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Info about new or older technology. Generally fun geeky stuff (or maybe the not so fun).

Written By: Gary on July 15, 2007 2 Comments

The title really says it all. But you have to see it to believe it!

And when you’re done watching it, you can bid on it and other extras (it’s up to $1,100 for some weird reason).

Written By: Gary on June 13, 2007 No Comment

As we’ve discussed before, I’ve got a new Best Buy Opening nearby in the north end of Allen Park (Fairlane Green). We’ll I just saw a billboard and the Grand Opening is June 29th 2007. There is another BB in Dearborn just 4-5 (7?) miles away so I wonder if that one might be closing soon…

Written By: Gary on April 6, 2007 No Comment

So PC World has a story on the Best 50 Tech products. Considering a few of the items in the list, I think few things are missing: Skype, one of the early pieces of ZIP/StuffIt software, maybe a Palm (or even Windows) cell phone, a TRS-80, the Sony WalkMan set standards for portable (choose your own) music players and I’m sure I’ll think of a few more later. Half of the software “tools” seem to be things to fix parts/utilities missing from the Windows OS. And there isn’t any software for creating web pages / FTPing files (from the era of Netscape and Eudora) or blocking spam. Should flickr or Google be considered a product? Amazon or eBay? Okay, so I’m getting ahead of myself, lets show the list.

Of the 50 I’ve bolded items owned/used (some were free or work owned for my use) and added comments to many items (even ones I don’t use):

  1. Netscape Navigator (1994) – Netscape and NCSA made the Internet (and Eudora), thanks!
  2. Apple II (1977) – I never owned one until years later when I got a deal on one.
  3. TiVo HDR110 (1999) – Early adoptor and I’ve added many converts
  4. Napster (1999)
  5. Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS (1983) – More of a VisaCalc/Excell user but they’re all great.
  6. Apple iPod (2001) – I waited for a color one with a big hard drive and spent the early adopter prices for it (now better ones are 1/2 the price).
  7. Hayes Smartmodem (1981) – I can’t be sure I actually had a Hayes, but I had one of the first generics if I didn’t (I’ve had so many modems, I can’t recall). Hayes changed computer communications IMHO.
  8. Motorola StarTAC (1996) – Several of these from several carriers and they were all awesome.
  9. WordPerfect 5.1 (1989) – I used it but I’m not proud, I think it’s awful
  10. Tetris (1985)
  11. Adobe Photoshop 3.0 (1994) – This has almost always been too complicated for any needs I’ve ever had.
  12. IBM ThinkPad 700C (1992)
  13. Atari VCS/2600 (1977) – I always wanted one of these (even years later) but I never had one.
  14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986) – I was a late apple adaptor but I loved it. I still love Apple and I think I always will…
  15. RIM BlackBerry 857 (2000) – no interest in one of these ever
  16. 3dfx Voodoo3 (1999) – I don’t think I’ve ever had a machine with this card.
  17. Canon Digital Elph S100 (2000)
  18. Palm Pilot 1000 (1996) – I jumped on the palm bandwagon late but now I’m a fan
  19. id Software Doom (1993)
  20. Microsoft Windows 95 (1995) – I’m sure one of my work Machines ran this, I’m not sure if I ever owned a machine with it. I think I jumped from Windows 3.1 back to DOS and then to ME or 98 at home.
  21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003) – THE best/easiest way to shop for music on-line
  22. Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
  23. Iomega Zip Drive (1994) – These folks dominated the market. Everyone I know had one of these drives and then they just faded away…
  24. Spybot Search & Destroy (2000)
  25. Compaq Deskpro 386 (1986) – We sold these and I’ll always remember the customer that pronounced it Comp-A-Que and we had no idea what they were asking for.
  26. CompuServe (1982) – Had an account for a while, this was pre-Internet…
  27. Blizzard World of Warcraft (2004)
  28. Aldus PageMaker (1985) – I have never been a PageMaker fan.
  29. HP LaserJet 4L (1993)
  30. Apple Mac OS X (2001) – It just works! (generally)
  31. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
  32. Eudora (1988) – Probably one of the best e-mail clients ever, way way way before it’s time.
  33. Sony Handycam DCR-VX1000 (1995)
  34. Apple Airport Base Station (1999)
  35. Brøderbund The Print Shop (1984) – This was why people never wanted to get rid of their dot matrix printers (the pinfeed paper for banners).
  36. McAfee VirusScan (1990)
  37. Commodore Amiga 1000 (1985) – I always wanted one of these!
  38. ChipSoft TurboTax (1985) – I love tax software, it’s so worth the money
  39. Mirabilis ICQ (1996)
  40. Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 (1992) – This was the standard for audio cards forever.
  41. Apple HyperCard (1987) – Best software ever! This was the premiere application using hyperlinks and (almost) had plug-ins and supported multimedia. Think linking and interactive pages (cards) of information and graphics all running on your computer (pre-internet)
  42. Epson MX-80 (1980) – These were one of the most durable dot matix printers ever.
  43. Central Point Software PC Tools (1985)
  44. Canon EOS Digital Rebel (2003) – I love this it feels like a real camera in my hands. It works like one too.
  45. Red Hat Linux (1994) – Awesome easy to use/maintain version of a free OS.
  46. Adaptec Easy CD Creator (1996) – I have/use various versions of it, but I’ll always love toast.
  47. PC-Talk (1982)
  48. Sony Mavica MVC-FD5 (1997) – The floppy disk cameras made it easy for everyone to get their photos off the camera. This was always my favorite camera to have schools use.
  49. Microsoft Excel (1985) – Excel is an awesome spreadsheet.
  50. Northgate OmniKey Ultra (1987)

