Category: toys


By , July 8, 2010 12:24 am

I just finished reading Bloodsucking Fiends, a fun vampire novel by Christopher Moore. I took it out from the library, but being the impatient type just checked on Amazon to see what the next book in the series would cost on Kindle. I don’t have a Kindle, but there’s an Android Kindle app, and I don’t mind reading books on my phone (although I do prefer hard copies).

A physical copy of You Suck costs $10.07 on Amazon. The Kindle version costs $9.99.

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Fun retro photos

By , June 30, 2010 11:35 pm

I was jealous of one of my coworkers, as she has an iPhone and lots of nifty software. One of them allowed her to take retro-fabulous photos on her phone, so I had to find something similar for Android. Enter Retro Camera. These were all taken on the bike ride home from work this afternoon. Yeah, it’s kind of silly, and the application itself definitely isn’t as smooth or sexy as her iPhone app, but I had fun with it.

Photo of the beach
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By , June 8, 2010 10:39 am

I bought this one! This one! Mine!

Just ordered an electric bike. I’ve been talking about this for a while (over a year, in fact) but I’ve always resisted.

I have the money saved up, but I always have trouble spending money on myself. It’s so easy to justify not spending, to save for that next thing (or, say, the hospital bills I’m still getting). At the same time, this account was specifically set up to save for fun things, and this is fun!

I finally had a chance to test drive the one I ended up buying, the Currie EZip Trailz, and it was a lot of fun. It’s the low end of the Currie line (an already lower-end electric bike company) and I really seriously considered getting a more expensive model. But this version was a lot of fun to ride, even though it was a heavy (steel) beast.

And, dammit, I’m having a tough time right now. And I wanted a toy. Yay!

Indie Games Bundle!

By , May 15, 2010 1:43 pm


Like computer games? Like indie computer games? (Like the previously-mentioned World of Goo?) Than you’ll love The Humble Indie Bundle. It’s a pay-what-you-can system where, for whatever you decide to send toward the project, you’ll get five great indie games, and some of your money will go toward two amazing charities: Child’s Play and The Electronic Frontier Foundation. The games also all run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I feel like I’m using too many italics in this post, but I’m crazy excited at projects like this.


They’ve already raised over one million dollars (prompting an extension of the Humble Bundle) with more than $100,000 going to each of these developers and each charity. I paid $20 (slightly more than the average) but feel like I got more than my money’s worth.

So go! What are you waiting for?!

Wind power in Chicago

By , April 16, 2010 5:05 pm

An article about Evanston potentially gaining an off-shore wind farm made me remember something I saw biking a few weeks ago. While down by Adler Planetarium (shortly before taking these pictures) I saw this:

You can see the blue spinning wind turbines (presumably) near the top of each column, beneath what look like solar panels. I didn’t see any plaques or signs around ’em, but I assume they were ‘green’ lamps. Neat!

Statistics and milestones

By , February 18, 2010 3:42 am

Since around the beginning of 2009, I’ve used Stats and Google Analytics to track traffic at The Thang Blog. I’m a fan of statistics and numbers; even though I I never really expected this blog to have a huge following, I figured the graphs would be fun to look at.

So it surprises me when – on days like today – I see that Stats shows The Thang Blog has been viewed 50,000 times in the last year or so. And it really surprised me to see a graph like this:

February is only half-way over, so its numbers are looking pretty good, too

Continue reading 'Statistics and milestones'»

Google Voice(mail) is nifty!

By , January 8, 2010 10:15 pm

I finally got a Google Voice invite,  and set it up on my Droid. I used the ‘keep your old number’ option, which means it only changes my voice mail functions. I don’t have multiple phone lines I need consolidated, so going the ‘new number’ route seemed excessive.

But, even as just the voice mail, it’s great!

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Motorola/Verizon Droid Mini-Review, 48 hours later

By , November 8, 2009 11:52 am


I picked up a Motorola Droid yesterday morning, and figured I’d take some time off from transition-related running commentary to share my thoughts from the first 48 hours.

I’m coming from an HTC 5800, which I’d been using for the past two years. It’s a Windows Mobile phone, which I had fun rooting and upgrading to 6.1, along with various other tweaks. However, until recently, Verizon has been locking down their phones – not that they offered amazing phones to begin with – so I couldn’t do all that much with it.

The Droid is Verizon’s flagship in their new push to appear as a company that doesn’t try to keep a stranglehold over their phones, and as a company that doesn’t only have a good network, but good phones as well. (What a concept!) It’s running Google’s Android operating system, and is the first (and thus far, only) phone to run the 2.0 version of the OS.

I’ll get to more specifics after the break, but I’ll cut to the chase: I really like this phone. It’s almost certainly the best phone I’ve ever owned. That said, while I’d definitely recommend it to tech-savvy friends, I wouldn’t recommend it to, say, my mom. I’m not convinced this is a bad thing, though.

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Mac frustrations, a month later

By , October 9, 2009 7:30 pm

I’ve been using OSX (Leopard) for about a month now, and I’m still (mostly) enjoying it. It’s pretty, it’s smooth, iPhoto is growing on me, and it was a good decision. Particularly since my old computer simply didn’t work anymore… Anyway, now that it’s been a while, most of the annoyances I had at first have passed. But not all of them! So I thought I’d share the few things that still consistently bother me.

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Incredibly Frustrating

By , August 21, 2009 11:14 am

(Excuse me while I geek out.)

My friend managed to get me the G5 he’d been mentioning, and I’ve been having fun the last few weeks getting it up and running. I’m even getting used to keyboard shortcuts and some of Mac’s eccentricities. But last night I spent an hour fighting with it, and the battle reminded me of all the things I dislike about Apple.

I purchased a Sony HDR-CX12 last summer and, on the whole, have enjoyed using it. The video quality is solid, although I haven’t played with the high-def video. I know I’m not getting the most out of the camera by doing so, but I bought an HD camera more for future-proofing than to use it right now.

Likewise, I’ve been playing with Final Cut Pro on the Mac (thanks again to my friend) and enjoying that, too. I had experience using it in college and so it was nice to get off of a PC and back onto a more sophisticated media editing platform.


Except the CX12 shoots video in MPEG-2, a video format that isn’t super-common, but also isn’t particularly rare.

Macs won’t play MPEG-2 video.

Continue reading 'Incredibly Frustrating'»

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