Traveling the World – Exercise #29

I have not done near as much traveling as I would like to. I have stayed mostly within the southeastern area of the US and have only been out of the country a few times. Cruising in a HammockBut today’s exercise, number twenty-nine of thirty-one, is to tell you about the places I have travelled. My travels have not been that many or varied, but I will give you a brief rundown.

Let’s cover the United States first. I was born in Louisiana and currently live in South Carolina, so that covers those two states. I also lived in Georgia for a while, so mark that one off. Family in North Carolina and Tennessee have assured plenty of visits to those two, and Disney World a few other trips have covered Florida. But only the top half of Florida – I have never been further south in the great peninsula that Orlando and Tampa. Finally can round out the that corner of the US via some travels back and forth through Alabama and Mississippi, though no real time spent there. Oh! While we are down that way we can tack on a business trip to Dallas, thereby hitting Texas.

As for the rest of the country, I have had business trips to California, and a personal trip to Washington State and Oregon. That Pacific Northwest trip was a great one with lots of friends and classic cars. Back on this side I have toured through Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. And stuck my toe into Rhode Island. You ask how I did all that and didn’t touch Pennsylvania or Delaware? Well, I did touch them, but only on the throughway and turnpike. That doesn’t count. Just as flying over many other states doesn’t count.

Continue reading “Traveling the World – Exercise #29”

Google Nexus 7 as Mobile Computer

I have had my new Google Nexus 7 tablet for about 6 weeks now, and I am getting more and more used to the way it works. I also continue to find neat litte surprises hidden in the system – such as if you attach it to a mouse you get a real cursor to use! (Wish the iPad had that.) So now I now have my 7″ tablet paired to my Apple wireless keyboard and my Rocketfish Bluetooth mouse. Seems to work pretty well actually. And everything is Bluetooth, so there are no extra cords or adapters to carry around.  Now, if I had had this when I was vacationing up in the mountains this past weekend I would have actually typed some emails and blog posts. I think.

Google Nexus 7 tabletThe screen is still a bit small, but that is to be expected on a totally portable device. But, is it that portable if you are lugging around the keyboard (which also has 3 AA batteries) and the mouse (which has 2 AAA batteries)?  And with those devices attached, you would have to assume an extra drain on the Google tablet with the Bluetooth turned on all the time.

So what is the weight difference?

Well, the tablet weighs in at .75 pounds, but with case we are going to call it an even 1 pound, the keyboard at 1,25 pounds, and the mouse at 13 ounces (so lets call it .75 pounds). That gives us just 3 pounds total. Not bad. Consider that the Apple MacBook Air 11 inch weighs in at 2.38 pounds. The MacBook air weighs less and has a 4″ bigger screen! But, in reality, with the power packs it is probably a toss up between the two, and the MacBook air will cost you around $600 more than our tricked out Nexus 7.  Trade offs? The MacBook Air can run more “real” apps, is faster, has a larger screen, and a lot more storage space. But the Nexus 7 is more portable, has a touch screen, and in a pinch (without our mouse an keyboard) could be slipped into a large pocket.  It can also be recharged off almost any USB outlet where the MacBook Air will require a real power outlet.

If you have access to the Internet, either wi-fi or tethered to a smartphone like I do with my iPhone 4S, then the lack of storage space on the Nexus 7 isn’t that big a deal. You will just store your media, documents, and music in the cloud. You do need to think ahead though for those times when you will be totally out of contact so that you aren’t stuck looking for that one file you forgot to copy down. Consider though that the MacBook Air has only 64 gig (we are comparing to the low end model here folks) and you will see that you aren’t going to be storing your entire media library on there either.

While we are talking about being out in the wild, let’s talk about battery life.  While I haven’t tested the battery life of the Nexus 7 with the Bluetooth turned on, you can still expect to get 8 to 9 hours easily. That is with active use. If you aren’t using it much so have it on standby, it will last much longer of course.  The MacBook Air should get around half the battery life of the Nexus 7 in similar usage. That would be fine if you don’t need a full day out and can recharge ever evening, but if you have it out and in use constantly all day, you may find yourself monitoring your usage or looking for a power outlet to recharge.

Now one of the odd things I find different between the two is just levels of expectation. Since the Nexus 7 is smaller and originally just a base tablet, I don’t find myself expecting as much out of it as I might of the Air, so I am inclined to be less disappointed. With the Air being more expensive and essentially a “real” computer, I find myself disappointed when I try to do real computing tasks like run Windows 7 in Parallels or Photoshop or some other heavy program that takes not only processing power, but also screen real estate and memory.

Columbus Day

Is it happy Columbus Day? Or happy destruction of Native American culture day? Or perhaps happy European imperialism day? However you see the arrival of Columbus in the Americas, most people agree that it changed the face of the world for ever. For better or for worse, it changed how people saw the world – from both sides.

So, take this time to ponder some of these questions. Noble explorers or greedy conquerors? How did this play out through history, and how do we still exemplify the best and the worst of this in our works today. Do we seek to find new cultures and learn from them? Or do we try to spread our own ways and wipe out existing cultures? Are we more interested in exploration or expansion?

What do you want for Christmas?

I am just wondering what you want for Christmas? Not necessarily some big item like a television or a diamond ring, but what is it that if you could have anything and weren’t afraid to be laughed at that you would ask for? Remember when you were a kid and you would freely state that you wanted a pony, or a train, or a spaceship? And remember how, every once in a while, you got what you asked for even if it wasn’t it the exact detail of your request?

Maybe you asked for a spaceship and you got a LEGO set to build one. Or maybe you ask for a pony and got a play set with a pony and other little animals. Or who knows, maybe you actually got a pony? Yes, there are those times when you actually get exactly what you ask for. So, be careful that what you ask for is really what you want!

As for me, what I really want is a trip to England. I would love to go back for a week or even a few days. Problem is that right now there is no way I can afford the ticket and the hotel. I keep trying to find a way, but nothing has reared its head yet.

But that is me, and the question here is about you. So, what do you want? Really, what do you want?

Christmas Wishes