Here’s a complete list for “printing” but I’m not sure if it’ll link properly (at the bottom of the page are just the items).

Written By: Gary on March 25, 2007 One Comment

So a long time ago Dave Goodman recommended The Victorian Internet to me (that’s 3 links in this sentence). After a while I finally ordered it and then after a while I finally read it and then I finally remember to post about it.

A very interesting book on the how long distance communications took place centuries ago. Eventually the story focuses mostly on the 1800’s and how the telegraph was build, used, subsidized and grew all over the world. It’s a great book with all sorts of obvious parallels to the last 30 years and computer communications that just jump out at you. At least they jumped out at me, the last chapter kinda spoon fed the similarities to you in case you didn’t get them but I think if you made it through the book you don’t really need that wrap up.I’m not going to say any more about the book itself, if it sounds even mildly interesting I really think you’ll enjoy it.

I’m looking for some similar books for two reasons:
1) I like stuff like this.
2) I’m thinking they’re going to ask me to teach the Tech Leadership 900 level course again at a local university. And I think an understanding of “stuff like this” is helpful for people working in technology. Plus it’s a short book and less than $12 new so what college student isn’t going to like that?!? Last summer we used The World is Flat (revised), which was cheap and interesting but it’s long and gets repetitive and if it’s not interesting to you it just gets more uninteresting as you read. It’s a great book, don’t get me wrong but if it’s not your cup of tea it’s really long, while with this this book (if anything) it’s over too soon.

Written By: Gary on March 12, 2007 One Comment

So I picked up a Buffalo WHR-G54S Wireless Broadband Router because you can never have too many routers in your house but mostly because ever since wireless existed I’ve wanted someway to bridge across my house (mostly to hook some old non-WiFi equipment that was in the living room hooked to the stereo) for older equipment that wireless wasn’t an option. So I just wanted a box with an ethernet and an antenna that would then connect to the network. The stuff I tried was too expensive (although that was a few years back) didn’t work as advertised or didn’t pass Appletalk packets. In general, my favorite home router is the Netgear brand wireless routers but I thought I’d try thing.

So the packaging on the Buffalo WHR-G54S made me think it would work (or that I could make it work). It seemed like a nice wireless router but it looked like it wouldn’t do what I wanted, but more importantly I knew I could make it work with the DD-WRT project. This is pretty much a way to put a different OS inside the router and it supports a lot more options, it’s kind of a mini-linux (it might actually be all linux now, mildly confused on that) and there are a few projects like this out there. The most important option (for me) is by being a bridge (a mega-bridge that I can hook 5 computers up to). But it’ll also support radius authentication (if you need it, it’s a big deal), a mini web-server and even a way to power (and charge) your internet cafe.

Warning the content gets pretty geeky from here on.So you have to flash it with a new OS which is mildly tricky, I recommend printing the instructions and crossing out all the non-relevant stuff. It was pretty simple once I found the parts to ignore. Once done it was pretty much how you’d expect any wireless router to be (but better).

It had an option to be a the bridge I wanted this meant I could take any old computer that had ethernet and make it wireless by just plugging it in the router and it would connect to my wireless connect in the other room. I told it what my network was and it was ready to go. This would also be handy for running operating systems that don’t have support for some odd wireless card or USB dongle. Not only would it let me hook up 4 devices it could actually use the 5th port too (that’s probably overkill but it does it anyways).

It’ll run a little web server too. I haven’t figured out all the parts but I will. What I’d like is to set it up like a regular router and as soon as you connect it’ll give you a default web page welcoming you to the network (I figure if I can make this work I can more easily convince my local hangouts to WiFi.)

As a router goes, it supports the blocking options that many routers support but it has 10 different definable options by IP number than you can use (plus you can block by keyword and URL).

Other stuff: It supports multiple DDNS Services (Dynamic Domain Name Services), multiple VLANs, and some VPN stuff. Also some QoS options (Quality of Services) which might be handy if you don’t want those computers sucking up all your bandwidth (just lower their limit). You can telnet in and all sorts of fun stuff.

