Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Hello World!", said Eee PC.

So I decided to get an Asus Eee PC, and I must admit I am impressed. I really wanted to get a 9" model, but they are still not out yet and to be frank, it looks like the price is going to be a little on the high side as well.

Anyway, Sharon and I are heading to Switzerland on the weekend for a week of vacation and I wanted an utra-portable laptop (especially considering my main laptop fried two hard drives recently, and is freaking huge - about 6 lbs). This thing is incredible! It is only 7" but it packs a punch (that's what she said) in terms of functionality. The model I got came with Linux installed and to be honest I was going to wipe it and put XP on it. I bought a 1GB memory module and upgraded that before I even turned it on, and I also picked up an 8GB SD card for storage (I only got the 4G model, so the main SSD only has ~1.5GB free on it). I even bought an IDE/SATA to USB adapter to immediately put WinXP (or even Ubuntu) on it, but so far it has handled everything I have thrown at it without a hiccup, including:

  • Connecting to my wireless network (duh)
  • Transferring files to and from my Samba server
  • Connecting my digital camera via USB and transferring pictures off of it (I did not expect this to work)
  • Gmail
  • Skype
  • Connecting to Facebook and changing my profile picture (taken with the webcam on the Eee PC - even Facebook Chat works!)
  • YouTube
  • And now...Blogger

My only complaint so far is that the keyboard is really cheap. I don't mind the cramped size so much - but the key presses are very inconsistent and that gets to be annoying real fast. But I don't expect to be writing novels on this thing anyway.

I guess I shouldn't be so impressed. I mean these are standard OS and web services, and I know that Linux (and Firefox) can handle all of this, but it is just so much more impressive on such a small device. I think this thing is going to pay for itself really quickly in convenience alone and I am glad I didn't hold out for the 9" model. This is going to be sooo convenient on our trip! And since it can do all I need it to do for us while we are traveling I think I am going to leave Linux on it for the time being. Maybe I'll start hacking it later, but for now it does what I need it to do.

I love technology!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hacking At Home

I came across this awesome hack of not only completely automating an espresso machine with a microcontroller and an LCD, but controlling it all with a Wii Nunchuk controller.

Sweet. Now I wonder if my wife will let me take a dremel to her Christmas present...?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dear

Today was a milestone birthday for Sharon (I won't say how old she is), so I figured since she didn't want a big party (at least that's what she said) I would spend the day baking and cooking instead. For breakfast, I made my signature waffles. Then I went grocery shopping and for dinner I made steak and risotto (OK, the risotto was from a box) with caesar salad. But for dessert I wanted to make a chocolate cake from scratch (icing and all!). I found this recipe online, and decided to go for it.

The recipe itself was fairly easy, the only problem was that the icing takes one whole pound of finely chopped chocolate! Chopping sixteen, one ounce squares of chocolate was not so much fun.

But all-in-all, the end result was much better than I figured I could have managed on my own. Well, I say "on my own" with a couple caveats. Rhiannon did help quite a bit, and I did ask Sharon a lot of questions...but I am fairly impressed with myself anyway, and the end result was quite passable as a birthday cake!

And it tasted quite good too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Future Is Unwritten

Tonight I saw the documentary The Future Is Unwritten at the Princess Cinema with some friends. It is a rock-umentary about The Clash, and the life of Joe Strummer.

All I can say is - very cool. I highly recommend it!