We Fix Your Gadgets

FixGadgets is a computer service and support company located in Central New York. We offer support for computer problems and service for computer upgrades. We can be reached any time of the day at 631.680.7844 or fixgadgets@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dolce Press :: Design Studio & Letterpress Print Shop

Just wanted to let everyone know about this:

Dolce Press is a design studio and letterpress print shop that creates just about anything from, wedding invitations and birth announcements to social stationery and imprintables. Samples available upon request.

They also have a blog with a range of topics on letterpress printing such as finding a press, mixing ink, and printing for the first time.

UPDATE: Dolce Press has just opened their online shop for business. The shop features a small selection of Dolce Press' most popular cards. "Get them while they're hot!"

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dell Battery Recall (details)

So everyone knows that Dell has been planning to recall a huge amount of batteries in almost all of their laptops sold from 2004 to 2006. It has gotten so bad that even my grandmother knows that the battery in her dell laptop might be subject to a recall, I kid you not!

All of the posts that I have read about the dell battery recall speculate that a recall will be issued but don't give any information about how to check if your battery is eligible and how to order the replacement.

Well I was messing around on Dell's site when I found that a quick refresh on the home page revealed a link to the battery recall site specifically setup to handle the more than 1 million batteries they have recalled.

Here are photos of the 5 steps your need to go through to determine if your battery is eligible for recall and to order the replacement.

Step 1: Home Page


Step 2: Instructions


Step 3: Validate


Step 4: Shipping Information


Step 5: Confirmation


And you're done. I ran through the steps and it took me all of about 5 minutes with some minor distractions. Luckily my battery is eligible for recall. Half of the time the battery gets so hot it burns my leg right through my pants. Unfortunately, there is a long delay so sign up as soon as you can. The word from Dell is that it can take up to 20 business days for delivery and some models can take up to as much as 75 business days.

I guess the delays are to be expected since they did recall over 1 million batteries. The website for battery recall can be reached at the bottom of the Dell homepage or the specific Dell battery recall web page.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Hate Google, Period, End of Sentence.

Read this if you're wondering why the blog looks different (and no it wasn't intentional, planned, or desired):

So today Google has officially crossed over to my shit list. I have spent the last 2 months perfecting the template for this blog (adding social bookmarking links, altering the layout, and other fine tuning) and today when I decide to write some new posts I find out that they decided to erase all of my changes to my template. When I checked my page I got a bunch of HTML code so I checked the template out and found that only the top portion of template was there.

Now I know I can't complain because Blogger is a free service but what the hell is this about. I am just so pissed off that I can't begin to explain. Well if anything this gives me even more of a reason to switch to another platform. The only thing that was holding me back was that I had customized the template specifically for Blogger. So bear with me for the next few days while I try to figure out what I am going to do with this mess.

In the mean time feel free to share any similar experiences that you may have had. I'm off to the gym to take some aggression out on the punching bag.

Apple's New Wireless Mighty Mouse

So we all have to thank Vincent Nguyen for sharing some sexy and surely revealing pictorials of the new wireless Mighty Mouse.

Mighty Mouse Features Include:
  • Bluetooth wireless capability
  • Laser tracking engine provides 20x surface sensitivity
  • 360-degree clickable Scroll Ball
  • Touch-sensitive top shell
  • Force-sensing side buttons
And to top it all off the design is so attractive that you won't be able to take your eyes of it. Now that I've wet your appetite, here are some pictures from Nguyen:

The rest of the pictures of this sexy beast can be found here.

Firefox Extension of the Week: VideoDownloader 1.0

All I have to say is this biznitch is the schiznit. This weeks Firefox extension of the week is VideoDownloader 1.0, a tool that allows you to download videos from the likes of Youtube, Google, Metacafe, iFilm, Dailymotion, and numerous other video sites. Now I can watch all of those episodes of Naruto on Youtube in one long block.

NOTE: The program downloads the files in .flv format so you'll need to download the flv player to watch the video. You can go here to download the flv format player.

The tool can be especially useful if you are a poor college student who can't afford internet or cable. Just take a visit to your local library or free internet cafe and download a few hours of video, that's why you convinced your parents you needed that 250GB external hard drive.

Alas I once was a poor college student. Once was? I still am a poor student instead now, I've moved up the ranks to Ph.D. (Sometimes I have problems suppressing my internal dialogue.)

Here's Episode 1 Part 1 of Naruto ... Enjoy!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tech. obsession has reached a new level

If you ever fear whether you are tech obsessed, just remember this kid who freaked about his Nintendo 64 and all your worries should just melt away.

You know what would be really cruel?

Let the kid open the box only to find that there is no N64, just a bunch of books and a sweater that your grandmother knitted for you. Can you imagine the expression on his face when he realizes that he didn't get an N64, man that'd be funny! Am I cruel?