Written By: Gary on March 12, 2007 No Comment

Bsg LogoSo you can be in your own mini episode of Battlestar Galactica! Here’s a few sample videos (both with a Cylon fetish). But if you go here you can get footage, music and sound effects to create your own video. Kinda neat, especially since you can probably use any editing software to put it all together.

Written By: Gary on March 9, 2007 3 Comments

So my Mom asks me what her network is, I tell her the name of it but she wants to know what it is. We talked for a bit but she’s not liking any of my (wonderful) analogies. Plus the fact that she’s wireless now means I can’t just say it’s the wire…

The closest on a home scale I could come up with was her phone network. She’s got the phone wires just like the computer wires and a cordless phone in the house. It’s not weird that she doesn’t understand the computer network, it’s weird that she thinks she understands the phone network…

It’s funny the questions people ask when they use technology that they never asked before (I don’t mean just my Mom, I’m picking on millions of people here). There are just so many computer similarities with phones, cable tv, and plumbing but people just never seem wonder about it; but when they get a computer they want an answer. I’m thinking that when she’s over my house next she’ll see all the other wireless networks (in my neighborhood) in her list and that’ll help (at least the why of why it has a name). I was sure to leave out the fact that her phone now goes over the cable with the internet and the television channels.One of the communications issues was to her “network” was a computer word so it just didn’t apply when I tried to talk about the network of highways and roads (or the phone network). I’ll make sure I have some visual aids next time (and wave my arms around while I talk, that always helps).

And it turns out her community education computer class was canceled. Not enough people signed up…

Written By: Gary on March 5, 2007 One Comment

Spam Arrest will be featured on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson tonight (Monday, March 5th, 2007). World News will be discussing the ongoing trademark dispute between Hormel and Spam Arrest over the use of the word “spam”.

Spam Arrest has been defending itself against Hormel for the last 4 years while Hormel has been attempting to cancel the Spam Arrest trademark granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office. (more info)

Definitely overstepping their trademark, no confusion between spam “food” and junk mail (IMHO). They should have to shoulder the blame for spam if they want exclusive rights to the name…

Spam Arrest is my favorite way of blocking e-mail spam from home. It’s practially impossible for spammers to get automated junk mail past their filter!

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Written By: Gary on March 1, 2007 No Comment

So miraculously my mother is now on-line. I had it on my list of things to do but I had finally given up, she just didn’t seem that interested the last few times I talked to her about. About a week ago she decided she wanted to and I jumped on it; she came over we got a new laptop for her: HP 15.4 inch Dual Core, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB hard drive, Dual-Layer DVD burner w/LightScribe, SD chip reader (maybe reads more than that, with the media center “stuff” and a remote for that (which slides nicely into the laptop). BTW, that was $699 after rebate at Circuit City this week. A bit more machine than she needs right now but she won’t need anything else more than that for a while and it’s small enough she can bring it over when she has questions/problems instead of me having to always go over there.

We went over to get a book for her and ended up with Easy Microsoft Windows Vista. Lots of pictures and very clear to read. We looked at some other ones even the seniors ones, and while they were very well written, the images were black & while and not every high resolution, very difficult to see. Mom’s pretty young, not 60 yet, but very low tech considering I’m her kid and I turned my step-dad into a geek before he passed away a few years ago.
So I set her all up, it’s Vista so I’m not very familiar with it but I figured it out. Then I set up an easy to use home page for her to use with with Internet Explorer. I set her up a page at http://GaryLaPointe.com/mom/ and I can modify it whenever I want for her. But I stuck a bunch of stuff on it like local news, weather, on-line shopping and stuff. This includes some of my photos and links to trips she’s never seen and her musician granddaughter’s page. At some point she’ll have to learn favorites/bookmarkss, but for now it’s perfect for her. Take a peek and if you have any suggestions (either for the page or just some good introductory web sites.

She just called and the cable guy left and she’s on-line!!! I had her get the $42 a month service which is 384 up + 5,000 down, the next service down was only $6 less but it was only 500 down, I wanted her to have a more pleasurable experience. In a few months she can try the lower speeds…

I’ll go over next week and hook up the wireless for her and she can set up in the corner of the dining room where she wants it. Right now she in my old attic bedroom.

I think she’s going over to sign up for a 4 week (2 hours a night) computer class that starts next week at the community education center.

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Written By: Gary on February 8, 2007 No Comment

ToyspringhandSo imagine this: You’ve got some kind of handheld inviso-detecter-o-rama and through the viewfinder you can see the invisible creatures in your world. Better yet, if you can see them, you can shoot them. Now imagine this handheld device looks an awful lot like your Treo.

ToySpring has created a game, called Arcade Reality, using your Treo that uses the live image from your camera to to superimpose the creatures on. So it appears as if you are fighting arcade creatures in real life. Here are some more screenshots.

