Monthly Archives: September 2007

Marburger Brauerei

Everyday when I rode into the sleepy little town of Marburg on my way to the university I passed a decaying building called the Marburger Brauerei. I first noticed the building upon my arrival and was immediately tempted to explore it. The only problem was that the structure was overlooked by a fairly populated residential area and I intended not to get kicked out of Germany. The last week of my stay I made my way into the building and was not disappointed. Most of the photos I took were nowhere near as dramatic as the ones from the Hessia Fabrik, but there are a few gems. For some reason I just forgot to publish them.

I should also note that my infiltration of the building was incredibly stupid. There was glass everywhere, holes that dropped three stories, and asbestos all over. On top of that I went alone.

FedUp with FedEx – Part III

You may recall reading a while back about my struggles with FedEx and their response to my distaste from ever utilizing their services. Somehow I knew that this issue was not laid to rest.

FedEx sent me 3 certificates valued at $20 each for my shipping needs to quell my displeasure with them destroying my medication. I’m willing to wager their public relations people did this to somehow win over my affections and forgive their company for their egregious error. Perhaps, in some way, in using these certificates they would be able to prove that they are an able shipping company worthy of my future business dollars. A means of gaining trust and, perhaps, even forgiveness.

Everytime I go a licensed FedEx drop point I’m met with hassle. The first place I went to in Oshkosh literally told me, “you need to go to the FedExKinkos on the other side of town to use these.” Then when I get to FedExKinkos the drone working the counter doesn’t know what to do with the certificate. The support number the drone calls also doesn’t have an answer. Well over a half an hour later the staff finally figures out what to do.

Hello FedEx. I’m going to use your damn certificates because I legitimately have that money coming to me. But why must you insist on making their usage so infuriating? Is not the point of these certificates to satiate me to the point where I no longer tell people not to use FedEx? If so, you’ve spectacularly failed.
If you have an item that needs to be shipped, consider you options with DHL, UPS, or even the US Postal Service.

Historic Recommendation

There are few podcasts out there with production values worthy of subscription. There are those rare few, who with little or no modification to the source material, are truly great. Learn Out’s “Great Speeches in History” would be one of those podcasts. After a brief advertisement, the famous speech of a selected individual is presented in its raw and unedited format. It is a pleasant suprise to receive a moving speech in my podcast directory every now and then. The best part is that it is free. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

I would also highly recommend downloading President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s fairwell address. This speech warns the US of the broadening military-industrial complex, squandering the wealth of today at the cost of future generations, and the tenuous balance of sustaining democracy. The current administration could learn a thing or two.

Winning Reception

If the people who ran Green Bay practiced football as a religion, I would be burned at the stake for renouncing long ago my love of the game. The Packers, Brett Favre, and the ongoings of the season ebb and flow every year without gaining insomuch as a murmur of intrigue from me. The other night, however, I caught a piece of advertising that was truly brilliant.

Nike’s “Leave Nothing” commercial spoke volumes without saying nary a word. The camera follows Shawn Merriman as a pummels his way through oncoming opponents on his defensive march. The backgrounds, players, and weather conditions fluidly shift every few fleeting moments. Near the endzone Merriman forces a critical error and Steven Jackson gains the ball. The opposing goal now in sight, he begins the march. All the while, the slow and methodic bagpipes from the Last of the Mohican’s track “Promontory” crescend. With only grunts and the clashing of helmets these gridiron warriors bellowed forth their drama. In the final moment, without clear resolution, we are left suspended.

It is rare, exceedingly rare, for me to take notice to advertising, let alone advertising for a product I have a particular distaste for. Bravo advertising firm on creating this work of art. But I still hate football and Nike shoes.

Apple IIgs Resurrected

A week or two ago I purchased two computers from someone through craigslist. One of the computers was the most powerful Apple II model ever built, the IIgs (ROM 3). This computer presented itself with some challenges to bring it back to life. Unlike the Apple II’s I grew up with, this model did not have a 5.25 floppy, but rather a 3.5. The drive also posed a problem in that it would not read standard 1.44mb 3.5 floppies, but 800k formatted disks.

In order to get software installed I had to first buy an external USB floppy drive. Anyone you know still use a floppy drive? Didn’t think so. Then I downloaded the software from various sites around the web, loaded it onto floppies, then transferred it all to my 1991 Macintosh Classic. Once all the necessary files were transferred I modified the floppies into 800k disks by taping the top left hole. This process tricks the drive into formatting a 800k disk when promted in Mac OS 7. Once those disks were written it was time to install GS/OS 6.0.1 on the IIgs. Because I only have one floppy drive on the IIgs I had to switch the install disk and target disk more than 50 times. It would load a small portion of the OS, then copy it to the disk, and then repeat the process over and over until done. If there was a second drive I would not have had to switch the disks.

Even though the OS is nearly 20 years old the GS/OS is really impressive. It mimics Mac OS 7’s feel and style as best it can with the hardware resources available. It is hard to believe that the whole device runs from a 800k disk. Steve Wozniak’s brilliance still shines through on this machine.

On a side note, I have come to appreciate how fast network infrastructure has improved in the past five years alone. Phones, television, internet, and a variety of other network connected devices now share the internet as their backbone. Their integration into our lives often goes by unnoticed until they cease to function properly. Before the days of wireless internet, or even the proliferation of ethernet networks, data was transported by “sneakernet.” Someone physically had to transport media to its destination, insert the disc, and eject it.