Back in time ... on the verge of the computer revolution

I stumbled across this video in the YouTube archives and have to share it with you. It is a news broadcast from 1981 chronicling the growth of computers and comments on what we can expect in the future. It was a little eye-opening as I was born in April 1983 and so my whole life computers have existed.

There is even a segment with Steve Jobs back in the Apple II days. This video certainly gives perspective on how this all began. Enjoy!

100th Post - Daily Show Revisits Net Neutrality

The Daily Show has been all over the Net Neutrality act like Larry the Cable Guy on bad jokes. I thought as a treat for the 100th post on FixGadgets I'd share with you guys the latest Daily Show coverage of Net Neutrality. As an added bonus the correspondent in this bit is John Hodgkins, the PC guy from the Apple commercials.

John Stewart makes sure not to let Hodgkins get by without a little ridicule first. Without any more delay, here is the hilarious bit on Net Neutrality from the Daily Show.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Communication Devices of the Future (according to Forbes)

Someone at Forbes Online thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of next-generation communication devices. Some of these things are downright scary.

The Hug - a pillow that feels your pain1_1024feat
If the writers at Forbes had their way, we would all be like this crazy lady hugging a pillow - maybe in the future we'll all be crazy and confined to rubber padded rooms. First let me clear something up, this is more than just a pillow, its The Hug, a melodiousness wireless phone and fuzzy pillow that enables people to communicate using sensors, heating pads, buzzing motors, and lights during a phone call.

The Hugs "purpose" is to allow a physical interaction to carry over long distances using the same technology that carries data and voice. It was designed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon's Project on People and Robots that implements the fundamentally significant idea of using technology to communicate emotionally and physically thereby enriching and personalizing communication.

But you've got to admit that this seems a little wacky and I can't help thinking that this is just another sign that we are all too disconnected from the world. Almost everything we do involves the net and studies have shown that the Internet is the likely cause of people having less close friends. I wonder how much they paid this lady to hug the pillow and what the photographer was telling her for inspiration.

More futuristic communication devices after the jump.

The Phone Glove - surf's up dude!2_1024feat
The next gadget on Forbes list is the Phone Glove, similar to the Bluetooth headset you were forced to buy because talking on your cell phone while driving will get you a ticket. Created by Jason Bradbury, the device is a Bluetooth headset that's been disassembled and reassembled into a glove. While Jason's design isn't earth-shatteringly ground-breaking it is part of a bigger movement called wearable computing. You have actually seen examples of wearable computing such as the Bluetooth RAZRWIRE Oakley Sunglasses and the ScotteVest (www.scottevest.com).

The area of wearable computing is very widespread in academia. The Wearable Computing Lab, part of the MIT Media Lab has developed several new communication and computing devices which may be put into production in the future when the cost of embedding these devices can be reduced. The real advances in wearable computing will finally come when these devices can be manufactured for single use and can be embedded into our clothing and attire.

Micromedia Paper - video here, there, and everywhere3_1024feat
Another major advance in communication will come from the use of electronic paper or as Forbes refers to it, Micromedia Paper. Various designs of this device will allow whole books to fit on a single memory-enabled, polymer sheet, displayed using infinitely reconfigurable magnetically-charged pigments; or futuristic printing technologies that will allow mass-produced super-cheap color screens that could be applied like wallpaper.

One of the more interesting e-paper concepts is by Lunar Design. They have imagined a product called MicroMedia Paper that is an ultra-thin, mini color screen with replaceable "power sticker" batteries and would be controlled using touch sensitive buttons and a volume dial that adjusts the integrated speakers. Video, pictures and teleconferencing imagery could be transferred using a built-in wireless connection. All of this will fit in the dimensions of an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper, a fraction of an inch thick.

My only fear with the advent of this technology is how much media, specifically video advertisement will become a part of our daily life. If digital displays can become as cheap or close enough to traditional print, we will the immediate booming of the video billboard sign, not just on highways but everywhere (taxis, shops, trains, classrooms, offices, etc.). We won't be able to go for more than a few minutes without encountering some form of media.

$100 Laptop Challenge - a laptop for every child
The next futuristic communication device Forbes mentions is the $100 laptop, which I would argue isn't a futuristic concept, just a present day concept done cheaper. If successful though, it can potentially change how the rest of the world communicates. Many people think computer usage is as widespread in other countries as it is in the USA. Unfortunately, developing nations often have trouble with computers because of the tremendous economic barrier. I wrote about the $100 laptop challenge a few weeks ago; it is a practice in practical engineering where every piece must be considered to so the ultimate price of the laptop can be $100.

