A Hack

I have been having a great holiday.  I did a little traveling this week, and am about to get ready for New Year’s.  However, during this time a subject has come up which I think deserves a post.  This, is a hack:

You see, the jacks on the front of the TV don’t work too well; the video one in particular needs to be pushed down for the connection to be made.  We had tried jamming a wad of packing peanuts in there, which worked for a while, but not for long.  What you see here has been working fine for several days now.

However, it is by no means an elegant solution.  A better one would maybe involve gluing the connector down.  Or even better, resoldering it.  But both of these are a little more than we want to put up with right now, it being the holidays and all.  This works well, the stone hasn’t fallen out, and we haven’t had problems with the connectors.

When solving a problem it is nice to pick a solution that is simple, practical, lasts, and most importantly, actually solves the problem.  The first three of these are debatable in this case, but the latter does not apply.  And in the end, addressing this part is what you want to shoot for.  However, when it comes to quick, temporary fixes, exploration, and plain-old fun, a hack can be key.  Remember to be aware of what you have available to you, as far as tools, resources, and skill, and try to make the best of it.

RIP Billy Mays, 1958-2009

Goodnight, Sweet Prince
Goodnight, Sweet Prince

You’ve probably seen this guy on TV, promoting some sort of amazing product for the home.  Chances are you found his constant shouting annoying, or thought that his products were cheap pieces of crap.  Maybe you saw his show Pitchmen on the Discovery channel.  Maybe you just didn’t pay him much attention.

I’ve never bought anything Billy Mays sold on TV.  I guess I did find his commercials a little annoying sometimes, though I did think that they were funny in a way.  This led me to the Youtube parodies (look them up, I’m not going to link to them now), some of which were pretty good.  And of course he became a bit of an Internet meme as well.

But despite not knowing him or really caring about what he had to sell, I have to say that I miss him.  I mean, I don’t like it when people die, but aside from that I feel kind of like I would about the death of a favorite musican (I’m not referring to Micheal Jackson here, though I do feel the same way a little bit).  Billy Mays loved what he did, you could see that in his exhuberence in each one of his commercials.  In this day and age, where people go to college to be things like docotors, lawyers, scientists, and engineers, it’s easy to look at someone like Billy and say that he was just some guy with a loud voice who sold crap on TV.  But he had a skill that made companies what to advertise over 30 products with him (see his Wiki page).  He was one of the best, a true professional.  And think about it: if he sold crap, people would talk about it.  The fact that he was hired so much means he has standards; if he didn’t people wouldn’t want to buy anything of his.  I’ve never met him, but I’ve heard he was a great guy, too.

Well, I suppose someone will take his place.  But he’ll be remembered, maybe not like Micheal Jackson, but maybe in stories my generation tells their children.  Well, it’s a little odd to think of a TV pitchman that way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it turns out.

Billy, you will be missed.