Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Favorite Things: NanoNote Edition

Since there's so much amazing technology out there and I haven't purchased any of it since my phone, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite pieces of technology, Qi Hardware's Ben NanoNote.  While I was initially drawn to it because it's diminutive size (half the size of my UMID M1 at 3.9" by 3.0") was unique for its form factor, a handheld clamshell computer.

I was on the fence initially, but the more I read about the project, the more I was intrigued.  The goal of NanoNote is not to be simply a pocket-sized computer, it's to be a launching pad for hardware design and engineering.  Manufactured by Qi Hardware, their goal is free software and to open up hardware using Copyleft.

I am a big fan of open source software and realized a while back that the opportunities for kids interested in learning about hardware engineering was significantly more limited.  While growing up one can search the web to learn how to program; how often do they gain exposure to hardware?  Sure, you can take appliances apart and often times learn the hard way, but that doesn't mean that you understand the schematics and calculations it took to get there.

The NanoNote can be taken apart, modified, redesigned, and even sold in its new form, so long as the licenses and terms are the same or equivalent as what was used initially.

The device itself is relatively rudimentary and slow compared to the machines we presently and most smartphones out power it.  It runs OpenWRT and there's a flavor of Jlime available as well.  Some members of the community were able to get Debian running on it also.

I eventually bought a couple to play around with off of Sharism.  I love the idea of spending my money with a vision that supports learning and openness.  One NanoNote I carry around with me constantly and use to play music while the other I use to play with the different software options.  Priced at $99 plus shipping (it ships from Asia which costs around $30 to the US), it seems a fair price for those interested in developing hardware.


Kind of.  Sort of.  If you use your imagination, but it's mini and cute and I can wear it constantly without receiving weird looks, not that that's ever stopped me.

I'd had a mini bottle of bubbles keychain that mirrored it's larger counterparts I'd find in the supermarket, but it became a Sadie chew toy that I didn't realize she had until it was too late.  (Fortunately, most of the bubble solution had already evaporated and we don't call the 70 white mixed-breed dog "Sadie Steel Stomach" for no reason.) 

I was shopping a while back and wandered into Juicy Couture to check out if they had anything pink and decided to peruse the charms they had as they'll have some that are chock full of detail and suit me perfectly.  I couldn't believe when I stumbled upon this.  A tiny little bottle of bubbles charm.  It was so cute I could barely take it.  Even better, it was on sale and discounted down to around $25.  I'd have bought it regardless; however, it being on sale only added to my desire and justification as it was destiny for me to find it on one of my shopping trips as they are becoming less and less frequent and it was on sale.
I love the tiny barcode on the back!

I love how intricate many of the charms are.  I have a the orange bowler bag with a tiny charm on the handle from back in the day and the miniature jewelry box that carried the same design as the box in which it was contained.  This one is no exception.  It remains true to the Juicy brand with their crown logo on the bottom and is thoughtfully designed.  It opens and has a bubble riveted wand (reminds me of the ones I had as a kid) with a "bubble" in it and a tiny barcode.  It's a significant upgrade from the plastic mini bubble bottle I'd had before and I'll be more careful about leaving it in areas within reach of the dogs.

It's a bit more on Amazon (around $45), but you can find it here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Little Bit of Joy

Joy SoapThe other day I was getting coffee and a snack at a local market in my old neighborhood.  While waiting for my order to come up, my neon pink sense tingled and I rounded the corner and found Kala Soap's Joy Soap.  It was $8, but it smelled delish and was a solid size (there really isn't much space in the box).  Since I figure soap is always a worthwhile purchase, I picked it up.  I've still not used it all up and it doesn't dry out my skin, so it's nice to know I can get my neon fix and still be somewhat pragmatic.

I found Joy Soap on Amazon as well since I'd picked up the last one and don't know if they'll have it in stock.

The World's Small Postal Service

I have a slight obsession with journals and stationary.  Stationary stores are ubiquitous in Korea and it's something to which I'm drawn (I think it's genetics, like my affinity for neon and spicy food).  

The World's Smallest Post ServiceI can't stop at a bookstore without stopping to look at the different journals, cards, and other trinkets available.  I went to Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle and left with a couple of books, a DVD, five notebooks, and a mini binder.  I have so many different sets of stationary, including more thank you cards than I'll ever be able to use in a lifetime.

