the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Monthly Archives: May 2012

archos child pad

"ARCHOS Announces the Availability of the Child Pad, a 7" ICS "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3" Themed Tablet for Kids. The colorful chipmunk themed Child Pad provides kid's with a safe and fun tablet experience only for $129.99"

More an more tablets are breaking the iPad price barrier and getting below the $200 mark. Archos, well-known electronic-maker, adds this Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich "Child Pad" (probably a rebranded Archos 70) to the mix. It's a real (little) tablet and the specs are the specs (see below). More apps (and hopefully a new theme) can be had from the AppsLib, which I know nothing about!

Do I spring for one? There's no Kindle app, and similar spec'd tablets can be found for under $100 (why pay for chipmunk licensing???), so probably not.

Tech Specs 
Capacity • Flash memory: 4 GB* • Expandable via micro SDHC Slot 
Operating system • ANDROID 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich 
Processor • ARM Cortex A8 @ 1 GHz 
RAM • 1 GB 
Display • 7 inch - Resistive screen, TFT LCD, 16 million colors • 800 x 480 screen resolution 
Video Playback • H.264 up to 1080p resolution  30 fps • .avi .mp4 ,mkv, .mov, and .flv 
Audio Playback1 • MP3, WAV, APE, OGG, FLAC 
Photo viewer3 • JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG 
Interfaces  Micro USB slave 2.0: Mass Storage Class (MSC) • Micro SD slot (SDHC compatible) Up to 32 GB 
Communication protocols • WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) 
Miscellaneous • Front camera • Built-in speaker • Microphone • G-sensor 
Power source • Internal: Lithium Polymer battery • USB Power Adapter 
Dimensions & weight • 223 mm x 142 mm x 12.2 mm - 380 g 
Compatibility • Microsoft® Windows® 7, Vista, XP, or higher, Mac OS or Linux in mass storage mode 
Computer Interface • USB 2.0 interface 
Package includes • ARNOVA ChildPad, USB cable, USB Power adapter, Quick Start Guide (QSG)

On the web:
Child Pad


wither chumby

According to Engadget, about a month ago Chumby shut down it's online store. They've exhausted all their hardware stock and fear is that the company now appears to be running the clock out. What happens to that cute little Chumby One of mine? Off-line firmware, that's what! An enterprising guy named Zurk has created firmware that bypasses Chumby servers, so in the eventuality they do go under, your Chumby won't! Updates once I load it up.

Offline Firmware for Chumby One

audioengine a2

Computer speakers. For over a decade, I had a pair of beige, no-name ones, a pair of small satellites with a subwoofer. They were fine. But gadget freak that I am, after reading a review in Stereophile magazine, I needed to upgrade them.

Audioengine has made a name for itself by building high quality components for the computer market. Stylish as a Mac, affordable as a PC, their powered speakers, dac, amplifier, and wireless adapters have earned the company top marks. The smaller brother to the A5s, the A2's are self-powered speakers that feature a very efficient 15W RMS amplifier and accept both stereo mini-jack and RCA connections. The 2.75" Kevlar woofers and 20mm silk dome tweeters deliver a stunning frequency response of 65Hz-22kHz +/-2.0dB; very impressive for their diminuative size. The speakers are AC powered and include a 100-240v adapter, speaker cable for connecting right to left speaker, and a few short audio cables for connecting analog signals.

How do they sound? Amazing. In fact, so amazing that you'll want to pull your chair back a few extra feet from your desk so you can take in that amazing sound. Even with the optional speaker stands (that provide a 30 degree tilt up from the desktop), the A2's are so in your face with brilliant, resolute audio that may just not enjoy it. After all, a pair of speakers sandwiched between a computer monitor on two-foot desktop is as far from an ideal sound stage! The A2's may not be big enough to fill a larger room, but they will more than saturate your desktop's listening area.

The A2's will accept line level inputs from two sources simultaneously, a great feature and perfect for two computers that share a KVM. The volume knob is on the back of the left speaker, which is slightly inconvenient for me because I don't use my computer's software volume control – I much prefer the physical knob. But all in all, the A2's are everything they're billed to be, and a bargain at $199 a pair. Be sure to search for coupon codes when ordering direct.

On The web:
Audioengine 2 (A2)

My Partial Mash Procedures

My Partial Mash Procedures

1. Pre-brew: Check for all ingredients/equipment. Activate yeast package. Take top-off water out of refrigerator (was put in night before). Don't forget ice.

2. New sponge (with no soap), microwave for 30 seconds. Mix batch of sanitizing solution. Boil tea-kettle full of water. Always follow good brewing habits.

3. Mash: Preheat Igloo cooler. Add gypsum and bring water to mash temp (1 quart of water preheated to ~170F degrees for every pound of grain being mashed). Put crushed grains into bag, place in bottom of Igloo cooler. Pour over grains, take temperature, adjust to ~154F. Close lid and wait one (1) hour. Drain (via hose) to kettle, recirculating first two quarts or so.

4. Bring water to sparge temp (>170F). Pour slowly through strainer over grains in Igloo cooler. Drain via hose to kettle. Remove grains from cooler and let drain over kettle.

5. Place kettle on stove. Top-off to boil volume. Add first wort hop (if applicable), bring to boil, remove from heat, add malt extract. Put kettle back on heat to reach boil temp.

6. The Boil. Add hops on schedule. Stir in circular motion (do not splash). Add Whirlfloc tablet last 10 minutes.

7. Sanitize primary fermenting bucket, lid and airlock parts. Rinse clean, keep covered.

8. When boil has completed, remove from heat and cover kettle and place into ice bath (cold water and 22lb bag of ice). Stir in circular motion (do not splash). Let cool (this generally takes about 20 minutes).

9. When wort reaches <80F, add to primary fermenter using strainer, which already contains 1 gal chilled water. Avoid trub. Top-off to 5 gal. Take O.G reading with hydrometer. Shake/stir bucket to oxygenate.

10. Pitch yeast into primary fermenter bucket and stir to mix. Close lid then carry it to quiet place to ferment (63-70F). Put on airlock.

11. Fermentation starts within 24 hours, lasts day or two. Transfer to sanitized secondary carboy after 7 days. Rack carefully, avoid splashing, avoid trub. Put on airlock. Wait at least 3-4 weeks. Check F.G. with hydrometer.

12. Clean bottles. Rinse immediately after serving home brew and place into sanitizing solution, soak, dry. Morning before bottling, gather bottles and soak all again in sanitizer, rinse using jet rinser. Hang on bottling tree to let dry. Soak caps in sanitizer solution, rinse before using.

13. Bottling. Boil 5oz priming sugar in 2 cups of water, put in bottle bucket to cool. SLOWLY transfer beer from secondary to bottling bucket with the tubing below the liquid line.

14. QUIETLY bottle beer, minimize bubbles as much as possible. Use short line, clamp, slow flow out of spigot, and have lots of patience. Cap and store (~60-70F) for at least two weeks. Then place in fridge overnight.

15. Enjoy home brew!