Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What's In Your Bag?

the exploded view
Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
I contributed to the flickr meme "whatsinyourbag" a few weeks ago, and I'm only now getting around to blogging about it. Go figure. For the most part, the stuff I carry around hasn't changed in the weeks since I took the picture, except that now I'm reading "The Lathe of Heaven" by Ursula K. LeGuin, not "Timescape."

My bag is an older Timbuk2 messenger bag. I've got three Timbuk2 bags, all purchased before they became en vogue. These days, there are a lot of poseurs who can be found carrying them around, but that's ok. Timbuk2 found a niche and is capitalizing on it; good for them. The red, white, and blue bag in the picture used to be called an "El Ocho" bag. Now I think it would be a "small Classic Messenger" bag. The black Timbuk2 bag barely in the picture used to be called the "DeeDog." Now, it's somewhere in between a medium and large "Classic Messenger" bag. The red, white, and blue one is one that goes with me more or less everywhere, while the black one I use if I'm going to stay overnight somewhere or if I'm bringing my laptop somewhere with me.

Feel free to click on the picture. There are notes attached to the picture, so you can run your mouse over the different items and see a description. The entire meme photostream can be found here. Enjoy...


Hmmm, a gadget to block FOX News Network from polluting your tv. I suppose this MIGHT be important for digital cable. With my digital cable, I haven't played around with it enough to determine if there's a way to "skip over" channels you don't care about when just thumbing through the channels. You know, channels like QVC and the God Network, that you have no reason to channel surf through. Ever. I'm sure there's a way, I just haven't messed with it.

Anyway, I'm not really sure this thing is worth $9, but hey, I guarantee they'll get people buying it and they will make money. Tell you what, instead of buying it, SEND ME the $9 and I'll tell you how to lock out the channel...


Ok, it's not really a quilt, but it's still damn neat. I'm also relatively certain it's been circulating around the message baords this week, so there's a good chance you may have seen it. If not, though, it is worth a look: ZOOMQUILT.

To zoom on it, hold your mouse button and move your mouse up to zoom in, or down to move out. Zoom over different portions of the images. Somebody had a lot of free time, and the results of it are pretty spiffy!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Flash MP3 Player Advice

For as long as this blog has been up (about 6 months I suppose, at this point), I've been trying to bring you, my readership, advice and info on gadgets, a/k/a "geek toys." Now It's my turn to ask you all for some advice.

Lately, I've been looking at flash mp3 players. Yes, I have the precious, but there are times where a flash device might be easier to deal with. This is particularly the case for the various podcasts I listen to: my computer takes about 5-10 minutes to even recognize the iPod as a device, all the while eating valuable battery juice. Needless to say, I try to only connect the iPod to my (admittedly "challenged") computer when I'm recharging its battery...about once every 3 days. Yet some of the podcasts I listen to come out on a daily basis, and it would be nice to have a quick and dirty way to listen to it and remove it without going through the time consumed in doing so on the iPod. I would also like this flash mp3 player to be capable of doubling as a universal storage device--one I might use to backup or transport some of my important files on a temporary basis. I'm looking for about 1 GB of storage, and would prefer if the player ran on normal batteries (AAA or AA). A radio tuner might be nice, too, but most of the ones I've seen only have FM tuners (and sometimes transmitters, a useful feature!), whereas I'd want mostly AM.

So, to summarize, my requirements are:
1 GB storage
Quick PC connection
AAA/AA battery powered
Capable of being storage device for misc. files (not necessarily music)
FM transmission (not required, but desired)
AM tuner (not required, but might be nice)

Any recommendations from the crowd? Specific models and/or links to product pages would be most helpful. Thanks in advance!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Happy Easter

Whether or not you're religious, I do hope that everybody reading this has a great weekend and a happy and safe Easter.

I, for one, will be having a traditional family brunch with my folks, sister, and some family friends. My mom always makes the BEST croissants, so I'm looking forward to those. :) :)

Anyway, I might not make any updates until Monday at the earliest, so don't forget to take my quiz and have a great weekend!

