Archive for the ‘Computer’ Category

I don’t have a lot of energy to write today, since I’ve taken on not only the proportions but apparently the personality of a manatee, but I just had to say – you know those people who get really angry on the internet and post very long frequently all-caps rants on blog posts?

I saw someone do that last night. In REAL LIFE.

It was at another Association for Science and Reason event (the home of the famous Mennonite Conspiracy Theorist. Though he wasn’t there) featuring Franke James, an artist who got royally screwed by Stephen Harper et al for a) being a climate change activist and b) talking shit about the tar sands. Franke gave what I can call a charming and, considering the subject matter, very positive talk, which I really enjoyed and was challenged by. The rest of the audience seemed to like it too.

The Q&A, however, was rapidly taken over by a scrawny guy called Wayne who started ranting about Hugo Chavez and how crappy solar panels are.

And didn’t stop.

I mean, if the person you’re hypothetically talking to you has to ask you three times “Do you have a question?” and then you continue to talk over her as she attempts to respond to you, dude. I know you’re angry, but step back.

And if you interrupt someone ELSE’S question by accusing the speaker of not caring about starving people (because we can ALL EAT OIL, GUYS), and THEN don’t stop talking until the organizers pre-emptively end the event, you really, really need to step back.

Anyway. I found it – well, I found it awkward and annoying at the time, but in retrospect very interesting. It was so, so clearly a transposition of internet behaviour into real life. Not that people didn’t yell at each other before we had Manboobz, but the repetition of talking points (Hugo Chavez! What is it with conservatives and Hugo Chavez?), the generally aggressive tone, the hyperbole, and the refusal to listen to THE PERSON ANSWERING YOU was so internetty. It’s like – do your dreams have camera angles? Mine do, probably due to the fact that I’ve been watching TV since I was born or so. An art form has literally changed the way we dream.

Now technology has literally changed the way we’re rude to each other.

What a time to be alive.

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I am visiting my parents for Canadian Thanksgiving, and thus not likely to write much for the next few days. So go check out Kitchen Operas, a blog run by Lindsay, a fellow singer and a very good cook. She’s posted some great vegan recipes this month, including some vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

Also here is a picture of me taken from the side, so you can see how enormous I’ve gotten.

I swear I've only gained, like, 12-13 pounds.

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I know, I know, I haven’t written in FOREVER, but I have good reasons. Which I’m not revealing now. In a week or two I’ll be able to spill. Be patient!

But anyway. I am having one of those frustrating days. And it’s only 11:30!

Background: I accidentally killed my Ipod about a week ago. I won’t go into details or anything, because it’s sort of boring, but it was a last-ditch effort to save it. Unfortunately my Ipod surgery skills are not up to par, so while I fixed the original problem, I damaged the LCD screen beyond repair.

But it was pretty old and worn out anyway, so no big deal, right? I still have an old nano that works fine for listening to music and podcasts, and I have the new tablet (got it in May) for my portable email and web-browsing needs. I even got Netflix working on it and backed up all my food diary data. Problem solved!

Until yesterday.

When the battery on the tablet died. Stopped charging, stopped holding charge, completely crapped out.

This is apparently a common problem with this model (due to the wonderful quality control standards in cheap electronics factories in Shanghai), and while it’s still under warranty and I can get a replacement, it leaves me with a problem. I was using the tablet for my leisure web browsing, blogging (such as it is), tweeting, facebook, etc. The computer I’m using for everything else is the one we watch movies on.

It sits on top of a bookshelf which, though lowish, is too high for me to use while sitting on a chair.

So inadvertently I have aquired a standing desk.

Pictured: Not me or my standing desk.

And if I write anything online for the next several weeks (until the replacement tablet arrives), you can rest assured that I am standing up practicing excellent posture and flexing my calves. This is supposed to be really good for you, I am told. I expect my cardiovascular health to improve tremendously just because every time I want to argue with a troll on Manboobz I have to be vertical.

But so much for tweeting from the hammock!

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So I got my cheapo Android tablet from Deal Extreme. It’s no Archos 70, but it certainly is worth the under $200 you can get it for. Seriously, I’m sure that if you know about these things it has some deal-breaking shortcomings, but it has a capacitative (Iphone-style) touchscreen, not a shitty resistive one, a fast-ish processor, and is super cute. Come on!

So no quibbles with the device. How does Android (2.2 in this case) stack up to using the Ipod Touch (last release, haven’t updated it to 4.2.3 or whatever it is now)?

– The Android is Flash-capable. THANK YOU. Ipod Touch is not. Advantage: Android. Majorly.

– No autocorrect. On the one hand, no one is turning “samurais” into “zealots” for me. On the other, I have to remember about capitals and apostrophes. On the mutant third hand, I bought a case with a keyboard in it, so I can actually type pretty much as normal on it instead of the two-thumbs Iphone method. Which I’m pretty good at, don’t get me wrong, but nowhere near as smoking as I am at touch-typing. Advantage: neither.

– Screenshots. On an Iphone/Ipod Touch you take a screenshot by pressing the power and home buttons simultaneously. On the Android you take a screenshot by…rooting your device then installing third-party software. I’m not taking the risk of rooting a device I just got, even if it is a cheap one from Shanghai. Advantage: Iphone.

