Recently in geek review Category

Geek it - Maker Faire

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I've been a bad bad blogger, no yarn for me!

So if I haven't been knitting much, what have I been doing? Hmmm. Well, I've been nurturing my first love: Gadgetry- the making and the breaking.1 If you haven't heard of the Maker Faire and you're a geek, you're missing out. It is a bit between a huge adult science fair and general glee of making /crafting stuff. Put on by the O'Reilly folks (aka publisher of the animal cover computer books) and a bunch of sponsors, this is the second annual Maker Faire and full of fun stuff.

What kind of stuff? Well. How about awesome Bots Fights?


And the techshop brought along some of their equipment so you could learn how to weld.


There's a "bazaar bizarre" craft fair that had lots of nifty handmade items and I escaped without buying anything.

But one of the reasons I just HAD to go today? EepyBird's LIVE MENTOS FOUNTAIN Show. Oh Yeah. I put my camera out there to get sprayed by diet coke and captured the show from the sidelines.

Full File for bandwidth thrill seekers. [.mp4 file: 58.7MB]

So what did I buy? I purchased the large joby gorilla pod tripod 'cause the nice people of joby were there. I already have the small one and it is handy. Along with my invite to Ravelry and some time this afternoon, I should be able to photograph some of my yarn stash! I wanted a few forever cupcakes but I want them to be pink cupcakes (for you know who )

This year's event was larger than last year's, with the addition of a new building on the fairground. It will still be going on tomorrow, May 20th (Sunday) so get while the getting's good!

1 It really was one of my first loves. Screwdrivers + me = disassembled machinery go way back. Maybe this also explains my love for staplers...

Operation Successful

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Many Thanks to James, the wonder boyfriend, for a successful operation. The computer now zips along with a hard drive transplant. Just how hard is it to get to my hard drive? Well, assuming your new hard drive is ready to go in (mine had to be re-cloned and that took over five hours), here's a hint.


The keyboard comes off. The upper portion also needs to be lifted. If I'd done this myself, I probably would have broken two little plastic tabs alongside the right and bottom (1/3 in from the bottom right corner) of my laptop. These little tabs help hold the top in. Here's the inside of my Sony notebook.


He also cleaned the fan area while he was there. And my keyboard was also lavished with some canned air. Hey, maybe the hair in there was wool... it didn't look like mine.


So many screws came out of my little notebook. I think they look like hampster droppings.

Sidenote: I generally maintain and fix my own systems. In this case, the old notebook drive had several bad sectors, has a recovery partition that is difficult to clone, and the hard drive is under the keyboard. It was definitely time to take it to a computer technician for an operation. Luckily, my boyfriend happens to be a technician and kindly did a replacement he'd have charged megabucks for at work. And he came to me :) THANK YOU!

Yay, Firefox 2.0!

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{Firefox 2.0 on my MacBook}

Firefox 2.0 is released! and even though a bunch of my extensions aren't compatible, yet, the yummy new features like improved tab browsing, session restore, and inline spell check replace a bunch of the extensions that did the same thing.

It is shiny and staying off my Windows development system until the forum and and Bugzilla indicate that it really really works and won't suck up all my memory.

Thanks for all the wonderful work, Folks in the "Firefox > About Mozilla Firefox > Credits" list ( "Help > About Mozilla Firefox > Credits" on Windows ). The Firefox Team Rocks. Spellcheck, better tabs, session restore Built-in. Yay!

Those of you looking for pictures of yarn, they're coming. The sweater has progressed beyond the sleeves and I'm currently trying to convince the Hemp to "embody the lace" at the correct gauge.

Those of you wondering what's so fantastic about firefox's new release (or software in general)... I web g33k. Go ahead and try it for yourself. If you usually have more than three windows open, you'll be glad of the tabs ( new tab = ctrl+t ) that keeps your browser nicely organized. You can even reorganize tab order by dragging and dropping a tab to the right slot. And inline spekk check? Firefox is underlining the incorrectly spelled spell check, right clicking spekk shows their suggestions: speak and speck (I'm sure it will get better at spotting finger barfs). Fantastic since Movable Type doesn't have a spell check feature like Gmail.

