tech woes

My poor Dell Latitude CPx notebook is out of commission. I came home on Saturday to discover that the power cord is fried. This is my third power cord in four years.

My poor Dell Latitude CPx notebook is out of commission. I came home on Saturday to discover that the power cord is fried. This is my third power cord in four years. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to get a replacement — I couldn’t find it listed on the Dell online store. The library has two laptops that are from a similar line, so I’m going to borrow one and see if I can use it’s power cord long enough to clean off my files.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking of buying a brand spanking new laptop on credit rather than continuing to limp along and make do with this one. So far, my top choice is a Gateway M305X with a Wireless-G card. It’s a couple hundred dollars less than my second choice, a Toshiba Satellite A45 with integrated Wi-Fi. I’m leaning towards the Gateway, even though it doesn’t have integrated Wi-Fi, mainly because their service package is much better and they have a good reputation for service.

My basic criteria for the laptop is that it has Wi-Fi in some way or another (integrated or otherwise), has a minimum of 2GHz processing speed, 20GB hard drive, and an integrated modem and ethernet LAN. I would like for the laptop to have a CD-RW drive and look sleek (as in, not like the old IBM ThinkPad). If you, my fabulous readers, have any recommendations for laptops that fit these criteria and are in the $1,300 or less price range, please let me know.

Update: I tried a power cord that the library has, and I was able to boot up my laptop, but it died after a minute or two. I think it’s truely fried now.

soothing tech envy

I admit it. I’m envious of my contemporaries who are more technology equipped than me.

I admit it. I’m envious of my contemporaries who are more technology equipped than me. I’ve had twinges of envy every time Jenny brags about her Treo 600. I’ve longed for a better laptop so that I could experience the wonders of WiFi and be able to complain when library conferences aren’t set up for it. Then I read an essay by Anthony Caruana that compares and contrasts smart phones v. PDAs with the perspective on who really needs the features of each.

blogger/pundit/journalist

Bloggers with official press credentials covering the Democratic National Convention.

Back in February, I wrote, “Perhaps the very nature of blogging is reactive, and those that have made it proactive have moved from blogging to…. what would something proactive be called? Journalism? Something else?” It seems that for some, it may very well be journalism, or at least an amateur version of it. This week, the Boston Globe published an article that focuses on bloggers who have applied for press credentials for the Democratic National Convention. The DNC has said they will give some of the 15,000 press credentials to bloggers who apply. No word yet on whether or not the Republican National Convention will do the same. The deadline to apply for press credentials is May 28, 2004.

Ben, I think you should go for it!

gas prices, part two

We had another over night flip-flop and now most of the gas stations in town are advertising their $1.89/gal prices.

We had another over night flip-flop and now most of the gas stations in town are advertising their $1.89/gal prices. Meanwhile, a mile or two from the edge of town but still in the same zip code, there are two gas stations that have remained at $1.84/gal through all of this. Go figure.

I need to fill up soon, but I think I’ll wait another day or two to see what they’ll do next.

wifi bicycle

One artist is making Wi-Fi even more moble.

MPR’s Future Tense reports today on an artist who has created a Wi-Fi bicycle. I read the interview in the daily newsletter, and you can listen to it online. The artist, Yury Gitman, says this about the bicycle:

This did come out of an art initiative. Some of the first funders for this project were art institutions. It’s kind of a farce, a technological farce. I mean, a bicycle that gives Internet access? I wanted to show people that our technological boundaries were constructs of our imagination. Our technological boundaries are limited by our imagination. This is a very simple but powerful use of existing technologies, just reconfigured in a creative way.

gas prices

Anna rants about gas prices.

I’m starting to get really pissed about gas prices these days. Yesterday, most of the gas stations in town were at $1.84/gal for regular unleaded, which was about average for the state. It’s more than I’d like to be paying, but considering how little pump prices have increased over the past few decades, I’m not going to complain to loudly. However, this morning I woke up to $1.99/gal at just about every station in town and my wallet whimpered. It was at that point that I began to seriously consider advocating for federal (or state) regulation of gas pricing.

