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exhalations
Monday, January 27, 2003
  
Finally finished our most recent newsletter. Each issue seems to present new problems. Having to use MS Publisher doesn't help. Spent today coding the stripped down version linked to above.


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There was a good quote by Norman Mailer in an interview in Newsweek. He said that one advantage of losing his short term memory is that he is a much better proofreader of the work he completed the previous day. Another good quote about the discipline of writing:
Over the years, Ive found one rule ... Its a simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are ... asking your unconscious to prepare the material ... If you wake up in the morning with a hangover ... your unconscious, after a few such failures to appear, will withdraw.

I also like this one by Samuel Beckett:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.



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Saturday, January 25, 2003
  
Been busy with classes and publishing a newsletter, so entries have been few of late.

One of the best pieces of advice I've received on learning to draw was from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. She says that we draw on a daily basis when we write, and one of the best ways to practice "drawing" is to take more care when we write. My handwriting was dreadful until college when I started to learn calligraphy. It was still pretty bad most of the time, but when I concentrated, I could write well. After reading the Brain book, I started to pay more attention to my daily writing. Now I write with much more of a flourish, and this translates into my drawing, giving me more confidence when faced with drawing on a blank sheet of paper. Taking 10 years of drawing classes has helped too.


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Monday, January 20, 2003
  
Reading a good article on XM radio in the weekend Post. Unfortunately there was a typo in the article, one of three that I found in Sunday's edition.
He thinks XM can find that perfect song at the perfect moment for enough paying listeners that it can became a sustainable business.
It used to be a rare occurrence of find typos in the Post, but it happens very frequently of late.


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About 1/2 of the LP collection is now on CD. Some of the records sound great. The sound quality of some is dreadful. They were probably the ones that I didn't feel like spending much time on and they are full of clicks and pops. Now that I've discovered that Wave Repair contains both a macro function and a batch utility, most of the cleanup can be done unattended overnight.

Actually I didn't discover those functions; Clive, the developer, responded to my email question about the need for such capability. He merely pointed out where I could locate them. That's one of the benefits of shareware software, the ability to communicate with the programmer.


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This Palm handheld with built-in GPS looks appealing. About 3 or 4 years ago I described an ideal scientific fieldwork device that includes a camera with integrated GPS for taking photographic notes in the field that can be tied to a map. The above device is getting close.


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Thursday, January 16, 2003
  
I just discovered another proposed palm computer that is a real PC, from Tiqit Computers. Their prototype computer the eightythree looks impressive, with a full keyboard on the unit, albeit a keyboard that only thumbs could love.


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Tuesday, January 14, 2003
  
It was cold this morning, around 25 degrees F, but not so cold that it wasn't possible to bike commute. I'm trying to keep track of how many days during the winter it's possible to commute by bike. So far there have only be a couple of days when there was snow and slush on the roads to prevent bike commuting.


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In an article on Transmeta, the OQO computer is mentioned. Looks like the latest estimate is that it will be shipping in the second quarter at a price near $1500.


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Monday, January 13, 2003
  
Took the inaugural ride on our Barcroft Columbia tandem recumbent on Sunday. It's a great bike for two, and fairly fast. The climbs are a little slow, but since we're both good climbers, it's not a big problem. It felt great to get out onto the trail for a brisk 20-mile ride. Hope the snow and rain hold off next weekend so we can get a few more miles in.


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Wednesday, January 08, 2003
  
Discovered the Journals of Lewis and Clark online at a University of Virginia site, American Studies, under Hypertexts. I've always thought that the journals would be more accessible if they were written using today's spellings, which appears to be the case with this version.


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Tuesday, January 07, 2003
  
After writing to OQO to lament the lack of any real news on their slow, flash-driven website I received the following. Odd that it's not posted on their site.

Thank you for your interest in the OQO Ultra-Personal Computer. This is an auto-reply fact sheet, please do not reply to this email.

