Recently in Other Category
I bought a new car that is substantially wider than my old car and I end up having to park close enough to our garage wall, which is concrete, for the doors to swing open and hit it, especially the back where the kids sit. And they’re rarely all that careful when exiting or entering the vehicle.
So, I decided to put up some protective padding. I wanted something squishy but sturdy, and not so thick as to be in the way when walking between the wall and the car.
I bought 4 linear feet of this Apache Mills anti-fatigue mat at Lowe’s:
I cut three pieces out of it: 24” x 12” (2 pieces) and 48” x 12” (1 piece)
I marked on the wall with chalk where they needed to be to line up with the doors’ contact points. I did this with the car pulled in both frontward and backward (just in case). Also, since the wall is concrete, and I don’t like putting holes in concrete when I can avoid it, I glued them on using LOCTITE PL Premium Construction Adhesive:
I just criss-crossed the glue bead across the back (solid surface) of the mat pieces and pressed it up against the wall. Holding it there for 5 minutes left it retained in place. Pro tip: Do not skimp on the glue as it’s difficult to hold the mat steady against the wall to prevent it from sliding down while the adhesive is setting and curing if enough isn’t used.
Here’s how it turned out:
You can see in that last photo that it’s not very thick. But, because it’s closed-cell foam and pretty dense, it stops the door firmly but gently.
Finding the mat at Lowe’s was the hardest part. Total cost for everything was ~$20, which is cheaper than those ready-made garage door pads they sell, and I think this mat material works better. And the gray is very neutral, especially against concrete.
Anyway, I’m pretty happy with it.
Oxford commas are not optional.
1. The Apple iPad 2 (or whatever it's called) will be available with a front-facing camera and 4G (LTE), but will have the same screen resolution as the iPad. We should know about April.
2. Nintendo will launch a new Wii console with HD output, DVD playback, and a Kinect-like video camera accessory. I think the first two are a lock, but the third part of that is more wish than expectation.
3. At least one of the smartphone platforms (iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry, WP7, MeeGo, webOS, Bada) will go away for good. My money is on Bada.
4. 3D will continue to grow, but not substantially and will mostly be relegated to gaming and in-theater movie experiences.
5. More Android tablets/slates will be sold in 2011 than iOS tablets/slates. That assumes, of course, that the tsunami of Android slates we should see at CES results in products you can actually buy.
6. At least one of the DSLR manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax/Samsung, Leica, Panasonic, Sigma) will cease producing DSLRs and/or be acquired by another company. My guess is Sigma, as I really have no idea how they can afford to put out mediocre (read "poorly selling") DSLR after mediocre DSLR.
7. By the end of 2011, Windows Phone will have the third largest app catalog (behind iOS & Android). That shouldn't be too much of a stretch, as its growth curve means it'll surpass Blackberry's 15,000 apps or so in a few months.
8. Google will struggle to establish content licensing agreements for Google TV, ending 2011 with a still-lackluster platform. Unless Google is willing to toss a bunch of cash at the networks, that is...it isn't going to win this on charm alone.
9. Facebook will become the 2nd largest (most trafficked) website in the world (overtaking Microsoft.com). Heck...maybe the largest. A reminder that being successful doesn't mean doing anything to significantly improve the human condition.
10. Twitter will be acquired by another company. Fingers crossed they aren't evil.
1) Cyberterrorism Becomes a Significant Issue
We've all read reports and stories that say cyberterrorism (the act of attacking a country via its computer networks) is a growing threat and that the US should take it seriously. We've even seen some limited cases where it was used to minor effect. I expect 2010 will see the first major example of the damage cyberterrorism can achieve, and we'll all be much more aware of it as a result. Sub-prediction: McAfee and Symantec sales grow significantly as a result.
I'm REALLY happy that I got this one wrong. That is, of course, if you ignore the Chinese hacking of Google and other companies, and you don't consider WikiLeaks' activity "cyberterrorism" (I don't) or the "hacktivism" it prompted. Frankly, I was expecting some major outage -- a stock exchange taken down, a city's electrical grid compromised, or something on that order -- and it's great that that didn't happen in 2010.
