Sunday, July 28, 2013

The funnel hack

I enjoyed viewing 99 life hacks (in particular, my boys love the shovels from milk jugs; we made those for snow toys while I was in that apartment). Despite having several funnels already, I needed a large volume small mouth funnel two months ago, and I wanted it right then of course. So I made a funnel from a soda bottle, and I have to say I like it as well or better than my other funnels.

Xubuntu with blank screen

My Xubuntu media PC (that's been getting heavy use this week) blanks its screen to black even though I disabled the screen saver. Well, there's an appropriately simple solution: xset s noblank. Ahh, no more cries of "Mommy, please wiggle the mouse!"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

S5 to PDF

I would rather use S5 for presentations than a proprietary solution. (I think Landslide is cool, and it has the feature to append #number to the URI to jump to that slide, but I can integrate S5 into my PmWiki so I stick with S5.) After a recent conference presentation, I was asked for the PDF version of my slides, and I was stumped for a moment. Then I found this post that turned me on to PrinceXML to work with S5. I thought about explaining how much I like Prince (after one use), but Ryan Tomayko already wrote that PrinceXML is extremely impressive. So I'll just say that I didn't like the initial output, and the documentation came to my rescue! I like well documented software that does what I need to do.

The actual command I used was prince --media projection -s page.css input.html -o output.pdf with the following for page.css:

@page { size: 1600px 900px; margin: 0 0 0 0; }

Join MP3 files

I like Audacity, so it's nice to learn I can use Audacity to join mp3 files just when I wanted to do that. Yay tools that do what I want!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Acuvue Oasys

I wore toric contact lenses for severe myopia (-9) and a strong dipole astigmatism (-2) from 1988 until 2000; I had LASIK surgery early January 2001. After ten easy years, not counting the bouts with dry eye, I went myopic again.

I got Acuvue Oasys silicon hydrogel contact lenses about 2 years ago. I used the recommended RevitaLens cleaner with them. I spent a long time struggling with them, too. My eyes would feel itchy and uncomfortable if it weren't the first day of wearing the lenses.

I tried using an enzymatic cleaner (protein remover) after a few days. I was very familiar with the feeling of contact lenses that need protein removed. The lenses feel like they're wearing scratchy wool sweaters! However, I felt no improvement at all after the enzyme cleaner.

I considered switching to Clear Care cleaner instead of RevitaLens. However, I remembered what my eye doctor said, that when you experience contact lens discomfort, switching your solution is often effective. He said it rarely matters what brand you pick, as long as it's different. When I went to the store, I bought the cheapest cleaner, in this case BioTrue, that said it worked with silicon hydrogel lenses.

I did find several things that worked.

  • Don't feel like you must wear your lenses for the full time. These are two-week lenses, and I was a lot happier when I allowed myself to wear a new pair every week (wearing them for 4 to 7 days total). I think my comfort is more important than using the full time in the directions. Too much discomfort is likely to lead to actual medical problems in my eyes, and that's even more expensive.
  • Use saline to rinse my lenses instead of the solution. Very effective! This added 3 to 7 days back to how long I wore these lenses.
  • Change your contacts solution. This added another 3 days.
  • Use more solution in the storage case. I got tired of having solution spill over the sides when I was putting the lid on, so I started to use less solution. More solution, less itchy when I put lenses in the next morning! This added comfort more than days. At this point, I was back to two weeks on each of pair of lenses, without complaint.
  • Put my lenses in earlier, so I have half an hour in the morning before I leave to decide if these are just too uncomfortable to wear today. Before, I was putting in my lenses and leaving, meaning the adjustment period was during my commute. That's not a good idea!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fourth of July

Happy FOURTH of July!

Xubuntu 13.04 and Amazon Prime

I had not tried to watch Amazon Prime videos since upgrading my media PC to Xubuntu 13.04, but discovered I couldn't. Luckily, this fix also worked for me: run hal in verbose mode, create the directories that it wants to use, and restart hal.