Terps Do It Again

I didn't get a chance to watch the Terps game today. I ended up going up to my parents' place to meet up with my dad and then he and I went up to the family boat to work on replacing the cutlass bearing. On our way up there, I did catch about the first 15 minutes of the first half on the radio--by the time we got to the boat yard, the Terps were up 11 and seemingly doing fine.

While we were working, I got the wireless score update on my phone, and was alarmed to see that the halftime score was 44-43 in favor of the Terps. Yet again, despite seemingly having things under control, the Terps let the opposition come back on them. This is an alarming trend in Terps games...I'm sure we're going to get to a point where we let the other team come back enough that we can't recover. Heck, we've already had a few games like that (Clemson, anyone?).

The good news, though, is that the Terps DID win and now move on to the NIT (Not In Tourney) semifinals. On Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden, Gary Williams and the Terps will take on the Gamecocks of South Carolina at 9 p.m. ET. This game, as the previous 2 games, will be televised nationally on ESPN2. I'll be watching, of course, and hopefully you will be too! GO TERPS!

Take the Quiz!

If you think you know me, you might want to take the quiz about me. This sort of started as a thing over at FOFC becaus someone (not me, oddly enough!) was bored, and I decided to pander to his boredom. If you do take it, post your scores here. :D

Friday, March 25, 2005

WIRED = 3-2-1 Contact?

Last night, my April 2005 issue of WIRED came. I love this magazine, though I've been a bit behind on reading all of my magazines (National Geographic Adventure, bike, Bicycling, and WIRED), mostly because I've been reading too many books. While flipping through it, it hit me that WIRED is very similar to a magazine I read when I was growing up, 3-2-1 Contact. I don't know if it struck me while reading a little blurb on Bill Nye the Science Guy (coming back to TV, this time in a show called The Eyes of Nye, a show aimed at adults) or if it came while reading of some Japanese inventions with "High Concept, No Purpose," but somehow I saw it: WIRED magazine is for adults what 3-2-1 Contact was for me as a kid. Both magazines talk (ok talked, in terms of 3-2-1 Contact) about technology, gadgets, and science. Both have/had information on cutting edge "geek news" and predictions of what may come in the future. And, just like I did with 3-2-1 Contact "back in the day," I hang on to every copy of WIRED and read and re-read the articles, facinated and excited about the geek's view of the universe. Yes, WIRED may use a broader vocabulary and mention some politics, but that just makes it 3-2-1 Contact for adults. Now the real question: does anybody ELSE remember 3-2-1 Contact?

Pez & MP3's: A Wonderful Merger

Normally one doesn't usually consider "Pez" and "mp3's" in the same thought, but that's about to change! It seems that there has now been a deal inked to create an mp3 player that is housed in a Pez column. Read all about it here.

I really like this idea! I've never been a huge fan of the micro mp3 players, in part because of their low capacity, but being a Pez fan, I may splurge on this one when it comes out.

iPod Shuffle Case

Naomi's Overcoat: On top
Originally uploaded by WhereMyArm.
Over at iPodlounge today, I noticed a little blurb about a guy who used a Penguin mints tin (similar to an Altoids tin) as an iPod Shuffle case. The guy apparently really wanted to listen to music during study hall, so devised the case to hide his iPod Shuffle so he could jam out to tunes. Even better, he allowed for the possibility that he might get caught, so also brought a portable CD player with him, so that if the teacher noticed he was listening to music, he could claim he was listening on that, and once the teacher confiscated the CD player, he'd still have his tunes all set.

The guy who did this posted pictures of it over at flickr, and the comlete photostream can be found here. Cute idea, and yet another great use for those mint tins!

Thanks Chris Sutcliffe!

Chris Sutcliffe, I have absolutely no idea who you are, but today I noticed a second mention of my blog on PalmAddicts, sent in by you (for the second time). Thanks for spreading the word on the blog!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terps Into NIT Round 3

In moderately exciting Terps news, they beat the Wildcats of Davidson last night and earned the right to play Texas Christian University on Saturday at noon in the 3rd round of the NIT (noon ET, televised nationally on ESPN2). I was fortunate enough to get to go to last night's game.

