I'm helping a friend who is carering to a group of businesspeople at their company-organised yearly get-together. For him it's a gig he is hoping will become a regular thing and a relatively reliable income some day. For me it's mostly cleaning glasses between refills. For a while, that is all my friend and I were doing: cleaning, rinsing. We took turns. At one point this guy comes up to us to let us know that his drink tasted a bit like dishsoap. He was nice and really just wanted to let us know so we can be more careful in the future if necessary. I don't see a reason for him to lie or exagerate. And he was sure that's what the taste was. It makes sense, too. We were hurring a bit sometime because there weren't that many glasses, a residue of dishsoap would be invisible but ruin the taste of the drink. But, for some reason or not, I defaulted on "But I'm not aware of me or us doing anything wrong." I didn't quite put it into those words. But my hesitant reply must have conveyed that that was how I felt about the "unterstellung". My friend was (and still is, successfully) more customer-aware than me, thanked the guy and assured him that it won't happen again. Guy was happy, friend was mad (today I think at me; back then I thought at the guy). And my stupid non-committing and abweisende reply is what I think of nearly every time I wash any dishes by hand, which since my dishwasher broke a few years ago, is a lot. I don't think I will ever either get rid of that memory or figure out how remembering it might still help me.
Useless Memories (Part 3)
Trolls - Winning Feels Like Losing
Sometimes I realise late that I'm interacting with a troll in an online forum, on Reddit or on a mailing list. For the type of trolls who delibertely try to confuse and seem to be sincere on the surface while following the goal of inducing frustration or otherwise spreading negativity, I have to give to them, that makes them good at what they are doing. But none the less it makes me feel bad all the more. Not much for wasting my time, but for being honest to them while they know they aren't honest to me. I feel betrayed when I conversed more than one or two messages long with a troll.
And that's what happened to me again today. I gave them the benefit of the doubt even after I realised that they had been given many chances to see they made a (simply and definitely provable) honest little mistake but didn't take a single of them, had not responded to a single direct question while constructing a kindly phrased little unrelated allegation out of nothing instead. After a few more messages with no progress I had enough and started to type my response to inform them that I'm not able (or willing? see next paragraph) to view their motivations as sincere. I felt a bit mad and that feeling became stronger the more I re-read what they had posted. But I wanted to make my final response complete and correct, so it seemed necessary to invest this emotion. And I did intend to make this my last post in the thread. I wanted them and maybe others who were still following the thread to know that I'm fooled no longer by this troll. I'm glad I realised that that was still feeding the troll and refuted what I was trying to convey before I submitted my post. I did the right thing by not continuing to give them a fulfilment of receiving any attention at all. But now this is an unclosed chapter in my mind. I'll call it unclosed memory so that I have a term (and category tag) in case I want to refer to similar experiences on this blog in the future. I guess that's the reason I'm making this entry. I did it, dear reader! I got out when I finally did realise what was going on.
I'm imposing this label "troll" on this person and even have a drawer in my mind for people who acted similarly in other threads that I've read in the past. But the thing is - and that's probably a banale thing to say for anybody who has done some thinking about online trolls before - I couldn't prove that they are, even given a perfect defitinion with clear criteria. I don't know their intentions. I want to feel a little bit proud for giving them the benefit of the doubt for longer than apparently any other participant in the thread. I believe that it is ususally the right thing to do to not assume malicious intentions in somebody's actions even after you had the realisation that that is a possibility. I want to be the person who assumes kindness or lack of knowledge before assuming bad intentions. But I'm still often very naive (mostly the kind of naive that makes me tell strangers my weaknesses, like being naive), even though that has changed a bit in some situations. But I always assumed I'm being made fun of or that people try to make me look like a fool rather soon. I think I can hardly know with sufficiant certainty whether that's the case in situations like the one described above. So I will feel unsure whether I made the right decision. (Not that I suspect it matters for this person's life in this case. But in principle.) Among the reasonable things to do with experiences like this I've marked "tell somebody about it" and "discard the memories of it by not trying to bring it up again unless it severly impacts my life" as good options. I've dine the former by writing this here. I'll go on to do the latter now.
Project Idea And A Little Story: High Power PC Cooled Completely Passively With Heat Pipes And A Large Surface Aluminium Case And My First Online Post Ever
Here is another project idea that I'll probably never realise. It's not really an ingenious idea or a new concept. But there is a reason for why I can't forget about it.
