March 8th, 2005

Santa Barbara

I was planning on finishing up a few things on Saturday morning and then head to Santa Barbara, but a few things turned into more things and then it was already early afternoon and I was still not ready, so had to push SB off until Sunday. That was compounded by Taiwan having a series of strong quakes, so had to console my wife over that.

One of the new toys that arrived while I was at school was my new iPod. When the iPod first came out, I thought it was nice, but a little too big. When the iPod mini came out, I thought it was just the right size, but 4gb for $249 was too much for too little capacity. So when Apple rolled out the new iPod mini 6gb for $249 and lowered the 4gb model to $199, it was finally just right. I ordered a blue iPod mini 6gb during the brief time I was in Taipei between Kyoto and US. All in all I'm quite impressed with it.

I also got an iTrip mini for it, a small FM transmitter that fits on top so you can play your iPod over a car stereo. Reviews of it have been pretty evenly split between "blows goats" and "totally awesome." So I'm going to buck the trend and say that it is merely adequate. The main problem is that the instructions tell you to find a free channel, and better yet, one with free channels to either side of it. Problem is, if you live anywhere reasonably populated, it's pretty damn difficult to find a free channel at all, much less one that has free channels to either side. In Silicon Valley, there's only a couple of free channels at all. Plus on the ride down to SB, I had to retune twice as my free channel was suddenly in use a couple of hours down the road. That said, it does work reasonably well, though it is somewhat annoying to be fiddling with channels every so often. If you live somewhere more remote, it'll probably work just great.

So anyways, Sunday morning I was pretty much ready, but wanted to make one hardware change on neko.tcp.com. I got that all done OK, but then after moving things back around on the computer rack, I knocked the master power switch on the remote power management box, and all the computers went down at once. Everything rebooted cleanly a few minutes later, so not too bad, but tcp.com had an uptime of 1 year and 1 month, so it was kinda disappointing to interrupt that uptime.

Finally I was able to make it onto the road and down to Santa Barbara where I'll be until Wednesday morning.

CutePDF Writer

CutePDF Writer is a neat little program for Windows computers to let you make free PDF files for web publication or distribution. It requires you to install GhostScript in addition. It will install itself as a printer called "CutePDF Writer". When you want to make a PDF of any document, simply load the document into your editor/viewer/browser, hit "print" and choose the "CutePDF Writer" printer. A save box will then popup and you can select the filename and location to save too. In addition, my tests show it produces smaller file sizes than Acrobat does!

Santa Barbara

Originally published at blog.jameslick.com. Please leave any comments there.

I was planning on finishing up a few things on Saturday morning and then head to Santa Barbara, but a few things turned into more things and then it was already early afternoon and I was still not ready, so had to push SB off until Sunday. That was compounded by Taiwan having a series of strong quakes, so had to console my wife over that.

One of the new toys that arrived while I was at school was my new iPod. When the iPod first came out, I thought it was nice, but a little too big. When the iPod mini came out, I thought it was just the right size, but 4gb for $249 was too much for too little capacity. So when Apple rolled out the new iPod mini 6gb for $249 and lowered the 4gb model to $199, it was finally just right. I ordered a blue iPod mini 6gb during the brief time I was in Taipei between Kyoto and US. All in all I’m quite impressed with it.

I also got an iTrip mini for it, a small FM transmitter that fits on top so you can play your iPod over a car stereo. Reviews of it have been pretty evenly split between “blows goats” and “totally awesome.” So I’m going to buck the trend and say that it is merely adequate. The main problem is that the instructions tell you to find a free channel, and better yet, one with free channels to either side of it. Problem is, if you live anywhere reasonably populated, it’s pretty damn difficult to find a free channel at all, much less one that has free channels to either side. In Silicon Valley, there’s only a couple of free channels at all. Plus on the ride down to SB, I had to retune twice as my free channel was suddenly in use a couple of hours down the road. That said, it does work reasonably well, though it is somewhat annoying to be fiddling with channels every so often. If you live somewhere more remote, it’ll probably work just great.

So anyways, Sunday morning I was pretty much ready, but wanted to make one hardware change on neko.tcp.com. I got that all done OK, but then after moving things back around on the computer rack, I knocked the master power switch on the remote power management box, and all the computers went down at once. Everything rebooted cleanly a few minutes later, so not too bad, but tcp.com had an uptime of 1 year and 1 month, so it was kinda disappointing to interrupt that uptime.

Finally I was able to make it onto the road and down to Santa Barbara where I’ll be until Wednesday morning.