Dyson Vacuum Review

I guess it seems a little odd to be reviewing a vacuum cleaner here, but this is a very special vacuum cleaner. I first heard of the Dyson vacuum when talking to some graphic designers. They used it as an example of the design process. I looked into it because I was curious, but couldn’t picture myself spending $400 on a vacuum.

A few months later we had acquired some gift certificates for amazon.com. I was looking around and came across the Dyson vacuum on their site. I found that they had refurbished units for $279. The reviews for the refurbished units were favorable. $279 seemed like a much more reasonable price so after some deliberation we went ahead and ordered it.Dyson DC 07 All Floors Upright Vacuum, Steel Yellow

When the box got her I opened it up and followed the instructions to assemble it. The handle actually fits inside of the hose, so it seemed odd at first, but it keeps the hose tucked neatly up against the vacuum unlike most units.
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Creating Passionate Users: The effect of sound on users

Kathy Sierra has an interesting article about the impact of audio on people’s perception of video quality.

I don’t have a link handy, but there’s a study that showed that the quality of the audio causes people to change their evaluation of the quality of the visuals, but that it doesn’t work in reverse.
Creating Passionate Users: The effect of sound on users

Basically she is saying that on average people will rank the visual part of a video as higher quality if the sound is good and lower quality if the sound is bad. However, if you keep the sound quality constant and change the video quality it won’t impact their perception of the audio quality.
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Get a Business Education with Audio Books

In my experience the people who are most successful always take time to learn and read. Modern society makes this very difficult. According to the 2003 US Census, the average amount of time spent driving one way to work is 24 minutes each day. That means the average person spends 48 minutes of their day in the car. This may not seem like too much, but if a person allows 8 hours to sleep and 8 hours for work those 48 minutes represent 10% of their available free time.

The best way I have found to make my drive time productive is to listen to business audio books. With the Internet and modern mp3 players it is easier than ever to get audio books to listen to in your car. By downloading audio books from the Internet you don’t have to waste time going to a store that may or may not have what you want.
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Can you see it?

If you stare at the block long enough you should eventually be able to make out a giraffe. This is because of the special optical properties of files known as animated GIFs. :)

I sent this to my mom and somehow it got converted from an animated GIF to a static TIFF. She claims she stared at it for 2 hours before she gave up.

Violino Piccolo

While looking through the score of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto’s I ran across an instrument I had never seen before. It was called the violino piccolo and appeared to be written in a key other than C like the rest of the stringed instruments.

Evidently the violins were not very easy to play in the higher registers. The violino piccolo addressed the problem. The instrument was about 13 inches long and looked very similar to a child’s 3/4 size violin, but it was tuned a 3rd or 4th higher. The higher tuning allowed musicians to play the same notes as a violin lower on the fretboard which made it much easier to play. The smaller size and higher tuning gave it a brighter sound in the higher registers

As the design of the modern violin evolved the fretboard was extended toward the bridge. Better technical construction and new playing techniques eventually pushed the violino piccolo out of common use and violin piccolo parts are now played by normal sized violins.