In which there’s good news.

We flew to DC last Thursday so I could see Amma.

We had a very short layover in Milwaukee, then got to Reagan, walked to the hotel shuttle stand, and waited for the bus. Got to the hotel, went out to eat on a cute little street a few blocks away, and walked back to our hotel around midnight. Only when back in our room after having been in Arlington for hours did I bother to unpack, assemble, fill, and use my ecig device, and then only briefly before going to bed.

The next day, I realized that in all that travel I never once wanted to smoke. I thought about smoking in a vague sort of way when we were waiting at the bus stand; I thought, “A few months ago, I’d be considering smoking now, even though it’s probably not allowed. I’d probably cross the street and stand over there and suck down a cig and hope the shuttle didn’t come until I was done.”

Every previous layover on every previous flight I’ve ever taken, I’ve furiously crunched times in my head and if there was enough, I rushed to smoke. Is there a smoking lounge in this airport? How far is it from my gate? Can I get there and back in time? Will I miss my flight? If not, do I have enough time to get all the way outside, smoke, and get back in through security and still make my connection?

And on arrival, the same thing: where am I meeting my ride? Where’s the smoking area? Do I have enough time to smoke? HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS PLACE SO I CAN SMOKE?

It was really nice, not giving a shit about smoking! I didn’t even remember that I was a(n ex) smoker during the Milwaukee layover; past me would have been infuriated that it was so short and that I’d been denied the opportunity to try to get a cig in, but current me didn’t even think about it.

Same on the trip home: instead of standing outside, sucking down a few cigs while waiting for the cab back to the airport, I just sat inside the hotel lobby by the doors to the taxi stand, waiting like a normal person. Didn’t think about smoking at all during the two-hour layover, didn’t think about it when we arrived back in MSP, didn’t have to smoke in the parking garage before getting in the truck to drive back to the apartment, didn’t have to smoke when we got home. (Did have a lovely chain-vape later, before finally keeling over from the exhaustion of having been up all night, though.)

Vape

Having never travelled without having to figure out how and where and when to smoke before in my adult life, the experience was really wonderful. No cravings, no anxiety about how and where to get my fix in. No simmering rage at the constant non-smoking announcements and signage one is endlessly subjected to in airports and on airplanes.

Vaping continues to be a fantastic solution for me. I have to admit to being quite surprised at how quickly it has broken all the habits and thought patterns associated with being a smoker. When I leave the house now, I just leave and don’t automatically check my bag for a pack of cigs and a lighter. (I rarely take my mod with me when I go out, unless I’m going to the ecig store for liquid or coils, and only then because it’s fun to vape inside the store itself since it’s allowed.) I have 31 years of smoking habits to overcome, but they just seem to be going away on their own without stress or even effort. I didn’t even think about smoking while we were traveling! I was not annoyed, I did not have a nic fit! Not even a little!

I have yet to go an entire day without vaping at all, since quitting smoking 62 days ago, but while on some days I do start vaping earlier than I ever smoked (I’ve never been a morning smoker; I always did all my smoking from late afternoon on), or I indulge in a few hours of “chain vaping,” on other days I just use it for a few minutes a few times in the evenings. It continues to be much cheaper than smoking, because even though a 30ml bottle of liquid is twenty bucks, it lasts many more days than the same value of cigarettes ever did. My lung health is much, much better. I don’t clear my throat all the time, I don’t have weird snot, and my voice doesn’t sound like that of a smoker, either, which is a cool benefit.

While I suspect that Scott doesn’t like the smell (he’s too nice to say, really), it’s very mild and leaves virtually no permanent odor. I’ve tested this by vaping for a bit, then going out to the corner store and returning with a fresh nose. One gets the impression that there was maybe some weak-ass incense burnt a few days ago, but that’s about it (and as we do burn incense fairly regularly, sometimes I can’t tell if it’s that or the vapor residue). For awhile I had a little bowlful of used coils sitting around, but that did smell bad, so I got rid of them; and I now keep the bottles of liquids in a plastic bag because the combination of their various scents is gross, but in general I see no reason not to vape indoors.

My clothes, hair, skin, pockets, and purse don’t smell like cigarettes, butts, or smoke anymore. It’s great! Added benefit: I’m no longer terrified of catching a cold and ending up in an oxygen tent with a lung infection.

Like I’ve said before, it’s probably not a zero-harm activity, but compared to smoking cigarettes the benefits of vaping are enormous.

Total convert here, guys.