2) Microsoft Launches Windows Mobile 7, Enough to Stay in the Game
The smartphone space is inhabited mostly by 6 key platform players: Symbian, Blackberry, iPhone, Android, webOS, and Windows Mobile. Microsoft's recent endeavors in the mobile space haven't netted much (except perhaps some slight momentum on the media player side). WinMo 6.5 was late and generally uncompetitive with more contemporary offerings already in the marketplace. Pink was an absolute disaster. Even hardcore WinMo fans are getting restless for something really new. Windows Mobile 7 will have a daunting challenge in successfully fighting back against 5 competitors with better products and/or well-established market shares. Windows Mobile 7, when it comes out in the latter half of 2010, will still seem a little stale in comparison, but much better than 6.5. I do, however, fully expect 7 will tap into the other mobile products & services Microsoft has been cultivating, such as Bing and Zune (what is it with their onomotopoeic product names?). It won't be a barnburner, but, with some help from HTC and a couple other big-name handset producers Microsoft can count on, they'll have a small stable of fairly impressive devices available by the end of the year.
Yep...mostly. Windows Phone 7 did not come out seeming "stale," but it was roundly criticized for lacking a long list of features found on other platforms (e.g., copy & paste, tethering, multitasking, etc.). While it certainly doesn't have the fleet of handsets that Android boasts, WP7 has launched on an impressive number of devices and carriers across the globe. Add to that the fact that WP7, just a few months after launch, already has more apps than webOS does after more than 18 months, Microsoft appears to have gotten more right than wrong and certainly enough to keep their seat at the smartphone table.
3) 3-D Gets Even More Press but No Real Traction in the Home
3-D televisions and video players will be all over the place at CES, but their availability and technical trade-offs will keep them from seeing significant adoption in 2010. Long-term, however, I think 3-D will eventually take off, but I doubt it will happen as long as viewers have to wear special glasses in order to not be nauseated by the image.
By any measure, 3D TV has been talked about in the press more than it's been brought into consumers' homes. In 2010, the combination of scant high-quality content and expensive/uncomfortable/incompatible gear failed to make 3D a compelling experience, and slow sales was the result.
4) Fervor over Social Search Subsides but Doesn't Die Out
Social search (i.e., using real-time social media as sources of useful information for returning search results) is all the rage as we enter 2010. I think that the major search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo!, et al.) will all figure out by the end of the year that, while social search has some promise for a small subset of queries, information produced by social media is largely junk and an unreliable source of value to their customers (search engine users). However, there is some gold in them thar hills, and we'll start seeing the fruits of their efforts as they isolate those situations where social search can indeed be really, really valuable (e.g., product reviews and event status).
There's been relatively little discussion in 2010 of how social media should change search. While we saw a lot of sites become more integrated into social media, such as via Facebook's nearly ubiquitous "Like" button, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!'s attempts to add a social component to their search products never really gained traction. Clearly, it's harder than it seems to glean those rare nuggets of helpful, timely information from the vast noise of the social web.
5) Movies and TV Shows Go Mashup...and Not in a Good Way
A lot of media producers seem to be running out of ideas, so I think they'll start going for unique combinations of themes and concepts to fuel their movies and television shows. Think space vampires and hot robot/android women battling killer zombies driving souped-up, well-armed cars really fast around Las Vegas. Coming soon to theaters near you.
Looking back at 2010, I don't see any noticeable increase in "trans-genre" movies and TV shows. And maybe that's for the best, really. But, if the forthcoming "Cowboys & Aliens" is any indication, I just might've been a year early on this prediction.
6) Apple Announces a Tablet
Yes, I'm a sucker for this rumor-that-will-not-die. It's not like I'm even a fan of the tablet concept, so this isn't something I'm particularly hoping will happen. I just think it will. Imagine a 7"-to-10" iPhone Touch and you won't be too far off. Oh, and it will be more expensive than anyone who isn't an Apple shareholder thinks is reasonable, yet it will sell quite well (at least initially).
