ellarien: laptop (Computers)
Today I took my old, thoroughly retired Behemoth laptop back to the store from whence it came, and they gave me nearly $50 in trade-in for it. Which is ... about three per cent of what I paid for it in 2004, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I feel at least ten pounds lighter with it gone -- it always was an unwieldy lump of a thing, even before it succumbed to WinXP-rot and slowed to a crawl.

Then I put the trade-in gift-card towards a basic e-reader -- a Sony Pocket Edition, which lacks a lot of the bells and whistles of more recent gadgets -- it doesn't have a touch screen or wireless or even an expansion slot, but it works fine for what I want. This way, while my dead trees are in transit I can read without being dependent on the Palm's not-so-great battery.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I think the gate seating areas of O'Hare's Terminal 3 are overdue for a refit; as far as I can tell they haven't had one in the fifteen years I've been coming through there. The seats are still structurally sound, but they're looking shabby, with bits of rubber trim dangling loose, and the ratio of payphones to laptop-charging stations seems to have been set in the 1990s if not earlier. (The concession areas and bathrooms have been improved, however.)

Tally of things (accidentally) left in Sheffield that I've discovered so far: one pair pink fluffy slippers, three beads, and a rather nice shirt that I might be wanting to wear again in a couple of months.

I was able to get the cable-box reset at 6am on Sunday by pressing buttons on the phone, without bothering a live person at all. This strikes me as progress in one sense, but also presumably means that there are fewer low-level support jobs at the cable company than there used to be.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
There was a cardinal in the oleander hedge as I went out this morning. Female, I think, or juvenile, or in off-season plumage; not bright red all over, anyway.

Someone was using an iPad in our local coffee shop this afternoon -- the first one I've seen in the wild, though I've briefly handled one of the display models in the bookstore (and promptly got lost in the interface. Wrong kind of intuition.)

I haven't used my DVD player for a while, and when I came to it this evening, the remote was dead, dead, dead, and not to be revived with batteries. No point replacing it at this point; I suppose I might try a cheap universal remote. Failing that, I can always watch movies on the computer.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I now have the complete works of Shakespeare on my Palm, in one 3.2Mb Mobi file from Project Gutenberg. I had to go through and bookmark the titles of the individual plays myself, but that was probably still easier than downloading one play at a time.

What brought this on was seeing a community-theater type production of Richard II last night. I think I read the play once, long ago, but it wasn't one I'd studied in school or ever seen acted before. My experience with live theater is somewhat limited, so my impressions of the production don't count for much, but here they are.
Impressions. )

Incidentally, I learned something on Wikipedia today that I didn't know before, and which I'm surprised had escaped my notice for so long (if true; I'll have to check an actual book when I get home); the King Henry who had Thomas a Becket killed wasn't any of the numbered Henrys, but a Henry who co-ruled as "junior king" with his father, Henry II, but pre-deceased him.
ellarien: bookshelves (books)
I bought a bunch of Tor books today and yesterday. On barnesandnoble.com.

Some of them were books I would have bought in a few weeks anyway, from that Other Retailer. Some of them were hardcovers for which I would have rather waited for the MMPB, but there doesn't appear to be one in sight. That feels a bit like rewarding Macmillan for what from my point of view as a reader is undesirable behavior -- delaying the paperback past the year or so that I've come to expect over the last couple of decades -- but it isn't the authors' fault. And a couple of them were just because.

(EDIT: I know I'm very fortunate to be in a position to do this sort of thing now and again. For quite a while now, the main constraint on my book buying has been reading time, followed by storage space. That's not so for everybody, and it may not be so for me next year, but for now I'm making the most of it.)

The site worked pretty well, and looks clean; it hung once on my outdated Linux Firefox, but that didn't cause any real problems. Their free shipping doesn't come with a capriciously-enforced arbitrary delay; on the other hand they do charge (or at least "put a hold") up front for pre-orders. And I kind of want a Nook, now, but that doesn't make sense at this juncture.

