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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #13411
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    I had something similar happen to me. No mystery box but I bought a new smart TV and got a sound bar to go with it. The cable remote could be programmed to control them, and did so easily. Everything synched up and worked as intended.

    Then, one day, the sound bar stopped working. I tried everything but no sound from it, even using the sound bar remote. I decided to unprogram the sound bar and try again. I could find no way to unprogram. Since we have more than one cable box and remote, and the remotes are paired to a specific box, I thought about changing remotes. Too much work so I just used the TV remote to control the TV speakers.

    Then, one day, the sound bar started working again. No idea why.
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  2. #13412
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    File this under, "I wonder if the stars are simply pinholes in the curtain of night..." (It's an idea so not correct it doesn't make much sense, even to me. And I thought it.)

    I've been taking sign language classes because I have a student that only speaks in sign language. (She has both autism and a speech formation issue. She can make sounds, but her words aren't intelligible without some past experience working with her.) Anyway, I seem to have a fair bit of fluency, because when I watch people signing for government officials I can see when they deviate from the spoken word. It is it's own language so some concepts don't exists.

    What I find so interesting is, I tried to review a speech I gave in sign language last spring. But I was doing laundry and didn't have my hands free. What I actually got was a series of "yes, I remember that sign" or "no, I cannot remember that sign". I ran through the whole speech three times and managed to remember all of the signs, but could only think of "yes, I know it" or "I don't know the sign". Nothing else.

    What is particularly weird is, I don't remember what the signs look like, only if I have the associated muscle memory to make the sign. Remembering words is pointless in a soundless language and remembering how signs look is equally meaningless because the signer can't see them as the receiver does. Literally. Either you are seeing the sign from the wrong direction which is not entirely the opposite of the what receiver sees or your own hands are outside your field of view.

    For example, the sign for "purple" is the index finger extended pointing downwards, the middle finger half extended and pointing down from the second knuckle, with the thumb laid under your index finger while touching the second knuckle of both the index and middle finger, with the other two fingers closed like a fist. The whole sign is shaken and presented at about mid-chest level. Typically the receiver can only see the index finger extended, the curled fingers and the shake. They cannot see your thumb or the fact that your middle finger is part way extended. Books show this sign slightly elevated so you can see the whole sign, but in practice the signer would keep the pointing low, because too much of a pointing motion would indicate that the receiver should look for the "purple thing" in the area.

    Knowing a sign is all down to muscle memory. That's super crazy. It is a tiny bit like knowing how to use a Brailler. There are six keys that put the dots in the 3 by 2 cells, and what each means is somewhat variable based on what you are trying to say, which does not necessarily have anything to do with how you say or spell the word in English.

    Is that what it feels like to play a musical instrument?
    Solfe

  3. #13413
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I had something similar happen to me. No mystery box but I bought a new smart TV and got a sound bar to go with it. The cable remote could be programmed to control them, and did so easily. Everything synched up and worked as intended.

    Then, one day, the sound bar stopped working. I tried everything but no sound from it, even using the sound bar remote. I decided to unprogram the sound bar and try again. I could find no way to unprogram. Since we have more than one cable box and remote, and the remotes are paired to a specific box, I thought about changing remotes. Too much work so I just used the TV remote to control the TV speakers.

    Then, one day, the sound bar started working again. No idea why.
    This is going to sound odd, but is the device bluetooth enabled and did you make popcorn with the device in your hand? That can disrupt the signal for a time.

    We have a couple Google devices that use bluetooth, wifi and sound signal to connect a controlling device. If the microwave is turned on, the controlling device can't access a target device on the other side of the microwave. It's worse if you walk from one side of the microwave to the other because everything stops working. I haven't figured out exactly what is happening in the device. Basically, something needs to be reset every time it happens. Usually, it's the phone, which leads me to believe that it gets a lot of noise and switches to standby mode in a way that it can't get out of quickly.

    We noticed that the audio signal is particularly annoying to resync if the Google device is near a speaker, say the TV it is controlling. The device sends a chirp to detect objects and devices in range, and if the TV is making specific sounds like soft, ambient music, the device can't "hear" anything. Not only does it disrupt the audio pulse, sometimes the microphone can't detect a human voice.
    Solfe

