Unboxing Day

Happy Boxing Day to all those who observe it! We will be roasting a chicken, and having stuffing with it, which we haven’t made at home in years.

Yesterday was spent in the quiet traditional way, beginning with the unwrapping of presents in front of the fire, continuing with a full day curled up on the couch watching Dr Who and other geeky TV, and ending with the traditional movie and squid dinner with our friend Michael. I honestly can’t say how many times we’ve done the movie-and-squid thing with Michael on Christmas Day. This year’s movie, Sherlock Holmes, was full of sound and fury and didn’t signify a heck of a lot, but was visually very impressive.

I got Kate a comic book (Angel: Smile Time) and some Signature needles and some stitch markers and an empty box and something she already had. The empty box was a prepaid thing from Ritz Camera where you fill up the box with photos (up to 450), bring it in, and they’ll scan them for you. The thing she already had was our wedding album. The old album’s vinyl cover had gotten aggressively sticky, you see, to the point that it was attacking the items next to it on the shelves. Though it was a very expensive “archival” album and supposedly guaranteed for life, the company that made it no longer exists and their successor wants an astonishing amount for a new cover. The good news is that the photos themselves were unharmed. So I bought a gorgeous handmade leather-covered photo album (which also claims to be archival, but I must say I will probably never trust that word again) and stuck all the photos into it with those little paper corners (also archival). This took many hours of painstaking work spread over several days, but I think she’s very pleased with the results.

Kate got me a Nook Simple Touch, and a charger and a case and a stand, and also some T-shirts and pens and candy and a pair of toast tongs and a DVD (Creature Comforts) and a dozen jars of homemade jam.

The Simple Touch is awesome — very readable, very light and comfortable in the hand, a nice user interface, and the battery is supposed to last for months. I’m extremely pleased with the device. Unfortunately, it refused to connect to our home wifi network, and without wifi it’s much less useful. I called Barnes & Noble and checked the message boards and tried everything I could think of, but it simply would not connect. Given that we’ve also been having intermittent problems with another wifi device (a Squeezebox Radio) for months, I decided to bite the bullet and replace our Ruckus wireless router with something more dependable. So today is also Unboxing Day, because I went out and bought an Apple Time Capsule, unboxed it, and installed it.

I’ve been putting this off for a long time, because I’m always afraid that any change to our wireless network will mess something up, but it only took about half an hour to set up the Time Capsule and get everything connected to it. The Nook had no problems connecting, and — knock wood — the problems we were seeing before with the Squeezebox Radio should also be a thing of the past. And connectivity between the systems in the house is markedly faster. I’m aware that Time Capsules have had reliability issues in the past, but (again knocking wood) Apple seems to have cleaned up its act on this one. I’ll start backing my laptop up to it tonight (the other computers have their own attached hard disks for constant Time Machine backup, but I’ve been backing up the laptop manually and rather sporadically).

I ought to mention one other issue with the Nook, which is that when I went to transfer to it an ebook I had earlier bought from Powell’s (yes, you can buy ebooks from your local brick-and-mortar bookstore, thanks to Google) there were some permission issues and I wound up losing the ability to read that book on any computer. I sent off a help request to Google, not expecting a response until Monday, but I heard right back — on Christmas Day! — with a reply that the book’s permissions had been re-set, which did indeed fix the problem. So, though I oppose DRM in principle, kudos to Google for good customer support on this incident.

So all in all things are very good here. Hope you are also having a relaxing and happy holiday.

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