tech


Some thoughts and links from the week:

    Splash top. This iPad application is amazing. When I occasionally use my laptop I don’t have to actually lug it out of the junk guest room anymore, I just remote in using this fantastic app. In this same vein, File Browser can be used to grab and drop files (and even view photos) on our server straight from the iPad. Thanks, tech husband, for untethering me from my laptop.

    The Ergo rocks. We didn’t buy one until number three was born, but I wish we would have purchased this carrier sooner. They are sooooo comfortable, and I love the snugly-baby-on-chest feeling. I’ve also used a baby bjorn, ring sling, and mei tai, but so far I love this best.

    My brother and sister in law introduced us to Wasa crackers several years ago and we just rediscovered them on an upper shelf at the local Target. Whole grain, crispy sourdough crackers. Yum. This recipe also makes some fantastic sourdough crackers, but I’m ok with spending a couple of bucks for Wasa. It only takes a few times rolling out and slicing the homemade variety to appreciate the convenience of purchasing a box of crispy goodness pre made. Kudos to those of you who are intelligent enough to have come to that conclusion pre- mixing, rolling, and cutting.

    Do you own a Kindle yet? Here are my reasons why you ought to consider the purchase:

    • These devices are a good value. Purchase a $79 kindle (no, the advertisements don’t matter one bit, they only show up when the device is off and in a teeny banner on the home screen) and there are THOUSANDS of free books available. Not only the classics, but also contemporary reads that occasionally offer free or cheap promotional pricing. Books I’ve gotten for free or very cheap include those by Sproul, Piper, Colson, and Alcorn.
    • The Kindles look like a book. Really. I was skeptical about the whole “e-ink” concept, but the rumors are true, these puppies really do mimic paper. There isn’t the eye strain that can occur with other devices, and I find myself enjoying the light weight of the kindle over the clunkiness that can be distracting when reading a lengthy work. The pages really seem like paper, and the plastic frame melts into the background as I become absorbed into the reading, which contributes to my next point…
    • I (and most others, as I’ve anecdotally discovered) read significantly faster on the kindle. Books that would normally take me weeks to finish, if they are completed at all, are finished much quicker. I even do my daily Bible reading this device now, and along with a new reading plan that is the bomb frashizzle, I am chewing through the world’s most valuable book faster than a speeding bullet. Well, perhaps a musketball. Anyhow, you get the point.

In the interest of preventing any woman from getting all “Facebook syndrome” over this blog and imagining that some sort of perfect life is being led at MHouse (rather than the truthfully icky sight that is a houseful of sinners), I thought I’d let you in on this little tidbit: today we had to stop school not once, but TWICE so that mommy could pray for patience. And I’m only teaching one child. A kindergartner. For two hours. Even worse? I sinfully turned one of those prayers into a sermon for little ears: “and Lord, please help Jimmy to obey mommy and to listen carefully, and to not be so silly during school.” If my six year old ends up in therapy for lack of humor as an adult, it will be all my fault for stamping out all his silliness. I’m hoping to leave some crumbs 😉

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Finally, Little goat is now four. Fantastically, fascinatingly four. He’s one cool dude.

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As I‘ve said before, I’m a huge fan of RSS. Unfortunately, two months ago, my reader of choice (the popular online reader Bloglines) folded and I was forced to seek out a new program. With much feet dragging I finally tried out Google reader and fell in like. Online Google programs scare me a bit as they have that sort of 1984 “we’re watching every aspect of your puny little life” appeal, but alas, they’re popular for good reason. If you too are hunting for a good reader, try out Google Reader and see if it will work for you. Unfamiliar with how an RSS reader can help organize your online habits? Check out this helpful site.


The post below was originally dated April of 2008. I don’t use disposable email addresses as often anymore because I’ve cut down on my online offers/coupons/freebies etc. I made a separate “offers” email address through yahoo, and I just check it every couple of weeks. I will occasionally use a disposable addy, as they’re just nice to have around 🙂

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Spend much time on the ‘net? Ever visit a page where you’re required to put in your email address, but feel a little unsure about whose hands your address will wind up in? <<Side note: you’re never supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, but sometimes I can’t help it!>> Several years ago my brother turned me on to SpamGourmet, a website where you can register for disposable email addresses. You just pick a username, and then any time you need an email address and you’re not sure if you’ll end up with a bunch of spam, you just give out one of these disposable addys. Then, when the company tries to contact you, you still receive their email (SpamGourmet forwards the email on to your regular address), but only for a set number of contacts. Then, after that number is reached the emails will no longer be forwarded on to you.

