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MeasurementBlues
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Problems with pencils
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 12:33:27 PM
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The biggest problem with pencils for students is the eraser wears down long before the lead is gone. It comes from erasing all those math problems when you realize you did them wrong.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Problems with pencils
Max The Magnificent   12/6/2013 12:51:36 PM
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@MeasurementBlues: It comes from erasing all those math problems when you realize you did them wrong.

The main thing is that you aren't bitter :-)

TonyTib
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There's a pencil for that!
TonyTib   12/6/2013 1:41:42 PM
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Pentel Twist-Erase III

These have huge erases; I just got one for my niece since she went through 10 erasers in two weeks on her Kuro Toga.  BTW, the Kuro Toga Roulette is the best mechanical pencil; it's metal, and rotates the lead every time you advance.  I have the gunmetal version; I only wish Uni would make it in 0.3mm.


BTW, there are still plenty of wood pencil fans around; Pencil Revolution is a good place to start.  And you can learn all kind of mechanical trivia at Dave's Mechanical Pencils.


Most of the time, I prefer using pens, but I've been using pencils more after I got my Roulette and a Pentel GraphGear 1000.  Another intesting option is Pilot's Frixion erasable pens; they actually work well, much better than the PaperMates of the late 1970's.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: There's a pencil for that!
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 1:43:47 PM
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Pencils are easy to get at an office supply store such as Staples. Then even sell erasers and I just boght a pack of 3 for my daughter to use when she erases her math homework.

TonyTib
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Re: There's a pencil for that!
TonyTib   12/6/2013 2:04:43 PM
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OK, here's a question from my daughter's homework:

You buy a pack of 12 pencils at the store.  How much did you likely pay?

a)$2.25  b)$10.25  c)$0.10


Her first answer: b).  I'm sure the desired answer was a), but the last time I bought a dozen pencils from Staples, they cost ~$12 -- and they didn't even have erasers!  (OK, it was a graded set of Steadtler pencils from 6B to 4H, Made In Germany)

BTW, the super-cheap pencils aren't worth it; the wood is so crappy, every time I sharpen them it uses about half the pencil to get a good point.

Duane Benson
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Re: There's a pencil for that!
Duane Benson   12/6/2013 5:21:29 PM
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Remember the "plastic wood"pencils that came out in the late 70's or early 80's? Talk about horrible pencils...

MeasurementBlues
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Re: There's a pencil for that!
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 5:54:03 PM
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>the super-cheap pencils aren't worth it; the wood is so crappy, every time I sharpen them it uses about half the pencil to get a good point.

Maybe that explains why the electric pencil sharpener bin fills with shavings so quickly. Of course, nobody thinks to empty the bin. It was so full last time that shavings and lead fell all over the countertop. I had to vacuum it and wash it. The unfinished wood shelf holding the sharpener can't be cleaned. I'll have to sand it.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: There's a pencil for that!
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 5:56:44 PM
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>You buy a pack of 12 pencils at the store.  How much did you likely pay?

a)$2.25  b)$10.25  c)$0.10

$2.49 at Staples

 

antedeluvian
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Re: Problems with pencils
antedeluvian   12/6/2013 2:05:37 PM
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Martin

It comes from erasing all those math problems when you realize you did them wrong.

Not just math. According to my mom, when I was 6 and learning to write I was entirely dissatisfied with my formation of a capital B. I erased it so often I wore through the page (which was a school book) and then sulked under the dining room table for an afternoon. My Bs are better (especially with a keyboard), but I often wish I could retreat to my happy place.

MeasurementBlues
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Another problem
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 12:34:36 PM
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After an 2009 auto accident in which I injured my thumb, It's hurts a bit to write so I type whenever possible.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Another problem
Max The Magnificent   12/6/2013 12:53:03 PM
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@MeasurementBlues: After an 2009 auto accident in which I injured my thumb...

It sounds like a horrendous incident -- when will the movie be coming out? :-)

 

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Another problem
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 1:37:08 PM
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@Max, the movie already came out. You missed it.

 

MeasurementBlues
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Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 12:36:45 PM
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I have an iPad app that lets you draw equations with your finger. It cleans them up, making them easy to read, and evaluates the equation. Then, just take a screen shot. Who needs a pencil?

DrFPGA
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
DrFPGA   12/6/2013 12:41:02 PM
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Ok, how about a link or name for the app so the rest of us can find it..

