Riding the Flow

musings from the shire

Levitating Spinner

“Levitron Revolution World Stage

In essence it is a platform and a globe. A globe contains a small magnetic plate which can be removed and placed inside any object of your choice.

The object up to 3oz in weight will then levitate over the platform, rotating slowly and illuminated by several blue LEDs – looking totally awesome :D

Synaptics_ClickPad[1] I think majority of modern laptops use Synaptic touchpad in them. These are capacitive input panels, so naturally they can detect multiple finger presses at once.

Recent Synaptics drivers have a lot of multi-touch gesture functionality in them. However, you will find most of it disabled on many notebooks – I think for marketing reasons (or maybe to avoid aggravating Apple too much ;) ).

However, all multi-touch functionality is present on standard driver, and just artificially “hidden” using registry keys (which are even named like “HideTwoFingerScrolling”, how honest of them ;) ). So, to re-enable missing features just:

  • Download this .reg file, save it somewhere – on your desktop for example. Do not choose “Open” in browser, choose “Save To…”!
  • Click on it to open in Explorer (important! open from Windows Explorer/Desktop only, not directly from your web browser, not from third-party file managers like Total Commander – to make sure it will use correct registry on 64-bit systems)
  • when it asks if you sure to modify registry, choose “yes”
  • go to the touchpad control panel – you should now see new available options like “Two Finger Scrolling” (in the “Scrolling” section) and “Application Gestures”.

This was tested 100% working with Synaptics driver version 13.2.7.3 on Toshiba Qosmio X505.

I fully expect Synaptics to make feature re-enabling harder after everybody starts using this registry trick. So after you confirm that it’s worked for you - I recommend to make working driver version backup, just in case.

A candle-powered lava lamp

872_mathmos_fireflow_candle_lava_lamp[1]

Mathmos Fireflow – the most efficient cordless lava lamp (since it generates heat directly) :)

http://www.mathmos.com/x15042.html

New laptop is here!

 

Qosmio X505 004Well, I’ve took a plunge and went ahead with my original plans for new laptop. Its finally there, took only 2 days to arrive from US. Yep, it’s an import – first of all, I want US keyboard, second, UK models are not being released for another month, and thirdly – even with shipping costs and duty its significantly cheaper.

First impressions of the screen: DPI is alright (18.1”, 1680x945), no need to zoom up anymore. Brightness is about 2x times more than of my old one (Satellite X200). Viewing angles are wider (mainly due to bigger pixel size). White level is very uniform – but, black is not uniform and it’s not very black. Guess you can not have everything (at least until AMOLED laptop screens will arrive ;) ) I guess brightness is more important though – to diminish visible reflections from glossy screen.

i7 quad core is a total beast – 8 CPUs in Task Manager ;). I plan to keep my old hard drive (WD Scorpio Black), it’s same 320Gb, but faster than preinstalled Hitachi one.

Its wide, but quite thin (about 2 inches only), and power efficiency is excellent for such a beast – finally, small 100W power brick, and 3-4 hours surfing on battery! Old one has 1Kg 200W monstrosity of PSU – it’s really a brick ;)

The audio is excellent (when I’ve disabled preinstalled EQ). That’s why I consider only Toshiba laptops lately – can’t really beat Harman/kardon speaker systems they use.

Now busy copying & reinstalling. Preinstalled Windows 7 Home Premium has ton of unneeded crap already installed (and god knows which internal “enhancements” to the registry made by Toshiba). So, as usual, first thing to do – re-format, do a clean Home Premium install. Then I plan to use Anytime Upgrade to purchase Ultimate - I want Bitlocker and Remote Desktop. Fun ;)

Preparing for the Rainy Season

Water Repellent on WindscreenJust have finished treatment of all glass surfaces on my car with water-repellent finish. It really works and I find it quite useful.

The idea is to cover car windscreen/windows with invisible oily Teflon-like layer – to which water will not adhere, so it will just roll off. It greatly reduces the need to use wipers – usually water droplets just roll off due to vibration of the car. And when you go at motorway speed – no need for wipers at all – water just literally flies away blown by the wind!