In the very early 2000s, when I started to tinker with PC cases and also made my first steps in web communities, I thought about how I could reduce the noise my computers made without running chips at dangurously hight temperatures or forgoing performance. I've read about heat pipes in some case modding community. And I thought why not take it to the extreme to move heat quickly not just to a larger heat sink than the CPU sockets could safely hold (Motherboards didn't have cooler brackets back then.) but to a heat sink or several heat sinks that cover the majority of the case's surface. When the first commercial CPU coolers with heat pipes came on the market, targetet at computer tinkerers, but still nobody in the community seemed to attempt to make a case with a huge heat sink on the outside of the wall to cool even a 2 GHz Pentium 4 with its 75 Watts TDP passively, I decided to register in a small case modding web forum and present my idea to see what might be wrong with the concept. I was actually younger 20 years ago than I am now and I had never before tried to get myself out there in such a way. I thought it was a rather good idea. But I wasn't sure how much surface and aluminium mass I needed and wether it was realistic to cool a powerful CPU passively that way. Trying to cool a Pentium 4 only passively sounds like a stupid idea after all.
So I created a post on said web forum that I've never read before, presented my idea and asked for opinions. I got a few answers and everybody seemed to think it was a stupid idea. One respondant didn't seem to get my idea but still seemed to think it was stupid. One person seemed rather friendly in comparison and asked if I could explain the idea in more detail. I felt bullied by the negative answers, I felt mocked by being inline quoted (which I don't think I had seen before) and I felt that my ideas were generally worthless since I wasn't one of those hobbyistic experts that actually know stuff and are able to answer questions asked in a web forum. So rather than explaining my idea in more detail as requested, I searched for a way to delete my post, didn't find one and asked in the same thread how I could remove it.
I didn't find the post when i searched for it a few years ago. Like most small web forums it has probably gone offline with nothing or almost nothing in a web archive. But with the experiece that I have today I suspect that I didn't explain my idea very well and the other forum members didn't realise that I was a very insecure child. I also realised many years later that it wasn't a bad idea. I even saw a computer case that implemented the same idea being sold at some point. I don't know if many people bought this. But at least somebody other than me seemed to think it made sense and could even be commercialised. This redeemed my idea in my mind and I started to think about making such a case again. But I don't have the need for high-power CPUs and didn't want to invest money into another project that I wouldn't ever finish once the initial exitement would be over by buying huge heat sinks and heat pipes. So I've added it to that huge imaginary list with projects that I like to would have done but likely wouldn't finish and conclude my decades long considerations and my decision to conclude them by writing this entry.
Useless Memories (Part 2)
Once I woke up from a chaotic dream that wasn't a story but rather a mingling of unrelated and overlapping thoughts. The sort of dream that is often called NREM dream by hobbyists without having measured anything that could give indication of the sleep stage one was in at the time. I woke up very tired, with the realisation that what I had just thought of could be an ingenius idea for a story that, would I choose to invest the necessary effort and time that is required to become an author, could be made into a fabulous novel or movie. It was such a genius idea for a story that I would have been surprised if such a constallation of relationships and events had ever been made into a book or movie script without me having ever heard about it. A really good, new idea. I knew about the phenomenon of waking up with such a feeling with its source in a staggeringly trivial or even completely incoherent idea. People who record their dreams after waking up sometimes take such notes and realise later, when their brain is more awake, that it seems almost impossible that they ever thought this idea could be considered anything more than low effort at constructing a sensible sentence or a statement that at best could be seen as a true statement. So I thought it through before I started to write my idea down. I thought about the story and the key events that I felt were so genius. It really made a lot of sense. I stood up to grab my notebook and a pen. And the idea was gone. I couldn't remember a single thing about it beyond what I have written here so far and the fact that it was somehow based on or inspired by the story of "The Lives of Others" ("Das Leben Der Anderen"). I think I even had great pun as a title. (I like puns.) Sometimes I remember this feeling of disappoinment that I experiences maybe 8 years ago. But I long gave up remembering anything from my story idea or even the title that I had thought of.
Useless Memories (Part 1)
Before I started writing the sentence, I remembered something unrelated, switched the tab in my terminal emulator, fixed a bug, switched back... and now I can't remember what it is that I wanted to write about here. So I just wrote that because it's also related to thoughts and memory.