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Annotations Some Days in the Life - Daily
Toys!
July 7, 2000


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It's been busy, as you can tell from not hearing from me. But this is normal. All journallers seem to have slowed their output down. In part (large part) this comes from it being summer. It's just too nice a time of year to be typing away at this thing day in and day out. So we don't. We go out instead, and walk along the streets, or go to things, or otherwise live in this pleasant warmth.

And of course, I've been unpacking and getting my life set up. It's a slow process, as my Achilles Tendon has been absolutely killing me (it got aggravated after I walked funny on that foot, because at the time a tendon in my toe was hurting. It's not easy being the feet of a fat man). We had a four day weekend for the Fourth, which made that easier, but it didn't make it completely easy. I still have too many boxes on the floor, and I still have too many collections of stuff.

I also have a washer and dryer. It's truly wonderful. I pulled a nice clean shirt out of it this morning and just enjoyed putting it on. It's exceedingly pleasant to be free of the bondage of clothes washing.

Along with all this, I have three new ubergeek toys to percolate about, from the sublime to the ridiculous. So, it's time once again to hear about Eric's toys!

Our first toy is an update to an older toy -- namely, my Satellite Dish and Receiver. I've been with DiSH Network for quite a while, and they're great. One of their new services is they'll send a whole new dish to you so you can leave your old one up in your old apartment, hooking up the new one.

This they did, scheduling it for Friday of last week. And shipped me the new dish under separate cover. Which I hadn't received as of the end of the work day on Thursday of last week, which had me not happy. See, I knew they were coming Friday between eight and noon, but if it didn't come in, it would be some weeks before they could get the dish hooked up. And after a week of nothing but NPR, I was about ready to go on a cross-country killing spree.

I like my worthless, content-free television, I tell you.

Finally, I went on a desperate search for the dish. Because, you see, FedEx claimed it was "on the van for delivery," which to me meant it was probably sitting someplace random. However, the sore heel and foot I mentioned in the last entry (hi, Aunt Ginnie!) and reffed again above was hurting something fierce.

So, I staggered around like quasimodo, moaning about my precious and looking for a large box from Echostar. And I found it. In the school's kitchen.

The school's kitchen.

In back. Out of the way.

Grumbling, I carried it home. The next day, the installer put it in, with a few random comments here and there. I stayed at home to let him in, giving me a chance to lie on a couch and moan with pain from my foot. Having spoken to my doctor, I was told to use Extra Strength Tylenol to knock it out (I can't take Ibuprofen any more, because of my meds). I swear, he's going to start thinking of me as a freakin' psycho hypochondriac.

So. I now had DiSH 500, featuring DiSH 150, and a weird satellite dish with two receiver things coming off it in a bizarrely, hideously sexual way, pointing at the sky. It also has a little hooklike antenna clipped to it, which lets me get some local channels. And so I surf. Through like twelve different Discovery Channels. And now A&E's split off the Biography channel, and I have some west coast feeds for The Movie Channel, Encore and a bunch of other things. Channels channels channels. There's even more PPV porn to watch!

So what do I watch? Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Game Show Network and Boomerang. One more channel than I watched from before. (But they have Valley of the Dinosaurs! And the real Space Ghost!) Eh, it's fun.

Second on the toy list is the AirPort I mentioned in the last entry. The hub is cute. Literally cute. It looks like a slightly smooshed wrapped up Hershey's Kiss with blinking lights on it. Beyond that, it's an amazing little piece of work. It's absolute Powerbook freedom. If I want to sit in the living room and watch TV, with my Powerbook on a TV tray while surfing the net, I do. If I want to fold laundry but don't feel like idling in my surfing, I do. If I want to read a web site in bed before going to sleep, I carry the machine in, read, then close the Powerbook to put it to sleep, set it aside, and go to sleep.

It's not totally convenient yet, but it's close. We are very close to the era of convenience computing. Of having a PDA style thingy, slightly bigger than the Palms (oh, maybe, Newton sized?) that you can bring literally anywhere and use as your all purpose book, notebook, web surfer, e-mailer, chatroomer, what have you device. Put a backlight on it, and kids can use it under the covers at night just like a comic book and a flashlight.

Already, all of the wild promises from the mid-eighties AT&T Technology ads are coming to pass. You can fax from the beach. You can attend meetings while standing on your deck at home. You can drive through Toll Booths and have the money automatically deducted from your account (admittedly, not at the sixty MPH of the old commercial). It's happening.

And the company that will bring it to you? Not AT&T, that's for sure.

My last new toy for today's entry is "behind the scenes." It's a VA Linux box, which over the next week or two will become the new home for this Web Site, along with various Work Things. It's a sweet machine, and many times faster than the creaking old machine I have the current site on. I'm going to try and make the transition as smooth as possible between platforms, both for current users and for readers and the like. (The day I do the cutover I'll update to both machines, set mail redirectors on the old machine, and things like that. Three days later, the old machine will go the way of the albatross.)

It's a beautiful machine, and slowly my competence with Linux is rising. In part, that's thanks to the tireless folks who are helping me with it, including (heck, especially) Van, who's gone way above and beyond. But people like Russ and my friend Matt are being really helpful too, and that makes everything easier.

In the meantime, there are little frustrations, of course. (Like "AHH! We have no Home Partition!") But, as always, we get over them.

Today, I've got to nip over to Rockland and pick the folks up. So, I'm wrapping this up.

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