The Ubik - digital Swiss Army Knife
This Swiss Army Knife-style foldable phone, gaming device and multimedia player of the future is going to be the next must-have all-in-one device. The Ubik uses a borderless, flexible high-resolution screen that folds in half when the device is closed. The outer casing is constructed of two hard shells that also work as OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens themselves both inside and out, allowing the user to customize the look of the phone with displayed imagery and creating either gaming buttons or a telephone keypad on the inside depending on how the Ubik is being used.

When closed, it is the size and shape of a Post-it Note, and it opens two ways depending on what you want to do with it. One configuration serves as your phone, e-mail and instant-messaging device. The other way turns the Ubik into a gaming machine, photo viewer and video and music player. And to make sure that you are the only one using your phone, there is a built-in biometric optical scanner.

Haptics - redefining your sense of touch
6_1024featHaptics is another area of major research for future devices that is the science of applying touch (tactile) sensation and control to interaction with computer applications. Again the Media Lab is also involved in this kind of research because it makes controlling objects and applications more intuitive. If you have played a PS2 or GameCube you have used a device with haptics; the small vibrations you get in response to your action in the video game is a primitive form of haptics.

One area where haptics is being developed is for eBooks. The biggest complaint from users is that the reading experience is nothing like a traditional paperback or hardcover book. eBook manufacturers hope to take advantage of haptics-inspired features bringing the tactile nature of reading to digital devices. Haptics is also used in force-feedback mechanisms to provide the controller with a sense/feeling of what they are controlling. More sophisticated haptic-based devices will obviously require more complex -and thus more expensive - hardware and software which will undoubtedly be developed in the coming decade.

The rest of the devices on Forbes list are really just new features that will enhance/improve/cheapen how we communicate by phone. They include VoWi-Fi a Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) phone technology that will be adapted for use on wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots, WiMAX (802.16) wireless technology that will provide large bandwidth to mobile devices for video content and more, walking bio-identification that identifies users by how they walk, and iMOD, a power-saving technology for LCD screens. For more information on any of these topics take a look at the Forbes article.

Apple Rumor Roundup

There's nothing like a nice warm bowl of Apple Rumors to start your day off right. A financial analyst from Piper Jaffray has ranked the Top-Ten biggest Apple rumors and gives you his perspective on the credibility of each rumor.

Power Mac G5.jpgAnalyst Gene Munster is "almost certain" that Apple will release the long-anticipate Intel-based Mac Pro at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on August 7, which will replace the high-end Power Mac G5 that is one of Apple's last machines to see the upgrade to Intel chips. I'd have to agree with him, Apple needs now more than ever to significantly boost the power of their pro machines or they risk losing pro customers to other platforms. The Intel chip is the perfect avenue to increase the speed, performance, and responsiveness of the pro-line of machines.

bootcamp-logo_1.jpgGene, with his powers of prediction is also "almost certain" that Apple's latest revision of OS X, code-named Leopard (v. 10.5), will see a release in late 2006 or early 2007. A part of this rumor which isn't yet clear is whether this latest revision will include an update to BootCamp, the software which allows Mac Hardware to dual-boot OS X and Windows XP. The update is speculated to add support for Windows Vista and a new feature which will allow both OSes to be run simultaneously, without the need for a reboot.

More rumors after the jump.


Next on the rumor-mill list are Apple's plans to unveil an iTunes movie store - similar to the very popular music store - that will sell feature-length films. There has been a lot of buzz about the difficulty Apple is facing in agreements with major film studios. Apple has changed the digital music store by insisting that every song sell for 99-cents regardless of how popular it is; this line of thinking is counter-intuitive to most record labels whose only interest is to squeeze every penny out of our pocket.

heromac20051013.jpgA similar pricing scheme is believed to be in the works for downloaded movies; reports speculate that movies will be sold for $9.99. There are still many issues that need to be resolved such as viewing permissions and copying rights before this service goes live.

url.jpegFollowing the iTunes Movie Store rumor is the speculation that Apple is working on an "iPhone". The flop of the ROKR - in my eyes at least - makes many people believe that Apple wants to correct the huge mistake that Motorola made when designing the ROKR. The biggest problem most people have with the ROKR is that it is a mediocre music player AND a mediocre cell phone. Apple is known for the tremendous effort they put into designing hardware and software and many were disappointed at the failure of the ROKR. Whether Apple is actually working on an "iPhone" is still up in the air but certainly is more fiction than fact at this point (Munster puts the time to release for an "iPhone" at 12 months); its more likely that we will see an iPod device mashup sporting cell-phone capabilities and/or other PDA-like features. Here are some sketches of phones enthusiasts have put together:

iphone_R03.jpg img_20050705T224159375.jpg apple-iphone.jpg apple-iphone-concept.jpg

The rumors don't stop here and they only get more ridiculous from this point on. A less certain rumor is that Apple is working on telephone capabilities for iChat 4.0, similar to Skype features, to be launched simultaneously with OSX 10.5. Again I would agree with Munster that this is less likely to be true but Apple has been known to surprise us in the past so we can't put anything past them.

ichat-logo.gifMac-enthusiasts and the like are speculating or maybe just praying for few new gadgets such as: a new video iPod that will have a touch-sensitive 4" viewing screen or a home media hub dubbed iHome that would combine music, photo, and video capabilities. The question with a touch-screen iPod is what is the need for that feature when the device GUI (graphical-user-interface) is already super intuitive, a touch-screen would only further increase the price of a device that Apple is looking to lower. The iHome story has been proposed so many times, don't people have any new ideas?

