Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Little Something [:

A little while ago I came across an application that has become incredibly useful. PrimoPDF is a nifty app that pretty much sits in place of a printer. When used it outputs whatever it is that you’re “Printing” into a .PDF file (instead of that odd [cough] and useless [end cough;] .XPS format that Windows offers). ©2009, activePDF, Inc., Nitro PDF, Inc., and Nitro PDF Pty. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Possible uses include:

–Making copies of recipes found online for a personal cookbook.

–Creating .PDFs of online tutorials for offline learning/use.

–Copying spouted B.S. from an Ex on their myspace page for later     ;-).

Basically, anything that can be printed can be converted into a .PDF by this ingenious app. There is a free version that is very useful, and honestly the only version I’ve used. But there is one note to be said … It takes a little getting used to in terms of usage. I mean, it is a completely new way of doing things. (A suggestion is to set the PrimoPDF “printer” as the default printer on computers that have no other printers installed. Then just going through the steps of “printing” has the effect of making your new PDF file.)

Enjoy, I know I have :).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Writer (Beta): Two Keyboards Up… Way Up.

So if you’ll remember from my post From [Here] to <There> I mentioned that I was going to write up a little review of WindowsLive’s Writer (Beta). Well, today is the day of prophecy!! It turns out that this program is really nifty. It does one thing. And it does it well! –You: “But Rob, that’s your opinion. What do you have to back it up?”

I’m glad you asked [You]. To start off with, installation was a breeze. The only information that I had to provide was my blog’s URL, username, and password. Writer took that and ran like Forest Gump. It configured itself from there on out to be able to very seamlessly administer to the writing and editing of the posts on my blog.

This MoFo starts off looking like a word processor, (one that just so  User_Interfacehappens to have the same look and settings as the blog’s webspace), then goes on to act as FTP interface for the blog post itself and any pictures or video you may add. Heck, you can even add a map insert. (Yeah, I just found that out :-) ). (You’ll see little links for all of these actions to the right side of the main window screenshot.)

Retrieve_From_Blogs_WebsiteAnother cool feature  (yes, in my opinion) is that posts can be retrieved from your site, edited, and then reposted with the corrections/additions. And the action is very seamless (there’s that word again). Doing this feels just like something as simple as editing a TXT document. Well, it’s even Previous Post Selectioneasier really, because your recent previous posts  of also listed to the right on the main screen.




Honestly, there’s really not much else to it. Every action you might want to do with a post is covered in a concise, simple, seamless (Ha ha. Had to get at least one more in :) ) way and the user interface isn’t all jumbled and busy. Simplicity? Efficiency?? From the makers of Windows??? Yeah, we’re entering into a new era. Have to be.


P.S. – My apologies for the bad formatting, with regards to the pictures. They don’t lend themselves to being in a post, but I wanted you to be able to see at least some of the program.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Earn your [Nerd] Card:

So you’re sitting around one say catching up on your RSS Feeds, using Bit torrent to DL some p0rn, and reading “3001: The Final Space Odyssey” [Arthur C. Clark; 1997] when you get an itch to push (well, wouldn’t it be pull) some electrons around some copper. But you don’t just wanna stop there. You want to Really turn up the Nerdness. So what do you do?

Introduction: Nerd Kit <queue an angel chorus andPA300006 the “light of heaven”>. Know a little C? Wanna fark with some electronics? Wanna learn about doing both at the same time? Nerd Kits is the way, the truth, and the LED.  This kit was put together by a duo of 1000 lbs. heads by the names of Humberto Evans and Mike Robbins. These cats graduated MIT with various degrees of which folks like ourselves could only dream. But they’re down-to-earth chaps of high caliber.

Being posted in Iraq at the moment, I had to shoot them an email to see about having the particle manipulator of the gods [in a box]* shipped via APO. Not only was the response timely, but it was also enthusiastic. These cats really do care about getting the ability to mess with really advanced electronic principles out into us laymen’s hands.

For my part, the most important and precious component of this kit is the included PDF. This gem is part instruction set, part digital electronics introduction, and part instigator. It tells you what connections to make for a number of projects, WHY you’re making those connection, as well as leaving these tantalizing bits that send you off into a tizzy to learn more on your own.

