July 3rd, 2007

gearhead NON parenting

Partially sparked by my new political career, but mostly just a backlog of geekitude, I've been Buying Gear.

First up: the tripod. Nominally purchased (along a cord protector and an extension cord) to render my video camera more independent of the annoyingly distant outlets at BPL, in practice, this is really a fun toy that will enable us to take family pictures. I got a Velbon that weighs under 3 pounds, shrinks to 18" and expands to 61". It is Sweet. It's light, but quite sturdy. Teddy was trying to climb it, which was a bad idea once he got partway up, because he had a hold of two legs and it tipped right over.

Most recently: a decent SD card reader. The powerbook does not have an SD card slot, and the reader on the PC that R. got Sucks Really Hard. It's slow, and it does not always work. I've had to use the video camera to read the camera's SD cards on occasion. I have ordered SanDisk's Extreme 2.0 reader which claims some ungodly transfer rate. Hopefully they are telling the truth; it has not yet arrived.

Also in the Not Yet Arrived category and again sparked by the new political career: a projector. R. was convinced that this was A Good Idea. I am somewhat skeptical. I am also not happy about the idea of spending 300+ dollars on a new lamp every 2000 hours (3000 in Eco-mode). So I decided to go with the New, Disruptive Technology: LED. I ordered Mitsubishi's Pocket Projector. With teeny, tiny amounts of lumens BUT a truly amazing contrast ratio and really good color handling of reds and yellows, this represents a true risk in terms of utility. OTOH, it's Teeny Tiny and therefore potentially good for geek cred. Again, I'll let you know when we get it. I'm going to also try it out as travel home theater system.

Because the lumens are so damn low, I ordered a screen, the Da-Lite 40" Presenter. Again, not yet arrived, so I will update when it has.

Because this gear clearly needs a place to be stored To and From BPL, I also ordered (and has not yet arrived) RoadWired's (I liked their Cable Stable) Skooba Seventeen+. Yes, I have a 15" laptop BUT I'm hoping to have enough space in the bag to stuff the extension cord, cord protector and (please goddess, be so kind) the tripod. Wouldn't that be cool? Not very likely tho. However, it'll at least give me extra space for files (additions to the Big Binder of Board Wisdom for distribution) and books (How to Be A Good Trustee in 10 Easy Lessons). I'm pretty sure the screen and the tripod will have to be carried separately from the bag (which at least has a water bottle holder, which is why I did not buy RoadWired's MegaMedia case).

Next up: compact DVD player? Maybe. I have a rather horrible Coby portable with truly shitty outputs (I'd be stuck using composite video) and which is loud and runs hot. OTOH, I already own it.

Speaking of running loud and hot, wish a fond farewell to the WRX. I bought it in 2002, and sometime this month, I'll be trading it in for a Honda Fit, subject to the Fit being quiet enough that R. is okay with using it as a commuter car (and it gets 33/38). If it's not quiet enough, we will contemplate.

In the free category, I downloaded OpenOffice, which, while sluggish as all hell, so far appears to do everything I want it to (and this is in fact where the buy-a-projector stuff started). I no longer need to mail something to myself and use R.'s desktop in order to look at .docs. Unfortunately, until I convince the laptop to talk to the printer, I still can't print anything.

Next up in shopping: a thumb drive.