Friday night, I had a little fun. OK, I was pooped from working Black Friday (let's just say Holy Moly!) at the Apple Store, but I came home and played a bit with some new techie toys.
Toy One: Airport Express. I've been looking for a way to set up my 3 printers in a space directly behind where I sit. So imagine, the chair swivels around 180 degrees and there are my printers. I got a little tower of sorts by customizing one of those wooden folding bookshelves. Worked great. But how to connect all those printers to the powerbook? Anywhere I considered putting the printers was just too far for the normal USB cable/extension. A powered relay would be needed. Next I considered a D-Link wireless print server. That would be cool but most of the ones I looked at only fed two USB printers and maybe one via ethernet, and were in the 180-200 dollar range.
So I sprang for an Airport Express. I moved the tower o'printers, found a power bar, untangled all the cables and sat down with the instructions. A few minutes later, the first printer was up and running! Now the real test: Unplug the USB cable from printer one and plug in the cable from printer two. Whaddyaknow?! Printer two magically appeared in my rendezvous printer list. Cool. I can live with plugging in the printers as needed. Elegant and relatively cheap solution!
Toy Two: SightFlex by MacMice. Arrived Friday at work and I couldn't wait to get it home. Unplugged the iSight's clamp and firewire cable and plugged in the SightFlex. Plugged the SightFlex Firewire cable into my hub. Voila! A very positionable iSight. Perfect for spying on cats. More importantly: perfect for capturing close ups for quilting demos etc. Imagine if you will -- iSight poised and positioned near sewing machine. Computer hooked to projector. Students able to SEE what hands are doing while quilting etc from my perspective, rather than from whereever they're standing. Cool.
11/27/2004 09:42:00 PM
There comes a time in a man's life when to get to where he has to go--if there are no doors or windows--he walks through a wall. -- Bernard Malamud
Believing in the impossible is what teachers are all about.
"One can't believe impossible things." "I daresay, you haven't much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why sometimes I'd believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -- Lewis Carrroll
I've updated the growing iSight software and info page (thanks Matthias!). Start here for a trio of new software and a couple new gadgets for the iSight. Probably the most interesting of the softwares was the SecuritySpy, which is something people ask about all the time. Ok, maybe not ALL the time, but at least now I can refer them to something. It's only $50 to buy which isn't bad for the features it provides.
Sunday morning. Cold and clear outside, with a little fresh snow. Inside - nice warm breakfast, fresh coffee with some light cream left over from something else. And for the cats - a blow out catnip party. When the package says "Cosmic Catnip is the most aromatic catnip ever grown..." it means that when you crack open the top of the plastic container the cats come running from everywhere. I see on their site it comes in large quantities too.... I took some of the new catnip and put it in a big jar with a bunch of cat toys to fill them with catnip goodness.
One bit of free advice. Don't keep your catnip or other cat treats in plastic bags lest the cats stick their heads into the bag and try to off themselves in delirious asphyxiation. Bill the cat tried to do that as a young kit. He retrieved a baggie that had held yeast from the trash and tried to lick the yeast from inside the bag! Moral of the story - keep cat treats in plastic or glass jars and well out of reach.
Yeah, I know the banner hints that I'm a quilter - and there's that going on, but baby - let's just say that I'm cooking! No no - I mean I'm really cooking. Like food. I've been doing a lot of it and if I do say so, it's coming out pretty darn fine. Things I've made lately include:
4 doz. sticky buns. Yes that would be from scratch. With yeast, a lot of butter and brown sugar and raisins. oh yeah.
Pizza. Ditto on the scratch and yeast. Cheese and pepperoni with other stuff thrown on for good measure
Maquechoux - a strange sort of corn and veggie dish that is good enough to eat all by itself
Some chicken stew with tomatoes
Country Captain, which is a curried chicken dish*
Good tomato sauce. A lot of it. Some frozen, some given to Mom and Dad and the rest being enjoyed over good pasta with coarse parmasaen. And for the pizza of course! One night I sauted a lot of mushrooms and added that to the sauce.
An omelette served for late night dinner with toast, no butter but with fine strawberry preserves.
As a contribution to this flurry of activity, I finally found some containers worthy of holding flour. Direct from the King Arthur Flour Company in neighboring Vermont, and arriving in under 4 days via the mail - one container actually has about 13 lbs of flour in it. Some others will easily hold five pounds of flour or sugar. So tonight I moved my flour to its new home. And I moved my silly plastic measuring cup and my little orange scoop and my goofy two-ended, two-sided, four-measurement measuring spoon along with it. Those things live in with the flour so I can scoop or measure what I want and not dip wet things into the flour.
Their web site tells you how much weight you can add to your shipment and not increase postage so as a special bonus I got one of these -- let's just say as a reward for using all the yeast I've been using lately!
It's very cool, extremely OS X in style and feel and well thought out. My book collection is very eclectic and my CD collection more so. The books I grabbed to try worked like a charm. Only a few of the CDs worked, presumably because they're smaller recording labels.
Using your iSight to scan bar codes may not make the most use of the fine options etc, but it was fast and if you have a lot of books and want to catalogue them etc, this may be your solution. It's $40 but there's a demo you can try before you decide.
Did I really mention using this software for cat scans? You betcha!
In this very small community (in the hundreds of voters), at 7 AM this morning I was voter number 48. An hour into voting and 47 people and myself had made it into vote. That's pretty darn amazing in my book. Even if I don't like the outcome (too early to tell yet), I do like hearing about high voter turnout across the country. One place was reported to have 85% of eligible voters voting. So, no matter the outcome, I'm holding onto this idea that perhaps people can learn to take personal action. Now to educate them.
Now a note to local political party organizers in my area: I wanted to vote against incumbents. But you have to give me someone to vote FOR so I can vote AGAINST the incumbent. I don't even care if you spend money on their campaign or how much. Just give me a reasonable person for me to hang my vote on. Each year that there is no challenger, guess what -- you LOSE!
I'm moving this up from comments because I don't want anybody to miss it. Please leave your own comment below. Naomi wrote:
In the grim light of 12 hours later, all I can do is quote the words of the immortal Ed Koch, on the occasion of his primary defeat:
"The people have spoken, and now they must be punished."