I have no idea what the answer is to the larger questions raised by the whole ebook mess. Read more... )


Jan. 28th, 2010 08:52 pm
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
Yes, it looks very slick and shiny, but I don't think I'm the target market. Did I ever mention my prejudice in favor of knowing where my files are and what they're called, and being able to get at them on a command line if I feel like it? Granted, my Palm has none of that and I love it, shabby and occasionally temperamental little piece of abandonware that it is -- but the Palm is a third of the size and weight of this thing, and I already have two netbooks, not to mention a 2006-vintage iPod Classic that spends most of its time docked these days. I was almost tempted by the e-book angle, until I realized that it's US-only, at least for now.
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
1) It hadn't occurred to me before, but given the recent proliferation of small, fingertip-operated touch-screens as seen in smart phones everywhere, and the expansion of camera-back LCDs, I suppose the emergence of the touch-screen camera was inevitable. My immediate reaction was that I get enough fingerprints on my camera display as it is ...

2) I'm not enthused by the way the netbook market has gone. Everyone seems to have standardized on 10.1 inch screens, which are hardly enough smaller and lighter than my 12-inch, four-poundish Butterfly to be worth the trouble. Also, M$ has come up with a really mean trick; the Starter Edition of Win7 has desktop customization disabled. I haven't seen a non-customizable desktop since before Windows 3, and I enjoy displaying my favorite photos that way. Fair enough not to include the rotating-desktop function of the fancier Win7 versions, but to allow no customization at all is a fairly blatant attempt to drive people to upgrade -- at a price that's a fair fraction of the cost of the netbook. (Also, if there's no second-monitor support, would it even work for showing Powerpoint on a projector?) There are still XP models available, but buy a seven-year-old operating system on a new machine? I don't think so. So if I was to get a new netbook, it would end up being another Linux one, and I may as well live with the limitations of the 7-inch Eee for a while longer.

Edit (11.27): And five days later, I bought myself a cute little red Eee 1005. With XP, as that seemed like the least of the three evils, and I had a hunch it wouldn't be around much longer. The irony is that it has a better webcam than the one on the dragonfly laptop.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Among the things we spotted in our post-prandial stroll around Fry's Electronics this evening: USB gadgets for transferring LPs, audio cassettes and even video cassettes to your computer; also a bulky and expensive box to convert LPs direct to CD, which strikes me as an idea whose time has probably gone by. Also, digital photo frames seem to be coming down in price, but who needs those when you have computers? There were also a lot of inexpensive off-brand MP3 players. Big-screen TVs look a lot more convincing than they did a few years back, I notice.

Meanwhile on Mount Wilson, after a calm, clear day, they're starting on that long-delayed controlled burn under the rising moon.
ellarien: red beads (beading)
I made one strand of another two-strand necklace tonight, cut the wire for the second strand a bit short, loaded it up with beads, tried it around my neck in front of the mirror to see if it would work before I closed the last crimp, and scattered beads the length of the apartment when the end slipped through my fingers.

In other frustrations, it took me far too long to figure out the right combination of server and user info to set up the new mail account that Compuserve is giving me to replace my defunct Classic account. I don't even really need another email address, particularly that one; since I got broadband I mostly kept that account open for the dial-up access when I visited my mother. At least I did manage to set up the POP account in the end, so I won't have to deal with their obnoxious ad-laden webmail site with added AOL cooties.

The local weather forecasters were just showing off their new 3d radar system, a few weeks before they expected to have to use it.
ellarien: red beads (beading)
If you value your belief in other people's sanity, do not Google for aventurine. Particularly not blue aventurine. I think I was happier when I thought it was dyed. It's pretty, though -- a dusty, grayish blue, not as translucent as the orange and green.

Sterling-silver wire, half-hard, is stiffer and less forgiving than the inexpensive mystery-metal stuff I've been working with, even though this is 22 gauge and the other was 20. I haven't dared try wrapping a loop yet, but I've done a couple of half-decent simple loops.

I think my copy of Cherryh's Conspirator may be here tomorrow; also a dress that is overdue but checked in in Phoenix today.

Somehow, in the last twenty-four hours, I have managed to misplace not one but two Palm styluses. I think they're both somewhere in the bedroom, but I don't know exactly where.

I still have one Dreamwidth invite to give away. (Comments screened; I'll unscreen anything that isn't a request, but maybe not tonight.)


Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:34 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I just bought my very first e-book -- a Mobi version of LOTR, from Harper Collins e-books. Don't ask me for a link there -- the website navigation is idiosyncratic -- but it worked, and it's sitting on my Palm. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu over at tor.com for the heads-up! Now perhaps that reread I've been hankering after can actually happen, with the book always in my purse and not taking up any space there.

