Rich Shoe, Poor Shoe

rosminah invited me over for lunch today. She made chicken salad sandwich with balsamic blood oranges. Mmm, mmm.

Later I went out shopping for some shoes. I wanted a leather upper or a boot type of thing. I wanted black, but had to give up on that because couldn’t find much. At Big 5 I found some cheap clearance shoes that were in my size and OK, but they were only $9, so hey, it’s a $9 shoe.

Finally at Santa Barbara Outfitters I found a decent boot I liked, the Montrail Torre GTX:

They are pretty expensive, but they look like they are built like tanks.

CutePDF Writer

CutePDF Writer is a neat little program for Windows computers to let you make free PDF files for web publication or distribution. It requires you to install GhostScript in addition. It will install itself as a printer called “CutePDF Writer”. When you want to make a PDF of any document, simply load the document into your editor/viewer/browser, hit “print” and choose the “CutePDF Writer” printer. A save box will then popup and you can select the filename and location to save too. In addition, my tests show it produces smaller file sizes than Acrobat does!

Santa Barbara

I was planning on finishing up a few things on Saturday morning and then head to Santa Barbara, but a few things turned into more things and then it was already early afternoon and I was still not ready, so had to push SB off until Sunday. That was compounded by Taiwan having a series of strong quakes, so had to console my wife over that.

One of the new toys that arrived while I was at school was my new iPod. When the iPod first came out, I thought it was nice, but a little too big. When the iPod mini came out, I thought it was just the right size, but 4gb for $249 was too much for too little capacity. So when Apple rolled out the new iPod mini 6gb for $249 and lowered the 4gb model to $199, it was finally just right. I ordered a blue iPod mini 6gb during the brief time I was in Taipei between Kyoto and US. All in all I’m quite impressed with it.

I also got an iTrip mini for it, a small FM transmitter that fits on top so you can play your iPod over a car stereo. Reviews of it have been pretty evenly split between “blows goats” and “totally awesome.” So I’m going to buck the trend and say that it is merely adequate. The main problem is that the instructions tell you to find a free channel, and better yet, one with free channels to either side of it. Problem is, if you live anywhere reasonably populated, it’s pretty damn difficult to find a free channel at all, much less one that has free channels to either side. In Silicon Valley, there’s only a couple of free channels at all. Plus on the ride down to SB, I had to retune twice as my free channel was suddenly in use a couple of hours down the road. That said, it does work reasonably well, though it is somewhat annoying to be fiddling with channels every so often. If you live somewhere more remote, it’ll probably work just great.

So anyways, Sunday morning I was pretty much ready, but wanted to make one hardware change on I got that all done OK, but then after moving things back around on the computer rack, I knocked the master power switch on the remote power management box, and all the computers went down at once. Everything rebooted cleanly a few minutes later, so not too bad, but had an uptime of 1 year and 1 month, so it was kinda disappointing to interrupt that uptime.

Finally I was able to make it onto the road and down to Santa Barbara where I’ll be until Wednesday morning.

Done with classes

Thursday and Friday were warm enough to even dispense with my heavy winter jacket I had brought.

Thursday again was classroom in the morning and lab in the afternoon. I was feeling a bit more confident so was trying out more things in the lab session, despite a couple of equipment problems. I was quite pleased being able to make some pretty good stuff despite being a lot more inexperienced than some of the others in the class. Over in nearby Salina, Steve Fossett made history after finishing his solo non-stop around the world flight.

Friday morning we finished up are classroom work and had our final exam, which I got 97.5% on. Yay. Now I have a fancy certificate and everything. Class ended just before noon and I headed back to KCIA for my flight home. My DENSFO flight was delayed almost 90 minutes because of a hydraulic leak, but we only ended up getting in a bit more than an hour late. Still, that meant getting back home just past 9:30pm, so pretty long day.

Second Day Of Classes

Today was a bit warmer, -1 C this morning and up to 17C this afternoon. Turns out that just down the road in Salina, Steve Fossett took off on a round the world solo trip on one tank of gas yesterday, so there was a bit of local news that was also International news in the paper today. Today in class the afternoon session was making stuff. It was hard work and each bench only made a couple of things, but we got to see how most of the stuff works. Tomorrow we’ll have afternoon lab as well.

First Day of classes

It was crazy cold this morning at -6 C, and big chunks of ice all over the windshield. Had to use the little ice scraper thing for the first time in ages. Classes went quite well. I was thinking I’d be the furthest one from home in the class but there were some people from Phillipines there. Also one guy from Venezuela and two from Canada. But the rest were all US. Today was just lecture but tomorrow afternoon we get to do labs and actually make stuff.

Manhattan, Kansas “The Little Apple!”

Left the house in Santa Clara at 4:30am, drove to SFO for a flight to Denver and then on to Kansas City. Weather was just below zero C with slight snow flurries. Drove about two hours west to Manhattan, Kansas where I’m now in my room at the Ramada. They have free wireless internet throughout the hotel, and was very easy to connect without any stupid hoops to jump through. Will probably hit the sack early, cause very tired after the long day of driving.