Archive for September, 2006
We got our first robot last week (if you don’t count the Lego Mindstorms RCX).
Woot! had the iRobot Scooba Floor Washing Robot 5900 on sale for $229 (+ $5 shipping). Chris never liked mopping the floor, so she put in an order (I patiently wait while the floor gets dirty until she can’t stand it and then she Swiffers it).
When FedEx delivered a heavy box a few days later, it was like Christmas for Chris. She was excited when she opened the box and she immediately put the battery on the charger.
After a few hours, the charging light went off and Chris was anxious to start cleaning the kitchen floor. She seemed disappointed when I told her it was supposed to charge overnight.
The next day, after clearing the kitchen floor of major items (e.g., bicycles), we filled the Scooba with water and 2 oz. of the proprietary Clorox Scooba cleaning solution (We didn’t do any vacuuming). Chris put the Scooba on the kitchen floor, pushed two buttons and it took off.
We watched it, mesmerized, for the first 15 minutes. I wondered why it was so fascinating. Watching it so intently didn’t seem right – but we wanted to see how it would learn, where it would go and how it would clean – it’s a robot, after all.
Forty-five minutes later, the floor was sparkling clean. It was sparkling because the floor was still a little wet but ten minutes later it was dry and clean. Chris cleaned the tank, filter and brush, refilled and started the Scooba on the bathroom (tile) floor. About 30 minutes later, the bathroom floor was done. It looked clean.
SETI@home is a scientific experiment that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data.”
I’ve been running SETI@home for 7 years and have not found any extraterrestrial intelligence. I can’t imagine doing a quintillion of anything unless it was destroying brain cells at Bradley’s while drinking scotch whiskey and smoking cigars.
Digital Photography Review has a review by Phil Askey of the Nikon 10.2 megapixel D80 SLR Digital Camera.
Digital Photography Review has a preview by Phil Askey and Simon Joinson of a pre-production Leica M8. The camera will be shown at Photokina, the big photography show in Germany, at the end of the month.
This is the first digital Leica M-body. My first Leica was an M3. So far I’ve only made it to a Leica M4-2. Cartier-Bresson would probably be happy with an M8.
Thanks to Mitch Polikoff, Evins Communications, Ltd. and Christian Erhardt, Leica Camera Inc. / Marketing Manager for the M8 image.
Today I saw that Certified Angus Beef brand Tri-Tip costs $8.99/lb at Nob Hill (Tri Tip is sometimes called triangular roast – it’s cut from the bottom sirloin). I did a double-take on the price and then wondered if I’d heard any Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy stories lately.
For some reason, my reference is still $0.29/lb chicken wings at Pioneer 30 years ago.
I downloaded Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 from the Microsoft Customer Preview Program and just finished installing it on my Shuttle. Back in June, I had downloaded Beta 2, but never got around to installing it.
RC1 installed easily on an empty partition and also installed a boot manager that allowed me to boot to my “Earlier Version of Windows,” XP. I used my Beta 2 product key and activation worked without any problems.
After logging in, the desktop presents the “Windows Welcome Center” a place to start jerking the settings around.
Viewing the computer details displays a hardware and network overview and the resulting calculation gives the Windows System Performance Rating, in my case 1.0. I guess I should be happy it actually runs on my computer.