Unboxing the Nook Simple Touch, sheep shearing, and more

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I should have posted the first part earlier in the week, as I got the Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch e-reader on Tuesday and have been using it profusely since. I am well into Under the Dome, by Stephen King, which is a pretty awesome book. He is probably going to be my author of the summer, thanks to Sarah. Back to business…

This has been my first full week off for Summer, and I really did quite a lot, and nothing at the same time. I’ve been restoring an old bench vice as part of my “do more DIY” initiative, which is slowly starting to take off, and will hopefully be facilitated by giving the vice a new lease of life. It was given to us a number of years ago by my grandfather, and like many tools at the time, was left out to rot. Too many bikes in our garage, and far too few decent tools. Now I’m slowly building up my DIY arsenal, and it needs a new home, for which the shed should suit nicely. Again, there are too many bikes in the shed (really there are too many bikes, and parts of bikes, everywhere here!), and it has been used as a general storage building since we got it a number of years ago. The shed also needs some TLC – the outside needs Ronsealed (sealed by Ron Swanson), and the inside painted, and in addition to this a few of the boards are rotten and need replaced. It was also the site of an epic rat battle a few years back. Those buggers can chew through anything – they bit/dug their way through the floor and industrial carpet tiles to get inside, but hopefully they have scampered off somewhere else. Or they died in the great rat genocide of Halloween a few years back, when they got between the chickens food and my air rifle. These are the joys of sort-of-countryside life, and living next to fields, the great source of all the nasty critters. If I was a rat and saw the videos coming out of Newforge Studios, I would think twice about coming round to my house. Now, with the arrival of new kittens, there will be an army of felines guarding the property.

Pregnant cat is pregnant no longer!
Hilariously pregnant cat is pregnant no longer!

Other fun activities this past week included wheeling barrows of manure down the road, and watching the sheep shearing. There is much more to sheep shearing than I had realised, and the guy we were watching could shear one in 37 seconds, though his normal time was closer to a minute for a series of sheep. Anybody can take shears to a sheep, but the art is in managing this while keep the beast under control, and requires significant strength and technique. Dad and I brought down some cameras and did some filming, so hopefully there will be a sheep shearing video on the way soon. Aside from that not much has been happening on the film front, though I saw Django Unchained again last night, which made me want to make a Western. A regular one, or a Western with a modern twist though, is the question. I’ve got the use of a few prop guns and other Western-ish items, so it might still happen. Who knows?

The "improved" charger, which I like to think of as Steampunk
The “improved” charger, which I like to think of as quite Steampunk (well, the copper heat pipes at least)

My need to constantly build/fix/improve has led to a few weird and wonderful creations, as in the new and improved laptop charger shown above. Dell chargers, and laptop chargers in general, have always worried me slightly. They produce an incredible amount of heat for their size which both poses a fire hazard (particularly on sofas or beds), and shortens the working life of the components, wearing it out sooner. My simple solution: grab the heat sinks lying about from gutting different Xbox 360s and attach them with superglue, and some thermal paste. The result is a charger which is no longer hot to the touch, and looks amazing, or ridiculous depending on your view of the use of gratuitous heat sinks. Yes, it is a bit bulkier, and slightly more dangerous as far as spiky bits are concerned, but I like to think it could double up as a self-defense tool if your house is being burgled (by AC adaptor fearing folks, of course). If I was doing it again, I would use a flatter heat sink on the top, or build a custom heat sink case to encircle the charger. The ideal solution would be to encase it in a lump of copper, or aluminium, which would look amazing and keep it cool. And prove to be an even more effective weapon…

Black and white e-ink tablet. Who said that?! That’s madness! Well, yes it is, but it is at least pretty damn cool. The Nook Simple Touch runs a basic version of Android, with the Nook software draped over the top, but the device can be rooted rather simply to provide a basic, but functional tablet. And of course, you can play Angry Birds in black and white. But that wasn’t the reason I wanted it. In actual fact, it can bolster the e-reader potential of the Nook, by allowing a number of different e-reader apps to be installed, and a method of delivering your own book collection wirelessly though email, Dropbox or Google Drive (any cloud storage solution with a compatible app). Rooting it extends the functionality, and novelty of the device, which is already a very nice e-reader on its own.

And I’m not even going to get started in to Catherine, which I’ve been playing on PS3. That game is just too weird…

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