Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Wacom (And Printers)

February 13, 2008

So, I’ve been feeling a temptation to buy a Wacom tablet lately. I think it would be a great investment in a lot of ways: it would give me lots of new artistic avenues to pursue, could benefit my graphic design work, and maybe even serve as an aid in learning to draw.

The downside is, it will cost at least $300, maybe more, depending on the model I buy. That’s a substantial chunk of change, and I’m, not surprisingly, cautious about it.

Any thoughts?

(Also, anyone have any idea my my printer, which is relatively good, would have trouble with a thicker [but still quite thin] paper stock? It seems to start printing fine, and then it starts bunching up the text more and more until it has printed over the same spot a bunch of times and jams with the paper about 4/5 of the way through the machine. Thanks)


Cool Thing

January 27, 2008

Here is a cool thing. I’m not going to buy it for myself. In fact, I’m not really sure I want it. However, after spending way too much time and money recently trying to get a solar charger that would work with my phone (still no luck…), I love the idea of this having the charger built right in. I really hope we start to see this sort of design on more products. I can imagine a future with lots of backpacks and satchels with transparent pockets for your Gameboy, cell phone, iPod, etc; showy consumerism, meet solar energy.

On Proper Blogs

January 26, 2008

This blog is doomed to a certain level of obscurity. Now, now, I’m not trying to be all whiny (done that plenty enough lately), I’m just stating a cold hard fact of blogging.

Personal or journal blogs do not compete with themed blogs.

The evidence abounds. JD, author of Get Rich Slowly and now Get Fit Slowly, also maintains a personal blog called Folded Space. The former has just passed five million hits (Congrats JD!), while the later… Well, I doubt there’s competition. Boing Boing, Make, No Impact Man, every blog I read is about something.

It’s not a complicated equation to figure out, really. No matter how interesting you may usually be, odds are a journal will just be too random to routinely interest the same people. A themed site will appeal to a smaller range of people, perhaps, but it will grab them more strongly, and the blogging business is all about repeat customers. It doesn’t mean that a journal blog like this one is a bad thing, just that you have to measure success by a different standard.
I’m laying all of this out because I have been thinking lately that perhaps I should start a second (well, third) blog with a proper theme. I love writing here, and wouldn’t plan on stopping. However, I admit that I would like a blog which could be financially successful, and this isn’t it. This is for fun, I’m looking for a writing job.

So the question to answer is, what theme? I couldn’t do financial, despite my interest in it; I’m just not that mathematically inclined, and besides, I think everyone would be better off if I directed them to JD’s blog. I’ve been writing a lot lately about college a purpose, which certainly is a topic with lots to be said about it, although it worries me that in about three years I will no longer be all that qualified to talk about it. That being said, a little cluelessness on my part could only help the diversity of ideas on the blog. Something along the lines of  gardening, local eating, etc. could work as well in terms of my interest for it, but I feel uncertain about it for some reason.

So what does everyone think? This is about serving the readers what they want, and that is YOU. So please, give me your ideas and input!

TechnoFast: Day 1

October 8, 2007

I was asked how my little technology fast was going, so here is the update.

I have avoided Facebook completely. So far, not so bad.

I’ve also avoided blogs, which has been a bit more frustrating. I don’t terribly miss No Impact Man or Get Rich Slowly, but BoingBoing was my fall back for small moments of boredom.

I decided to revise my e-mail a little. The biggest reason people suggest checking e-mail at specific times is to avoid the distraction. Most of the time, though, I check e-mail during times when i wouldn’t really be doing anything else anyway. My current goal is to begin an assignment and not check e-mail till it is finished. So far, so good.

I haven’t noticed having my cell phone off when I am out and about. I suppose no one really calls that often anyway.

Instant messenger is about the same as always.

Not touching the TV is hard! Which is sad, because I don’t have anything to watch. It’s a habit.

What am I doing in my free time? Reading, a lot, actually. Both for classes (as always) and some personal reading. Doing some freelance design work too.

Probably more later. Ciao!

Da Rulez!

October 7, 2007

So, my technofast starts tomorrow morning when I wake up, and will run till at least noon on Friday. It’s technically for a class, but I am going beyond the call of the assignment. I hope that some of the changes I make will be a little more permanent then one week. Below are the official rules:

  • No Facebook.
  • No Blogs.
  • Cell phone is a land line only.
  • My roommate is the only one who can touch the TV or its remote.
  • E-mail in the morning, after classes, and before bed only.
  • Limit instant messenger as seen fit.

There you have it! For one week. I have to stay off Facebook for the assignment. We’ll see how I do on the others.

Goodnight! (Oh, and I’ll still be posting here, so come by!)

Narcissus Narcosis

October 5, 2007

I have put it off for a little while, but it is time to decide what media I will fast from for four days (and four hours) for my Aesthetics project. I probably will not start until I wake up on Monday, but I want to get my list sorted out. So below, all the big options, and my thoughts.

