Archive for December, 2004

Zoom Zoom Zoom

December 31st, 2004, 12:06pm by Mike

zipcar
Looks like slashdot has discovered Zipcar, the car sharing service that we use here in Boston. Rather, slashdot posts that the AP has written an article about Zipcar and other car-sharing services.
In the last 2 years, we’ve missed having a car exactly zero times that I can think of. As I said in my post in the slashdot article, it’s extremely cost-effective (we save well over $50 per month over what we were spending when we owned a car), we park closer to our place than we did before, and we don’t have to deal with the crap of owning a car. Granted, I don’t get to participate in the many many many many many many iPod/car stereo adventures, but my FM transmitter works OK most of the time (it’s not like we’re driving far, anyway, and we usually end up listening to This American Life).

Transformation Is Complete: We’ve Joined The Dark Side

December 30th, 2004, 11:42pm by Mike

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So the roofnet saga is over except for the ceremonial removal of the antenna — we’re all set up with our Comcast cable modem, so we’re officially part of the evil empire. I don’t know how you guys feel about your cable companies, but ours tends to run our prices up annually, and it doesn’t make me too happy to send them more money. However, things are looking pretty good right now. According to dslreports, we’re getting ~2800 kbps down / 240 up on both our wired and wireless connections (it was advertised as 3000 down/256 up, so that’s pretty good). We got the deal I talked about before — free modem, $75 cash back, and $20/month for 6 months, before it goes up to $42.
I had a little trouble setting things up, but once I figured out that I had to clone the MAC address from the computer I used to set up the modem to the wireless router, it all worked.
Both last year and the year before, we gave up some vestige of the 20th century — first our car, then our landline phone. This year, we’re giving up some technology whose time has not yet come, I’m afraid. Between the annoyances of condo associations and the high latency/low speed of the roofnet network, it’s definitely got some kinks to be worked out (as would any project run by graduate students!).
So, like everything involving the cable company, I have a feeling that the saga isn’t ending, but rather, it’s only beginning. Happy New Year, everybody!

Christmas gadgets

December 28th, 2004, 1:32am by Derrick

Well, after some agonzing delays due to incompetent Amazon employees and a blizzard in Kentucky, Santa finally made it to Marina del Rey today with a long awaited new gadget…

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Pyslent Helping Pyslent

December 23rd, 2004, 1:44pm by Jake

Yesterday, Mike sent me a request for free WiFi in the Pittsburgh area (eerily reminiscent of my request last week for Kelvin to find me free WiFi in Salt Lake City). I sent him a Palm-friendly list (copied from here), and figured that was enough. Then this morning, I saw this headline, Caught on tape: expensive grab at Shadyside Store on the MacNN feed of Pyslent. Of course, I forwarded this story to Mike, letting him know about one more free WiFi option in the Pittsburgh area. The story in the local newspaper noted that they took $9000 of laptops and did a little remodeling.
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Happy Holidays Everyone!

December 23rd, 2004, 1:00pm by Kelvin

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Here’s wishing everyone a festive and safe holidays. I made the original Band-Aid song the centerpiece of my annual X-mas playlist, available for download on the next page.

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So much stuff to eBay

December 21st, 2004, 8:01pm by Jake

Won’s comment about the stuff in his eBay pile & Mike’s recent score, along with my need to generate some cash have led me to the conclusion that it’s time to go on an eBay selling spree. I’ve got 3 years of junk accumulated, plus 2 computers that I really should sell soon. Just wanted to see what the others in the Pyslent community were planning to re-sell this holiday season. I got a never-worn pair of Nikes, a PowerMac G4, PowerBook G3 and loads of junk. What’s the best selling strategy? How much does Auction Drop take, and is it worth it? What’s worth selling, and what do you just give to Goodwill? The tax decuction is a nice incentive to be charitable.

Sony’s Supercool Gadget

December 20th, 2004, 3:40pm by Jake

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Have you guys read the engadget review of the PlayStation portable yet? Sounds really cool, with a really large screen and the ability to play MP3s out of the box (a nice contrast to some other recent efforts). What surprised me is that they plan to sell it for only $200 once it hits stateside, which seems like a great deal for all you’re getting. Not sure if it’s worth it if you’re not a big gamer, but it seems like a very intriguing device. Anyone plan to buy it once it hits stateside? How does this compare with Sony’s other innovative products (Vaios, Clies, PlayStations, ATRAC players)?

… and one more thing

December 18th, 2004, 2:07pm by Jake

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Between my morning rollerblade and evening photoshoot, I finally relented and bought a new computer. While my current rig has served me well for 5+ years, it’s getting long in the tooth despite 150GB of hard drives, a zip drive, DVD writer and 912MB of RAM. I need to make a big upgrade. So it’s time for the G4/400MHz to hit the road and make way for a brand-new dual-prcoessor Power Mac G5/1.8GHz. Amazon has a great deal right now, $2000 with a $150 rebate. I also used my $150 AMEX coupon and A9 discount to get the total price down to around $1700. In case there was any doubt, American Express notified me of some unusual activity on my account. Should be here by next Friday.

Sunset in Manhattan Beach

December 17th, 2004, 11:15pm by Jake


It was my day off today, so I happened to be home just before sunset, when I noticed that the light was acquiring an orange-ish tint. This generally signals a nice sunset, so I grabbed my camera and ran down there to take some pics. My little camera couldn’t quite cope with the contrast of the brilliant sun and the darkening beach, but the photos came out pretty good. I posted many of my favorites at a .Mac site. Here’s a taste.

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iPod 1, Concrete 0

December 17th, 2004, 10:54pm by Jake

So I was rollerblading down the strand today, listening to some tunes on my iPod. I had the iPod in its case and the case was clipped to my shorts (which also held my digital camera & Treo). As I’m cruising along at about 10-12 mph, suddenly I noticed that the music stopped and my headphones were ripped out of my ears. As I went to plug the headphones back in, I noticed that while the case was still attached to my shorts, the iPod was gone!
So I turned around to retrieve the iPod, certain that I would soon be forced to spend $500-$125 on an iPod photo. As I cruised back north, I noticed a lady was holding the iPod and I thanked her for picking it up (although I would have liked to document it’s resting place). Fortunately, the iPod was fine, with only minor scratches on one corner. I was a bit surprised, and I’m guessing that the hard drive was not being accessed at the time. And I flashed back to Kelvin dropping the Canon S10 and remembering that that didn’t turn out well. Hopefully, that’s the toughest drop test that my iPod ever sees.


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