The first half was a bit scary to watch: the Terps got off to their traditionally slow start and at one point, they were down 16 whole points to a team that we should have dominated all along. Luckily, they ended the first half on a 16-0 run and carried the energy into the 2nd half, finally winning the game 78-63. I went with Jeff and Scott, and our seats ended up on the floor behind the visiting side's bucket. That was an interesting place to sit, for lack of a better word. The Davidson cheerleaders were in front of us, and the Davidson fans were just to our right. Their school colors are also black and red, so even though the Comcast Center was decked in red, the fans nearest us were screaming their support for Davidson. Even with that, though, we had a great time, made all the better by the Terps winning. :)

On a side Terps note, has anybody else heard the rumors about John Gilchrest wanting to join the NBA pre-draft camp? I caught the tail end of something on my way up to my parents' house on Sports Talk 980, saying that he might be leaving the team (good thing Sterling Ledbetter is a much better PG than he is right now anyway, considering Gilchrest has had his head up his ass for the entire season). That's one of the best parts of the NIT: some of the big name teams are already out of the NCAA Tourney and thus can't practice anymore, but the Terps are still in the NIT and so are allowed to practice, and for this squad, that practice is going to make us that much stronger next season.

So don't forget, Terps fans, to tune in on Saturday. Go Terps!!!

Sony Launches PlayStation Portable

As expected, there was a flurry of activity in video game stores today as the PlayStation Portable was released in the US. Rumor has it that in the Washington, DC area, the new toy is sold out, though I don't know if that's true. I fully admit that I expected it to sell out, and actually looked forward to it selling out...that way, I wouldn't feel too bad that I don't have one!! :)

The PSP, a handheld gaming device, comes packaged with a copy of Spiderman 2 on UMD (universal media disc, I think), a 32 MB memory stick, and the device itself. Its main "competitor" in the handheld gaming market is the Nintendo DS. It's not a fair fight to say that the two devices are in the same realm, though. The PSP is a multi-media and gaming device, while the DS is a gaming and chat device (and may be turned into a PDA if rumors are true). Both play games and both in theory have the capability to play games over wireless internet (802.11b WiFi). But really that's where the similarities end between the two devices, and that is all I'll say of the two side-by-side. I will probably eventually have both devices, especially if the game lineup for the DS improves.

So, back to the PSP. While the device itself looks quite sweet, I'm not a fan of the UMD and Memory Stick usage. The PSP will at one point be able to link to computers, though the cable to link it to the computer won't be available in the US until the 1st of May. With integrated WiFi and the ability to connect the PSP to a computer, combined with the ability of the PSP to play mp3's and mp4 videos, leads to a desire to store audio and video files on removable storage cards. Commonly used formats are the SD card and CF card, but because this is SONY we're dealing with, it MUST be their proprietary Memory Stick. Nevermind that Sony has already abandoned its PDA line, the Clie, in the United States, so really the only use for Memory Sticks these days are in Sony digital cameras (and there are a wealth of other cameras out there that are better than Sony cameras). Now there is another use for the Memory Stick: using it in the PSP, but what a pain in the butt that is. Personally, I already have a plethora of CF cards and SD cards for my camera and Palm Pilot. I have no need or desire for other memory formats, especially if the only use I'll have for it is my PSP (when I get one, because I think it's probably safe to assume I will).

Alas. Currently I believe the base price for the PSP is about 250 U$, though it seems you can only get it in bundle packs (bundled with games and such) for 450 U$. How disgusting. If any of my regular readers here has picked up the PSP, please let me know what you think! And, even better, if you have played both the PSP and the DS, let me know what you think of them side-by-side (as gaming devices, nothing else).

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Rumors of a New Palm Device

Surfing around my normal Palm/gadget sites today (MobileRead, PalmAddicts, MyPalmLife, 1src, etc.), the news seems to suggest that a new Palm device, either the Palm Tungsten T6 or Tungsten 2005, will be released at the end of April! Granted, this is all rumor and speculation. I have my serious doubts if it will happen, but if it did...well, it'd be downright gorgeous.

By the specifications, it seems like an incredible PDA (certainly a step up from the T5 which looks nice but isn't exactly my cup of tea...which is why I've stuck with my T|C for so long). Of course, there will be the obligatory "wait time" for developers to modify their applications (and make new ones!) that will work on the OS 6 (Cobalt) platform, which might be a little frustrating for some users. But overall, these specs look downright sexy! Guess we'll have to wait and see what comes...

