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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Another week gone by. Do people prefer the weekly dumps, or daily dribbles? Inquiring minds and all that.

Worrying news on the job front -- $COMPANY, which last I heard was about to hire me as soon as they got through some back-office stuff, has re-organized. There's a new hiring manager, and apparently he has some concerns. AARGH! I have a new set of interviews on Tuesday. If this falls through I'm unlikely to get anything before my severance pay runs out.

In retrospect it's a good thing I couldn't get a Friday slot -- I apparently came down with a 24-hour virus of some sort. With luck I'm over it now, but I was pretty miserable yesterday afternoon and evening. Went to bed 10:30ish and slept for 11 hours.

In other news, I've done a little music with Naomi, and fixed a mysterious problem I'd been having with my mail reader.

I have been realizing more and more how much we'd been relying on Colleen's support network back in San Jose: Liz (and Marty and Alison before her), Safeway.com, ... Housekeeping, shopping, and driving Colleen places are nearly a full-time job. I'll be happy when the YD gets her license.

Speaking of the YD, she's an official AVON Representative now.

I want a Nexus 7 and a pair of Want. Also want Equator D5 Studio Monitors. Grump. When I get a job, damnit...

Since the Hugos were announced, I've been reading Digger by Ursula Vernon, the winner for best graphic story. Go read it -- it's amazing.

Lots of links, as one would expect for a week's worth.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So... pretty good, though no walks. (I did some walking in Fry's and parking lots yesterday, but that hardly counts.) Got started on the taxes, which is good. Quiet days, mostly at home. I could get used to that altogether too quickly.

The kitchen was a disaster area when I got home late Wednesday; between the YD running a load of dishes (it's not one of her usual chores) and me washing pots, it is now more-or-less usable again.

I think what I need to do is to reconfigure the kitchen and office into something like their final (post-move) form. Anything that doesn't fit goes into storage.

A lot of stuff is going to have to wait until the taxes are done. I let that slip, as usual. Growf.

Quite a few links. The Google Art Project is way cool! Pictures from dozens of art museums online and browsable, though it has a few navigational glitches. This is a common problem with stuff based on Javascript -- it doesn't have to work the way the user expects.

I want a Pebble E-Paper Watch. Want, want, want. So, apparently, do thousands of other people. And Code Not Physical Property, Court Rules in Goldman Sachs Espionage Case. That can cut both ways -- clearly companies need to be able to protect their trade secrets, but equating wrongful copying of information with theft of a physical object isn't the way to do it. Somebody tell the media industries.

raw notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Another busy day at work, mostly meetings and preparing for Tuesday's upcoming code review. $boss has scheduled two hours for it -- my personal estimate is that doing a proper job would take more like 8 or 16. In the process, though, I've discovered (or rediscovered) that I really like reading code. Especially other people's, and even in languages I'm only slightly familiar with. (Yeah, I know -- I have a seriously weird idea of fun.)

Colleen and I went out to our usual Thursday place, El Torito, and followed it with a drive: 101 to Lawrence to Caribbean to Sunnyvale-Saratoga to Blossom Hill to Leigh. Nice. I slept unusually well, probably because Colleen did. And that was because she's started taking tryptophan at bedtime. I should try it.

Quite a few good links under the cut. I want this!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Rainy, dreary, and I had to work on my taxes. Not much to like about yesterday, though it wasn't actively bad. I coped.

The taxes still aren't done, though I made considerable progress. One major step (for me) -- actually looking at my social security and 401K statements and seeing what my expected retirement benefits would be. Not enough, of course. Still need to look at my $work retirement plan and rollover IRA statements. There's a reason why I've been avoiding this.

While buying H&R Block (the program formerly known as TaxCut) at Fry's I saw that they had the Lenovo ThinkPad X100e. Sweet -- I'm in lust. Maybe work will buy me one?

[livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith posted a link to an article on The Great Stalacpipe Organ. I've heard it -- it's very cool.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

A pretty good day. I actually noticed that I was cheerful during my walk around the pond, which was also noticably faster than usual. No problems once I realized that I needed to stretch a little before going any further.

In the evening I found myself close to tears in sympathy for a friend who was hurting. I hate it when I can't do anything to help. Tears are rare for me.

I mentioned to Colleen that N's birthday is coming up in January, and her immediate reaction was that of course I'd be going up to visit. I assured her that I had no intention of staying up in the Seattle area between then and Conflikt.

I also got a call from a homesick Chaos, wanting to come home for the holidays. I booked her a flight for a week from today. I found, somewhat to my surprise, that all the bills due this week had already been paid.

