Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Acer Tablet - 1 month on

Its been at least a month now since I bit the bullet on my Android tablet - the acer iconia tab. I thought I'd post a bit of a review to share my thoughts.

The design is slightly more bulky than the ipad2 and with the case i'm currently using I'd place it somewhere near the original ipad in terms of thickness and weight. This doesn't detract from its use at all, as a rule I only use it sitting down and find it a pleasure in either the landscape or portrait position. I wouldn't risk standing with one handed operation on a moving train though (as some ipad users do). I have large hands and prefer a little heft which translates to a firmer grip. The screen is more than bright enough, I would guess the majority of my use with screen set to auto brightness keeps it in the lowest 1/4 of the scroll bar meaning at its dimmest it's plenty bright. The touch accurateness is also excellent, at certain angles in the sunlight you can see the sensors of the touch screen but this is rare and only prior to turning on. Sound is as good as you'd hope for from such little speakers,but I can happily watch youtube vids or hear my mail chime.

For the moment 32gb onboard has been ample, I used a 32gb micro sd from my phone for the first few weeks bringing total storage up to 64gb but prefer my phone for music/radio use so I switched it back. I'll get another microsd 32gb is around $70 at the moment so perhaps maybe in a month or two when larger ones will be more readily available for around the same money. I do want to keep a copy of all my images on the tablet so 100GB + will be a must.

Mobile & WIFI Use:
On my daily commute with Telstra sim i've found the reception to be excellent, no complaints at all. Likewise at home wireless use has been excellent, youtube streams well (when I don't have another PC running p2p)

Android Honeycomb:
This is by far one of the best interfaces i've used, I love the layout, how customisable everything is, active wallpapers, widgets etc etc. I especially liked that I was able to link my accounts and access all images uploaded to my various blogs from within the gallery. I wont go into the apps I use in details but I will say that I do have the following covered happily:
- Remote access and control of my home pc
- File management
- GPS navigation
- Ample Games
- eBook reading (text & PDF)
- IM/Video chat

I've on average charged the Acer every 2-3 days depending on use

By far the best addition for a tablet is the full USB port support.... well whatever but for me the keyboard option is awesome. Its so handy to be able to wack in a keyboard and bang out a few paragraphs. A perfect example was yesterday at work when my PC wouldn't connect to the network, I was able to run up my lotus notes via citrix on the tab plug in my keyboard and use it at almost PC speed. I have a blue tooth mouse at home somewhere that I must also try.

There is only one to be honest & that's not the tablet, its the cheap and crappy charger that came with it, not only did it need some assistance to work out of the box (pin was out of alignment) the cord is way to short. A cost cutting exercise that really reflects poorly on the whole, but hey as I'm only charging it once every few days its not much of a worry to me. I intend to get the dock/charger so I can have one in my bag at all times and easily dock to charge the device at home.

All in all I'd give it 9 out of 10 (detracting 1 point for such a poor quality power supply)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not my bag baby

I've really struggled to find a bag that meets my needs, I liked my little crumpler but it was a touch too small (read tiny) and didn't fit my tablet. I then upgraded to the maxpedition sitka gear slinger which is a fraction more tactical or tacticool than the crumpler.

Its a quality sling bag (One strap worn like a backpack) that features the sort of organisational design I like combined with a nice compartment that my tablet fits in (albeit for CCW). Unfortunately I don't like the sling style carrier for work travel, wearing it with business shirts and riding on crowded trains I quickly new I should have opted for a shoulder bag. The Sitka will be awesome on a motorcycle or mountain bike bag because its design allows you to access all compartments without removing your helmet so I will keep it and still get plenty of use.

Why am I so fussy about bags? Its in part about being organised but also its about preparedness, I live a LONG way away from my work in the city and am dependent on services and systems outside my control to get to and from the CBD.

My bag needs to meet my every day needs as well as serve as a "get home bag" if need be. There are any one of a number of reasons for someone to need to get home on foot be it widespread power outage stopping the trains, a gas leak closing the highway or even a zombie apocalypse (2 of the 3 have happened in the last 6 months, I'll let you guess which ones).

From work to my home is just under 80km door to door, not a stroll in the park by any means and while my commute is split in half between rail and road I like to feel confident that if I needed to bail I could get home on foot.

