CAT | Gadgets

May/14

20

take that grass

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Sharpened up the mower blade. Lets mulch sometime

We are really enjoying the Amazon Fire TV. I assume you know it is basically a very decent android tablet you plug into your TV. Just thought I would share pros and cons.

Pros:
* The thing is powerful. Quad core processor, 2GB RAM, and dedicated GPU. It was a big step up from our ROKU 2 and it can handle anything we throw at it. It it basically a very decent android tablet you plug into your TV.
* Games play great, but the remote is hard to use. Should be better with the game pad. They are on backorder currently.
* Many of the apps are ported Google TV apps. I am so happy to have a real youtube app.
* You can multitask. Play a song on pandora while playing a game
* Voice search works very well for searching Amazon content. The OS is basically being inside the amazon streaming store and you can use apps.
* optical audio out made it possible for us to use it. Right now we cannot get audio from HDMI. It is a nice feature.

Cons:
* No Google Music yet. Google Music requires Google Play Services which doesn’t function correctly yet.
* No PBS channel, but content can be found. They do have the Smithsonian channel though.
* voice search does not work in apps

The Amazon Fire TV is great on day one and should get better as more apps and updates are released. It fits in well with the streaming device family we have going on. Each has their place, and the Fire TV gets the prime living room location.

UNL Today article

Rack, who is U.S. principal investigator for the environmental surveys that were conducted as part of the international ANDRILL Coulman High project, had left the site just prior to the discovery. He was listening by radio when he heard the report from the robot deployment team — engineers Bob Zook, Paul Mahecek and Dustin Carroll — who began shouting as they saw the anemones, which appeared to glow in the camera’s light. “They had found a whole new ecosystem that no one had ever seen before,” Rack said. “What started out as a engineering test of the remotely operated vehicle during its first deployment through a thick ice shelf turned into a significant and exciting biological discovery.” In addition to the anemones, the scientists saw fish that routinely swam upside down, the ice shelf serving as the floor of their undersea world. They also saw polychaete worms, amphipods and a creature they dubbed “the eggroll,” a 4-inch-long, 1-inch-diameter, neutrally buoyant cylinder that seemed to swim using appendages at both ends of its body. It was observed bumping along the field of sea anemones under the ice and hanging on to them at times.

I know a guy who found a new species. This has some roots in Lincoln because of UNL working with ANDRILL. My buddy Bob was living in Lincoln this past summer working on the SCINI remote operated subs that go under the ice in Antarctica since the UNL team was working on the hot water drill.

It just so happened that my other Antarctica buddy Nick had worked with Bob and they met up here in Lincoln. Nick brought Bob over to the BorKade and we hit it off great. Bob is just a darn cool guy. Heck even his voice grabs your attention. He had fun playing the machines and was very interested in my rockets. He even came out to a THOR launch with me and he had a blast interacting with the other folks with much more complicated rockets filled with gadgets. It was just a great day and I had so many questions about the project he works on. They drill a hole through the ice of Antarctica and then send a remote controlled submarine down the hole. That is why it is shaped like a long tube.

Congrats on your discovery Bob :)

Jan/14

15

Andersen 3000 storm door is awesome

After painting the house one thing stood out. The storm doors that came with the house were in pretty bad shape. I had repaired the screens a couple times, but wear over the years had taken a toll. We went shopping for a door and I was a bit bummed to see that the same mech to lower the glass and expose the screen was there. The fingernail breaker style mech was on $250 doors. The door guy at Home Depot approached and I complained about the window mech. He had me step a few feet to the left and showed me the Andersen 3000 series storm doors. There is a nice handle that you squeeze to release and you can slide the window down and a screen rolls out of the top easily with one hand. The fancy door was just $50 more than the ones we were looking at, so it was an easy choice. We ordered one for the front door and waited.

Andersen claims that they are very easy to install. Claiming that normal folk can install it in 45 minutes. It took me a bit longer because I was fiddling with stuff, but it was a darn easy install. And it is a darn fine door. It does not open up as wide as the old one. I guess that is the style these days.