T6/T2005 Specifications (RUMOR!)
* OS 6 (with scalable fonts)
* Bluetooth
* Wavelan
* 1 GB Flash
* 3 Megapixel Cam
* New connector (ethernet included)
* VGA resolution 640 x 480
* Graffiti 2 plus (with voice commands)
* Interface to iTunes (Apple iPod)
* The device is maximum 200 grams
* Automatic software update over internet
* Compatibility mode for pocket Windows is built in
* Initial price is around $400
* Launch date approx end of April

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Photography Question

Ok, everybody, I have a photography question. I like to take some pictures of the Oz-meister, but I usually end up having to use the flash (really poor lighting in my room). But it seems that the tips of his hairs have a way of catching the light "just so" and it gives the picture a very grainy quality, like the fur on his butt in this picture...any ideas of how to fix this or keep it from happening?

Any and all advice would be appreciated. I'm using a Canon PowerShot A95. Thanks in advance!!

Monday, March 14, 2005

News at MyPalmLife

One of the Palm-related sites I visit pretty frequently, MyPalmLife, has added a lot of stories today. I'll fully admit that most of it isn't that interesting to me...it deals with Treo/Smartphone announcements, and I HATE smartphones. I'll keep my dumbphone, thanks, and am quite content to carry around the dumbphone, Palm Pilot, mp3 player, and digital camera as separate entities. There is also an interesting story over there about backing up the stuff that's on your Palm.

So anyway, if you're at all into Palm devices and technology, go pay a visit to MPL. And if you want other Palm- and PDA-related sites, I encourage you to check out the links in the sidebar under "Palm/PDA/Gadget Stuff." :)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Bush Nominates New NASA Chief

According to MSNBC, JHU Applied Physics Lab's space department head, Mike Griffin, has been nominated to be the next NASA Chief. He will replace Sean O'Keefe who (thankfully) stepped down to become chancellor at one of the LSU schools (good riddance).

I must confess I've never heard of Mike Griffin, though the MSNBC article quotes MD Senator Mikulski as saying the choice was "outstanding" and that he “has the right combination of experience in industry, academia and government service. He has a proven record of leadership and a passion for science and exploration. I welcome his nomination.” This is excellent news, as I trust Mikulski (heck, I've voted for her every time I could!) and share her hopes and visions for the future of the space program. Now I guess he just needs to be confirmed...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Now Reading...

Last night, I finished Dan Simmons' Hyperion. I must confess, for the hype around the book (considering it won the Hugo Award) and for how interesting it was when I started reading it, I was pretty disappointed by the book. Maybe I just didn't get it fully; after all, it was pretty late at night when I finshed reading it. It just felt to me that Hyperion was half of a book. Through the course of the book, you're introduced to each character a chapter at a time, and get to know what has brought them on the pilgrimage to Hyperion. At the end of the book, I had a good idea of who everybody was, but I had no idea if their pilgrimage was successful, or what happened. For example, there was one character in the book whose daughter was getting younger every day. He believed that the pilgrimage (and possibly making an offering of her or himself) would cure her of the time disease she suffered. Yet at the end of the book, I had absolutely no idea if she was cured. I have a feeling that the rest of the story goes on in The Fall of Hyperion, but if this was really only half of the book, why on EARTH did it get the Hugo Award?

Alas. Maybe one day I'll read The Fall of Hyperion, but for now I'm working on Gregory Benford's Timescape. It is book number 92 in the list of "Sci Fi Books You Must Read," the list I narrowed down to about 56 in this previous blog entry. Timescape, I think, is about an impending ecological disaster that could mean the end of the Earth. However, a scientific discovery of how to communicate with the past may make it possible to live in 1998 and communicate with 1963, to give instructions to the past to avoid the problems faced in 1998. Of course, that is pure supposition...I've only read the first chapter so far. Either way, this one is starting off promising, I hope it doesn't end as disastrously as Hyperion did.

