Short Assignment #4

February 22, 2010

When thinking about the products that most impact your life, the obvious place to start is to think: “What products do I use most?”. That is not always the product or device that is most significant or powerful in your life, however. I started to think about what products I use that I feel are most impactful. The first thing that came to mind was a pencil I have had since freshman year of high school. But there is only so much you can say about a pencil; instead I have decided to talk about my car. Words cannot describe how much I love my car. It is not especially fast, nor is it big and intimidating, and it is actually quite ugly and beaten up at the moment. But over the years since I have had it, I have started to form, what some have said, is an irrational attachment to the car.

The car is a BMW 1990 525i. I got it during my junior year of high school from my grandfather. It was his old company car, and when he retired he bought it from the company. He then passed it down to me as he never drove it because he had recently bought a new car. So it has become much more than just a car for me. I almost consider it a family heirloom. Something I need to pass down to my kids if I can keep it around long enough. It has become my own Ramblin’ Wreck, if you will.

There is nothing technically amazing about the car. It has just over 100,000 miles, which is amazing for a car that is 20 years old. I have also been told the car could last up to 500,000 miles if I take good enough care of it (which is probably part of the reason I’ve been wanting to hold on to the car for so long). Over the past year however, the car seems to be falling apart. I have had to fix the suspension, fixed an issue with the gas intake, replaced tires and spark plugs, and it now has an issue with a very noisy drive belt.

There is nothing especially flashy or outstanding about how the car looks. It is painted an unassuming dark green. The paint itself is faded and is starting to chip and erode from sun damage. The rims are the standard ones that came with the car all those years ago, which have since become stained and dirty. The tires are brand new however. I had to replace them recently as the car has been rolling on the same tires from day one. I was told by the mechanic that the rubber was so degraded that I could have been one big speed bump away from losing all four tires at the same time. The car’s body itself is covered in tiny nicks and dents. One dent in particular on the hood is from when I attempted to slide across the hood Dukes of Hazards style.

The interior is just as unordinary. The inside is covered with tan leather. The leather is now stained, fading, and cracking. Regardless, it is still the most comfortable seat around after a long day. One feature that I love is the driver and passenger side seats have heat warmers, which have been a godsend this winter. However, I often find myself cursing them in the summer for not being cooled seats. The radio and speakers have got to be the best feature of the interior. They are all brand new. I have just gotten them after a good year and a half without any radio after my previous one had broken. It is not especially roomy inside, but can comfortably sit five and uncomfortably sit about seven.

My favorite aspects about my car though are the ones that could actually be considered faults. Things like the passenger-side back door does not open because the locks are jammed, or that the car goes into complete lock down mode if the car battery dies. Because the locks are unlocked and locked electronically, if there is no battery power, you cannot get in. There was one instance that I had to get my roommate’s girlfriend (who is quite tiny) to get in my trunk and climb through the whole in the back seat to pop the trunk. Of course I know now there is a special way to turn the key to get in the car if there is no power, but at the time that’s the best solution we had come up with.

People constantly ask me why I keep dumping money into the car, especially during the cash for clunkers deal that had been going on a while ago. The truth is I don’t know why I love my car so much. You just build up these relationships with your things, particularly ones that you use and are in contact with on a constant basis. We have a way of personifying these inanimate objects, we understand them, we connect with them, we bond with them. Not only do we become used to the little quirks in our everyday things, but we come to expect those quirks. Sometimes even preferring the oddities of our products. This goes back to when we were children and had our stuffed animals and action figures that we had gotten attached to.


Short Assignment #3

February 22, 2010

Part 1:

It seems like there is an organization field that falls into almost every one of the “ultimate hatracks”. In iTunes you can organize songs Name (alphabetical), Time (time), Artist (category), Album (category), Genre (category), or Rating (hierarchy). I usually organize my library by Artist. It makes browsing for a certain song by an artist very quick, as I usually can’t remember the certain name of a song, but will remember the artist. If there is one problem I have with iTunes is that you can’t browse through just artists. It is annoying having to scroll through each song by each artist to get down to a certain song I am looking for.

Part 2:

CNN

1.

  • Tech section
  • Clicked on an article about Nasa
  • Which lead to an article about how the crew of the Endeavour was inspecting the ship on their way to the ISS
  • Which lead to the related topic of “Space Shuttle Endeavour”
  • Which finally lead to the “Endeavour Lifts off on Two-week Mission”

2.

  • Politics section
  • Some random article about another Republican which lead to the GOP topic
  • After this I got lost in an endless links leading no where close to the article I needed to find

BBC

1.

  • Technology section
  • Found a link on the tech’s main page about the news story “Space Shuttle Endeavour Launches from Flordia”

2.

  • America’s section
  • From here I went through the sight hoping to find related articles, but again seem to get no closer to the desired article

Uses for a Paper Clip

February 22, 2010
  • Impermanently binding paper together
  • Rudimentary lock-pick
  • Specialized tool for clicking the reset button on some electronics
  • Funny/ironic h’oderve’s server for office parties
  • Makeshift shiv
  • Hair barrette
  • If you are McGuyver, the paperclip can be used as any single integral part to any makeshift device you make
  • Used as a form of stress relief (straightening the paper clip out)
  • Can be bent into a spring
  • Fashioned into an ironic piece of jewelry for hipsters
  • Can be linked together to make a chain
  • Pin-point scratcher
  • Can be used to complete a broken circuit
  • Paperclip + Gum = miniature  grabber of tiny objects in hard to reach places.

Idea Generation

February 22, 2010

I had some time to kill in between classes the other day. It was an unusually nice day out considering it is January and found a nice soft spot to sit in the sun. I decided to do the 1-minute circle drill at this time. I am a little disappointed in myself as I only got a couple done. I definitely didn’t feel like a minute…but I guess I can’t argue with a clock. Regardless here is the result.