fraught with unresponsiveness
Friday, September 23 2011
It seems I drank a few too many Redhook ESBs last night, because I had a hangover for most of the day. I would rank it a five out of ten, with one being barely noticeable. I've noticed, by the way, that I never have hangovers that peak in the morning after my drinking binge; they always peak at 7 or 8 pm, nearly 24 hours later.
Another freaky (though disorganized) tropical weather system came through today, causing another prolonged drenching rain to fall throughout much of the day. It added to the late-summer/early-fall surfeit of precipitation we've been experiencing. But trees are nevertheless making use of that water; before today's rain, the well in my greenhouse had run dry, indicating that it is being actively removed at a high rate. (In winter, by contrast, the well almost always contains water, even during dry spells.)
For well over half of a year, I've had the old teevee room coffee table leaning up against some shelving in the laboratory. It had been replaced by the coffee table from the living room, which had in turn been replaced by a new, rustic coffee table Gretchen had bought from a local artisan. Recently I dismantled the spare coffee table, isolating its top surface as a large plank measuring 60 by 20 inches. Today I attached casters to that plank's four corners and made it into a large, awkward skateboard. But this wasn't for me to do tricks on; it was yet another storage solution. The laboratory is a large space with a vertical cross section of an isosceles right triangle. It's difficult to effectively use the space along the edges where there isn't much head room, especially when access to that space is cut off by a table or other large object. My solution was to store stuff on the large skateboard and slide it away back under the table. It worked okay in practice, though it would have been better had I not used swivel casters, which cause the board to swivel a little out of alignment whenever it changes direction.
I've had my reservations about becoming an iPhone developer. I consider the environment inherently proprietary and the restrictions within it strike me as repressive and anti-creative. So I've decided to also get some exposure to the freer world of Android devices. This was facilitated recently when the website known as Woot.com offered the Entourage Pocket Edge tablet for only $80. At first I thought this was a misprint or that the product was a fancy slip case. But no, it was for a Pocket Edge. The reason for the cheapness was that it was being discontinued and support was ending. Since I never take advantage of support anyway, it was a good deal for me.
It arrived the other day, but getting it to the point of usability was not easy. First of all, it had shipped with some sort of power cable connection problem that I had to open it up to fix. And then all the directions telling me how to upgrade to Android 2.2 failed to mention that the thing I needed to load onto the thumbdrive and rename to update.zip was a file within PocketEdge_updates.zip (available via Bittorrent) called update.zip.ermine-0.9.PE. Finally, unlike the iPad or iPhone, apps downloaded and added to an Android device do not automatically show up on the desktop. Instead you're supposed to find them in something called the Application menu, which takes some hunting to find. (You click a tiny downward-pointing triangle beneath the magnifying glass on the desktop's search bar and then click the icon labeled "Apps.") From there you can install them on the desktop. I found this incredibly confusing, and nowhere on the web was this information presented in a coherent manner. (This is why I am being so specific right now.) But once I had all of this stuff figured out, the Pocket Edge seemed like a good little device. It's a lot slower and clunkier than an iPad, and maneuvering around a web page is fraught with unresponsiveness. But it is useful and, best of all, you don't feel like you're working from within a play pen at Romper Room. If you want to, there's even an app for exploring the file system. With the Pocket Edge, there's the added advantage of a second screen of electronic paper, which is actually more readable in full sunlight than in indoor light. Documents can be sent from the Android tablet side to the electronic paper side, where reading is a bit more comfortable.
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