The OQO Ultra-Personal Computer (UPC) is a full-featured, full-power Windows XP computer which will function in three primary modes:

- as a desktop PC when in its cradle
- as a laptop PC when inserted into an optional laptop enclosure
- as an ultra-portable, ultra-personal computer that you can carry with you wherever you go

We have not yet announced a release date for the OQO UPC. However, we expect to begin shipping late in the first quarter of 2003. At that time the OQO Ultra-Personal Computer will be sold via the OQO web site and through major international resellers. We are currently in negotiations with resellers, and cannot yet announce who will be distributing the OQO in your region. The product will initially be available at prices starting under $1600.

Due to the unprecedented demand and early supply constraints for the OQO UPC, we are now accepting advance orders (with a 20% deposit) in order to ensure capacity allocation for our customers. For sales inquiries or to place an order for the OQO UPC, please contact mailto:sales@oqo.com. For inquiries regarding distribution or other alliances, please contact mailto:bizdev@oqo.com.

Specifications that we have released at this time include the following*:
Crusoe 0.13 micron TM5800 processor at up to 1GHz
10-15GB hard drive
256MB of memory
four inch high-resolution, super bright VGA color LCD with a maximum resolution of 640 x 480 (a monitor attached to the OQO can go to 1280 x 1024).
specially designed touchscreen
advanced lithium polymer battery (estimated 6-8 hours running office applications, a week on standby)
integrated 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless
SMI 3D graphics processor with 8MB VRAM
firewire (1394) port
USB 1.1 port
audio out port
built-in high fidelity microphone
OQO-link docking port supporting a variety of bus types

*the shipping product may offer improved functionality in several areas, and thus final specifications may differ slightly from the above.

OQO will offer two docking mechanisms:

1. a simple cradle and expansion cable (both included with the OQO UPC) allow for connection to a large monitor and keyboard making the OQO into a desktop computer.

2. a lapdock (available separately later in the year) that transforms the OQO into a notebook computer.

Docks will include firewire, USB, audio, PCI, VGA video, and power connections. 3rd parties will offer other accessories, including PCI card cages, replacement batteries, wireless keyboards, etc.

Further specifications including prices for these peripherals and optional docking stations are not yet published.

Additional information as well as images of the preproduction OQO UPC as shown at the Microsoft Winhec hardware conference can be found on our website http://www.oqo.com (users with slower connections may prefer to visit our non-flash site at: http://www.oqo.com/nonflash ) We have included your name on our mailing list and will let you know as more information is released.

If you have any further general questions not answered in this email, please email mailto:randolf@oqo.com.

Thank you,
OQO Customer Service


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Nina is back; don't mess with Nina.


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Monday, January 06, 2003
  
There's an interesting article on Gordon Bell's attempt to capture his life in digital form at News.com. I've thought about trying to scan the some of the contents of my file drawers, but it's such a time-consuming process that it would take a while. It would be very useful for me, given my poor memory. Something like Visual Net by Antarctica Systems would be one interface into the date. Is there an XML schema for one's life?



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Sunday, January 05, 2003
  
Read about the animal covers on the O'Reilly technical books. 2003 is O'Reilly's 25th anniversary producing some of the best computer books around.


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The National Gallery of Art site has a good search engine that allows searches by artist, medium, school, and subject.


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Friday, January 03, 2003
  
Since I'm currently reading The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, so when I read that The Diary of Samuel Pepys is being posted on the web as a blog, I decided to check it out. It's a great way to read a work like this, in small doses.

Megnut has some great advice for job seekers. She posted a notice that she was looking for some technical help. Most of the people who responded didn't stand a chance of getting the job. A basic requirement was to follow directions, which few did.

She also talks about her New Year resolutions, which boil down to doing more of the same, only better. When reading about Joe Strummer shortly after his death, I came across the something he said in the interview, which is in the similar vein:
I think we need focus now in the world. Everybody's got to focus on what they're really good at, so we can get great artifacts coming out.


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The infamous oqo computer that I've mentioned several times in the past made this year's Wired News list of top 10 vaporware.
The wallet-size computer promised a 1-GHz Transmeta chip, a 20-GB hard drive and more, with a price of less than $1,000. Reader Nick Didenko noted, however, that nine months later the specs have become less impressive while the estimated price has ballooned to more than $1,600.


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