Friday, August 31, 2012

Finising a Bottle of Canned Air

Have you ever noticed that canned air starts to have a weaker force behind the blowing when you get near the end of a bottle?  One reason is that you are running out of propellant.  Another reason is that the can gets cold.  According to the ideal gas law (PV=nRT if you've forgotten), when the temperature (T) falls, so will the pressure (P) since volume is held constant by the size of the interior of the can.  This means that when you think you're near empty, you can wait until the can heats back up to room temperature and get some more air out of the can.  There are diminishing returns to doing this.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

College Stuff Checklist: Floor Fan

Freshmen who are going to college for the first time are often presented with a list of things they'll need to outfit their dorm room.  One item is always absent from these lists and that amazes me.  I'm talking about a floor fan.  Fans are super useful.  They're great when your air conditioning breaks or a roommate likes it hotter than you do.  They help dry spills and clothes that didn't quite dry in the dorm dryers.  They can get smells out of your room and cool off your computer.  You can make funny voices by talking into the fan.  White noise from fans can help drown out other noises and get you to sleep faster.  Good fans are durable and will last a very long time.  I recommend one that oscillates and can be angled up and down.

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of Class

I was happy to hear that FSU did not need to cancel the first day of classes due to Hurricane Isaac.  In fact, I rode to school and home today without getting rained on.  There were a bunch of first years in my office when I arrived.  We currently have an overcrowding problem in my office which I'm working on fixing.  I just took it easy until class started.  I was the least nervous I've been for a first day of class.  Everything went smoothly in class except I realized that I have no idea how to proficiently use the Windows Media Player that comes on the classroom computer.  Maybe I'll switch to VLC.

I get a really good vibe from my students.  I had 22 people hand in an assignment today even though it's not due until a week from Friday.  I only put one girl to sleep.  I had lots of students introduce themselves after class and I'm going to need a few weeks to get names down.  I figure it's best to wait until after drop/add is over.  After class, I stayed and configured some of my electronics and all went well.

Back upstairs, I changed a few things in my syllabus due to a new scheduling conflict and students submitting error reports.  I think I'm ready to roll for the entire semester except for making some homework assignments and writing the tests.  I even had a former student drop by to pay me a visit between his classes.

Unrelated to teaching, I found a great remote desktop app that launches in a browser window.  It's called SparkView(RDP) and is available in the Chrome WebStore.  I came home and tried it out on my Chromebook and it works just as well as it did in my office!  Now I basically have a fully functional once I get home.  Good day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yay! Low Energy Usage

City of Tallahassee's Your Own Utilities has a tool where you can see how your utility usage compares to other homes.  Here is my picture for last month:
Looks like I did a decent job.  I'm going to have to stay on top of this to see if I'm always over on the far left.  I broke this down by electricity, gas, and water.  I'm on the far left for electricity and gas, but just to the left of the dark green/light green border for water.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pick #309

Anthrax - "Got the Time" from Persistance of Time.  
This became the first metal song to be played by the Curiosity rover on Mars on day 6.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rich Kids of Instagram

Have you seen RKOI?  Sometimes I'm impressed, sometimes dumbfounded, and sometimes wonder how I can get in on that action.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nobody Cannot Cross It / Tek Serious, Mek Laugh

This song's been in my head all day.  It's good to make light of a serious situation, as long as you still take it seriously.  Seriously.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pesto Salmon Recipe

I got some pesto from Bread and Roses yesterday and I needed to eat some salmon I had bought a couple days ago.  I found a quick, easy, amazingly delicious salmon recipe here.  Prep takes about 3 minutes if the pesto's already made!

Notes:  I cooked it with the skin on.  The skin comes right off after cooking.  I only seasoned the top and sides.  I did not measure out the ingredients.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bad Lip Reading: Rick Santorum

These BLR guys do a great job at matching words to lips...nonsensical at times but I can almost guarantee a chuckle out of this video.  If you watch on YouTube, then they have links to the source videos.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another Purse!

