Of course, you know I would have to make a blog for anything significant. The wedding blog is at http://stephensite.net/thewedding/
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
I keep track of a number of things on the blog; Macs and storage space for example. And I was rather surprised to note that my capacity is doubled from last year; 3T to 6T. Most of it is on 2 RAID5 Drobos. Seems like a lot in one year. It’s also interesting the the largest drive capacity they sell has also double in that time form 1T to 2T.
So, back in June, just before the Seattle bike ride I got an iPhone. The expense is a bit much, but I would like to program it when summer is over. At least that’s my rationale.
For the bike ride, I looked to conserve weight were ever possible and the iPhone does a lot of things. The camera, internet, phone, and text messaging are the beginning. The apps are like the cherry on top. The inability to send or receive photos is annoying. So, I took the iPhone and left the Netbook and camera at home. There were reports of dead batteries and cracked screens (Jessica). So, I got a case that doubles as a spare battery, the Mophie.
Right before the trip I realized that I could put video on the iPhone and then, with a special cable, play it on the motel TV. This was an invaluable feature. I thought I had a cable to do it, but was mistaken. After a visit to a nearby Apple store in Seattle I was all set. The cable is pricey at $50, but probably a knockoff would be cheaper. Since then I convert all my DVDs to play on the iPhone so they can come along. When we went home to Canadian a couple of weeks after the Seattle ride we brought Gran Torino and played it for Grandma.
The phone worked great most of the trip. I got 150 photos in the first 3 days. The phone worked and the internet is just really handy to have. The motel’s internet was unnecessary and the lack of a tactile keyboard really just kept my typing short and my thoughts down to 1-2 sentences, because that’s all you can see at a time. The text messaging was very helpful. And I found an app for Facebook to update that status too. As I went along on the ride I would send a single word, the name of the town I was in.
Somewhere in the despair portion of the second day the iPhone died. Nothing I did would wake it up. It’s really too bad. I wish I had photos of the finish line and last rest stop. The best photos of me taken by Marathonfoto were of that last 10 mile or so stretch. I got 4 of them. They are really good. Because of the rain all the second day I thought little iPhone was dead, but I charged it up anyway to see and within 10 minutes it was apparent that the battery had totally drain somewhere along the ride and my backup hadn’t helped it.
It was great for the rest of the trip with my cousin and her family. Monday morning I got to listen to my TWiT (This Weak in Tech) podcast. Now, I did bring along my iPod Nano. That was and still is the music box. The battery life is just so much better than the iPhone. Which is one of the major reasons I got it. The Nano is 16 gig and it holds a lot more music without competing for photo, video, and app space.
The first App on my iPhone was Pandora. And it’s really helped me discover music like I used to. I can listen at work and tag songs. Normally streaming music is blocked. The iPhone’s Internet connection gives me a private “unfiltered” Internet. I’ve been playing with it to find and tag music to buy for the Mexico trip.
The second App was Facebook. My peeps are on Facebook instead of Twitter. And the third was a copy of the bible for when I forget mine for church. It’s come in very handy.
I really like the iPhone, much more than I expected. It’s very nice to have the Internet so close at hand. And I discover new apps or features. Some are quite amazing. For example the Amazon Mobile app lets you take a photo of something and then matches it to a product Amazon sells and displays a list of sellers. It’s not for everyone. The slick glass keyboard and 1 day long battery life are problems. And it would just confuse my grandmother. It’s a good device for me.
Looks like the direct fulfillment order is due to arrive the iPhone tomorrow. Yay!!!
Lot’s of little things happened yesterday. I hope to set most or all this up an leave it be. The weather will be fantastic this week and I need to be on the bike.
The main router came in an I configured it. The RV042 seems very fast and the interface is easy enough for what I do. Certain web pages, like Hotmail, are surprisingly fast sometimes. I even got the wireless router to work with the netbook.
The Mac Mini for Boxee came in. I got this a good bit stronger than necessary, because it’s so hard to open and upgrade and I need a Mac with modern interfaces to maintain the Drobos. It’s the new Mini, two gig of memory, Core 2 2.0 GHz, and 9400 video. This is now my fastest computer. Drobo2 is plugged into it and it’s Handbraking several of my DVDs into single files for Boxee or iTunes or whatever. This might take a couple of days and then there’s the really big Drobo to do. The EyeTV Tuner is plugged in and it can record TV like Tivo. Not sure how this will integrate. I really like TiVo. Though you can copy anything out of it.
Also, the netbook is handbraking Friends Season 1 that I got this weekend. For comparison, the Mini is clipping along at <30 fps and the Acer is slogging through at <5 fps. Thank God for the queueing feature.
Drobo2 has a 1TB to replace a 250GB and a 640GB that died a few weeks ago in the other Drobo to replace a 37GB. I thought it would say the 640 was dead, but it didn’t. The new 1TB is to ensure there’s no data loss if it decides to fail again and I have a 500GB that came from Drobo1, because it was showing bad during one reboot. This Drobo will stay on the TVMini and be it’s storage, contain single video files. The other Drobo will be permanent deep storage contain the full versions of whatever.
Finally, with the 2 Drobos I don’t feel constantly afraid I’m going to lose everything any minute again. It’s just a matter of seeing that at least one copy of whatever it is makes it to a Drobo. With 1.5 TB drives and sub $100 for 1TB, the price of storage isn’t an issue.
