Saturday, October 06, 2007
stupid in a deep shade of purple
Two years ago I bought a string of deep purple Halloween lights at Big!Lots for $1.59 and used it at my cellular tech support job until the Powers That Be said we couldn't use company electricity for light strings or heater fans. Last year I saw purple lights in Wal-Mart and they offered replacement bulbs, 5 on a card, but I didn't buy any. Welcome to 2007. I pulled out the box of lights from Big!Lots and they aren't lighting. This is not an issue to me since I've been playing with Christmas lights since I was like nine, all I need is some replacement bulbs and a little bit of time to test the individual bulbs. Halloween lights are special in that it's such a dark purple; the purple strings sold at Christmas in the last few years (it's not a 'classic' color) are several shades lighter.
Big!Lots is offering orange lights this year only, and does not have anything with purple lights except some holographic bat figures. Wal-Mart has purple light strings but no cards of replacement bulbs. Fred Meyers has several kinds of light strings, including the sugar lights seen in the previous entry, but no cards of replacement bulbs. Kmart has some lighted figures but no light strings. The nearest Spirit store (a yearly Halloween specialty "chain" that materializes in abandoned stores for a month, if they don't appear in your area) offers orange strings, orange and purple strings, orange and purple and green strings, and some nice screw-in strobes along with the expected blacklights, but no purple strings for some unknown reason. And on, and on, and on, and I admit I haven't been to Target yet. [edit: Target no has either. But they do carry strings of tiny bulbs that are top-half-orange, bottom-half-purple.] And I still can't find 14W fluorescent candelabras in stores. So at this rate I may have to bag finding replacement bulbs, other than the kind one pulls out of dead strings... like the one at my feet, if I can't get things fixed.
So I bring in the string and some spare bulbs from other dark purple strings which frame my office shelving, plus this power supply so I can test bulbs, and get down to it. My usual method is to plug in the string and start testing bulbs one by one. A few bulbs in, I haven't found one that lights. The spares light so it's not a problem with the power supply. So I've removed all the bulbs from the string and their bases, and tested each one. I have no idea how this works out since if one bulb goes out the string goes out which protects the rest, but I have TEN working lights and FOURTY that aren't. I think it's not a matter of them being dead but the copper wires at the bottom being oxidized and not conducting... but scraping them with my thumbnail and soaking them in window cleaner before wiping them with paper towels (which did remove some corrosion) didn't cause more than three of them to start working.
I think it's all in industry's desire for planned obsolescence. I'm not a conspiracy theorist (no matter what I say about the auto industry regarding efficient cars because it's demonstrably true) but what's the standard response nowadays if a string of Christmas lights doesn't light? Replace the string. The two replacement bulbs and a fuse are provided with the string for the same reason there's a sprig of parsley on your plate in a restaurant -- just for show, an edible garnish, which you might use if want to take a moment but no one expects you to. And not providing spare parts for the product you sell definitely encourages a disposable culture mindset. And this is stupid.
I guess for sure I have ten spare bulbs and three spare fuses for other strings now... technically I also have a spare string as well. I'm ready for the future.
My electrical situation at present work is a little silly: no prohibitations on anything, but recently a cube wall was inserted in front of my desk, because the latest layout reorg puts the two developers across from me and the guy next to me. Fine. But for the fact that when they moved the wall, they put the power strips on the OTHER side of the wall... the wall was placed on top of all the cords to my computer and phone.
The network drops never really happened, and the cord would only have had to be about 5 foot long with some duct tape on it. not sure DanD would have approved. KennyA is long gone, and with him much of the organizational sanity.
I'm in an environment where they've let us know that USB memory, extra applications, whatever are OK, with the implied statement that if we cause a virus it'll be our own damn fault because we are SUPPOSED to be TECHNICIANS here. I've been told by my boss that I should only ever bother IT about something after I've made damn sure it's their problem and not mine.
DIY holes? I'd have to try it and find out. They provide the cordless drill I have a router bit set. I think a 1" bit should be the right size for the plug end to pass through...
Glad that your current management has a clue about tech savvy, unlike our past one where putting people into iPrison or sic'ing Eli on people was easier than actually facing an issue.
Now, you've got me thinking I MUST have purple lights for those trees. I would never have even thought of that, but since purple is my most favoritest color ever, I need to get purple lights.
Happy Weekend to YOU!
I'm rushing to visit blog buddies. My computer is not working, so I've managed to kidnap Courtney's laptop for an hour or so. She'll be wanting it back any minute now.