Tag Archives: gadget

The Dishwasher

It sits there in my kitchen. Generally not full enough to run, but full enough that I should consider running it. I’ve used one consistently for the last six years and it’s the first time that I’ve really thought about it.  I never really used the dishwasher until I got this place.

I had used them before, but not as the primary method of getting my dishes clean.  In fact, other than the nonstick pots and pans I use, it’s the primary method.

I never used them at home, possibly because my parents had the dishwasher dilemma.  The dishwasher at home was a glorified dish rack.  I remember its one knob, broken from heartbreak or being ignored.  I remember washing dishes when I was younger and in high school and hating it.  I hated the feeling of the rubber gloves so my hands were always in poor shape by the time dishes were done.  When I got to college of course, I had to do my own dishes in the lounge, but it was one dish and pot at a time—not overwhelming at all.  Now I have my own place and I and I only do the bare minimum in terms of dishwashing.

I’m trying to decide how the dishwasher took some time to warm up to, while I embraced the roomba wholeheartedly.  It was a very easy habit to pick up.  Putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher and running it.  I usually start it when I leave, and when I get back home from work there are clean dishes.  My usage pattern is about two loads a week, and I only have place settings for four, so that makes sense with a seven day week.  More if I entertain, but that hasn’t happened in a while.

I look at the one in my kitchen right now, and I worry about it giving up the ghost at the most inconvenient time.  I’d hate to have to start washing dishes again.



It builds, slowly.  It could be anything.  A stutter in framerate.  A texture tear.  Just the feeling that things could look better when I’m shooting Skaggs in the wilds of Pandora.  (Yep.  Still playing Borderlands.)  So I think about my current setup, and I have to wonder if there’s anything else I can do, other than reinstall Windows.

It’s mainly a gaming rig, so first it’s looking at  the video card hierarchy on Tom’s Hardware.  Then there is the requisite visit to the system guides on Ars Technica.  Then there’s window shopping for components on Newegg.  Maybe even a shopping list that gets created.

This process has repeated itself a couple of times over the last couple of months and it’s maddening.  Then comes the reading.  Dozens of articles to catch up with CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage advances that have come about since the last time I built a machine.

It’s approaching two years since I’ve built a new machine and I’m very much filled with the desire to build something new before I jump on the Windows 7 party bus.  There is a feeling of accomplishment after successfully putting together a working machine.  It’s something tangible.

Although ultimately, I may just scrap the whole project, pump two more gig of RAM into the rig, slap in a couple of larger, faster hard drives, configure RAID 0, install Windows 7 and then call it a day.

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My Other, Other Eye

My camera, well, maybe I should clarify, my serious camera, is the Nikon D70. It’s pretty old and secondhand.  By old, I mean It’s about six years old, and that in camera years is about one hundred and fifty.  Although I got a good deal on it at the time, I almost weep when I look at the capabilities of the entry level DSLR cameras today.  Ah, those young whipper snappers don’t know how good they’ve got it with their Active Dynamic Ranges and their ISOs above 1600.  But I make do.

It’s a heavy thing, a black polycarbonate brick that one hefts to eye level.  I both appreciate and curse that weight, depending on the situation.  The solid feel of the camera lends a credence to its existence in the real world, that it can somehow interact with light and make it permanent.  It can’t though.

All it does is take measurements and shift bits.  A lot of them.  In thousandths of a second.

There’s no chemical process that results in a physical object.  No negative, no paper, no developer, no fixative, no finished product.  Just more bits that get displayed on a screen, dependent on that screen’s size, and color depth and brightness to try to convey the moment through electric impulses.

It’s all an ephemeral stream of data.  Like the very moment it’s trying to capture.

In fact, the data is so ephemeral that it can’t even last a day on the compact flash card.  I am well aware of the fact that there are adult mayflies that have longer lives than some of the image data I’ve tried to acquire recently.  Looking up some open source tools, I guess that hope springs eternal in the human breast.

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Netbook time

I really consider the netbook more of a gadget than an actual computer.  Something with a real keyboard that happens to be able to access the internet and “act” like a computer.  Or enough like one that I can do all of the things that I need it to do while I’m out.  Like post to wordpress or access my email.  That’s all I need it to do.

The Dell Vostro 9 inch netbooks keep going on special, starting at $249 with a 16GB SSD.  I’d run Ubuntu of course, as it would be pretty familiar to me at this point.  Plus the 16 GB hard drive would pretty much force me to really think about which apps I’d need to run on it. I’d like to see one in the wild of course before I end up making a decision to drop that cash.

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Roomba redux


Woot.com the other day had the 535 series Roomba for $150 and I bit.  New Roomba just arrived and is now charging where Roomba-kun used to be.  Now I have two robotic vaccuums.  Which may be two too many, but I really don’t care, because robots are awesome.  In all seriousness though, at least I have another robot for vaccuum duty while I repair the broken gear assembly cover on Roomba-kun.

I don’t know how he managed to break that piece, it’s pretty far up in the unit and doesn’t seem to be anything other than a weak piece of plastic.  Of course now I have this feeling that I threw away a “mysterious” piece of plastic a year ago.  It doesn’t matter too much but it’s still bothersome since he does have a sharp jagged piece of plastic on his underside.  It also looks like that piece also protected the gear assembly, since I can peer into its inner workings now.

I have the feeling that’s not supposed to be the case.

The new Roomba came with a brush cleaning tool which is fantastic and should have come with the original Roomba.  I just used it on the old brush and removed so much entangled hair with one swipe.  If you’ve got a Roomba and don’t have the brush cleaning tool, I cannot recommend it enough.  It turns  a disagreeable project into a simple step.

I have the feeling this new one wil be Roomba-chan, considering that the demonstration voice is female.