Thursday, October 13, 2011


Have you ever wanted to sit down with creative people and just create something? Work with folks of similar minds but of different backgrounds? I have and I've noticed others have too. That's why the emergence of Make Magazine and Make Conferences have come about. More people have gotten interested in making things, complex things, recycled things. Things a lot of geeks (and makers) are interested in but which can be difficult to do by yourself. Let's face it as a geek I may be great with computers and technology but other areas are left wanting for better (for instance: don't ask me to deal with colors). So folks have begun to pool resources and talents (such as computer geeks and artists) and reclaim junk, parts, tools, and otherwise useless spaces into Hackerspaces (community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects).

So I've decided to join the folks at The Institute for eXporitory Research (IXR - Wall, NJ). I could have joined NYC Resistor (Brooklyn NY), or FUBAR Labs (Highland Park, NJ) or gone as far as Philly's Hackerspaces. But this one suited me. For one thing, there is the Mid-Atlantic Retro and other groups at InfoAge (Vintage Computers, Amateur Radio Club, The Radio Technology Museum & The New Jersey Shipwreck Museum). These are other creative people whose minds we can pick. I'm hoping that this turns out to be a creative place to pick the minds of others and share information I've garnered over the years.

So this Sunday (Oct 16th), The Institute for eXporitory Research (IXR - Wall, NJ) will have a Grand Opening (all are invited). They'll have a Barbecue from 2PM to 6PM at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall, NJ (use the parking lot on the corner of Marconi Rd. & Monmouth Blvd (just off the exit/entrance for Rt 18 North). Here's their press release for the event.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Barnes and Noble Color Nook

I've been interested in getting two things. One is a decent Android based touch tablet and the other is a portable reader (I'm tired of dragging the laptop into the bathroom ;-)). I actually do a lot of reading so I thought an e-reader would be more comfortable than a laptop. So far I've been correct in that assumption. :-). I'm more or less happy with the Nook. It's easy to read. I dislike that I don't have certain apps such as weather or a calculator. The touch display is just okay. It's slow to react and there appears to be no way to adjust that. Sorry I am extremely impatient and I have no tolerance for waiting (it runs at 800 MHz for Pete's sake). My AT&T Samsung Galaxy Android phone has a much more responsive interface than the Nook. But the larger Nook screen is much easier to read. Another reason to buy the Nook is that I can hack and add apps or upgrade to a different OS. I will keep the hacking to a minimum as I just a few apps added and I really want to keep the reader as a reader (I have ebooks on ANTLR, AI, Groovy, Android, ZigBee and several magazines to read plus I may be able to use this to get to read the technical documents I have to read for work.). I will be putting the Nook to some pretty heavy use. I think I already see several things I want improved. More on that later as I just upgraded to 1.3 of the Nook OS.

Well I've immediately run into unusual problems and I've just as quick found out why (I searched the for the answer/problem before I dealt with the tech support folks). Seems I have a few troublesome epub files (I've figured out how to load my documents on the Nook). One is the collected works of Mark Twain epub file. In that file there are some corrupted images. That file completely locks up the reader app. My other files (such as PDFs and other epub files) are okay though the lack of some kind of bookmark for the makes it hard to remember where I was reading last. I'm looking up bookmarks as I type this. :-)

Okay so I've found the web browser, I've found the email and, of course, I've found the reader. I'd like to see a weath app, a chat app, a scientific calculator and some kind of note taking app to go along with it. In fact having a note taking/drawing app in the reader would be nice. I've yet to see anyone come up with a method of dealing with notes that I've found satisfactory but I am still looking. For now it's my note book as I can drawa and scrible much quicker than in any computer program. If I need it on the computer I can take it to a copier for that and save it in a suitable format.