Archive for September, 2006

The Scooba and the Xacti.

September 27, 2006

It’s been a rough week for my precious gadgets.  On Sunday, my Sanyo Xacti died.  Today, my Scooba battery gave up the ghost.  The good people at Sanyo and iRobot are honoring their respective warranties.  Both had very nice customer service.

iRobot is shipping me a new battery.  The old one is junk anyway.  There’s no need to ship it back.  I did express my wish that they had used lithium ion batteries instead of nickle hydride, but what can you do?  Nickle hydride batteries are cheaper.

Sanyo had me ship my camera to a shop in Illinois.  It was out of warranty on labor, but they extended it for me.  I appreciated that.  Of course, I’ve only had the camera since April.  It’s been wonderful, but I’m surprised it broke.  Cameras usually last a few years at least.

Soon my toys will be fixed.

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Hot Dogs and Scarlett O’Hara.

September 25, 2006

How do you relax after a day where everyone comes at you from every different direction? What’s you’re favorite stress reliever? When I got home today, I grilled hot dogs. I like hot dogs. Boil ’em, fry ’em, steam ’em, they’re all good! The best hot dog, hands down, is a grilled hot dog. Oh, my mouth is watering all over again after eating three of them. I didn’t even put sauerkraut on them this time. I just had mustard and pickles. Truly to die for, and with what’s in hot dogs, I probably will.

I also got Wired magazine in the mail today. Lying on the couch reading Wired takes away the stress too. Of course this means that the work I brought home tonight will not be finished, but what of it. In the famous words of Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Soap

September 23, 2006

This is a blog post on soap.  That’s right, I’m talking about the stuff that most of you use to lather up your skin every morning (or night before).  Well, hopefully, you’re a soap user.  If you aren’t, this post isn’t for you and frankly, I hope we never meet in real life.  We can still be Internet friends though.

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting with new types of soap for the freshest, cleanest experience.  As usual, I’m not like normal people.  Even though Lever soap has been recommended to me by dermatologists, it causes my legs to break out.  I like the soap, but I’ll pass on the accompanying rash.

Ivory has been very good to me.  It’s cheap and it doesn’t bother my skin.  Unfortunately, it’s also not the strongest soap with which one could clean one’s self.  Ivory is good if you’re having skin problems, but there are better things out there.  I often wonder after I use Ivory if people aren’t giving me a little more room than usual during the day.  Maybe that’s a good thing?

When I was in Las Vegas and lucky enough to be staying at the Winn, they had this soap called Bambu.  Smelling like lemons, I really enjoyed it.  I haven’t been able to find it at the grocery store, though.  I suspect that I’d have to go to one of those fru-fru places to find it or look online.  Yet, there are limits to what I’m willing to do for my soap fetish.  I am, after all, still a guy.

One very perfectly good soap for men is Dial for Men:  Full Force.  I’m liking this one a lot.  For one thing, it comes in a manly blue bar.  It’s not the longest lasting soap.  I think I burned through a bar in a week.  But that just means it’s working, right?  This soap is a deodorant version and it’s very strong.  I definitely know that I smell better coming out of the shower than going in when I used it.

Far less masculine, but definitely nice smelling is Zest:  Linen Fresh.  In terms of all round smell, this is a nice one.  It does smell like clean linens with maybe a hint of lemon.  That’s one a whole family could use.  It’s not just for guys.

In the end, I suspect I’ll stick with Dial for Men.  I like the fact that it’s strong.  When you use it, you could probably forget to put on deodorant and still get away with it.  Maybe it’s a belt and suspenders approach to smelling good, but whatever, I’ll take it.

Owned.

September 15, 2006

My failure to use an overclocked PC over the long term has engendered mirth among my more geeky friends. I’ve mentioned before that Geeknights is one of my favorite podcasts. They have a forum which I frequent and I cross posted my experiences with overclocking in their forum. They had advised against it and I went ahead anyway. My failure resulted in my being owned. Oh the shame!

Well, not really. It was a learning experience for me, albeit an expensive one. It will be fine though because I think I’m going to get a cheap mobo for the slower processor and then I’ll have two dual core machines. That will be great. At least until the quadcores come out.

Pentium D 805 Overclocked to 4.05 GHz no longer stable.

September 14, 2006

Well, I’ve given up on overclocking. I know after this post that that may come as a surprise to you. I just can’t keep the machine stable. It will run for hours one day and then be buggy as heck the next. I’ve had it. The thing is, I built the stupid machine around some expensive hardware.

I’ve been debating doing the following:
1)Sell it all on ebay and start over
2)Keep it and just put up with it as a normal, slow regular pc.
3)Upgrade the chip alone.

I think I’m going to choose option 3. If this chip works, I may buy it this weekend. I’ve emailed Newegg to see what’s the fastest chip I can put in the Asus P5WDG2-WS motherboard. We’ll see how it goes. When the quadcores come out later this year, I’ll probably build another computer around one of those anyway.

September 12, 2006

life is quite precious
this I must remember well
fight with strength and grace

Scooba Update.

