Long Missive From The Trenches Of Parenting

A weekend spent (mostly) indoors due to the kid catching a cold (which, of course, did nothing to improve our chances of sleeping in) has driven home the relative importance of things such as computers, but left me with just enough time to fiddle around with them anyway and reach a few conclusions.

This is that story, hurriedly told and with little humor, and in normal-sized chunks that may be hard to digest if you’ve been using Twitter until your brain turned to jelly (as many of the people there seem to).

On Reading

Folk who expressed an interest on more information regarding the PRS-505 will like to know that, after only a couple of weeks, it has become the way for me to read just about anything and that Calibre, after at least half a dozen updates, can now generate great EPUB files out of most of what I throw at it.

It is so good I nearly feel bad about not having to buy The Economist ever again (the weekly EPUB version I get now is more than enough for me).

I don’t miss the Kindle 2 one whit, and although I would rather put up with a week’s worth of conference calls than buy DRM-laden e-books, I am at least considering moving my Wishlist to an e-book shop with a decent catalog.

The Social

Which reminds me, I’ve been invited to Readernaut but, after fishing around a bit to see what people had read and jotting my own notes regarding a few books, I have not returned since. On one hand it feels somewhat redundant to write about a book twice (I have a somewhat long list of book mentions and reviews on this site), but on the other I found there is an odd disconnect between what I read and any possible enthusiasm I might have about logging in to yet another site to post my opinion on it.

Twitter (which seems to be contagious in Portugal these days, given that I get about five new followers a day without apparent reason) is enough of an outlet for my opinions (such as they can be), thank you.

And even then, I have been forced to stop following a bunch of people (and block a few of my most obnoxious followers) simply because catching up after a few hours became a waste of time.

On Netbooks (or those little laptops that Psion trademarked)

After spending a few nights cleaning up (or trying to) my personal e-mail accounts in my Macbook and finding I can do it with gusto and still parcel out some time to spare for writing and tinkering with JavaScript, I have come to the conclusion (not exactly unexpected) that my Eee 901 isn’t useful enough to earn its keep, and plan on getting rid of it ASAP.

Sure, it’s nice to have a little Linux laptop around (and I would never suffer running Windows on mine after trying to sort out my Dad’s), but these things are too slow even for light use (I am especially miffed that after YouTube upgraded their video quality and kicked off equivalent measures by their competitors, the 901 stopped being a good complement to my iPhone for watching Flash video) and need a better OS.

And I’m not talking about Android, despite the cool hacks. They need something at least as good as Mac OS X as far as I’m concerned.

Plus the ergonomics suck. I have enough trouble1 with my eyesight and RSI to want to avoid using the thing for any extended lenght of time, and if it weren’t for the current economic downturn I’d already have thrown caution (and money) literally to the wind and gotten myself a MacBook Air, even though (by all counts) the new unibody MacBooks would be a lot more value for money if I used all of their features.

Which, considering my current lifestyle (and pretty much nil free time), I wouldn’t.

WebKit and Other Animals

I have, for the sake of completeness and as a way to avoid2 actually having to write more JavaScript, been fooling around with as many browsers as possible to get a feel for which would be the best JavaScript development environment, and have, in the interests of the advancement of science, fooled around with the usual suspects on my Mac and tortured the aforesaid Eee PC into running (natively or via VirtualBox) a number of them:

Out of all of these, and ignoring the JavaScript bits because I was looking for a combination of factors beyond raw performance, I would like to highlight the good and the (very) bad:

In the end, I am taking up (like a few others, but for very different reasons) the WebKit nightlies as my default development browser on the Mac, and keeping Firefox around solely for the sake of Firebug, which still runs rings around everything else when it comes to debugging.

1 Fortunately, it is very little indeed, but I am not getting any younger and it would be stupid of me not to take heed of the warning signs and avoid real trouble down the road.

2 The great thing about not coding for a living is that you can despise a programming language and decide whether to code in it just to confirm your displeasure or just avoid doing anything serious with it as a hobby.

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