Nathan Alter lives in Albuquerque with his wife and kids. He currently develops in C#/.NET, but is learning all the time and has enjoyed computers since programming in Basic on an Atari 400 as a teenager. He started blogging in 1999.
A year ago, I got a cheap 150cc scooter…a “PCC Rocky”. I’ve finally had enough and sold it. (He fixed it before selling it on consignment.) Overall, I can’t recommend scooters for long commutes. It was stalling often on hot afternoons and had to be kick started in the mornings when it was cool. I got many flats and had to replace a bent wheel on my 13 mile commute. A scooter might work for someone who’s actually in the city and won’t ride far. This has cost me about the same as a car would have in maintenance.
Lessons learned: If it’s a new 150cc scooter, you’re not supposed to go over 25 mph the first 300 miles. That could be a tall order. Also, pay attention to the octane requirements labeled near the tank. If you use low octane, you may have problems starting the thing. After 6000 miles, you have to have the main belt replaced, which is about $100. After 12000 miles, you have to get the engine rebuilt for about $300.
Sirius Backseat TV is 3 kids’ channels for $8 a month from your car. It’s installed in some new GMC vehicles. Cute idea, I guess…I didn’t know they could get satellite video into a moving vehicle for some reason.
I sometimes mention products that have failed badly. Allow me to mention a couple that have stood the test of time.
For dress shoes, try Doc Marten 8053 Oxfords. They’re built like tanks. I think I had a pair for about ten years. They finally just started looking really scuffed, but were still structurally sound. I got rid of them and got some cheap dress shoes that lasted a pitiful amount of time. So, I’ve gotten another pair of these…they may last me until my death.
For athletic/hiking shoes, try Merrell. I had a pair of Merrell hiking shoes that also lasted an astounding amount of time. They were thick-soled and comfortable. I recently got a cheap pair to replace them and it hasn’t worked out well. I wore through to the plastic grid in the sole in no time.
We went camping in the desert near Deming with a few other families from church this past weekend. I’d never camped in the desert before, so it was interesting. During the night, the moon was out so we could see without lights while walking out of the tent. In the heat of the day, we just lounged in the shade, as you don’t feel like doing much. Our friend out there had made a kind of obstacle course and zip line, which was great fun.
My friend brought several lasers. With the 20 mW green laser, he was able to point at stars and the beam showed up as far as you could see. He also had a 1 W ultraviolet laser. It had a very wide beam and was really cool to see. I like those things, but one shot into a reflective surface, and you could really injure an eye…so I’ve just stuck with the tiny cheapo red lasers. In fact, after I got one of the cheap ones, I told my son, who was 5 at the time…Rule # 1: don’t point it into your eye. Even then, I found him in the back of the car pointing it right into his eye from an inch away.
I’m kinda curious about the Dvorak keyboard layout. It would be so much faster than the QWERTY layout. I’m slowly teaching Sean to type and it seems like a neat idea for him too, but I wouldn’t want him to have problems on normal keyboards.
The QWERTY layout was originally designed to slow people down so this wouldn’t happen.
Because of ye olde typewriters, the QWERTY keyboard has silliness like wasting a home row key for a semicolon. It certainly doesn’t apply anymore.
Faster because the most-used keys are on the home row
Easier on the wrists and hands because vowels are on left hand, making you alternate hands as you type
You can change your layout in Windows via the control panel.
Could you still just walk up to someone’s QWERTY keyboard and type competently?
You’d probably have to switch your keyboard back to QWERTY for gaming.
This will probably never catch on for most people.
Somebody needs to invent coder gloves or mouse/keyboard heaters. I don’t want to switch away from my favorite keyboard, so it’d need to work with existing hardware. A google search just turns up some ugly non-ergonomic keyboards.
The antiquated save icon should probably go away now. Younger people may not even know what that picture is supposed to be. In case you don’t know, it’s a floppy disk. They were plastic squares the size of your palm that held a pitiful amount of data. You could fit thousands of them on a USB stick. They failed all the time and I don’t even install them in my PCs anymore. I’m not sure what tiny, obvious picture should replace it. Hard drive pictures are generally kinda technical and mysterious looking, so they don’t obviously mean “save”. Funny how things you assume to be obvious are actually pretty antiquated. I thought this one was obvious until I saw that someone on the internet was asking the question.