Hot links include two reviews of the Barnes & Noble Nook, on Engadget and Gizmodo. Giz also had guitar picks made from recycled circuit boards, and a carry-on suitcase with a built-in scooter that I desperately want.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Fortunately, Colleen had given me a French press/coffee mug a couple of years ago. It's convenient enough that I'm going to take my time looking for a new coffeepot.

Two shipments arrived: my new "office" phone (a Motorola Droid) and Colleen's purple Kitchenaid mixer. YAY!!

Somehow, no matter how late I plan on leaving for work, I never manage to pry myself loose from the computer early enough to get in a walk. Don't know what's up with that.

An "ok" day. Better than "not ok" -- I'll take it.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Poking around in the Wolfling's room looking for a missing USB hard drive interface I managed to find the roll of purple gaffer's tape, a coffee mug, and a Windows XP SP2 OEM install disk that matched an envelope I found in the office a couple of weeks ago. But no interface.

A nice walk, twice around the pond, with a little meditation break in the middle. A call from Naomi in the afternoon.

And I boxed up the last of the 2008 receipts, put the tax returns in the filing cabinet, and took the box up to the garage attic. And moved enough other boxes around that someone could actually sit in the other chair, and maybe evem use a computer if I have time to set one up.

A bath and some lovely, warm cuddle, and I drifted off to sleep.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)

Lots of tasty link sausage this morning:

For the cloud skeptics and former Sidekick (l)users, a good opinion piece:

Some argued with me last night that cloud computing is perfectly safe, it's the company deploying that you need to look to. OK. I accept that. Only thing is that Danger's been doing this pretty well since 2002 and at no point did I ever see a single warning from anyone that dealing with T-Mobile, Danger or Microsoft might be a bad idea when it comes to personal data solely living in the cloud.

My real question is how much is your data worth? Not the cost of the data streams you pay each month, but how much value does your data have to you personally? Recently, when I visited a client, I was asked to check my laptop at the door and I was asked how much my computer was worth. The guard was somewhat surprised at my stated value of my system. "Is this computer really worth a two million dollars?" he asked. "No," I replied. However, the information on it is worth that and perhaps more to me. Could you re-create every document or email you've ever written? Re-acquire every song in your collection or re-take every photograph in your catalog. Perhaps you could, but even if so, at what cost and what effort?

For the furries reading this, a robotic tail. Here's another article.

For the filk videographers, the Zoom H2 is now available almost everywhere for $250. Must... not... click... buy... button...

For those of you who are worried that the publishing industry may go the way of the music industry, here's more to worry about. Probably 99% of my reading is on the web these days, so, yeah.

... And here's an article on file-sharing sites teaming up to promite indie films.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Wow! For a day when not a whole lot happened, I sure seem to have a lot of notes. Of course, a lot of that is a partial transcript of my IM conversation with a sales droid at Nokia, finding out that the shiny new n900 Linux phone is expensive, not subsidized, and works only with T-Mobile.

Another chunk of it is my OVFF air travel itinerary. I'll be getting in around dinnertime on Thursday, and leaving Monday afternoon. I'm doing it on credit-card points, but air travel via Wells Fargo points seems to have gotten a lot more expensive.

I spent a lot of the afternoon comfort-eating for no particularly good reason, and feeling too weird and sad to get much done, while men with noisy chainsaws took out our South-side neighbors' dracena tree. I'm sad to see it go -- it made a good landmark for the house.

I had a good talk with Colleen about some of the issues that came up over the weekend, mostly around her feelings of exclusion when someone comes to visit me and not primarily her. Don't laugh -- we've been married a third of a century, and this only really started coming up a year and a half ago. One of the ways she used to deal with it was to leave the room and go do something else; that's why the fact that she's able to use the kitchen again is such a big deal.

The other bit of deep discussion, this morning with Naomi, involved the fact that I DO NOT LIKE the way things happen inside my head before I have a chance to think about whether I want them to. Instant reactions like snapping at people when I'm busy. Emotional responses like panic attacks. Naomi suggested training myself to pause before speaking; maybe count to 3 or take a deep breath. This will help with the automatic snapping, at least. Thinking about my emotional reactions -- basically mindfulness -- will eventually lead to thinking before I react, even if I have to start out thinking about them in retrospect.

We'll see.

Colleen took a couple of unsupported steps from the commode to the bed again. It's a start. She can make fast progress when she's determined enough -- I recognize that look now.