Daily Items:
- Headphones
- Tablet
- USB Drive & Cables
- Sunglasses
- Reading Glasses
- Lense Cleaning kit
- Lunch/Snacks (occasionally)
- Leatherman Wave
- Ventolin & Other meds
- Keys & Security Cards
- Led Light

Get Home/Preparedness Items:
- Poncho
- Paracord
- Fire Kit
- Water Kit
- Knife
- Small FAK

These lists seem like a lot but most pack down into next to nothing, the only tricky item is my tablet and how to address carrying water. At work I typically refill my 750ml bottle 6-8 times a day so I'm tempted to replace it with another 1L Sigg (I have one at home also) so if I need to I have bottles with me but don't necessarily carry them daily. Another option would be a wide mouth bottle (like the nalgene or camelback styles) and use it to store some of the listed items.

I'm very happy with the quality of my maxped sitka and think something that fallsunder "Tactical"will have the quality I'm after. The 1000+ denier nylon doesn't wear or show up the dirt and look manky after the crumpler did from a few months use

Here are some of the options i've looked at:

Maxpedition Mongo Versipack - This was my original favorite, Its pretty exxy. In my opinion you pay more for maxped for their rep. I like that there are ample colors to choose from, dedicated water bottle storage and any maxped ad on would be interchangeable with my sitka I also like the pouch on top for eye wear.

5.11 Tactical Push Pack - This bag seems to offer the same as the mongo just on a smaller scale (and half the price). The downside for me is both of the side compartments are both water storage & it wouldn't hold my tablet securely but it does share the glasses pouch on to with the mongo.

5.11 Tactical Bail Out Bag - This bag moves away from the versipack style of the mongo and push and serves as an active shooter meaning there are ample pockets on the outside for magazines. Not being a shooter or purveyor of firearms in any form this bag looses out for me because 3 of the external pockets are not sealed. It does have a plus being that there is easy external access to glasses and all little bits and pieces, there is no dedicated spot for my tab though meaning i'd have to rig up some velcro retaining straps on the inside loop field to secure it. Internal molle webbing for adding pouches is an added bonus.

5.11 Tactical Rush Delivery Messenger bag - If this bag was a hair smaller it would be perfect, I don't have a need to carry a 15 inch laptop let alone a 17inch so size wise its overkill I do however like the design and internal organisation.

Plat-a-Tac taxi Bag - I'm so so on this bag given it includes a belt system that isn't removeable or stow able (which I don't need) however it is cheaper than the maxped and I can source it locally and it seems to have a few compartments that I can store my tab separately EDIT - I went and tried this bag on, one added bonus was the shoulder strap was more than long enough however they bag itself just didn't feel stiff enough on me also the waist belt was not removable/stowable.

Plat-a-Tac Modular Snatch Bag $195 I really like the fact that this bag is entirely customisable, you have ample MOLLE webbing to attache internal pouches and compartments, I could easily rig up a securing system for my tab too. There are 2 downsides one being that its freakin expensive (especially when you add in a few more $$ for pouches) and also its design is to drop out making all the internals available for access. I'm not sure how secure 2 press studs and a zipper would be holding the bag together. EDIT - I went and tried out this bag and the dimensions were not as I expected. I expected similar dimensions to the taxi bag however the bag itself was much larger and the shoulder strap was too short.

Plat-a-Tac Snatch Bag - This bag shares the features of the modular without being expandable, it also looses out on molle webbing and you get standard elastic internal loops. Price is better too. EDIT- They didn't have this one on display so I couldn't sus it out

So drawing on learnings from my usage of the maxpedition sitka over the past 2 months I opted for the Maxpedition Mongo Versipack for a number of reasons:
- Maxped Quality
- Superior Organisation options (loop field everywhere)
- Glasses access on top
- Fits my tablet
- Can carry a laptop

I think perhaps the key comment I saw on one of the many Mongo reviews comparing the two styles of bag (gear slinger vs versipack) was that the Sitka was more of a bag that you pack before your journey and access/unpack when you reach your destination. The Mongo is a bag you can access during your journey which really suited my needs.

I decided on foliage green over black, I really don't know why.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

From The Photo Shoot...

As mentioned here and also here
I'm told you can expect to see them in boating and camping stores and there shopuld be some super big versions in shopping centres, more on that to come.

Pure Bronze (Plated)

When I was in pre-school I made a plate. Well... I didn't make the plate, I drew a design on a special piece of paper and it was sent away and transferred onto a plate. From memory the image was of me and had my name. I can't recall the specifics only that I it lasted over 1o years of daily use and dishwasher cleaning.

