Saturday, April 18, 2009

wow, it works

In my long saga of trying to get internet access at my new place (a saga which I will spare you, gentle reader) I tried once or twice to get my laptop to connect to the internet through my phone (a Nokia N95). I have an unlimited-data plan from AT&T (a silly excess since I almost never use the feature) so it wouldn't cost me anything to use my phone as a modem. But I could never get it to work before.

Today, I decided to finally get serious about it, went somewhere with internet access, downloaded all the latest software for the phone, reinstalled everything, and, like magic, it started working.

I can't believe how fast it is. I actually watched an episode of The Office on-line using my phone modem. Sure, the video was reduced-size, but the picture and sound quality were fine and there were almost no detectable stutters. I can't believe the data rate is so good; when I have surfed the web using the browser in the phone, it was very slow. The lesson to be learned here, I suppose, is that the browser in the phone is very slow. The download speed is great. It's not up to cable speeds, or even DSL for that matter. It's about 2/3 the speed of the slowest DSL, but that still makes it ten times faster than dial-up.

Anyway, I'm psyched. It's a good thing I don't pay more attention to technology trends or I wouldn't have these movements of excitement when I learn something that was already common knowledge to everyone else.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

low-carb root beer float

I still don't have internet access at home, which is at least part of the reason my blogging has been so slow. However, I did just invent a great new refreshing beverage and I wanted to record the recipe before I forget it.

Have you had A&W diet root beer? It's surprisingly good, especially since canned root beer used to taste awful. I used to love the root beer straight from the tap that you could get and A&W stands or copy-cat restaurants, but when I tried the canned stuff, it was undrinkable. I don't know how long it's been since canned root beer became good because I've been avoiding it for twenty or thirty years, but they seem to have found the magic formula now.

Well..., except that A&W diet root beer is a little too sweet. That's no problem for deserts, though: when a desert is too sweet, I have it with milk (or unsweetened coffee). So, I decided to try mixing the diet root beer with milk (unsweetened coffee didn't sound promising). The result was not too bad. But the next time I had a diet root beer, I was out of milk, so I tried it with half n half. About 25% half n half to 75% A&W diet root beer makes something that tastes just like I remember Dairy Queen root-beer floats tasting like, right after you had eaten most of the ice cream and were sucking out the last of the root beer with a straw. It's tremendous. And it's low-carb.

I've got a recipe for how to make this wonderful 25% half n half/75% A&W diet root beer drink, but I've spent so much time reminiscing that now I don't have time to write it out. Maybe in my next blog entry.