Thursday, September 15, 2005

Murphy's Law

It's not well known that Murphy's law, "If anything that can go wrong, will", was not initially stated in the pessimisstic, tongue-in-cheek way that it's most often used. Story goes that Murphy was a major in the airforce in charge of some rocket sled tests, and that he uttered this as a way of driving home a point about a complex system involving millions and millions of life-critical parts, and that even seemingly inoccuous "1 in a million" defect levels amounted to sure-fire failures in such a complex system. (after checking, the Wikipedia entry differs from this someone, but I like my version :-)

However, it's more often used to refer to a comedy of failures, or failures that occur at critical moments.

Which is the context in which I'll refer to it.

I was supposed to be up at 5am to get some stuff done before heading to the airport for TGS wednesday, and I was up late getting stuff ready. As usual, good intent about getting to bed early was taking a back seat to last minute travel prep.

Wise tech-savvy guy that I am, I figure I'll transfer some of my media-center recorded movies to my laptop for viewing on the flight on the way over. Only I couldn't get my work laptop to participate with my home network file sharing. Sure enough, at around 11pm, I go in and futz with settings, only to render the machine unbootable, because now it's looking to verify the password on a domain it can't find, etc, etc.


Luckily, I still had the old laptop at work, so I could just go by the office in the morning and pick it up, and while missing some files I wanted to work on, I should at least be about to get on email & the web.

So I go by the office in the morning and pick up the laptop. Only now I have a laptop that's not fully charged, so I won't be able to use it on the plane for much time.

No problem, I have my MP3 player, which I've refreshed with a bunch of music & podcasts. (BTW, Steve Lacey's podcast keeps getting better. I really enjoy it. Also, his Ferryman song that he wrote after inspiration from the Katrina tragedy is quite good).

So I get to the airport, have 45 minutes of AC time to charge the battery on the laptop. Only with all the panic, I forgot to get a new battery for the MP3 player. Dang it!

Digging through my bag, I find a AAA battery, but no AA, which is what the player takes.

McGuyver Time.

I managed to run the MP3 player off the AAA by doing the following: I wrapped a half-piece of tissue around it to make it the size of a AA, which a "tube" extending off the positive terminal end of the battery. In that "tube", I inserted a spring I extracted from teh end of a pen I had with me. The tissue held the spring and battery in line, and the spring filled the difference in length between a AA and a AAA, and also acted as a conductor.

Ha. I rule.

I'd post a picture, but I also forgot my digital camera as well.

Oh, and my cel phone has also given up the ghost, for some reason always thinking a headset is plugged in, when that isn't the case.

Sigh. Some days, everything can, and does, go wrong.


adam lake said...

dude...what is it about tokyo and cell phones, i think that phones refuse to go there...perhaps they feel envious of the technology there.

sorry to hear about your luck, i was beginning to think you had some invincibility thing going on with your machines....having my 3rd thinkpad in 18 months and you just humming away all cheerful with yours. i HATE that feeling, and it always seems to be just before travel, during travel, etc. that it happens.

now you too have an excuse to get a black razr w/ insurance :)

adam lake said...

and you DO win the most clever kung-fu trick of the week with the AAA to AA trick.

william said...

HA! Select your favorite:

That's what you get for installing a beta OS.

That's what you get for trying to connect to another network than your Windows machine was originally set up on.

Both of the above

All of the above and Murphy finally got tired of you :)

Husqvarna rules!