May the InvisibleShield be with you….
When you buy an iPod or some other gadget, you immediately think to yourself, “It seems to me that I need to get something to protect it. But what shall I choose?”
There are plenty of cases out there, but some are too bulky. You think, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there were an invisible case that doesn’t even look like a case?” Look no further than InvisibleShield from Zagg.
I have an iPod classic and an AlphaSmart Neo. I found that Zagg has InvisibleShield’s for both. Is it a good investment? Will it protect your gear?
I had a chance to try them out, and those are some of the questions we’ll answer in this review.
The first thing you’ll notice is the minimal packaging. It’s like a tri-fold brochure. Inside you’ll find three things: a squeegee, ShieldSpray, and the InvisibleShield itself.
What is the InvisibleShield? It’s a thin, transparent film that protects the casing of your device of choice.
on Low End Mac
My house came with satellite and an antenna in the attic. Last year, to explore this idea, I got a fringe antenna, a big one at 3′ X 4′ with a screen and lots of bow ties. On Friday, the digital converter came in from Amazon and I climbed into the attic to see what the situation was. The cable distribution is close to the attic entrance, thank God. The ends on the antenna are messed up. It was easierss to use my new antenna. I cut the existing line and attached the antenna to it. It worked with a typically crummy signal on some channels and clear on others. Then on the farthest room I connected the CM 7000 converter box and was stunned at the clear picture. Actually, much clearer than cable. To be clear. The free Over The Air digital is drastically sharper and crisper on my standard TV than the digital cable from Suddenlink. For years, I thought this was due to TiVo. Hah! About 16 channels come in. After filtering out the spanish and religious channels I have about 12. The box is expensive at $60 and I need one for every TV. Yeah, coupon program whatever. Tivo is hooked and and controls the digital converter box instead of the digital cable box. It’s working fine. Everything works pretty good.
How to make Heads Up Display (like fighter pilots) driving directions. I heard this on MacBreak Weekly 136. Drive and see the directions at the same time.
This is much easier with Paint.Net or any image editor that can crop unless you have that unicorn of a printer driver that will flip (mirror) the image. It’s also the same feature that is used to flip the image for iron-on T-Shirt printing.
1. Find Directions on Google Maps
2. Copy the directions on the left hand side
3. Paste into Word
4. Take a screenshot of Word with Ctrl-PrtScrn
5. Paste into MS Paint or your favorite graphics editor
6. Draw a fence around just the directions
8. File\New and don’t save the current image
9. Edit Paste the instructions
10. Image\Flip.. and choose Horizontal
11. Print the image
12. In your car place on the dashboard in front of the driver and see the image reflected in the glass
My home network has been routerless since the old DLink 804 died a month ago. In looking for a replacement I discovered a cool business class router; a Cisco RV042 Dual WAN. It has a cool feature. Instead of one internet connection like DSL or Cable modem you can have two and it works in a load balancing mode or failover mode. Or the second connection can work like a DMZ or second LAN area for computers that need different protection than the main LAN. Mostly, I want speed, reliability, and ease of use. The extra functions can be nice. For example, this box allows a VPN in the box. You can setup a secure, reliable connection over the Internet between another VPN box or computer.
I’m bored waiting for this thing to come in. It’ll be the heart of the network for as long at it functions. Can’t put the network back into order without it. Here is a review. The author personally uses this router.
Linksys RV042 Review: Solid Dual WAN, VPN Performer
Doug Reid October 12, 2007
I’m plotting my course from AMA to TUC. The weather is bad, so speeds will be limited. It would be nice if Google Maps, for driving directions, was weather aware and could maybe suggest routes.
I’ve repeatedly asked my mom if the Texas Blind Services has recommendations on cell phones. It seems like some technologies have passed them by. The cell phone I picked out before she went to school worked out great. She was definitely able to use it, even better than Grandma uses her cell phone. It’s a voice command phone designed to be operated handsfree by the business professional.
School introduced her to MP3s, but again they had not recommendation for a player for the blind. I was very pleased to see that Apple introduced a new iPod Shuffle yesterday. The Shuffle is Apple’s low end iPod. It has buttons and no screen. I think they have kept the size limited to 2 gig, because more songs are not manageable without a screen to display playlists.
Yesterday’s shuffle is 4 gig and introduces a new voice interface and drastically fewer buttons to deal with the increased capacity. The headset has next/previous buttons and the power switch has three positions; on, in order, and shuffle. It’s also smaller; the size of a regular house key in size and thickness.
Seems pretty good for $80. If it works for Mom it would be worth quite a bit more.
Ok, something is FUBAR with iPods’s shuffle algorithm and has been for several years. I used my cousin’s 1G Mini for a year and now I use an 4G Nano. The shuffle feature never ever plays some songs and will play back to back duplicates of others. For over a year I thought this was an issue with the playlist. It holds over 1000 songs and that takes a long time to work through and it does contain duplicates that might make a song appear more often.
This is shown to be crap by the new Genius feature that can find other songs similar to a selected target song and generate a new playlist on the fly. This feature regularly comes up with at least one song I have never heard either iPod play and several songs that don’t get played very often. WTF, is up with the iPod shuffle algorithm. Did they let a first year CS summer intern design it 5 yr ago and never touch it again?
End of Rant (EoR)