Archive for January, 2010

Handkerchiefs aren’t just for old men

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Lately I've been trying to reduce our trash output. Just generally making switches from disposable to reusable. One of the things I decided to try was using handkerchiefs instead of kleenex. I've decided that I'm never going back.

The first thought I had was that handkerchiefs might be gross, or take too much time, or something like that. I don't know anyone else who uses them. Instead though, they have saved me money (I used to go through a lot of kleenex) and they feel good!

There were two kinds two choose from, synthetic or cotton. I got some of both from Amazon to see which ones I liked best. The synthetic ones are really easy to fold and don't wrinkle at all, so they look nicer in their box. The cotton ones crumple up, which I could probably fix with ironing, but I'm too lazy for that. The cotton ones are cotton though, so they are more natural (but I couldn't find a good set of organic ones). Both sets were around a $1 per piece. It seems to be a mixed bag, so I like having some of both.

I pretty much use them just like I used paper tissues except when they are dirty I toss them on top of (or in) the washer instead of in the trash. Then, whenever I do a load of regular laundry they just get cleaned as well, so it hasn't taken any extra effort nor cost to use them. And they haven't been gross at all, especially when I just toss them inside of the washer itself. No touching of other people's handkerchiefs is necessary.

My nose also likes them because they are softer and thicker than the paper version.

I still have one box of tissues in the closet that I can pull out for guests if necessary, but you should definitely try them in your own home. They aren't just for old men anymore.

Photos Galore

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

I've been lagging on the photo front lately, so I went on a sorting and uploading spree yesterday. I posted photos from Mission peak, including a few panoramas from the same spot, two San Diego hikes, and a bunch of other stuff. Here are a few of my favorites...

Gliding Off
Bright Lights
Soaring Sunset
Don't Touch!
How We Roll
Cat Doors are for Chasing Cats

Why I’m Using Unison

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Random tidbits on the computer/nerd-alert front. I accidentally launched my laptop into the air last month and shattered the screen. It was good while it lasted, and it is sitting on a shelf, waiting for me to find time to replace the screen. In the meantime I picked up an Asus UL30A-X5, which runs Linux beautifully, lasts for about 10 hours on battery and is incredibly light between the 13" screen and lack of an optical drive. In order to hedge my bets and have something with a bit more speed I also built my first desktop, based loosely on one described at Ars Technica with a few minor changes (P55A-UD3 motherboard, 5750 graphics card, 400W Corsair power supply). It too runs Linux and anything I can throw at it like a champ. So I use the desktop at home and the laptop at school, using Unison to keep things in sync.

Unison: Basically Magic

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

I just got Unison up and running to synchronize the data between my laptop and desktop machines. It is the closest thing to magic that any software in recent memory has come for me. Keeping data in sync between multiple computers has always seemed like a huge pain, but Unison scans my home folder on each machine (> 100k files!) in about 30 seconds, lets me review any differences and then synchronizes them. If you regularly use two computers and are tired of emailing files back and forth to yourself, you should check out Unison. In particular, read this post by Philip Guo for a well written introduction and detailed instructions (randomly, I mentioned Philip more than two years ago for another incredibly helpful post that he wrote about applying for graduate fellowships).