– Video. You can use Youtube properly on the Android. You watch multiple formats. You can download directly onto the device (though I haven’t done it yet). Advantage: Android.

– Getting files from a computer onto device: You don’t “sync” the Android, you plug it into a computer and it acts as a volume. Advantage: Android, especially if you are sharing a computer and can’t log your partner out but you’re going to the dentist and want to watch some Dr. Who in the waiting room. *ahem*

– Getting files off the device onto a computer: You can use the Android as a USB key or eject your micro SD card and stick that into your micro SD reader (that sounds dirty. Why does that sound dirty?) and transfer files that way. Ipod/Iphone you’re stuck with email or FTP, and even then you can’t transfer media files that way. Advantage: Android.

– Apps: Meh. Lots of the same ones. Some (like Skype) bafflingly unavailable either for this device or for Android 2.2. But then you can’t use Skype on an Iphone either, and Skype just broke up with Fring, so Advantage: Neither.

– Webcam: This one has one. Iphones have always had them, as do the latest Ipod Touches (Ipods Touch?). But I have a 2nd gen Ipod Touch. Advantage: Android.

– Web browsing: So far I have used this little device for a) email, Twitter and Facebook, b) web browsing, c) watching videos and d) blogging. In about that order. The web browser is about par with the Iphone one, and there are multiple other available browsers. I like browsing on the Android better, but that might be the bigger screen talking. Also, when you open multiple windows on the Android, if you switch away then back your original window doesn’t reload. It usually does on the Iphone. Advantage: Android, though it would be probably par if I were comparing two 7″ devices.

So overall I think I like Android better. When the Ipod dies I probably won’t buy another one – I might just use the Droid on its own or get an Android smartphone and use it for music/audiobooks. If you live in the US and can afford an Archos 70, go for that because it has way more memory and is probably higher quality and will last longer, but if you don’t/are poorish or cheap, you could do a lot worse than the $184 Dropad.

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My website. Is gone.  Literally gone.

Well, not exactly literally. The URL still exists and I still own it.  But all of its content? Gone.  All of my fantastic…scratch that, marginally acceptable web design? Gone.

Every “Complaining with Kay” podcast? GONE.

I have offline archives of Complaining with Kay from about Episode 40 on, but not much before that, mostly due to storage concerns.  GAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

So to recap, it’s miserable and rainy outside, I had three fillings and multiple other bits of dental work done this afternoon, and now my website has poofed out of existence.  This is officially the most frustrating day ever.

AND YES I KNOW I should have backed it up, but I didn’t and unless this is some weird server error that can be fixed I have to rebuild the whole thing.  But thank you, Imaginary Internet Know-It-All.  I think it can be said to have been established that I don’t always act in the most foresight-y manner.

Well, at least my email is still there.  Though I think I’ll export all of that just to be sure.  I’ve put up a temp “UNDER CONSTRUCTION!” page with my email and other links on it, so at least people looking for lessons won’t be like “Ok then,” and go somewhere else.

Anyway.  I need a drink.

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Check out Ben’s re-design of the PRO website:


Other than that, not much to say today…lots of deep thoughts, but nothing bubbling up to blog level yet.

Off to finish cleaning my house…my mother-in-law is coming tomorrow!


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“I disliked Mr. Brocklehurst; and I was not alone in the feeling. He is a harsh man; at once pompous and meddling; he cut off our hair; and for economy’s sake bought us bad needles and thread, with which we could hardly sew.”

“That was very false economy,” remarked Mrs. Fairfax, who now again caught the drift of the dialogue. – Jane Eyre, p. 139-140

So as you know Ben is away in Germany.  He asked me to take a picture of the dogs every day and send it to him (he did the same for me when I was in England for 6 weeks in 2007).  He took the still camera with him, so I’ve been taking pictures with the little HD camcorder I bought for the Torture Memos CD release.  ($129 at Canadian Tire. Can’t beat that.)

Problem: This camera requires the world’s tiniest USB cable to connect with a computer. Not a mini-USB. Not a micro-USB. I swear, it is a nano-USB cable.  One came with the camera, of course, but I can’t find it anywhere.  The EEE has a built-in card reader, but needs a new battery and isn’t really usable right now.

Solution: I was checking the local dollar store for unbelievably tiny USB cables, because you never know, when I found an SD card reader! For $2! How can THAT go wrong?

So I bought the blasted thing, and it worked for, what, three or four days.  I should have known bad things would happen, though, because it couldn’t read the card about half the time. I would just eject it and re-insert it and it would be fine.

Well, not anymore, because it seems to have destroyed the card.

Which had videos of Fallen Voices which I kind of needed, and which I hadn’t backed up yet, because I couldn’t find that bloody cable.

So, yeah. That’s some false economy right there. I could have bought a card reader from Staples for about $15 and this probably wouldn’t have happened.  But noooo, I had to try the cheap-ass dollar store one.

I found some software that seems to be working that will recover the files from the dead card, but damn. Now I’m going to have to buy a proper card reader AND a new 8 GB card.

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