Terps Upset

In what didn't come as much of a surprise to people following the Terps all year, our men's basketball team was knocked out of the ACC Tournament in the first round today, losing 84-72 to the Clemson Tigers. It is unlikely, now, that the Terps will make the NCAA Tournament and will instead go to the NIT. Said coach Gary Williams on the loss, " I am very disappointed in our team. I thought we had opportunities there, we made some shots early, but we missed some opportunities as that first half went along. Clemson did a good job of fighting back and getting into position to make that three at the buzzer. In the second half we got away from running our offense. We shot the ball pretty quickly and defensively we just couldn't stop them. That combination certainly made Clemson a better team in the second half than we were today." Other post-game quotes can be found here.

After talking it over with a few friends, I think I've come upon the real reason that Maryland (which should have been a dominating team this season, if you look solely at who our players are and their longevity on the squad) has been faltering: our players are un-coachable. Looking through the teams that have made it to the NCAA Tournament over the last 11 years, it is evident that Gary Williams was recruiting "decent" players who had promise but weren't the high school superstars. After we won the National Championship in 2002, we started getting a majority of All-American's and High School All-Star's in our recruiting classes. These players, though talented, have been the downfall of the program.

Players like John Gilchrest and Nik Caner-Medley are used to being great--being able to step out onto the court, dominate, and play their own game. Players like Juan Dixon and Steve Blake were good, but not so good to get cocky. The difference between these groups of players is that Gilchrest and Caner-Medley haven't seemed to learn from their mistakes. I'm positive that after every awful shot and game this season, Gary tried to tell them how to make it better. They didn't listen, though, consistently making poor shot selection, and showing a general lack of enthusiasm to move properly on the court; they felt that the opposition wasn't as good as they were. Dixon and Blake, on the other hand, knew they weren't exactly "God's gift to college basketball" and thus listened when Gary made suggestions. It's unfortunate, but I think that until we get a few more of the "average" players to come play, the Terps will be as inconsistent as they were this season.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Do You Gizoogle?

I found the link to Gizoogle earlier today and it cracked me up. Basically, you enter either keywords for what you're "looking" for or you enter a URL you want "Gizoogle" and it turns it into a gangsta speak page. Yes, I've seen links for stuff like this before, but this one incorporates the search engine, which is just too funny. Anyway, for kicks, I Gizzogled this page and took a little clipping from the results:

Updated Again

I updated tha template I use fo` tha blizzog again...I decided I didn't exactly like how dizzle tha otha one was. Hopefully this will be tha last cosmetic change ta tha site fo` awhile . know what im sayin?.

On a completely unrelated note, pleaze feel free ta click on any of tha links in tha "Ads by Google" box in tha rizzight sidebar , ya feel me?. Everytime you click a link, I'll git a few pennies...and let's fizzle it, I dizzay hizzy any otha income com'n in at tha moment, so I could really use tha hizzle so bow down to the bow wow. Every shawty bit helps, n thanks in advance but real niggaz don't give a fuck.

Update: Tungsten|C Software

It's been awhile since I updated mah list of what's on mah beloved PalmOne Tungsten|C, so I figured I'd update mah list . Bounce wit me. Admittedly, it's still mostly games, though tha non-game applications I hizzle I use daily, so I figure they're not a total waste with the gangsta shit that keeps ya hangin. :)

Arvale: Humorous role-play'n gizzy fizzle PDAMill n shit. I helped beta-test this one, n believe me, tha gizzle is AWESOME. I especially love tha conversizzles you can hizzle wit fireplizzles n wheelbarrows. This game is available fo` tha Pizzle OS n Pocket PC.

Gamebox Asia . It dont stop till the wheels fall off: A PDAMill Mahjong game. Simple but elegant graphics, three tile choices, n a variety of gizzle types ta keep me entertained. Available fo` Pizzy OS n PPC.
So, go, Gizzogle, and be happy. :)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Updated Again

I updated the template I use for the blog again...I decided I didn't exactly like how dark the other one was. Hopefully this will be the last cosmetic change to the site for awhile.

On a completely unrelated note, please feel free to click on any of the links in the "Ads by Google" box in the right sidebar. Everytime you click a link, I'll get a few pennies...and let's face it, I don't have any other income coming in at the moment, so I could really use the help. Every little bit helps, and thanks in advance.