mostly muddled

I’ve had an appalling start to the new year – I’m usually making a list, and checking it twice, resolutions and ready to charge into the new year. Oh my, has 2007 been different. In Dick Smith’s today, as we were taking back stuff for a refund, I suddenly remembered to ask about the USB barcode scanner. ‘Why, yes’, said the salesdude, and to my suspicion, the shelf price was $10 less than the catalogue. Well, sure, I’m cheap enough to save $10 – if you’re not, send it to me. I just felt wierd about it all and double checked that if it didn’t work when I got home I could have a refund. ‘Why, yes’, said the salesdude. We’ll see. All my misgivings in the shop were well founded – the scanner doesn’t work – or maybe it does… I arrived home with a PS2 connector scanner. ‘Why, yes’, said the salesdude, ‘you didn’t check it in the shop and you trusted me instead of your intuition, and after all, that’s what I do, I’m a salesdude, and if you don’t check what I sell you well…granddad, you shouldn’t play around with stuff like totally, you know?’

Victor Meldrew image from best I hadn’t checked. That would’ve been the second salesdude that I would’ve gone off at today. Is it the year of the dog (barks at everything) or have I accidentally become Victor Meldew? According to an authorative survey conducted by the BBC, adapted for New Zealand conditions, the answer is ‘Why, yes’. Of course. I should’ve known. Here’s what Aunty Beeb had to say:

The ‘Meldrews’ are frustrated and discontented with society. They are aged between 35-54 and are fed-up with Tony Blair, Iain Duncan Smith, and the government in general. They aren’t very positive about the future, and have particular worries about public services. Another fear is their financial future, as pensions funds seem to be dwindling.A Meldrew is probably quite affluent, although they are fed up with the ‘rat-race’. They question people in authority and resent working over-time, even if they’re getting paid for it.

I have no interest in Tony Blair, and I have no idea who Iain Duncan Smith is, other than this is clearly someone who had parents with a surplus of vowels. Must’ve been in the days before txting – the days bfr we pd fr vowels in txts…

I’ve spent much of the evening attempting to convice my webcam to act as a barcode reader. A job for someone with more patience than I, at least when I was teaching english for speakers of other languages it was fun and there was a cup of tea involved. I found some freeware (works with xp) called MediaMan and I’m pleased to announce it seems to do a good job on cataloging books, DVDs, and CDs; and there’s no reason to think it won’t address VHS tapes, software and game titles as promised. I couldn’t convince the webcam to slurp in the barcodes, but after some generally mucking around with ISBNs and the respective dvd and cd numbers I was able to quite quickly add some records to the database. MediaMan grabs info from Amazon (from the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Canada, and France) and I’ll continue to use it for a while at least. I’m determined to get the scanner part resolved, as, like all the best curmudgeons I’ve gathered quite a collection of various media, and I’d rather prefer to avoid hand entering the base information. I’ll also follow up on Bryan’s LibraryThing suggestion, and again, with some luck, a scanner will pay off.

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