The last three rumors rounding out the top 10 are:

  • Apple is in talks with in-flight entertainment systems to offer air travelers iTunes-branded audio content
  • Apple is developing an ultra-portable Mac equipped with NAND-flash memory technology
  • Apple may soon host advertisements on the iTunes music player interface
All I have to say is "WOW!" people are certainly imaginative, where do they get this - excuse me - crap!

First, the in-flight entertainment just isn't Apple's niche, if Apple offered branded content like XM then this would 100% make sense but what most people don't remember is that Apple is just the middle-man that offers the technology and services to the men (or women) with the music. Apple is not in the business of making music content and I hope they never try to. What is a traveler's need to have access to purchase music? Again, maybe if Apple were Napster and offered subscriptions to listen to music then this might make sense but Apple doesn't so I don't see any validity in this rumor. On top of all of this, Apple would need to give the Airlines a cut of the profit, which is small to begin with.

Second on the list of downright dumb rumors is the ultra-portable Mac. All I have to say to this is why? It all comes down to what is Apple's reason for wasting time and money on an "ultra-portable" computer. Isn't that what a laptop is? Do people think that the MacBook and MacBook Pro aren't portable enough? If anything, Apple laptops are one of the most portable laptops on the market. Everyone knows that the equivalent Dell machines are nowhere near as portable especially with power supplies that weigh more than the laptop. Apple's product line is something they put care and consideration into, they are all about simplicity and adding another machine to it needs more justification than just "ultra-portable".

The last of these ingenuous rumors - Apple placing ads on iTunes - I swear must have come from some half-wit PC user. Apple is a company that strives to make technological tasks easier and remove all of the clutter. There is nothing about ads that follows this line of thought so you don't have to worry about seeing adds in iTunes anytime soon, that is unless Microsoft or Napster decide to buy iTunes - hah like that would ever happen.

So that ends the Apple Rumor Roundup. I bet you never thought people had so much free time to conjure up rumors about Apple's next step. If the past is any indicator of the future, the only thing we can be certain of is that Apple will stop at nothing to push the envelope and change what roles computers and now even gadgets play in our lives.

Please feel free to let me know if I left out any rumors that you've come across on the net, there are too many to report all at once. For more information about Apple and their next moves, stay tuned to the results of the WWDC coming this August 7th 2006.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

WGOW: Lingerie Clad USB Mouse

A while back I wrote a post about what I thought was the worst gadget of the week (WGOW), which at the time was going to be a weekly article covering my pick of the worst gadget for the week (duh!). But I'll admit it, I was lazy and haven't got around to posting another one, that is until now.

So without any further adieu, my pick for the worst gadget of the week is the Lingerie USB Mouse being sold by FabStuff.net. In case you were wondering what it looks like, this should satisfy that hunger:


Thankfully this mouse has USB but no word whether its optical or uses a ball. If you were guessing that her tatas are the buttons then you are definitely right but you've got a dirty mind. Well enjoy this tasty tid bit that is sure to leave a sweet taste in some people's mouth, just not mine.

Top 150 Firefox Extensions

firefox_normal.pngI found this list of the top 150 Firefox Extensions while surfing John's My Place ... Technology / Family / Life Blog (whew that was a long name!). The list, made by Rijk van Geijtenbeek, was composed from initial research from user Dodd in the my.opera.com forums from extensions that were accessed on/before 7/6/06.

I had no idea that there were so many extensions (there are over a thousand of them) and new ones are posted everyday. These extensions make Firefox the digital analogue of a Swiss army knife, allowing the user to do much more than just surf pages. Not only is there a plethora of extensions, the quality is pretty good. I stumble across a new Firefox extension every few days. A script I came across today in fact is a blogging tool from Performancing that integrates with all of the major platforms and allows you to write and save posts before publishing to your blog.

Some Firefox Extensions that I couldn't live without:
The Firefox team has also compiled a list of extensions they use and think are noteworthy. If you find Rijk's page too noisy to read, you can always use Mozilla's Firefox Extension Database which has an excellent interface for finding the extension you need. Here is the link to the Firefox Addons website.

Windmill on Crack or maybe just Marijuana

Ever wonder what a windmill on crack might look like? Well leave it to architects working for the Dutch Government to figure it out - marijuana is legal there right? From a government standpoint, why build one windmill when you can build 4 for four-times the price.