The other week I found out about Lea Redmond's World's Smallest Post Service.  She sets up shop at different locations around San Francisco, including The Curiosity Shoppe periodically.  For those of us who don't live in the Bay area, she offers the service online as well here and offers a kit.  I picked up a kit promptly so I can create my own little letters and packages and am completely in love with the details.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cheap and Neon: Two of My Favorite Things

Tepper Jackson Aero Dot Cosmetic Bag,White,one size
Aero Dot Cosmetic Bag
I've wanted Tepper Jackson's Chain Link Carry-All for quite some time.  I always have the Aero Dot Cosmetic Bag on me.  The bright pink is the perfect shade and it's so easy to clean, which is a big deal for me as I'm grateful for the popularity of acrylic tumblers so I don't have to carry a sippy cup .

Tepper Jackson's line is of good quality and design, I love the neon colors, and I'd use it for the gym and for traveling, but it's not like I need another bag right now (well, at least that's what my head says).  I feel $100 is a bit excessive for a coated canvas bag when I already have three gym bags within my line of vision at the moment.

Tepper Jackson Chain Link Carry-All,Black,one size
Chain Link Carry-All
It all changed though, when I was looking on Amazon the other day and saw it on sale for $40 with free shipping.  Now that's a price I can get behind.

I wound up selecting the last available Carry-All in white since the pink stood out more, but there's still one in black on Amazon for around $40 which is eligible for their "Free Super Saver Shipping" the last time I checked.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


My blog as of late has predominantly been about the girly stuff, but I am a tech geek at heart, especially when it comes to tiny computers.  I love technology that I can throw in my purse without having to worry about purchasing purses to fit everything.  

The UMID SE caught my eye and I'm tempted to pick one up as the conversion rates and time have lowered the price.  Since I already have two functioning netbooks with wifi (the Asus and the M1), I can't really justify the UMID SE, but I do see where it would be an improvement.

Both of my other devices frustrate me.  The Asus only has a half gig of RAM and a Celeron processor that runs under 1 GHz.  Trying to do more than one thing at a time is nearly impossible.  The EEE PC runs a form of Xandros out of the box.  I've switched to the advanced UI, but it still feels like an oversimplified version of Windows.  I miss the robustness of other operating systems.  I realize I could throw Ubuntu on it and call it good, but it wouldn't resolve the speed issues.  Lastly, it's larger than my ideal machine.

The size issue is resolved with the M1; however, there are other issues.  Right now, I need to reinstall the OS.  Installing anything off of a disk is problematic as it doesn't have a normal USB port; it has a mini-USB port with an adapter that has to be held in exactly the right position otherwise the data transfer stops.  It comes with a proprietary jack for headphones which require an adapter as well.  Worse yet is that I can't have the power adaptor hooked up with the adapter for the headphones in at the same time.  Add to all of this that it has half a gig of RAM that can't be upgraded.

The SE resolves a lot of these issues.  While not a speed-demon, it has a 1.6 GHz Atom processor and twice the RAM, which will run XP nicely and even give the option of Windows 7. The form factor is perfect for me.  It's tiny and  I lean towards the clamshell design in any of my computer purchases.  I love the idea of a miniature laptop in aesthetics.  I prefer a keyboard and if I'm going to be tossing it in a purse pocket, I don't want to run the risk of something ruining the screen.  In addition, the now-defunct manufacturer listened to the complaints about the use of adapters and switched to a normal USB port and headphone jack.

While an upgrade, is it an upgrade worth the money?  Clamshells have taken a back seat to tablets, but who knows when that will change.  When I bought my M1, they wound up announcing the BZ and the Viliv N5 shortly thereafter and I kicked myself for not waiting longer.  I try keep up on the blogs and haven't heard much, but there have been so many leaps forward since the release of the SE, dual-core atoms, the Nvidia Ion, etc., that I wish I had a crystal ball.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

La Portefeuille Magnifique

I found the most wonderful wallet.  I was browsing on etsy and fell in love with this beauty from zenokleather.  It's made of beautiful leather (reminiscent of the superb quality of Louis Vuitton's vachetta) and is gorgeously hand-stitched.  

I've been obsessing over the neon on untreated leather look and figured this would be a good basic to which I could add neon accents.  Upon arrival, I'm finding myself less inclined to mess with its aesthetics as they are currently so clean and lovely and will only improve with time and wear.

Any opinions on whether I should add a splash of color to it or should I leave as it and let time enhance its natural beauty?