Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt
crschmidt

Largest Timewasting $25 ever

Last night, I apparently broke my compact flash memory card reader: when trying to take some photos off my camera today, neither the mac nor linux box would mount the card up. So I looked at microcenter's site, saw they had new CF readers for $20, and decided to get one tonight after the kids are in bed.

We went out to dinner, stopping at MicroCenter on the way home.

I must say that I should never ever be allowed in that store without a VERY strict money limit, or a very direct goal that I am not to deviate from (or Jess standing over my shoulder). There's just way too much oppourtunity for me to get lost in there for hours looking at all the cool stuff. It's like a Best Buy, without the uppity attitude or hipster wannabee music: It's just a good old fashioned electronics store, with so many toys ... oh man.

Anyway, I wandered into the Digital Camera section, looking for the CF reader. Found the cards, couldn't find the reader. Stumbled into GPSes and spent just a bit too long for comfort eyeing them and wanting to play with them. I settled on a cheap ($10) BT dongle, since my last one broke when we moved to Cambridge, and I've been wanting to get at my BT GPS under Linux for a while now.

Anyway, found a staffperson, and he directed me to the card readers. I got one for $5 cheaper than what I expected to pay, so overall, I only paid $5 more than I expected to. This is relatively good, considering how I usually do in such stores, or how much worse I could have done.

Anyway, got home, checked out the card reader, it worked (hooray!), and in the process, discovered that 100 photos I thought I'd lost were not lost, but just dropped into the wrong directory. This is good for many reasons: a couple of the pictures were jess and julie pictures I really liked, and I absolutely hate losing digital data. However, it's bad because it now means I have another 100 photos to sort organize and upload ;) In the process, I discovered that this memory card reader is about 20 times as fast as my previous one, making copying photos over so much easier: I thought that I was bumping into a limitation of CF, but apparently that was just a limitation of the reader in question, so I'm actually quite glad to have the new one.

Got the BT Dongle, plugged it into the Linux box, and learned that HOLY CRAP BT IN LINUX JUST WORKS. I didn't have to install anything, just typed 'hcitool scan' and was able to see my laptop, cell phone, and GPS. Granted, doing harder things might be difficult, but it's certainly a step above what it used to be 2.5 years ago, where it took me a month just to get to that step.

Grabbed the bluegps linux project source code, got it compiled, realized that I couldn't turn logging on with it (doh!) and remembered I had a windows laptop lying around. Got that, installed BT (PITA in comparison) and got it connected to the GPS. Turned on datalogging at one point a second, put it in the window, got some points, got them off the GPS under Linux. Pretty cool. Now I can just take the GPS with me, let it log its thing (for up to 8 hours) and grab the file when I get home: no more worrying about keeping it connected to my cell phone. This means I will probably grab some tool to auto-geocode my photos for me, which will be nifty.

So, now, 2 hours later, I've accomplished basically nothing. All because of $25 spent at Microcenter.
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