Category Archives: General

The versatility of potatoes

Have you ever come across a vegetable as versatile as the potato?  I haven’t, that’s for sure. And I’m not a one vegetable man, oh no, I’ve sampled many others including peas, carrots, onions and, er, many, many more.

Now, don’t get me wrong. By championing the versatility of the potato, my intention certainly isn’t to be disparaging about the versatility of alternative vegetable choices.  Cauliflower, turnip, broccoli can all be incorporated in meals in a multitude of ways.

But let us not waste precious time considering the preparation, presentation and consumption of lesser vegetables; let us return once more, to the not so humble potato (it’s blatantly aware of its versatility, which is matched only by its big-headiness).

Even a cursory glance at potatoes gives those who glance a hint of the versatility before them.  Boiled, mashed, fried, roasted, baked, croquetted…do I need to continue?  The underlying power of the potato becomes very clear, very quickly when one gives them even a moment’s thought.

So overwhelmed am I by the awesome versatility of the potato that I shall need to take a break from the all encompassing potato thoughts passing through my head at the moment.  Potatoes, wow!

 

Tecknet X366 HB030B Bluetooth Keyboard

Well, this is my first experience using my new Tecknet bluetooth keyboard with my tablet.  To be fair, it’s somewhat difficult to appraise it performance given the age of my tablet (Motorola Xoom running 4.2) but I’m already feeling pleasantly surprised at the responsiveness whilst typing this.  I’ve already mentioned that I’m using an old tablet running an old version of Android but, thus far, keystrokes appear onscreen as I type.  There have been a couple of short moments when nothing has happened, though usually when I’ve accidentally hit one of the hotkeys or the tablet is doing something else  but, overall, the response is far better than is imagined it would be.  It’s certainly quicker than using the onscreen keyboard.  I look forward to trying it ona more modern tablet running Marshmallow to guage the operating system impact.

The keyboard itself seems reasonably well built.  There’s some flex as I type this with the keyboard suspended between my legs but nothing that causes any major concern.  The feedback from the key is solid and meets all expectations.  I could see myself happily using this keyboard on the train, for example, or more generally on the move and it’s serving me well as I sit in an easy chair typing this at the moment.  However, I’m yet to try this on a table top, though suspect that the overall experience will be lessened somewhat.

Interestingly, the backlight, when connected to my Android tablet, is red.  However, when initially charging/powering on the keyboard, the backlight is blue.  I’ll have to do some investigating to see if there are further colours available or whether the keyboard default to certain colours depending on the connected device but can’t complain about the red, it works very well and contributes to the quality feel and look of the keyboard.

Overall, I’m very impressed thus far with this keyboard but will update when I’ve used it more thoroughly and tried out some of the hotkeys and investigated the backlighting further.  I’m a little sceptical about the cut, copy, paste and other function keys – unfairly admittedly, I haven’t tried them yet!

At thirteen squid, even without any further use I’d be happy to recommend this keyboard for use wih an Android tablet!

 

Update, 2 days in…

A bit of googling for info on this keyboard revealed something very quickly: there is very little info available about this keyboard.  However, I did find out one interesting thing.  Remember I mentioned about the backlight colour? On switching the keyboard on, the backlight comes on in a nice shade of blue but it then switches off.  When the backlight is turned on manually, it lights up red.  Now, the red doesn’t look bad but I was intrigued about the colours available.  It turn out that the backlight can be one of 7 colours, from blue, through red, purple etc.  I’ve settled on a rather pleasing apple green shade.  Turns out that if you hold down the lightbulb button and press the down arrow (PgDn), you can cycle through the options.

I’ve still to explore the shortcut buttons fully but can confirm that the home key takes me to the homescreen on my tablet, which is a good start!  However, I’ve had less joy with the keyboard layout settings. I’ve selected English (UK) in my tablet settings but still get a ” instead of @ on the keyboard (i.e., I have to shift+2 to get the @ symbol).  A minor frustration really but one I’d like to overcome…

Update 4th Apr 2016

Mmm…I feel I need to update this in view of recent user experiences, not of this keyboard but of another (though not necessarily a direct competitor).  For reasons best known to myself, I’ve just acquired a Google Pixel C.  Now, you may or may not know that this is a ‘hybrid’, ‘productivity’ tablet.  Therefore, it makes little sense to buy one without the optional, bizarrely, keyboard.  And here is said keyboard:

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Crappy picture taken with Picel C’s built in camera, btw.

Now, is there anything remarkable about this keyboard?  Not really…it doesn’t have a CAPS LOCK key, this is replaced with a Sherlock Holmes search key.  The enter key is small and rectangular, not shaped as normally expected.  No worries, though, one expects compromises on small, tablet targeted keyboards.

 

There is one standout feature of this keyboard, though…the price.  Have a little guess in your head.  Unless you’re peripheral vision had caught the figure below, I almost guarantee that your estimate will differ significanlty from the amoubnt that Google request in exchange for dispatching one your way.

 

 

 

£120 – that’s the cost of this keyboard!  Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s competent (it bloody well should be;-)), has a lovely, anodised finish, physically conects wonderfully to the actual tablet but in no way is £100 better than the Tecknet keyboard.  Remember, the Tecknet keyboard is a regular one, features backlighting and appears to be of robust construction.

 

To close, on reviewing this update, I see many errors, many of which I attribure directly to this keyboard (the frequency is cetainly above average).  This doesn’t exactly add to the ‘pro’ column…

Don’t lose your hot air balloon

Nothing can prepare one for the moment when one appreciates that one may have lost one’s hot air balloon.  Nothing.  But that is what I have done.  I have lost my hot air balloon.

How,  one might wonder, does one possibly lose one’s hot air balloon?  This is a fair question.  After all, I’m sure that we’d all agree that on the face of it, a hot air balloon would be a somewhat difficult possession to lose.  A hot air balloon is typically very large (the most popular sport balloons are approximately 55 feet wide and 70 feet high, according to Vermont’s hot air balloonists).  Hot air balloons are frequently presented in garish colours (all the better to be seen by, one might think).  Hot air balloons are not the most subtle things.

However, one doesn’t need a 71 foot high building to hide a hot air balloon behind, does one?  Nor does it have to be 56 feet wide, does it? That’s what makes hot air balloons so devilishly easy to lose, they can be deflated, though preferably only when on the ground.  A hot air balloon consumes a fair amount of fuel.  A hot air balloon is also a very noisy bugger.  Therefore, it makes all the sense in the world to deflate after landing.  That’s fine, if you’ve landed in your usual spot in your garden, you’ll know exactly where your balloon is.  But it’s not so simple of you’ve nipped to the shops, is it?  Most towns have a multitude of parking spaces, don’t they?

One day I shall find my hot air balloon.  And if I don’t, then maybe I shall buy another.  I like hot air ballooning.

Hot air balloon
Hot air balloon