Cars. I just found out today that one of my coworkers owns four vehicles. And that’s not counting his Harley. I wondered the same thing everyone else did: What’s a single guy need four cars for?
I guess it would be handy for some things. Like this morning, I started my car, hopped out, started scraping, and when I got back inside, I looked down at my gas gauge and saw the yellow indicator light staring back at me. If I had four cars like (ahem) some people, I could have just shut it down and hopped in another car that had more gas in it. Of course, then I’d just have three more cars I could run down to E, so maybe that wouldn’t work.

I guess the other advantage would be driving something different to work every day, so people can’t keep track of whether you’re there or not. But I’m still having a hard time justifying it to myself.

The Cure. The Cure retired a year ago. Of course, the only thing harder than keeping track of how many times they’ve retired is how many band members they’ve had. So they recorded new material and released their third greatest hits collection, fulfilled their obligation to their record label, and said they’re still a band, but they’re staying unsigned.

As clueless as the record industry has become, it’s probably a smart move. It’d be nice if a few financially well-off artists would get together and form a privately-held record label that’s just about the music, rather than about pleasing shareholders or building huge financial conglomerates.

Cleveland Indians. The disassembly of the franchise continues. Manny Ramirez departed a year ago, replaced by a damaged-goods Juan Gonzalez. Now that Gonzalez has recaptured his old form, he’s gone. Roberto Alomar’s been traded to the Mets for a handful of prospects, plus ex-Twins outfielder Matt Lawton. Speedster Kenny Lofton is gone.

Cleveland was the model franchise of the 1990s. They signed their young players to long-term contracts early and they were only wrong about one of them (Carlos Baerga). The first two young stars they let go, Baerga and Albert Belle, are out of baseball now. They built a new stadium and kept it full. But for all the things they did right, they didn’t get a World Series win to show for it.

And I don’t see any indication with this trade that the Indians have learned their lesson. Clearly they’re in rebuilding mode, dumping salary and getting younger, cheaper players in the hopes of making a run for it again in a few years. But they traded Alomar for two outfielders and a relief pitcher. The Cleveland teams from the mid-90s on featured terrific offense and enviable defense that was at times spectacular, but little in the way of pitching. And the lesson of Arizona is that starting pitching plus one big bat is all you really need, even in these high-offense days.

So I’m shocked to say that between the Royals and the Indians, right now the pitcher-hoarding Royals are much closer to doing the right thing.

Should I be laughing at this? Gatermann sent me this link and I got a good laugh out of it. I can’t figure out if I should feel bad about that.

Viruses. My work laptop, or, more specifically, the Windows partition on my work laptop, was a victim of last week’s data recovery efforts. I have no excuse. I temporarily took leave of my senses and I didn’t write-protect the DOS boot floppies I made. So I booted off the troubled computer, then I booted the laptop off the same disks, and the next thing I knew, the laptop was infected too. It was, to say the least, my finest moment.

Yesterday I finished rebuilding the Windows partition and booted the laptop into Windows for the first time in half a week. I didn’t do any special tricks; I just wiped and reformatted the partition. But since installing Windows wipes out your Linux boot sector, I used a trick. I booted into Linux, inserted a floppy, and issued the command dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/fd0 bs=512 count=1 to save the boot sector to a floppy. Then, after Windows was installed, I booted off a single-disk Linux distro, replaced the floppy, and reversed the command: dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1 Bingo! I had a dual-boot system again.

Virus hoaxes. I just got e-mail from Wendy (the friend whose computer taught me a whole lot about data recovery last week), who got e-mail from a classmate. She’d received a fairly common virus hoax via e-mail, one that advises you to search for and delete the file SULFNBK.EXE
alleging it to be a virus. In actuality that file is part of Windows, so it’ll be present on every Windows 9x system. I personally can’t remember if it’s critical or not, but Steve DeLassus tells me it is.

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but any time you get virus e-mail like that, check it out with an IT professional. My rule of thumb is this: I disregard any virus information I get via e-mail unless I’ve also heard about it on the news. And by the news, I mean the morning news, the news on the morning drive on the radio, the front page of the local newspaper–stuff like that. Believe me, any time there’s a legitimate virus story, it’s big news. Many of the powers that be in the media are still computerphobes, so they relish any bad news regarding computers that they find. So the mainstream media is really good at hunting down and reporting virus stories.

Meanwhile, I hope she didn’t delete that file. But at least it’s easy enough to replace if she did.