a month to get the money back. The system protects them as well since a case of cheese can easily cost $70 and if it is there it will have been checked in by one of their guys and one of ours, hard to dispute that. When you factor in that it only took the two of us about five minutes to check in all the perishable items and find the mistakes I just don’t know why the other company never did it.

One thing that was a bit irritating about the new company is that they had some of the profit margins all out of whack on the invoices. I should mention that the old company did not even tell you the unit cost on the invoice, let alone a suggested retail price or profit margin, so this was a small inconvenience. One that is also easily overcome with the boss figuring out what he wants to sell it for and me typing upc’s into the computer and changing retails. I am going to consult the company tomorrow to see if they can send us shelf tags of the items that we change the retail on, if they can’t I can still print our old tags out for the items, but, I think it would look a bit tacky to have two sets of tags going.

I am sure that talk of this is monumentally boring so I will move on.

• I have mentioned my newfound interest in Harry Potter in a couple of recent posts. The wife bought the first PC game based on the novels about a week ago. I started to play it on Sunday and had reached the final battle on Monday. It is a kids game, so I wasn’t expecting much, which is why I was so sorely disappointed.

I am about to do battle with the final “boss” in the game and I am missing half of the things that can be found along the way. To be fair, to myself, there were a few places that I was pretty sure that I needed to go, but the linear gameplay makes it so that if you go the wrong way first you can never go back the other way. If I were to play it through again (I say again as if I have ever beaten it) I am sure that I would be able to find more of those damn little cards that you are supposed to be collecting.

The thing that I really hate about the game is Quidditch. I am not horrible at games like F-Zero, I can do pretty well in flying simulation type games, but this Quidditch just kicks my ass. I think the biggest reason for that is the controls are on the keyboard and my old pc joystick won’t connect to either of the computers that we currently have. If you had the speed up/slow down buttons as well as all four direction keys on one of those it would be pretty easy I think. Even after having set the motion keys to “WASD”, like the old pc games I used to play, it still took me a lot longer than I would like to admit to win the damn matches. Mind you, they won’t let the other guys win, they will just wait forever if you don’t win.

Beyond that, the game is pretty fun for what it is. It is cute in places, makes you think a little bit, and could probably be completed perfectly by any six year old in the entire world. Let those little bastards try the original PitFall with an old Atari controller and we will see how good they really are. Of course they are releasing all of those old games for the hand held gaming systems now, but I doubt that any of those kids will ever be able to top my best of flipping the counter 4 times on Asteroids before my mom made me stop to come and eat a sandwich.

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