There’s going to be a slight delay in putting up the photos of the round barn. I left the organizing of my office until last, figuring it wouldn’t take long to get the trip debris off my desk, hook my new laptop to my external monitor, and be productive. But I did not take into account the squatters. While the cat was away, the mice played. First, I almost broke my arse attempting to sit in my chair and finding it about 30 cm lower than expected. Then there was the matter of rearranging my monitor and lamp, both of which had been shoved to the edges of the desk. But the worst was when I started typing on my external keyboard and made error after error, always the same one. Every time I tried to hit the left Shift key, I got an accent mark (`) instead. I looked at the keyboard and realized that it had a short Shift key — the European and British style. “That’s odd,” I thought. “I could swear my Shift key was the long American one. Didn’t I buy this keyboard in the US?”
I tried typing a bit longer, but was getting royally frustrated by the continual errors. Why hadn’t I ever had this problem before?
You can probably blame my after-dinner beer for the fact that it took me so long to really look at that keyboard — at which point I realized the problem. It was a Portuguese keyboard. Mine had been switched out, and I didn’t even know where it was.
This took a bit more time to fix, after which my productivity drive had vanished. So I’m tagging photos now, and in the meantime, you might be interested in this gripping detective story from Wired, about tracing the source of anthrax spores that were killing heroin users in Glasgow, Scotland. (Tantalizing hint: djembe drums and a letter from an ex-con were the clues that broke open the case.) After learning about anthrax in heroin, levamisole in cocaine, and the generally toxic materials used to make meth, I can’t figure out why world governments don’t just legalize and regulate the drug trade for public health reasons, let alone the huge savings in budgets and the humanitarian issues. After all, they did it for alcohol, which used to be occasionally dangerous back in the days of illegal hooch with unregulated ingredients.
Heck, even the regulated stuff is enough to cloud a beer drinker’s vision, so that a Portuguese keyboard goes unnoticed.