May 15th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Gadgets | Health | PSA | Soapbox - (0 Comments)

In which I’ve quit smoking!

I started smoking at 16. I’m 47 now. That’s 31 years.

I was down to smoking less than a pack a day, usually less than half a pack, but my lungs felt dry and tight. I was having difficulty breathing.

Every morning, I decided not to smoke. Every evening I smoked anyway, because the power of habit is massive. I’ve tried keeping my regular behaviors and just ditching the smoking part, but it’s hard. I’ve gotten up, put on my coat, grabbed my ebook, stepped outside and not smoked, just to keep up my normal routine, but it doesn’t really work. Before you know it, you’ve bought yourself a pack of cigarettes.

You need a substitute. And no, not for the nicotine. The gum and the patches are worthless; I’ve tried both. For the smoking.

Luckily, here in the future, we have such a thing! It’s called vaping.

A well-controlled trial has recently been carried out by Dr Grant O’Connell and colleagues working for the vaping manufacturer Fontem Ventures. They asked 15 smokers to give up altogether for five days, 15 to vape only for five days, and another 15 to mix vaping and smoking for five days. They measured the harmful and potentially harmful constituents in the urine, blood and breath of each group, and the results were striking. After five days, the vapers’ carboxyhaemoglobin levels—an indication of how much carbon monoxide they had in their systems—had dropped by 83%, which was an even bigger drop than in the cold-turkey cessation group, whose levels dropped by 75%. Even the dual users had seen a drop of 23%. The amount of carbon monoxide they exhaled had halved in both the vapers and the cessation group. Much the same was true for all the other biomarkers except, of course, for nicotine.

Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016

So I bought a Vuse at the corner gas station. It was a piece of shit and just as sketchy as the first ecig I bought a decade ago and it was so awful it basically drove me back to cigarettes. (The Vuse is by RJ Reynolds. There is speculation that they were specifically designed to drive smokers back to cigarettes. They taste bad and they’re incredibly inconsistent, delivering either burnt-tasting air or a massive hit of lung-scorching, scaldingly hot vapor. Each replacement cartridge costs at least as much as a pack of cigarettes, if not more.) The Vuse would be an acceptable experience only if you were a hard-core smoker locked in an airport or hospital for days with no other way to deal with your discomfort.

Then I bought this sciencey-looking little Pro Tank II for only $20 at the ecig store over on Lake Street, and I haven’t had a cigarette since.

Kanger 650mAh Pro Tank II

It screws together. The whole bottom section is a rechargable battery, with a button you push to send power to the coil; the tank is Pyrex and holds e-juice, which is vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol with flavorings and nicotine, and contains a coil, which is what actually heats up and turns the juice into vapor; and then the tip is the part you inhale through. There’s an utterly bewildering variety of these things, but all of them are basically made up of these three components.

An old Fairfield friend saw my interest in ecigs on Facebook, and kindly sent me his unwanted stuff (he’s discovered a favorite brand of tank, and no longer uses any of this):

Vaping stuff

That’s hundreds of dollars of equipment and ten flavors of juices! That he was just going to throw out! A Vaporfi kit, a Nautilus tank, an Aerotank Mega, a Halo Tracer kit, a second Vaporfi tank, and coils!

Now I have tons of everything. Batteries and chargers, tanks, tips. Most of the parts are interchangeable, too, so you can mix and match and make devices that look cool and draw, due to adjustable air flow rings on the nicer tanks, exactly the way you want them to. These are the two I’m into right now:

Vapor

I’m into the 6% blueberry and 3% cocoa flavors right now. (I hate even typing that because it sounds so douchey, but it is what it is! Blueberry! Cocoa! I’m a twat!)

I started with 18% juice, but I don’t think I need it. They tell you that nicotine is incredibly addictive, but I’m perfectly comfortable with 6% and 3% juices. I do have a tank loaded with the 18%, but haven’t used it much in the past two days.

I haven’t gone five days without a single cigarette in years. I’ve gone one, two days without a cigarette, sure; I’ve gone days only smoking one or two. But zero cigarettes? For five days? In a row? No, not in years.

With low-nicotine juice and a device that works well, one can enjoy the activity of ‘smoking’ almost to excess, and yet wake up in the morning feeling better than she has in years. It’s fucking wonderful.

While I doubt vaping is a zero-harm activity (after all, what is), it’s definitely lower harm than smoking cigarettes. It’s almost therapeutic-feeling; inhaling mist into dry, damaged lungs actually feels good. (Turns out that juice uses the same base used in asthma inhalers and nebulizers.) And apparently my carboxyhemoglobin levels have dropped by 83%.

