Aug 2 2016

Oh my God…

Adel Gabot

6:31AM

WHY THE HELL AM I SO FRIGGIN’ ATTRACTED TO HER?

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Jul 25 2016

Verification

Adel Gabot

5:08PM

Dammit. What does it take?

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Jul 1 2016

The Sony “Rolly”

Adel Gabot

SONY_ROLLY_1

1:32PM

Saw an article on The Verge‘s Circuit Breaker gadget blog recently about the Sony Rolly. It was a look-back article, honoring and paying tribute to recent-but-quickly-rendered-obsolete tech. Nice. I have some experiece with the Rolly too.

Several years ago, I had a client who owned one and showed it off every chance he could get. He was obviously very proud he had one of the new-fangled toys, and he graciously lent me the thing for a week. I showed it off to all the people at my office in ABS-CBN, at the house, and to everyone I could.

Predating the Sphero Star Wars: The Force Awakens BB-8 by a good few years, the Rolly was a vanity project for Sony. It was pretty expensive back then at US$400, pretty rare—and pretty nice too.

It was essentially an egg-shaped wireless Bluetooth speaker that fit in the palm of your hand and had blinking lightbars (or light-rings) around it that changed colors on the fly or if you shook it really hard, two ends (or as Sony calls them, arms) that opened up and flapped like wings and rotating tracks that that moved together or in opposite directions and let it dance around intelligently to the music.

It had 2GB of flash memory and an accelerometer built-in. You synced it to your computer, tablet, phone or MP3 player via Bluetooth, and it would dance around on the floor or on the tabletop with many predetermined routines, with the ends flapping open and closed separately or together in time with the music, zooming and spinning around the room on the two tracks, as if it knew the song it was playing and was actually dancing to it specifically.

While it can dance to streaming music on the fly, it also has a “choreographer” program that can analyze the music tracks and create specific “motion” files for it to dance to. It can even play spoken word files which the arms would flap to and create the illusion that the device was actually talking. But it was much better at dancing.

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And that was all it did. As I said, a vanity project.

I really don’t know what purpose it served. I mean, who wanted a speaker that danced all over the room? It would be nice to watch for about fifteen minutes, but after that it got old real fast.

It’s been discontinued in most outlets, and you’d be lucky to find one in a store or website.

It’s since been superceded by Sphero and a few other companies who’ve created far better and more capable toys than the Sony Rolly, but if I find one of these at a discount store or website somewhere, I’d be sorely tempted to buy it, just for old time’s sake.

And that sums up my brief experience with the Rolly.


Feb 19 2016

Mechanical keyboard redux, et al

Adel Gabot

3:42PM

I was watching the latest MacBreak Weekly podcast on my new Apple TV this morning, and one of the commentators, Andy Ihnatko, was showing off his pick (at the end of every show each of them gives their Picks of The Week, whether it be Apple gear, an app, a handy accessory or even a software or hardware tip), and it was a new mechanical desktop keyboard.

It featured Cherry mechanical switches and a host of other configurable features, and Andy talked about how he loved to use it, so much so that he’s taken to working at his desktop in his home office first thing in the morning, eschewing his laptop in bed, just to be able to use it.

He loved the noise, the clacking, and the mechanical feel so much he looked for reasons and excuses to be able to use the keyboard. Exactly how I feel!

I’ve been using an ancient IBM Model M keyboard, that old dinosaur that was old when Apple IIs were young, for over a year now, and I’ve put away the compact bluetooth keyboard that came with my iMac forever. Yes, it’s damned noisy, but I’ve gotten used to it, and have grown to love that clack-clack-clack. I’ve gotten so used to it I’d even forgotten it makes that much noise, and it took Ihnatko to remind me why I loved it so, even if it barely fits on the keyboard shelf of my computer desk.