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/11/2013 5:05:14 PM
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@DrFPGA, here's the link.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
Max The Magnificent   12/6/2013 12:53:59 PM
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@MeasurementBlues: I have an iPad app that lets you draw equations with your finger...

That sounds interesting -- what's the name of that App?

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 1:44:51 PM
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@Max, I'll get back to you with a link when I post a review of the app. This one really needs video to see it work.

antedeluvian
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
antedeluvian   12/6/2013 1:07:28 PM
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Martin. Max

I have an iPad app that lets you draw equations with your finger

Windows 7 and 8 have a "Math Input Panel" in Accessories (actually it may be named slightly differently in Windows 8, I must check at home) in which you can use your mouse to enter the mathematical symbols. And better than a screen shot it handshakes directly into Word. I must check on my newly acquired Surface how it works with a finger input.

 

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/6/2013 1:42:16 PM
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@antedeluvian, thanks for the tip on Math Input Panel. It could be useful when I need a nequation for an article.According to Microsoft's instructions, you type "amth Input Panel into the search and it will give find it for you.

I tried following the instructions but instead, Windows wanted to shut down. Fortunately, I could canel the process.

antedeluvian
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
antedeluvian   12/6/2013 5:58:09 PM
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Martin

you can use your finger on a touch enabled Windows 8 machine for the Math Input Panel

sa_penguin
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
sa_penguin   12/6/2013 7:55:30 PM
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A good sharp pencil tip helps access reset buttons on some devices. The "blunt end" is good for pressing small buttons, close to each other. When Homer Simpson was too fat to use phone buttons, all he really needed was a pencil.

"Blunt end" is a safe euphemism. Here in Australia, the part used to "rub out" mistakes is called a "rubber". I once tried to borrow a rubber from an overseas US student, there was some cionfusion for a while.

David Ashton
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
David Ashton   12/6/2013 8:04:43 PM
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@sa_penguin. When I first arrived in Australia I needed a 3-1/2 inch diskette.  Which we used to call "stiffies" in Zimbabwe.  It caused considerable amusement among my colleagues when I asked for one.   Apparently Australians had no means of differentiating between the old 5-1/4" floppies and the smaller 3-1/2 inch ones......

Bill_Higdon
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
Bill_Higdon   12/7/2013 10:11:16 PM
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sa_penguin you've never had to troubleshoot a problem caused by a switch with graphite from a pencil being used to set a switch have you. I have and it can be very hard to track down especially if there's some vibration present.

Bill

David Ashton
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
David Ashton   12/8/2013 1:49:47 AM
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@Bill,  sa_penguin... the first time I came across DIP switches I was told never to use a pencil, good to know there was some truth in that advice.  I hate using ballpoint pens too as they leave sticky ink all over the switch.  A straightened paperclip is a good tool for them.

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/8/2013 10:44:42 AM
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Never, ever use a pencil to reset your computer, phone, tablet, or anything else. Sooner or later, the lead will break and get stuck in the hole. Use a straightend paper clip.

David Ashton
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
David Ashton   12/8/2013 4:17:46 PM
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@MB I always keep a paperclip or two in my wallet for that reason.  Have used it on quite a few occasions.  Once to reset my GPS when it froze in the middle of Sydney...

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/8/2013 5:01:35 PM
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antedeluvian,

Well lok here, there is a Math Input Panle in Windows 7. Could be useful. It had a hard time interpreting my number 9 because I usually write with a straight line down. The iOS is better but then I'd have to save a screen show and e-mail to myself to get the image. Al, this is just a sriting app as where the iOS app is also a calculator.

 



MeasurementBlues
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
MeasurementBlues   12/8/2013 5:06:35 PM
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An you can enter the equation right into Word.

antedeluvian
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
antedeluvian   12/8/2013 5:26:20 PM
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Martin

I make no promises about the Math Input panel. You will notice that it didn't see your multiply sign as that, but as  the letter x. I have only played a little with it, but I find that whilst it doesn't have a problem with an integral sign or a sigma (for sum) when you add limits to either, it confuses it entirely. I presume that once one knows the secret it becomes easier. Sigh.

AZskibum
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Re: Who needs a pencil for math, anyway?
AZskibum   12/7/2013 5:15:52 PM
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I also am curious about that app. After years of using Equation Editor for the MS Office tools, I'd like to see what a more modern app can do. Equation Editor got the job done, but it was cumbersome to use.

