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WEEK 2 2008

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Saturday 12 January 2008
Saturday - OK, voice recognition dialing is done. It was easy really, not even requiring a perusal of the manual (that being a PDF on a CD ). I haven't tried to see if it works using the bluetooth headset yet. I did discover that there is a USB-to-headphone adapter in the box, so I can use my old wired headset if I want. It's not that good a fit for my ear and the wires get tangled, but it doesn't devour the PDA battery like bluetooth. And, about half the time, the battery in the bluetooth headset itself is dead.

Which reminds me of a little discovery I made a day or so ago. A friend called up and asked about buying a car inverter for their laptop. I explained that you needed the wattage out of your 'ac brick' and multiply that by about 1.5 for efficiency losses in the inverter. I picked mine for an example:

"You just read off the ac brick the volts and amps, mine says  5.5Amps * 19.5Volts * 1.5 = 160 Watts required. Then you read off the car inverter it's power output, for example, my inverter is here is rated Watts."

Ooops. Now I know why it would shut itself down on occasion - it just wasn't rated for the required continuous duty. Since the friend's laptop is small and only required 70W, or 105W with the efficiency factor, I gave them mine. Time to go get a new one...

I won 25 cents off Dad on the Green Bay game. Then I lost back it by betting against the Patriots. Heh. Which leads into another story:

I was at these same friend's house last night, for pizza and a movie. She was watching DVD's (the original Italian Job and Finding Neverland) and he was wandering around, occasionally requesting a stop of the video to catch up on the Patriots/Jaguars game score. Trying to head off some marital friction I attempted to log into the NFL game updates on his new laptop. Hmm. Dog slow. I checked the task manager: 79 tasks running in 512MB of Ram, which was also shared by the graphics card! Some of these processes were ACER junk, some just VISTA. But the real culprit is the memory, I don't think you want less than a gig, and two gigs would be best. It's almost criminal to ship Vista with 512MB - with no user processes open at all he was running at 80%-90% of his ram, with the CPU usage spiking as it tried to swap stuff in and out. I killed a bunch of processes and tried to check out ram prices online, but the laptop is so new that the model isn't listed yet at PNY and Corsair.

Then, in the middle of my web search the laptop shut down the browser and Vista started updating itself, without warning,

Microsoft arrogance again - you gotta love their attitude - "our update process is far more important than anything you, an insignificant user, might be doing".

If I'd brought my laptop along he could have logged into Slingbox and watched the game from my Dad's place. Oh well.

Friday 11 January 2008

Friday - working. Nice sunny weather.

Here is the promised photograph, shot in dim indoor light, of the old and new PDA's. Despite the smaller screen the new PDA is quite usable. Note the relative sizes of the micro-SD and the standard SD cards. Each has the same capacity, 1GB. That's an American dime in the middle, for a sense of scale. I'm not sure what to do with the old PDA.

I guess I could use it as an MP3 player?

xv6800 and xv6600
The new XV6800 and the old XV6600.

This reminds me: I do need to figure out how to use the voice dial - the nanny's in up Sacramento have outlawed non-hands-free phones as of mid year. That hands-free feature was broken on the old XV6600, but supposedly works on the new model. I prefer to use the headset anyway, so it's no big deal.

On the road, back up to Lancaster.

Thursday 10 January  2008

Thursday - working.

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Wednesday -  Project Orion, as visualized on YouTube. Heh. [more links over at Dean Esmay]

Creating your own vacuum tubes...

I saw a video of Iranian speedboats messing around near a US destroyer. I'm amazed that they let them get that close, I doubt the destroyer could depress it's 5" enough to hit a speedboat at the range they were at. Possibly they (the American ships) have machine guns or rockets on board, bot still, to let an unknown that close. Does nobody remember the USS Cole?

Note for the day: Pumpkin pie filling mixed with tuna will make your cat regular, fast. The vet wanted a stool sample and in much the same way that a watched pot never boils, a watched cat know.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Tuesday - It looks like Hillary beat Obama in NH. But it's McCain over on the right. It's shaping up to be an interesting race.

Working on database stuff, set up a vet appointment for the cat(s) on Friday, my friends will take them. It's been a while. I'm a bit concerned about Phoebe's obesity, it's not healthy.

 Monday 7 January 2007

Monday -  keeping busy, doing some database stuff at home. It's amazing how much I've forgotten :-(  That said, it's coming along.

New Year Resolutions for your Cat. Some my cats need to heed:

Book #1 is The Family Trade, by Charles Stross. SciFi, the parallel/alternate worlds travel sub-genre, reasonably well done. First in a series of books.

Sunday 6 January 2007

Sunday - a grey and grim day out. We need the rain, so no complaints. The cats didn't seem to mind, and it wasn't particularly cold. I watched a bit of each of the two games, but couldn't get too interested. Thought about going to see 'The Golden Compass' but my brother wasn't interested in going. Oh well.

A good program I ran across a few weeks ago is GoodSync. If you have lots of files and update different copies on different computers at different times it helps you to 'synchronize' them. It seems to work well for me, with my tens of gigabyte data sets now on three different drives. So far I've just used the free version, but it's probably worth buying.

While looking for the sync software I ran across ExamDiff, which wasn't what was needed, but is still pretty cool.

At work, a while back, we were talking about the Arundell Barranca. At first nobody could understand what I was talking about. Then they mocked me:

"No, you're pronouncing it wrong, it's not Arundell, it's Arundell". Apparently, in Ventura anyways, it's Erin-dale. Okaaaaaay. Whatever the natives say is fine with me, it's their channel.

My pronunciation had been learned from a book read years ago. In a passage from the beginning of Kenneth Robert's The Lively Lady Richard Nason has just come across the beautiful Lady Ransome (for whom he later names his ship) picnicking in a field. She offers him and his dog a bit of food and conversation:

"I had it in mind you were on your way to dinner, but perhaps you don't live hereabouts at all."

"No, ma'am," I said, "We live in Arundel fifteen miles from here."

She looked at me blankly. "In a Rundle?" she asked, saying the name of our town as I had said it. "You live in a Rundle?" Then understanding seemed to come to her. "Lud," she cried, "What a way to pronounce it! You should know it's Arun Del. We have an Arun Del in England, on the Arun River. You mustn't call it as you do, 'a Rundle'!"

"Well," I said, "there's no Arun River in Maine, and goodness knows what port you'll make if you go around asking for Arun Del."


Picture of the Week
Photo Notes: Reflections.

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