marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
A personal pulse oximeter is the best gadget ever invented, judging by the last two weeks in my family, anyway.

I bought it to monitor my asthma but it hasn't told me a darn thing about that yet--I'm always at 98 or 99 percent. Either this means I am fine, or that it's not very sensitive--there are expensive ones that the hospital calibrates for you but I don't have a serious enough case of asthma to go that route (yet anyway).

But! It helped us to decide, in a timely fashion, to send one elder family member to the hospital because of a slow heartbeat (they are now recovering nicely after some chemical tinkering). And when it showed my pulse as a way-too-high 108 yesterday, I was able to add that to some other symptoms (Charley horses HURT like whoa! I had kinda forgotten until the other night) and figured out what's been causing my recent fatigue. A couple of bananas and a gatorade later, I seem to have enough potassium in my system to function within normal parameters, for today anyway. (I'll be seeing the doctor tomorrow).

Anyway, it's a small gadget that shines a light through your finger and measures how dark your blood is, as well as taking your pulse, and it costs about $35. You can get one at any drug store that sells medical supplies. If you can spare the money, I definitely recommend it for anyone with non-critical but pesky heart & lung situations, particularly if there is more than one person in your family answering that description. (Critical situations probably call for the more expensive models, unfortunately, because they're a lot more accurate, particularly on the blood oxygen count).
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
We are gadget people. When we put in our basement smoke detector, we got the fancy one that talks, and that tells you if it's smoke or carbon monoxide. And when we had our basement office put in just recently, we got a fancy dimmer switch for the lights, that has a little remote control so we don't have to do all that work of leaning over and pressing the switch on the wall.

Charlie loves the remote controller for the lights, and has figured out how to turn them on and off, and sometimes how to dim them. A couple of days ago he randomly pointed it out the door of the office, at the wall with the smoke detector, and pressed the big silver button. And the smoke detector went into its test routine. LOUDLY. "Alert! Alert! Smoke detected in basement, evacuate immediately! Alert! Alert! Carbon monoxide detected in basement, evacuate immediately! Highest level of carbon monoxide detected was: Zero!"

Charlie leaped into my lap as soon as the voice started, and he cowered while we did the whole routine again, since we had to make sure it was really just testing and that the light controller really had caused it. Now whenever he goes in or out of the office he gives the smoke detector a worried look and says "What's that?!" Once I explain what it is, and that it is our friend and that it helps us, he is appeased, until the next time he notices it and then the worried look comes back.

We could not figure out WhyTF a smoke detector would respond to a remote control, but apparently it's a feature for people who don't want to do all the work of reaching up to press the test switch. Ah, gadgets.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Anyone using a bread machine out there?  We used one years ago, but it made these weird giant square loaves that would dry out in 4 hours (but were yummy up until then).  Since I have to get my bread right now from a bakery that's 20 minutes from home, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to get a new one that makes normal-looking loaves, or use the old one for all the pre-bake stuff and then bake the loaf in a traditional pan in the oven, or...something.  Ideas?
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (charlie-laugh2)
Here's a video demonstrating the creepiness of the Leapfrog laptop.

Charlie loves it even more now that I've set it up to say his name, of course. 


Link here for those who prefer non-embedded vids.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (collage1)
I was cleaning out the linen closet recently and discovered one of the weirder artifacts of our excellent infertility adventure:  the Maybe Mom ovulation detector.  This is a little microscope that you use to look at a dried sample of your saliva, to see if there are fernlike patterns in it that indicate ovulation. Seriously.  No, really! It was about 40 bucks and I could never see a darn difference in my dried saliva, but I suspect the combination of my impatience (spit takes an amazingly long time to dry, when you're watching it) and the general hilarity of the concept made me not a great test subject.  Also, if you're already ovulating, you have missed your optimum sperm-depositing window anyway, since it's better to have the sperm hanging out up in your fallopian tubes waiting for the egg to arrive. Or so I am told.  

Anyway we eventually moved along to the much more expensive ($149), much more useful Clearblue Fertility Monitor, which uses a daily pee test to chart your levels of Lutenizing Hormone, and thereby detect the LH spike that immediately precedes ovulation.  Once the spike is detected, you're supposed to have sex within 12 hours; within 6, preferably.  Because it was a little computer that was arbitrarily telling us to have sex, we named it Landru and would say "festival, festival!" to announce a LH spike detection.  You gotta take your fun where you can find it.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I checked out my friend's new iPad today...it's cool but it requires a Dex of like 13+, and I only rolled 11. I had to try 2x for a lot of functions and I didn't even try the graphical keyboard thingy.  Also it's heavy enough to be uncomfortable to hold after a little bit.  OTOH, I definitely get the appeal--the interface is simple and elegant and it has cool apps for cheap.  Like this one; I totally want it even though I already have Corel Painter for the PC. OOOH SHINY!  However, overall it's not for me.  I already knew that but putting hands on it definitely solidified that understanding.

At least 4 people I know ran out and bought the thing this weekend, including my boss and my brother, so I'll be hearing how great it is non-stop for the next couple of weeks.  I will be nice and not spoil anyone's fun by going "OMG, it's so heavy! And have you tried to highlight a line of text in a book? Such a pain!" etc.  If they get too obnoxious I'll poke 'em in the eye with the corner of my Kindle.

Rock-a-bye

Jul. 25th, 2008 06:31 pm
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Husband saw this (click thru and choose "interactive demo" from under the pic) on Graco's website and said "I want it! It's like having Cylons raise your baby!"

My favorite bit is when the Cylon lady is sitting and reading while the robot soothes the baby.

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