Eighty-three percent.

The devices themselves probably last for quite a long time, being made of Pyrex and stainless steel. You have to replace the coil, the part that heats up, and the juice, but from what I can tell that’s much less expensive than 3.5 packs of cigarettes every week.

There’s a bunch of negative hysteria around e-cigarettes, but it appears to have been deliberately manufactured by pharmaceutical companies involved in nicotine replacement therapies and cigarette companies. The recent FDA regulation binge was brought on by these lobbies, apparently. Of course. Since so much money is generated by the luxury taxes on cigarettes, anything that threatens the market is worrisome… even if it’s a technology that is reducing harm and by extension probably saving lives.

The bulk of the evidence so far leans heavily toward vaping being much safer than cigarettes, and much more effective than NRT in helping people quit smoking.

E-cigarette studies, research and reports
E-cigarettes save lives
UK doctors urge wide promotion of e-cigs to help smokers quit
Smokers Urged to Switch to E-Cigarettes by British Medical Group
Vapers Helping Smokers to Quit

So, the take-away here is that we’re seeing research showing that vaping is much less harmful than smoking, and that if you wish to vape, you need to buy a decent piece of equipment and avoid shitty disposables made by cigarette companies. The vapor, even from low-nicotine juices, is so satisfying that you don’t even want cigarettes. Vaping is credited with helping tens of thousands of smokers quit.

“In the case of addictions, where people find it genuinely very hard to resist temptation, harm reduction surely makes sense,” said Viscount Ridley. And I agree. Being against vaping because it’s not zero-harm is ridiculous. If we expected driving to be zero-harm, we’d never build another car again. But as far as risk management goes, vaping is safer than smoking by orders of magnitude.

Heartbroken

May 14th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Gadgets | Photography - (0 Comments)

In which my favorite camera is now basically useless.

I haven’t been shooting film much since I moved out here, but no worries: take the camera out of the box, put in some fresh film, maybe a battery, and go shoot. Your cameras are already antiques; they won’t mind if you let them rest for a year or three.

My dad sent me a Polaroid One out of the blue. Seeing it sitting there on the coffee table, I suddenly felt the desire to shoot my Land 103. Pulled it out, set it up, took a picture, then realized, Oh, yeah, I’d fucked up and exposed the film pack last year, trying to tease out a stuck photograph.

So I went to buy some film online and it was $34 rather than $8.50. “What, is this a 4-pack? Why is it so expensive?” Looked around some more: all over $30 per 10-pack.

Googled “why is Fuji pull-apart so expensive?” and found out that it’s been discontinued.

fujifilm

Having been through this once before with Polaroid film, I know I’ve missed the chance to stock up. They’re selling through inventory now, and it’ll just get more expensive. The couple of shots I took last spring at our Golden Valley apartment were the last ones I’ll ever shoot.

Now my beloved Land 103 is a brick. Might as well donate it, along with all its accessories: the case, the portrait kit, the flash bulbs and flash attachment.

Land 103

God. So fucking bummed. I think I’ll splurge on some Impossible film for the SX-70 in an effort to feel less disappointed.

2015 Kindle Fire 7″

January 20th, 2016 | Posted by Mush in Admissions | Gadgets - (2 Comments)

In which there’s a review, sort of. Not really. Whatever.

I more or less demanded this for Christmas, because they had them marked down to $35 and you know that’s a shitload of hardware for $35. I thought we’d put Android on it or something, if it turned out nobody was using it.

61vuTHMmf0L._SL1000_

Well, I love it. So much more comfortable to use than the big ol’ 8.9″, plus the OS is kinda neat. Way more store-like, but still, fairly charming in its way. And it’s really, really fast.

The only problem I have with it is that that battery life sucks. Really bad, actually. Thing dies every day and needs to be plugged in, and I really don’t think I’m getting 7 hours of battery life out of it. Well, that and the fact that you can’t find the pictured wallpaper anywhere.

But other than that, it’s pretty great.

The 8.9″ is still worth, on eBay, between $80 and $100. I’m considering selling it, plus its keyboard and case, and then getting myself the Fire HD 6″, the model up from this one, which is HD but actually a wee bit smaller than this one. Maybe I’ll sell this one too, or give it to someone who needs a tablet.

Seriously, having three Kindles — two Fires and a Paperwhite — is pretty ridiculous.

Grateful

July 12th, 2015 | Posted by Mush in Food | Gadgets | Life | Photography | Reading - (0 Comments)

In which it’s a lazy Sunday.