Personally, I don’t see how they can get enough processing power out of these handhelds to do this, but the machine might have overlay capabilities that I’m not aware of (I’ve never tried to program a Palm like that). Or they might just be faster than I think. I have seen some zippy video games, I juse don’t play them that much these days…

Written By: Gary on February 4, 2007 No Comment

It’s the Linksys CIT200 iPhone and works with Skype and you’d might not even realize it was a real phone. It looks more like a generic Nokia cell phone than a home phone and it works great. Actually, the one thing that makes it “not normal” (which doesn’t bother me as much as others on-line) is if you are manually dialing you need to dial the “+1” before all calls, to me it’s slightly silly, you should be able to configure it to have a default country (and area) code.

So I really like my iPhone.You can see all the people you have on your Skype list on the display of the phone so you just scroll down and pick who you want to call. I’ve wandered all over the condo and it’s clear everywhere (I’m on the 3rd/4th floor and it’s clear on the first level too!). It’s got a headset jack on it, a great speaker phone and supports call waiting. From the USB base the plugs into the computer it even has a button to press so you can page the phone so you can’t misplace it. You do need to route the audio on the computer so it properly goes to the phone (Skype has audio settings but it seems like the computer overrides them).I initially set up Skype when I dropped my land-line phone. I wanted a way to make phone calls in case I forgot my phone somewhere (or it broke) and wanted an easy backup. Plus when I’m out of the country if I have interent access, I can make phone-calls to the US very inexpensively (2.1 cents a minute).

If you use Skype it’s a must have, if you don’t have Skype and you need an extra phone line in the house get Skype and pay for unlimited outgoing calls to land-lines in the US and Canada for $30 a year. If you don’t get a phone like this you just use a headset on the computer.

What don’t I like about my iPhone? It’s got a crappy wallpaper background and while they have several to choose from, none are a plain background so it’s always hard to read the screen. The “+1” is a minor annoyance, but since I really don’t use it that much, it’s okay. The audio configuration is mildly annoying, I’m hoping an update fixes that (update: I did just install the Jan 22, 2007 update and the audio confusion seems better, we’ll see how it feels after a few days).

Written By: Gary on February 1, 2007 One Comment

No not that iPhone. The iPhone that’s been out for a while, the one that Linksys/Cisco owns the trademark to (but debating that is not the purpose of this thread). It’s a regular old looking phone, kinda cellphone-ish, it’s cordless and you can carry it around the house and it connects wirelessly to your Windows PC and can make and receive Skype calls. Your Skype friend’s list shows up in the display and you can dial from there. I thought it was pretty cool and it was on the odd clearance rack at Target (the UPC on the box didn’t scan and the had an extra price tag on it, like they received it by accident but needed to tag it to get rid of it) it was a great deal! It’s even got a spot for me to plug in a headset!

I like Skype, it’s a great idea and even though I only intermittently use it, it always seems to work for me. You can call other computers for free from your computer to and from anywhere in the world (this includes conference calls and video calls). You can call land lines in the US or Canada for just pennies a minute with no monthly fees (or unlimited for $30 a year) from anywhere in the world. Calling other countries cost a bit more depending on the location. Getting a number where people can call you at your computer (no matter what computer you are at, anywhere in the world) is about $60 a year. So going on vacation, it doesn’t matter where you are just load up Skype and connect to the net and people can call you! Get several skype numbers, one that’s close to Grandma and one that’s close to the kids in college and you’re just a local call away for each of them.

Then phone’s charging and so I haven’t even used it yet. But I can’t wait to try!FYI, they do make some other models of the iPhone that don’t require a computer, they just need WiFi to work. I see that as a minor problem in some places since you need a web browser to activate the Wifi (Panera, McDonald’s, Border’s, etc.). And they’re a lot more expensive. When they get smaller and cheaper, or better yet when they come built into my cell phone…

Written By: Gary on January 21, 2007 No Comment

So I haven’t said much about the iPhone since it was announce but what’s to say it looks awesome!!! It’s a widescreen video iPod with an internet browser, e-mail and it makes phone calls. The downside (IMHO) is it’s only on Cingular and I don’t think the network the iPhone is using is as fast as the EVDO speed networks.

IphonehandThe negative I’ve seen some reviewers mention is that it only accepts music from the iTunes music store. Which isn’t true, it only accepts protected music from the iTunes music store. And it’s important to remember all other players don’t allow music from the iTunes music store, I see that as a problem. You can buy from some (smaller) music sites and put your CDs on it. FYI, the iTunes music store sells 58 songs a second (5 million a day) that makes them the fourth largest retailer of music (Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target are above them) then just pulled ahead of Amazon. The iTunes and iPod experience makes it so pleasant to use I don’t think most people care if you can only use one store to buy (protected) music from…On a side note there are rumors that Apple is making a huge advertising announcement during the SuperBowl. The rumor is that they are going to start carrying the Beatles CDs, I just don’t see that is a major announcement, but we’ll see. It’s interesting since Apple Records (the Beatle’s label) has sued Apple more than a few times for infringing on their trademark but I just don’t see it as that huge of a deal. I see them maybe running some new AppleTV ads and maybe some iPhone ads or maybe a new widescreen iPod ad, who knows, the SuperBowl is where they started their ad blitz for the Macintosh in 1984.

