I am become Dropsy, destroyer of technology

I don’t know what it is. I’ve dropped two expensive pieces of kit this year. First, my new Samsung Galaxy S3 phone about a month after I bought it. It’s got a crack in the screen in one corner. Luckily it is still usable and doesn’t bother me all that much day to day.

But this week I also dropped Jett’s ASUS TF202 Transformer tablet. I honestly don’t know how it happened. I was cleaning up in the family room, picking up this and that and somehow lost traction when I picked up the tablet. Gravity took care of the rest. I almost caught it, but it dropped right on the corner.

I felt like such and idiot. I’ve always impressed on the kids how expensive these are, and to treat them delicately. But here comes dad and practically throws it on the ground.

Jett insists, rightly I guess, on a replacement. The good thing is he wants a smaller Nexus 7 rather than a 10-inch tablet. And because the 2013 N7 just came out, the first gen are being dumped  on ebay for about 40% of the new price, even New In Box.

My first personal music player

Behold, my first personal music player, which I laid down $800 for in 1996. The trusty Sony MZ-R30 Minidisc! Why Minidisc didn’t take over and rule the world is still a mystery to me.

Sony MZ-R30. The R stood for "Recording"

To copy an album, you’d link your MD recorder up your CD player using a cable. I used a digital TOSlink cable I payed $80 for, essentially a short fibre optic cable to carry the digital out signal from the CD to the MD.  And just like cassettes of old you’d press play on the CD while pressing record on the MD. Mine was super cool because I didn’t have to go back and add the track breaks later! And I had the fun of using the cool jog wheel to title the album and each of the tracks!

Back then, new music albums cost $25-$30. I figured I could buy blank MDs for about $2.50 each from Japan in bulk (blanks retailed for around $8-10 locally in Perth) and hire music from the old CD Library in Wellington St. I was friendly with the staff there and they’d let me hire 15-20 discs at a time instead of the usual 5. Anyone remember the CD Library? I think they had a branch in Fremantle too.

Looking back it would have been a total mindscrew to know that in 10-15 years Minidisc would be dead, and dedicated MP3 players would largely be a thing of the past as playing music is now an ancillary mobile phone function. But that’s the nature of consumer tech.

Been having too much fun on Google+

Wow, been a while since I posted anything worthwhile. I’ve been spending too much time on Google+ and have been a bit distracted by it. It finally came out of beta a couple weeks ago, and notwithstanding some idiotic articles about it, Google plus has been pretty fun to use so far. I’ve been involved in a couple Hangouts, been involved in the “Perth Plussers” circle, and found some interesting people “nearby”. I also use it to automatically back up all the photos I take on my phone, and it lets me share them any time later on. I really can’t wait for it to grow and adapt. For those who want games, it’s got ‘em but so far I haven’t received any game invitations so it’s all good.

I’ve got a few unfinished blog entries I can pick up and finish off, so I guess I’ll have to get cracking over the next few days. I usually have a couple finished and ready to go in the pipeline but the cupboard is bare until the 5th of November.

Which is cheaper: Regular or Premium Unleaded fuel?

The table below represents all the fuel I’ve bought for my little car for almost the last 12 months:

I only use my car to drive between my home and the local train station, and occasionally I pick the kids up from sports after work. Other than four traffic lights and expected annual weather/temperature changes there isn’t a lot of variance in conditions. Sometimes I’ll get all four lights green, sometimes all four will be red. Of course stopping and starting light this effects mileage. I try to run my car to as close to empty as I dare and then fill it to the brim every time, although sometimes I break this pattern by necessity.

Given this data I want you to tell me if it’s cheaper for me to run my car on Regular Unleaded (highlighted in green) or Premium Unleaded (in yellow) which can be anywhere from 2c to 10c more per liter, or even if a solution exists.

I’m not interested in fuel use. I don’t care if I use more volume of one fuel than the other per kilometer. I want to use less dollars per kilometer.

I’ve discussed this with some workmates who have come up with various results, all of which are a bit wishy washy for my liking. For example, it was found that I seem to be buying my Premium Unleaded cheaper than the Regular, on average. I guess this is because I was buying more Premium before Christmas when it less expensive than Regular is now.

If you take simple averages, then it’s costing me 35c per 100km less when I run on Premium than when I run on Regular. But I don’t think it’s that simple, and I don’t quite know how to go about it.

Any mathematicians out there want to give me a hand with this? Never mind the whole “if you don’t run your car on the right fuel it harms your engine and costs longer in the long term” red herring. I just want to know which is the cheaper fuel per kilometer traveled.

Disaster averted

It took all in my power, but I managed to stop Suzanne from being drawn to the Dumb Side. She’s had it in her mind to buy an iPhone for a few weeks, dropping hints that became less and less subtle as time wore gone on. I told her that if she can manage to fit it into our budget, then by all means she can get whatever phone she wants but please reconsider and choose Android. Hell, I’d even accept it if she went Windows Mobile, anything but Apple.

iPhone is stupid

I mean if running multiple apps at the same time, configurable home screens, a better app market, more useful notifications, a choice of hardware, custom ROMs, and smoother social integration aren’t reason enough then you are a hopeless fanboi waste of oxygen.

So after a fair amount of reasoning, begging and pleading as well as some threats and intimidation I managed to convince Suzanne to settle on an HTC Incredible S, a far better and cheaper option than the Apple iPhone. I think she will enjoy it much more than the iPhone.


I have new hardware

We’re all getting new computers at work. Finally, no more 386 with Windows NT! We’ve gone with 8GB laptops, with 256 GB SSDs and dual 1200 x 1920 displays running 64-bit Windows 7 Enterprise.

The only decision now is what to name it. For the last couple years I’ve gone with GAGARIN but I want something new and sexy. I was hoping to get everyone to stick to a theme like the Seven Deadly Sins, but we’d probably end up fighting over WRATH.

We could go with

  • Alecto
  • Magaera
  • Tisiphone

who where otherwise known as The Furies from Greek Mythology, but three isn’t really enough to go around. Seven or more would be ideal. I don’t want something obvious like the Seven Dwarfs. The surnames of The Magnificent Seven might be cool.

Or perhaps the Enterprise Captains:

  • April
  • Pike
  • Kirk
  • Spock
  • Picard
  • Archer
  • Janeway

I was thinking of the names of The Fellowship from The Lord of the Rings, but out of the few hundred hosts on the network they’re pretty much already covered. I’d get shouted down for suggesting Sith Lords from Star Wars or Replicants from Blade Runner so we need something else.

Movies and mythology are fine, but how about something historical? Like the Mercury Astronauts:

  • Shepard
  • Grissom
  • Glenn
  • Carpenter
  • Shirra
  • Cooper
  • Slayton

Seven Emperors?

  • Julius
  • Augustus
  • Galba
  • Hadrian
  • Nerva
  • Sallust
  • Vespasian

In all probability we aren’t going to stick to a theme, so I’ll have to end up choosing something just for myself. I’m partial to Battlestar Galactica characters, or even names of Sci-Fi corporations like Weyland-Yutani, Tyrell, Cyberdine or Greystone.

Leave a comment, give me some suggestions.