  • Facebook. My official fast for the project. Cold turkey and no exceptions.
  • Cell Phone. I’m treating my phone like a land line for those four days. So I can call people when it is plugged in. However, if I carry it with me (I might for emergencies) it will stay turned off. (This is dependent on a project from one of my other art classes ending on Monday, because we are using text messaging.)
  • TV. I’m already trying this out, furtively. I can’t completely quit because I share the TV and the room with my roommate. I’m not that mean. But I have been forcing myself (for the most part) to not turn it on for myself unless I have something specific to watch. Turns out, that is almost never.
  • Other blogs. Possibly. Most of them I get updates from through e-mail (see below) anyway. I’m a little bored with some of them anyway.
  • E-mail? I’m not sure. A likely middle-ground would be to check it less often. I can’t stop checking my school e-mail, anyway, because my professors use it. Also, I believe my family would have a fit.
  • Instant Messenger? Probably not. I probably should, but there are a couple people who would miss me. I think. I will consider it for the future, but not for the project.
  • Newspaper. No. I like having the campus paper, actually, to keep myself up to date on local news.
  • iPod. I don’t really use mine that much anyway, so, no worries. Most often it is during long stretches of busy work (things I get paid to do), not while I walk between classes or things like that.
  • This blog. No.

I think those are all the big ones. Thoughts are welcome!

August 15, 2007

So, since June 27th I’ve been signed up with a company called SurveySpot to take on-line surveys for a cash reward. The idea is simple but I thought I might talk a little about my experience in case anyone wants to consider doing it themselves.

As I said, the premise is simple. The company contacts you with survey opportunities from various market research groups, and you can accept or decline each survey. Also, most surveys will have a few introductory questions to ensure you fall into the demographic they want to poll, and you may be told politely “no thank you” after doing those. However, if you are accepted, most surveys take between fifteen minutes and an hour and pay between $2 and $5.

These surveys work great for people who have a little bit of free time and want to make some extra cash. It wont come quickly, as there are long processing times between the research group and SurveySpot as well as between SurveySpot and you, but it’ll get there eventually. There are some surveys with no reward (though SurveySpot offers instead an entry into a quarterly $25,000 raffle), but you are under no obligation to do them.

The downsides are pretty straightforward. A lot of the surveys are boring, unless slight changes to product packaging really catches your interest. Some weren’t so bad though, so don’t expect every time to be drudgery. There is also the ever present chance of internet failure. Should something time out just before you finish, tough luck. I think it only happened once to me, though.

Being turned down for surveys can be frustrating. I’ve probably spent an hour getting rejected by six surveys to be accepted by one. However, I also had one day where I was accepted by all five, so it comes and goes.

The big things to watch out for are as follows:

A) Any company that asks for a sign up fee is a scam, flat out. Don’t bother. SurveySpot is free.
B) Any company that uses points instead of real cash is probably a scam. I was signed up for one of these before (Harris Poll Online) and after a ton of surveys could just manage a $5 gift card. If a company uses points, do the math. How long is each survey, how many points per survey, and what can points buy you. You might find it works out to an agreeable amount per hour, or, as I did, you might not.

That said, it’s not bad, for working from home on your own hours. It’s never a career, and not even really a second job, but not bad to pad the wallet a little. As I said, I signed up on June 27th, and the last survey I took was June 30th, about a month later. In that time I took 19 surveys at $3 a piece, for a total of $57 dollars. If I could keep it up, that’s $684 a year.

Unfortunately, I’m writing this because I couldn’t keep it up. It’s mind numbing work. It will never go on a resume, and I decided I’d rather do some other form of low paying work (like an online store) which will hopefully pay dividends later on. Still, I can’t complain too much about the experience, and I’ll have a check for $57 no later then four to six weeks after September 10th.

Exciting News Part II

August 11, 2007

Well, if I ever needed proof that writing about things on the blog here helps me get them done, today is it. Yesterday I wrote about two exciting things coming up, and today brought both of them to fruition.

First, I did in fact order the Minigen from Wind Stuff Now. I’ll let you know how that goes once I get it.

Also, we now have a store: the Slurred Vision Shop. The name is sort of a running joke among my father and I. As for the merchandise, it will be all stuff for fans of the Minnesota Golden Gophers for now. I’m not sure whether in the future I’d rather use that to some extent to put some stuff of my own up or if I would prefer to start my own store. Being free, the second option doesn’t sound half bad.

Finally, on a whim, I bought some supplies tonight for a project which should prove very interesting. The details will remain Top Secret for now though. I don’t know why, really, except to bother my friends and family.

That’s all for tonight! Go to bed!

Exciting News

August 10, 2007

Well folks, I’ve got two pieces of exciting news for you all.

First, and mainly only exciting to me, I am pretty sure I’m going to go ahead and order the minigen from Wind Stuff Now. It should be a much more solid wind power system to play around with. Now the real question is what will I accomplish with it?

Second, Sens-Dep Experience will soon have a store. Well, sort of. Currently, the store will focus entirely on a hat design my father and I hope will be popular among Minnesota Gopher fans.  He’s a fan, so he will hopefully know how to reach out to them. I just figure, if they can like a team like the Gophers despite all the heartbreak, they can’t have very good taste anyway. (Just kidding, guys.) Anyway, I hope to soon bring some site related or otherwise cool merchandise to the store, and then proceed to plug it whenever possible.

Finally, since the Sci-Fi channel ran a great but completely productivity-destroying marathon of Firefly today, I am going to leave you with this.

When you can’t run anymore, you crawl.
And when you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.


August 8, 2007

Well, Moi’s dad and I worked on my little turbine for a while, and it’s now producing a measurable output, but a very small one. So my next project is to pump up the power and get an LED to light up.

Ah, low goals are so rewarding.