I should have taken cyclobenzaprine along with my naproxen -- my shoulder was hurting more in the morning.

mdlbear: (ubuntu-hello-cthulhu)

There are actually three things I can burble about right now. The main one is that my coworker presented a paper this week on the project that our group has been working on. So there are things I can talk about! (And some that I still can't.) I can at least point to the abstract, which is here, though you probably have to be an ACM member in order to download the paper.

Basically the thing is an e-writer -- an e-reader with pen input that lets you write on things like forms and book pages. The next prototype version, due soon, is about the same form factor as the Kindle DX only with WiFi instead of cell, and (because it's a research prototype) Debian Linux.

The other two are the fact that I'm pretty much off the hook for the demo next week -- I've already mentioned that one -- and that the Dell Mini-10 that I won at OpenSourceWorld arrived yesterday.

The Dell came already defenestrated, with Ubuntu 8.04LTS installed. Plusses include the almost-full-size keyboard, scroll gestures on the trackpad, a gig of RAM, and 16 GB of solid-state disk. Minuses include the trackpad, the fact that one does not put swap on a flash drive, and the fact that it's just a little too big for the cases that used to hold my Magio laptop. Still, it's a sweet, shiny little thing. It hasn't been named yet.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Not a very productive day, but a pretty good one on the whole. Lots of yummy links, which I'll get to shortly.

I noted that the YD has been getting up on her own, this first week of school. Not always early enough to make me coffee, but at least I haven't had to go upstairs to rouse her. Go, girl!

I managed a medium-length walk, with 15 minutes of meditation, so that was good.

Colleen told me that in her opinion I had a low-grade virus; the fact that both my nasal congestion and muscle aches have mostly gone away over the last two days is supporting evidence.

The major insight of the day was realizing that PE in junior high and high school was nothing but continuous humiliation for me. It could hardly have been otherwise, for someone with neither interest nor ability.

We ended the day with our "date night" dinner at El Torrito -- tasty and much less expensive than some of the places we've been going -- and went to bed early. Snuggle. Yay for snuggle.

Link sausage for the day.

a computer, a CD drive, a short shell script, and a piece of string rocking a baby to sleep. Silly, and terribly sweet.

Calibre, an open-source, cross-platform e-book library organizer. I definitely intend to take a look at this for the Kindle.

Giz explains how to actually make coffee using a variety of pots.

Some nice-looking hardware: the Touchbook tablet/netbook ($399, available for pre-order), and two articles about Nokia's N900 Maemo (Linux) phone. Gadget lust.

The No-To-SQL anti-database movement. Most of the time you don't need one.

A Newsweek article on polyamory, and Woody Guthrie's song Philadelphia Lawyer round out the day's collection.

I rather like this method of clearing my tabs.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

I'm continuing to like Google Chrome, but I miss my emacs keybindings. There's probably a way to fix that, but the documentation is sparse at best. I may have to consider switching to uzbl. The performance improvement is huge -- Firefox on my 1GHz Thinkpad renders the whole thing barely usable. Chrome is nearly as fast and small as Lynx.

I put in a couple of hours at work in the afternoon and found the mysterious bug that had been plaguing me all day Friday: things go very wonky when an error early in rc.local causes it to error out and skip a lot of the special-purpose setup code.

I got the 1.5TB drive set up in a USB dock; still waffling on how to format it. To some extent that depends on whether I expect it to be only a backup drive, or also function as a bootable spare. Decisions.

With uptimes like 57 days for my workstation, 182 days for the fileserver and 245 for the router, it's easy to see that my vague idea of rebooting systems every month or so has gone by the wayside, like so much else.

I'm going to have to fly to the East Coast for an emergency family visit, the first weekend in August. We're going to have to find somebody to stay with Colleen; she's not quite ready to live that long alone, and the YD isn't up for being a caregiver.

I found myself falling apart in the evening. Going to bed at 10:30 and snuggling seemed like the best thing to do, and indeed it was.

We both did a huge amount of puttering, junk-sorting, and decluttering over the weekend; three bags of old papers to be shredded (work uses a secure destruction service), three or four boxes emptied, and several long-lost treasures uncovered.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

I guess the most interesting "accomplishment" of the day came in the morning as I was making breakfast. I noticed that my stomach muscles were knotting up, and deliberately relaxed them. The associated anxiety was almost certainly over the evening's test session at work, which I wasn't ready for.

I was, mostly, ready at 5pm, after a grueling afternoon in the code mines. It made for one of the most productive days I've had at work in a long time. I'll need to keep that up until next week, when the stuff will actually get used, because there's still quite a bit that needs doing.

A couple of amusing links.

