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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Re-purposing laptops

The problem with older technology is that nobody wants it.

I have a perfectly working Asus dual-core Pentium T4400 system that I can't even sell for $50.  I didn't even get an offer for the Lenovo X61, and it's a tablet PC with a Wacom pen/touch screen!

I have no idea what I'm going to do about the Asus machine, but I'm installing Ubuntu on the Lenovo to re-purpose it as my portable Linux box!  I can use it for Linux development, or just to fiddle around with Linux without worrying about taking out one of my primary machines (or running VirtualBox).

Ubuntu 13.10 so farh as recognized the pen input, the keyboard, mouse, trackstick, display, HD.. things that I've read older versions didn't do without extra work.  Once I can get it online, I'll install OpenOffice, NetBeans, Python, and probably Ruby, along with the Java SE SDK.  A portable software development system, wheee!  Maybe even Gimp so I can use the pen to doodle with.

This will leave me with the big Lenovo i5, the little X61, an Android tablet, and a Windows 8.1 tablet.  Woo-hoo, Computer City!

I'm such a geek...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Reload, restart, get 'er done!

After the successful launch of The Loach Report, a tabloid humor blog, I gave a lot of thought to writing, and how much I really enjoy it when I'm pressuring myself to write 10,000 words a day.  And I look at how I run The Loach Report, and I think..

..why don't I write serials?All of my novel ideas would work well as serial novels, I can belt out 100 or so words without stressing out, and Blogger lets me save drafts.. I can work from home or the office.. why not!

So I'm setting up another blog, Wooly Writings, that I will post all my writings on.  Love Dark and Frozen will become a static page, and I'll tag each episode with the novel code so it's easy to get a list of all of just one series.

This will take a bit to set up, but I will put a link up here when it's ready to go and has some content ready.

Until later!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Ah, it's Spring, and an old mans thoughts turn to.. cleaning things up.

Due to my major change in musical direction, I find myself loaded up with gear I don't use, and don't intend to.  So, today I started my search for a place to donate all my goodies to.

Sure, I could sell them on Craigslist, but I'd REALLY rather a school or charity get them.  I know that anyone who knows me is wondering if I've lost my mind, but no, I feel (gasp!) charitable!  Run away run awayyyyy!

I'm throwing in one of my old laptops as well, which will leave me with 2 laptops and 2 tablets.  This should be fine.  It also frees up room for a guitar, and yes, as soon as I can I'll start shoving money on the prepaid card to save up for one.  Probably a Telecaster of some kind, I've been lusting after one for ages.

So much to do.. so many things to replace!  I need a lightweight Summer wardrobe, urgh.

Maybe a Vegas trip in May for a chat meet!  Just have to save money.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Take 2 Tablets, Call Me In The Morning

After a fair amount of work, I've managed to replace two of my aging laptops with tablets.  I wasn't sure it would work, but it's perfect.

The trick is, that since I only write and compose music when I'm home, there's no need for a powerful portable machine.  What I do when I'm out is record audio (Zoom H2N field recorder), take pictures (Panasonic Lumix), or listen to music while I read books under a tree (Asus Memo Pad 8).  These three items all fit in my backpack and are about 1/2 the weight of the Lenovo Tablet PC that I had normally tried to use as my 'portable solution.

Then, I needed a backup machine to get online, check/send email, and do Windows-type tasks with if my main machine was down/out for repair/busy/etc. - that's where the Asus VivoBook Windows 8.1 machine comes in.  With a wireless Bluetooth keyboard in a leather case, and a small wireless Bluetooth mouse, it works out quite well as a backup/second machine, and it's far easier to move and deal with than the Asus laptop it's replacing.

The whole affair actually takes up less space than before, allowing me to look at replacing my Lenovo Core i5 machine with a 17 inch screen Core i7 Haswell laptop, likely in August or September.

Hooray for portability!  And yes, tablets ROCK!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Rights of Spring

It appears to be consistently warmer in Austin, so I will tentatively declare that Spring has begun.

Now, in Austin we get maybe 2 weeks of Spring before Summer comes in.  Sometimes, Winter comes back, then a second Spring, then BOOM Summer.

So, if I'm right, starting this weekend I'll have my best opportunities to get out on the weekend and do some hiking and field recording!  The new 16GB card for my Zoom H2N will arrive Thursday, so I'll be prepared for long recording sessions in full 4-channel surround.

And more cooking!  I love to cook in the Spring and Summer, lots of fresh things to fry up.  I need a better solution for getting veggies home during the heat, time for a new insulated bag perhaps.

I've started writing again, but this time it's a parody tabloid blog.  Quick short articles that amuse.  Maybe I'll add a link to it from here.. someday!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cheeseburgers!

I'm not normally a food blogger, but this worked out so well I feel duty-bound to share.

I discovered these fascinating little flatbread-like things.. about as big in diameter as a normal burger bun/sandwich slice, but about 1/3 if an inch thick.  I saw them and grabbed the multi-grain ones to experiment with.

Last night I took 12oz of 80/20 ground chuck and mixed in about 5 tablespoons of horseradish mustard, then made 2 patties and fried 'em up.  Put one in the fridge "for later" and stuck th eothr one between 2 slices of cheese, on one of the multi-grain flatbread buns.

It was GOOD!  The bread was strong enough to hold the burger but wasn't a nuclear carbohydrate bomb, the burger came out with a nice flavor and kick,   I was worried that the thin break would collapse, but it worked out perfectly.

Now, of course, I'm hungry. Argh!

This weekend is Laptop Clean-up Weekend, I want to clean off the Asus and Lenovo devices so I can donate them and get them to someone that can use them.  Next weekend it's sell used music stuff, just for beer money.  Minimize, reduce, optimize!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SxSW, tourists, and the common cold

South by Southwest is in full swing, which means traffic downtown is a nightmare, every hotel and cheap room is booked solid, there are tens of thousands of new faces visiting and you cn't get into a bar or restaurant downtown for love nor money.

And when you get an influx of tourists, you get lots of new imported diseases.  as I sat stuck in traffic on a busload of coughing tourists, I knew that I was going to end up sick.

Lo, on Sunday morning, the nose runneth over and I felt horrible.  Thanks, visitors!

After 3 days of hot soup, coffee, Nyquil, and really boring daytime TV I finally feel "iffy".  That's good enough to go back to work which is good because I can't afford to lose more money (being paid by the hour has its downsides).

Despite it all, much was accomplished! Composed 2 new ambient pieces, got my Win 8.1 tablet working with a Bluetooth mouse, got my Bluetooth headphones working with my Android tablet, loaded the Android tablet with all my music, and generally cleaned things up in between coughing attacks, sneezing bouts, and being knocked unconscious by the cold meds.  Not bad!

Also broke out my field recorder, and if it's not raining too hard I'm going to head downtown this weekend and grab all the audio I can.  You never know when a snippet of crowd noise or general street ambience might come in handy.

Time for more hot tea.  I'm already getting tired of it..