quick review:  

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3/5 stars.  decent movie. i really like the genre of quirky introverted personalities trying to figure out the meaning of life (aka “how to be happy and help others in this too”).  this movie started off very confusing and things start to make sense only near the end.  before then it isn’t known why a grown guy is wanting to hang out w/ a teen at his house (later it is shown that he didn’t really know why either at the time).  So throughout the movie i felt it deserved 2 stars (which i rarely rate a movie).  at the end there was enough meat in the dish to bite off, chew on for a minute and digest.  since i was able to take something away from the movie (some morsels of knowledge about human relationships) i bump it up to 3 stars.  in netflix i gave it four just so that it won’t shy from suggesting more movies of this ilk my way.  and that, is the reason for this post- it was inspired by the fact that i didn’t feel quite right rating a movie higher than it deserved and then not explaining myself.

papermanq

March 2, 2012

papermanq

Watch: Sleeptracker

August 1, 2008

Sleeptracker Pro

As a frequent traveler and someone who has a hard time sleeping in strange hotels, I live with a recipe for many sleepless nights. Seems like the alarm always goes off just when I have just fallen asleep. To help me get a good read on my sleep patterns and to get more restful sleep, I bought the Sleeptracker Pro, a wrist watch that monitors your sleep cycle from barely asleep to REM by tracking a succession of small bodily movements. You set the alarm for, say, 6:30 am and specify a window of time around that (normally I do 15 minutes on either end of my desired wake up time). Within that window, the watch finds the point at which I’m most awake and wakes me then, as opposed to when I’m out silly. I started using mine about 10 months ago and had success as soon as I first put it to use on a business trip. I’d tried using one of those gentle wake up alarm clocks before, but it was more like an airhorn. The Sleeptracker is far more effective (it cab be set to beep or vibrate), plus it’s on your wrist so you don’t have to remember to pack it. The set up was simple, too. I now find the watch especially useful for when I am traveling across time zones, since it helps me get a more restful sleep. The watch also monitors your sleep pattern over time and you can download the data to your PC to see the trends, which helps to spec out the optimal window you’ll need to wake up.

— Dan Tushinski

Sleeptracker Pro
$100
Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Innovative Sleep Solutions

Jointech Offers Sub-$100 Laptop

Jointech A company has successfully produced a notebook priced at less than $100.

Jointech is offering its JL7100 mini laptop, equipped with 64MB RAM and a 7-inch LCD screen, for $99. The JL7100 is designed for “business, education, entertainment and home use,” the web site says. The notebook supports software such as Wordpad, Internet Explorer, Paint and Media Player. With some calling the JL7100 a glorified PDA, it’s certainly not impressive by our standards — but at $99, who can complain?

Luckily, there are other options, too. At $130, the NPX-9000, a laptop equipped with a 400MHz MIPs processor and 128MB of RAM, was hasty to call itself “World’s Cheapest Laptop.” This notebook runs Linux and supports just about the same software package as Jointech’s. Here’s somewhat of a catch: You can only buy this notebook in bulk orders of 100 units.

The One Laptop Per Child organization has been working toward a sub-$100 notebook since 2005. Its current $188 offering, the XO, is equipped with a 433MHz processor, 256MB of RAM and a special touch screen for pointing and drawing. The XO  runs free and open-source software, but recent reports reveal the company is moving toward running Windows XP, which has stirred some controversy within OLPC.

Running Windows or not, the XO sounds more capable of achieving the goal of educating children in third-world countries than its cheaper competitors — and it’s already doing so. Let’s hope the organization meets their sub-$100 goal sometime within the year.

Product page [via Engadget]

For Bike: Headlight

August 1, 2008

Bright Ideas: We Test Two Bike Headlights Head to Head

Cyclists know it’s plum foolish to roll around on two wheels sans helmet, but it can be just as dangerous to bike about at night without a light. A good headlight affixed to your handlebars is just the thing to help cut through the murk and get you to your destination safely. Here we pit two of the top dogs on the market against each other and see which comes out on top. —Eric Smillie

Blaze Planet Bike Blaze

This 1-Watt LED cannon goes the extra mile, and we don’t just mean it shoots light a ridiculous distance. Due in no small part to its particularly aggressive blinking mode, accurately called superflash, it didn’t just help us catch drivers’ attentions; it had them anxiously craning their necks to check whether we were trying to pull them over, and pedestrians shouting out “I thought you were five-oh,” as we rolled by. Drawing on only 2 AA batteries, this baby cuts down on weight but its CREE XR-E diode, coupled with a specially engineered Fraen lens, still pumps out the brightest light of all the lamps we tested — enough to bounce off of signs, license plates, and other reflective materials up to 4 blocks away, giving us plenty of time to make an impression. All we have to worry about now is whether some cop-hating, GTA IV overdosing motorist trying to run us down.

WIRED Recessed switch only works if pressed firmly, which means it won’t turn on in your bag while you jostle your way to the bar, leaving you in the dark at closing time. Planet Bike spends 25 percent of its profits on bike advocacy.

TIRED The brightness and reduced weight come at a price — 20 hours of battery life in blinking mode, and only 7 on high. Though it installs without the use of a tool, the handlebar bracket is tricky to tighten and slips easily.

$50, planetbike.com

8 out of 10

Whitelight Topeak WhiteLite HP 1W AA

While not the sharpest bulb on our handlebars, the WhiteLite HP AA is in it for the long haul. Don’t get us wrong — just like other 1-Watt LED headlamps, this portable, all-in one lamp is more than a glorified blinky. When engineering this light,  Topeak got all snippy, cutting  the cords to one of its external power pack lights and reengineered it to accept three AA batteries. Its widely diffused beam covers plenty of surface area and earned our trust by helping us dodge nasty potholes, tree roots on unlit paths — we were even able to avoid the, uh, tootsie rolls the neighbor’s dog likes to deposit on the sidewalk. But where this guy really shines is in perseverance, by lasting 30 hours on high and a whopping 120 on flash.

WIRED
The mounting bracket screws tight with a finger knob and adjusts five degrees left and right to get a straight aim even on angled handlebars, although it does require an Allen key to tighten. Little red LED signals when batteries are low.

TIRED
Blinks come slowly and lack urgency in flashing mode. Pushing the rear on/off push button can rotate the mount and mess up the light angle. Sound like a small problem? It won’t be when you look up just in time to faceplant into the bumper of a lifted pickup.

$60, topeak.com

7 out of 10

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