More pictures are available after the jump.

All joking aside, this is certainly a smart idea because more energy could be extracted per unit for less cost because the cabling for each runs into a central unit. In addition, you might notice that the design resembles a tree which was the intention of the architects. A few of these units scattered across the flat Dutch landscape is certainly less intrusive than the windmill parks that so many are used to seeing.

The picture shows only 4 blades per unit but they can be designed to hold up to 8 sets of blades and will be just under 400ft tall (120m for your European folk). I have passed windmills before when driving through the countryside in the northeast US and they are huge constructions. They almost seem fake especially in the flat countryside where you can see them for miles.



Unfortunately, we'll probably never see these windmills in the US - damn gas guzzling bureaucracy - I guess its just another reason to vacation to Amsterdam. Enjoy!

A Megaphone for your Alarm

mobile_alarm_glass.jpgThis is a DIY project that even an idiot could do, not that I'm calling you guys idiots. I often have a problem with how quite my cell phone alarm is. Often, I will set alarm and not even remember it going off. When I tell you I sleep quite deeply, I mean you'd have an easier time waking a patient in a comma.

The problem with most alarms even traditional alarm clocks is that the noise exits the speaker and radiates outward in every direction. Well Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad came up with this ingenious little device to focus the alarm sound in a single direction. The invention isn't any simpler than a deep red win glass with the stem broken off. Don't you just love 1-step DIY projects. The greatest part is that you don't even have to crack open a toolbox to get this to work.

So dust off the wine glasses that haven't been used in oh so long - because bachelors drink beer - and get some use out of them. I'd admit that you might run into a problem if you're one of those people who tends to smack their cell alarm to shut it up; but at least if the cell phone doesn't work, the shards of glass causing your hand to hemorrhage will do the trick.

Backup your Cell with the CellStik

CellStikFace it, our lives revolve around cell phones, they are the 21st century rolodex and we'd be in trouble if we lost all that information. Don't fret because CellStik has your back like your mates would in a bar fight.

It seems that many of the posts lately have been about our cell phones; Some good SGH i320, Cell Phone Condom, and some bad Cell Phone Cooks Egg. While the condom might almost totally proof your phone it isn't drop proof so you'll need the CellStik to backup any important data you have on it.

Skeptics might ask, "Don't all phones have Bluetooth nowadays?" and they'd be right but setting up a Bluetooth connection can be a difficult as rocket science (unless you're lucky enough to have a Mac). With the CellStik, all you do is connect the drive to the phone and with one simple click you can backup all of the data on the phone. Later the data can be accessed with a computer but plugging the device into a USB port. Each model phone has a specific CellStik so make sure you pickup the right one. If you've got to have one of these right now, visit RedEnvelope for more information.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Robot can skateboard better than me

plen-skateboardI think everyone needs to thank the hard workers at Geekologie for finding this gem. This little robot can do almost anything that I think it might be fake. Not only can it ride the board, it does tricks and can rollerblade, something I was never able to master - I think its my total lack of balance, I almost broke my arm once blading down a tiny hill back in the day.

Click the image to load the video. I know what you're thinking, I've seem this before but trust me you haven't; I pooped my pants when I saw this thing. Now if they can only make robots that can do something a little more useful like drive my lazy ass to work and make me a gourmet breakfast, get to it!

Cell phone is a perfectly good egg cooker?

Egg Cooker 1 of 2If you find yourself out and without any other method of cooking your eggs, you can use your cell phone according to two Russian journalists. In their experiment, they placed a raw egg in a porcelain cup between two phones that were talking to one another. The article reports that no change was observed during the first 15 minutes, but at 25 minutes the shell became hot and at 40 minutes the shell became hard; the egg was fully cooked after 65 minutes.

This article is part of a string of reports that as of late points out that cell phone radiation is harmful and may cause brain tumors. My experience is that after using a cell phone for a long time (60+ minutes continuously) my ear and head get hot. That aside, it isn't clear whether the heat is due to harmful radiation or just heat emitted by electronics. I don't think there is anything to worry about heat because if this was the case then everyone would have brain tumors from taking hot showers or soaking in hot-tubs.

Egg Cooker 2 of 2The other thing that should be noted here is that their experiment isn't very scientific. Their remarks about the egg are purely qualitative and they don't propose any mechanism by which the egg cooks. The lack of any experimental design means that their findings are nothing more than a cool trick. If these reporters hope to be taken seriously they need to properly interact with the scientific community by publishing their findings in a peer-reviewed journal so their work can be scrutinized and repeated.

My biggest problem with the media is how they skew facts and draw bold conclusions akin to sensationalism and yellow journalism from the early 20th century. Journalists are always looking for the big story and in the process twist findings and observations to fit their pre-formulated conclusions. This is in part why I started this blog to highlight fact from fiction. Until this is study in a more controlled environment I wouldn't consider this more than just some journalists looking for acknowledgement.

