26 April 2011

New Trishus

I'm inclined, upon reading this label, to wonder whether Americans can truly eat healthily without just heading straight to the produce section of the grocery store and not go anywhere else until checkout time.

Today I purchased some soups and soup-like items. I saw a children's classic - SpaghettiOs®! And who doesn't love those little pasta rings in yummy tomato and cheese sauce with or without meat balls?

But I was shopping on a budget. So I bought a can of the cheap alternative: Kroger's® brand Speghetti Rings in tomato sauce with Meatballs®. After eating lunch this evening, I glanced at the label.

Then, I did a double-take. Now, I wasn't expecting good nutrition, here, but I at least expected something that wouldn't kill a child after two helpings. Hilights are here:

Calories: 230
Sodium: 1010mg
Sugars: 7g

And the clincher - Servings per container: 2.

Two! That means, that if, like just about anyone else, you eat a single can (it's a single-serving-sized can, not one of those jumbo things), then you can expect to double the values above.

I know my diet isn't the best, but really, that sodium level should be illegal for anything intended to be taken as food. Two grams of salt in one meal... I had to double-check the label to see if it wasn't being sold as a nutritional supplement to replace lost electrolytes or something.

Dad, if you're reading this... If you eat a can of these, for your own safety, don't have any crackers with them. Not without letting the rest of us say "Goodbye" first.

And it wasn't even half as good as Campbell's SpaghettiOs.

10 April 2011

Big Brother/Pharmacy

So, I was registering with the Walgreens website for the purpose of streamlining prescription refills... believe me, no one wants me missing my prescription...

I filled out the normal stuff. Name, address, that sort of thing. Or rather, I put in the information I want them to think, so as to protect my privacy.

OKAY... I had my computer input that for me, because I didn't feel up to typing.

So, anyway, I filled that out. Then, it said it wanted to verify my identity. I was expecting it to send me an e-mail with a link for me to reply to. Lots of sites do that. But instead it asked me a series of questions.

  • Which street, if any, was your listed residence before the one where you currently live?
Simple enough... I've filled prescriptions at Walgreens before. They have me on record for both addresses.
  • Which model of vehicle is currently registered at your current address?
No probl.... waitaminute! My car is on the list. How did they know that?
  • What is the year of manufacture of your Suzuki Sidekick?
Hey! That was my last car! How in heck...

OK, now I know that Big Brother wacheth and all that stuff. I'm ex-military, working for a defense contractor, and my father is a nut-job conspiracy theorist (the smart kind, who's actually right). So it doesn't surprise me that information like this can be had. But this is a simple registration on a website. A pharmacy website! AND I DIDN'T EVEN GIVE IT MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR DRIVER'S LICENSE NUMBER!

Scary, huh? I've tried to be careful before, not giving out my real information when I don't have to, obfuscating things, and remembering what I tell whom, and keeping stuff to myself. I don't "own" any credit cards. I have no outstanding loans, apart from my vehicle, which was a non-credit-check purchase that will be paid off in a few months. (Instead of non-payment going on my credit, they have a tracking device on the vehicle, which is, itself, scary.) Even my own daughter doesn't know what my actual face looks like. She's only seen me pixelated.

But this... a drug store... I shudder to think what dirt Wal-mart and Kroger's have on me!

02 April 2011

World's Greatest Cook

One of my favorite authors is Rick Cook. Rick wrote a series of fantasy books that gave me inspiration during my early days as a programmer.

Let me say that again... Rick wrote a fantasy series that gave me inspiration during my early days as a programmer.


Anyway, the first book begins with "Wiz" Zumwalt, a Silicone Valley programmer, being summoned to a universe where science as we know it doesn't work, and magic rules. Wiz has no talent for magic, so he must learn to use his programming skills to survive.

Neat, huh? One of the things I love about the books is the various sayings, both borrowed and original, that proceed the various chapters. Here's a sample:

You can always tell a good idea by the enemies it makes.
- programmer's axiom

Everything always takes twice as long and costs four times as much as you planned.
- programmer's axiom

It's never the technical stuff that gets you in trouble. It's the personalities and the politics.
- programmer's sayings

Those who can't do, teach.
- article of faith among students

And vice-versa.
- programmer's addendum to students' article of faith

Living with a programmer is easy. All you need is the patience of a saint.
- programmer's wives' saying

Applications programming is a race between software engineers, who strive to produce idiot-proof programs, and the Universe which strives to produce bigger idiots.
- software engineers' saying

So far, the Universe is winning.
- applications programmers' saying

The three most dangerous things in the world are a programmer with a soldering iron, a hardware type with a program patch and a user with an idea.
- computer saying

You can't do just one thing.
- Campbell's Law of everything

Friends come an go, but enemies accumulate.
- Murphy's Law #1024

and sometimes the the real trick is telling the difference.
- Murphy's Law #1024a

Whenever you use a jump, be sure of your destination address.
- programmer's saying

Always secure your files. You never know who's lurking about.
- programmer's saying

Never argue with a redhaired witch. It wastes your breath and only delays the inevitable.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

If you eat a live toad first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen all day long.
- California saying

To you or the toad.
- Niven's restatement of California saying

--well, most of the time, anyway...
- programmer's caveat to Niven's restatement of California saying

You never find out the whole story until after you've signed the contract.
- programmer's saying

A jump gone awry is one of the hardest bugs to locate.
- programmer's saying

You can't unscramble an egg.
- old saying

You can if you're powerful enough.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

Magic is real, unless declared integer.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Clarke's law

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
- Murphy's reformulation of Clarke's law

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a rigged demostration.
- programmer's restatement of Murphy's reformulation of Clarke's law

Putting twice as many programmers on a project that is late will make it twice as late.
- Brooks' law of programming projects

Never give a sucker an even break.
- W. C. Fields

Especially not if he's a big mean sucker.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

Sleep? Isn't that a completely inadequate substitute for caffine?
- programmer's saying

Good client relations are the key to a successful project.
- consultants' saying

At some time in the project you're going to have to break down and finally define the problem.
- programmer's saying

Customer support is an art, not a science.
- marketing saying

So are most other forms of torture.
- programmers' response

Programming is like pinball. The reward for doing it is the opportunity of doing it again.
- programmers' saying

Now, I won't clam that Rick is an Arthur Clarke or Ted Sturgeon, but he's definitely better than a lot of authors I've read. More importantly, his books are both full of adventure and laced with actual plot, not to mention quite funny. And it's all stuff I could even let my child read.