It’s so shitty outside there’s a heat warning on! Stay inside, stay hydrated, check on your neighbors, that sort of thing! Temperature in the mid-90’s with a heat index of one hundred degrees! A big-ass line of storms tonight! Large hail possible!

So I’m staying inside with the A/C on. I’m so grateful to have access to air conditioning technology. And fans, too — we have two fans running, to circulate all that conditioned air (because otherwise it just pools by the door and does no one any good at all).

I stayed up super late last night devouring part three of Seveneves. Other than the agnostic science fiction writer’s silly dream that a catastrophe survived only by scientists would somehow end religion1, it’s a really fantastic read. Being the jaded reader I am I’m loving being so absorbed in a story, since it happens so infrequently to me now.

I’d like to go look for curtains and wood glue and a few other needed household items, but I’m pretty sure leaving the apartment is a bad idea. Scott’s asleep anyway, taking a lazy Sunday afternoon nap.

I slept until two-thirty, then got up and made fried potatoes, Hollandaise, eggs, spinach, and toast for brunch. Not as good as the AMAZING Eggs Florentine at The Egg and I, but still edible. I also had a brilliant iced cardamom mocha breve with the last of the Radiance Dairy cream in it.

The bit of sky I can see under the blinds looks nice and blue, with fluffy clouds and a strong breeze ruffling the leaves, but it’s probably as damp as sweaty crotch out there. I’ve always maintained that the Midwest looks lovely all summer but feels awful.

Yesterday I installed Flickr on my phone and it worked. (It’s never worked on this phone before, and getting images off the phone and onto Flickr has been a pain in the ass since I got the phone last year.) It worked so well, in fact, it uploaded all 200 images in the phone’s gallery and now I have to delete them!

The credit union didn’t get ahold of me at the end of the week, but neither did they do so last time. I just don’t think they’re in a hurry about anything. Hopefully they’ll offer me a position next week! *fingers crossed* If they don’t, I’ll have to start looking for something else in earnest. I mean, I’ve applied for three jobs this week so as not to have too many eggs in one basket, but I’ll really need to buckle down before I run out of money.

Friday, I got my nails done because they looked awful. That evening, Scott went to a ball game (and watched Detroit lose to the Twins in the final inning) and I had the evening to myself. I drank some wine, then rode my bike down to Nicollet and ate at a Mexican restaurant.

El Nuevo Mariachi Restaurant

Then I went home and took a nap, sprawled diagonally across the entire bed, with a fan blowing on me. It was a fucking glorious Friday night.

I just looked up to see that the blue sky is gone, and is now the gunmetal grey of a thick cloud deck. The last time I checked, storms weren’t due for five more hours. Maybe it’ll get interesting out there!


1 We all want to end the bullshittery of organized religion, of course, but evolution and bureaucracy are part and parcel of human nature. Wherever there are human beings, there will be religion, because there will always be a need for jargon to describe the internal and the numinous, and there will always be weird little rule-following bureaucratic assholes making people miserable. Basically, every time a writer kills “religion” in a book, it just tells you that s/he has no idea what religion actually is beyond what it looks like on the surface.

In which standing is apparently much healthier than sitting but it hurts like a bitch.

While I really enjoy my new job as I’m doing it, my feet hurt, the pay’s lame, and the schedule is horrendous. Don’t even get me started on the noise and the horrible lighting and the concrete floors, or the fact that everything is a three-minute walk from the service desk.

I miss my old newsroom gig. Wonderful hours, a pay rate that wasn’t an insult, and a feeling of accomplishment. Not to mention the relative calm and quiet of the office itself.

I honestly can’t figure out why people who are smart enough to do the service desk job in the first place stay in it for so long when the hours, environment, and pay are so comparatively bad. One of my co-workers has been there for fourteen years, I think she said. Maybe she’s making thirty bucks an hour by now; I don’t know, but there’s no other reason to be there. I mean, the people really are great, but I’ve worked a lot of jobs and there are great people everywhere.

So, in a nutshell, my 20-to-29-hours-per-week part-time job is now 35 hours a week (HEY GUESS WHAT! YOU’RE P/T BUT LOL YOU WORK NEARLY F/T AND HAVE NO BENEFITS!) with weird, unstable hours, and my man and I have been eating restaurant crap for lunch rather than homemade food because I don’t have the time or energy to cook.

