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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Geek Dad

Pumpkin Slinging in New Jersey, Halloween 2010

by Ken Newquist / October 13, 2010

I've heard about pumpkin chucking events, and seen a few on TV thanks to MythBusters, but I've never experienced one in real life. That may change later this month: the Last Fling Pumpkin Fling is being held in Belvidere, New Jersey on October 30th and 31st, 2010 at Hensler Farms.

Rock Candy Dinosaurs

by Ken Newquist / April 2, 2010

It began innocently enough with dinosaurs.

Kids love dinosaurs. I loved dinosaurs. Hell, I still love dinosaurs, so why wouldn't I share them with my daughter? Girls can be archeologists too after all, and this was the perfect setup to watching Indiana Jones a few years down the line.

Except that to my daughter, who was four at the time, dinosaurs weren't exotic reptilian wonders from 100 million years ago, they were 20 foot tall monsters with teeth like steak knives. Initial wonder gave way to horror, which spawned nightmares about being chased by velociraptors.

Why I want an Apple iPad

by Ken Newquist / January 27, 2010

I want an iPad. It’s not because I’m a raving Apple fan boy or obsessed with the latest gadget – it’s because it fits the way I want to use technology, and addresses frustrations I’ve had with contemporary form factors. There are three specific products that I want to use with a tablet:

Four Essential Apps for Windows Netbooks

by Ken Newquist / August 6, 2009

My family recently got an Asus netbook, which has plunged me once again into the world of Windows XP. Fortunately I came prepared -- while I spend most of my day on a Mac, I occasionally dual boot into XP on my MacBook Pro, and I've accumulated a number of must-have utilities for thriving in Windows.

Launchy: A fast application launcher that allows you to quickly find and run applications on your computer. It's roughly equivelent of Quicksilver on the Mac, though Quicksilver offers more advanced capabilities.

Cute PDF: A free PDF creator for Windows; "print" your document to the Cute PDF printer and it spits out a finished PDF. It's something I do instinctively on the Mac; it's nice to have that functionality in Windows as well.

Bonjour for Windows: Apple's Bonjour software lets you quickly find shared printers on a network. I use this to print to my Airport Express-connected HP LaserJet printer. The alternative is trying to use the Windows network printing utility, and that way lies madness.

The Blue Dolphin Splashes Down at Nuketown

by Ken Newquist / July 31, 2009

This is my first-ever post written on my family's spiffy new Asus Eee PC netbook, aka "The Blue Dolphin", so named because it's small and blue, which led my wife to describe it as a baby blue dolphin on Twitter.

Anyway ... we decided to get a netbook as a direct result of our summer vacation; I could have used it at Origins, and it would have been handy to have for writing on Butler Island on Lake Champlain (where we spent a week hanging out with family friends).

It's a cute little machine -- it ships with a 160 GB hard drive, wireless N support, a 4 cell battery capable of up to eigth hours of use (assuming you use the Asus power management tools), three USB ports, an SD card reader, an ethernet port and Windows XP.

I'll forgive it for that last bit; I don't have the energy to hack this thing to run Mac OS X, and if I have to run Windows, XP isn't too bad (though I am curious about trying Windows 7 on it). The whole thing cost about $300 from Amazon. which made it a fairly inexpensive experiment.