I went running last night and found another purse.  I didn't bring this one with me because the valuable items were gone.  I found some phone numbers and called the girl's grandmother.  I never heard back from her and don't know if she got her purse because I have not run back there again.  I think I'll try to call the place she's staying if I don't hear from her by tomorrow afternoon.  The only things worth mentioning in the purse were a book, some clothes, a check book, and papers with some info on them (such as online banking user name and password along with a phone number labeled Grandma).

I sure wish people would stop stealing purses.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My New Chromebook

It wasn't "like new;" this Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook  was brand new!  The Verizon Wireless 3G plan had not been enabled yet...doesn't appear as though it'd ever been turned on before.  The protective plastic sheets were still on it.

I've read reviews about a crappy keyboard, but I like this one.  There are a few keys that are different than other keyboards and I still have to figure out the keyboard shortcuts.  It's nice for typing except I don't have a number pad off to the right.  I'm not sure if the advertised 8 hour battery life actually holds up.  I never use it for that long straight.  I like that you can close the lid to put it to sleep which really saves battery.  When you open it up it's almost instant on.  You just have to enter your password.

It's an interesting idea to do everything on the cloud.  The 16GB SSD is nice because I can put pix from my camera on here and I can shake the thing when it's on and won't have to worry about hurting my data.  I am looking for a way to store my photos, though.  I need a web service that allows you to upload a decent amount of pix and not reduce the resolution.  Even Picasa trims the resolution.  This problem may be alleviated in the near future if Google gives 100GB for free on Google Drive to Chromebook users.

The Chromebook integrates well with all my Google stuff as should be expected.  I've found some great apps to use as workarounds for native applications.  I've started using Google Docs/Drive a lot more now and I use ShareLaTeX to write and compile my LaTeX documents online.  The neatest thing about that is I can access them from any computer without having to worry about my USB stick.  The only thing I don't like is that I can't get the color scheme that I'm used to (comments in red, LaTeX commands in blue, declarations in green), but I'm getting used to declarations looking like commands.  Also the debugging is a bit rougher for me to work with than TeX Works.  I'm really happy to have a laptop with decent speakers and an audio output that works.  I can hook up to my bigger speakers in my room and blast music from Google Play Music, Amazon Cloud Player, Pandora, Grooveshark, or even stuff I've put on my hard drive.

The integrated webcam is great.  It's 1MP as opposed to my old 0.3MP which did alright for itself.  Just tonight I joined my first Google Hangout but only with one other person.  I think it might be super cool to get a few friends in on that.  You can share your screen (but they can't put your screen full-screen) and there are apps that you can use inside the hangout.

The Chromebook is really lightweight, honestly starts up from dead in under 10 seconds.  On a good start, you can pull up a website about 12 seconds after hitting the power button.  I've timed it.  It's really cool how you can get internet access over 3G.  I have not activated my free 2-year subscription with Verizon yet because I want to wait until I'm somewhere where I'll need it for about a week.  Right now I just try to use the offline apps which are really solid.  I have this offline Gmail app that will sync with my account, allow me to read and respond to emails and it just waits until I get an internet connection to actually send the messages.  I can also load web pages before I leave the house and see the contents of that page on the road.

Complaints:  the VGA out only supports the native resolution of the laptop, no matter the size of the external monitor.  Also, dual monitors are not supported...both display, but they are the same image.  You can't print by plugging into a USB cord into the printer because you don't have drivers for your printer.  I've found a workaround to this using Google Cloud Print which is really neat because I can use my laptop at my house and get it to print to the mail room at school!  If I get my Linux machine back up and running, then I can plug the printer into that desktop and use my printer again.  Luckily I don't have to print too much these days.  I still have a hard time understanding why they can't make an app to allow me to plug in the USB cord and print to my old printer.  My printer has wireless too, so why can't I just print over the network?  I don't know enough about computers.  It's not so bad to lack an optical drive.  I really would only use my Rosetta Stone disc, but that was made for Windows OS anyway.  CDs are going to be obsolete soon anyway.  It's difficult to open file formats that should be very open such as .csv.  There's a great online Open Office reader that will read the .odt family of file extensions and Word files can be imported beautifully into Google Docs format.