I ate lunch at a Panera the other day. Naturally I expected it to be a total carb explosion, but there was sugar in the dressing they used on my goddamned sandwich. The next day, I grabbed salad bar from the grocery store and though I avoided their sugar-laden salad dressings and used vinegar and oil instead, there was sugar in the fucking cowboy caviar! Why does a bean salad need fucking sweetener added?

“Not having time to cook” these days is basically identical to WORKING ON MY CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE because everything is fucking toxic with sugar and various other hidden refined carbs. It makes no sense. There’s sugar in the canned tomatoes we bought, and in the canned black beans. There’s sugar in the Paul Newman’s salsa. What the FLYING FUCK is wrong with the food industry? I’m pudgy because I keep eating potato chips and making bechemel sauce; I do NOT need sugar added to everything else I eat.

Anyway, the weather has been milder than I expected. It’s warm and humid, yes, but not as swelteringly hot as I thought it would be by now. I hope it never goes any higher than the 80’s. That’d be perfect.

Home

We’ve had tons of rain, though. Lots of spectacular storms with thunder and lightning and hail! Half the state is under water!

My Kindle Keyboard up and died last week, so I treated myself to a replacement Paperwhite. I love it! Amazon makes such cute devices with such adorable operating systems! (The Paperwhite syncs to Goodreads, though, which offends me. Amazon should have partnered with the far more legit and nerdy LibraryThing. Word.)

Kindle Paperwhite

The person I live with is wonderful and amazing and fantastic. I’ve literally never been happier. He’s the best thing ever. (He’s working too much lately, too. So grateful we’re taking 4 days off next week to go see Amma in Chicago next week.) I love love.

New Crocs

There were random flowers in the living room when I got home from work yesterday, and my man had done the dishes. Best partner ever.

Flowers

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9″

October 10th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Gadgets - (0 Comments)

In which I review my newest device, even though it’s already obsolete.

A couple of weeks ago I spontaneously bought a fourth Kindle — a tablet upgrade. My previous Kindle Fire worked fine and I didn’t need a new one. I knew they were probably going to announce a new model soon anyway. (Which they did. The very next day.) Pretty much the worst time to upgrade, really.

Luckily I found Amazon Warehouse Deals, which is the interface through which Amazon sells damaged, refurbished, and/or remaindered stuff, so I got the 8.9″ HD for less than a new 7″ HD.

amazon-kindle-fire-hd-8.9

The device is pretty awesome. The screen is great and the on-board speakers really are as remarkable as the reviews say. The device is thin and elegant. The opsys is stable. There’s a shitload of great content, especially if you have Amazon Prime.

But I hate the location of the hardware buttons. The power switch is right next to the volume rocker switch and it infuriates me to find myself pushing things multiple times just to get the device to turn on or off. The ports and buttons are horribly laid out: in order to charge the device while watching video (which you absolutely have to because the thing is a battery drain) you have to turn the device upside down. Of course the screen reorients, but then the buttons are on the opposite side… basically every time I pick the thing up I have to search for the on/off switch.

Ultimately my inability to memorize button layout is my own fault, but it drives me nuts.

The device I bought was returned or refurbished — the description wasn’t terribly clear — but it arrived in factory packaging and looked brand new save a few tiny cosmetic scratches I didn’t even notice until I’d had the thing for several hours. I love those little scratches because they knocked over a hundred bucks off the prices of the device!

I still use my older Kindle device, the Kindle Keyboard, for real reading, though. While the Fire HD is an excellent media consumption device — great for everything from email to social media and HD movies — it’s not half as comfortable for reading. The Kindle Keyboard isn’t backlit, is half the size of the Fire HD 8.9″, and is wholly superior for sucking down long-form works of text. With its nearly infinite battery power and the leather case complete with built-in reading light it’s an ideal reading device. (I would upgrade to the Paperwhite except I dropped a lot of money on that leather case and am not ready to make it obsolete quite yet. Also the thing is still receiving software updates and works just fine.) The Kindle Fire models are adequate for reading, but the size, weight, battery drain, and lit screen are all non-trivial issues by comparison.

Anyway, I gave the Fire 7″ to my brother. He immediately rooted it. I probably would have kept it and done the same myself — sometimes you really want access to the Google market — but I tend toward generosity when wine drunk and excited about new electronic devices.

I’ve ordered a Bluetooth keyboard to use with the thing. I don’t really need it, but it will make using the device for emails and blogging while traveling much more comfortable.

Update: It’s the last day of the year and I LOVE this tablet. Use the shit out of it. Still hate the button locations, but otherwise it’s a great device.

