A few days’ worth of observations

Into The Sunset

Random observations made on an approximately three-to-four day blogging hiatus that involved a great photowalk (the above photograph and two new images in the titlebar rotation being products of said photowalk; you can find the rest in my Flickr set), an epic lazy day spent with Windows 7, and other day-to-day snippets:

Justification for a handheld weather station

Friday I met up with Gregory Pittman, John Piercy (who came down all the way from Canada), Ian and Kathy May, and Eugene Mah for a walk across the Ravenel Bridge. About halfway up, I quickly realized two things:

  • I should have charged the batteries to my camera, as it went dead fairly quickly, and
  • I need a handheld weather station to check the winds up there, because I was being blown around.

The battery issue was largely a non-factor as my trusty BlackBerry Bold was able to take the reins and actually do an excellent job, but it was the weather — high winds I’d estimate upwards of 40 mph at times and resulting windchills likely in the low 40s — that had me really captivated. It was there that I was reminded of my want — and really, if I’m going to take this weather thing seriously, need — of some sort of handheld weather station. I think a Kestrel 4000-series would fit the bill nicely. (My birthday’s in May. ;) ) Blustery weather aside, it was a fantastic time and there were some great shots taken. Red’s for dinner was excellent, too. (Lowcountry Boil FTW!)

Windows 7 is really, really good

I’ve been running the Windows 7 beta on another machine for the last few weeks, and I’ve tried to spend at least one day a weekend using it close to exclusively. I’ve got to tell you that I’ve been majorly impressed. It’s Vista done right (quite literally; the real version number for Windows 7 is Windows 6.1). User Account Control is indeed far less annoying, and it’s nice to see Microsoft take advantage of desktop composition for something other than enabling inane, largely useless effects (Flip 3D, anyone?)

Certainly Windows 7 is not perfect; some will say it’s hamstrung by the simple fact that it’s Windows. However, I could see this being yet another long-lived version of Windows, much like XP was, because if Beta 1’s robustness is any indication (I’ve seen no crashes yet!), this should bode very, very well for the reliability of the final product.

I call my work Mac “Thunder” — and it responds! (sometimes)

If you’re connected with me in social media, undoubtedly you’ve seen over the last couple days my intermittent experiments at work with Apple’s Speakable Items feature in Mac OS X, which lets me address the machine verbally and issue commands. Naturally, it follows that I would configure the speech subsystem to respond to commands to “Thunder” (a la Thunder in Paradise, recently rated by Entertainment Weekly as one of the top 25 cheesiest syndicated shows ever). The voice recognition works alright; it’s not perfect, and it’s impossible to get it to respond to some commands (such as “Switch to TweetDeck” — it can’t figure that one out). That, and there’s the inherent possibility of the people surrounding you thinking you are absolutely crazy for talking to your computer. No matter; that did not stop me from having a fun conversation with “Thunder” during lunch today:

The next step is to learn how to create Speakable Items so I can start issuing ROCs (Routines of Command). Or, not.

Don’t forget…

Don’t forget about Serious Business tonight at 8:30 PM ET. A stream-of-consciousness show plan is up on the brand-spanking-new Serious Business tumblr site. Hope to see all non-LOST fans in chat and Skyping in!