Bang & Olufsen BeoTime Alarm Clock Caters to Flute Enthusiasts, the Rich (waves at [livejournal.com profile] cflute)

When Bang and Olufsen tackles a new type of device, they do it in a very specific way: oddly, stylishly, and with reckless disregard for cost. Exhibit F: The $375 BeoTime, a flute-like, accelerometer-equipped wireless alarm clock.

Wood computer workstation takes up space, looks great, does little else (waves at [livejournal.com profile] gmcdavid)

I spent most of my spare time away from computers reading. I seem to recall that that's how I made it through a lot of our parties, a long time ago: sitting in a corner absorbed in a book, interacting only enough to keep up the pretense that I was being social.

Madness

Jun. 21st, 2009 05:37 pm
mdlbear: (cthulhu-powered)

Went to OSH, my favorite hardware store (even after being bought out by Sears a couple of years ago), in search of I knew not what. Drawn by the eldritch call of gadget lust.

Power squids now come in green!

I bought three.

mdlbear: (nanokey)

Specifically a Korg nanoKEY MIDI controller. It's tiny -- 12.60"W x 0.55"H x 3.27"D -- and USB-powered. Even Linux recognizes it as a vanilla USB MIDI device.

It was only $50 at Guitar Center; I got their last one :). They had one last week at Guitar Showcase, but it had sold by the time I came back after deciding to get one. Popular item, I think. They also have a drum pad and control surface in the same series. Very tempting.

mdlbear: (minox)
Minox DSC
DSC is the name of the new mini MINOX model: Digital SpyCam. This outstanding masterpiece in minimalist design and photo technology packs remarkable features into dimensions of just 86 x 29 x 20 mm. With a resolution of five million pixels it can compete with traditional digital cameras with ease. The bright viewfinder allows spontaneous, fast shots, even in critical light conditions. In twilight the integrated flash switches on automatically. In total these features make the new DSC a very sound optical notebook.
(from Gizmodo)

Back in the day, I owned a Minox C, complete with tiny dials that you operated with your thumb, and a chain marked off with beads so that you could set the focus for the exact distance to the document you were trying to copy. I want this!
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Steampunk Remake: Dave Veloz's Keyboard and Monitor
A Steampunk Monitor and Keyboard for a Mac mini

There is nothing in the world that I like better then receiving pictures of things that people have been inspired to build by my projects. When I opened my mail and discovered these photos I squeed like teen on LJ! In interviews I've often described Steampunk as the intersection of technology and romance - well here is the story to prove it!
That it was built as a wedding present only adds to the romance.

(from engadget, of course.) No, I am not going to add [livejournal.com profile] vonslatt. Not right now, anyway...
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Roundup: 5 Takes On the Lenovo ThinkPad X300
After Apple stole the show with their amazing Macbook Air, it was easy to overlook Lenovo's announcement of their own 0.73 inch thick, 3ish pound laptop—that, by the way, features a 13.3-inch display, 64GB SSD, DVD burner, EVDO, WiMax, GPS, 3 USB ports, and a blessed swappable battery.

And at $2,680.00 (2GB configuration), it may seem a bit expensive...but compared to the Macbook Air's $3,098.00 (solid state configuration), it seems like a steal. So what did the reviewers think? Here are five takes on the ultraportable...
Instant laptop lust...
mdlbear: (hacker glider)
MAKE: Blog: Open Source Hardware Gift Guide
...this year there is so much going on in the world of MAKE, open source, and beyond that we have a series of gift guides for this holiday season. The first one is our open source hardware gift guide - these are physical things you can buy that fit in to the new and exciting category of hardware we call open source hardware.
mdlbear: (wtf-logo)
Definition Of Awesome: 'Segway of the Sky' Tops My Christmas Wish List
Yes, the Segway is lame. But then, the Segway can't fly. If it could, I wouldn't judge its owners so harshly. Say hello to the VertiPod, which is basically just that. You stand on it and steer it around, and by leaning in one direction or another it'll point you in that direction. It all sounds terribly dangerous, and I want one.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
| Sentry® Safe | QE5541 FIRE-SAFE® Water Resistant SAFE
The world's first and only fire and water resistant safe that provides USB powered connectivity. Allows users to backup data using their own 2 1/2" storage device. Protects up to 120 CD's and DVD's. Users connect to their laptop or desktop via the external USB port.
$519 and, in my opinion, worth it. They have smaller models as well, all the way down to a little box that only holds a drive and a few CDs.
you know you want to see it... )

Chumby

Oct. 20th, 2007 07:57 pm
mdlbear: (chumby)

My chumby is on its way! I just got the availability email this evening, so of course I've ordered it. OK, I have a weakness for cute little linux-based gadgets. What can I say?

