Love your new house!

Mind if we put up this piece of shit ten meters from your back door?

New cell tower, Atlántida, Uruguay

Actually, that’s just a rhetorical question. We could care less what you think.

New cell tower, Atlántida, Uruguay

And who is we?

My neighbor Wayne tipped me off to this. I hadn’t been by recently, but know it well. This house is new, and this radiation tower even newer, and all of a quarter mile (.4 km) from the one installed a year and a half ago.

316 meters (1,034 feet) from our front door. The previous is 544 meters (1,785 feet) away.

In contrast to when I posted before, I now have a smart phone, and took these pictures with it. It has less bulk than my digital camera, many more capabilities, and is a great help traveling: Lyft, AirBnB, etc. However, generally when I carry it it’s in airplane mode. I don’t consider more radiation a good thing.

As I don’t consider another, closer radiation tower a good thing.


Ah , the little things

Despite some sub-optimal experiences, I remain fascinated by things such as this. The cable on the right, which just arrived in the mail from China, elegantly replaces the kluged-together mess that cluttered my desk.

New video cable from China

And, especially in overpriced Uruguay, you’ve got to love this:


Yes, USD 2.45 and free shipping … from China.


In which I fail a simple technological challenge.

Returning from the beach, I thought I’d use the video on my camera to catch the “mewing” sounds of the frogs. I turned it on, heard better sound further along, turned it off, started it again just in time to catch a raucous call, and a loud bird landing next to another overhead in a dead tree.

When I got home, I discovered that I had turned it off when I thought I was starting it, so missed all the good stuff.

So anyway, here’s the bird:

One Laptop Per Child goes to high school

We were at friends’ house when their daughter, now in grade 2 of high school (North American 8th grade) brought out her school-issued laptop. Unlike the kiddy OLPC units that the little fashionistas use – i.e., this:

the high school version is quite a cool little laptop. Whereas she never used the one above, preferring the family’s desktop computer, she loves having her own laptop now. (Who wouldn’t?)

Linux laptop for middle and high school students in Uruguay

It runs on Ubuntu Linux, and has full access to the universe of open source applications. I haven’t been able to find much info about its specs (and didn’t have my specs along to read much on the small screen), but saw that it had Open Office and WINE installed, amongst many other programs.

For some families, our hosts explained, this is their only computer.

"One Laptop per Child" computer for elementary students in Uruguay

And they are all connected! When one has internet access, so do the others – not necessarily at blazing speed. We had internet problems recently, and could from time to time connect to a signal from a Ciebal laptop nearby, sometimes with internet long enough to check email and a web site or two. Plan Ceibal also provides open internet access points throughout the country. In 2007, Uruguay became the first country to place an order for laptops – 100,000 of them. By now, it’s over half a million. For a country of 3.5 million. Pretty cool.