And oh, it is pretty.

Because I'm an Engineer

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In high school, most people kept to the nicely groomed sidewalk. I walked the most direct path. Through the grass and over the concrete dodging oncoming pedestrians, except on days where it rained so much the lawn was a mud pit. It was the most direct route. In college, I joined ranks with fellow geeks and we often walked the little "engineer trails" fellow engineers-in-training had worn into the lawn before us. There were sidewalks. They were even reasonably placed. But they usually weren't the shortest. A quick glance around the Engineering buildings also told you that the linear people were in residence, burning trails through the lawn as we went from the side entry towards the nearest coffee stand1.

Allow me to preface the next picture with a clear statement. I am not an outdoorswoman. The call of electricity, hot showers, windows with screens to keep bugs out, and high speed internet access is too much to resist. Notice, I'm not saying I dislike the outdoors. I like it very much. When it comes with bug repellant and batteries. Lots of batteries.

So what do I go and do?


I go and buy a headlamp2. For my knitting3. For my reading. For the occasional walk outside when it is dark. It is fabulously efficient because it allows me to go hands-free and focus on seeing. And use of both hands? Very useful and I like using my opposable thumbs, too. I can see what I'm knitting. I can read books in less than optimal light. I can even see mosquitos flying in swarms and run away to save my tasty skin. Maybe I even have this whack brained notion of using it to augment my camera's lighting. (Though it has four LEDs and projects cold white light). A headlamp for when I don't have readily available light.


Wearing a headlamp makes me look dorky. The siren song of functionality calls to me, luring me in. I borrowed a friend's headlamp for an in-car night time knitting trip and got an inkling of the possibilities.

How dorky does it make me look?


I hope you didn't just spurt a liquid onto your keyboard or snort something up your nose.

1 I always thought that the school should open a coffee stand in the basement next to the computer labs. It'd just be open from 5pm-12am and provide a decent stock of Ramen, coffee, and soda. It'd have made a killing!

2 If you're seeing red, that's because this model comes with an optional red lens to preserve night vision. Good for night time knitting and not blinding the driver when you look up. The model is a Petzl Tactikka Plus that pivots up and down, so you don't need to crane your neck down to see something in your lap. The first model I borrowed was a Zipka and would catch my hair. Then the owner would laugh. Men. This model's wide elastic is more long-hair friendly.

3 Knitters with Headlamps unite! Nona, you look better wearing your headlamp.

Kyle XY reminds me of Star Trek

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I might as well reveal that I'm a minor Trekkie. In addition to my Columbo and Diagnosis Murder habits, I regularly watch Star Trek The Next Generation re-runs when I'm channel surfing. There's a new ABC Family show that reminds me of Data from TNG, except substitute alien for android and teenaged actor instead of grown man wearing lots of makeup.

Go ahead and watch the preview for Kyle XY

How do we know the boy's not human? He doesn't have a belly button...

I think I'll skip Kyle XY for re-runs of Star Trek, thanks. Marketing it on iTunes only works if I actually want to watch a show.


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I've been pretty busy lately pursuing productive avenues of progress and just have a quick moment to say that another system has been added to the family (okay, it is a clan now. Or a really really big family) of computers.

Sometimes I call it the toaster, other times I call it Whitey. Robin calls hers shiny. Yes, that's right, I got a MacBook. This addition has come so I can work the media features on it, and taste the different way Apple likes to do things.

Since Whitey looks like every other white macbook out there, it looks like these

The pristine whiteness contains the middle model, with 2.0Ghz Intel Core Duo, 512 standard Ram (though I have 1GB coming), and a 60 GB hard drive which needs to be augmented at some time. Also, yes, I do expect to load Bootcamp and WinXP on it, when I need to.