LOTR and Voyage are the things I make exceptions for, the things that lure me into new technologies. (My first VCR. Two cable TV subscriptions and an upgrade to digital cable. A copy of the books in each city I call home. DVDs, and then a DVD player so I could watch them in comfort ...)
ellarien: bookshelves (books)
Okay, so the next WOT installment will be along in November. Followed at yearly intervals by parts two and three.

It's all for very good reasons, of course. It makes sense to me, but it boggles the mind how much time has gone by since I started reading that series.

That was back in the days of the 80486 processor, before Windows 3.1 or the JPEG standard, when cell phones were just beginning to shrink, when big PC hard drives were measured in the hundreds of megabytes. The Iron Curtain was just starting to shred; George H. W. Bush was in the White House; Solar Cycle 22 was close to maximum. (We're now waiting, and waiting, for Cycle 24 to get going.) Dallas was still on the air; Dynasty and Miami Vice were only just off it. Star Trek: The Next Generation was in full swing. The Dow rose through 2900. American cars, apparently, looked much like they do today.

(This post brought to you by Google, Wikipedia, and generic Benedryl.)


Feb. 17th, 2009 11:28 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
My color printer decided to celebrate its fourth birthday by having a mild hissy-fit this evening. The yellow and magenta inks were running low, and when I went to print something it decided the magenta was out, so I replaced that. Then I wanted to print some photos -- and the cyan, which wasn't remotely low, wasn't coming out. I did a nozzle clean, in the middle of which it sat down and insisted on a new tank of yellow -- and then it seemed to be okay.

Also, my eleven-year old TV set (dead basic 19" CRT, but quite adequate to my needs) is jist starting to flutter alarmingly when turned on, though it seems to settle after a while. I seem to remember that sort of behavior being an early sign of senescence in CRT monitors, back in the stone age. I'm on digital cable anyway, so the postponed digital switchover wasn't enough incentive to replace the thing.
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
It's not a good idea to put a CD full of high-resolution photos in the DVD player. I managed to crash the thing hard enough to require a yank-out-the-plug power cycle, and the rendering isn't great on the TV screen anyway.

There doesn't appear to be any way to copy tracks from the iPod onto a computer different from the one they originated on.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
If you were designing a digital alarm clock and could only spare one LED to designate AM/PM, why would you have it light up for AM rather than PM?

I treated myself to a new clock radio with an iPod dock. The theory is that I might be more inclined to go to bed earlier if there was something on before midnight that I wanted to listen to; my NPR station fills its dead air with jazz, which I don't care for, until the BBC comes on at midnight, but it's the only thing I can stand to listen to in the morning. The gadget is ridiculously high-tech, self-setting and daylight-savings-time observant, though unfortunately not cognizant of non-daylight-saving timezones. I had to take the iPod out of its rubber skin to dock it -- the first time it's been naked since I brought it home; it looks quite different and unfamiliar. Of course I'll have to reskin it in a couple of days to take it on my travels.

They're already putting out the Valentine's stuff in Target. They also had a couple of Eees on display -- 9" screen ones, with Linux, for $299, but no specs visible.

New toy

Sep. 12th, 2008 11:01 pm
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
In view of all the photo retouching, it seemed worthwhile to treat myself to a graphics tablet. Believe it or not, I'm entering this in handwriting, slightly slowly and painfully. I have very little idea how this thing works: it seems remarkably like magic. It does help with the scratch removal and zapping of mold spores, too. (Some of these slides have recognizable concentric fungal rings, a few hundredths of an inch across.)
ellarien: two laptops (computers2)
I went shopping today, and came home with more or less what I was after: Read more... )
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
For the foreseeable future, I do not need more:

AA batteries
Index cards
Flash memory
Spiral-bound notebooks
DVD movies

(If it wasn't for the non-fungibility issue, I'd be tempted to add books to the list too.)


Jun. 18th, 2008 11:55 pm
ellarien: Behemoth 47 (Behemoth)
Jorik and Claris are in the same room!

And it only took 97,900 words to get there.

Tomorrow, they might get an actual face to face conversation. (So far this book, they've had one long videophone conversation and a handful of text messages. They were originally supposed to get to this point within the first few chapters, but it didn't come out that way.)

It was so hot this evening that I did most of the writing on the Palm, which runs fairly cool on battery. The appeal of the Eee is somewhat diminished when the indoor temperatures are around 80 F; it's a cute little thing, but it does get warm!

Mission Statement

Reading, writing, plant photography, and the small details of my life, with digressions into science and computing.



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