Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricanes and heartache: Memories of Betsy

This week has brought back memories of when I was 9 years old and living in New Orleans when Hurricane Betsy stormed in, 40 years ago next month.

Our family left our mobile home and stayed the night on the second floor of apartments where my folks had lived previously. As everyone says, you never forget that roar of wind - especially in the dark, especially as a child.

Our station wagon was totaled, but miraculously, our mobile home floated during the storm, coming down almost on its blocks. The following year, in Cocoa, Fla., my stepmom was actually IN the same trailer (let's be honest -a 60-by-10 foot mobile home IS a trailer) when tornadoes tore through C. Florida and blew up trailers to either side of ours (unoccupied, with windows closed - the big air-pressure difference sealed their doom.)

Anyway, my heartfelt prayers for better times goes out to all hit hard by this tragedy. As a "Betsy veteran," I'm not thinking of the other impacts right now (high gas prices for example), but all the poor (literally in most cases) people left with so little. God tests us all in varied ways, but ... some worse than others;-/

Monday, August 29, 2005

I (maybe) FOUND my 21st Century Etch-A-Sketch!

A few days ago, I wrote:

I still remember the Oregonian piece, about 8 years ago, with a photo of a red-framed Internet tablet, about the same size/shape as the old Etch-A-Sketch of days of yore.

I still want my cheap ($300 or less), lightweight, long-lasting, droppable, broadband Net surfer, that can sit in my lap (without roasting it) in the living room, surfing while my wife reads or watches TV or whatever.

THEN the world will change.

Well, I spotted a brief blurb in Mobile magazine, and lo and behold, something much like what I want is about to hit the shelves - albeit, almost three times my desired price point. It's called the Pepper Pad, and looks pretty nifty (an Amazon reviewer pointed out a couple flaws, but nothing's perfect;-)

So maybe I don't have to buy a $750 laptop that has stuff I don't need/want, or is too darn heavy. I just may sign up for BendBroadband's new home WiFi service (about to upgrade to their 6mbps cable-modem service - wow!) - and I settle for the compromises. (One question I faced: Do I avoid Dell, or presume Jeff and others like him have had a bad experience? I can't spend $2,000 on something like this.)

I previously said: I surely hope the battery, display and broadband (WiMax, please! My brother's an Intel consultant on that very issue) matters get solved in the next few years. I want my window to the world, cheap, in my lap - capable of reading any book or magazine I own or subscribe to, bright, sharp, clear, etc. Maybe not even always connected, but more cell-like, as I ride in a car or such. Oh boy!

Then again, another way to possibly get there from here, without spending over $400 or so, is the Cybook, which again has tradeoffs (slow processor, not a lot of RAM) but is at the right pricepoint if one is willing to download eBooks into a bright, color screen and not needing to be connected to the Net at all times.

So there's options, and hopefully more on the way. Hey, a guy can dream - and maybe dreams can come true, slowly but surely?;-)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Typewriters never say die

Fun piece in The Oregonian today (found it online at another site) about how young people are rediscovering the simple joy of pounding on keys that actually strike a page.

Best line is from a Portlander, Jake Shivery of Blue Moon Camera and Machine: "There is no button on a typewriter which will lose your documents." ;-)

My Smith-Corona electric typewriter had that nifty slide-in ribbon cartridge - having spent many an evening changing messy ribbons on UPI teletype machines, it was nice to avoid getting ink-stained hands - plus, there was a correct-type cartridge that you could use to "white out" mistakes without having to use those little bottles of White Out and blow the paper dry.

Ahh, memories. Computers can do so much more, of course, but ... simpler can be better

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We're No. 1, and pass the pizza please...

So we're the only state that didn't get fatter last year?

How about that, I'm part of a trend - my docs (after a REAL fun Fantastic Voyage up and down my body) are telling me to lose weight, eat better and have smaller, more frequent meals, get more exercise - and, of course, cut down on stress. (Oh, and pay that bill pronto;-)

I'm workin' on it. Cut waay back on Coke, even found a Diet 7-Up Plus Splenda-fueled cherry drink that doesn't make me gag. Elliptical trainer is getting more use, and ... nah, I won't say it here, I'll just jinx myself. But I'm working to get better - not perfect, just better.

Yahoogle, or GooGoo?

What IF Yahoo! and Google were to merge, or one were to acquire the other? Which name would it be?
I read today that Google is looking at getting in the IM business. They could do a lot worse than buying Trillian. Maybe they could call it Gillian? Or would it be Troogle?
Aren't words fun?;-)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee's math

From the "nutrition facts" on the side of a loaf o' bread (do they really ship it all the way from Mo.? Should I feel guilty for not supporting local bakers? But I digress...)

Calories: 110
Calories from fat: 10

Then, ever so helpfully, they add:

Calories per 2 slices: 210
Calories from fat: 25

Huh??? The calories per slice DROP when you eat two slices? But the calories from fat go UP? I'm no food scientist, or mathematician, but ... that's pretty durn bizarre;-)