Monthly Archives: March 2007

Live from QuickPAD

I’m typing this on a QuickPAD Pro that I’m borrowing from a friend at work. I have one on order, but I’m just trying his out. Mine’s currently doing a little dance with a UPS guy, futilely showing up at my door every day when it knows full well that I’m not home. It’s a little game we play. It likes to tease me.

A QuickPAD, incidentally, is a little hardware word processor. Just an LCD screen full of text and a keyboard. That’s it. I may or may not provide a link later. It’s both good and bad that all I have here is a screen full of text. No web browser. It means that I’m not distracted, but it also deprives you folks of my usual hypertextual style. I like linking things. It means I don’t have to write paragraphs explaining things.

It’s kind of neat how I get the text onto the computer. It stores all the files on a compact flash card, and I could pull that out and plug it into a card reader (if I had how here). It also has a proprietary IR dongle I’m not using. What I am doing is plugging the USB cable into the computer and hitting the “send text” button. It sends my text to the computer as keystrokes. So I can drop all this straight into the text box WordPress “Write” page.

Really, I’m just writing this to see how it is for typing. And it’s pretty good. That’s a good thing, since typing is the whole point of the thing. It’s not perfect. The keyboard feels a bit like an old-school laptop keyboard. And while it has spell check, it’s the old WordPerfect kind with the dialog that pops up in the middle of the screen telling me words are wrong. I used to hate the little red underlines, and I’d always turn them off in Word, but after having them on the Mac and now on Thunderbird for the last little while, I’m finding I rely on them a little too much now.

This is a fun little toy. I just wonder how much I’ll use it. It does reinforce my love of Markdown. And I’m hoping I can leverage it for future blogging greatness. Time will tell. Look forward to it!

Subscribing to The Record

I just noticed the other day that The Record wasn’t forcing you to buy their full newspaper subscription when you didn’t actually want any paper. (You could generously donate your unwanted newsprint to local schools, if you wanted).

I was getting the Record in paper form for a while. The amount of paper they ship to your door over the course of a week is staggering. It nearly doubled the volume of trash I was leaving by the curb. I didn’t want that. Neither did I want to pay $14/month just to access a website.

When they put the paper behind a pay wall, I was pretty perturbed, so there was no way I was going for that deal anyway. They’ve since lowered the wall a bit, allowing you to view today’s news for free. No archive access, though. However, you can get access to archives and PDF versions of the paper for about $3/month.

Now $3/month is getting into the range I’m willing to spend on a web page. I donated $2/month to b3ta for years just because I liked the work they were doing. I’m currently donating to TWiT for much the same reason. I can drop a similar amount on the local rag without feeling too bad about it, even if I don’t always agree with the editorial stance.

So I put in my online subscription request this morning. About four hours later, I got an email stating the following:

Thank you for your email. To subscribe to the Record Insider please contact our Circulation department at 519-894-3000 to provide your credit card information.

God, I hate telephones. On second thought, I’m not going to subscribe to The Record today.

I know eCommerce is kinda hard (even if it’s been around for more than a decade), but haven’t these people heard of Paypal? Honestly.

Back from Ad Astra

I’m back from Ad Astra. It was awesome. I am very tired. I’ll deal with that shortly.

Before I do, though… I’d been pointing out the number of blog posts that Cory Doctorow, a guest at the con, was writing to Boing Boing as he was at the con. It was amazing. He whipped off nine posts over one hour on Saturday morning alone. While he was at a con.

I think I may have gotten a chance to see some of the process in action.

I’d followed Dawn up to her panel on classic movie monsters. Cory was in the audience. He was participating in the discussion, being sure to catch any bits of ephemera that might have popped up in the conversation. Like where the classic movie house was that was showing Godzilla movies. Stuff like that.

During most of the panel, though he had his laptop open, and he was feverishly typing. Unless I’ve got the PST->EST timezone conversion wrong, I’m pretty sure he was writing about a Canadian kid who’s been detained by immigration authorities in the US. While he was attending a panel. A panel in which he was at least somewhat attentive and engaged. More engaged than I was, at least.

The man is a machine, I swear. I am in awe of his blogging prowess.

I’m a little disappointed I missed the chance to see him get drunk at the bar.

Maybe tomorrow…

The roads out there are stupid. There’s no way I’m going to risk trying to get to Ad Astra tonight.

So I miss the party again this year. And I can’t deliver xio’s stuff. But this way both I and my car both survive to con another day.

Seriously. I was crawling at 30kph all the way along my normally five minute drive home. I had to do the pumping brake thing to stop at the only red light. Lord knows what the 401 is like right now. It’s just not worth it.

Make it stop

  • God, what a mess out there.
  • Drove into work late this morning. We were just having a company meeting anyway, and I can do that just as easily at home.
  • Of course, there’s no way I was gonna be out there walking.
  • Thank god for snow tires.
  • Called roof guy. I feel we’re making real progress in our relationship.
  • He’s sending a guy over tomorrow. Which is okay, I suppose. The dripping’s stopped and I don’t want some guy falling to his death in my backyard. That would suck.
  • I got the ladder out last night and put it up against the roof. I guess I was thinking maybe I could clear the drainpipe or something and get some of the water moving again. Something. But I took one step on the thing and my whole brain screamed out “Jesus Christ! You’re going to kill yourself!” and I stepped down and put the ladder away again.
  • I hate ladders.
  • My trees survived the ordeal largely unscathed.
  • Likewise, my eaves troughs are still attached to the eaves. I was a bit worried.
  • Work was looking pretty good up until Wednesday when it started sucking again. Luckily, I have my quarterly review in a couple hours. This could either be good or very bad.
  • I need a haircut.
  • Ad Astra! Woo! I have no idea when I’ll get there.
  • Okay, I’ll stop now.