Updated: 1/7/03; 3:38:08 AM.
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Sunday, December 29, 2002

A Smart Keyboard for Typing on the Go [New York Times: Circuits]

This column talks about a keyboard-sized device called the AlphaSmart Dana that runs the Palm OS. It reminds me of that great old portable, the Tandy Model 100. Compare for yourself:

The Dana:

The Model 100:

[these pictures were shamelessly lifted from the websites linked above, who I hope will forgive my small transgression -- it seemed politer than linking to the original images, which you can find easily if you follow the links.]  11:17:29 PM  (comments []  

Christmas at the Ranch

Here are more shots from Carrie's grandmother's ranch, which is just outside of Robert Lee, Texas. It's a nice five hour drive from Austin, mostly through the hill country. The ranch itself is in the desert, and kind of reminds me of some of my trips to eastern Oregon in my youth.

Here's the ranch house:

Here's some scenery, mostly shot from on top of Goat Mountain, a nearby mesa. You can probably see for a good forty or fifty miles up there. (Update: Carries sez you can see almost eighty miles.)

On Thursday, we all pitched in and built a shooting bench, which was a fun project. It was a bit of a departure for me, since I don't really shoot or hunt, and I spend my time building software, not carpentry. I marshalled my geek skills in inventory management and sketching, and tracked the lumber peices and how everything fit together.

Lowell (my father-in-law) got a snazzy Nikon D100 SLR digital camera for Christmas, and I spent some time playing with it. I really enjoyed having the ability to get really clear closeups, with well controlled depth of field (which is hard to get when looking at the LCD panel of my otherwise awesome Canon G1). It's definitely more bulky, but I found myself drooling over it nonetheless. Happily, Lowell seems more than happy to lend it out so I may find myself lugging it on future trips :).

This is my niece Alanna, who is too adorable for words.

I was thwarted in my attempts to capture the spectacular sunsets, since there were no clouds last night, but here's a nice shot I did get from that evening's endeavors:

The trip was a lot of fun, although I started to get antsy from my lack of Internet connection, as you can see from my spastic and reflexive posting of all these pictures almost first thing upon returning to civilization.  10:52:22 PM  (comments []  

Oh Christmas Stick, Oh Christmas Stick

We went up to Carrie's grandmother's ranch for Christmas, which is a Brown family tradition stretching back for years and years. There are two kinds of tree up there -- cedar, and mesquite. Carrie's allergic to cedar, so we decided (in true Charlie Brown spirit) to have a "christmas stick" instead. Behold:

Note Carrie's mad skills with the rocket ship and star adornments, in the upper portion. Update: Carrie's provided some corrections and addenda. The star and rocket ship were cut out from miniature pie tins. The left-over triangles from the star provided the inspiration for the rocket ship. In general, all of the tree ornaments had to be created from "found" objects, which provided a crafty challenge of immense enjoyment for Carrie and her mom.

Also, she points out that the other inspiration for the "Christmas Stick" comes from Doc Homer, who's been the Brown family doctor for three generations, and is a regular visitor at the ranch. Years ago, he brought in a leafless tree with a single shotgun shell hanging from it. When asked what it was, he replied drolly, "Why, it's a cartridge in a bare tree." All together: grrrooooaaan.

Sadly, the full shot doesn't show off the later decorations, like the macaroni 'n' cranberry string you can see in these close-up shots.

  10:31:20 PM  (comments []  

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