Monday, August 29, 2005

So the Whole Foods poundcake count is one good and one bad. That's an even split. So, since I was picking up a few things at Whole Foods, I figured I'd pick up a tiebreaker. This time, my "contender or pretender" is a chocolate marble model. It is sweeter than the plain version. Smooth not grainy. Not sure I care for the slight chocolate taste. I'd prefer it be stronger or not at all. Be better with fudge or ice cream. Still, it's a good piece of poundcake. And that concludes my investigation into the mystery of the poundcake cornbread hybrid.... at least until I decide to try the blueberry.

The Poundcake Trilogy

So I was really excited about the Digital Edge expo, wrote a bunch of entries, then got lazy and didn't post anything until today. So I shot 'em all up today and retro-dated them. Would have just snuck 'em in without explaining, but then Chris Paris posted a topic on the Buzz about my blog, thus "blowing my cover". Thanks Chris.

Monday is Sunday

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Okay, turns out the pyramid frames just need to be placed on top of the big frames or within them. And the high schoolers are from six different states and the district. Only stuck around for the first couple of rounds. Very exciting. Not quite Battlebots, but akin to robots playing basketball with elbow unavoidably thrown. And amazingly, the kids had only six weeks to design and build their robots! Truly impressive work.

Digital Edge: Robot Rumble

Not a whole lot of gadgets at the Digital Edge. In fact, hardly any at all. But I did finally run across a tablet. Vendor was showing them as part of his StorePointer inventory searching system. Managed to touch one of his tablets. Used a Wacom digitizer, not a touchscreen. Used a dedicated software system, not Windows XP. Sadly that was the only tablet I saw and it wasn't even a mobile system.

Digital Edge: Finally! A Tablet!

If there's one thing I love more than computers, it's robots. Hence I am very excited about the robot competition about to take place at the Digital Edge expo. It appears to be a manipulation contest involving placing a small pyramid frame on to a hook in a larger such frame using a robotic arm on a mobile robot. The contestants are from various local high schools, but some of their robots look very professional. The goal, however, is function, not form.

Digital Edge: Robot Competition

The one thing I bought at the Digital Expo is a DVD from an independent studio called X-Strike. They make films based on video game genres. The one I bought is based on horror games, like Resident Evil. Being supportive of small business, I thought I'd give it a try and see what it's like. Plus, it'll give me something different to blog about. Hopefully, Silent Horror will live up to its billing as a parody and doesn't turn out to be just silly.

Digital Edge: Silent Horror

Spending the day at NBC's Digital Edge Expo in DC. First Impression: smaller than I thought it would be but still very cool. Highlights include: robot competition, custom action figure vendor, independent film makers who make movies based on video game genres, Lego robot builders, giveaways for digital cameras and iPods, and video game demos, including classics, like Colecovision and Atari 2600.

Digital Edge Expo 1

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Normally, since I don't have an outdoor viewable screen, I would not enjoy a day outside with my Tablet. Today, however, my screen is remarkably clear, despite the day light, because it is overcast. No doubt the cool breeze is also helping my demeanor, but I am having no trouble reading my journal. Still, wouldn't be great for watching videos though. Definitely want an outdoor screen on my next Tablet.

Nice Day to be Outside with a Tablet

Warner Crocker, in his commentary on Tracy Hooten's new TPC purchase, points out how the Tablet PC really puts the "personal" back into personal computing. Clearly a computer you carry with you is going to be more personal than one you leave at home. This, I think, is the big difference in one's attitude toward the TPC. I've customized my TPC with decals and accessories to an extent beyond what I ever did with a desktop. My Tablet is definitely my most personal computer.

Personal Computing

Ever look at that jackass weaving through traffic and think, "I hope he crashes". I did that today and sure enough, it happened. Dummy in a white car was weaving constantly, zigged in front of an SUV as traffic was stopping, and got rear-ended after he turned the SUV's 15 feet of stopping distance into 3 feet of stopping distance. No apparent injuries but the white car's bumper was crushed. Lucky that's all that happened with his driving.

Accident Waiting to Happen Happens

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Been having problems with viewing thumbnails in folders since I got my Tablet, typically when I deal with many high res photos, but also with Journal thumbnails too (using the viewer power toy). I assumed it was my integrated graphics system unable to handle the load. However, I suspect the thumbnail cache, enabled by default in Explorer, could be to blame. Sure enough, the thumbnails take a bit longer to load but there are no stalls. Just need to see if my graphics crash.