Pretty much, yeah. ;-)
7) SuperSpeed USB Takes Off QuicklyI'm going to give this one to me, but I'll admit that USB 3.0 adoption has been a bit softer than I thought it would be. I mean, we do now have motherboards, PCs, external external hard drives, and flash drives that all use USB 3.0, but it's clearly not ubiquitous yet. Wireless USB went nowhere in 2010, unfortunately, just as predicted.
I think we'll see SuperSpeed USB (a.k.a. USB 3.0) be adopted very rapidly in 2010. Signs from motherboard and accessory makers are that they're very eager to adopt this recently ratified standard, and I think everyone would agree that faster USB connections is only a good thing. As long as they don't screw up backward compatibility (one of the keys to USB 2.0 being as successful as it has been), it'll be another home run. On a related note, Wireless USB will not get the attention or traction we'd all like a stable, high-speed wireless connectivity standard to get, mostly because it just won't be as simple as plugging a wire into a hole.
8) Steve Jobs Gives an Apple Keynote Presentation
Might Sir Jobs be the "one more thing" at WWDC?
Clearly a thumbs-up. You don't think Steve would've missed the grand unveiling of his "magical" iPad, now would you?
9) Sprint is Acquired
The cellular carrier's weak valuation and lackluster performance in retaining customers and attracting new ones, combined with its continued WiMAX roll-out will make it a target for some kind of merger or acquisition, likely by a European carrier looking to get entry into the US market. The actual acquisition may not go through in 2010 due to extensive regulatory review, but the intent will be announced.
Bzzt! Wrong...thanks for playing. Sprint never got a buyout offer, but it did end 2010 on a much stronger note than it started the year. Not only has it met all its WiMax/4G rollout milestones, it is now being lauded for having among the best customer service in the US cellular market. Not that that's saying much ("tallest pygmy" and all that), but it's something.
10) Twitter Grows at a Slower Rate than in 2009
Twitter will continue to gain new members faster than it loses them, but it will not see the huge surge it enjoyed in 2009. This will mostly be because the company's management has a tenuous, at best, grasp on what its users want (leading it to make bad design decisions) and a business model that does not support both rapid growth and scalable, reliable service (thereby turning off users). It's too bad, too, as Twitter could've become the next Facebook had they played their cards right. The only thing that can save it is an acquisition...Google, perhaps?
Twitter grew a lot in 2010, but not as quickly as it did in 2009. Two stats support this assessment. In 2009, Twitter grew from an Alexa "reach" rating of essentially zero to about a 5; in 2010, it grew from a 5 to about an 8. While that's another big increase, it's a smaller increase than in 2009. Also, in 2009, Twitter grew from 100 million tweets per quarter to 2 billion, a 1900% growth rate. In 2010, it grew from 2 billion to a around 8 billion quarterly posts, a 400% increase. So, while Twitter is still growing hugely, 2010 just wasn't as blockbuster of a year as 2009 was.
You're the girl for me
I can feel it in my soul
Smile for my camera please
It's hidden and pinhole
I watch you from afar
And you give me hope
You're the shining star
In my Russian night scope
Into your heart I creep
To watch you while you sleep
And by "your heart" I mean
Don't misunderstand, I'm not a perv
Don't get me wrong for heaven's sake
I just don't have the nerve
To talk to you when you're awake
I lay down next to you
An immediate release
The moment that you wake
Please don't call the police
So you're playing hard to get
I'm better than other men
You will understand
When I see you in 5 to 10
So...anyone want to write some music for this gem? ;-)
Plustek churns out a pretty crazy number of scanners in any given year,
with the MobileOffice AD450 portable scanner being a prime example. The
AD450 is a compact, duplex, color scanner with several tricks up its
First, it offers ADF (automatic document feed) for up to 20 sheets. That's rare in a portable scanner.
Second, it can be powered off either a standard wall wart or two USB cables (attached to powered USB ports on the host machine). That's also rare, yet amazingly handy and practical.
Third, it offers a variety of scanning features, including the ability to scan business cards and credit cards via a pass-thru slot in the back -- no need to open the automatic document feeder!
Here's the contents of the box: bag, scanner, software & manuals, 2 USB cables (one A>B and one A>power), and a power wart.
