Archive for December, 2011

The end is near… for 2011 anyway.

Fall 2011 proved to be an incredibly stressful semester for a number of reasons, but I survived and did well enough to continue my pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree. When grades posted, I had managed to turn what started as my best grade into my worst, and what started as my worst grade into my best. In the spring, I will see if I can manage to just keep them all at a respectable level. At any rate, the prospect of actually finished one of the four degrees I have started in the last eleven years still exists and that was really the best Christmas present I could get myself.

As far as Christmas itself went, I made out pretty well with some gizmos for my road bike, a stein from Germany for my beer, and some new clothes. I also picked up a new-to-me large format camera, a 4×5″ Shen Hao, with a 135mm f/5.6 Symmar-S MC lens. That will help me blow off some steam in the limited free time to come, and hopefully let me make more things to hang on my wall. The gifts I gave out this year were all framed darkroom prints from photos I took this summer in Scotland. People seemed to enjoy and appreciate those, so it may become a tradition for as long as I can source film, paper, and chemistry.

It’s a keeper

A week of solid use has me convinced that the Kindle Fire was a worthwhile purchase. While it hasn’t displaced any of my textbooks yet, I was able to cut my laptop out of the mix for the week. The courses I’m taking right now are not computationally intensive on the scale where I need to write anything in MATLAB to solve equations. Wolfram Alpha has been sufficient for my needs thus far. I’m able to keep up with news, friends, and entertainment very easily.

Now, this device has cost me a good deal more than the $200 initial cost. The ease of integration with Amazon’s multitude of online stores makes purchasing things a little too easy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Between 2001, when I graduated high school, and the day before my Kindle fire arrived I probably bought somewhere on the order of 10 books of my own choosing (read: not textbooks). I’ve purchased eight books in the last week alone. My classical music collection was leaving a lot to be desired, and two classical collections were purchased to address that problem. Somehow, in all of my years of Apple use I never once purchased anything from iTunes. A week with the Kindle Fire, and I have to exercise restraint for the sake of my credit card.

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