Written By: Gary on November 30, 2006 35 Comments

So I was watching television the other day and I knew the picture looked a little dim. I use a computer projector for my TV so I use the wall as my screen (it’s about 100 inches diagonally) and it’s great for movies and regular TV. So I checked the hours for the bulb and it was supposed to be good for another 350 hours but then it abruptly died that night.

My intent when I bought the projector a few years ago was to keep it until it died and replace it with a much brighter one with more features once I used up the bulb (bulbs are about $300). Projectors drop significantly in price all the time. For example, the cheapest Epson projector 5 years ago was in the $2200 range and now a significantly brighter model (possibly with a higher resolution) is now $675-ish (those are education prices and I’d have to pay more). But I don’t want the comparable model, I want the deluxe model!

So now I’ve got a dilemma, do I replace the bulb ($300) or buy the projector I want ($2000 that I wasn’t ready to spend) knowing the prices will keep dropping and features will keep growing?? The answer was the Black Friday ads, I saw multiple projectors for $400 (after rebate) and $500. I settled on the $500 Acer XD1150 DLP Digital Projector (from Staples), no rebate and it was available to ship. It looks like the one in the picture but the one in the picture is the next model up but still looks the same.


So, for spending $500 for the projector instead of $300 for the bulb, I got a new smaller, lighter (under 5 pounds) in-warranty projector a brighter bulb (1800 lumens vs. 1100 lumens) and it’s smaller. It’s got inputs for composite video (regular video), s-video (like from your DVD player) and SVGA (which doubles as a component video port which supports 480p). It doesn’t have any audio inputs but I run it through the stereo so that’s okay. It came with a remote and a great carrying bad too.

I like it a lot, even pulling it out of the box was nice. It was packaged excellent everything individually wrapped. It wasn’t the same experience of opening up an Apple product but it made me think of it. I came with a composite video cable, a 15 pin SVGA cable but no S-video cable. It came with a CD (which I haven’t looked at yet) and a 20 page manual. Actually it was a one page manual, the other 19 pages were the same page in 19 other languages. The zoom is limited but it got the picture where I needed it so I was okay with that. It’s also got a digital zoom which is great for watching non-HD shows on the HD channels. The focus was a bit touchy, I may need to look at another one later to see if it’s just mine or if they are all that way. All in all I’m very happy with my new TV!

I did just notice there is a 45 page on-line manual in English. I’d guess that’s on the CD if I had put it in…

Written By: Gary on October 12, 2006 No Comment

GooglemapstreoSo they finally released Google Maps for Treo so I can run it on my SPrint Treo 700p. With this application I can pull up Google Maps from an application, not just via the web! This means I can zoom, get directions, see satellite views, get very cool driving directions, find local businesses, see traffic patterns (this is a little hard to decipher) all while dragging the map around with my stylus. Very cool!

It’s been out for some other handhelds but it never ran on mine. It’s pretty zippy with the Sprint EVDO speed. It’s pretty big, it weighs in at 423k. It seems to do a good job caching the maps, I wonder how it runs on the slower models and slower networks…


You can down load it directly to your Palm (and other handhelds) from http://www.google.com/gmm

It’s missing two features:

  • The ability to look an address up from your address book.
  • The ability to add a local business that you find to your address book.
  • It’d be nice if I could look up the longitude and latitude for an address/location. (Just because)

    From the Google Blog.

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    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2006 No Comment

    Lifestraw-2Over 6,000 people die a day (most of them children) from water releated illnesses. These folks have created The LifeStraw, a straw about the size of a small clarinet that can be worn about the neck and weighs about 0.095 Kg (3.3 ounces). It’ll filter 2 liters (half gallon) a day for about a year! And they only cost about $3 each.


    Over a billion people in the world don’t have safe drinking water! (Drinking salt water will reduce the life expectancy in half).

    More info (from the FAQ):

  • LifeStraw® filters bacteria such as Shigella, Salmonella, Enterrococus, Staphylococcus Aureus and E .Coli.
  • First time users may find it difficult to start sucking. This is because a natural brake on the flow of water has been put into the LifeStraw®, as a controlled flow between 100 ml to 150 ml per minute is needed to get the maximum benefit of the bacteria killing effect.
  • It is expected that continuously drinking saline water through the LifeStraw® would reduce effective life to 350 litres.

    I spotted this on the New York Times video feed I get on my TiVo.

  • Written By: Gary on October 9, 2006 No Comment

    The TV industry needs to catch up with reality and the Internet (the ‘net is real). They’ve tried a few things like elling shows on iTunes (for $1.99 an episode!) and other sites and free downloads at their websites (really it’s sitting at your computer and watching).

