Haiku ~ Bootstrapping

Haiku: Bootstrapping

The concept of bootstrapping, or “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps,” means to get yourself out of a situation by using the resources you have at hand. In computer parlance this has been shortened to “booting” and is the term used to describe when a system is initially activated and then starts up using existing hardware and firmware prior to loading the operating system.

Anyhow, I thought I’d extend this concept a little today using my iPhone’s predictive texting to generate a Haiku.

Staring with the word haiku, I selected one of the 3 suggested words that followed and repeated this until my bootstrapped haiku was created:

Haiku is the art

And the sunset in my house

Is so much better


And here’s the screenshot to prove it…



Technology updates – a bit of a curate’s egg.

The term “curate’s egg” is one I use occasionally but is almost exclusively unknown by American friends and colleagues, who usually stare back at me with bewilderment. It originated from a cartoon in the British satirical publication, Punch way back in 1895 and subsequently became part of the English language, at least for some.

Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones”;  Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”

[“True Humility” by George du Maurier, originally published in Punch, 9 November 1895.]

Originally it summed up the old British stereotype of “stiff upper lip” and “carry on” attitude, basically suggesting that, no matter how bad a situation, we should make the best of it, and just get on with it.

Sterling stuff, indeed!

These days I think the meaning has been changed slightly to mean a mixture of good and bad, although mainly bad.

Now, I could think of some deep and meaningful situation to apply this to, perhaps stretching it to to the current US Presidential Race, for example, but instead I am going to be very self-indulgent (as if writing a blog isn’t self-indulgent enough!) I will use this phrase to provide a promised update on the two technical activities I blogged about recently, namely the upgrade to my beloved (?) Asus laptop, and secondly, repair of my daughter’s iPhone 5c.

The laptop upgrade to a solid state drive (SSD) was meant to be “just” a case of cloning my original disk and then swapping it, so I duly procured a named SSD: (Crucial 480GB) and swapped out my second HDD so I could do the business using EaseUS Todo Backup software.

The problems started immediately when Windoze7 wouldn’t recognize the SSD so I had to use disk manager to initialize it for it to be usable. Cloning was fairly straightforward but the next snag came when Windoze wouldn’t boot up from the new drive, even when selecting it in BIOS. A few hours of head scratching and reading on the interweb, and not really wanting to play about in the Registry too much, and I ended up downloading Macrium Reflect to see if this could help.

This natty software, like that from EaseUS, is free to use for 30-days, but unlike the former it comes with a much better 350+ page pdf user guide which is very helpful. Cranking up Macrium Reflect for the first time I was prompted to create a Windows PE bootable rescue disk (or USB in my case as I have no drives!). Rebooting from this USB and I only had to follow a few prompts on the menus to get my newly minted SSD recognised as a bootable drive.

Rebooting again, with fingers crossed and success, my old Asus was flying again!

Now to the iPhone 5c story. An investment of $10 plus shipping for a new battery and $5 for the tool set needed (a tiny screwdriver set, including the infamous “pentalobe” required (designed) by Apple, plastic pry bars and a suction cup) and I was ready to go.

Opening the case was easy but why on earth (yes, I think you can probably guess why) did Apple have to stick the battery to the case with such strong adhesive? After very carefully prodding and pulling I managed to release the old battery and replace with the new one. Reattaching everything I eagerly plugged it into the charger. Nothing. Except for a low hum from the phone there was no sign of life. No combination button presses to reset it! So, ok the “genius” in the store was right after all – it’s broken! It still irks me though that they made no effort to open up the phone and even take a look at it, leaving me to do that. I guess that is genius (or at least cost-effective) customer service from their perspective.

So, all in all a bit of a curate’s egg for my weekend of technology. Good in part!

As a final piece to this story, when Punch Magazine closed in 1992, after 151 years, they re-published their famous cartoon in their final edition. This time they revised the caption to reflect how much modern society had changed over the century between publication:


Curate: “This f***ing egg’s off!”

So much for progress?


Why do we put up with this Crapple?

Warning: this is going to be a longer rant than usual.

Yesterday, I spent just under 4 hours trying to sort out my daughter’s broken iPhone and achieved precisely nothing. Yes, the Apple Store staff members were all very friendly, but I cannot but think it’s all a farce they’re playing out in order to keep the world’s biggest company (at least from a “stock value” perspective) in their top slot.

Whatever happened to simple customer service and just “doing the right thing?”

I’m old enough to remember when Apple was considered “the little person’s friend” who railed against the men in grey (or, at that time, Big Blue) suits who ran “big, bad corporate America”. These days, it seems to me, that all Apple really achieved was to get the dark suits traded in for west coast casual dress sense, and that’s about all.

It seems that long gone are the days of the concept that “in America the customer is King” that my father opined years ago. These days all anyone wants is to get you to dump your expensive technology and upgrade for yet more money. I can almost hear the metallic voices of the Cybermen barking this whenever I enter an Apple Store: “You will be upgraded!”

So, let me regale you with the story that sparked this rant. Notwithstanding the suspicious way in which my daughters iPhone 5c suddenly died weeks after the warranty expired, we naively drove 30+ miles to our nearest Apple Store to see if any of their geniuses could diagnose and fix it. At 6pm we were efficiently told it would be an hour to 90 minute wait and they would text us when a “technician” would be available. All well and good, thinks I. I won’t bore you with the details but we finally got to see someone at 9:10, just after the store’s official closing time. I am grateful for those staff that stayed on to see those who had been waiting for 3 hours, but I do wonder why they bother.

After explaining that whilst carrying it in the street the phone had dimmed, blanked out and then got so hot we thought it would ignite, the genius looked unconcerned. “Looks like we have a dead phone” was his learned diagnosis after taking out the sim card and peering into the slot with a light. “Can’t see any liquid,” so we assume the battery didn’t melt.

Then the rub. It’s a model they haven’t sold for a few months and as it is (just) over a year old they “can’t replace it.” Strangely though, they could provide me with the same (outdated?) model if I was willing to pay them $269, and generously they’d give me a 90-day warranty. Eh? …pause,,, “or you could consider an upgrade for $369.” Trap laid.

Hmm, not known for parting with money so easily, I head homeward with my disgruntled family, none the wiser for my consultation with the Apple “genius” who didn’t even offer to diagnose it further or repair it.


I guess, despite the high cost of consumer electronics, we now have to expect them to break in a short period and be discarded. My generation and those before us simply throw up our hands in bemusement at the world. Gone are the days when anything lasted, or could be repaired.

Anyhow, back at the ranch I consult the trusty interweb and see that if I undo 4 screws (2 outside and 2 inside) and use a suction cup I could examine, and possibly replace the battery in under 3 minutes for the princely sum of $10 plus shipping ($17 total). Apple couldn’t even be bothered to do this to check if the battery was the problem. Genius.

I have ordered the battery and hope to report my results back in a later post, but to me it was the final nail in the Apple myth.

They have truly become what they initially despised, and we all let them get away with it. Their Orwellian destiny has been fulfilled: we all love (Big Brother) Apple.

Steve Jobs would be proud…



(* PacApple Animation by Georgie)


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