Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dues, Thumbdrives, and Random Utterness

I'm a member of a particular political organization. They charge $35.00 a year in dues, and in addition to membership, you get a nifty magazine about what's going down. So far so good.

Problem is, they want more cash than the dues cover. So about once a month, I get a "Special Renewal Notice." In other words, they want me to renew my membership before it's actually expired.

If I had sent in my money every time they did this, I would have active membership until 2064.

Now, the insulting thing is eventually they get within a few months of your actual renew date, and in the letter it includes the line "By renewing now you'll save us the cost of sending you another notice later."

Second problem with their method of not-quite-real renewals is you start to ignore them as junk mail. I've missed my renewal twice in five years because I didn't realize it was my real renewal.

Hey, dumbasses. I have a brilliant idea. How about just sending me one renewal notice a year. I'll pay, really. But only if my membership is actually about to run out. THAT way, I'll renew without throwing your stuff out as junk mail AND most of my money will be used for something better than begging for more money.


Did you ever get a gadget, and then later wonder how you ever lived without it? I'm like that with my thumb drive (also called flash drive, USB drive, pen drive, etc.). They are small devices, most are about the size of a package of gum. They plug straight into a computer's USB port and immediatly act as a mini hard drive. I have an I-Stick, a really small USB flash drive (claimed World's Smallest... And I believe it.) . It has almost a full 1 GB capacity. In short, it is awesome. I do not know how I every dealt with 1.44 MB floppy disks. (My I-stick has the capacity of 693.75 floppy disks!) I've actually almost stopped using floppies entirely. In fact, it was six months before I noticed my floppy drive had died when I tried to transfer data from an older system without USB to a newer one. I just didn't need them until then.

I have a friend who recently acquired a 256 Meg USB drive, and he has decided the same thing. So has my cousin.

I prefer the I-stick (Short for Intelligent Stick.). They are tiny, and they are excellent gadgets, almost beyond belief. My friend has a simple keychain based one, quite handy and a wee harder to lose (the I-stick has a pocket clip, but I mostly carry it in my briefcase. Awesome though it may be, it is also easy to misplace). My cousin has one with a titanium case. You can run it over with a truck, it will still work fine. I gave a very good friend of mine one that had a lanyard (Handy for one who moves around a lot and doesn't always want to dig for keys. Or maybe just for a hightech fashion statement). She is a writer who transfers files a lot, and I decided I needed to spread the joy that is Flash Drives.

In short, those things are utterly necessary for anyone who works with computers in any capacity larger than playing Minesweeper. If you do not have one, I feel sorry for you. Go to New Egg and look up Flash Memory->Pen Drives right now and get one. (I've used and can recommend PQI, who make the I-Stick, or SanDisk for good brands. I'm sure others are fine, I've just not used them.)

Now, I know that sounded uncomfortably like a commercial... But seriously, flash drives are the greatest thing to happen to portable data storage since... Data.


A bit of utter randomness here (Or is it random utterness?) ... I have a family member who knows a girl who's name is Mecca Nism. (Not a product of cruel parents, the girl's last name really is Nism, and she had her first name legally changed to Mecca.)

Mecca Nism. Now how awesome is that? If she gets married, and the husband wants her to change her last name, I would like the dude to be savagely beaten. That is just too cool of a name to tamper with.

(For those of you who are brickheaded and don't get the joke: Mecca Nism sounds like "Mechanism." It's a play on words, you see...)


Well, that's all I've got for today. I have to try to find my MAC Card before going to bed, and my desk is a mess so i'll not be fun.

So 'til next time, rock on.


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