Monday, March 13, 2006

Got to talk techie-talk

Today was full and rich. It demonstrated to me one of the simplest, but most enjoyable benefits of self employment. A last-minute phone call from my friend Norm facilitated an early-morning coffee on my way to a downtown appointment. You don't often get to do these social coffee things on the way to the "office", battling rush-hour traffic, now do you!

I got to collect some money due me today - a "bad debt" turned paid. It's been five months, many "reminder" phone calls and it cost me a trip across town to get the money, but it's done. (One down, two to go!)

Another benefit of self-employment is that the trip across town put me in the vicinity of the Mercedes dealership. I took a few moments out of my day to browse. Now, you would never peg me as a luxury car type - especially a Mercedes - since I'm far more about the practicality of something than the luxury. However, Mercedes makes a car I'm particularly drawn to.

I speak of course of the SMART car!

I drive a one-ton 15-passenger van. Yes, folks, it's my "daily driver". You can imagine the amount of fuel I go through, not to mention it's a little excessive to be considered an "A to B" car!

Turns out a SMART car is actually LESS MONEY than the van I'm driving! Not only is the purchase price lower,it consumes FAR LESS FUEL!

The other amazing thing? It tops out at 135 KM/H using only a 40 HP motor! Add another 100 horses and you've got my daily driver... a lot more mouths to feed!

My fourth and final stop this afternoon was business related. I went in search of technology. You see, I've been contracted to install upgrades and additions to a church sound system. I discovered three new techie bits that excite me:

1 A wireless microphone headset that clips around the presenter ear, not to their clothing. The "wire frame" is beige in colour and literally disappears against the flesh of the face. Now the microphone is in a consistent position in front of the mouth. Cool, very cool.

2 A "smart" mixer that determines when someone using a wireless headset approaches a podium with a microphone on it. Normally what would happen is that BOTH microphones would pick up the voice, causing all kinds of weirdness (yes, "weirdness" is an industry term, collective in nature to encompass all kinds of strange things that can happen when certain conditions are met )- but mostly, an extremely louder signal. This can be disconcerting to the average listener.

This mixer uses a proprietary system that says "wireless shall take priority over podium", so only one microphone is active. Again, very cool.

3 Wireless hearing aides. These units are fed by a transmitter that sends the signal (spoken word, music, whatever) from the sound system to individual receivers worn by members of the audience who may be hard of hearing. Parishioners in the church, if they really like the idea, can then purchase their OWN receivers at a very modest cost.

It felt great to spend some time catching up with technology! I might have to schedule this as a regular thing!

Tonight is babysitting night. Uncle David is going to spend some quality time with family.

Here's hoping your day was as bright, full and rich!

10 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

Those cars are very cute. But, but ... there must be something between a 15-seater and a two-seater?

Granny said...

15 passengers? I thought my 7 was big.

I wouldn't know what to do with a two passenger even if I didn't have the kids. They're cute but not for me.

Andrea said...

Smart cars are really popular over here.

Expat Traveler said...

Now why do you have a 15 pass van? And like avilcloud, why do you wantt a death trap? There are many other small cars too. I guess if you really don't travel much, maybe it's okay and as long as you don't mind slipping a ton in the winter.. OR maybe winter tires are just fine with a tiny car like that?

Expat Traveler said...

okay and I completely forgot to tell you...
I'm self employed too. When the kids get off school and parents go on vacation, I kinda don't have work - thus a vacation. I don't decide my vacations though. Arrggh!

ipodmomma said...

smart cars are big in the UK as well, and there is a 4 door version, plus a new Smart sport car too...

Peter is a BIG Merc man, grin...

hope you had a nice evening with family... always a pleasant way to spend some time...

Sarah Elaine said...

Mmm.... SMART cars... (Did you know they were my favourite???)

Turtle Guy said...

ET - I move big stuff... and you are???

IPM - I've been waiting for the SMART for 4... and maybe a SMARTVAN??

SE - Something I did not know... did you know you can swap out the body parts?? You could have a new colour every day of the week!

Bast said...

I want a Smartcar that actually thinks for itself. So I could take a nap while driving to Edmonton. Ya, that would be cool. And we (the car and I) could have a discussion about world politics and curling on the way up. Kind of like Kit (Knight Rider Kit) but without the kitsch. Kit kitsch - ar, ar! ;) Ok, going now ...

Anonymous said...

Great blog!
I really enjoyed looking over your last post. Pet peeve #1 - People with a cellphone plastered to their ear while trying to drive. Don't they realize all they have to do is go to www.bluetoothbargains.combluetooth get a bluetooth and make driving alot easier for all of us. Soon laws will require it! Well, keep the great posts coming and I'll be back to check it out.

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.