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Grant Glewwe

Grant Glewwe

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 24, 2007

4th Edition

Filed under: Role-playing, Hobbies — Grant @ 1:05 pm

Every roleplayer around the world should now be aware of Wizards of the Coast’s announcement of 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. The core rulebooks will come out starting in May 2008 with the PHB followed by the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide in the following two months.

My gaming group is heavily invested in AD&D v3.5, and a brief discussion with a couple of others leads me to believe it is unlikely we will upgrade to the new version. I have no doubt that there will be interesting things in the new version, but I’ve personally got about $200 invested, and one of the other dungeon masters has at least twice that in books (he tends to buy the monster manuals as they come out).

One thing that I did like about 4th Edition was the announcement that electronic copies of the books would be available through the Wizards site with an unlock code in the book and a nominal fee. Gamer Zero (Randy Buehler - Vice President, Digital Gaming at Wizards), said in his blog announcement on August 20th, 2007:

 Another digital offering that we’re making in conjunction with 4th Edition is that we’re putting codes into all of our books. If you come to the website and put in the code you get two things: 1) You get an e-version of the book that can be read and searched on your computer. This will cost a nominal fee (probably a dollar) and will not require an Insider subscription. 2) If you are a subscriber, then putting in the code will unlock all of the content from that book in all of the databases that are available through Insider. For example, without the code for the relevant book you would see only a one-line description of a feat during character creation. With the code you see the full rules. Similarly, without the code you would see only a one-line description of a monster on the game table but with the code you can see the full stat block, etc.

I think it is a huge step forward to offer the content electronically. Of course, I suspect that means books will now be blister-wrapped in the bookstores since you could copy an unlock code otherwise. That means no more browsing content before purchasing the book (other than say at Amazon with their “Look Inside This Book” feature).

There are a number of articles being posted on Wizards site right now about the new edition, but very little is definitive. Mostly it seems like a ploy to get their dedicated audience of roleplayers to purchase another set of books. They are one step away from “collectible roleplaying rulebooks” in the vein of Magic The Gathering.

 I love the miniatures they are producing. I hate the rarity system. I would glady pay reasonable prices to purchase the miniatures I wanted. I love the paint and sculpts of many of the minatures, but just like with the Magic The Gathering game, if you purchase boosters, you end up with skads of things you don’t want in search of an Ettin. In most cases, I don’t even care about the rares, although some are great sculpts. It sends me right into the secondary market with places like GameRocket and Battleworks to purchase singles.

August 23, 2007

Scott Sigler

Filed under: Hobbies, General — Grant @ 1:19 pm

Scott Sigler has created some podiobooks that I have enjoyed listening to recently. I first listened to the podcast of his book Earthcore. I enjoyed it enough that I have moved on to Ancestor. I have one more to listen to after this, and then I’ll explore further to see if he has anything else I am interested in.

I discovered Scott’s art through a podcast called Stranger Things. Stranger Things featured a short story of Scott’s in their first content video podcast (a bunch of video before that, but it was all “here we come”). You can find Scott Sigler at


You can find an incensed clown by the same name at


The books are violent. He strikes me as a Stephan King relying on blood, gore, and futuristic tech for the meat of his books. All his press photos make him look like a psycho.

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.

August 2, 2007

Tomb of Horrors

Filed under: Role-playing, Hobbies — Grant @ 3:20 pm

For the past 4 years (nearly), I’ve been lucky enough to game with a group of co-workers on a weekly basis. We started playing in October 2003, and although we have lost two guys and gained another, we are still going strong with a weekly session of 3 1/2 hours every Tuesday or Thursday as our schedules depend. You can follow our progress through our current adventure in the AD&D classic Tomb of Horrors at This adventure is well known for being a meat-grinder for the PCs.

Arch and Head - End of the Main Hall

True to form, one of the six players died a horrible, rending death at the hands of a gargoyle in the first evening of play.

“Poor Ixat, I knew him well. <reverent sigh> Oh well. I wonder what stuff he has?” When Ixat, our rogue, attempted to tumble by the gargoyle to flank him, he failed and stopped just in front of the gargoyle next to Torvin the Ranger. Lucky for Torvin, the gargoyle focused on Ixat instead of him, or the epitaph would be for the Ranger instead of the Rogue (perhaps). In six seconds, blood and gore flew across the walls and Torvin as Ixat was ripped apart. Two of our number were lost, so the remaining three of us had to take on the beast or die. Torvin stood his ground while Eruadan, Wizard Priest of Boccob the Uncaring hurtled sonic and acid magic at the gargoyle. Anselm joined in with an acid arrow spell after hasting everyone. When things looked bad, he stepped up and teleported us all a short distance away in the main hall. The gargoyle followed, but Torvin finished him off with a mightly blow (critical) after Anselm blinded the beast with Glitterdust and Eruadan hit him with more sonic spells. As Anselm and Eruadan checked on their dead comrade, Bishop Tom came running down the hall naked. He started to exclaim to Torvin, before catching himself, sprinting down the hallway, and disappearing back through the arch that had first teleported him and Nails away.

It was an interesting first evening. Follow our exploits at the blog for Tomb of Horrors, or better yet, download the module from Wizards of the Coast and play through it with your group. Happy gaming!

August 1, 2007

Fire Engine

Filed under: Franklin, Local — Grant @ 9:02 am

See the blogroll for more pictures of my kids. Here we are in Pinkerton Park in Franklin on the fire engine.

Daddy and Kids

July 30, 2007


Filed under: Spring Hill, Local — Grant @ 4:01 pm

My nephew Gareth is in town this week. We went to Spring Hill to play paintball on Sunday at Middle Tennessee Paintball. We paid $20 each plus $40 for a box of paint to share. Neither of us are paintball enthusiasts, but it was great fun. The guns are Tippmans, but they worked fine for us. Of course, there were six paintball heroes on site with expensive guns, lots of gear, special paint, and lots of attitude. Most of the “heroes” were 10 to 16 I would guess. Lucky for us, a group of 15 adults had booked a birthday party. We played with them mostly and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Playing with the “pros” is a little daunting. They have guns that “ramp” up electronically to fire 15 balls per second. I think the Tippman basic guns might shoot 3 per second if you were really good. The “heroes” always said they would “one ball it”, but it was obvious some of the kids got excited and did whatever they felt like it once on the field. I felt a little bad for the kids that nobody wanted to play with them after they spent a couple grand on equipment a fees, but I didn’t really care enough to want to play with them. They were great shots, and I would rather play with people on my level.

Try out the field for a little paintball fun.

The Cocoa Tree

Filed under: Franklin, Local — Grant @ 3:48 pm

In downtown Franklin, TN, The Cocoa Tree  provides delicious truffles and chocolate treats. I enjoy the Mayan Hot Chocolate (cayenne)!

They just started a new offering including music:

Back Porch Dessert Theatres at The Cocoa Tree

Cost for each show is $10 in advance with reservation or $12 at the door plus tax.

Tickets include one slice of our truffle cake, caramel cheesecake or peanut butter pie and an intimate outdoor concert on our homey back porch. Doors open a half hour before each show.

Here’s our Dessert Theatre Lineup:

Space for Back Porch Dessert Theatres is limited, so please call 599.1989 for reservations or email

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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