The bag is actually pretty nice. It's just a zippered nylon material, but it holds all the important bits in a no-nonsense fashion and adds some (minimal) padding. The handle is fairly substantial, too, which is good because the AD450 isn't exactly lightweight (Plustek's specs claims it's just under 3 lbs...but it honestly feels like more).
This video, produced by Plustek provides a lot of the visual overview and hawt scanning action, so I'll continue below with my experience using the AD450 and overall impressions.
The installation instructions are not particularly helpful. While the "manual" that came with the AD450 is 124 pages long, each language only gets 11 pages, which barely covers setup and the minimal amount of button description. Playing with the software that came with the AD450 is the only way to actually get familiar with how things work.
However, as with any electronics sourced from abroad, you have the opportunity for some interesting translations into English. For example, in the setup software for the AD450 is this warning: "Your system is lack of the scanner calibration data required for ADF scanning. You are strongly recommended to calibrate the scanner now."
Speaking of software, the AD450 comes with five components: a button profile configurator (more on this below), an unbranded business card management utility, an unbranded scanning utility, and a couple of document & image management apps (from Newsoft). All in all, the included apps aren't spectacular, but likely adequate for most needs.
The button configuration utility was pretty full-featured and very similar to the app that came with the last Plustek scanner I reviewed. However, unlike that D28, the AD450 only offers a choice of three scanning modes accessible from the unit itself: PDF, BCR (business card reader), and Scan (general purpose). For most uses, especially mobile ones, I can imagine three profiles being enough. But, it would be nice to switch between some common settings, such as simplex/duplex and color/grayscale/mono, without having to dive into the software to change it...and then change it back later.
The configurator lets you set up several different profiles linked to combinations of physical buttons and content type, although I didn't see where I could let the scanner decide automatically what kind of content it was scanning.
One app that actually did impress me was the included business card manager (below). It seemed highly accurate at recognizing and cataloging various bits of info off the cards I scanned; I only had to correct one thing on about a dozen cards.
Scanning performance was pretty good. To scan a duplex 8-1/2" x 11" sheet to grayscale at 200 dpi took just 12 seconds. Scanning a business card using the default settings (duplex color, 300 dpi) took 14 seconds. Scanning a photo at max res (600 dpi) duplex color took a whopping 1 minute and 3 seconds, so I definitely would not recommend this to archive your boxes of old photos (get a fast, stationary scanner for that).
First, a scan of a 4x6 photo of my daughter at Halloween. This was printed at home, so the visible artifacting in the full-sized image (25 MB) is in the original photo.
Here's part of a business card that had a misfeed evident in part of the image. This had to be rescanned for the business card software to read everything properly. I only had one misfeed, so it wasn't a regular issue.
In conclusion, the AD450 is a highly functional portable duplex scanner with several features uncommon for its class. Street prices run from the low $200's and up, so it's not exactly the cheapest scanner, but it may be the least expensive portable duplex scanner with a whole lot of nifty built in.
Her significant other -- let's call him Steve -- has created the epitome of an abusive relationship in several ways.
First, Steve is very controlling. He dictates nearly every aspect of the relationship. He makes all of their economic decisions. He decides when she's using "appropriate language" and punishes her when she's not. He determines when her ideas are worth sharing and rejects them when he, and only he, believes they violate some standard that only he knows.
That brings me to the second abusive aspect: Steve changes the rules of their relationship at will and unpredictably. At one point, he'll reward her for doing something in a specific way. Then, with no clear explanation, he'll punish her for the same (or very similar) thing another time. He'll provide some incoherent or confusing justification for his decisions, which almost seem to purposefully designed to keep my friend off-balance and unsure of herself.
That lack of assurance opens up the third abusive element of the relationship: Steve regularly increases my friend's dependence upon him, making it just that much harder for her to part ways. Sure, Steve is successful; he has charisma such that being around him can almost feel like reality itself is distorted. But when my friend even so much as finds someone new with whom she could enjoy spending time, Steve makes the relationship contingent upon her rejecting all others. She can only rely on Steve's support, or else he threatens ending the relationship entirely.
