Tuesday, December 9, 2008

living in interesting times

Hello everyone. It's been interesting over the past while. Certainly, the political stupidity our esteemed leaders have displayed lately has been nothing short of stunning. Let's all go for a power grab right when the economy is tanking and people actually need good government the most, shal we? They should all be held acountable and summarrally replaced with more sensible and civil people. It's been a while since being Canadian has had any real embarrassment attached to it for me but the past while will keep all of us from getting too smug for some time to come. I'd love to use my cane to knock some sense into the lot of them when they go back, dare I hope, to actually get some god damned work done?

Janene and I got together yesterday night after she finished writing her last paper for this semester. We had a nice dinner at East Side Mario's. Their Hell's Kitchen Chicken absolutely rocks. Thankfully, Janene can do a lot more relaxing over the next while. She keeps everything together quite nicely but it can certainly ware her down when the major stuff comes due. She's definitely in the Christmas spirit now. If anybody deserves to be so, it's certainly she. While she's been chasing high marks, I've been after a little high technology. For the past while, I've been fascinated by the rapid emergence and development of these netbooks.

A lot of people are complaining that they aren't powerful enough to run Windows Vista on. There are already a couple of exceptions to that though. For me, a netbook represents quite a welcome upgrade where I actually want it. They're a heaping lot lighter and smaller. They have far longer battery life. I can get one with a minimum of twice and quite likely four times the hard drive space for much less than my current laptop cost. Also, they use Windows XP Home edition. It's probably my last real crack at getting a new system using that operating system. I'll be able to run my current version of Jaws on it. It'll take care of my portable computing needs for the next number of years . Janene wants my old laptop for those relatively rare occasions when she could use one. I just need the prices of the current crop of netbooks to come down a chunk or to find a good deal on one as stores shift to the newer netbooks starting to come out. The conditions are all present for such a price drop to take place.

I saw a terrific deal on Ebay where I could have had an EEE PC1000H for less than $300. It was the first Ebay auction I entered for myself. Right up until damned near the end, I was the highest bidder. However, at least a couple of people got into heavy bidding action near the end and the winner ended up paying something like $400 US for it. It was a fun experience despite that though and I may try again if another such opportunity presents itself. Despite being far above what I would pay for a netbook which doesn't come directly from a store, he still got it for a bit less than normal current prices for it. I don't think that will hold true for much longer though. Given the desperation of retailers in this economy and the appearance of the next generation of competing netbooks, I feel confident that I'll be able to get one at a reasonable price by the middle of next month. Of course, I hope not to have to wait that long. I am, after all, a gadget freak. Also, I don't mind not having the absolute latest and greatest. Even 80 gigs is plenty of space for my travelling needs. It'll be nice to have something that much more portable.

My training cession went very well with Linda today. We went through installing Calendar Magic. She hasn't done a lot of installing different programs like that and I think it was a good overall experience for her even if she doesn't use the software. We also did some downloading of electronic Braille volumes from the CNIB digital library and I showed her how easy it was to load them into Kurzweil 1000 where they're instantly translated into ordinary text. In the process, we also got her profile set up so she can actually find more such books. I'll never be caught dead using Norton security software though. That stuff causes some serious accessibility grief. She's going to stick with it for the next two hundred plus days until her current subscription expires which shows far more patience for it than I'd have. My AVG Internet Security software is purring along quite contentedly and fully under my control.

The only thing that hasn't been so under my control is my sleeping lately. I seem to get enough to manage but I'm always waking up at five thirty or possibly even earlier these days. It's not that comfortable gentle sort of "I could lie here and mentally drift for a few hours" kind of wakefulness either. It's that "Gotta get up, get going, get that brain in proper gear and do something fun with it!" kind of wakefulness. Thankfully, there's plenty to keep me busy. Plenty of podcasts and sites to keep an ear on as my quest for a good quality but inexpensive netbook continues. I've also been playing more games lately. Smugglers3 and Nethack are the two most common. I also play the odd game of Superdeakout and Alien Outback. One of these days, it would be terrific fun to get a few friends together for an afternoon game of Talisman. I've had fun fiddling with it but you need other players to truly enjoy the game. Perhaps, someday, I can arrange that circumstance. The next order of business in that department is to start working on New Year's Eve.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I have a netbook, and I love it. Try looking at the Acer Aspire One systems (that's what I have). The keyboard is about 90% of a regular version, and the fan is nice and quiet. You can pick up a version with Win XP and a six cell, six hour battery for about $387-$400. Memory Express in Calgary has them, and they ship anywhere (plus - no provincial sales tax if you buy it from Alberta!).

I recommend a spare battery, too - that's an extra hundred, but well worth it.

I've had my Acer since October, and it's been really reliable. And so light, too! It's my 'walking around' computer. Good enough for regular use, but cheap enough that it won't be an utter loss if it should get stolen or die.