2004 Jun 30
Bay and I have been enjoying Teen Titans on Cartoon Network a bunch lately. It’s really fun. The animation is cool, the characters are neat, and the theme song is by Puffy. I bought Bay a couple Teen Titans toys for his birthday. I hope he likes them! His favorite Titan is Beast Boy.
The headline at CNN.com:
Federal Reserve boosts key short-term interest rate by one-quarter percentage point, its first rate increase in four years. Details soon.
It may just be me, but I think the red, in-your-face banner should be reserved for events like 6.7-scale earthquakes or planes flying into landmarks.
I have been using Firefox by Mozilla for a week now, and really love it. It’s fast on my pokey 266mhz Windows98 laptop, and amazing on my 2.4ghz XPpro machine. It has most of the features of Opera, such as popup blocking and tabbed layout, but it seems more lightweight and streamlined. I don’t need Opera’s chat feature or mail client, and if I can save some vertical space by not dealing with the ads, that is a bonus too. (especially on my 800x600 laptop)
I am also now using Thunderbird by Mozilla for my email client. My server is configured as IMAP4, so I can pretty much use any client I want and get the same experience. (Except perhaps Opera, which seems to have a couple issues with IMAP at the moment) Like it’s counterpart, Firefox, Thunderbird is a stripped-down app, and runs fast and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. Just simple, clean design, and great performance. I used to use Mozilla 1.7 for email, which is very similar, but figured I’d get rid of the Mozilla “suite” and do Firefox/Thunderbird instead. Mozilla has a chat feature, I think, and html composer which I will never use, so why install it?
I am running Outlook (the big version, not Express) on my desktop for email, calendar, and notes because it sync’s with my PocketPC. I wish there was an easy way to have the calendar, contacts and notes (for PC) kept remotely, just like I keep my email on the IMAP server. That would simplify syncing between computers a lot… There is an extension for Mozilla that let’s you add a calendar, and it uses the iCal standard, and I should be able to configure my server to host it. Then I will be able to connect to it from any of my computers. But I will need to find an app for my PocketPC…
2004 Jun 29
Finished “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” last night at about 1:30am. What a great book. Next is the Ackroyd book…
2004 Jun 24
It’s 9am, and someone just cooked something in the kitchen here at work, and it smells sooooo good. I hate when they do that! Now I’m starving, and my cup of coffee is barely sufficing.
At least win one of these games up in SF! It’s bad enough that you lost first place to the Giants, but a four-game sweep? Please don’t let it happen…
2004 Jun 22
I am a huge fan of eBooks. I own a Dell Axim X5 PocketPC, and my favorite use for it is for reading eBooks. For those that aren’t familiar with them, eBooks are digital versions of a normal books. You can buy eBooks from lots of online retailers, such as eBooks.com or Amazon. Not only are novels digitized, but you can find magazines, ezines, and reference books in digital format. There are still many books that are not available digitally, but the number is growing.
Before I tried it, I was a bit skeptical about reading an eBook on a PocketPC. I had looked at a couple eBooks on CRT monitors, and I couldn’t see myself looking at a monitor screen to read a book. It just didn’t seem right. I guess it felt like overkill to have a computer and monitor running, using up all that power, when you could just open a paperback, not use any power, and not feel like you are ruining your eyes by being so close to a “tv screen”.
Reading an eBook on a handheld device such as a PocketPC (I have not tried reading eBooks on Palm devices yet) is really comfortable! I’ll admit that it took a little while to get used to the pages not holding as many words as a paper page, but I soon got used to it and love reading books in this format. The characters are clear, easy to read, and the low-power backlit screen is easy on the eyes. Because it is backlit, you can read in a dark room. This is perfect for me because I don’t want to disturb Mariko or the baby while they sleep. The size of the characters is adjustable, and the software remembers the page you were last on, or the page furthest read. You can also add annotations to a book.
Another advantage of Ebooks is their portability. On average, the size of my ebooks is about 380k each, with “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” being 277k. That means that my relatively small 128MB memory card can hold a library of approximately 337 ebooks! Besides the advantage of having a huge library at your fingertips wherever you go, you will save a ton of shelf space in your home.
It’s also very convenient to be able to download a book from home. I’ll admit that I enjoy going to the bookstore and browsing the stacks, but sometimes it’s just easier to do it online.
So far, I have used Microsoft’s Reader (.lit files), and uBook (.txt and .html files). They are both very nice and intuitive. Besides the settings for fonts, you just have to know which button (configurable) will go forward a page, or back a page. uBook has some more options, like page orientation and font face. There are also Adobe’s Acrobat Reader and MobiPocket format.
A couple drawbacks to eBooks are that they don’t seem to handle graphics too well, for instance the maps in Tolkien books, or the diagrams in the Agatha Christie mysteries. Also, as I mentioned above, it is not easy to see your progess in an eBook (at least with the Microsoft Reader. If there is an easy way to see this, I’d love to know!). And lastly, you cannot find every book in digital format.
To find out more about eBooks and eBook readers, do a search on Google, or click here.
2004 Jun 21
So, I finished “Murder on the Orient Express” the other night. It turns out that I was really really near the end of the ebook (probably about half a normap paper page) when I put it down for the night. The next day I was at the bookstore and perusing the book, trying to skim quickly and find out how far I really was. I then realized I was close to the end, but not exactly sure how close. Later that night, I opened the ebook, read about three “pages” and was done. With the desktop version of MS Reader, you can see the page number and total pages. With the PocketPC version, you don’t see the total pages, which is why I didn’t know.
At any rate, I thought it was a terrific book, and have now started on the first Poirot mystery, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”. I am going to try to read the books in the order that Agatha Christie wrote them. Unfortunately, some of them are not available in digital format, so I may skip a couple. Next on the list will be “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”, which I am eager to read because of a few recommendations from friends.
2004 Jun 16
... but they sure seem to love me. A couple days ago we found these little ant-like bugs in Bay’s bathroom. For some reason they were going into Bay’s plastic backpack that was hanging on the wall. It’s a mystery, because there wasn’t anything in there that they would be interested in, just toy cars. Anyways, later that night I sprayed some bug poison around the window and along the seams of the walls and cabinets. The next morning, they had disappeared. Or so it seemed…
I was happy with my minor victory in the war against bugs, but later that day, as I got in my car to drive home from work, I found that they had not been destroyed, but simply relocated. I saw one walking across the dashboard. I smashed it. I then saw two of them come out from the middle vent. I killed them. I then looked lower on the center console, to the radio. I saw about five of them. Then I looked across towards the glove compartment and spotted several more. It was gross. I opened all my windows and drove home with the hot Texas air blowing through the car. Later, at home, I sprayed poison around the doors and interior of the car, and now they are no more. Or perhaps they moved to Mariko’s car.
I don’t know why they like me. When I was in college, I remember that a colony of ants moved into the trunk of my car. That was disgusting. Some rain had gotten into the spare tire well of my trunk, and the ants decided that it was moist and warm: a perfect place to call home. I would see an ant or two walking around the interior. Then one day I needed something out of the trunk, and noticed several ants. I lifted up the plastic “carpet”, then the particleboard spare tire cover and got the surprise of my life. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of them. With eggs. It was so gross. I ran into my dorm room, grabbed a can of bug spray and commenced the biological warfare in the trunk of my Corolla. Ah, what fond memories.