TonyTib
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Off topic Intel Trivia
TonyTib   12/6/2013 1:56:47 PM
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Intel has had some really unusal products in their past that never took off, inclinding a intelligent display controller.  It displayed text only, but supported advanced features such as linked lists.  Unusual, but about as successful as Intel's first 32-bit CPU, the iAPX432.

BrainiacV
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Technology that works
BrainiacV   12/6/2013 3:41:47 PM
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I heard NASA spent big bucks to develop a pen that would work in zero gravity, resulting in the Fisher(?) pressurized ink pen.

The Russians used pencils.

Duane Benson
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Re: Technology that works
Duane Benson   12/6/2013 5:17:57 PM
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As it turns out, Fisher designed the pen with their own money, then sold it to NASA. The Russians ended up using them too.

Still a funy story though.

Matt Tuley
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Further reading
Matt Tuley   12/7/2013 1:20:22 PM
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An excellent writer on the history of design and engineering is Henry Petroski, and his many books include The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. As thorough, and entertaining, a treatment of the subject as you're likely to find.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Further reading
Max The Magnificent   12/9/2013 10:16:33 AM
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@Matt Tuley: An excellent writer on the history of design and engineering is Henry Petroski...

I just checked this on Amazon (here's the link to the paperback version) -- the reviews are interesting in their own right -- this looks like a book I would love to read -- I've added it to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for sharing.

Bellhop
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Re: Further reading
Bellhop   12/12/2013 3:30:52 PM
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Don't tell anyone, but I've read that book cover to cover more than once!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Further reading
Max The Magnificent   12/12/2013 5:03:52 PM
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@Bellhop: Don't tell anyone, but I've read that book cover to cover more than once!


Don't worry -- your secret is safe with me. I've also found another book that I've added to my wish list: How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants

Bellhop
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Re: Further reading
Bellhop   12/13/2013 8:23:24 AM
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It's amazing how long it took for someone to realize that there might be a better way to sharpen a pencil than with a pen knife, a device used to sharpen quill pens.

 

More than any other book, The Pencil distills what engineering is all about. Sadly, only engineers will read it. My wife can't fathom why anyone would even rest their gaze on the cover, much less get it from the public library, read it, then buy it!

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Further reading
Max The Magnificent   12/13/2013 10:02:30 AM
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@Bellhop: My wife can't fathom why anyone would even rest their gaze on the cover...

It's a funny old world when you come to think about it...

Stargzer
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For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/23/2014 5:34:36 PM
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... I found a photo so you can read the other captions:



 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2014 5:39:57 PM
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@Stargzer: ... I found a photo so you can read the other captions:

Que? I don't see anything (sad face)

Stargzer
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/23/2014 6:23:47 PM
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@Max:

Hmm.  When I click the HTML edit button I see the following where the link code should be:  

 When I click the itty-bitty box that's supposed to have the link (or the photo) it goes to the photo.

 

Stargzer
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/23/2014 6:26:59 PM
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Let's try busticating the link with the button next to the anchor in the edit panel.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowangels/8510537872/

(And the itty-bitty "X-Box" still goes to the photo on flicker.)

Oh, foo; the Insert/Edit Image button doesn't work for me, either.  Must be a software problem, not a hardware problem.

Photo of the L.E.A.D. 2.5 Word Processor

Max The Magnificent
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Max The Magnificent   1/24/2014 10:09:07 AM
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@Stargzer: Let's try busticating the link...

You really aren't having much luck -- the link you provide had four w's (as in
"wwww")

 

Ah -- I see you edited that out now...

Stargzer
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/24/2014 10:49:26 AM
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@Max:  "... the link you provide had four w's (as in
"wwww")"

"Fourth 'w?'  What fourth 'w'?" he said as he dropped the picture of Big Brother with the fourth 'w' into the Vaporisor.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Max The Magnificent   1/24/2014 10:54:23 AM
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@Stargzr: "Fourth 'w?'  What fourth 'w'?"


You edited it out, you little scamp!!!

Stargzer
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Re: Scamp
Stargzer   1/24/2014 11:33:37 AM
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@Max:  "You edited it out, you little scamp!!!"