    Here’s the thing, people (not me) can download it faster and cheaper from the ‘net. Oh yeah, it’s higher quality and there isn’t any ads (but illegal). Over at MiniNova they list an approximation of downloaders (there are dozens of sites like this, some are private). Here’s some numbers (and info):

  • 15,000 people are grabbing last nights “Desperate Housewives”. And let’s be clear that’s this particular copy, there are probably dozen’s of others (some ultra high-def and some iPod versions).
  • 5,000 are grabbing “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” which for some reason showed up around dinnertime instead of after the 10 PM (EST) showing.
  • This isn’t counting the people who are going on and off line (“leechers” who take and disconnect without “seeding”). I’m not going to get into a technical discussion on this, but it’s not that hard to set up something to grab your shows automatically every night (and it’s getting easier every day).

    If they supplied these shows with ads they could control what the people are seeing, many people will fast forward but at least the ads are in it. Currently people are using BitTorrent technology and supplying the bandwidth for them. Heck, if the cable companies would provide a seed, it wouldn’t even use up much internet bandwidth (which would be a complaint they’d make), they could get a cut of the money or insert in their own ads!


    I’d rather pay for a higher quality version directly from the studio networks than have to download it illegally. Think about it, what people pay for cable, for channels. I personally would pay (for no ads of course) $15 a year directly to the SciFi channel for shows (I’d probably do the same for USA). That’s got to be way more than the cable company is giving them for me. Maybe a sliding scale makes more sense $5 for one show (for a season) $10 for 3?

    But let’s pretend they give it to me for free with ads. They make a dozen different versions of the show laced with ads. One for sports fans, one for geeks, one for teenagers, etc. I might actually watch the ads! Imagine that, ads targeted for me! Do you think they could charge more for that? A box like the TiVo should just be pulling these down and storing them and pushing them down to whatever device you want to watch them on.

    When this many people are stealing shows that are on broadcast network television there is something wrong with the way the system is set up. They (the networks) are totally missing the ball on this.

  • Written By: Gary on October 1, 2006 No Comment

    So Weird Al has a new video for his song called White And Nerdy from his new album Straight Outta Lynwood. If you’re into science, computers and other dorky stuff, I hope you can laugh at yourself when you watch this one

    Written By: Gary on October 1, 2006 No Comment

    Remember when coupons in the newspaper used to be perforated so it was easier to get them off of the page?

    I’m at BK grabbing a bite (the WiFi is down again) and clipping (tearing) a few coupons since I’m on my way to Farmer Jack’s to get some desperately needed groceries and it’s just not going as smooth as could be. Maybe this is why I haven’t been doing coupons so much lately, although the poor selection might have something to do with it.

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    Written By: Gary on September 30, 2006 3 Comments

    Antennabooster700PSo I’ve got my Treo 700p hooked up to my PowerBook and I use it as a wireless modem. It works great when I get good reception, this leads to the questions how do I get a faster (stronger) signal. Someone recommended this “Freedom Antenna” external antenna . Which works great!!! It snaps into an antenna connectior on the back of the phone and it’s ready to go! It’s got suction cups to stick it to a window and a little pedestal to set it on a table (so far I haven’t gotten any better reception when sticking it to a window). It probably increases my plain old phone signal too…

    Download speed is generally excellent! Somethings it’s only great, but it’s never crappy (if it’s slow I just turn the antenna a little and it generally gets way better). It was pricey, $69.99, but I see it’s $10 lower now. It only took a few days to ship, I wish I had purchased it before my trip up north…

    Th only thing this thing needs is some kind of carrying case, I’m afraid of screwing up the wired connections for it. FYI, they make it for the other Treos and other kinds of wireless phone devices (see below).


    Geeky Info – I’m generally getting 450-580 kbps on the download speed tests. Sometimes more (up to 700 kbps, but I got low 800s once), sometimes less but still greater than 300 kbps. It helps upload a little but not much.

    Heres the thing: It helps best in low signal situations. If you’ve got a great signal, it doesn’t help much. But if you’ve got a great signal, why would you buy it?

    Originally I tried using the phone as a modem via bluetooth (intermittent connections at best) but I decided running with it wired was the best solution. So I tried a program called USBmodem which supports USB connections (and bluetooth, but still not as well as wired). I think the 700p is still pretty buggy with the bluetooth.

    They have separate models for the Treo 700w, 650, 600, and 700wx (but I’m guessing they’re all the same adaptor cable). I see they also have it for sale with: Merlin S620 and S720; Novaltel v620 and v640; Audiovox PPC6700 and PPC6600; Samsung SCH-i730; Verizon XV6700; Sprint PPC-6601.