Their site is informative about the kit and who they are. I suggest heading over there and checking it out. Eh, I more than suggest. By order of the Caffeinated []Nerd Legion of Nettingshire you are commanded to check this deal out!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Project: Mint Tin MoJo

What do you get when you mix hobby electronics, being cheep, and a caffeine high? Cool sh*t in mint tins!! Well, maybe cool isn’t the right word. Neat? Useful? Geek? Yeah, geek works. (Esp. for the second project).

So what’s on the table? How about a pocket amp that can be used to pump up your iPod or other MP3 Player’s output. (It can also be used to amp out an electric guitar to a set of earphones for play practice that even the neighbors can enjoy). And the second is a very portable battery fueled USB charger.

Notes: First and foremost, these projects are far from original ideas from me. And secondly, this post isn’t meant as instructional. I dig pushing electrons and thought that both of these projects were both simple and useful. That led me to want to put some more spotlighting on them and this is how I’m doing it :).

Home Brew LoveThe Pocket Amp: or otherwise known as the Mint Tin Amp or the Cmoy Pocket Amplifier, is a simple OP-Amp based circuit that can either, as mentioned, rock your ears off or (with a small change to the input socket) be used to amp out your electric guitar to a set of headphones. [This site here] has a detailed explanation of everything from construction to principals involved. But it was on the Instructables website that I first learned about this fresh smelling bit of auditory love. 

The Pocket USB Charger: is even more simple and quite possibly more useful. Testing and an update to this post will ensue, but for now … this is effin’ cool. iPod low on juice, but you’re feining for tunes and can only get your hands on a couple of 9v batteries? This lil luff muffin will come to the rescue. The image kinda says it all in terms of construction. As you can see it’s easy peasy and thus there’s no excuse not to try it out. :). altoid_usb_charger

Enjoy and email some pics of your results to I’d love to see what you come up with. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

From [Here] to <There>

So no [deleted expletive] there I was; still high on caffeine and waiting for the hour hand to go around a couple of more times before our morning meeting. (Yeah, you know what those are like). Always looking for more convenient ways to get things done I went-a-searching for a windows based blogging application to facilitate to obvious endeavor. 

Enter Windows Live Write Beta. [Here] It’s part of a suite of tool “Big Brother’s Brother” put together to make getting your life out there on the net. {/me rolls eyes} Honestly, I’m not interested in the rest of that nonsense. The Writer service is what I’m checking out.

And that’s the purpose of this post. To test it :). I’ll give it a week or so and then actually post a review.

Stay tuned.

Caffeine: Necter of the God(s)

I’ll start things off simply. I love coffee (read: caffeine). Fuel for experimentation, fuel for fun, fuel for … well … all of the “good” ( ;-) ) things in life. What has caffeine fueled you to do?

Fuel … why the word fuel. This Shock Coffee's Triple Latte coursing through my nervous system at the moment is more like crack. The manufacturer states that there’s “up to 50% more caffeine than other gourmet coffee’s”. Caffeine isn’t listed on the “Nutrition Facts” label of the can, but the site’s FAQ went on to say that there is “the equivalent of about 2 cups of coffee”. .::Nods sagely::. I can dig it. But the question still remains: How much caffeine is in this stuff? I found this site that seems to be pretty much against every libation that I hold dear. Well, really it’s a page from some broadcasting company in Australia so its existence is probably due to the need for shock and awe (for $$$). The researchers, I’m assuming (dangerous territory that), are competent. And with that in mind I look at their findings: “It's usually presumed that a regular cup of coffee contains 100mg of caffeine but it may range between 40 and 176 mg and the mean is closer to 85mg.” So 85 x 2 = anyone …. anyone? Yeah, you smarty, in your head and all. 170mg of caffeine love per 8oz can of slimmy. Even at a conservative rough est. of this can’s content, that’s a [technical term follows:] crap-ton of caffeine.

The real beauty of this type of drink (compact energy drinks containing either massive quantities of caffeine or other exotic compounds –taurine– [/me beams. I luff that stuff too]) is the ease of consumption. Grab it. Pound it. Feel it.

Reiteration: What has caffeine fueled you to do?