Thumbnail View Fix

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"The only way to defend our citizens where we live is to go after the terrorists where they live.", so claimed President Bush in a speech in Salt Lake City. Considering the terrorists in Iraq are foreigners who sneak across the poorly defended borders and none of the 911 hijackers were from Iraq, one must assume our troops will be leaving Iraq to strike the terrorists where they live, perhaps Saudi Arabia, where Osama bin Laden and most of the hijackers were from.

Bush Determined to Leave Iraq

Monday, August 22, 2005

There are three contests floating around the "Inkernet" right now. Two are essay contests at the Buzz, unique uses for TPC and best use of pen and ink. I might contribute something but aside from the blog, most of my use stems from mobility, not ink. The other is more of a poll with a winner at Rob Bushway's blog, "What's Your Must-have Third Party App?" I'll have to think about that.

Tablet PC Contests

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Since my encounter with the poundcake-cornbread hybrid left my cake craving unsatisfied, I picked up another poundcake at Whole Foods to prove definitively that my hybrid theory was accurate. Sure enough, this poundcake turned out to be sweet and delicate, with no hint of cornmeal. We can all rest easy knowing that poundcake purity has been restored.

The Poundcake Vendetta

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Had to wait for a good half hour for the barber. Not much of a line but there was only one stylist on duty. A lot of people came and left because they could not afford to sit and wait, but not me. I read the Best Buy ad with the Toshiba R15 and wrote a blog entry about it. Perhaps not the best use of my time but it's nice to have a device that lets me work while I wait.

Mobile Computing Negates Wait

Sitting here waiting to get my hair cut, read the Best Buy ad. Nothing I need, but I saw the ad for the Toshiba R15, which got a mention on the last TabletPC Show podcast. Very nice. Shows how it shifts from laptop to tablet mode. Really plays up the "cool" factor. Should pull in the gadget freaks, if only to give it a look. Hopefully, the salespeople will have enough experience with it to give a proper demonstration.

Just Read the Toshiba R15 Ad

Read some good news from a new Tablet PC user. Michael Connick has been using an Electrovaya SC-3000 for a few weeks with no unusual problems. He reports that the unit is free of crapware, specifically AOL. Lot of basic questions answered on his Buzz forum post. He also has a blog dedicated to his mobile devices, possibly the only one with info on the SC-3000.

Still No Crapware on Electrovaya

Well, I might have to change my opinion of hybrid cars you can plug in. Experimenters have successfully boosted their gas mileage to 80 mpg by loading their hybrids with extra batteries that charge through their home outlets. It would seem my idea of rigging my Prius with solar panels on the roof and a fuel cell in the trunk is less crazy than I thought.

Hot Rodding Hybrid Cars

Saturday, August 13, 2005

As mentioned in a previous post, I have purchased a USB sound card from Creative Labs (via eBay) and it is working like a champ. Fortunately, I had the insight to save my music in the Apple lossless format, so I'm not listening to garbled MP3s through crisp stereo speakers. Best of all, my desk setup is now streamlined to two plug-ins: power and one USB to the hub.

Enhanced TPC Sound

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Stopped by Whole Foods this morning for some snacks and picked up what was clearly labeled "poundcake". However, there is no way this thing is 100% poundcake. The taste and texture of cornmeal is faint but distinct. I can only assume some cornbread batter was mixed in with the pound cake mix because the cornbread was on sale right next to the poundcake.

Half Cornbread Half Poundcake Hybrid

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Following the completion of Wayside Manor, I have picked up a new gig working for the Northern VA Association of Realtors. General office work and dealing with members. We also sign up new members and sell supplies and equipment. Pretty hectic at times but very quiet at others. Should hold me until I get my own enterprise launched, barring any other complications. Also restarting the SAT Prep classes at Sylvan tonight. Teaching math on Tuesdays in Purcellville.

A New Life Cycle Begins

Monday, August 08, 2005

With the move to Leesburg taking so much of my attention, I didn't even realize my stint at Wayside Manor was coming to an end. Such is the way with construction projects. Even though the owners were very grateful for my effort, I'm sure they were still glad to see me go since it signaled that their home was finally ready. Had a great time with Greg, Candy, Ron, Jackie, Juan and Little Greg. the house is fabulous. Considering all the detail there was to track, it better be. Funny how I wound up moving at the same time.