Coincidentally, someone in my user group (PhilMUG) actually wrote to me earlier in the week, and he came across some of my old keyboard posts and was asking me if I still had any left for sale. At one time I actually had three Model Ms. I sold one online, and am using another on my the iMac. The third is a write-off: it’s missing a couple of keys, and another couple aren’t functioning; it was poorly maintained when I got it, and it showed. Had to extend my regrets.

But I love love love the one I have.

Nice to be reminded of it.

*

I did a bit of rearranging in my room: I put in a small cabinet right beside the iMac where I now keep my electronic whatsits for easy access, and put the detritus I usually keep on my computer desk on top of it, clearing the table. I also bought a corkboard which I attached to the wall above the cabinet, and got a notepad and some pushpins so I could tack up reminders to myself and see them instantly.

I also re-angled my iMac to face the corner where all this stuff is, instead of being aligned to the wall, so my workarea has been altered somewhat. It feels new and different a bit, and is a welcome change.

*

I’m thinking of purchasing a new servomotor-driven Automatic Voltage Regulator again (now that I can afford one again). A modest 1500-watt regulator should be enough; a bigger one is too expensive. There’s a 1500-watt servomotor Akari AVR selling in SM for a little over P3.2K, and I’m considering buying one.

I only have my (configured-to-the-max) 27″ iMac, two powered external drives, a powered USB hub, a table lamp and a fan to power up on the 220V side (that should all take up about 800-1000 watts), and on the entertainment side of things, a big flatscreen, a soundbar, a DVD player and the Apple TV. On the 110V side, the PS4 and the Dualshock Charging Station, although I think I should just leave those well enough alone, they’re the only 110V gadgets in the house.

But I’m still thinking about it though. I’ve survived all these years without an AVR, why would I need one now? (Then again, if had one before, I might still have my 3rd gen Apple TV and the RCA Digital Tuners. I don’t know about the ATV, but I’m sure the tuners got fried by a bolt of lightning. Oh, well.)

*

On the tragic side of things, my Uncle Ating passed away yesterday. His daughter called us up to tell us.

He’s the husband of my dad’s oldest sister, Auntie Salud; he just turned 90 last year. We were marveling then how old they’d all gotten, and wondered idly when they’d pass. Now we know.

Uncle Ating was a prominent lawyer in his day in Agoo, La Union. When we were kids we used to vacation in Agoo at their family’s house near the beach, where we used to play with their kids, my cousins Pepe, Manny and Ciony.

His remains lie in state in Agoo, and we’re working out how and when to go pay our respects.

Rest well, Uncle. You’ll be sorely missed.


Dec 15 2015

Crap. I better get a new TV.

Adel Gabot

12:28PM

Dammit. It’s really hard trying to make a TV work without HDMI ports.

Apparently my flatscreen gave up the ghost this Saturday as far as all of the three HDMI inputs are concerned. None of them work anymore. The PS4, my 3rd gen Apple TV, the DVD player, the digital tuner box, none of them want to connect. All I get is “No Signal” from any of them.

I’ve established it isn’t my devices that’s screwing up by testing them on another TV with working HDMI ports last Sunday, so that’s that. Everything else works fine though. The cable feed, the media port, the VGA inputs, everything. It’s just the damned HDMI ports. And it so happens that’s what I most use on the effing TV, even more than cable.

I guess I better get a new one then (or have this old one fixed). But I’d rather get a newer, bigger one, to be honest. This old one has already given me five years of great service, and it’s high time I upgraded to a bigger unit anyway.

So I comparison-shopped this morning and I got all sorts of models from simple bigscreens to elaborate 4K resolution sets that were also Smart TVs. The prices also fluctuated wildly, but here are a lot of Christmas sales around for TVs, and I have a rich field to choose from.

I think I’ve kinda decided on a modestly priced 50″ Smart TV unit (I wish I could afford a 4K unit, but you know how it is). The internet connectivity is a welcome bonus I hadn’t counted on, so that’s cool. But I think I’ll wait for a week or two to really finalize. At least before January rolls in.

Hay naku. I wasn’t actually getting a Christmas gift for myself this year, but let’s just consider this new TV as the one, ok?