  4. #13414
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Yesterday a mystery box arrived in the mailbox. It said something about "Wave North" on it. Our cable (and internet and landline) company is called Wave so my wife said "maybe they sent us a new remote". She had hit the nail on the head, it was a new Tivo remote with a voice command option. Not something we'll probably use much, but what the heck. I stuck the batteries in and tried figuring out how to program it to control the TV, then realized I should do it for the bedroom TV and took it in there. Procedure was simple, first code on the list worked.
    Yup, turned the TV on and off, volume up and down, etc. All good. Change channels. Nothing happened. Press the Tivo button. Nothing happened.
    Turned out those things were happening in the living room. Turns out Tivo remotes have something called "pairing", where it connects itself to a specific box. When I stuck the batteries in, it had automatically paired itself to the living room Tivo box.
    So I dug through some menus and found where it said "unpair all remotes". It won't. So I called the cable company and got stuck in voice command hell for a while before I remembered to say "representative".
    The representative had poor command of English, but seemed to understand the problem and said he would remotely reset the Tivo boxes. After 15 minutes, they'd come back on and I could redo the pairing. Neither of which happened.
    I'm just going to forget about it.
    I worked on a toy that would act like a DVD player remote. It had an 86% failure rate with devices it was known to work with. Usually they would get half the buttons working but not the other half. The marketing and design teams freaked out: "But we programmed it with every code from every DVD player made in the past 5 years!" (This was fairly reasonable because DVD players were new.)

    I asked them if they programmed the device with every code for each brand or just one code per brand. The answer was, "Why would one brand use more than one code?!?"

    It turns out the whole thing was an Excel error. They got all the codes, but things went wrong when they tried to compile them in a DB. Whatever they did to collect the codes put one row per brand matched to one correct code per Excel sheet, with subsequent codes by brand placed on the next sheet. So they had Brands A-Z with one code on one sheet, and if there was a second code for the brand that was listed on a second sheet, again one row per brand. A third code went on a third sheet and so on. The DB was only accessing information on the first sheet.

    The mistake was ineffectively corrected by pulling in every row from every sheet, but the real problem of the data collect being based on an Excel spread sheet was not detected until we signed up enough DVD manufacturers so that the number of sheets exceeded Excel's ability to create new sheets. This borked the process for a second time because the DB in use was designed after the Excel limitations, which cut of information after the 255 sheet. It was the messiest data import process I have ever seen.

    "What do you mean you have 900 sheets of data in a Excel file?"

    Theoretically, Excel is limited to 255 sheets or whatever the installed memory can handle. Of course, Excel doesn't count sheets, so you can cause yourself heartache by adding 253 sheets to the default 3 and crash with no warning. Back in the XP Windows days, I would detect computers in need of RAM when a user added too many sheets to Excel and lost everything. A surprising number of people actually do this, which is, well surprising.
    Solfe

  5. #13415
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    I have an 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver that's supposed to be usable as a remote, by waving in different fashions. It's easier just to push buttons so I've never tried it.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  6. #13416
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    Theoretically, Excel is limited to 255 sheets or whatever the installed memory can handle. Of course, Excel doesn't count sheets, so you can cause yourself heartache by adding 253 sheets to the default 3 and crash with no warning. Back in the XP Windows days, I would detect computers in need of RAM when a user added too many sheets to Excel and lost everything. A surprising number of people actually do this, which is, well surprising.
    I believe it is just limited by memory now, they dramatically upped limits a version or few back. Really poor idea to use Excel for what really calls for a proper database though, even Access will often do for basic stuff if you don’t need to maintain it for long, but I saw it happen a fair number of times at work. A lot of people are at least somewhat familiar with Excel so it tends to get used a lot.

    We would have somebody do their own Excel application out somewhere in the department then call in IT when the person that wrote the custom hack job left and they couldn’t keep it working anymore. I tended to get called in for that stuff. *blech*

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  7. #13417
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    "What do you mean you have 900 sheets of data in a Excel file?"

    Theoretically, Excel is limited to 255 sheets or whatever the installed memory can handle. Of course, Excel doesn't count sheets, so you can cause yourself heartache by adding 253 sheets to the default 3 and crash with no warning. Back in the XP Windows days, I would detect computers in need of RAM when a user added too many sheets to Excel and lost everything. A surprising number of people actually do this, which is, well surprising.
    I'm a little confused by this.

    So there's a limit of 255, but if you try to create a 256th, it just crashes instead of giving you a message saying "sorry, too many sheets, can't create another one"? Is that what "Excel doesn't count sheets" means?

    If so, how did someone get 900 into one?
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  8. #13418
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    I looked back as far as Excel 2000 and it says sheets were limited by memory even then, no specific limit. Mind you, with 64 bit OS and 32 GB common in modern systems that would give much greater limits. I thought it might have had a fixed limit once, but if it did it was on fairly early versions.

    Excel does have hard row and column limits that have been greatly expanded in the last few versions, but naturally subject to memory limits within that. It used to have a 256 column limit, now 65536 and a 65536 row limit now 1048576 rows.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  9. #13419
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    Huh, that’s odd. In the last post, 1048576 was underlined for no reason I can see - I didn’t make it a link or underline it deliberately. I’m posting this to see if it happens again. Edit: It does. Now I’m turning off “Automatically parse links in text” and resaving - something about the number is triggering this. Edit 2 - well, I’m baffled. Huh, I wonder if it is on the browser side?