From SpamGourmet’s website:

The disposable addresses are like:

someword.x.user@spamgourmet.com

where someword is a word you have never used before, x (optional) is the number of email messages you want to receive at this address (up to 20, and the number 3 will be used if you leave it out), and user is your username.

For example, if your user name is “spamcowboy”, and BigCorp wants you to give them your email address (on the web, on the phone, at a store – it doesn’t matter), instead of giving them your protected address, give them this one:

frombigcorp.3.spamcowboy@spamgourmet.com
(and frombigcorp.spamcowboy@spamgourmet.com will work the same way)

This disposable email address will be created here the first time BigCorp uses it (you don’t have to do anything to create it), and you’ll receive at most 3 messages, forwarded to your protected address. The rest will be indelicately consumed.

Since I print out a lot of coupons, I always use disposable addresses at sites that require me to register in order to get what I want. So far my regular inbox has stayed fairly clean from spam, and I’ve given out over 20 disposable addresses, so I think it’s working!

Knitting and reading at the same time is difficult for me. But, I don’t want to give up either. And so, a solution:

Librivox – Free audio books belonging to the public domain. There is a huge list of books here. This site also offers an audio book podcast that sends subscribers one book a week. The only drawback is that the narrative is not “professional” and so you have to like the voice of whoever is reading the book. There’s nothing worse than listening to some dude with a head cold reading an audio book. All in all a good deal for the price 🙂

Listen Alaska – Oodles and oodles of free books and music brought to you buy the Alaska library network. In order to check out a book from Listen Alaska you need to be a member of one of the member libraries. Unfortunately, Wasilla Public Library isn’t on the list. Palmer and UAA are though, so good luck. Also on the list is Kettleson Memorial in Sitka (Mom, can I borrow your card number??). Let me know if you’ve tried this, and how it works out.

Experts say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Well, I admit it. I’m an addict. I’m addicted to information. I could spend (and have spent) hours just surfing on the internet, researching topics and subjects of interest. It makes my brain feel satisfied. The down side is the disappearance of large chunks of time. That’s a bad side effect, and one I’ve been trying to conquer since admitting my “problem”. Enter Rescue Time. This is a small app that runs on your computer and gives you once-a-week reports as to what you’ve been spending your computer time doing. It tracks online use as well as what applications are running on your computer. You can also log on to the Rescue Time website to look at more comprehensive statistics. For example, my past month looks like this:

You can see that my top four activities for this past month were video chat (iChat), reading RSS feeds for other blogs (bloglines), shopping or researching about purchases (Amazon), and checking my email (yahoo). These weekly reports have yet to change my computer habits, but I figure it’s at least helping me to see where I’m spending my time.

Have you ever posted a comment on someone’s blog? Did you later go back and check what other comments were given, or how the author replied? If you utilize RSS (really simple syndication), it’s easy to keep track of these comments without the tedium of constantly rechecking a post. For information on RSS, check out this earlier post where I explain the use of RSS in tracking dynamic pages (blogs). Here’s the step by step on how to subscribe to a comment feed:

  1. locate the “comments” section at the bottom of the post that you want to track, and click. A new window should open up (one that contains the comments for that post).
  2. Locate the RSS feed icon in that window. It will likely be located in the URL bar, at the end of the address, but you may also find it elsewhere.
  3. Click on the RSS button. If you’ve already set up your browser to handle feeds in a certain way, you’re all set. You’ve subscribed and you’ll now be notified when new comments are posted. If you haven’t linked a specific reader to your web browser, see my initial post on RSS feeds here, and you’ll hopefully get things worked out. If not, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and I’ll try to help.

That’s it! Now you’ll know if your witty comment that you left on that friend’s blog was responded to, and you’ll be able to keep up two-way communication.