It just that application procedure is kind of tedious:

  1. wash the glass with glass washer to make sure it clean
  2. wipe it dry, not allowing water drying spots
  3. smear it with water repellent
  4. let it dry – it will make windows foggy and greasy
  5. polish with paper towels to shininess

Good thing there are next-gen repellents already that supposed to last up to a year (!) from single application. Pity I still have to finish the bottle of previous generation repellent that needs re-applying every 2 months or so ;)

Pains of eBaying

Have an accumulated mini-mountain of unneeded stuff to go in eBay. Yet again ;)

I wish there was an automagic way to put articles on eBay, without the need to photo, host and write articles for every item. Oh well, back to work :)

Edit: Make this - photo, host, check item weight and write articles for every item ;)

Choosing a Pocket Multi-tool

Personally I think pocket multi-tools (as a superset of more well-known Swiss Army knives) are very useful.

You never know when during the course of day you’ll need to cut a package or envelope open, snip a loose thread, open a bottle or unscrew/screw down something. It’s bad when you don’t have proper tools nearby (but even when you do, it’s often a hassle to fetch/put them back).

That’s why it’s extremely good to always have multi-tool in your pocket, especially when it’s small and light enough to be unnoticeable. Obviously compactness comes at the price of less features, it’s always a compromise.

Why blog on (Google) Blogger?

My main target was the service for good personal blogging – mainly to eliminate the need to IM all bits of personal news to all of my friends :) Therefore, some social networking feature were desired too , but they were second to blogging.

So, quick search turned out several most known candidates:

Looks like my next laptop!

Toshiba Qosmio X500

http://socialnews.toshiba.co.uk/?ReleaseID=13687

  • Intel® Core i7-720QM (2.8GHz, 6MB L2, 1333MHz FSB)
  • Up to 8GB DDR3 RAM (1066MHz)
  • Up to 1TB HDD (500GB 5400 rpm + 500GB 5400 rpm)
  • 18.4" Full HD TruBrite® LCD screen (1920 x 1080p)
  • 6x BD-RE optical drive (Blu-ray rewritable)
  • nVIDIA® GeForce® GTS 250MNV (1GB)
  • Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/Draft-N
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 3x USB 2.0 Sleep-and-Charge ports
  • 1x USB Sleep-and-Charge/e-SATA combo port
  • 5-in-1 card reader

I would much more prefer 17-inch laptop, since 18.4 feels just tad too big – and I will have to find a new laptop backpack too. However on the upside this one looks a lot slimmer than prev-gen X200 and X300 (I have X200 now).

And no alternative to Toshiba brand for me – as far as I’ve seen, only Toshiba makes high-end laptops with truly superb speakers – they on par with proper "mini-theater” dedicated sets.

Learning to CSS

Learning CSS and refreshing my HTML now – at least on the basic level to do decent job on the blog :)

CSS makes HTML truly clean & separates “visual” from “data” very well. Thanks to Blogger CSS customization you can tweak formatting with ease without changes to blog posts.

Well, to my surprise I’ve found that Microsoft Word <=> Blogger integration is virtually nonexistent. There was a Blogger for Word add-on from Google, but it was discontinued ages ago.

Why can not Windows Live Writer use Microsoft Office spell & grammar checker – I’ll never know (after all, Microsoft Outlook does). I guess, yet another example when they can not even share technologies within the same company. Welcome to the real world…

So, since I really want Word grammar checker, I now:

  1. write a bulk of the post in Word
  2. copy & paste it in Windows Live Writer
  3. do supplementary editing
  4. publish
  5. … it sucks :)

Still, searching around the Web turned out that this is really the best solution available for now...

Blogger has pretty good standalone web editor for blog posts. However, it lacks spellchecking. Also standalone editors a tad more responsive & feature-rich.

It seems that Windows Live Writer is a pretty good offline editor – also quite lightweight and integrates with Blogger.

Update: While I was writing this post, I’ve found that spellchecking is here, but, well, lacking. It’s only a spellchecking, and not comprehensive spell-and-grammar check as found in, say, Microsoft Word.

So I think my next try will be just to integrate Word ;)

Here goes nothing!

Just created a blog here :)
Not sure yet if I'll keep it yet though - currently in progress of investigation of several alternative solutions to try to figure out what is best for my needs.

Update: looks like I am here to stay, but I think I need to sleep it over ;) If everything goes well - (more) content is coming :)