First Impressions: Yes, it occasionally does get warm and once it didn't shut down properly. The fan does moo. I've even heard the high pitched whine occasionally (but mostly the unit stays cool). So? I like tech. The fact that it sounds like a computer doesn't bug me. The fact that yes, 10% of the time the system actually does heat up, well, computers create heat. It hasn't been enough to burn a hole through my jeans. The fans moo but that means it is on. Let's be reasonable, macbook users, it is a notebook computer at a darn good price and most laptops generate enough heat to warrant a laptop platform instead of plotting it right in there. Disregard the name and do what you know is smart- get yourself something to put between the lap and the macbook. Fans will come on, the screen will be glossy like its competitors, and you will look all pseudo-cool so girls will gush over your cute notebook. You will be able to shove it into your backpack, especially with one of these excellent 13 inch zeroshock notebook cases which fits the macbook pro with a bit of wiggle room front to back (it works well). I got mine at User Side in San Jose where they carry more colors than black. And I think it was a good bit less expensive.

Question: Anyone know of some good Adobe/Macromedia flash editing software for mac?

"Free" Firefox

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I love Firefox and have been a user since... oh 0.7 or so? There's been great new extensions, improved stability, and new features except for a single nitpick- I've noticed that Firefox has become a really big memory hog.


This is After getting rid of memory leaking extensions and performing certain memory optimization tweaks. The best tip I've read recently? Get more memory. Ah well, more memory is good for my computer anyhow.

IE7? Well, I'll probably download it at one point when I have time to prevent it from taking over my entire computer. Probably not going to switch over just for tabbed browsing, though. I've got a lot invested in my firefox extensions and tabbed browser settings!

Handy Tripod

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There's a flexible pocket tripod and there's it must do yoga tripod.


This looks like a great little tool and the right size to match ultracompacts (I think the cam shown is a Canon SD-400, about same size as SD-550) and at 45g, it is lighter than most balls of yarn.

If you're thinking that I would like one of these for my birthday, then you'd be thinking the right thing :)

Still Geeky

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Cheryl, Davis, David, and I had dinner and checked out David's sweet new condo. He asked me if I was totally about the yarn these days and not the gadgets. Oh no Davy, I'm still much the geek, I just spend a lot of money on gadgets for knitting instead of high tech because *she whispers* I haven't seen anything that I really really want lately. Yes, there's the pretty new Apple Intel laptop, but I'd rather have a new Nikon D70 or Canon SD550 except I'm unhappy with the low light pictures the Canon takes and not so happy about the weight of the D70.

So, in lieu of actual gadgetry bling, I give you the coming 'round of Instant Message Bots:

MAKE: Blog: Make your own IMbot (like MAKEbot!)

I could definitely go for a customized one which did yarn calculations, showed me airfares, acted like a timer, and left messages for aim friends (notify them when they log on).

Better English and Japanese Podcasts

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If you haven't been poking into podcasts then you've been missing out.

Octopus Drop Kick/ODK blog is hilarious with all sorts of Japanese Media goodies. I'm always on the lookout for some interesting international music and followed his link to podcastjuice for some great amusement.

InterFM radio has a show called Better English with Catherine

This is hip English. My favorites include:
- お皿ぐらい洗ってよ!(At least wash the dishes.) 
- 訳わかんないエンディングだったよ (The ending was lame.)
- 彼の腕、毛深いねぇ (He has hairy arms)
- 脱毛のアポがあるんだ(I have an electrolysis1 appointment.)  Listen

Conversational hip English indeed. If I meet a Japanese tourist who only knows these phrases, somehow I will be able to point the tourist to the electrolysis salon. Or ask them to wash the dishes.

1 Don't know what electrolysis is? def:electrolysis Yes. Ew indeed. Scientific def

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