Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Winter Wear

The approach of winter sent me diving into the cupboard for my base layer outdoor rags.
Just by chance I was passing a rack at the PN New World checkout that had long sleeve singlets and long-johns priced at $21 a throw.
They had to be synthetic and against my wool-grower religion, but I'm 1/4 Scot and cant resist a bargain, so I came home with a set, and I'm impressed. Soft feel, warm, light, and nowhere near as clammy as polyprop, or wool for that matter, when you sweat.
I was intrigued, the only label on it is Sealcote and "made in China".
Interestingly, a Google search turns up that sealcote is a US invented process that coats the inside of the synthetic filament, synthetic threads are hollow as opposed to wool's having scales, and is why the latter has had dominance in the dye-fastness and heat control stakes.
Apparently this process permits the inside of the filament to be coated with, you name it..... dye, anti-bacterial, anti-perspirant, etc, without affecting the cosy-ness of the outer.
I'm wearing the stuff now, its great. Its got a polo type neck too, most of the competition only have a T-neck, I mean, what's the point of a warm torso, if your neck's exposed to the breeze.
Last year I wrote in praise of the merino underwear, but, even as a wool-producer, I'm admitting this stuff's got it beat. The merino T's have developed holes in less than 12 months and are unthreading themselves, to me that's a sign the staple length in the spin is too short. A lot of Chinese made woollens do this because they're re-cycling woollen clothing, hammering the old weave into a pulp and re-spinning, but with a greatly hammer-bashed shortened spin staple.
The merino T's were $90 a throw, but the competition is cheaper now.
This sealcote stuff is excellent value, and its lighter and cottony in feel, and I guess it will be wearable further into an approaching summer than merino. I was picking the light merino would be wearable all year, but no, it just gets too hot.
Dunno where all this puts me as a wool-producer, a bit of a blow to belief in my own product.
We just need to keep on the innovation and niche product trail. Petro-chemical based products do have a finite life compared with wool's sustainability, but that's a day well beyond my lifetime. Its said we need to diversify away from wool's use solely in carpet, but I wouldn't have anything other than a wool carpet in the house. And I still prefer wool as an outer shell, big knit jerseys, gloves, beanie, and Swannie.
Anyway, I went back to New World and bought up the last pair of Sealcotes in my size.
On the other hand.....
only a week or so to the shortest day!
21 June.

But wait....... there's more

In the last post I mentioned my quest to use my smart phone as a data logger, for all sorts of stuff....
On Excel 2010 I've written a chopped-down feed budget program, with separate screens for pasture growth, cover assessment, stock on hand, copying subtots to final budget with a fancy little 12 month graph with available DM and demand lines. I want eventually to do my sheep recording on it as well.
Quick Office came bundled with the Atrix2, and fantastically, the whole feed budget suite copied over from desktop to phone via the USB cable no prob, the phone appearing on My Computer as drive:E or something.
There was a small inconvenience, the row and column freezes didn't copy over, and of course when you pack down to the 4.5" odd of a phone screen, you start having to guess where you are. Not good.
Searching the apps in Google and Google Play, brought up that for $17.95 I could buy the next version up of Quick Office, QO Pro, so I did.
Yep, on opening everything bolder and faster, AND, it frame freezes, but OH NO!!.........
the Swype number pad cursor keys don't work in Pro, and the whole keyboard just disappears when you shift to the next cell, just as it does when you press enter!
I had a chat to Bryce at DSE, top man this guy, a real knowledge fund.
He pulled out his iPhone5. What I gleaned here is, who needs a keyboard, when the voice recognition on this bit of gear is so good. Its mind blowing, like having an intelligent mate.
But I think Apple only run with Docs to Go in the compatible spreadsheet stakes, a program I discarded some time ago, and its not in the same street as QuickOffice.
So I said, what about Samsung S4 Active, the ruggedised smartie due out soon, as an Android option. Hitch there is sealing from elements inevitably reduces sound volumes, the Atrix is bad enough at this for my hearing. Plus, you have to climb over Samsung's proprietary whizz-bangs to get at what you actually want to do, that is unless you "root" the phone.
for the moment, I'm stuck with QO standard version for data logging, and QO Pro for read outs.
And I'm working on the voice recognition input facility, taking a while to master Nuances nuances, but I think it might have possibilities.......
I'll keep you posted............lol

Sunday, June 9, 2013

If you haven't got anything good to say.......

There's a good piece of etiquette advice circulating about what we put up on the www. along the lines of.... "if you haven't got anything good to say...., don't say it". After all, its common sense and good manners, we don't as a rule bad-mouth out loud in public, and the www. is public domain.
I thought a bit about this a couple of days back when I was about to launch into a tirade of invective about my cellphone manufacturer, and am now pleased I kept my trap shut.
I finally settled on a Motorola Atrix 2 as my mobile device of choice. Things have been going along swimmingly with it integrating farm, business, and personal IT demands, but the other night I switched the phone's wifi on, immediately getting a "ping", notification of updates to the several apps I've loaded, and including one of an update to the Motorola's operating system.
With an update notification you get the option of vetting each suggested update individually, and thinking all was OK, I pushed "go", and sat back to some TV.
On picking up, I was aghast to find the operating system update had taken my phone interface to the dark side, previously basically black text on a light/white background, it had gone the other way, white text on dark ground, so much harder to read for us sight challenged older gen, and the reason why I dumped Windows based phones in preference for Android.
So it was into the settings menu to look for fixes. The settings function had changed, there was no option to reverse the interface, but I did find a new option to greatly enlarge text size, so I set for the super-size.
That was quite a help, although it cuts down the text enter box size when texting.
Phew to that one, but jees....... hang on, what's going on with the Excel sync'ing I'd been working on for farm and livestock data between the phone's Quick Office and MS Office on my desktop.
Diving in to a Quicksheet, the China Bell numeric keypad option I've been using for data input has gone. I mean this was calamity district, the standard keyboard with phones and tablets, jumps from the number list back to querty every time you enter or shift to another cell, rendering the use of such gear in the field a stupid waste of time.
So it was here I was about to blaspheme, but I held my tongue, spent a heap of time on Google seeing how other keyboard apps worked, and finally found that the Swype that came with the update does have a number pad, and what's more with cursor keys!
So, you can enter numbers, and shift to the next entry cell with the cursor without the number pad disappearing, and it'll stay there as long as you don't use the enter key to change cells.
Well, hooray for that, its actually better than the China Bell I've been using.
The address book's a bit easier to enter and edit contact details, and the phone dialler pops up when its supposed to now.
I guess I can put up with a bit of the loss in interface theme convenience for all this.