"Scamp!"  There's a word you don't hear often!  I also like "rapscallion!"  My father used to use it.  It has a bit more dash than "rascal."

At least you didn't call me a scoundrel!

Stargzer
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/24/2014 11:06:58 AM
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@Max: I think this is what you intended to do:

Actually, your post also shows an itty-bitty X-Box on my browser. 

I'm lucky I can get to Flickr; they used to block it here.  It's weird what they block here -- they recently let me to a page on the Fighting 69th (Infantry), but blocked another page on the same web site.  Some innocuous web pages sound like double-entendres.

It's only recently that we've gotten access to YouTube.  Now I can listen to some old folk music (Tom Rush (Rockport Sunday; Tin Angel and Circle Game by Joni Mitchell); Phil Ochs (Draft Dodger Rag); Peter, Paul, and Mary ... ).  I'll have to look for some Stan Rogers while I'm at it; a great Canadian folk singer who was killed in a plane fire, probably caused by a cigarette smoker in the rest room.

Max The Magnificent
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Max The Magnificent   1/24/2014 11:16:26 AM
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@Stargzr: Actually, your post also shows an itty-bitty X-Box on my browser...

You are right -- I'd forgotten that Flickr is blocked for some reason -- I'm too young for all of this excitement LOL

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Max The Magnificent   1/24/2014 10:10:40 AM
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@Stargzr: Let's try busticating the link...

How does this picture differ from the one I had in my main article?

Stargzer
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/24/2014 10:44:43 AM
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@Max: How does this picture differ from the one I had in my main article?

In the original photo I can't read the captions on the lower pencils, like the pencil for someone who does very little and the pencil for one who does nothing.  This photo is clearer. 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Max The Magnificent   1/24/2014 10:53:05 AM
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@Stargzr: In the original photo I can't read the captions on the lower pencils, like the pencil for someone who does very little and the pencil for one who does nothing.  This photo is clearer.

Ah -- almost like the one I uploaded when I posted thsi blog -- the link under the smaller in-line image in th eblog that says "CLICK HERE to see a larger image"

Obviously I was being too subtle... LOL

Stargzer
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Re: For those who can't read the fine print ...
Stargzer   1/24/2014 11:13:51 AM
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@Max:  " ... the link under the smaller in-line image in th eblog that says "CLICK HERE to see a larger image"

ARRGGGHHHH!  Well, at least I'm going in for an eye exam next week; guess it's time for new glasses -- using up what's left of last year's FSA.  I'll blame it on using my normal progressive lenses, not the "room distance" progressives I got for CRT use, whose frame came unsoldered.  At least the frames will be replace under warranty just in time for new lenses.

 

Max The Magnificent
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Re: Further reading
Max The Magnificent   1/23/2014 5:38:59 PM
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@Bellhop: As a follow-up to my earlier comment about the book: How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants

I read it -- incredibly funny -- a must for anyone's bookshelf!!!

DrQuine
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Product longevity
DrQuine   12/9/2013 9:57:45 PM
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As I approach my 21st birthday (base 30), I must salute the longevity of the pencil. Pencils older than I am function perfectly while word processors from 30 years ago are just about useless. The pencil is also very portable, inexpensive, requires no power, and is easily maintained (lacking an electric sharpener, you can use a knife or a piece of stone to sharpen it). Most importantly, it is forward and backward compatible. It is great for capturing information for subsequent retrieval; I will admit that it is not very good at automated mathematical calculations.

MeasurementBlues
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As promised, link to the calculator
MeasurementBlues   12/11/2013 5:00:55 PM
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A few days ago, I mentioned using an iOS calculator and several people asked for a link. Here it is.

uwezi
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carbon based
uwezi   12/16/2013 6:45:01 AM
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Has nobody yet mentionned that this is a great example of carbon-based technology, even graphen based?

Stargzer
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What's Missing From The Display?
Stargzer   1/23/2014 5:07:52 PM
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What, no Primary Pencil in that display?  You know, the one Bill Cosby once decribed on vinyl as "big as a horse's leg?"

Come to think of it, maybe I should start carrying around a dozen of them suitably sharpened for self-defense.  They should be stronger than those thin yellow ones.  At 13/32" diameter, it's about the size of a .40 Smith & Wesson slug but a lot longer and reusable if you can pull it out of your target, and you don't need a permit to buy one!  Muggers and terrorists beware! 

>:- )

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