Limited uses


Mom once told me a story of when she was a little girl, and the kid down the street had a new battery-operated light on his bike. “I’m not supposed to use up the battery,” he said, but he proudly switched the light on and then quickly off again.

“Maybe that was the last time it will work,” Mom said, “maybe you used up the battery.”

“Nuh-uh!” the boy said, and switched the light on and off again.

“Maybe that was the last time,” Mom teased.


So I know I didn’t inherit this from her, but all my life I’ve had a phobia about using things up. I remember, as a tyke, having one of those glow bracelets on July 4th, and when someone told me the glow would die out in a few days I was horrified and asked my parents to put it in the freezer to keep it alive longer. I was just thinking about that story today on my way to work, in my twenty-one-year-old car that still runs fine, except … It hesitated a fifth of a second longer when I started it up this morning! What does that mean? Am I not driving it enough to keep the battery properly charged? Am I going to go to start it one evening and it won’t start and I’ll end up stranded?

Do normal people worry about stuff like this?

This evening I installed two more hard drives in Jill’s Synology network backup device, bringing it to a total of four drives, RAIDed. That uses up all the space in the little case, and I’ve been watching the drive temperatures rise. They seem to have leveled out at 49ºC/120ºF. I’ve been scouring discussion boards to find out whether that’s all right, and the consensus seems to be that it should be, but I really wouldn’t want it to go any hotter. What if it gets warmer in the house when nobody’s here and the drives get hotter than they are now? What could I be doing to ventilate them better, short of running the air conditioning all the time? But that would kill my compressor… and it’s beyond its warranty already…

Seriously, I am my own worst enemy.

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