Take-home:  I got a great deal on this laptop.  It does just about everything I need it to do and it's supposed to only get better with time.  If you're interested in how they perform, I'll gladly lend you mine for a little bit (if you see me in person to borrow it).  I'm happy to give Google my money.  I wish they'd hurry up and become my ISP.  I like my Android phone and I like my Chromebook.  I'm trying to use more Google services now...just like I really started using Google Calendar when I got an Android phone.  They keep giving me more and more space for free (Gmail offered a free 1GB when I started and it's up to 10GB now).  The wireless connectivity is amazing and it's really light and portable.  You can charge it at the beginning of the day and use it really hard and it can still last without bringing along your charger.  If you're thinking about a new laptop in the $300 price range, get a used or refurbished Chromebook.  Once you adjust, you'll love it...just like the Chrome web browser.

UPDATE 8-27-12:  I just installed an awesome remote desktop app (SparkViewRDP) from the Chrome WebStore.  You can give it an IP address and connection info and it has all the features of Microsoft's mstsc.exe and more.  It opens in a web browser tab, is lightweight, and very responsive.  You can connect to multiple computers at once by running every one after the first in an incognito window.  I find myself adapting as I use my chromebook more, now there are some aspects of computing that I like a lot on here.  I'm retraining my brain to work in the cloud and I've even started using Google Drive when I'm on the windows machine in my office.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Renovo Bikes

Renovo makes beautiful bikes out of wood.  I'd like to try riding one.  It's interesting to see how they're made.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rudy Project Zyon Review Update

I've had my Zyons (available in other colors) for about 5 years now and I wear them almost every day.  I trained with them through an Ironman and I commute in them.  You can adjust the temple tips to fit your head snugly; I have worn them on a jet ski (with the floating "sailing" attachment) and on roller coasters.  They are super adjustable.  I turn them in to "prescription sunglasses" when I'm driving by putting them in front of my corrective lenses on my face.  The nose pad can adjust to make them sit at the right height for that.

A few weeks ago, the left temple tip cushion/cover broke and left the metal wire exposed which was not comfortable to wear.  I fell back on my temporary solution (old Oakley Minutes) then once I got back to Tally I sported my Rudy Project Horus glasses for a while until I ordered my replacement temple tips for only $10!

The Zyons are my first pair of polarized glasses (the Horus are also polarized) and they're great.  They don't have many scratches on them after all this time.  They don't bounce on my face when I run.  They have removable pieces you can put at the "corners" of the glasses to protect your peripheral view while deflecting road debris.

I would highly recommend these shades if you are looking for a durable pair of quality glasses to last you a long time.  If you might sit on them within the first week, then they might not be for you.

(see original review)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Soul Vegetarian Mac & Cheese Recipe

Trying to find this on the internet was difficult, so I thought I'd post it up.  This came from a newspaper article hanging in the Tallahassee location.

Soy Cheese:
1.5 cups soy milk
1.5 cups water
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic granules or powder or 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
0.5 cups tamari (a soy sauce)
0.5 cups nutritional yeast
1/5 block of firm tofu
1 cup vegetable oil

1 box macaroni noodles
1 Tbsp yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Start cooking the macaroni according to directions on box.  Put the macaroni  in the casserole dish (I use a big rectangular one) and mix in the mustard.  Then you have to pour the soy cheese on top, being sure to cover the noodles.  The soy cheese will thicken when it bakes.  You'll bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese darkens slightly and begins to bubble on top.

Soy cheese:
Blend the first 8 ingredients in blender on medium for 25-30 seconds.  With the blender running, slowly pour in oil.  When all oil is poured in, blend for another 40 seconds.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Korbut Flip

Olga Korbut did a really amazing routine at the Olympics in 1972. Her style is way different than the stuff that I've been seeing on TV.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I thought I just saw a fun new Spanish word on Grooveshark.  At first I thought it was a proper noun or a misspelling...then I thought that it's a portmanteau of escuela (school) and escucha (listen)...upon closer inspection I realized the importance of accent marks.  I think it's supposed to say "escĂșchela" which means listen to it.  I guess it's a case of inattentiveness by speakers of another language throwing me off...but I often have to re-read sentences when people misuse "your" or other similar words in English.