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User Journal

Journal Journal: Enlightenment 0.17

Last week I compiled/installed a recent (August 8, 2005) cvs snapshot of Enlightenment. I really loved e16 years ago, but then GNOME2 came out, and e16 seemed to be aging without any major upgrades. I had been watching the enlightenment website for some time, waiting for a usable release of e17, and finally took the plung. I feel kinda bad leaving the GNOME cause, especially since they've been making great strides in usability, but E is sooooo pretty. E also plays well with GNOME, so perhaps I can straddle the fence a bit until more apps come out for E.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A replacement Roomba Discovery!

Our Roomba Discovery started doing the backup-circle-of-death about a month ago (backwards circle, "uh-oh" tone plus 5 beeps -- bad cliff sensors), and we just got our replacement yesterday. Overall we're still happy with the Roomba, and the 1 year warrantee is very handy (ours was to expire next month). Even better is the fact that iRobot sent us a new 2.1 version of the Discovery, complete with new firmware. Even though the Roomba isn't the most reliable robot on the market, we're still happy.

Update August 12, 2005: The Roomba really does make a difference on our hardwood floors. After running our replacement Roomba just one night, our downstairs hardwoods now pass the "barefoot" test. Even though we swept pretty much every day, the Roomba vac just made the floors nicer to walk on in barefeet. All is right once again.

Update August 15, 2005: Our replacement Discovery (2.1 vers) seems to clean faster, and dock better. The only problem is that it doesn't seem to fully charge the battery anymore. The power button glows green when docked, but turns amber once it starts cleaning. Hmmm.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Netflix to the rescue!

My wife and I recently signed up for Netflix in an attempt to get out from under the thumb of Lackluster. What a change! No time limits, late fees, postage, or hassle. We figured that we rent at least 3-4 movies a month, so the $20/month fee at Netflix is at least as expensive as the alternative, but we pick our own movies, they come to our door, and we just drop it in the mail to return it. The movie rating/recommendation system isn't as good as the one for Movielens, but it's not too bad (it needs a "buddy system" like Movie lens to predict what the both of us will enjoy).

Now we see The Competition offering a $20/month unlimited rental membership. Too little, too late!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fox does it again(!)

Well, my wife and I got caught by Fox TV once again. It seems that any time we begin to enjoy a Fox Television show, it gets cancelled midseason (re: Firefly). We just started to like this show called Wonderfalls, mostly because of its quirky view of fate, destiny, and the cosmos, when Fox cancells it with 9 episodes still unaired.

Update: June 1, 2005

Well, like Firefly, Wonderfalls was released on DVD with all the unaired episodes. My wife and I just finished watching the last one. Too bad Fox killed it. I'd prefer this over "Joan of Arcadia" any day.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My Cool Wife

Well, the holidays are done, and it's time to get back to work.

I have to say, though, that the one gift that stood out over the holidays was from my wife, who got me a copy of the FireFly DVD. The real gift wasn't the physical DVDs themselves, but the fact that she sat and watched every episode with me (after our kids were asleep). This is my wife who refuses to even touch anything Linux, and poo-poos most sci-fi (cinema + print). She had an interesting observation on the apeal that FireFly has with Geeks. The Space Cowboy-Pirate-Smuggler story has a geek (Wash, the pilot) with a totally hot, warrior wife. My wife (who is totally hot), thinks that without that part of FireFly, the Geek-Factor would be substantially lower. Hmmm.

User Journal

Journal Journal: My Roomba's broken :(

Well, our Roomba experienced it's first failure (besides the replacement of the battery, which I consider to be a maintenance item). It seems that the bushing for the counter-rotating brush has loosened and no longer keeps the brush engaged to its drive gear. At least that's what appears to be the problem. If it turns out to be more, I'll be performing an autopsy of the thing to see how it all works (a sort-of silver lining), and go out an get a new one. I can use the new battery still, as well as the virtual wall unit. Still, it's a little dissapointing. Boo Hoo.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Roomba's little helper gets new batteries

My oldest daughter calls the Roomba's virtual wall unit "Roomba's little helper". When we run our Roomba at night, I always tell her "don't forget Roomba's little helper," and she goes to turn on the virtual wall unit to keep the thing from getting stuck on the threshold between our front hall and kitchen (iRobot says it should be able to clear the threshold, but it *always* seems to get stuck trying to traverse the threshold at an angle).

We've been running our roomba (almost) every night for the past 8 months, and finally need to change the 2 D-cell batteries.

The Roomba battery pack itself is now starting to show signs of age, after an estimated 200+ hours of operation (and at least that many recharge cycles).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Roomba from iRobot!

Merry Christmas everyone. My wife got me a vacume cleaner for Christmas -- a Roomba robovac from iRobot. It's the coolest thing, and it even does a good job of cleaning our hardwood floors! I just wonder if anyone has hacked this thing yet.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Speech Synthesis Tools

I started playing around witht the festival speech synthesis package. Really cool and it runs great on my Powermac under YellowDog Linux 2.3. Cool. Now All I have to do is figure out how to get the speech to sound close to HAL, and to pipe it throughout my house!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Just added a new friend...

This Friend/Foe thing is pretty cool. I just added Discoflamingo13 as a friend just because he has a Ti Powerbook running Gentoo Linux. Now that's pretty cool.

I'm sure the dynamics of this F/F stuff is worthy of a paper in IEEE's System, Man, and Cybernetics jounal, but with a 2-week-old daughter (and a 2 1/2 year-old daughter!), who has time?

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