This exaggerates a bit, but it’s hilarious.
Archive for October, 2007
Anyone who has tried to use an Etch A Sketch knows that a good deal of co-ordination is needed in order to draw anything but horizontal and vertical lines. It quickly becomes obvious that a computer would be far better at controlling the horizontal and vertical knobs than a human.
So, I played with the idea of a solar super fileshare PC a while back. Still like the idea, but it’s prohibitively expensive. Something may open up on the computer side within a year. Western Digital came out with a low power TB drive that uses half the electricity and I saw an Ad for a 5W AMD Geode somewhere. Anyway, it’s not time.
But I can’t let it go. The other day I discovered that the MacBook uses, at most 60W and probably more like 20W. That’s a whole lot cheaper than 60W 24/7. And I started looked at a solar setup again. It looks pricey, but it might be a start.
I’m thinking something like a low power cabin setup of between 30 and 90 W solare panel with some cheap, local deep cycle batteries from a motor boat, golf cart, etc. The intention would be to run the laptop off it, but provide a couple of 12V outlets for the cell phone charger and anything else that will run off a cigarette lighter. This will give me an idea of the cost, parts, usability, suppliers, setup, etc.
It looks like there are 3 pieces. A solar panel mounts on the roof and delivers various voltages and currents as the sun hits it. Electricity runs to an electrical box that charges a battery and or delivers 120v AC. The battery stores electricity for when demand exceeds supply. It’s pretty easy to hook up a 12v cigarette light.
Some large setups don’t need batteries. In Texas, Xcel is required to pay you a credit equal to the price you would be charged. So, in the day extra electricity makes the meter run backwards and take $s off your bill. At night the house runs of the grid and wracks up a bill.
The most expensive part, by far, is the solar panel. Though they claim to last 20-25 years. And they might since there are no moving parts. For example, a cheap 200W panel is $800-$1000. A typical microwave is 1000W. Most laptop computers use 85-100W.
I’m thinking $200 for a large a panel as reasonable. ~$100 for the rest. Freakin’ Apple charges $60 for the cigarette lighter adapter. Absolutely, ridiculous since there are no electronics. Just a patent on the MagSafe connector and some wires.
So, I’m looking for batteries. These things are way to heavy to ship and I don’t need real solar batteries. The electrical box and panel will have to come in through the mail. No choice when you live in the boonies. Batteries are easy to add. I would love it if there was a voltage/amp logger that I could dump into the computer to determine when I need more battery or more solar panel.
With Grandma’s party behind me, no more scanning photos. Yay! Still have the DVD, but that won’t take long. Kinda waiting on Grandma to help me correct it anyway. She’ll move in with Jessica on Monday. They said 3 months before she can drive. So, Thanksgiving and Christmas in Amarillo this year. I think she’ll manage to shorten that; just like her hospital stay.
This week I went back to Yoga after 2 months off and boy am I tired. Bed sounds like a good idea right now. hah
Macs come with a Trial copy of MS Office, which is very nice, but I have never.. Will never spend $300 on Office. So, I removed it. The MS doc format is my favorite for saving stuff, because everyone uses Word or the doc format. Surprisingly, when I removed Office it left the file association alone. When I tried tried to open a file in doc format saved with TextEdit, boom “Error!”.
It turns out that file associations are even easier to change than Windows, which is really saying something. Just right click a doc file and choose Get Info. Expand “Open With”. Choose something from the drop down and click the “Change All..” button. Done.
Short stole the Digimarc printer, along with a PC containing names and birthdates, from the Department of Revenue’s contract office in St. Charles. Unfortunately for Short, the PC was locked, and he was unable to access anything on it, department director Trish Vincent told IDG. But without the software installed on the PC, the printer was essentially useless. Think of the millions of fake IDs that could be created on that thing!
Short apparently couldn’t stop thinking about it, as he broke down and called Digimarc for supportâ€”twiceâ€”a couple of days later asking whether he would be able to obtain printer drivers…
Would-be identity thief finds himself stumped without printer drivers
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22 â€” Appleâ€™s earnings report today leapt ahead of analystsâ€™ already optimistic expectations. The company posted record Macintosh sales numbers for its fiscal fourth quarter, showing that the company is climbing into the league of the dominant personal computer makers, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
Apple said it sold 2.16 million Macintosh computers during the quarter. The market research firm Dataquest estimated last week that it had sold 1.3 million computers, and I.D.C. put the figure at 1.1 million. Dell sold 5 million computers and H.P. sold 4.3 million in the same period, according to the I.D.C. report.
Apple has said previously that it expects to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. Some analysts believe the company will easily surpass that figure. Charles Wolf, an independent market analyst who publishes the Wolf Bytes newsletter, said he expects the company to hit 14 million phones in its first year and a half.
Apple Profit Up 67%, Aided by Record Mac Sales
I was stunned to find rechargeable batteries for those portable DVD players. The price range is 40, 60, 72 depending on capacity. This made me very happy, because these batteries for laptop computers cost $100+. A little cutting and tweezing for the adapter could make these useful on laptops. And a low power laptop would find these very useful. When I get a chance to research this I will. Somebody more experience must have looked into this already.
There was an unusual post on Techmeme friday that caught my attention. It was one of the few that was on the main page for a very short time. Following it, I discovered Google Webmaster. It is stunning.
When you search in Google and then click on a link it is recorded by Google. In addition, Google makes a copy of your website every so often. Google Webmaster makes this information available to you. To see it, logon or make an account. Enter your website address, then follow the instructions to verify your website. This consists of modify the main website by adding a specifically names 0 length file or adding a hidden meta tag. That will confirm that you have write access to the website. For example, there’s no way I could see the entries for Ars Technica.