I understand that businesses need to stay flexible in order to compete in the market. I’m all for giving business owners the freedom to make decisions regarding their product and sales. I’m even willing to pay more for gas, if that’s what the market requires. However, I’d like to see some consistency in pump prices. The oil market jumps around, and that’s to be expected. But it’s a long process to go from crude to the stuff that’s in my car tank, and there should be a number of factors going into that which would level the pricing and make it more consistent across markets.

The kind of regulation that I’d like to see would affect changes in the pump prices. There would be a percentage increase/decrease limit per day that all gas stations would be required to stick by. For instance, a 2% limit would mean that the local stations who increased their prices over night could not increase (or decrease, but that’s not likely) them again by more than $0.04 in the next 24 hours. If it’s a gradual thing, like the markets over, then I’m more willing to accept that it is a necessary business practice. This overnight price increase of 27% is absurd.

Why is it that we accept that gas prices are going to go up and down daily, sometimes throughout the day? Would we be so accepting of the same for the price of eggs, milk, bread, or other staples of life? I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time in my car. There is no public transportation here in Middle America that will take me from home in the county to work in town, or from town to the city, or to even more rural areas that I frequent. Therefore, if I’m going to get where I need to go, I have to drive my car. Thankfully, the old girl still gets 35-41 MPG.

So, inspired by the Librarian in Black, here’s my ransom note:
Lower your gas prices NOW or I will buy an electric car.

deaniacs today

NPR talks to Deaniacs in the Baltimore area.

NPR also had a piece by Linda Wertheimer on Deaniacs and their thoughts and opinions on the presidential race a few months after Dean has dropped out. Yes, we are still meeting up every month. Yes, we are still very active in changing American politics from the grassroots level on up. You can join us if you want to help make change happen.

a wrinkle in time

“A Wrinkle In Time” has been made into a TV movie airing tomorrow evening on ABC.

This evening, NPR’s All Things Considered reported on the TV movie of the classic book A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It will be broadcast in the evening on ABC Monday, May 10th. I don’t have a television, but as luck would have it, I’m house sitting for someone tomorrow evening who has a television, so I may get to watch it.

“Yech….. can I have another?”

Writing about my mother for Mother’s Day.

My Mom is a wonderful mother, but she definitely has some quirks. She’s gotten better about some of these, but we still tease her about them.

For instance, she used to not order a drink when we went out to dinner somewhere (restaurant, fast food, anywhere), but then she’d take a “sip” of your drink and drain about half the glass. Dad learned early on to order a size large enough for both of them. She also would try whatever food or candy you happened to be eating, and if it was an unusual flavor and she wasn’t sure she liked it, she would express a dislike for that item. However, she’d usually want another bite or piece of it several minutes later.

For a long time, Mom wouldn’t buy new things for herself. My family of four gets money every Christmas from my Dad’s parents (my grandparents) to buy our Christmas gifts. Mom always has the most boxes out of all of us because she doesn’t think she deserves something full price and gets great pleasure out of finding clothes she likes on sale. Sometimes I wonder if she bought whatever she bought just because it was on sale. She used to let new stuff hang in her closet for years with the tags on. Now she’s resolved not to buy herself new clothes unless she promises herself that she will wear them.

My mother is a people person. She is very good at going into a place and finding the fringe people and bringing them together. She’s not much of a romantic matchmaker, but she is good at matching people’s gifts with those who need them and plugging people into roles in an organization that fit them best.

Mom doesn’t believe in reincarnation, so she’s done all of the lives she would have lived in this life. Growing up, it seemed like every other week she had a new hobby. At one time, she had nearly four jobs, and not entirely because we needed the extra income. She likes variety in her life and gets bored with the same old same old. Ironically, she usually tells me “nothing much” or “you know, my same old stuff” when I ask her about what she’s been doing lately. Dad is the one that updates me on Mom’s latest projects.

Well, I should stop now. Thankfully, my Mom has no patience for the Internet, so I know she won’t be reading this.