Archive for December, 2007

The Night Before, V 3.0

December 24th, 2007, 10:32pm by Jake

Twas the night before Christmas, and on our website
Everyone had stopped posting, and comments were light
The Board was now serving from its brand new spot
Website visitors were there, although the DiMiccos were not
Pyslent folk were scattered, not yet snug in their beds
While visions of new gadgets danced in their heads
The Chargers played well, the Broncos played poor
Soon the the old Dolphins would be alone no more
Out on the internet arose such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter
Grabbed the MacBook Pro, turned it on in a flash
I flipped open the lid and emptied the trash
The internet was crazy, I’d never seen such a flurry
But I must be quick, I must be in a hurry
Then I just saw him, almost did not catch it.
It’s Rotiveo– the patron saint of gadgets!
Rotiveo wore Mobile Pants, size extra tall
And his clothes were vibrating, must be a phone call
Brought a load of gadgets, and even a game
And he whistled, and shouted and called sites by name
“Now eBay! Now Borders! Now Slickdeals and Target!
To Costco! To DealNews! To Best Buy and Market!”
All over the web, he searched high and searched low
To find all the stuff, now it’s ready to go!
All across the internet, Rotiveo he flew
A storm of traffic he did see in his rear view
He found the best deals, on the very best gear
It’s so cutting edge, it will still be good next year.
The net’s overflowing with really good stuff
Getting it to work might be kind of tough
With all sorts of cords and fifty kinds of plugs
(For us early adopters, we’re used to the bugs)
Rotiveo’s got just the right thing for us all
No Foleo , Walkman, nor ‘lectronic pinball
Instead its Wiis, TiVoes and Centros galore,
Plus, Blu-Ray, iPhones, Plasmas and more!
Three next-gen consoles, all with great games
Phones from Nokia, RIMM, and a bunch of no-names
Fujis, Nikons, Pentax cameras work quite well
All of these gadgets are really, really swell
Jake’s FiOS line was installed– it’s fast, hot damn!
While Mike and Joanie visit in Birmingham
Lucas’ first & Brandon’s third Christmas Eve
Montana always dreaming, of food I believe
To Mike and Joanie, in their brand new house
Not a creature was present, not even a mouse
To Kelvin, Serena, Montana & Lucas
Moving to the burbs, right after Christmas
Jake had Hannukah back east, for a bit
The dreidel they spun, the Menorah they lit
To Derrick, Emily and Brandon too
Enjoy the weather, I’m sure it’ll miss you
Rotiveo sprang to Roomba (hacked year before)
And away they went, after cleaning the floor
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Framed

December 24th, 2007, 2:34am by Jake


Framed

After almost 2 years of fairly serious photography, I decided to actually print some of these photos, frame them & stick them on my wall. I went ahead ordered 11″x14″ prints of the first 16 photos fromthis set. I quickly narrowed down my choices to photos 1-6, 11, 13, 14 and 16. On Friday I went to the Frame Store armed with my 50% off coupon. After picking out a frame and matte, the sales person rang up the order & gave me the quote. After recovering from the sticker shock (about $150 each with the coupon), I decided on ordering 2 or 3 photos. Which are not the three photos shown above. I’ll get back to those.
I actually ordered the hardened lava river, that big ‘ole tanker and, after a little internal debate, decided to frame the turtle, too. Those will be ready in about a week. So what about those three photos? Well, after seeing the prices, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be ordering a dozen of these framed for those prices. So I walked next door to Target, found the frames shown for $30 each, grabbed three of them and dropped $100 without batting an eyelash. Those will likely move to my office, and the others will take their place as shown. Check out the notes on the photo (at Flickr) for links to the other photos.

El Centro

December 23rd, 2007, 1:30pm by Jake


Anyone want a lightly used Treo 700p? Only a couple months after its introduction, I bought a new Palm Centro for the low, low price of $100. We noted its launch earlier, and after seeing the positive reviews and testing one out, I figured it was time to pull the trigger (since I’m stuck w/ Sprint & the next-gen Treo seems to perpetually be 18 months away). As further demonstration of the falling price of cell phones, I paid $400 for the 700p when I was out of contract.
So I definitely like it. It’s nice to have a phone that doesn’t feel like a brick in my pocket, although the downside is I usually have to doublecheck to make sure I’ve got it with me. The screen is excellent, really an amazing pixel density. The keyboard, while smaller, seems to be perfectly usable for two-thumbs typing. Google Maps works as good as ever, plus there’s a new, free IM app that looks promising (although it hasn’t worked with my @Mac.com AIM account). I haven’t actually used it yet, but if you see me on Y!M, drop a line. My favorite new feature is the ability to launch my favorites from anywhere. I typically set up one-key shortcuts for about 26 phone numbers, websites and applications to launch with a single key press. In the past, those could only be launched from the phone app, but now they can be used anywhere. Definitely a big time saver!
But yeah, this is pretty much the 700p in a much smaller package. I only copied over my Blazer bookmarks and address book at first, and I’m slowly adding back other essential applications. But with the IM client, Google Maps, pTunes, Docs2Go and more, it’s quite usable out-of-the-box. So two thumbs way up. It’s gotten positive reviews from co-workers, too, as it looks much slicker than the 700p. And it definitely is much slicker than the 755p, since it doesn’t have that rubberized back. Oh, I added a 2GB micro SD card, may spring for another to use in my cameras. I just took a couple of test shots from the camera, you should be able to see one example below. I’m sure you’ve all seen tons of pictures by now, here are a couple more sets from Flickr, 1 and 2.