Broken stuff + love

July 25th, 2013 | Posted by Mush in Gadgets | Love | Weather - (1 Comments)

In which I break a couple of things and the long-distance relationship is great.

Yesterday, my 31 day-old phone died. Just up and goddamned failed, right in the middle of the afternoon. Six months ago, I probably wouldn’t have cared much about being phoneless for a day or three, but now my phone is my main source of communication with the Internet boyfriend so it really bummed me out.

In all my years of carrying various cell phones, I’ve never dropped nor broken nor drowned a phone, so I suppose it’s my turn for a catastrophic phone failure. The thing turns on but won’t boot, and it won’t turn off unless the battery is pulled. It occasionally boots into its version of BIOS or sometimes into a dialog that asks if I really want to install a non-standard operating system package, but other than that it’s just the blue TrackPhone screen. My brother looked at it and agreed: it’s fucking DEAD.

I need to get out to Walmart to exchange it; G’ma said she’d haul me out there this or tomorrow afternoon. I can’t find the receipt but I hope they replace it anyway.

~+~+~+~+~
The day before yesterday I went out to the garage to hop on my bike and ride over to the store, but I discovered the front tire was completely flat. I aired it up — having a compressor fucking rocks — but it was pretty low yesterday morning. I dropped it at the shop after work.

Today, after making the newspaper, I trudged over there in the heat to pick it up but they hadn’t gotten to it yet. So I had to walk home in the heat. Again.

~+~+~+~+~
Internet boyfriend is coming to visit in September. Soooo excited I could absolutely pop.

We’re smitten with each other. We spent ten hours in video chat last Sunday (not contiguous; there were trips to kitchens and stores and such, and I took a nap) and never got bored of looking at each other. This is par for the course. We text, we IM, we call, we video chat, we email. Constantly. The only time we’re out of touch is work and gigs, and even then we still text every few hours. I think we both agree it’s fortunate nobody else has to put up with us — well, except the NSA — because we’re in that really cutesy phase only charming if you’re in it.

He has a beard but it turns out there are dimples under there. DIMPLES. Y’all know how I feel about dimples.

Last night on Skype with him I spent a solid hour just crying with laughter. (He’s systematically destroying my refined left coast humor with his pedantic Midwestern humor. It’s a travesty. I cannot believe the shit I’ll laugh at if he says it.) I adore him. He also hits everything on the fairly negative and bitchy list I wrote a few years ago except for being a devotee part; interestingly enough Amma gave me double prasad at one of my darshans this year and I sent the extra to him; interestingly enough he’s keeping it in his freezer because he considers it sacred.

“Eat the chocolate, nerd, that’s what it’s for.”

“Oh, I will. But not now, bitch!”

Droid probs.

January 20th, 2012 | Posted by administratrix in Gadgets - (2 Comments)

In which Gingerbread broke my camera app. And there’s a question for you to answer!

I

take the majority of my photographs with my cell phone. They’re spontaneous pictures and don’t have to be high quality, but on the other hand, they do need to not actively suck.

My phone is an LG Optimus S. In the beginning, it took acceptable pictures even though it has always sucked in low-light conditions. It worked for my needs. It’s a fucking phone, after all.

But since the update to Gingerbread, it takes pictures like this:

Lovely January morning

That picture was taken in broad daylight, in bright sunlight. It was not taken at dusk. It was taken at ten o’clock in the morning on a sunny day. But see how dark it is? And how blue everything is?

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Joining the tablet revolution.

November 22nd, 2011 | Posted by administratrix in Gadgets | Reading - (5 Comments)

In which I accidentally buy a Kindle Fire.

I did not need a new device. My Kindle 3 (the model now known as the “Kindle Keyboard”) isn’t even a year old yet, and it works just fine. After I sprung (sprang?) for the expensive but elegant and cleverly-designed OEM leather cover with the built-in light, I could even read in the dark. It’s eminently portable, wireless, holds 1500 books, and I’d hacked it to display custom screen savers. It did not need to be replaced.

It’s just that I have a job now, and therefore there was money in my account on the day my clicking finger went ahead and decided for me. And now I have the Kindle Fire!

Kindle Fire 1st gen

The Fire is a seriously great deal for two hundred bucks. The hardware is really nice for such a low price point — I hear they’re being sold at a loss (Amazon’s favorite market-cornering trick, see: the entire ebook industry). The device is fast, responsive, and has very nice screen resolution. It’s many, many times more elegant than that knock-off tablet I had briefly last year.

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