Samsung offering free fire extinguisher with each cell phone purchase!

imageTechnology is great.

Except, of course, when it explodes in your pants. I’ve never really liked cell phones to begin with, and now that they’ve started self-detonating, I like them even less.

Curgently, Samsung is investigating why its Galaxy Note 7 phones are bursting into flames — a feature Samsung officials say wasn’t supposed to become available until next year.

As you might expect, cell phone sales have dipped slightly as a result of these incidents. That’s because luxuries like instant messaging, Internet access and live video feeds don’t mean much if your cell phone suddenly ignites into flames, turning your morning commute into a flaming lap dance and an appearance on The World’s Wildest Police Chases.  Continue reading

I’m glad the computer ‘Help Line’ doesn’t handle suicide prevention

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped) Sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, my computer slipped from its normal “sleep mode” and into a deep coma. This became apparent after hitting the space bar and getting no reaction whatsoever, not counting a low-pitched whirring sound that — if I didn’t know better — I could swear was snoring.

Realizing there might be a serious problem, I gathered all of my computer troubleshooting experience and, over the course of the next 10 minutes, applied that experience by hitting the space bar no less than 400 times. When that didn’t work, I unplugged the computer and plugged it back in. Tried a different outlet. Switched keyboards. Wiggled my mouse. Considered finding a different occupation, preferably one involving explosives. I eventually realized the only thing left to do was call the Help Line listed in the service manual and hope someone there could either (a) talk me through this or (b) talk me down should our conversation move to the rooftop. Continue reading

Hello: My name isn’t Larry

(If your New Year’s resolution was to not miss a single Flashback Sunday post in 2014, CONGRATULATIONS! You are well on your way, with only 51 flashbacks to go! If, however, your goal was to start working out each morning but, instead, have decided to “adjust” that goal by having coffee in bed while reading this week’s flashback, CONGRATULATIONS ANYWAY! While others are getting sweaty, hungry and staring at someone’s sweaty backside in step aerobics, you are comfy and caffeinated. Who’s 2014 is off to a better start?)

why-hire-a-contractor-1 copy There are three things I know about “Larry.”

He is a contractor; he lives somewhere in Multnomah County; and he has the same cell phone number that I do.

The calls started about a month ago, presumably about the time “Larry” got his contractor’s license and began making bids. Since then, he has been a busy man, picking up jobs and making sure that his clients know they can call him any time. Day or night. For any reason at all.

Which they do — to my cell phone.

The Hansons, for example, call whenever they change their mind about what color tile to use around the bidet in their new bathroom. For the Gilmores, deciding between cedar shakes or aluminum siding requires at least one consultation a day. And the Reyboulds are still contemplating the ripple effect of kitchen cabinets without knobs. Mrs. Reybould thinks knobs would make their kitchen look more inviting; Mr. Reybould believes not having knobs would stymie their 2-year-old and keep him out of the cabinets for at least another year. Continue reading

Latest iPhone still no match for Nokia flaming cell phone

(Welcome to this week’s edition of Flashback Sunday, that special day we travel back in time and highlight posts you’ve probably never read because (a) All six of my followers back then turned out to be debt collectors, or (b) I was still accidentally posting everything to my “about” page. This week’s Flashback was inspired by the latest iPhone release, which seems to be getting mixed reviews by consumers who, coincidentally, have been unable to call from their new phones to lodge a complaint. Keep in mind this is still better than the Nokia cell phone issue which, as you may remember, included suddenly bursting into flames — again, making lodging a complaint extremely difficult…)

Being a journalist, I naturally received an advanced preview of the new iPhone5, which I was told came from a reputable dealer somewhere in Costa Rica.

Technology is great.

Except when it explodes in your pants.

I’ve never really liked cell phones to begin with. Now that they’ve started self-detonating, I like them even less. According to a news article sent in by Dan Collins of Alpharetta, Ga., Nokia has launched an investigation into why, once again, two of its cell phones burst into flames.

And yes — I said AGAIN.

As you might expect, demand for Nokia cell phones has dipped slightly as a result of these incidents. That’s because luxuries like instant text messaging, computer games and video imaging don’t mean much if your cell phone suddenly ignites into flames, turning your morning commute into a flaming lap dance and an appearance on The World’s Wildest Police Chases. Continue reading

Computer acting up? Backhand it with an anti-static wrist strap

It’s Sunday, which God reserved for rest, reflection and — I’m pretty it’s in the Book of… something — “Sunday Flashbacks on Ned’s Blog.” The fact that I am still typing proves He has a sense of humor. Or is quite possibly reading someone else’s blog. Either way, I’ll take it as an affirmation to reach back into the archives, to a time before Creation — at least in terms of this blog — when he looked upon what had been made and said in a mighty voice, “Meh.