Test shot from the Centro

December 23rd, 2007, 1:27pm by Jake


Test shot from the Centro

Wally.

We’re Back

December 23rd, 2007, 10:15am by Mike

It’s been a crazy couple of days with the cable internet people, but I think we’re in a tenuous position of being back up. I’ll spare you all the details, except the funniest part. Right now, the only jack in the house that seems to work with the internet is in our living room. And that one ONLY works if there’s a short coax cable plugged into the jack in the office! Without that cable plugged in, it doesn’t work. You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to figure that one out.
Anybody have any idea why that might be? I have all sorts of untested theories involving filters, the coax cable acting as some sort of signal-intensifying or signal-degrading element … I really don’t know. I haven’t done a whole lot to troubleshoot it, like checking to see if other coax cables also work in the office jack (or is this the “magic cable?”).
In the meantime, we’re leaving town today, so I won’t be able to test your theories, either, until we get back. The pyslent computer is on our home network by wifi rather than its regular ethernet cable, but so far all seems to be working fine.

Goin’ Down

December 15th, 2007, 10:57am by Mike

We’ve come to the part in the house packing process where the computer is disconnected! Not sure whether any of you will see this or not, but if so, pyslent will be going down within the hour, and hopefully we’ll be back online Monday or Tuesday (depending on the weather and the Comcast installers!).
See you on the other side…

New Flickr Features

December 14th, 2007, 2:24pm by Jake

Flickr’s come out with some great new features the past month or two. Let’s take a moment to review them here. First up are the revised maps, which are still a work in progress, and the brand new places. They have a page for places all over the world, including Pyslent places: Camrbdige, Sunnyvale (recently featured a WWSJD license plate), Santa Clarita (try searching for marathon), and Manhattan Beach, which usually features some of my stuff. Photos only show up if they’ve been properly tagged & geotagged, which gives me some incentive to get onto the Lamidanda page. Read more on the Flickr Blog
Flickr has now added integrated photo editing features via Picnik, which works very well. Good for quick fixes, like rotation, cropping, color adjustment and exposure adjustment. Pro members can now get stats for their photos, which shows which photos are being viewed and how people are finding your photos. Finally, the Uploadr has now been updated to version 3, so check it out if you use it.

Stranded

December 13th, 2007, 3:26pm by Mike


3pm on a normal Thursday in mid-December. I’m the only one at work, and I’m blogging. Why? There’s a little snow outside. We’re supposed to get somewhere between 6 and 10 inches of snow in Cambridge, with more to the west where I am. The picture to the left is the current Google Map of the Boston area, where red indicates not roads, but places where traffic is moving less than 25 mph. So that’s, um, everywhere in Boston. As they say, I’m going from Point A to Point B.
The quick story of my day — I drove to work early, knowing it was going to snow and that I’d be leaving early as a result. I parked in the covered garage at another building, to keep the car out of the weather, then took the campus shuttle to my building. As the day went on, the warnings got ominous: building cafeteria closing at 1:30, campus shuttle stopping service at 2:30… and it started to snow at about 12:45. So I decided to leave at 1:30. I went downstairs to the waiting area for the shuttle, to discover about 5 other people. There was a line of cars on the road, not moving, and the shuttle we were waiting for was in it. Supposedly. After waiting about 15 minutes, a couple of us decided to walk to the other building, which was about 15 minutes away through the snow. I got there, got in the car, and sat in it for about 20 minutes just to get out of the garage. The road was packed, and still is (at 3:25, now). So I’m back in the building, waiting. Meanwhile the snow is piling up at 1-2 inches an hour. This could be an adventure.

iGoogle

December 12th, 2007, 2:54pm by Jake

AT&T Yahoo services have been getting more and more annoying for a while now, and this week I was finally forced to move to the new My Yahoo! page. Which I don’t like at all. Besides making the narrow columns much too wide, they’ve managed to make the stock quotes completely unreadable unless I update my much-loved Sam Adams-inspired design to one of their shitty alternatives. View image
So I’m going to give iGoogle a shot. I can’t figure out how to customize my colors, but it works OK otherwise. The stock modules & sports scores seem better, and everything else is just as good. I can even add a module that embed thee mobile version of Yahoo! Mail. So I’ll be using iGoogle as my new home page for now. View image
Combine this w/ AT&T’s continued efforts to overload their paying customers with advertisements (I’d have bailed long ago if it weren’t for FlashBlock), and Yahoo! looks less & less attractive every day.

Rigged

December 10th, 2007, 4:08pm by Jake


Rigged

Maybe this can be the next selection for the Pyslent book club.


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