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Jan/14

9

CES 2014 VIDEO: Stern Pinball

Article

It may seem like the complete antithesis of what you’d expect to see on the floor of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, but there they are — pinball machines.

Pretty cool to see STERN at CES.

Jan/14

8

Chocolate Malt Ovaltine ice cream is darn delicious

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Theresa got me a Cuisinart 2-Quart Ice Cream Maker for xmax to replace the KitchenAid one I dropped a couple years ago. Most of the magic fluid leaked out and attempts to repair failed. I have used the heck out of the Cuisinart since I got it. I think I used it every day for the first week. A way too vanilla custard style ice cream, oreo chunk, orange juice concentrate sorbet, Kool-Aid and strawberry soda slushies, and I thought a tablespoon of instant coffee would not be too much ice cream. They were OK, but Ovaltine ice cream is amazing.

I was never a huge fan of Ovaltine, was more of a strawberry quick kid, but the rich malty flavor was pretty good. I am not much of a chocolate ice cream fan, but love the malt flavor. When I got the jar of Chocolate Malt Ovaltine home I smelled it and it was a bit rougher than I remembered. I cringe when i think of drinking milk, so testing it out was not going to happen. I made up a simple no egg batch of ice cream and it took 5 tablespoons of Ovaltine to get it perfect.

When scooping it out of the mixer it was soft serve just like a frosty and tasted just like a frosty. I never really noticed the malt flavor of Frosty, but from what I can tell the flavors are very similar. It was so good I had some for lunch today and will be making it again.

RECIPE:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 cups heacy cream
1 1/8 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons of Chocolate Malt Ovaltine
pinch of salt and couple drops of vanilla if you desire

Whisk sugar into the milk till dissolved –> add cream –> churn in ice cream maker –> when almost done add in Ovaltine to your desired concentration. 5 TBLS worked for me

Dec/13

30

went in on some new cookware for xmax

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Swapping out some saucepans we have had for over a decade with some Caphlon and All-Clad ones. They are beautiful, sturdier, heavier, and well made than what we had. Got to use the All-Clad Copper Core Saucepan a couple times yesterday for a sorbet and alfredo sauce.

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Swapped out the non stick pans for some ceramic ones. One is Calphalon and the other is Quisinart I believe. Both a bit different. It is a unique cooking experience though. They are so non stick water beads off them. They say you do not need butter or oil to cook things in them, but it just does not seem right and I like butter. Just have to figure out what to make for dinner tonight.

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I finally picked up a Google Chromecast. It looked interesting when it came out, but I was waiting for it to work with PLEX. It now works with PLEX and I picked up a Chromecast from Amazon. Install took a couple minutes and I had fun messing around with it.

A Chromecast is great for folks who are looking for a cheaper way to get streaming media to their TV. Would work especially well for folks who use streaming apps on PCs, laptops, tablets, and phones because that is how you get content to the Chromecast. With a Chromecast, there is no menu screen or remote. You use a device on the same network to find content to cast to the Chromecast from an app or compatible web page. The device that casts can control playback, but the Chromecast is doing the streaming. You can close down the app that casted and the Chromecast will keep playing.

Pros:
* cheap
* vid quality same as ROKU
* can switch imput on your TV on its own
* any device on your network can cast to it without installing anything special. So have your friends get on your wireless and they can cast
* great interaction on the device that casted content. including lock screen controls.
* easily portable from TV to TV. I just have micro USB cables plugged into the TVs I use it on.

Cons:
* If you are used to a ROKU or apple TV you will miss a home screen and menu. When something you casted is done there is nothing.
* each app that can cast is a bit different. Not really a standard.
* might be just me, but HDMI audio only

List of apps that can cast to Chromecast

I really like the thing. It will not be replacing our ROKU, but is enjoyable for sure. I use it at my computer desk with a TV I had lying around. the SDK should be out soon and I see a bright future for it. For $35 it is completely worth it. You can get it from Amazon, Best Buy, and other places.

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