Random Ramblings

September 1, 2009

Rock and Roll: Apple Car Stereo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — camotop @ 1:43 pm

How cool would it be to have a car stereo that nicely integrates with an iPhone. No cables, FM transmitters or any non-sense. Just slide the iPhone or iPod Touch into the cradle, and it hooks into your car’s stereo. You can give voice commands, and take calls (music automatically pauses).

Please do not text/SMS while driving.

February 9, 2009

Same computer, faster, cleaner desktop

Filed under: Uncategorized — camotop @ 2:21 am

For while my computer has been slowing down. Simple tasks like copying photos from an SD card over to the computer seemed to take forever.  Starting applications like Firefox would be slow too.  Not only that, even if I didn’t do anything, and leave the computer on overnight, the next day, it would barely do anything, until I logged out, and logged back in again. Now my computer is about 5 years old, so of course I started dreaming about a new, fast computer. But with the economy as it is, we’re really keeping our spending in check, so a new computer (unless the old one really breaks) is not in the budget.

Then KDE 4.2 was released. Not only was the install supersmooth, this version really makes my computer fly!   File operations are smooth again, applications start faster, and the computer doesn’t come to a crawl overnight. The desktop looks clean, yet tasteful. I have flexibility in move widgets from the taskbar to the desktop depending on if I want a smaller or larger version of it.

Bottom line: KDE 4.2 on Kubuntu 8.10 rocks, allowing me to get some more mileage on my old computer.

August 2, 2008

Underwater the last tech-free place ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — camotop @ 2:38 pm

Bliss. No phones, no computers, no internet. Not even speech. Just bubbles and buddy signals. Gravity is overcome by my BCD. I just float around and enjoy the scenery. I love scuba diving.

Our last trip was different. As recreational divers we usually just follow a dive master and see what he or she points out. This time we were just chucked into the water and we could guide ourselves. Our only problem — we did not have a dive watch. Nor a compass. We could borrow a watch and things worked out, although we were worried about getting lost in unfamiliar waters without the compass. I made a mental note (about all you can do under water, although special writing tablets are available if you do something like the fish identification course).

When I came home I lookup dive watches. I was shocked to see how many there are, how quickly they go up in price and how they become dive computers. All I need is a watch and compass, how hard can that be ?

Although, it would be nice if it could record the length of the dive, maximum depth, time at maximum depth, and all that stuff you write in your dive log.

So when I started browsing the different devices, I got excited about getting this or that dive computer. But then I stopped myself. This is like the last place that I do not bring technology with me. Why spoil that ?!

I did not make a purchase, and before our next trip, I’ll go through this exercise again. This time I will make sure I only get a watch and compass. I just want a simple wrist device. No battery  (or at least one that lasts several year) or charger. No memory cards.

Any advice ?  Good or bad experiences with any types of dive watches ?

Device Dilemma: iPhone, iPod Touch, N810 ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — camotop @ 2:04 pm

I do not really need a new phone.  I do not really need a new iPod (my little 4 Gb nano works just fine). I do not really need internet access everywhere.

Yet I find myself drooling over the cool gadgets that are now available.  Possible excuses as to why I would buy one:

  1. We do not have a computer other than in the den in the basement. It’d be nice to be able to check email, weather, movies upstairs without hauling the laptops up.
  2. We don’t travel that much, but it’d be nice to have our own internet device wherever we go. (Never trust public computers with your email or other password!).
  3. I want to do away with my expensive BlackBerry (even though work pays for it). I cannot justify the cost (of the plan).
  4. I want to experience the touch screen interface.

Apple’s devices are cool looking and very friendly in their user interface, yet something I am really turned off by their closedness. If I buy a mini-computer, I want to be able to put my own programs on it.

I’m leaning towards getting the Nokia N810 WiMax edition. No monthly service plan to worry about, and fully open. Of course, no phone service, and I’ll be dependent on the availability of free Wifi.

What other options are there ? Any compelling reasons why the N810 is a bad idea ?

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