Today’s post is a column from 2004, when I was having some computer issues on a regular basis. On an unrelated note, I also got my gun permit about that time…

As a last resort, you may chose to place you computer on top of a trash receptacle and threaten it at gunpoint. Remember: Threatening the monitor is a waste of time. (And yes — sadly, this is a current photo of my computer system)

Today, we will be covering basic troubleshooting techniques for your computer. By the end of this column, you will know how to identify a problem within your system, and then determine whether you can:

a) Fix it yourself, or

b) Save yourself the trouble by taking your computer somewhere and shooting it.

To begin with, most of us have absolutely no idea how a computer works. This is illustrated by the fact that, when there’s a problem, we get really mad and yell at the monitor. This is sort of like yelling at the refrigerator because the container we thought was “Cool Whip” actually turned out to be refried beans left over from last year’s Cinco De Mayo party. Continue reading

Inflatable church could have couples bouncing off the walls

100_0347 The creation of the inflatable church is without question, from a man’s perspective, the most exciting matrimonial advancement since the bachelor party because it means the fun no longer has to end the night before the wedding, somewhere in the general vicinity of a commode. That’s right, the excitement can continue the next day as the groom, flanked by his best man, bounces to the alter in his tube socks to await his blushing bride.

Because a fellow journalist friend and her sister are very close, and because I know how important it is that everything be perfect, I enthusiastically suggested the idea of an inflatable church for her sister’s wedding.

And because she knew I was really trying to help, she smiled and told me I had an inflatable head. Continue reading

Where the heck have I been?

SearchTeam_FL_0809_Binos I’m sure many of you have noticed my blog has been unusually quiet since Sunday. My regular Tuesday posting of The Door didn’t appear this week, and I haven’t posted a new column since last Friday.

OK, fine. No one actually noticed, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you: Yes, I’ve been a total blogging slacker this week.

But WAIT! Let me explain!

Ironically, the lack of activity on my blog is directly related to the amount of activity I’ve had going on outside of my blog, including attending a three-day advanced firefighting extrication class, which I will be teaching for our fire department beginning next month. If you lock your keys in the car and want the roof cut off in less than three minutes, I’m your man. The same goes for turning your car into a hard-top convertible or removing those pesky doors. Continue reading

Monday should always start with a comatose computer

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped) Sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, my computer slipped from its normal “sleep mode” and into a deep coma. This became apparent after hitting the space bar and getting no reaction whatsoever, not counting a low-pitched whirring sound that — if I didn’t know better — I could swear was snoring.

Realizing there might be a serious problem, I gathered all of my computer troubleshooting experience and, over the course of the next 10 minutes, applied that experience by hitting the space bar no less than 400 times. When that didn’t work, I unplugged the computer and plugged it back in. Tried a different outlet. Switched keyboards. Wiggled my mouse. Considered finding a different occupation, preferably one involving explosives. I eventually realized the only thing left to do was call the Help Line listed in the service manual and hope someone there could either (a) talk me through this or (b) talk me down should our conversation move to the rooftop. Continue reading

Teaching public rest room etiquette is difficult when your commode is watching

Robo-urinal Few things can make you look stupid faster than being outsmarted by a public urinal. Especially when it occurs in front of your four-year-old son to whom you are trying to impart rudimentary public rest room etiquette.

I don’t know if potty training is a seasonal thing, like the migration of geese or fluxuating interest in the Kardashians, but I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about potty training their children lately. Apparently, there was a lot more dancing around the May pole nine moths ago than I knew about. Regardless, all this talk about Fruitloops in the toilet got me thinking about my son graduating to the use of a public urinal eight years ago.

We had no problem with the initial stages of our educational process, which began with the proper entrance, i.e., avoid all eye contact and enter the rest room as if you had called ahead and reserved a specific commode. If one isn’t open, go directly to the nearest sink and wash your hands until something becomes available. The trick, of course, is to avoid washing you hands for so long that you appear to have severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. Continue reading

Sadly, flatulence no longer has a place at the airport

As if I needed another reason to fear flying, now they can see my flatulence.

As if I needed another reason to fear flying, now they can see my flatulence.

As many of you know, I have a fear of flying. What many of you don’t know is that I also have a fear of being seen naked. Until now, I had the comfort of knowing there was almost no chance of both happening at once, unless I somehow ended up on one of those nude flights, where I would quickly be arrested for refusing to return my tray to its upright position for take-off.

But now, thanks to today’s airport security technology, I no longer have to wait until I’m actually in the air and vomiting into the seat pocket in front of me before experiencing total humiliation. That’s right. I can now get things rolling before I even board the plane by stepping into a special x-ray booth and having an airport security professional see me completely naked. Continue reading