Earlier this year I discussed "The Plate" with MB and how I thought it would be a great craft project for each of the children & all things going well last a long time. (we tend to hammer our crockery)

I scoured the internet trying to find companies that did "The plate" I couldn't remember the brand only that the plates were made from Pyrex?? and the template was a large sheet of paper with a circle and all sorts of instructions. My internet searches unfortunately didn't yield any success (I guess i suck @ computers) MB however found something that matched my description. She showed the website & products to me and I knew instantly it was exactly what I was after.

An order was sent off and shortly after a large flat package arrived complete with ample sheets and an array of colored textas.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves....

As you can see some of the children (like myself) went freehand others Like C & P wanted specific pictures so with a little help from dad they had tracings of what they wanted. MB decided to go with some symbols of meaning to her. I went with a freehand picture of MB and I, a love heart representing each child.

I'll post more pics when the finished products arrive...

Tissue expansion, nevus & the many changes faces of C

Seeing though C has finished his tissue expansion i'm re-tagging all my nevus related posts as..... well nevus as it will be ongoing. Whilst there wont be any more rounds of expansion there will be more surgeries. Nips and tucks as I call them, to fix up his eyebrow, his cheek etc etc.

We've been on the waiting list for the next op for over a year now. The waiting for his first op was excruciating but all ops since I've swayed more towards a "whatever,whenever" attitude. Its not like its something to look forward to, taking your child to hospital, having to sometimes restrain them as they go under and comfort them after they come out. I try not to think of it, just casually remind C with a stroke of his cheek that we will see the doc again to sort that out.I recently went back and looked through our old photos from when he was born, it blew me away just how much he has changed. His nevus has lightened considerably and I cant help but feel anxiety about the what ifs. What if we left it, his hairline would be more natural, he'd have both eyebrows but then I also look at him now and see the changes for the better. Maybe its in my mind but while he still never feels the cold he doesn't seem to overheat as much as he used to. I know the expansion wouldn't have created more sweat glands just spread them out over his scalp but I like to think its made a significant improvement. MB sees it more than I do..

Self Portrait

I joke with family and friends and say he is my favorite, I know i'm not supposed to say such things but he and I share a closeness that I don't have with my other children. I still feel guilt for the emotions I had when he was born. I think that my guilt combined with what we've been through together makes me show him extra favoritism and lenience when he misbehaves. He really has turned into quite a cheeky little boy, spoilt by his father for sure and you know what? I wouldn't change that ever.

Some of the shots give you an idea of where he is at and can show his scars, man it was tuff trying to find imnages

Showing the hypertrophic Scarring
We've decded that he is best with longer hair so when it gets some length this time around we will start taking him to the hair dresser (as opposed to me shaving his head) and get them to shape it to suit his scars and skewed hair line

Looking Back 5 years its quite a surprise to me the various color changes within the nevus I think it definitely got darker after birth then lightened up. Maybe its just me


DarkUntil Next Time....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You're Excited? Feel These Nipples!

So today I ordered my new PC, the specs are probably what you would consider high end by desktop standards. In terms of gaming PC i'd place it in the mid range.

The Specs: i7 2600k cpu
8gb DDr3 ram
p67-B3 mobo
2X 1Tb 7200 Drives (I'll add another 4 myself)
HD 6950 GPU (Eyefinity Support)
DVD Burner (I'll add a bluray drive myself)
Wireless N PcI Card
700W PowerSupply
2 X 24" Acer Hd Led Screens (I'll add a third to the mix down the track)
Windows 7 Pro

Thermaltake Chaser Mk-1 Case

I'm confident that this machine will meet all my needs for at least 3 years and give me something to tinker with (aftermarket cooling, SSD etc) and serve as something that I can not only play games on but also work comfortably from home on. With the addition of another 4-8tb of space it should suffice as a means for storing all my personal photos & videos as well manage all my movies and TV shows.

I had to chuckle when went in and ordered it. My dell XPS took over 2 weeks from ordering to delivery which for me who is easily excitable and quickly impatient seemed like forever. This machine would have been ready tonight but I would have had no way to transport the boxes home so it'll have to be tomorrow.

I also think that a desktop setup compliments with using a tablet for general net surfing and email around the house meaning I don't always have to reside in my study (which will make MB happy). I've just successfully tested working remotely on my iconia via Citrix receiver and am satisfied it will handle "emergency situations" where I might need to connect to work which is an added bonus I didn't expect to be able to do. I've actually just published this post on my train ride home.

I love technology (and an understanding wife)

Until next time.........