The information you will see describes how people are finding your website, the links other websites have to you, links your website has to itself, and any problems Google has with reading your website. I did this for StephenSite.net and StephensGarden.Wordpress.com. Though, the latter requires a bit of a hack; adding a page with the name Google specifies, instead of a file.
For months, I’ve been getting comments about the post I made concerning the Swedish Grandmother getting super high speed Internet. These are from people I’m not familiar with. Sometimes I let the comment go on, but sometimes I think it’s spam. After all, once I allow one of person’s comments to go on, they can post again without require me to explicitly allow it. It turns out there’s not spam. A weird aspect of the Google algorithm has pushed my blog post high on the search results. This really gives me hope that this blog will find a broader audience besides Suzie, Christopher, and Anthony.
I went to Best Buy and stumbled upon Apple keyboards and mice. There are some cool looking Apple keyboards, but no one has commented on their great mice. The MacBook keyboard is pretty good. And the price seemed in line with low level Gamer components. So, $50 later I have an actual Apple keyboard. It is tiny. The smallest full size keyboard I’ve ever seen. There is a priceless feature; 2 USB ports on the wings.
Notice that the keys are very similar to the MacBook. Low, wide, quiet, well spaced keys with little “flair”. Very little extra writing, lights, etc. In fact the only light is the a little pinprick when the Caps Lock is done. The amazing thing is the size. This keyboard would easily fit in the laptop bag.
I’m not especially fond of tiny keyboards or the light touch. My original training was in typewriters. The old IBM Selectric was a huge humming tank with the heart of a whirling dervisher. My favorite keyboard was a clickey Keytronic with a switch for XT and AT operation. I’ll give anything a try for a while. Anyway, had to type something with it before going back to setting up Vista.
I tried repeatedly to connect XP and Mac to Vista without any luck. But I have been able to connect Vista to XP and Mac. XP was easy. Vista to XP connected no problem. Vista to Mac took a little more work.
There are some network protocol settings to modify on the Mac. Also, create a user if needed.
The key that was tripping me up was on Vista. You need to modify a registry key in Home Premium. Business and Ultimate provide an interface through secpol.msc.
There’s is something I have been buying for years across many different products. When I first saw it on the self it looked like a great idea. And I keep finding more uses for them. Eventually, someone else figured out they may be useful in other areas and that is where they are marketed now.
See, I’m kind of lazy or rather I just don’t like to repeat things. I cleaned that counter once last month. That should be enough. Things get dirty and things that touch skin all the time get the dirtiest. Have you looked at you work phone lately? Some people don’t understand this, “Hello iPod”. What’s worse are indelible scratches and marks on expensive equipment.
So, the first time I saw plastic screen covers for PDAs I fell in love. The first thing I did was buy one and put it on the new camcorder. That is where they are marketed today. Screen covers for the little LCD screens on digital cameras and camcorders. Cameras should come with these things the same way AA batteries ship with everything.
My latest use is on the MacBook touch pad for the mouse. I was concerned that it wouldn’t stick or would make it stop working. Actually, it works better. The surface is slicker and your finger slides over it much better than the original one. It almost covers the entire surface except for 1-2 mm.
Another amazing use for thick Saran Wrap with weak glue on one side.
Someone wrote a Vista Sidebar Gadget, Vista Hot Corners, to mimic Mac Expose. It’s not great, but it’s not awful. The gadget itself if very touchy. When you slide your mouse over it the screen immediately changes. It’s very easy to accidentally fly over the gadget and get something you didn’t want. So, changing preferences or removing it is a challenge.
The comments section of this gadget someone mentions a way of getting Mac-like Expose functionality on a shortcut key, F9. This works great. Make a shortcut to the switcher.exe file in the gadget. This file is at; %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets\Vista%20Hot%20Corners.gadget. Set a shortcut key in the properties shortcut and boom you have a bad Expose on Vista by keyboard similar to Mac.
Now go and remove the annoying gadget. Everything will still work. Very cool.
I would love the email address of the boneheads who messed this feature up. How can software take longer to test and still have these kind of stupid defects? Anyway, another rant. And yes I am a programmer.
I found the answer on this discussion forum.
Open regedit and add/modify 2 keys
RunOnceHasShown DWORD = 1
RunOnceComplete DWORD = 1
Reposting here to make it easier for others to find the solution.
I’ve been wanting something like this for a while. There are plenty of holes in the idea, but it’s a good start.
As you’re researching a topic you use something like delicious to save and tag it. Delicious is great. It’s weakness is the lack of a search engine on the links. When you seach, it is on the tags and descriptions you and other people have provided. I don’t like spending 20 minutes filling in all the tags or writing a detailed description. I shouldn’t have to. There should be a search engine on my links. The computer should take my links as a search tree and search through that limited set with a Google algorithm or whatever. Even keyword searches would be better than nothing. Kind of like searching your browser history, but more specific, because you flagged the website pages.
Now, take this idea and merge it with something like wikipedia which lets anyone edit a page. Then that page which links out to everywhere, edited and generated by people, the seed of a search, updated continuously as time goes by, would be the leading internet expert in the topic. At least a first place to visit.
The tags could provide the context that Google lacks and Ask tries for. The link outs keep the information relavant and fresh, part of About.com’s problem. No text is on the web page; there may not even be a web page.
Ideally, Google, Yahoo, MSN would use the site to improve their results. For every link someone clicks on that came from the user generated list of links, the site gets $.01 or whatever. Kind of the opposite of paid advertisements.
Another option is to target the site at researchers and enthusiasts. Provide a logon for a fee that is reduced as the user adds and edits the list of links. Perhaps the shareware idea of a free logon for 30 days.