Archive for May, 2009

New wheels atop PV

May 29th, 2009, 4:47pm by Jake


New wheels atop PV

Here’s a phonecam shot of my new bike, a Trek 7.2 fx. It’s a hybrid which means that it’s in-between a mountain bike and road bike. About 5 pounds lighter than my old wheels, and a much smoother ride. Just turning around after a 9 mile ride finishing with a reasonable 400-foot climb.

Would’ve been a great day for a run, cloudy windy & cool, but giving my knee another couple weeks of rest. There will be no Rock ‘n Roll Marathon this year. 🙁

iamakey

May 29th, 2009, 3:20pm by Mike

If you had a 4 GB USB flash drive with you at all times, what would you put on it? I just got one of these and it’s very cool, but I’m not sure what I should put on it. Some ideas I’ve had:

  • A file with return info, so if someone finds my keys, they can return them to me. It took me about 2 seconds to realize that I can’t put my address on there, however, since, duh, this mystery person will have my keys, and the last thing I want to do is tell them were to use the keys! Likewise, I can’t put my name. So the file tells the key-finder to “Call Mike D” and gives my phone number. I guess I’d have to go meet them somewhere to get the keys, or have them drop the keys off in some specified place…

  • Portable versions of apps. A while ago, these were a hot topic on the blogs — carrying portable versions of apps with you, with all the settings, so that you could plug a flash drive into any computer and be chatting with your friends, surfing the web, sending email, etc with your apps and your settings. Clearly this is less of a big deal now that (a) most everything is on the web; (b) my phone has surrogates for most of these apps; and (c) I have my laptop with me a pretty high proportion of the time when I’d want to be web surfing, IM’ing, or using Skype. So I don’t know that that’s too useful these days.

  • Simple file transfer to other people and computers. This is likely what I’ll end up using it for (e.g., moving a presentation to another person’s work computer, since they won’t have Dropbox and we don’t have a wireless network at work)

Any other great ideas? Should I think about encrypting things on it? If so, what’s the easiest way to do that?

Networked Attached Storage

May 25th, 2009, 12:27am by Jake

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Ever since I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5, I’ve been using TimeMachine to back up the ‘ole PowerMac G5. Little problem– I had a 250GB external drive and a 1TB internal drive. A couple weeks ago, the drive finally filled up and I need to upgrade. While I could get a basic 1TB external for $90 or less, I think this is a good opportunity to get a better storage solution. While I’ve considered getting a Drobo, those things are expensive and require another $200 to get their NAS bridge. My Flickr friends suggested a NASready RAID system, the Netgear ReadyNAS, which promises excellent Mac support. But it’s still more than I need.
So now I’ve got my eye on the Synology DS109j, which is only about $160 at Amazon. The big priority for a NAS solution is iTunes & TimeMachine support, so I can stream music & photos and backup the computers. could use the PowerMac as the server, but it’s a real energy hog. It looks like both are doable with the Synology, but I’ll have to read a little more in this thread and the parent forum to figure it out.
Anyways, what is everyone else doing for back-up & network storage?

Pre Launch Announced

May 19th, 2009, 12:41pm by Mike

The day is finally upon us — no, not the launch of the Pre, but the announcement of the launch of the Pre! While it’s certain to be a great piece of hardware, it seems like Palm is making some weird choices about how they’re rolling out the launch:

  • Launch timing: I know there’s buzz around the Pre, but launching on a Saturday is a good way to make sure it’s out of the overall news cycle and kill buzz. Not only that, but 2 days before the Apple WWDC, where it’s known that Apple will be announcing new iPhone software (¬± hardware). Even if Palm has an iPhone killer on their hands, I don’t think this timing makes much sense. Why not 2 days after the WWDC announcments, where the Pre’s features would be compared to the new iPhone’s, and differences are highlighted. This would make sense if Palm were confident that the Pre would really outshine the iPhone — that they’re announcing it before, to me, shows some doubt about being better than the iPhone (not saying that they are or aren’t better, it just seems like a weak roll-out strategy).

  • Mail-in rebate: The phone will be $300 before a $200 mail-in rebate. Mail-in? I realize that the rate of response on a mail-in rebate is relatively low, but the sticker price will be 50% higher, and that apparent extra $100 that people have to shell out seems like it would be a big turn-off to potential buyers (not the engadget crowd, but interested people who come in off the street, and may be comparing to the iPhone or T1).

  • Required plans: Sounds like Sprint could have helped out by making the required unlimited plan slightly lower-priced than the iPhone’s — even $5 would have been appealing, I’m sure. Even though they include unlimited minutes (+$60 with AT&T) and text messaging (+$20 with AT&T), it seems like they could have made it so that people don’t even have to look at the features to see a lower price of ownership. I think it’s dumb of AT&T to charge so much for the unlimited options (particularly the texting), but in reality, I doubt that too many users, on a phone like the Pre with IM, Twitter, and email, are going to use a ton of SMS messages anyway. Maybe I’m wrong about that.

Finally, I hope this isn’t the sale pitch for Touchstone, but I really don’t know how they expect to pitch it otherwise — I just don’t see the point of it. Anyway, in the press release, they say:

Pre comes with a charger in the box, but for anyone tired of plugging a cord into their wireless phone, Palm introduces the Touchstone‚Ñ¢ charging dock, the first inductive charging solution for phones, available exclusively for Pre.

I would think that anybody tired of plugging a cord into their phone would probably become more exhausted by carrying around a Touchstone!
So, do you guys think that Sprint could have planned the rollout or terms better? Even if they hit a homer with the hardware, I hope they don’t screw up the launch.

Deja Vu

May 16th, 2009, 1:18am by Kelvin

Touchdown at O’Hare. We’re staying at the Hilton attached to the hotel, which is going to be convenient.

Blast from the Past

May 7th, 2009, 12:32pm by Kelvin

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Email notification that I received from Mike this morning. Made me think of that scene in Back to the Future II, when Doc gets stuck in the Wild West and has to send Marty a message via Fed Ex. Where is Mike? Or more importantly, when?

Twoubles with Twitter

May 7th, 2009, 12:39am by Jake

The Twitter phenomena has now reached new levels of craziness, with Ashton getting 1 million “followers” and Oprah and dozens of other celebrities (follow @carolina to see regular updates on famous people on Twitter). But as it scales, it gets harder to take advantage of the seemingly new utility without friends’ updates getting lost in sea of tweets. For example, I now follow just over 100 people & I’m constantly pruning the list. That’s almost too much. At the same time, I’ve stopped following many people that interest me b/c they tweet too much or just don’t add enough value. Yet I’d like to keep an eye on these users, and be able to search or scan their updates quickly to see what the top topics are.
There are tools out there that will do this (Tweetdeck is frequently mentioned), and there’s also the possibility of multiple accounts. But that seems so inelegant, and ultimately frustrating. For example, if I come to rely on Tweetdeck, what happens if I’m surfing from a friend’s computer or on my cell phone? That’s just one pet peeve. I think Twitter could alleviate this issue by allowing users to create groups or lists of people to categorize them. What does everyone else think are the big Twitter shortcomings? How can the service become better, and how can we use it more effectively?


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