September 10, 2006

I swept and mopped the kitchen myself today. I used (gasp) a broom, a dustpan, a mop and a bucket. This, gentle reader, is not good. I resorted to these tactics because my Scooba battery died. Now you know that I’ve been happy with my robot mop even though I’ve had it replaced once. I’ve blogged about it a lot. The battery died after less than a year. It’s a nickel hydride battery. I wish they’d gone with lithium ion (so long as it’s not made by Sony)

So I’ll buy another battery and hope for the best. Maybe what I really need is one of those industrial robots…

The Antikythera Mechanism

September 7, 2006

I read about this recently in Discover Magazine.  It was just a little blurb, but I leapt from my chair in amazement.  Never before did I know that the Greeks had mastered such fine gearing.  Who would have guessed that a society from 2000 years ago had inventors that rivaled Charles Babbage.  Moreover, this is not new.  It was discovered over 100 years ago and has been written about fairly often.  I am an unabashed geek and yet somehow I missed learning about this incredible device.  Here’s a link to an article written about it in 1959 from Scientific American.  It’s also on Wikipedia.

The greeks didn’t have electricity.  They didn’t have gun powder.  They didn’t even have iron works.  Apparently, though, they understood astronomy, mathematics and bronze smithing.

This device apparently helped with sea navigation.  It is self-dating too by the calendar-like aspects of the inscriptions on the device to 80 BC.  It’s almost crushingly telling in it’s power to show the thinking used and it’s regarded as the very first scientific instrument produced, if not the very first mechanical computer.

To me this object holds true preciousness because it is an anchor point in human history and of scientific thought.  It’s also a warning that bright people and far ahead thinking in science can’t save a civilization over time.  Or, as stated in the Scientific American article: “It is a bit frightening to know that just before the fall of their great civilization the ancient Greeks had come so close to our age, not only in their thought, but also in their scientific technology.”

Flogged by the Frog.

September 6, 2006

I asked for it. I submitted Mental Interface for review by the good people at Frog My Blog. I did this on a whim because I read about another blogger who liked the site. I probably should have read the kind of reviews that they do first, but I didn’t and there you have it.

The reviewer took issue with my minimalist approach. Of course, this is intentional. If I could make it more minimalist, I would. This is probably the least cluttered template WordPress has. The idea behind it is that you’re just getting the content because that’s all that’s important, at least to me. This is not to say that other sites that use color and graphics aren’t great, that’s not the focus of this blog.

The reviewer also called Mental Interface a product review blog. It’s not. Sure I talk about gadgets and they caught me on a week where I did a fair amount of that. But looking at the tags on the site, you’ll see that there is much more. Later, though, the reviewer states: “I’m not a big fan of product review blogs. I’m quite sure I don’t know anybody who actually reads them on a regular basis.” In my view, this suggests that no one reads product review sites. Engadget, Gizmodo, heck even Consumer Reports might beg to differ. That’s an example of someone saying something is bad for everyone just because that person doesn’t like it. Ironically, however, again, Mental Interface’s purpose is not to review products or to provide helpful advice. It is purely a voice for my mind on any topic I desire on any given whim. It’s not for everyone.

The Froggers suspect that either I keep my social life completely separate from my blog or I don’t get out much. Both are true, actually. Mental Interface is a creative outlet for me but it represents only a slice of what’s going on at any given time. I keep my work and my personal life out of it. What’s left isn’t very appetizing for most people. People who want to read about personal issues have an endless variety of blogs from which to choose. Mental Interface gets 150-250 hits a day and I’m content with that.

All in all, I hope I don’t sound defensive. I chose to have them review the blog. I’m happy the reviewer took the time and spent the energy to write an opinion. Plus it’s given me blog fodder and I’m always grateful for that. Given the reviewer’s perspective, I wear the one out of five rating with pride.

Internet Forums.

September 5, 2006

A friend of mine sent me a message today on an internet forum that I haven’t been to in months.  I was seriously active in this forum for several years.  I met dozens of the people in real life and spent hours writing threads and reading people’s posts.  Through forums, I realized how social a place the internet could be.  Instead of hanging out in a bar with friends on a Friday night, I could have beer at home and talk to forum co-horts online.  It was a great experience:  excellent conversation with intelligent people and no chance whatsoever of getting a DUI.

But then I got involved with the podcast and this blog.  While blogs were fair discussion on the board, podcasts were banned.  I understood the forum owner’s decision, but it still sort of drove me away, perhaps even unconsciously.  Also, the blogosphere is kind of a gigantic forum in and of itself.  Traffic exchange sites facilitate this environment.  So I was still getting my intellectual stimulation, but no more Friday night basement happy hours.

Today, I am absorbed by real life and work projects.  The podcast is on hiatus until at least January and my perspective on all things internet is evolving.  I’m glad my friend sent me a message because at least one person misses me.  Still I don’t know that I’ll go back.  It’s a nice place and it’s full of great people, but Thomas Wolfe is almost universally held to be right.