There are a couple of really unique things about the chumby. First of all, the user interface is based on flash (the flash player is the only component of the whole thing that isn't open source). Second, it isn't just the software that's open source: the hardware is, too. (They figure, if somebody can make it more cheaply than their Chinese partner, they've got themselves a second supplier.) Third, most of the "case" is leather, sewed on to the plastic housing. The pattern is, naturally, downloadable, and they expect that many, if not most, users will customize their chumby's appearance as well as its functionality.

mdlbear: (tux)
Portable Media: Nokia N810 Internet Tablet Officially Announced (Gizmodo)
As we foreshadowed earlier, the Linux-based Nokia N810 internet tablet is now official. The little PC that's scarcely larger than the palm of your hand hooks up to the internet via Wi-Fi, and also can snag a Bluetooth connection with your cellphone. With its highly desirable slide-out keyboard, looks like some tough competition for the iPod touch.

It also adds GPS capability with tons of preloaded maps complete with points of interest to get you where you want to go. It has 2GB of internal storage, but when you stick a 10GB memory card in there, you can be well stocked with music, too, or view videos on its 4.13-inch 800x480 wide touchscreen.

While that's the same rez as its Nokia N800 predecessor, the N810 improves upon that with a 20% brighter screen and a 400MHz processor. Shipping in November, it's a pretty good deal at $479.
With a camera, keyboard, and GPS, all you need is a bluetooth phone and you have it all. Tempting.

In case you're wondering why N doesn't just add cell phone capability, it's actually pretty obvious when you think about it. The form factor isn't really very good for a phone, and it will already talk Bluetooth to whatever you have in your pocket. This way they don't have to negotiate with the carriers about which features to lock down (the way Apple had to), and don't have to supply multiple versions for the various incompatible cellphone technologies.
mdlbear: (xteddy)
chumby › store
Insider's Release Starts in September

We will be shipping "Insider's Release" chumbys starting in September. For the Insider's Release we will be sending an email to those of you who asked to be notified when the chumby became available (starting with those who contacted us first!).

The Insider's Release will continue into autumn until we give everyone who contacted us the opportunity to purchase. To get on the Insider's Release list, enter your email address below. (Don't worry… we won't share your email address with anyone. Your privacy is important to us.)
(From Gizmodo.) I'm already signed up, so I imagine I'll get my invitation pretty soon. More fun!
mdlbear: (tux)
Announcements: Asus Eee PC Official, With Specifications and Pricing - Gizmodo
Asus has made the specifications for the upcoming Eee PC configurations available, along with pricing. The highlights include a two pound weight, and simple user interface for plenty of web apps (full list below). The best model has 8GB (SSD) with 1GB RAM; the lowlights include a 2GB (SSD) flavor with a paltry 256MB RAM, prices going from $299 to $399, which is considerably more expensive than the OLPC. Each has 3 USB ports. Jump for the complete d-low on the various permutations. Note that this is the worldwide launch; the US launch is TBD
The native OS is Linux; it's more expensive than the OLPC XO, but about the same as the buy two/keep one deal. Probably doesn't have the dual-mode screen, mesh networking, and awesome power management, though.

I want both.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Suissa: Suissa's Wooden Enlighten PC - Gizmodo
Like other Suissa PCs, the Enlighten's case is made of wood meant to last through many cycles of component gutting and upgrading. Unlike the others, this one is built around a MicroATX mobo. This qualifies as art, and is therefore above a certain amount of practical criticism, but I can't get over the fact that wood isn't going to dissipate heat nearly as well as aluminum. Did I mention it is $16,500?
The product page is here, where we learn that it's a limited edition. Of 10.

Wonder if he can sell that many?
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Bili Inc - Page/Score Turner
Few people have taken actions trying to find a solution, but failed for various reasons, until now. It's disappointing that for a long time there was no easy and inexpensive way to fix this frustrating problem faced by millions of music players eveyday, across the world, and in Internet age.

"Come on! Where have all the inventors gone?" We hear you, and here you go: Finally, a simple (2-button pedal), effective (1 tap, 1 page, by foot!), and affordable (just $59) gear, FOOTIME page/score turner, is coming to the rescue.
(From Gizmodo.)

We will ignore the fact that the company's web site appears to have been written by somebody whose native language is something other than English, and simply note that $59 is too darned much for two buttons on the end of a USB cable. I'm thinking maybe a hacked-up mouse...

And if I'm going to replace my filkbook with a laptop, I'm going to want a page viewer that works when the system is rotated 90 degrees CCW.

