Saturday, January 3, 2009

fantastic holidays and new beginnings

Hello everyone. A brand new year has arrived in fine style. I hosted the New year's party here at my parents' house and it went quite well for those of us who showed up. Sadly, three of my friends couldn't make it due to illness. Janene came back from visiting her parents in time to attend. Everyone got along quite well with each other and it hopefully won't be another year before we all get together again. Having good friends around to start the new year with has always meant a lot to me. I'm very glad Janene also enjoys that. I guess the next New Year's Eve I experience is going to be somewhat different. We'll be married and living either in Janene's apartment or possibly somewhere else by that point. I very much look forward to the changes this year will bring to my life.

For the past little while, I've been making some purchases which will make me a lot more able to travel easily. The Trekker Breeze will help prevent my getting hopelessly lost in my local area. I still expect to travel mainly with other people. However, I'll hopefully be able to be a little more adventurous knowing that I won't necessarily have to ask people to get me back home if I've turned down one street too many. The other thing I wanted to do was make travel with others a lot easier. I tended to bump into folks when I had my fully loaded laptop bag over my shoulder. Now, I believe I've managed to outfit myself a lot better. I purchased a combination backpack and suitcase from Mountain Equipment Co-op. I also bought a smaller bag from Mountain Equipment Co-op which was recommended in a review I read for carrying netbooks. A new and much better set of Logitech USB speakers will provide good sound from the netbook. They aren't nearly as liable to fall off my portable table at the slightest bump. They have stands which fold out and the cables are actually in the stands. I only have to attach two cables now. The memory upgrade I purchased for the 900HA was as easy as people said it was going to be. Dad didn't have any trouble at all. The extra gig makes a big difference when you've got AVG and Jaws going all the time. Everything is working quite well. The only thing which has yet to show up is a USB wifi adaptor.

The netbook I ended up deciding to go with is the Asus Eee PC 900HA. How's that for skilled marketing gone amuck? Fortunately, Asus seems to be far more adept at producing extremely portable computers than it is at naming them attractively. I'm having to adjust to the smaller keyboard. It's not too much of an issue but having all the keys closer together throws me off my stride a little. The right shift key is giving me the only serious trouble. I find I have to pause and think carefully before typing a shifted character on the left side. I also occasionally hit a left bracket when I mean to hit a letter p. I expect I'll be up to speed on it in fairly short order though. I can also attach the flexible full keyboard via USB port assuming I'm somewhere with some desk space. Some of the keys are double-mapped. The left right, up and down arrows double as home, end, pageup and pagedown when combined with the fn key. I tried playing Superdeakout on it yesterday and had no difficulty at all. Having 160 GB of hard drive space is absolutely splendid. I can bring all my audio drama, movies, books, music, and games along wherever I go. While I could have been happier with a ten-inch keyboard, I believe I've made a very good choice given my economics. All three blind people I spoke with who owned netbooks went with the 8.9-inch ones. Two of them owned the 900HA. Because I went with a smaller model, I saved close to two hundred dollars. The prices of the ten-inch ones just weren't dropping like I figured on. It's good to still have a little spare cash after such a major upgrade.

Christmas was a terrific time. Ava and Amia combined cute with hyper energy in equal measure. They're inn undated with new toys. Mom and dad got a new web cam which they've just started using yesterday with my old laptop. I've turned it over to mom so that she has a computer and doesn't have to use dad's work laptop. They got onto Skype and had fun talking to Janene this morning. It's a whole new world for them. They'll have lots of fun talking to Dan and seeing Ava and Amia.

This weekend will wrap up the holidays for Janene. We'll be having brunch with some friends of hers tomorrow. It's a place called the Hothouse Cafe. I had never heard of it before. It ought to be an interesting trip. I'll be picking up work on the design document for Enchantment's Twilight on Monday. There's still a whole lot to learn about the netbook. Also, I've got loads of stuff to get installed before it truly feels like my new digital home away from home. There's such a difference between desktop and netbook that it'll add a different dynamic to my work while travelling. Perhaps, like others have, I'll just get used to the different keyboard and hardly have to consciously think about it. I hope that happens. Either way though, it's a tremendous step up from the older laptop. I can put everything I need for a weekend in one backpack and just go. It'll be a lot less awkward in more crowded areas. Well, I guess that pretty much does it for my first blog entry of 2009. I hope all my readers had as restorative and fun holidays as I have. I'm a truly lucky man.

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