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  10. #13420
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    test 1048576 test

  11. #13421
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    Well, so much for seeing exactly what link would get attributed to it...

  12. #13422
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    I imagine it's being parsed as a phone number, which is automatically converted to a link by some browsers and messaging software.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #13423
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    I'm a little confused by this.

    So there's a limit of 255, but if you try to create a 256th, it just crashes instead of giving you a message saying "sorry, too many sheets, can't create another one"? Is that what "Excel doesn't count sheets" means?

    If so, how did someone get 900 into one?
    The software isn't aware of how many sheets you have. It will bomb if you try to make too many. Someone created a "900 sheet Excel file" via a DB program that was happy to do an exported file to a file type that defaults to Excel, without being sanity checked.
    Solfe

  14. #13424
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Thanks. I don't fully mind ads, but three interruptions over the course of a twelve-minute video?
    Seriously. I’m getting ads in product videos by vendors. They ARE ads!

  15. #13425
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    Further stuff in the Cable/Tivo/Remote upgrade saga:
    First, this morning I pushed the "info" button on the remote to get more info on the program I was watching. To my surprise, in addition to the info it also gave me an option to turn on closed captioning! This after I complained this morning about the lack of captioning on a show I watched last night. And it even worked!

    The difficulty of turning on captioning on multiple cable boxes is something I've complained about for years. Hallelujah! Now I'll be able to better understand British accents!

    Also today, I took the batteries out of the new remote that had "paired" itself to the wrong cable box in the hope that it would forget that. After several hours, nope!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  16. #13426
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    Sometimes watching my co-workers try to compute is just painful. Normally, that means watching them do things like use the mouse to get from place to place in their text as if the keyboard had no arrows... or type stuff in one little text box then reach for the mouse to click in the next box & type something there, as if the keyboard had no Tab button... or comment on how Excel is impossible to understand and they'll never be able to grasp the complexities of what I can do with it when they see me doing wild esoteric stuff like auto-fitting column widths...

    But I've recently been treated to a case where somebody else like me, who understood basic computer use and was surrounded by people who think it's all the equivalent of the engineering room aboard an alien starship, set up something to help those other people along. I've never met the person who did this or the original group of people it was done for, but I can just see what happened in how this all worked out. And it's a classic case of making things more complicated in the effort to make them extremely extremely simple. The short version is that the method I was taught to get the information we need out of a particular weekly database report, instead of just exporting to Excel and applying three filters that make sense for the kind of information I'd be after, was to export the report to Excel, open another Excel file somebody else in the company had created years ago, copy & paste the report into that, let a bunch of formulas do their formula magic in the background, and apply one filter, without having seen any of what the inner workings did or why they did it. There was another way this had been done before that spreadsheet I was supposed to paste the report into had been created. As I would find out later on, this wasn't any simpler than that; it had just traded in some steps for other steps and actually increased the number of different kinds of steps, while throwing away any & all intuitivity about how the process relates to the goal. But, once it had been created for a specific small set of computerphobes years ago to eliminate the particular kinds of step that triggered their specific version of computerphobia, those people ended up in a position to tell new employees how it's done, and those people then trained other new ones, until this was how everybody was taught to do this task and nobody knew why or considered how it worked or what alternative process this was all to avoid.

    And then it broke. The company came up with a new way to name things in one particular field/column, so then they had things of that type in two different name formats, a set of instructions that only found the older names, and a company full of employees who treated those instructions and the Excel file they depended on as a magic mystery box. So instead of looking into how the spreadsheet had worked and could be fixed to work again, or how the task could be done without it, they ended up still using it as-is and adding a whole second even more cumbersome process to catch items that the spreadsheet missed with the new name format. This is not only more complexity for the sake of simplicity, but also more computerphobe triggers for the sake of trying to avoid triggering computerphobes.

    And both of the possible solutions to the name thing were irritatingly easy. Once I took a look at the formulas in the magic-mystery-box spreadsheet, I spotted the column that checked for only the old item name format, did an automatic find-&-replace, and immediately had a spreadsheet that would work for both old and new names, which anybody else in the company who knew anything about Excel formulas at all could have done in seconds, before I was even hired if they hadn't been scared to touch or even look at the spreadsheet of the gods. And with only slightly more poking around at the formulas and the data in these reports, I discovered the three-filters method that had been forgotten & lost in the mists of time, making even my fixed version of the spreadsheet unnecessary.

    Whoever those people were who got that spreadsheet's creator to create that spreadsheet to cater to their ignorance & fear so they wouldn't need to live through the horror of learning even one more thing about computers than they already knew, they ended up causing a lot of needless extra trouble, not only for me and the spreadsheet's creator, but also for themselves and a lot more of their own kind.
    Last edited by Delvo; 2020-Aug-24 at 03:57 AM.

