Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Update

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to both my blog readers. I feel a little bad that I haven't posted in a long time. But I'm sure you prefer decent posts once every long while to a steady stream of tiny updates. And it's so much faster for me....

So what's new? Lots of things. We sold our Suburban, and got a 1995 Honda Accord station wagon to replace it. We are big fans of the 1st gen Odyssey minivan and so the Accord is a natural fit.

The woodgas truck has been down for some time, I had an air leakage problem that melted one of the grate hanging chains. Until I have time to repair it, I've been lighting it once a week. This keeps it from rusting internally. It's not a hard fix, I just have had zero time to spend on it. Likewise the Metro engine is still not rebuilt, and so on. It will happen as soon as I get some bigger projects finished.

Drive On Wood has grown steadily, and we've seen half a dozen trucks finished, with several others on the brink. Our meetup in Indiana should be much more lively this year.

I've taken part time work at the Wernick Method. I've been helping out now and again for a while now, but it's nice to get paid and see some steady work from it.

The woodgas plans book is really really close. We've been working on the second 90% for some time now. I wanted to be done by the end of the year, but so much else is happening right now that the true chances of finishing are slim to none. But it should be done soon after that, IF we keep it going at this rate.

Oh yes, I did buy a new toy. I bought a Samsung Chromebook for $250 from Newegg.

I was a little torn between that and a Nexus 7, but in the end it was the right choice. The Chromebook lets you get real work done if needed, but at the same time is as portable as a large tablet. It's super zippy, fairly light, runs silently, reboots almost instantly, and runs very advanced web apps that begin to replicate desktop functions. If you really need the desktop, you can easily remote in using Chrome's remote desktop app. I've edited video in Adobe Premiere Pro, by remoting in from the Chromebook on the living room couch. Fun stuff! This runs very smoothly for me, between the Chromebook and a Windows 8 machine.

So, any downsides to Chrome? You do need a wireless signal. My room is built from concrete blocks. So if I want to use the Chromebook I usually take it into the main part of the house. Once I find a way to connect to a Connectify Hotspot on my main PC, I will be completely satisfied. Plug in drives get pretty bare bones support, but that's really outside the use-case for this machine. It's for internet, nothing else.

I also bought Wayne a Chromebook, and he's thrilled. The same machine that can satisfy a Google nut like me is also perfect for a computer novice, someone who just needs it to work and not break. This concept has sold a lot of Apple devices. Now it applies to the much cheaper Chromebook, and I suspect that many of them will go for this purpose. Heck, Wayne even joined a Google Hangout! Not even possible from his old setup. It was the familiar story of a glacially slow PC, barely 5 years old. How many of those users are ready for a cheap upgrade for simple tasks? I know at least one who is very happy now. And if his Chromebook is physically intact after 5 years, it will be at least as fast if not much faster than it is now.

[Note to my loyal blog readers who noticed the template change. Yes it is intentional and yes, I reverted back to the old-style blogger template. The newer "dynamic" template is just too buggy, often fails to load properly and isn't very customizable. So until I build a full up Drupal blog, this will have to do.]

Well that's all for today. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!