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    Written By: Gary on September 26, 2006 No Comment

    So I’m up north in Michigan at Lake Leelanau / Sutton’s Bay (top left of the Lower Peninsula). I’ve been around here and Traverse city the past few days. I’ve noticed the smaller towns are more often than not to have WiFi you pay for. Lot of free places in Traverse City but I can connect my cell phone to my PowerBook and get pretty good speed (EVDO), but it the rest of the area I’m roaming. I noticed a few were inexpensive to pay for, but I think they’d be better if you were in that town for a week (or the summer) and it’d be great deal. I did notice one of the networks gave me five free minutes, which was enough to sync my mail and check a few web pages.

    The big bonus is my Aunt’s brother lives less than a mile away and I can stop by his driveway to sync my mail (getting new mail and sending mail that I composed off-line) and post any blog entries I’ve written off-line with my blog client (Ecto). It’s definitely not hi-tech but I’m surviving….

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    Written By: Gary on September 24, 2006 No Comment

    Usbcell AAPowerbook Charging Usbcell-72DpiA UK company called USBcell is selling AA batteries that can be recharged via your computer’s USB port. How cool is that? For me it’s perfect. For one, I never go anywhere without my laptop so if some of my devices (sound machine, speakers, flashlight, PDA keyboard, sound canceling headphones) need a recharge I’d be all set!
    The problem is they are only for sale in the UK and at 12.99 pounds for a pair ($24.70) they are still a little pricey. But I need a pair! They aren’t even on e-bay yet…

    Moixa MXAA02 USBCell AA Rechargeable USB Cell Batteries 4 Pack Kit MoixaIn the future they plan to have cell phones, cameras, 9v and AAA USB rechargeable devices.

    UPDATE: The sell these USBcell batterieson Amazon now.

    Written By: Gary on September 12, 2006 3 Comments

    The new iPods have brighter screens and up to 80 GB hard drives (with a 60% brighter screen). It’s also set to play more games these days too (I’d like a nice Scrabble).

    The new redesigned Nano now goes up to 8 GB!!! I think the nano looks more like the old minis but smaller.

    I’m really thinking I might need me one of these. Mine doesn’t have the video and I’ve been thinking that might be a nice feature. At $349 for 80 GB that’s a nice price (I think I paid $599 for the 60 GB when they first came out). Usually these are about 5% cheaper for education employees but I’m not seeing the discount :(

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    Written By: Gary on September 1, 2006 No Comment

    So I was watching a re-run of Grey’s Anatomy last night. It’s the one where the wife has the fork stuck in her neck; her and the husband were being adventurous since she has an aneurism and only has weeks/months to live. So they are traveling and doing all the things they’ve always said they’ll do some day.

    This ties back in with the meme from a few weeks ago about what would you do this six months to live. This also ties in with the new show Three Moons Over Milford where the moon gets hit with an asteroid and everyone knows it’s only a shot amount of time before the pieces fall back to earth. Several of the people and episodes are all about living life to the fullest.

    So back to my question: “Why wait?”


    If there is all sorts of stuff I want to do, what am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? Now I know some of us have responsibilities so that has all sorts of implications. But many of us are single with no responsibilities. Why not quit the job and just travel to those places that I’ve thought about? Go volunteer. Go move somewhere interesting and get a job for a while? I could probably figure something out so I could do some reasonable consulting via the net regardless of where I might live.

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. My best friend just keeps waiting for the day I call and say see ya, I’ve off to move to Costa Rica…

    Written By: Gary on August 21, 2006 One Comment

    I was tagged by RW to do this meme :)

    Four jobs you’ve had in your life:
    Web Programmer
    Computer Trainer
    Cook
    Camp Counselor

    Four movies you could watch over and over:


    The Flight of the Navigator
    The American President

    The Cutting Edge
    A Christmas Story


    Four places you’ve lived:
    Berkley, MI
    East Lansing, MI
    Haslett, MI
    Dearborn, MI

    Four TV shows you love to watch:
    Gray’s Anatomy
    Psych
    Dead Zone
    Kyle XY

    Four websites you visit daily:
    Blogography
    SlickDeals
    The Daily Meme
    Google

    Four of your favorite foods:
    Pizza
    Hot Wings
    Chicken With Pineapple (Chinese)
    Beef With Brocolli (Chinese)

    Four places you’d rather be:
    The Beach
    Costa Rica
    London
    The Moon

    Four albums you can’t live without (for the moment):


    Avril Lavign
    Under My Skin
    Anna Nalick
    Wreck of the Day

    Tori Amos
    Little Earthquakes
    Indigo Girls
    Strange Fire

    I’m stopping at four (2 new & 2 old) but I really couldn’t stick to four…

    Written By: Gary on August 19, 2006 One Comment

    Here’s an interesting post from over at GirlSpoke. Turns out while looking at the vistor log Meme found a link visitor from “house.gov” (which would be a machine under the House of Reps domain). The question in her mind was what link did they follow to get there? The answer was they got there from a Google search:

    The Google search terms were:

    “How do I find a chick to f-ck if I am married?”

    She’s got more details in her original post.