Too shiny

Sep. 25th, 2007 08:20 am
mdlbear: (g15-meters)
MAKE: Blog: Crazed steampunk cooling solution
While checking inbound links to his Steampunk Workshop, MAKE pal Jake von Slatt stumbled on this amazing steampunk casemod on a Polish modding forum. Really amazing, with needle guages, lots of lighting F/X, a porthole with clockworks inside, and lots of old school plumbing hardware
too shiny for words, so here are some pix )
We wants it, preciousssss. Possibly time to go buy some brass pipe-fittings.
mdlbear: (hacker glider)
One Laptop Per Child machines for sale this Christmas: buy two, one goes to developing world - Boing Boing
The Foundation that manages the One Laptop Per Child Program (which will give one low-cost, Linux-based laptop to every child in the developing world -- eventually) is making their machines available for sale in the developed world this Christmas. The price is $399, and includes two laptops, one of which will be given to a child in the developing world. I've just signed up to get one -- I just wish that this was structured as a donation to the Foundation, since I think they'd sell a ton of these if the purchasers could get a tax-receipt for them just before the tax year closes.
It's not unlikely that I'll take advantage of this. The XO is just amazingly cool. (From BoingBoing; also noted in this post by [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman.)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Lenovo announces the ultrasmall, low-energy Blue Sky desktop PC
September 12, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Lenovo Group Ltd. today announced the Blue Sky desktop computer, its smallest, quietest and most energy-efficient desktop.

Available at an introductory price of about $399 after rebate, the new ThinkCentre A61e (its formal name) ships next month. About the size of a telephone book, it weighs 8 lbs. and is about 25% smaller than the previous ThinkCentre model, Lenovo officials said.

Blue Sky is also the first full-functioning PC to run on 45 watts of power, meaning it can be powered by a solar panel or roughly the amount of electricity needed for three compact fluorescent light bulbs, a Lenovo spokeswoman said.

It will run either the Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Athlon 64x2 dual-core processor or the AMD Sempron processor, with several choices of ultrasmall hard drives, ranging from 80GB to 750GB. It has 4GB of memory and comes preloaded with either the Windows Vista Business or Windows XP Professional operating system.
The question is: is it really quiet? Gizmodo has more detailed specs. And there's no PCI slot, so it's not much use for studio recording, but I have that covered anyway.
mdlbear: (h2)

The Zoom H2 I ordered two Saturdays ago arrived this afternoon, too late for me to show it off at our 2pm group meeting, but early enough to mostly destroy my productivity after that. It's pretty nice.

It has its limitations. The recording medium is an SD card (or up to a 4GB SDHD card); since it's DOS formatted the max file size is 2GB. At two channels x 24 bits x 44.1kHz a 2GB card will give me a shade over 2 hours (based on the fact that the display shows 32 minutes for an empty 512GB card). Easily enough for a typical concert set, but I'd have to swap cards if there were two hour-long concerts back-to-back. They're getting cheap. I get the same two hours recording 4 tracks onto a 4GB card.

Of course, if I want lots of recording time I can always switch it over to MP3 mode.

It takes line or microphone in, which of course resetricts it to 2 channels. For what I intend to do with it, it's fine. Making it pretend to be a USB drive isn't completely trivial, but it's close enough (plug it in with the power off, and press a button); fortunately card readers are ubiquitous (except that I can't seem to find mine at the moment...)

So far I've only tried a little hand-held, spoken word recording; it sounds fantastic, to my (distinctly non-golden) ears. It's nicely pocket-sized, and has a camera tripod mount (with a "mic clip adapter" -- basically a conical piece of plastic -- that screws into it). Has a 9vdc adapter, and runs on two AA batteries.

On the whole a fantastic little toy tool. I look forward to playing with using it in the near future. A review will be coming soon -- after I get done with the shipping!

mdlbear: (h2)

Having determined that my favorite local store, Guitar Showcase, doesn't have the Zoom H2, I went and ordered one from AMS. (GS did have several fascinating instruments in their consignment shop, but I've been assured by the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat that she'll divorce me if I bring another home. Besides, I'm out of closet space.)

I also ordered a Rolls PM50S personal monitor. This is basically a headphone amplifier (which I need for the Delta 1010 I bought at GS's consignment shop a month and a half ago) with the ability to mix in the signal from a microphone, which it taps off without interfering with either the signal from the mic to the preamp, or the phantom power going the other way. (I checked the schematic, which was in the two-page manual AMS links to from the product page.) I'll probably get another eventually, though I'd like to find the one mentioned in the manual as having a battery compartment. Or maybe I'll just cobble one together from parts.

See this post for technical trade-offs. I don't expect to ever use it as a USB microphone or interface, or to multitrack with it. That's what the UA-25 is for. The H2 looks ideal for recording concerts, circles, and rehearsal sessions.