  17. #13427
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    or comment on how Excel is impossible to understand and they'll never be able to grasp the complexities of what I can do with it when they see me doing wild esoteric stuff like auto-fitting column widths...
    I used to be amazing with Excel. Then they completely redid the user interface, and bounced me back to beginner status
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  18. #13428
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    I used to be amazing with Excel. Then they completely redid the user interface, and bounced me back to beginner status
    That's one of the reasons I use Open Office; the interface is like Excel used to be. Plus it's free.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  19. #13429
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    Artillery practice started at nine last night. The dog across the street started barking at about 6:30 this morning and didn't stop for about half an hour.
    _____________________________________________
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    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  20. #13430
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    That's one of the reasons I use Open Office; the interface is like Excel used to be. Plus it's free.
    I switched over to LibreOffice for a lot (but not all) of my activities.

    I have found some odd idiosyncrasies; for example, I used to get numbers with the leading digits chopped off. They’re there, calculated correctly; they’re just not displayed correctly. If a cell contains a formula that evaluated to 37.142857242857, it might be displayed as 7.142857142857. I never saw that in Excel, although I have found other things in Excel that are arguably bugs. So if you use the misdisplayed number in LibreOffice as an input to a formula in other cell, it was all good. The problem was if you looked at the misdisplayed number, and thought it was correctly displayed. Then you could be very dramatically off.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  21. #13431
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    Could those cells be right-justified, or centered?
    I'm given to understand that Libre Office is better than Open, but it's working fine for what I do.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  22. #13432
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    So rather than just commenting on other people’s issues, I will be “innovative” and add my own.

    This year’s Six Nations tournament will end on 31 October, more than seven months late.

    In my time zone, the first match starts at 10:15 in the evening, and the last one will finish about 6:00 in the morning.

    All of which is largely irrelevant if our Covid-regime does not change, since restaurants and bars have to close at 10:30 in the evening anyway. That last alcoholic drink must be down your throat by that time, not just ordered. And the restaurants and bars can’t have entertainment right now anyway.

    Two months left for the situation to change!

    So is this a really trivial thing, or does it belong in the really serious thread?
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  23. #13433
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    So is this a really trivial thing, or does it belong in the really serious thread?
    For me it’s trivial, but how important is it for you? I’m not familiar with this “Six Nations tournament.” Searching, I see references to ice hockey and under “six nations championship” rugby. I also rarely drink alcohol at home or otherwise. So this isn’t an issue for me, but I certainly can understand it can be for others.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  24. #13434
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Could those cells be right-justified, or centered?
    I'm given to understand that Libre Office is better than Open, but it's working fine for what I do.
    I think it was happening with the default alignment, where it looks at the data, and decides what the right way to display it is.

    I just went to Google school, and found that LibreOffice branched off from OpenOffice in 2010, when the latter was acquired by Oracle. The concern was that Oracle would not continue OpenOffice development, and this concern turned out to be valid.

    So development of OpenOffice has more or less stopped, whereas it has continued for LibreOffice.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  25. #13435
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    and under “six nations championship” rugby.
    That’s the one.

    They don’t televise it here any more, so you have to go out to see it (except that doesn’t work during our current Covid-restricted regime), or subscribe to a streaming service.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  26. #13436
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    That’s the one.

    They don’t televise it here any more, ...
    To be fair, it is only second division.
    Measure once, cut twice. Practice makes perfect.

  27. #13437
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    To be fair, it is only second division.
    Oh you bad boy you . . .

    Sometimes these second-division teams surprise you though. Who was it that England beat to make it to the final in the last World Cup?
    Last edited by 21st Century Schizoid Man; 2020-Aug-27 at 03:42 AM.
    A: "Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other"
    B: "The two sides of this triangle are things that are equal to the same"
    C: "If A and B are true, Z must be true"
    D: "If A and B and C are true, Z must be true"
    E: "If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true"

    Therefore, Z: "The two sides of this triangle are equal to each other"

  28. #13438
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post

    So is this a really trivial thing, or does it belong in the really serious thread?
    It's fine where it is.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  29. #13439
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    Got my second (2 of 2) Shingles inoculation yesterday. Doing so in the middle of a pandemic may not have been the best idea; fatigue, mild aches and generally feeling blah have been my side effects. No fever though.

    This too shall pass.

  30. #13440
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    I got my second inoculation a month ago ... no side effects whatever.

    However, on the first inoculation, I got a rash about a week-and-a-half later on the injected arm. It cleared up in a few days.

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  5. Trivial lawsuits are stupid, but listen to my story...
    By Brady Yoon in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 2005-Apr-28, 01:14 PM

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