November 2007 Archives

HellFreezesOver: My Eee PC

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P1020200.JPGIt's official, hell has frozen over and I've bought a Windows XP legtop. I've been wanting an ultra-mobile PC for a while, Apple was dragging its feet on the rumored iTablet (I don't like tablet computing anyway), and it didn't look like the iPhone or other smartphone was going to cut it for Real Work™. Meanwhile there's been a lot of activity on the Windows/Linux side with the OLPC initative, the Intel Classmate, and now the Asus Eee PC.

Back in the US this week for the AAAs, I decided to pick up an Eee PC 701 for $399 and loaded it up with 1 gigabyte of DDR2 ram and a 16 gigabyte SDHC card for storage. Yale has a site-license for XP so I installed that instead of the default Xandros Linux. Why? Because there is some Japanese software/hardware (namely the new portable ScanSnap 300 that I want to run that only works with Windows (not Wine, I tried).

The Eee is quite a marvel, tiny compared to my PowerBook G4 15" above (click on the photo to enlarge it) -- but still usable. I bought a Zaurus two years ago as my UMPC and its keyboard killed me. I'm hoping that the Eee PC will be the ideal field machine. You can touch type on it, it is extremely lightweight and small, it has no moving parts (solid state memory disks only), is totally silent, and reasonably fast.

Skype works great, especially video skype with the built-in webcam. Thunderbird and Firefox are snappy. I installed StarOffice which seems to work fine -- I'll try Office 2007 next week and let you know how it goes.

PlanexGW-US54GD.jpgI travel quite a bit with my laptop and am always on the lookout for open access points to check my mail. It's a bit of a pain to dig out my PowerBook only to find out there's nothing in range.

I've been interested in the Planex GW-US54GD WiFi Dongle / Detector / Access Point for a while, but it used to cost around ¥8000 or around USD$75 which was a bit rich for such a gadget. I found it recently on sale for ¥2980 ($25) at a store in Kyoto, so I picked one up. The Japanese name of the product is 電波男 (Dempa Otoko or Wave Man -- a pun on the otaku film/novel 電車男 (Densha Otoko or Train Man).

Hot off the press, Apple just released Mac OS X 10.4.11, otherwise a minor update to the last OS release. I haven't upgraded to PantherCheetahLionLeopard yet (since Yale has a site license and I have to wait until I'm back in the USA) -- but the big thing about 10.4.11 is that it supports the Microsoft Presenter Mouse 8000 -- which I've blogged about before.

Yippee! Keynote here I come!

For more:

Careers: Giving talks

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I gave a lot of talks last year.... at Harvard, Columbia, UBC, NYU and Purdue. I think it's mostly due to my book coming out last year.

I usually talk using Apple Keynote. I rarely read my talks from a written paper and speak semi-extemporaneously. I use the Keynote "presenter display" which gives me my speaker's notes for each slide, a preview of the next slide, and a timer. I think Microsoft PowerPoint has a similar feature. You need a PowerBook or Mac Book Pro to make the "presenter display" function because the lower models can only mirror what's on the data projector and can't give you a separate screen.

UIC's program in disability studies is excellent (and there's a new minor at UCLA after the jump):


The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Disability Studies at the University
of Illinois at Chicago is accepting applications from prospective students
for Fall 2008. The deadline for receipt of full applications is January 1,
2008. UIC's Disability Studies Ph.D. program promotes the development of
new scholarly models for understanding disability. Part of this
intellectual approach involves the education of disabled and non-disabled
academicians, researchers, policy experts, and clinicians who will join
with disabled people in the community as active challengers of oppressive
institutions and environments. The program examines how addressing
disability in its full complexity can promote the full participation, self-
determination, and equal citizenship of people with disabilities in society.

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