    Written By: Gary on August 19, 2006 No Comment

    Whats Your Google PageRank?I know we’ve talked about Google Page Rank before but I saw a new widget on Omni’s page and I thought I’d throw it over here. The nice thing about this one is that it’s supposed to show the main site’s rank even if you have it on a different page (say when it moves to the archives).

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    Written By: Gary on July 26, 2006 2 Comments

    SORRY THIS DEAL IS EXPIRED.
    So MagsForLess.com has Wired for $1.99 for 12 issues.

    It looks as if it’s $4.99 if you do 3 years! Obviously, I have no control over when/if this offer ends…


    Actually if you look around they have a few deals at this price.

  • Family Fun – You can do 4 years for $5.99 and this is a great mag.
  • Rolling Stone – Four years for $7.22.
  • Seed – A new cool science magazine I’ve been meaning to mention for ages ($2.98 for first year $4.97 for two).
  • Popular Science – A new cool science magazine I’ve been meaning to mention ($2.75 for first year).

    There’s a few other men’s/women’s/entertainment mags for $1.99 (or close) so poke around their site.

    Some of these (including wired) are sometimes available as freebies, but these is a pretty good deal.

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    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2006 No Comment

    Bluetoothlogo2So I love my iPod but I hate the cords (the same goes for the cell phone). It needs bluetooth! It’s be better for the car (if the stereo from car had it) and it’d be better for walking, running, rollerblading, etc. I know people make some adaptors but Apple is such a BT supporter it really needs to be integrated (you could even sync via BT if you wanted).


    Now BlueTooth is not as universal as it really should be so they need a way for companies to add some firmware to make it more compatible (who isn’t going to add a drive for the best selling iPod?)

    And this is how I want it to work/look (be sure to roll your mouse over the image). And if we’re adding video, I want a 160 GB version!

    Written By: Gary on July 1, 2006 No Comment

    In case you missed it:

    Paid incident support and critical security updates for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me will end on July 11, 2006. No other security updates will follow after this date.

    – Microsoft Web Site

    This is interesting and I’m wondering what kind of security risks will this lead to? Have all the security bugs been found in these versions of Windows? If people still have computers running this OS are those machines capable of running Windows XP? Or Vista? Probably not, so are they going to spend the money on a new OS just so they can run Windows 2000?

    I knew this was coming and I was reminded today by a Linux magazine called Tux (Tux is the penguin mascot for Linux) their “selling point” is it’s “The First and Only Magazine for the New Linux User”. I say “selling point” because like the Linux operating system, it’s free also. Do you see where I’m going with this? If you’re thinking of erasing your system anyways, why not try Linux now?


    Really the easiest way to try Linux is with some installation CDs or DVDs. Tux really likes the KDE environment but I don’t see downloadable disc images anywhere (that’s clear enough for me to make a recommendation for one distribution) but I do see them for Fedora so I’m going to recommend downloading RedHat Fedora which is what I use (when I use). But if you don’t know how to work with burning ISO images and such the easiest option is probably to just go buy a Linux magazine from some bookstore that comes with CDs/DVDs (but be sure if you don’t have a DVD play you get a magazine with CDs). Or you can pick up a book with a set of CDs or DVD so that you can try it out just make sure the copyright of the book is at least 2006 so you know you’re getting a recent version. Sure it’s different from Windows, but XP is pretty different from Windows 98…

    If you aren’t aren’t familiar with the terms “Open Source” or “Linux” you probably don’t want to dabble with this. So skip this and just cough up that $100+ for a new version of Windows (and the $200 for the new version of Office to go with it). That is unless you’re familiar with the term “Free”.

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    Written By: Gary on June 28, 2006 No Comment

    So I really liked Kyle XY. I’m not saying it’s a great show, but I really like the sense of wonder they give him as he figures things out. You can still get the episode oniTunes for free and I think ABC is rerunning it on Friday night. Here’s the premise: This teenager is found naked in the woods, he’s intelligent but no concept of understanding his surroundings. A psychologist (of some sort) takes him into her family with a teenage boy and girl and the story begins.

    Like I said, I really like they way they have him thinking and examining the world around him. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he has no belly-button. Be sure to watch the news running on the television in the background when you watch it (you are going to watch it, aren’t you?).

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    Written By: Gary on June 27, 2006 2 Comments

    So apple just released a new 10.4.7 update to Tiger. The biggest things that excite me are:

    Bluetooth file transfers, pairing and connecting to a Bluetooth mouse, and syncing to mobile phones

    I’m really hoping this helps with Syncing to my new Sprint Treo 700p. More info at Apple (and more detailed info here).

    Written By: Gary on June 5, 2006 One Comment

    Sorry for some of the odd display problems lately (no content to the post or no images). I’ve been having some odd rebuilding problems with Movable Type and 1 and 1 hosting (at least I think it’s related to 1and1 hosting, even my access to the MT interface has been slow lately). Anyone else having similar problems…?

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