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Aimee Mann; Question; Viper770; Cheap PC; Shopper UK article

A better bootdisk. I was talking utilities with Dev Teelucksingh, and he mentioned his Better DOS Bootdisk page, which I’d somehow missed before. Basically he replaces certain MS-provided files with other files that take up less space or provide additional functionality. For example, he replaces the Oak CD-ROM driver MS uses with an Acer driver that only uses 5K of memory. If the Acer driver works with your CD-ROM drive (it works with most ATAPI drives, but not quite all), you’ve got more available memory for TSRs.

Check it out.

Getting mail under control. In my last correspondence with Jeremy Spencer, editor-in-chief at Computer Shopper UK, he referred to his overcrowded inbox, a disease from which I also suffer. But the article I’m working on right now is so much more interesting than writing mail filters, you know? Just like it was yesterday. And last week the Bible study I was working on was more interesting. The week before that, if I was working on an article, it was more interesting. If I wasn’t, then doing laundry and making soup and washing dishes was more interesting, or at least more pressing–it’s hard to get any work done when the dirty dishes become imperialistic and take over not only the dishwasher and the kitchen sink, but also the counter, the table, the living room, and my desk as well. So I try to confine them to the kitchen at least.

But yesterday the guilt became too much, because I knew I had e-mail from readers that I hadn’t responded to yet, some of which had been waiting a really long time. It wasn’t that I was putting it off, in most cases it was literally a matter of me not being able to find them. I had nearly 2,000 messages in my inbox, hundreds of them unread, and most of those unread messages unimportant (spam, business offers, reminders to myself I never deleted, threats–but not too many of those, surprisingly) but I couldn’t wade through them to get to the stuff that needed responses.

So I took some time to create some folders and some rules. Certain people who e-mail me multiple times a day get their own folders. Stuff from companies I do business with enough that their periodic mailings are only slightly annoying (read: they send me coupons that I sometimes use) get a folder, so I can ignore them except when I’m in the market for something–and I get to decide if I’m in the market.

When all was said and done, I’d whittled my inbox down to 983 messages total, and 64 of them unread. A quick scan of those showed they were ancient and not terribly important–recruiters (offering me a job that doesn’t match my qualifications for less than I’m already making isn’t a good way to keep my attention), spam, or stuff that slipped past another filter but the filter wasn’t really worth revising to catch it.

By then, I was starting to feel hungry, so I looked up. Ouch. Six o’clock? I started at 4! So I threw some eggplant cutlets in the oven and got back to it.

And I actually managed to answer all but one of them. Nice feeling.

And I tried an experiment last night. A week or so ago, Steve DeLassus and I were talking about my going vegetarian for Lent, and he mentioned how his wife gave up cola for Lent. Then he started talking about how corrosive cola is. I’d heard some of the things he told me, but not all of them. But come to think of it, people who collect cans always tell you to poke a couple of holes in the bottom of the can and drain the cola out–that way the can still looks unopened, but if you truly leave the can unopened, the cola will eat through it over the course of a couple of years.

He told me cola will dissolve a steak in a matter of days, and a nail in a couple more, and corrosion in a couple less. So as I was looking at a baked-on, caked-on casserole that I normally use to bake fish, I remembered I had a 2-liter of Pepsi sitting in my fridge from the last time I had people over. I very rarely drink cola, so it’s going to go to waste anyway, so why not? I put a large bowl in the middle of the casserole to displace the Pepsi, then I poured about a liter in.

I figure if cola can dissolve a steak, it can probably do something about baked-on grease too, though it might take a little longer. And one of the few things I remember from chemistry class is that acids won’t eat through glass.

If that doesn’t work I’m pretty sure a stronger acid would, but for some reason dumping a bunch of HCl into something, letting it sit, and then turning around and using it for cooking makes me queasy. I know I’ll wash it out, but still…


Aimee Mann; Question; Viper770; Cheap PC; Shopper UK article