Ironically, I don't think people would stop using their cell phones if an accurate study was done and showed that they caused brain tumors; we are too attached to our gadgets.

Cell Phone Condom

Writing a title to get visitors to stop and read a post can be tough but not with this post, it was way too easy. Before your mind gets carried away, this product is a like a condom for your cell phone, you know to protect it like you would your piece. With how many people that love their cell phone, I could see people being more interested in protecting their gadgets than their gadget.


The condoms are waterproof, paintproof, bloodproof, sweatproof, snowproof, rainproof, mudproof, and any other proof you can think of. They call them Cell Phone Condoms because they are identical to regular condoms except that the latex is seventeen times stronger and can be stretched seven times its length. Now the excuse, "It broke" just won't work. The condoms can be used as regular condom, you know if you're Superman or Spiderman.

If the sheer mechanics and engineering of the product isn't enough to convince you to buy this product, the Skins promo team, dressed in latex bikinis, "love to give demonstrations". There is nothing subtle about the sexual undertones of this product. The inventor, Rogier van Camp, didn't have anything sexy in mind when he thought up this product. Rogier was painting a swimming pool in France when the idea hit.

I see this product actually being useful. I had a bad encounter with a pool once when babysitting a relative. I walked by the pool to feel the temperature of the water and lost hold of the phone and plunk my phone decided to cool off in the deep end of the pool. I literally saw my life flash before my eyes. If you're interested in this product, you ca visit the manufacturer's website here.

Apple 4 - Microsoft 0, Can we say shutout?

If there was a scoreboard keeping a record of who is winning the Desktop OS game, Apple would have a healthy lead. John Boudreau from Mercury News wrote an article essentially summing up the events in the battle of Apple and Microsoft. John's position is that Apple has consistently delivered on its promises while Microsoft seems to jump from delay to delay with no end in sight.

The upcoming World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is where Apple is expected to release its latest revision of Mac OS X, Leopard and a bevy of other products. Meanwhile Microsoft still hasn't delivered on the Vista promise and don't get me started on the XP promise. If XP were a pizza and Microsoft a Pizza Shop, my food would be free. But the major difference Apple and Microsoft which might explain the severe backlog of releases is that Windows and Vista will have to run on millions of computers world-wide while OS X only runs on a fraction of the machines. The other issue with Vista is that it has to be compatible with a ton of different hardware while Apple only has to worry about a much smaller selection of hardware and software.


My problem with Windows delays is how long will it take before people get fed up with waiting for Vista and switch to something else? I'm surprised how long all the techies who use XP have waited for Vista. I won't take the argument that they have Vista Beta 2 because its no where near ready for release.

In the end the question is, does any of this matter? For the majority of users the answer is no, they have no need for innovation and they are the same people who still use Windows 98 today. Read the original article for more of John's opinions on the topic.

Windows Vista and Office demoed on MacBook

Windows Vista on MacBook ProThere's nothing like a software and OS demonstration of Microsoft products on Apple hardware to blur the lines between the lines between Apple and Microsoft fans.

The picture is of a Microsoft employee demoing Vista, Microsoft's next-gen OS, and Office 2007 on a MacBook Pro. The presentation took place at Microsoft's Belgium headquarters; apparently Europeans are free-thinkers because a presentation like this in the US would certainly cause a stir in the media. Before anyone has a chance to make a comment, it isn't clear if the presentation was a live demo or simply a series of screen shots.

This is important because while XP can now be easily installed and booted on an Intel-based Mac, it isn't clear yet if it will be as easy to install Vista on current Intel-based Macs.

Now if I can just get someone to donate a MacBook Pro to me, I could test this out.

Google Romance = Google Joke

I was surfing Flickr and came across this strange pic that I hope is someone's attempt at a joke. Apparently this is a screen grab from someone who happened to surf over to www.google.com/romance/tour.html. The press release describes the service as an attempt at contextual dating. The service works using Soulmate Search (TM) to pair potential matches and offer them a date in exchange for viewing contextual advertising. Here is what the screen grab looks like:

Google Romance Joke

At this point I'm thinking Jesus they've got to be kidding me. I know that Google is everywhere nowadays but come on! After actually reading the fine print I realized that the image is tagged in Flickr, April Fools, so surely enough this isn't real, could you imagine if it was?

I'll take the role of the skeptic though, I think they leaked this to start a buzz on the net (taking a lesson from Apple). They've probably got some kinks to work out in the Soulmate Search (TM) algorithm, yup and I've got a flux capacitor in my Delorean.

