Gadgets and Distractions

Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

I wrote my post-fast wrap-up a couple of days ago. Since then I have been dipping my toe into news of the horrid pile of feces our political system has become under the new administration. The Harris-Biden Biden-Harris administration is well on their way to raising prices for gas, erasing the gains made by the previous administration is many areas, and, to top the irony cake with some extra ironic frosting, doing the very things that the previous administration wanted to do AND taking credit for it as their own idea. As I said in my previous post…life continues.

To distract myself from the ick that is politics, I have been turning to gadgets and other distractions. I regularly fill out surveys and preference polls that offer Amazon gift cards in return. It is with that currency I feed my gadget habit.

I recently acquired some Rocketbook reusable “smart” notebooks as prizes for a virtual scavenger hunt I am conducting at work and they intrigued me so much that I spent some Amazon money on a set for myself. It’s not here yet, so I can’t tell you if I like it or hate it, but I will in a future post.

I’ve also been eyeing a number of premium chess sets on Amazon. They are heavily weighted, pleasing to the eye, and made from durable materials. I could have purchased one with my latest round of Amazon money, but I was saved from making that mistake by the need for a new razor. It was all for the better, as the set I was looking at was too big for my ancient chess table I am planning on finishing some day. A similar set, slightly smaller, would have worked, but I was convinced I wanted the larger set. I will have to build a bigger board for the larger set, which will require a table saw (which I don’t have for my shop yet) to properly construct, most likely. But who knows? I might find plans for a board that doesn’t require a table saw. It ultimately doesn’t matter because it is too COLD to work in my shop these days. Maybe in a few weeks I can get back to some work, in particular finishing my new desk.

Speaking of needing a new razor, my current razor, a Panasonic ES8103S Arc3, is now almost seven years old and if it were not for the fact that the battery is dying, I would just buy new blades for it and move on. I can actually still buy the same razor, and I was tempted to do so, but it costs more than the one I decided on and has fewer features. I still went with an Arc3 Panasonic razor, as my budget doesn’t allow me to buy the larger Panasonic Arc4s or Arc5s, or the nicer Braun razors, nor do I want the ongoing costs some of them have with cleaning solutions and such. My only fear is I will get a dud, as the most common negative reviews included stories of total failure of the razor, or radically poor cutting characteristics. There was an appropriately balanced number of glowing reviews, so I’m not too worried.

Enough with personal grooming. More in the vein of distractions is my current fascination with the Concrete5 content management system (CMS). This blog is written and published in WordPress and I am pretty happy with it, but I invariably run into layout issues with some of the things I want to do that require either major changes, like a whole new theme, or custom CSS. Concrete5 is cool in that they will set you up a demo site to play with for fourteen days. At the end of the trial you can convert that site into a paid hosted site, if you want to leave it up and visible. The prices aren’t bad, but I pay less than even the cheapest hosted Concrete5 plan for my current shared hosting plan AND I can have the Softaculous installer install Concrete5 for me on my site. I figured if I take the plunge and start using Concrete5 for some of my oddball layouts, I’m better off doing it at my current host.

The demo site is fun to play with as changing themes and pages and layouts is easy and fairly intuitive. The Concrete5 system even has a blog page template complete with most of the functionality of WordPress. I doubt I would ever move my blog there and abandon WordPress, but anything is possible. If I decide to install Concrete5 here on my hosting site and set up a few pages, watch here for a link over to it.

I’ve bought a number of gadgets over the past few days. I lucked across a discarded one terabyte 2.5 inch hard drive. I bought a rugged portable case for it and it will become my “home data away from home” device. I’m looking to set up syncing with some of my server and cloud storage folders to this drive, so that regardless of where I might be traveling, and whether or not I have Internet access, I would have current files and some entertainment with me. The more savvy among you are saying “why carry around a hard drive when you can just get a large capacity USB thumbdrive”, right? Because this drive was free…and I’m a cheapskate.

My primary computer in my home office has a gaping hole in the front where a set of card readers and a USB port used to be installed. I couldn’t find a cover to go over the hole when I replaced the previous unit, so I just left it. I recently ordered a hot-swap 2.5″ hard drive/SSD cage to go in the hole. It will not only fill the empty space, but might prove useful every now and then. It hasn’t come in, but once it does, I will let you know how it works.

Gadgets and distractions. So far, they are doing their job to help keep me sane in this crazy world. I hope they continue to do so. Thanks for reading this random collection of thoughts, and come back later for more information on some of these items.

Featured Image: Photo by lilzidesigns on Unsplash

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