It's really not a great situation. My friend says the good times are absolutely the best, but the uncertainty and anxiety gnaw at her soul. She often thinks about getting other friends behind his back, but she perceives the risks to be too great should he cut her off. Also, Steve can be totally unapproachable even when it seems clear that he's the one causing the problem. There's just not much my friend can do since she has come to be so totally wrapped up in this twisted relationship of dependency and constantly changing expectations.
I regularly tell her, regardless of the upside, I just don't think it's emotionally healthy for her to continue being a third-party iPhone/iPad developer.
In a recent upgrade on Movable Type, many of the page URLs were changed, so Google lost a lot of my inbound links. That made it harder for people to find the pages they were looking for, which isn't good.
Despite that, it's still here.
And I don't plan on pulling the plug any time soon.
I'm sure that's a relief to the 4 of you who read this semi-regularly.
p.s. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. I do read those...especially the interesting ones.
I was there Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning. I phototweeted (new term?) from the show floor while I was there, and my pics and comments are posted at Twitpic.
Now that I've had some time to unpack, soak my feet, and reflect on the experience, here's what comes to mind, in no particular order:
Wow It's Big! -- I've been to trade shows before, but nothing on the scale of CES. I'm not really sure how much total floorspace the show takes up, but it spreads out across very nearly the entire Las Vegas Convention Center (which, by itself, is larger than the town I grew up in) plus two other nearby hotels. Some numbers that came in right as I was typing this entry: an estimated 120,000+ attendees, 2,500 exhibitors, and 20,000 new products announced. No wonder I felt like I'd need a week to really see everything.
No Seminal Announcement -- Unlike last year's webOS launch from Palm, which really stole the show, 2010 didn't see any particular event or surprise that caught everyone's attention. I asked lots of people what they thought was the big thing and got lots of different answers...a few people were excited by all the 3D TVs, projectors, and laptops; some thought Google's Nexus One was big (although technically not a CES event...they held it just one day before); Boxee Box wowed some folks; and more than one mentioned Palm's flurry of announcements, but no singular thing captured all the buzz.
Ebooks A-plenty -- There were just scads of ebooks all over CES. They ranged from cheapo Kindle knock-offs to high-end, portfolio-style, dual-screen devices. The success of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble have clearly excited what had previously been a rather quiet market niche.
Android in Everything -- Google's free (mostly as in beer) operating system was crammed into all sorts of things, from gorgeous smartphones to touchscreen remote controls to hideously bad stationary videophones. Mostly, at least it seemed to me, it was small Chinese and Korean companies doing this, but it does suggest the possibility of an interesting trend.
Flying Stuff is Cool -- One of the show's major prize winners was the Parrot G Drone, a bigger and all-around better version of that remote control helicopter you like to taunt your roommates and/or family members with, but which has a remote video feed and you can pilot it with your phone. Another guy was selling an RC X-Wing Fighter (not licensed by Lucas, I would expect, since he calls it the "Star Stryker"), which cost $299 and has the biggest remote control unit I've ever seen. Here's the video:
It's a Great Time to be a Fan of Mobile Tech -- All these reports say that nobody buys MIDs (mobile Internet devices, like the Nokia N810 or Microsoft's UMPC format), but you wouldn't guess that by looking at the CES exhibits. There were so many slates and tablets, most powered by Windows 7, that I stopped getting excited about them. And some of them were really impressive; Viliv had a whole line-up of interesting portables.
Some other incompletely articulated thoughts: car tech is getting interesting; Nokia's booth was pretty empty the few times I went past; few were very excited about Windows Mobile, either; there's a lot of garbage at CES, but at least they stick it in the "International Market" areas; LEGO has an interesting new MUD game coming out soon; geeks are attracted to exotic cars almost as much as they are to scantily-clad women...and they're equally unlikely to get much hands-on time; it's a good idea to have an actual working version of whatever it is you're trying to sell; there wasn't a lot of innovation in cameras that I saw...mostly around GPS embedding, which is cool; food is expensive there.
So, there you have it. I hope to get back next year...it's a fun, if exhausting, experience.