Samsung SGH i320 - Q's got some competition

On the coat tails of the RAZR's success, Motorola was hoping that its new smartphone, the Q, would cause the same stir and buying frenzy that the RAZR and SLVR did. But it seems that Samsung doesn't like when Motorola gets all of the attention (can we say "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"). That last piece was a Brady Bunch reference in case you didn't realize, I know I have way too much time on my hands!

The Samsung SGH i320 is a direct competitor to the Motorola Q and the fact that its smaller and thinner than the Q may make it more desirable in some eyes.
For me it'll come down to how much more I'll have to shell out for a slightly thinner/smaller phone, do you think they'll take blood as a form of payment. But, bragging rights are all that matters in the gadget world and Motorola has just lost them to the i320. Not only is the i320 thinner than the Q, it supports GSM which means that this gadget is compatible with your jet-setting lifestyle, no matter where you go (almost).

Unfortunately the phone runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 - I hate it - but with no other alternative, we can't fault Samsung because Microsoft runs the world. Of course the phone sports a 1.3 mega-pixel camera, a 2.2" LCD, Bluetooth, and high-quality dual speakers; what phone doesn't come with these features nowadays. The smartphone is designed for users who want to chat, read, and send emails on the go. An embedded messaging platform allows for easy IM and the mobile mail functions enable users to send/receive a multitude of file types. There is 120 MB of embedded memory and a microSD slot to allow for additional memory and storage. Lastly, the phone weighs in at 95 grams, for all of us in the US that's 3.35 ounces.

The only place I think the i320 falls short is its name. Motorola understands that a cool name can totally change the image of your product, the RAZR is a great example. I guess this means that Bill Shakespeare was wrong all along, a rose by any other word wouldn't smell as sweet. If I had to judge these two phones just on their names, I would have to give props to the Q for a stylish/understated name that certainly tells your more than i320. Thankfully we don't judge books by their covers here and the name aside, the i320 looks to be a great contender for the Q. Here's to hoping someone will give Motorola a run for their money!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What Search Engine Do You Use?

First, I have to apologize to everyone for not posting in the past week. I have been swamped with work and school and have not had one free moment to get out a couple of posts. With that, I thought I would turn the tables on you guys and ask you all a very common question.

Being a computer repair specialist, I am often asked what search engine I use and why I think its the best. People think this is a straightforward question and answer but there are a lot of subtle nuances. You could compare this questions to: What is your favorite restaurant and why? Suprisingly, I get asked this question quite often too. For me, it depends on taste and how I'm feeling that day.

If you read most of my posts you'll find that I often speak about Google. Its hardly difficult these days to do anything on the net without somehow involving Google; I guess this means that business is good for Google (It should be with a stock valued at $419.33 as of June 30th). But just because Google is everywhere, doesn't necessarily mean that it translates into a great search engine. Now I'm sure that I'll get flamed for that statement and most people would be right in saying that Google is a great search. Heck, I use Google just about once every 5 minutes during the work day. Remember what they say about size, it isn't everything.

Google was great long before it became the corporate monster (800-ton Gorilla) it is today. Google was great because they innovated the search engine marketplace by bringing fresh ideas and making search more than just a bunch of keywords. Back in the day, Google was ahead of the game but as of late the likes of Yahoo, MSN, and even Ask! have caught up to the #1 competitor. Through hard work, these other search engines which were once at the top of the game have begun to reclaim leading positions in the search engine marketplace.

All of this put aside, answering the question, "What search engine do you think is best?" isn't so easy. Search engines are just like shoes, everyone has a particular style, size, and color that fits them. Search engines are very particular and often your results are only as good as your knowledge of how the engine works. At the heart of it, search engines are just another machine that doesn't comprehend human thoughts. It is in part the requirement of the user to process and filter what terms are vital to the search. Knowing how the search engine works will help you in selecting keywords to filter what you want from all of the other web junk.

Search engines are vital to the survival and further growth of the Internet because they act as the literal link between the user and the content provider. I like Google because they put priority on the search results, minimizing all of the other junk that competitors include on their results page. Google has done a great job of integrating advertisements into the search results while their competitors seem to be more interested in emphasizing the ads than the results; maybe this is because their search results aren't that good.

I wrote not to long ago about MSN hiring people to hand craft search engine results. When MSN's search algorithm isn't able to find good enough results, they direct the request to a hand-crafter who scrubs the web finding the sites your are probably looking for. I only wonder how they are going to find other sites, Google maybe?

My answer plain and simple is: I use Google because their search results are the best and I have tried all of the competition. Until something better comes along I will continue to use Google for all of my search engine needs. I will admit that if I can't find what I'm looking for in the Google results I do try other search engines but usually without success.

Well that's enough of my opinion, I want to hear yours:
  • What search engine do you use regularly and why?
  • Are there new competitors that have emerged in the market like Google did so many years ago?
  • What do you think is going to be the next big revolution in the search engine marketplace?
So get off your ass and getyoursearchon!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Socializer, automatic submission of social bookmarks

I hate clutter just as must as every Tom, Dick, and Harry and Socializer will cut down the social bookmarking clutter you deal with every day. The Socializer allows you to easily submit a link to several social bookmarking systems. Instead of having a link to each site, you have a single link to all of them!

