Fun, Fun, Fun

And there’s not even a T-Bird in sight.

Well, I got my mother online today and she sent her very first ever emails. Her 89th birthday celebration is tomorrow.


Kindle Fire Usability Fun

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my first gen Kindle Fire is just fine and dandy for the uses I have for it. One thing that did stand out, though, as a usability PITA from the beginning was the onscreen keyboard. For typing, not much fun. So, one of the first things I did was to locate some conductive foam in my stash of junk, urm, parts and equipment and make some styli. They worked and were a help, making “typing” on the Fire almost Good Enough, and easily OK for typing brief notes in books.

But actually buying a stylus? Fuggedaboutit. All of ’em I found on the web were too much money, once I’d made some from castoff junk, urm, parts and equipment for essentially nothing.

Page forward to today when I was standing at the checkout at our local “fell off the back of a truck” store and saw mini-styli (with handy lil 2.5mm/3.5mm plugin tethers) for a buck apiece. Since my home made styli have long since become well-worn, I picked up a couple. They work quite well, but “mini-styli” means using something about the size of a pencil nub, so. . .

At the same “fell off the back of a truck” I buy a particular ball point pen that has a Parker-compatible refill. A buck apiece. Cheap and useful, since I have more than a few Parker (and Parker compatible) ballpoint pens. While the barrels of these cheapies are fairly nice bamboo tubes, I junk the barrels and keep the refills handy. (Where “junk the barrels” means “put ’em in my stash of someday useful stuff” *heh*).

Do you see a convergence coming up here? Right. I just mated one of the mini-styli to one of those spare bamboo tubes (with a handy pocket clip already installed!) and have a pen-sized stylus that works a charm and even clips nicely to the leather case my Fire regularly occupies.

The smaller surface contact area of a stylus really makes a difference when using the onscreen keyboard, and the more normal pen size of the bamboo barreled (with the conductive part protruding for index finger contact) stylus is just right.

Rabbit trail: it’s also a wee tad easier using TeamViewer on the Fire with a stylus, well, for most things. Pinch-n-zoom isn’t all that improved. *heh* I do kinda enjoy accessing the Win8 Media Center compy with TeamViewer on my Fire. Comes in handy sometimes.

The Tightwad in Me LOVES This Site

Ecoprojecteer My paternal grandfather would feel right at home with this guy, too. (Short rabbit trail: Granddaddy could build anything, it seemed, with just hand tools, ingenuity and a little blood and sweat. “Blood and sweat? Yeh. It’s a tradition in my family that any time one of the men does a wood working, mechanical, plumbing or electrical project of any kind, SOME blood must be spilled. *heh* Oh, none of us have yet lost body parts or required surgery for our injuries, but the “blood sacrifice” tradition has held up pretty well. Meticulous care and safety equipment, etc. seem to make no difference. If there’s a knuckle there to be barked on a bolt, it’ll play doggie. :-))

Anywho, back on point, they guy has a bunch of really fun, interesting and CHEAP TO BUILD projects detailed on his site. Love it. This one inspired me to wonder if I could build a cardboard wading pool… ๐Ÿ˜‰


Burning Desire!


Actually, having one of each–a BioLite CampStove and a BioLite HomeStove–would be that “burning desire”. We have a propane powered camp stove for emergencies, and our outdoor charcoal grill (yes, I do make some of my own charcoal) can even–HAS even!–be used in a pinch, but these are doubly useful lil devices. Want. Going on Wish List.

Not Quite That Ambitious

I saw an article on building a Linux-controlled “Corretto” coffee roaster and thought, “Cool, but where would I put everything in our kitchen? I’d have to build on an addition!”


Still, one of the things that gives Henry Ward Beecher a claim to historical immortality that rival’s his sister’s is his appreciation of good coffee:

“A cup of coffee โ€“ real coffee โ€“ home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.” โ€“ Henry Ward Beecher

And, after reading the above paean to a good cuppa joe and singing a few verses of O Blessed Holy Caffeine Tree i9n appreciation of The Holy Brew (#1) myself, almost the article cited above persuadeth me to do a “Linux Coffee Roaster” build of my own… Almost. I’d still need to build that addition onto the house.