Bye-Bye Wayside

Friday, August 05, 2005

Like a dummy, I figured I'd never need to carry around my spare stylus tips, so I left them at home. However, that scraping noise was bothering me, so I swapped it with the tip from my back-up pen, the stock stylus that sits in the "pen garage". Used my teeth for the extraction. I know it's a rather low-tech and crude method to use on such an elegant device, but it works. I think I'll pack the spare tips when I get home, but leave the clamp.

Emergency Styli Tip Transplant

Been noticing a slight scraping sound when I write on my Tablet lately. Haven't seen any scratches because of it, but it occurs to me that I've never seen any directions on when and how to change the tip. I know that ring clamp thing is meant to be used as pliers, but I had to figure that out from the design. Seems like quite an oversight, not just by Electrovaya but Wacom since I use their eraser pen as my primary. Sure, it doesn't take a genius to figure this stuff out, but there are a lot of people less tech-savvy than me.

When to Change Stylus Tip

Thursday, August 04, 2005

So basically I have an idea in the back of my mind about a game controller that attaches to the Tablet PC allowing you to use it like a Gameboy. When I was in Japan, I found a game controller designed for use in one hand. However, I have not had an opportunity to really use it since I don't play any games that use a game controller. It's just one of those things that seem like they would be useful until you realize you wouldn't really use it. But now that I have a utility that allows me to use it with any apps I think it will come in more handy.

One-Handed Game Controller

Finally decided to find a way to use my one-handed game controller as an alternate input device. Found a sharp shareware app called Pinnacle Game Profiler. Basically allows me to assign keyboard commands to the buttons or use the gamepad as a mouse. Best of all, it can set up profiles for any app. Right now I'm testing it as a remote for iTunes and it works like a champ. Should be good for watching video too.

Pinnacle Game Profiler

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Last night I placed the critical piece of furniture in shaping my Tablet PC-friendly den: the big yellow chair. This very padded chair-and-a-half will come in very handy when I want to work in the den, but not at the desk. It is positioned at an angle in the corner in front of the big book case and floor lamp. Stereo and lighting controls are within reach. The setup might be a little too comfortable, but I'll take that chance and try it out.

Big Yellow Chair

With all the buzz about crapware recently, I've realized just how lucky I am to have gotten a quality Tablet PC from a small vendor, like Electrovaya. Sure, their machines are not as cutting edge as those of Toshiba and Motion, but they don't come pre-installed with crap either. The only pre-install I took out was Norton Anti-virus, which certainly isn't worthless, but I went with AVG Free instead. That's a factor worth considering when you're shopping for a new computer.

No Crapware on Electrovaya

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Researchers at Stanford have developed nanotubes that can enter cancer cells by attaching folate to them, a vitamin that normal cells do not absorb, but cancer cells do. Once in the cancer cells, the nanotubes are destroyed by infra-red light. Infra-red light passes through the body harmlessly, but heats the carbon nanotubes until they burn up, taking the cancer cells with them. Thus far, the work has all been done in controlled lab circumstances, but the process sounds solid and feasible for use in living subjects. Full story on BBC news.

Nanotech Kills Cancer

My cousin Kelsey is headed into her senior year of high school and has started shopping for colleges. She and her parents are checking out east coast schools, including Georgetown in DC. We met up with them for dinner and got somewhat caught up on events, but mostly we just enjoyed their company. Kelsey has a good amount of family out here; her father's from Connecticut, I'm in VA, and my sister's in Georgia. So if she does attend school out here, she'll have family nearby.

My Cousin's College Cruise

Finally! After a month of hefting bags and boxes up and down stairs culminating in a weekend of frantic hauling, I am done moving. With the furniture moved in, I can see that my den setup will work out better than I thought. Should be quite comfortable and efficient when I'm done. Now all I have to do is unpack the two tons of junk I hauled over. That's another month's worth of whiny blog entries to look forward to. However, since I'm designing the setup around my Tablet PC, there might be some interesting news.

Moving is Dead, Long Live Unpacking

Okay, in all fairness, the movers themselves were nice guys. They took good care of our stuff even though it is mostly cheap crap. However, they were three hours late, which really messed up my schedule. The rates were good and I was only charged the minimum travel time, but still I found All Awesome Movers to be less than awesome.

Less Than Awesome Movers