This service is so simple and easy to use I'm kicking myself that I didn't put one together first. It almost makes you go "duhh!" Here is Socializer's schematic, could it be any simpler?

And the tool couldn't be any more straightforward to setup. There's no need to register or any of that bullcrap, just insert a snippet of code (JavaScript or PHP) and Socializer does the rest. As if that isn't idiot proof enough, there are specific instructions on how to integrate the service with Wordpress, Movable Type, Blogger (me), and Blogware.

I posted about the sociable bookmarking plug-in that I created for Blogger not too long ago and if I had only known about this, I wouldn't have wasted my time (thanks Kiltak for posting the plug-in though). The biggest problem with maintaining links to sociable bookmarking services is that each one has its own API, and that gives me one huge API headache.

To use Socializer with Blogger all you have to do is insert this small snippet of code into your template.
<a href="http://ekstreme.com/socializer/?url=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>&title=<$BlogItemTitle$>">
Social bookmark this</a>
Now you might be saying, "Are you crazy? You want me to change my template?!?! I don't know the first thing about HTML, etc.!"But don't fret because all you need to do is copy the code above, go to your template in Blogger and paste it directly after "<$BlogItemControl$>". If you're having trouble finding this section of code, search the page (CTRL+F) for it, it only appears once. Now save your changes and click republish and you're done.

That's it and its certainly less painful than a trip to the dentist so you shouldn't procrastinate about it any longer. If you want to get more fancy, you can use the Socializer logos (, ) like you would use the digg or del.icio.us logos. To add this, the code is slightly different:
<a href="http://ekstreme.com/socializer/?url=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>&title=<$BlogItemTitle$>">
<img src="{insert URL to icon}" />Social bookmark this</a>
For this you will need to have a server where you can upload image (Flickr, etc.) and also need to know the URL of that image. You can grab a copy of the icons (small or large) above and upload them to your server. My personal recommendation is to use the smaller 16x16 pixel icon because this is the standard size of most sociable bookmarking icons. Paste the URL of the image into the snippet of code above where "{insert URL to icon}" is. It should look like this when done properly:
<a href="http://ekstreme.com/socializer/?url=<$BlogItemPermalinkURL$>&title=<$BlogItemTitle$>">
<img src="http://www.myurl.com/Socializer16.png" />Social bookmark this</a>
Now that you have the code ready, just copy and paste it into the same spot as mentioned before, save changes, and republish to make your changes go into effect. Whenever you make changes you should always confirm the changes posted properly and that you didn't mess anything else up in the process. Another good note is to ALWAYS make a backup of your template before editing it. If for some reason you make a mistake and mess something up, you will be able to use the backup copy.

Well that's Socializer and how to set it up with Blogger. I hope you and your readers enjoy using it, its a great service. I'm planning some house-keeping around here in a couple of days at which point I'll be changing everything over to Socializer, which will make my life and yours easier and less cluttered with social bookmarking icons. Now only if I could apply the same theory to my office desk.

Back to the grind, happy surfing!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nissan Terranaut - Technofilled Next-Gen 4x4

So I normally try to keep the posts strictly gadget and tech. related but I caught a glimpse of a new concept car from Nissan called the Terranaut. This 4x4 beast isn't just a car its a gadget in a class by itself and that's why I thought I'd share it with you. Nissan claims that the Terranaut was designed for "scientists, geologists, archaeologists, and adventurers", but who wouldn't want to cruise around in this bad boy.

Follow the jump for more info and pictures.

The interior is certainly the most unique part about this car and sports a 360 degree swivel chair allowing the rear passenger to access a bevy of gadgets and accessories, who knows what they've packed in there. If that's not enough, there's a circular sunroof above the seat on which a huge screen is mounted and can swivel around the entirety of the back deck. I say 'deck' because it is just what Captain Picard and the rest of them from Star Trek: The Next Generation ordered.

But don't be envious if you're stuck in the front because the sleek interior and abundance of gadgets throughout the car will make cruising in this 4x4 enjoyable for all, even the driver. There is only one door on the front passenger side and two on the driver side which open like suicide doors.

The features don't stop on the outside either with a rear-mounted camera and satellite dish to allow you to communicate with the outside world without getting off your lazy ass. The rear of the car also sports what looks to be a specimen container which you can insert random things into and have the supercomputer in the back analyze for all sorts of things.

The polished sleek exterior and gadget-stuffed interior are going to make every want one of these. But you better start saving up now because this next-generation 4x4 surely won't be cheap. For now I'm content with just salivating over these gorgeous pictures ... wow!