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A number of things to discuss today…

October 14, 2010, 9:48 PM

So I have a few things that I’d like to discuss with you today. First of all, I got a new netbook! I got the HP Mini 210, in black. Looks like it ought to be a pretty solid netbook computer, and for how I do computing on the go, it ought to work pretty well. My biggest complaint about the Lappy is that typing would give me fits, because the keyboard didn’t hold up too well. The left control key broke off, and typing would cause nearby keys to fire as well. This new computer has a “chiclet” style keyboard, which actually kind of reminds me of a Mac keyboard. And this thing weighs about three pounds. And this is what the Mini 210 looks like:

HP Mini 210 netbook

This, by the way, isn’t my specific computer. I ordered mine from Amazon, and it will be here as quickly as free shipping will get it here. I’ll show you my specific model once it arrives.

The reason I replaced the Lappy entirely instead of fixing the keyboard along with a general rehab is because based on what I use the Lappy for, a netbook is a better fit for me. I usually only use the Lappy when I go places. If I’m at home, I’m using my full-size computer, you see. And most of what I do when I’m out with a computer is pretty simple. I basically only use it to get online, do some very basic image work, and write Journal entries. I don’t do Web design on the Lappy (with the notable exception of the March on the Pentagon photo set, which was put together at a coffee shop in Staunton, using the Lappy), and I don’t do anything that requires all that serious of concentration. And the Lappy’s other problem is that it’s a little bit unwieldy for me. Since it’s not my primary computer, and I only use it when on the go, I therefore must lug it around. And it’s big enough and heavy enough to be a pain to carry around. It was big enough that it doesn’t fit comfortably in my work bag, and thus requires its own bag, adding to the extra bulk to carry around.

For the new netbook, by comparison, I’m just buying one of those ultra-hip neoprene sleeves for it, and I can throw it in my regular work bag, since one of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while is to be able to write Journal entries on the Metro, for one thing. My Metro ride is about 35 minutes, and I could hammer out a Journal entry in that time, and then post it when I get home. With the built-in Web cam, I could even video blog it! Wouldn’t that be cool, now – video blogging on the Metro.

Otherwise, it’s only taken me to today to actually go shopping for glasses, despite my having the eye appointment two weeks ago. The last three times I’ve gotten new glasses, I’ve gone glasses-shopping the same day or the next day. What can I say? I’ve been busy. I went to LensCrafters in Wheaton this evening (where, incidentally, I just became the mayor on Foursquare), and sadly, I bombed big time. I didn’t like anything there, and so I came out empty-handed. I’ve usually always been able to come out of LensCrafters with something I’ve liked, and so this was surprising. I guess it’s because I just got a really great pair of glasses last time that was just perfect for me, and so the next pair of glasses has big shoes to fill. So I’ll explore around a little bit more, probably on Saturday, and I’ll show you what I get when I figure out what I want. I need another spare pair to put in a strategic location, so just re-lensing my current ones with the new prescription is unfortunately out of the question.

Then one of the things about having a Sable wagon is that it’s remarkably common out on the road, since it shares the same basic design with the Ford Taurus. Coming home from work on Tuesday, I spotted this Taurus wagon parked out on the street in front of my apartment complex:

The decoy

Compare to my car:

The Sable

I actually first saw the Taurus parked out on the street from the bus on the way to work that morning, and considering it’s the same color as my car and all, it was enough to make me do a double take, since I knew I hadn’t parked my car in the street. Thus the pictures – it was enough to make me do a double take, therefore it was enough to grab a few cell-phone shots of both that car and mine. Thus I was like this – you have Schumin’s car in the parking lot, and then the decoy on the street. And the folder where I put these photos on my computer is called “Sable and Decoy”, if that tells you anything.

Speaking of my street, here’s what Montgomery County decided to put in the road:

Traffic islands on my street

Now there are two traffic islands on my street. One here, and another one further back. I have mixed feelings about these. On one hand, crossing the street in my neighborhood is a real pain, since my street gets a good bit of traffic along it (there is an elementary school at the end of the road), and so giving pedestrians a refuge mid-road will be helpful, and they appear to be strategically located near bus stops. This will also make people think twice about speeding through here, as people like to do on my street. On the other hand, they’re moving my morning bus stop further away from my house, which I’m not too excited about. And in the morning, I catch the bus on the same side of the street as my house. And then in the evening, where the traffic islands would be handy since I get off on the opposite side of the street, there’s no island (at least not yet).

Ride On, you see, chose to stagger the stops on my street. Thus the buses to Norbeck Park and Ride and the buses to Glenmont don’t stop in the same places. So I board in the morning at a stop up the street from my house, and get off in the evening at a stop down the street from my complex. If Montgomery County is using this as an opportunity to line the stops up across from each other, I’ll be okay with that, since the morning stop is closer to my house than the evening stop, and it would allow me a safer way to cross the street. See, the most dangerous part of my commute is crossing Massachusetts Avenue in Dupont Circle (morning and evening). Then the second most dangerous part is crossing my street in the evening. So if they decide to line up the bus stops, I won’t complain, and I’ll change my evening bus stop to use the island if that’s what they do, since the new island is still closer to my house than my regular evening stop.

Meanwhile, I wonder if this is a stimulus-funded project. I couldn’t find anything about it online (and oh, did I research this), and I’m not quite interested enough to call and find out.

Then have you ever used Foursquare before? It’s surprisingly addictive, as you go somewhere and “check in”. Then if you’re the one with the most check-ins in the last sixty days, you become the “mayor” of the place, which in most cases is just bragging rights, but in some cases, you can get specials and such. For instance, at the Pizza Hut in Glenmont Center, the mayor, currently a gentleman named Jay H., is entitled to a free order of breadsticks with purchase of a large pizza.

What’s funny is that once I joined Foursquare, Katy, one of my coworkers, mentioned the idea of making my office a Foursquare venue and becoming the mayor of it. And wouldn’t you know – she did. And she’s also currently the mayor, and I’ve been unable to unseat her so far. Seeing that, however, reminded me of the Bugs Bunny phrase, “Of course you realize, this means war.” So I made their office a venue, and am currently mayor of it. That mayorship has been going back and forth between Katy and me for about a week or so now. Seeing her office as a venue, Katy commented on the Twitter, “@schuminweb how did I not see this coming? (@ Meredith and Katy’s office w/ @schuminweb) http://4sq.com/bAkHXc“. All in all, it’s kind of a fun battle to have. Yes, my wing at the office is perhaps the most fun of all the various sections of the office. All the policy people and researchers and such don’t know what they’re missing.

So there you go. And then tomorrow… it’s Friday, ya bastards!

Web site: About traffic calming in Montgomery County. This, I believe, is the program that the new islands are part of.

Song: iJustine sings about Harris Teeter. I've had this song stuck in my head all day. And I still find it funny that iJustine uses a southern accent when describing Harris Teeter. I've noticed when going to Harris Teeter stores in "regular" Virginia (as compared to Northern Virginia) that "the teet", as iJustine called it, is distinctly devoid of southern accents (compared to Kroger, Food Lion, etc. where southern accents are plentiful).

Quote: I don't know... I'm still just amazed that I bombed at LensCrafters. I've never had this much trouble shopping for glasses...