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Grant Glewwe » Tech

Grant Glewwe

November 14, 2007

Hello iPod Touch

Filed under: iPod Touch, Tech — Grant @ 9:24 am

I took the plunge and bought a Touch yesterday. I ordered it through Circuit City, and picked it up with my family at about 5:30 yesterday. I got to play with it for about ten minutes before gaming. I did get music and videos loaded, and I handed it to Sandra to play with for a few minutes before I left. I am VERY happy with it. I connected to our network with no problem, grabbed a You Tube video, and then looked at the Vecenza gaming blog page. It cached the page so I was able to look at it today as I blog this. I’m watching an episode of Neurotically Yours right now. I also watched a couple of Enya music videos and a video of Megan laughing! Awesome. More updates as I find new cool things.

November 13, 2007

XO Laptop for 3rd World Children

Filed under: Tech — Grant @ 8:31 am

 I’m not sure if we will take advantage of this offer to get a “laptop” for Megan and a 3rd world child, but I like the idea of what they are trying to do. It seems like a great educational tool.

November 8, 2007

Arggg… CC is dead!

Filed under: Tech, General — Grant @ 8:22 am

In the Cooper Cooler  post I told you all about my great love for this device. Well, after just under a year, it has gone bad. It turns off quickly when I load it and start it. Luckily, my birthday is approaching.

I need this!

Funny how wants become needs…

October 2, 2007


Filed under: Tech — Grant @ 7:34 am

If you know me, you know I love my Roomba Scheduler. I was an early adopter of Roomba in 2002, and I’ve loved it ever since. Sure, we still have an upright to get the messes produced by two active children, but Roomba does a great job of heading under beds and furniture to get dust bunnies before they multiply.

iRobot is coming out with a new product in 2008 with a limited beta in 2007. I signed up for the beta list right away. With any luck, I’ll get into the beta group. The ConnectR is a Roomba shaped bot with a small web cam mounted on it. It connects to your in home wireless network, and it can be controlled remotely through a custom application. It was two way audio (but sadly, the video is only one way). The idea is to let parents, relatives and friends have a window into your world. I see it mainly working as a way to show grandparents, aunts and uncles what the kids are doing, and occasionaly Sandra will let me hook up to see what is going on with the kids during the day.  

The next step of course is to allow the control through a standard web browser so you don’t have to deploy an application. I’d love to control the thing using my iPod Touch and Safari.

September 24, 2007


Filed under: iPod Touch, Tech, General — Grant @ 9:54 am

Sandra and I discussed the idea of me giving up costly vices to achieve justification of purchasing an iPod Touch. The two vices I came up with that have monetary costs attached were:

  1. Consumption of carbonated beverages; typically caffenated - sadly, I rated this at about $5/wk (sadly, b/c that is too much in any case)
  2. Consumption of gourmet espresso beverages (Goodbye Starbucks!) - I rated this at $10/mo (one every two weeks)

I identified a third as I wrote this post:

  1. Lunch “out” at the company cafeteria; it means I have to stay a little better prepared, but saves $5/wk

All three of those means I save about $50/month. The 16 GB iPod Touch will run me $437 less 20% on $425 of it ($85 savings - I can get Circuit City cards at 20% through a gift card program - e-mail me for details). That means $352 for the iPod Touch. At $50/mo, the iPod Touch is paid for by the end of April. Here I go!

September 20, 2007

To Touch or Not to Touch, That is the Question

Filed under: iPod Touch, Tech — Grant @ 1:45 pm

So Apple released the new iPod Touch a few weeks ago. The thing looks exactly like a handicapped iPhone. They released a 8 GB and 16 GB model. I read posts by a lot of angry whiners that want a hard drive based iPod Touch. I’ve currently got an iPod Video 60 GB and I’ve come nowhere close to filling it. Admittedly, I’m not purchasing seasons of Lost to watch on that tiny screen, but then again, even if I did, would I need to carry them around 24/7?

I gave myself an iTunes project. Could I live in 16 GB of flash memory for my iPod needs. I started tossing out music that I don’t listen to. Ever. Never. Those previously mentioned whiners said they needed the 160 GB iPod Touch hard drive because they had HUGE music libraries. On the order of 30 GB or more. Then the other 100+ GB would be used for hauling around their extensive video collection and their two photos of their children. One person wrote

“You build a gorgeous iPod with video, wifi, etc and you only give me 16gigs?! I’ve got 40+ of music, and god knows how much more in video!”

40 GB of music is about 33 days of music listening 24/7. I think this guy has issues. Choice issues. I’d love to look at this iTunes library ordered by play count. Like most people, he probably has 1000 tracks with play count > 1 and 200 tracks with play count  > 10.

I recently reset all those play counts, but my play counts aren’t going through the roof. I can stick 2000 songs in 8 GB which is way more than I need, another 1 or 2 GB for pictures of my kids (which is way mroe than I need), 2 GB for podcasts (especially audiobooks), and have 4-6 GB for video. 1/2 a GB gets me a “1 hour” episode of Lost. 1.3 GB would let me watch a 2 hour movie. I can live with that. It just means I can’t keep Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of Lost (about 36 GB) on my iPod all the time. Darn. You know, cuz I won’t see my computer any time in the next 54 hours of solid Lost watching.

