How not to do business

I contracted out some work recently. It involved a large sum of money, at least to me. It amounted to about a three weeks’ worth of take-home pay. He wanted the money for the materials up front. I didn’t really want to do that, but other people had told me he was completely honest, so I did it.

He had trouble getting the necessary permits and other paperwork. I had trouble keeping his story straight. I gave him some time to sort it out. After about a month–which might have been too long–he concluded he wasn’t going to be able to do the work, and told me he’d give me a refund.

Then he quit answering his phone.

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Buy online, manufacture at home

The way we buy things (or don’t buy them) has changed a lot in the last decade or so. We stopped buying CDs. Now that our Internet connections are fast enough, we’ve really slowed down on buying movies, too. And the emergence of practical e-readers means a lot fewer people are buying books now too. All of this is part of the reason why there’s probably a Borders closing near you, and there are suddenly a lot less of what we used to call record stores too.

But there’s something even bigger looming overhead. 3D printing. Ars Technica has a piece about its legal implications.  Rather than rehash that, I’d rather talk about some of its other implications, including why you should care at all.

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Instant welding with Aileene’s Tacky Glue

I’m not sure where I read this first, but I love this trick for making instant repairs. If you’re putting together something made of paper, wood, or a combination of the two, join it together with a bit of Aileene’s Tacky Glue (this also works with ordinary Elmer’s white glue or Elmer’s wood glue), then zap it in a microwave for 20 seconds. That 20 seconds is enough to instantly cure the glue for a strong bond.

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WordPress may be coming soon. I hope.

I’m experimenting with Wordpress. I have it up and running on a system built from spare parts, but importing from this archaic blogging platform that nobody uses (and for good reason) is less than obvious. A filter exists but isn’t officially blessed, so you can’t just go grab it like you can for a common blog platform like Movable Type or Greymatter.


I’m working on a post about SSD myths/misconceptions. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone.

I don’t understand why some people are downright hostile toward SSDs–I haven’t seen anything like it since the hostility I saw towards Amigas in the late 1980s, and OS/2 in the early 1990s.

Maybe it’ll help some people.

Editing. Or not editing.

If you were one of the 25 people who read my ramblings earlier today, I apologize. I accidentally posted what amounted to a bunch of disorganized notes. I’ve since edited them into better shape. I still think they wander too much, but that’s a reflection of me, I guess. My writings are all over the place because I’m all over the place right now.

The stunning fall of Mark Hurd

I didn’t believe it when the news broke late Friday that Mark Hurd, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, had suddenly resigned under fire.

Hurd wasn’t flamboyant or a quote machine like many technology CEOs. He just steadily turned HP around, increasing profits, passing Dell in sales of PCs and IBM in sales of servers, and buying companies like EDS and 3Com. He was exactly what investors liked.

In the following days, it turned out there was more to the story.

How not to succeed in business

So I have this house. Not the house I live in. It was a foreclosure, apparently one the previous owners walked away from about a year before we bought it. So it sat neglected for a year, and most likely, for several years before that.

I got in over my head a little, so I sought some help. Mowing the half acre looked like a smart thing to outsource.