That reminds me: I have concert recordings from Baycon, Westercon and ConChord that I still have to split up and upload. Oops.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Discussing the Zoom H4 in comments to this post by [livejournal.com profile] catsittingstill, I realized that the soon-to-be-shipped H2 was a lot closer to what I really need for field recording.

I want this. [image] ) Technical trade-offs )

The fact that it's $100 cheaper than the H4 doesn't hurt. I'll probably wait for reviews, but I strongly suspect that there's a Zoom H2 in my future.

Aug. 22 14:38 It can only send 2 channels x 16 bits over USB, but it can be powered from USB, meaning you can use a MintyBoost to extend your battery life.

mdlbear: (tux)

In the expo here at OSCon there is a booth with a cute little animated penguin toy. It's sort of like the Nabaztag wi-fi rabbit, except that it can do a lot more (open and close its beak, flap its wings, spin around, talk using text-to-speech, ...), costs quite a bit less, and all the software is open source. The company website is kyosh.com; there's also a user/community website at tuxisalive.com. The bottom of the box lists "fully Linux-compatible PC" under system requirements. How cool is that?

And, it's cute and fluffy and its eyes light up )

Yeah, I bought one. Darned near bought one for one of the kids, but I didn't think either of them wanted to learn to program it. I'll happily be proved wrong, though. Probably just as well; it's going to be tight in the suitcase with just one.

mdlbear: (tux)

It shall be mine! (Bwahahaha!)

Not surprisingly, their site is incredibly slow right now. Be very patient if you submit an order -- it took several minutes before the "order completed" page came through.

mdlbear: (hacker glider)
Never mind the iPhone: OpenMoko: The Revolution to "Free Your Phone" is Coming July 9th, 2007
Neo Base -- everything the mobile application developer needs to enjoy the benefits of the first freed phone, the Neo 1973:

* Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)
* Battery
* Stylus
* Headset
* AC Charger
* Phone Pouch
* Lanyard
* SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card
* Mini USB Connectivity Cable

Neo Advanced -- everything the mobile device hacker wants to get down and dirty with the first freed phone, the Neo 1973:

* Neo 1973 (GTA01B_v4)
* Battery (2x)
* Stylus
* Headset
* AC Charger
* Phone Pouch
* Lanyard
* SanDisk 512MB MicroSD Card (2x)
* Mini USB Connectivity Cable (2x)
* USB Host Mode Cable
* Debug Flex Cable
* Debug Board v2 (JTAG and serial console)
* Ruggedized Toolbox with shoulder strap
* Guitar Pick (for opening case)
* Torx T6 screwdriver
...
We're going to sell the Neo Base for $300. The Neo Advanced will be $450.

GTA02 (AKA: The Mass Market Neo 1973) is on schedule to go on sale in October. It will have the following new hardware components:

* 802.11 b/g WiFi
* Samsung 2442 SoC
* SMedia 3362 Graphics Accelerator
* 2 3D Accelerometers
* 256MB Flash

We will sell this device through multiple channels. Direct from openmoko.com, the price will be $450 for the Neo Base and $600 for Neo Advanced.
I may wait -- I really want the WiFi and the faster CPU. A camera would be nice, but I have one of those.

(from gizmodo)
mdlbear: (audacity)
Headphones to Shut Out the World - New York Times
PANASONIC RP-HC500 The pleasantly smushy-edged earcups on this new model do an excellent job of isolating your ears. That may be one reason the noise cancellation works so well; all but the highest frequencies are subtracted. Better still, the music reproduction is stellar, especially in the crisp, clean higher registers.

I waited to look up the prices for these products until after I’d tested them. So I was astonished to discover that you can find these online for $100. You get quality that’s nearly indistinguishable from the Boses — for a third the price.
The Panasonic phones look like the best of the lot for the price. Pogue seems to like headphones that sit on your ears instead of around them. I can't stand them, which eliminates his other low-cost favorite, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7.

Since there's air travel in my near future, ...
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
TreyChair.com - Multifunction task chairs for your desk, floor, home, or office.

Hit the link for the full treatment, including ordering and a cool flash movie; or click through for a couple of pictures )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Note: I'm terrible with phone calls. I put them off for weeks, sometimes. If I don't have everything written out ahead of time, I don't remember what to ask, and leave out important stuff.

So that's what I'm doing. This is almost entirely for my own reference; I doubt that anyone else will be interested. But I'm thinking about it now and it's after business hours on the East coast. )

Note: I'm calling discmakers, shortstacks, and Oasis; I'm mainly interested right now in printed blank disks and short-run CDROMs with added audio tracks. Any other recommendations?