I’m pretty convinced I will have an iPod Touch. The two guys at work with iPhones tried to sway me in that direction. I have a cell phone. I don’t need an $80 plan just for my own iPhone (I pay $100 for 4 phones right now with as far as I am concerned “unlimited” calling). Insult to injury, iPhone has only 8 GB of flash memory. That might be tough to live in.

The clincher for me was the WiFi web access built into iPod Touch. Sure the iPhone with an $80 plan gives you unlimited data and browsing (in fact, all plans must pay the $20 for unlimited data). I won’t mind using Safari to browse at Panera. Or Krystal. Or any of the other 2 million places that now offer FREE WiFi access. Starbucks can cram their pay service.

Now what if iPod Touch offered unlimited data for $20/month. Would I buy that (no voice calls mind you)? No way! I don’t own a PDA now. I’m not that desperate to be a web monkey. Cool? Yes. Need it. Not!

So clearly, tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and tauntings of outrageous iPhoners, AND take an iPod Touch, and by opposing, end them.

Cooper Cooler

Filed under: Tech — Grant @ 7:05 am

Does this really qualify as tech? To me it does!

This little device saved my marriage. I love cold drinks. Ice cold drinks. As-close-to-freezing-as-possible cold drinks.

One good way to achieve that is to put your drink in the freezer for a while.

That tends to result in the occasional “I forgot it was in there” followed by the can (or worse yet, glass bottle) exploding sending soda, beer (and in the case of glass bottles, glass) throughout the freezer compartment. That tends to miff your spouse.

In an effort to not add us to the divorce statistics, Sandra bought me a Cooper Cooler. Fill with ice and a little water, hit go, and in a matter of minutes you have an icy cold beverage. My toddler enjoys cooling my beverages for me, or for that matter, for anyone who wants a drink (”I made this from…for you!”).

Mine came from Costco: Cooper Cooler - $70

Now if only I could complement it with this: Mr Freeze (PS Gift Givers - I don’t really need one, but they are cool)

August 13, 2007

New Phone - RAZR V3m

Filed under: Tech — Grant @ 10:11 am

After several years using my Samsung VI660, I finally upgraded my phone to a new RAZR. So far, so good. This is my first camera phone, which I supposed puts me well behind the times. A co-worker provided the impetus to upgrade that all started with a glance of his phone case that threads on his belt. He had an LG phone with a side slot for inserting microSD. Once I saw that, I went straight for the Sprint site looking for phones with microSD. It has often annoyed me that Sprint charges huge monthly fees if you want to get your pictures back off your phone. microSD to the rescue! I ordered Thursday and received Friday; Sprint has that going for them. My biggest complaint was the set of instructions that said dial “*2″ from the phone to activate it through customer support. After a 20 minute wait, the support tech said “You aren’t calling me from the new phone are you?” His instructions involved several settings that could only be done while not on an active call. Luckily, he suggested giving me the instructions to complete when the call ended. I scribbled them in orange crayong on the packing list, and my phone was set up 2 minutes later. Goodbye Samsung, Hello Picture/Camcorder Phone! I’m still adapting to it, especially the use of a bluetooth headset just like Sandra’s headset. She was at Costco Friday morning, so I rang her phone; she picked one up for me seconds later. The phone uses mini USB for charging and data communications with a number of software packages commercially available. A trip to Target with my father and kids let me acquire a few required accessories including a phone case just like Robert’s case (the co-worker from the beginning of the post). I enjoyed exploring the call features of the phone over the weekend. The microSD card on the RAZR V3m is a little annoying. You must remove the back panel and battery to remove the memory. It isn’t a big deal, but a side slot would have been nice. The microSD card came packed with a housing to turn it into an SD card size for quick transfer to my computer. The 1.3 MB camera should provide acceptable “on the go” pictures.

July 30, 2007

GeekBrief.TV & Drobo

Filed under: Tech — Grant @ 3:06 pm

I’d like to start by plugging my favorite tech podcast: Cali Lewis and GeekBrief.TV

Cali does a high energy, fast-talking podcast a few times a week about whatever technology they happen to be looking at. They’ve been podcasting for a couple of years now, and they just published episode 200 last week. Her husband does the camera work I think, and they are an Apple couple: iPod, iPhone and Macs. I won’t hold that against them. I carry an iPod Video, and my wife couldn’t live without her 4G. Cali has branched out into several other podcasts including one all about the iPhone, so check her out!

Recently, Cali talked about the Drobo, a data robot that mimics RAID drives. They don’t come cheap ($500), but they might just be worth it if you are storing lots of data that you just can’t live without. Drobo has four bays for hot swapable ATA drives. Play with the Drobolator to see what you need!

Finally, back to GeekBrief.TV: back in May they released a “video” of a song my Geoff Smith about the HD DVD Code/ “scandal”. Geoff recently opened (helped opened?) The Big Bang in Nashville as an entertainer. The Big Bang is a dueling piano bar with lots of audience sing-along.

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