Get Your Chores Done While Staying Protected from Radiation and Cybermen

I recently read a lens on Squidoo about the product featured in the above picture: a retro handset for cell phones. When I first saw the lens and the photo I thought it was dumb (the product, not the lens). Who would want an old-fashioned telephone handset for their modern cell phone? I remember phones with handsets like that from my childhood — aren’t we past that now? But then I read the lens and thought about it, and now I think they’re somewhat cool and could be useful.

The lens talks about the radiation issue. Cell phones emit radiation, and these handsets are supposed to lessen one’s exposure to radiation. It’s supposed to reduce up to 99% of the radiation you’d absorb using a cell phone directly. The lens has some good information about radiation and this handset in particular, including product details and videos. Check it out.

But what I think is most interesting is how useful this could be when doing chores. Yes, chores. Now I know chores aren’t usually talked about in the same sentence as cell phones, but they do relate, at least for me they do. When I was a child I remember Mom cradling the phone between her chin and shoulder so she could have her hands free to cook or wash dishes or fold laundry or care for me and my brothers. I admired the way she could talk on the phone and do something else at the same time. When I got older I learned to do the same thing. I appreciated being able to do boring chores while also doing something interesting like talking to a friend. But then I got a cell phone, and it was a lot harder to hold the phone with my shoulder. I felt like I had to bend my head over farther which made my neck hurt. Plus a problem I have with my current phone is that somehow I manage to accidently push buttons or something. At least that’s the only explanation I’ve been able to think of for why my phone hangs itself up more frequently when I’m trying to use it holding it with my shoulder.

Yes, I know there are hands-free options. I used to have a pair of earbuds that plugged into my phone, but I think those are uncomfortable. I know there’s also regular headphones, and a headset that fits over the ear. My husband says that last looks like the earpieces that people in Dr. Who episodes featuring Cybormen wore as an intermediate step before turning into Cybermen. He teases that if I bought one of those I would turn into a Cyborman, or rather Cyberwoman, too.

I may yet buy one, but finding out about this retro handset gives me one more option for using my cell phone while doing chores. It may not be completely hands free, but I already know it’s more comfortable to hold between my shoulder and chin than a cell phone is, and there’s no risk of becoming a Cyberman.

Converge SE

Don’t ask me what the SE stands for. And don’t ask me what Converge means either. All I know is that it is a web design conference being held right now in Columbia, SC at It-ology, a non-profit dedicated to advancing the IT profession by getting students to choose IT careers and also educating the public whether by classes or professional development opportunities such as conferences. My husband works there and was given the opportunity to attend the conference. So he’ll be unavailable for the next couple of days.

I think web design is interesting, so I checked out the website, but the topics listed are over my head. I think the website is cool, however. The mascot or logo of the conference is this cyborg Tyrannosaurus Rex. When you load the website you see him at the top of the page. As you scroll down he doesn’t scroll but appears to stay put, so that the information about the conference appears to scroll right over him and cover him up. Every so often, though, they have a “clear” section with a quote about the internet where you can see cyborg T. Rex. And he’s different every time he shows up. He goes from being a cyborg to an ordinary dinosaur T. Rex to a muscular dude that is being built into a cyborg to just dinosaur bones. I suppose if you read the website from bottom to top you could see the transformation of a dinosaur skeleton into a cyborg dinosaur. I think it’s really cool. I guess it’s good that a website about a conference devoted to web design has a cool website. It only makes good advertising sense.

You should check out the website even if you’re not interested in the conference or web design if for no other reason than to check out the transformation of the cyborg T. Rex. And if you are interested in the conference or in web design and couldn’t attend, the conference people will probably be posting about it. And I’m sure my husband will be posting about it at Just Jeremy when he gets a chance, so check that out too.

P.S. Ooh, they got a cyborg pterodactyl bird thing (it’s got feathers or fur — it’s hard to tell) on the other pages.

Partying with Pangolins and Penguins

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Today is the official release day of Ubuntu 12.04, also known as Precise Pangolin (a pangolin looks like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo). My husband is one of the developers, and he’s been working really hard on it. He’s been coming home from work and then working all evening and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning on it: fixing bugs, packaging, and writing documentation. I’m really proud of him.

So when he asked me last night to make a cake for his release party, I said I would. He wanted it white with orange frosting and white letters. Since I had no white cake mix in the house, but I did have cake making ingredients on hand, I decided to make it from scratch.

I think it turned out well. It was my first time separating egg whites from egg yokes (it’s the yokes that make cakes yellow — I didn’t know that before). I also made the icing from scratch — buttercream frosting is so yummy. This was also my first time decorating a cake with more than just words. The curled up pangolin, the logo of this release, was tricky, but it’s a tricky design. I’m proud of my accomplishment of this cake.

So Jeremy and I went to the party and had fun, and Jeremy helped some guys install the new release while we were there. So happy release day, Precise Pangolin! And bravo zulu (great job), Jeremy and the development team. Job well done!