Sweet!

May. 10th, 2007 11:07 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
DIY 3D printer utilizes hot air, sugar to craft random objects - Engadget
Just when you thought a $5,000 3D printer wasn't such a bad deal after all, the zany gurus at the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have put Desktop Factory's iteration to shame. The CandyFab 4000 is a homegrown printer that utilized a bevy of miscellaneous spare parts around the lab as well as the same sort of CNC hot-air control mechanism that we previously saw in the text writing toaster contraption. Their selective hot air sintering and melting (SHASAM) method allows the printer to begin with a bed of granular media (sugar, in this case) in which a directed, low-velocity beam of hit air can be used to fuse together certain areas repeatedly, eventually working the remaining grains into a three-dimensional object. The creators claim that while their CandyFab machine only ran them $500 in addition to junk parts and manual labor, even starting from scratch shouldn't demand more than a grand or so, so be sure to click on through for a few snaps of the fascinating results and hit the read link for the full-blown skinny.
(Original article at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.)
mdlbear: (abt)

I really want to get the bonus CD, About Bleeding Time, done in time for Baycon. Which is in, um, ((\me riffles through calendar)) TWO WEEKS!. It's pretty nearly done.

The original plan was to get the label printed on blank disks by somebody that offers fast service, like DiscMakers, and burn them at home. This would give me the ability to provide custom burns, like audio-only or cd-extra. I might still do that.

But this gadget is awfully tempting. The only problem I can see is the requirement for XP Pro -- I'm damned if I can see why, since this one can use vanilla XP or even a G5 Mac. And why not an Intel Mac, which I actually have? Grumble. And then there's this one, with a built-in PC, and this one, which is dirt cheap (but doesn't print).

The question is, would I use it enough to justify the cost? I am not going to use CD-R disks for the studio albums, like CC&S. I wouldn't do that to my customers. But for bonus disks, instant concert disks, short runs for friends, ... I'm pretty sure anything but the cheapest one wouldn't be worth it.

Advice?

The pico with off-site printing is looking really tempting. Somebody stop me...

mdlbear: (sureal time)
Shiny Shiny -- A girl's guide to gadgets

Fun group blog; not necessarily work-safe -- if your boss is reading titles over your shoulder, the "naughty toys" tab might cause you a little trouble.
mdlbear: (hacker glider)
Desktop Factory to offer up $5,000 3D printer - Engadget

The New York Times article is here.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Absolute Gadget - LG launches world's first dust compression vacuum cleaner
Absolute Gadget was at the launch of the LG Compressor, which will no doubt be hoping to steal Dyson's thunder as king of the bag-less dirt destroyers. Judging by what we saw today the big ‘D' has some serious competition.

Being billed as ‘The World's first dust compression vacuum cleaner the LG Compressor is hoping to break new ground in the dust eating market.

Instead of simply storing dust in a container the LG's unit compresses it into small triangular wedges. It does this via the ‘RotaBlade' which rotates from side to side squeezing the dust into small clumps.
(via Gizmodo, who add: "Shipping in May, it's tricked out in three different models that LG has dubbed Compressor, Compressor PetCare and AllergyCare, dolled up in red, silver or white and priced between $200 and $300.")

My main interest in this thing is that it looks easier to empty than existing bagless vacs, plus it looks like it will probably be easier to store and easier to tote around than uprights like the Dyson. The fact that it's also cool-looking and significantly cheaper doesn't hurt, either. I'll wait.
mdlbear: (wtf)
(I'd say "gadget lust", but that's clearly not the appropriate sin for this one...)

USB Food Hub is the Best Thing We've Seen All Week - Gizmodo
Solid Alliance is no stranger to weird USB gadgets, but this USB FoodHub is the best thing they've ever done. By far.

Image behind cut. The delectable horror of it all! )

If you take a close look, you'll see that the rice is a 4-port USB 2.0 hub, and the four other things (pudding, chicken, and two bits of seafood) are USB sticks. Together, they form something so awesome that the USDA changed its name to the United States Department of Awesome just to regulate the import and export of it.
mdlbear: (hacker glider)
MAKE: Blog: Steampunk keyboard mod
I want one. )
Down in its guts it's an IBM model M -- my favorite. [link]

Shiny!

Feb. 18th, 2007 06:18 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Elite Micro DVD±R
must... not... drool... on... keyboard... )
For somewhat less than twice the price one can get this one, with twice the throughput and a built-in PC. Probably can't justify either of them at this point, but it's awfully tempting.

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