Friday, September 30, 2005

Think of a multi-user video conferencing client . . .

. . .  that works over any sort of IM client.  Done thinking?  Check out WigiWigi.  Beta testers are saying that while it’s not ready for prime time, at a download size of 450K and an install and configuration time of about 30 seconds, the software is really cool.  WigiWigi will work over all IM clients such as Skype, AIM, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo, etc. and will be multi-user when complete.


iPod with WinAmp

Get it while it lasts — you can download the iPod plugin for WinAmp that will allow you to interact with all kinds of iPods in WinAmp.  Couple that with the iTunes Database Importer and the M4P Input Plugin, which together will allow library importation and playing of AAC (i.e., iTunes Music Store and Apple Lossless) encoded files.

Does anyone else think that there’s probably going to be a cease and desist letter and/or firmware “upgrade” from Apple to stop this?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Interesting analysis on TCO of Mac vs. PC

From a security perspective, this post details the Total Cost of Ownership of a Mac vs. a PC.

Blackberry tip

If you are trying to dial a number that is composed of letters (for example 830–TIXS, which is Ticketmaster in Colorado), simply hit the ALT key and enter in the actual letters; the Blackberry will automatically change the letters to the correct numbers for you.

Office 2003 SP2

If you use Office 2003, you should go to the Office Update site (make sure you use IE) where you will probably find that the site suggests you update to SP2 for Office 2003.

Second income

If you are married, sometimes it is more worthwhile to not have both husband and wife working because of the tax effect.  Here’s a simple calculator from MSN Money to help you do the analysis.

Why are gas prices so high?

Sure there are taxes (those of you in California have them listed out for you on the pumps), but really a lot of it is driven by speculation (i.e., buying and selling of futures).  Mark Cuban has a great post about the effect of futures trading on gas prices.

With oil and gas its different . There is a finite supply at any given point in time. The current and future availability of which can be impacted by any number of issues, from natural disasters to man made events. When enough speculators come in and start going long, it drives up prices not of a piece of paper, but of products whose pricing impacts me , you and everyone we know and don't know.

When a bunch of “momentum speculators” jump in trying to make money off the price movement and push up the price, everyone in this country is the loser with higher gas and oil prices.

Measure area on Google Maps

You can use the Google Planimeter to measure area between points you define on a map or satellite picture.

Damn cool.

Om Malik's 10 Mac Apps

Om Malik’s list of 10 essential OSX applications can be found right here; it’s a good place to start if you are just getting started with OSX.

So what are the auto manufacturers going to do after Oct. 3rd?

You should read this story on the Car Connection.

I’m holding out for 0% for 60 months from GM before I’m willing to look at anything and I just saw yesterday that Toyota is already running 0% for 60 months on 2005 4Runners, so I may not be too far off in my expectations.

We’ll see what happens.  I’m not sure that they are going to do anything starting next week, but you never know.


I can’t really tell if this is cool or not, but Rollyo allows you to create your own search engine.  Check it out and let me know what you think.


I stumbled across Webhuddle when looking into some other online meeting services.  Although I have not yet tried the service, here are some attractive points:

  • Java-based, which means it runs on any OS.
  • Client runs in the web browser and there do not seem to be any browser restrictions, meaning it probably runs fine on Firefox.
  • Thin client — it’s only 100K.
  • HTTPS — secure socket layer connections.
  • Includes VOIP support.
  • Built-in meeting recording.

There is not information on the site about pricing.

A new 7100 series Blackberry for T-Mobile

On Monday, according to this article on Collider, T-Mobile will release the Blackberry 7105.  Although I can’t tell any difference at all, apparently these are the new features:

  • Enhanced screen visibility
  • Larger send and end keys
  • Contoured keys

Doesn’t really seem like that much of an upgrade, but I don’t use one myself, so I guess I really can’t say.

Interesting that this coincides nicely with the rumored next week release of the Blackberry 7100i for Nextel/Sprint.

Broadcast video over iChat in real-time

Cool post on TUAW links through to this how-to guide on streaming video straight from a video camera to an iChat user.

Pretty interesting.

A Blackberry Connect client will finally hit the US

The Nokia 9300 will be carried by Cingular and be available in November, but the interesting functionality that this phone will have is a Blackberry Connect client.  Full details of the phone are available at this post on MobileWhack.  Essentially the 9300 is the remake of the old candybar communicator that you clamshell open to find a full keyboard and screen.  Cost from Cingular will be $299 with a 2–year contract and after a $50 MIR; users will be able to add the unlimited Blackberry data plan for $44.99 per month.

Does this mean that some of the other phones that have been promising Blackberry Connect for years will finally start releasing it to compete?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

It's a little hard to believe . . .

. . . but this guy has supposed screenshots of iTunes for Windows Mobile 5.0.

It would certainly be way cool if it’s not a hoax and may mean that Apple will be introducing various versions of iTunes that will run on different mobile platforms.  The author of the link above claims:

  • Full iTunes user interface
  • Successful copying of 1GB of music
  • Automatic library loading of any music inserted on a SD card

Sprint officially annonces i930

Although this was supposed to be out about 1 year ago, Sprint finally announced the i930 for the iDen (read “Nextel”) network.  Underwhemingly, the phone will run Windows Mobile 2003 SE instead of Windows Mobile 2005 and seems to be twice as thick as an i730.  On the cool side for international business people, the phone does allow international roaming on the 900/1800 GSM bands; no GSM roaming in America though.  Furthermore, the phone will allow GPRS data roaming in “. . .  areas where Sprint has international roaming agreements.”

Bunch of pictures of the RIM 8700 "Electron" series

Right over here at this post on Engadget.  Rumors have been flying that RIM would officially unveil this device today, but the source of the pictures on the Engadget site are not from RIM.  Here’s on of the pictures:

Still looks like a pocket calculator to me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bootable XP CD

If you are looking to build a bootable Windows XP CD, here are the full instructions.

Getting Media Player to play DVDs

I found the ultimate Codec pack and it works great; figured I’d pass this along.

Reuse your Windows activation files

From this digg, this post will tell you how to reuse your Windows Activation files.

Why would you need to do this?  Well, I would think of the following reasons:

  • You completely reformat and want to re-install everything from scratch.
  • You have to replace or upgrade your primary hard drive.
  • You hate having to go through the activation process for any of the 2 activities listed above.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Google's official toolbar for Firefox is out of beta

You can download it here.  Works and looks exactly like the bar for IE and includes PageRank (if you care about that).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Google Secure Access

What is exactly is this thing called "Google Secure Access"?  From the FAQ:

What is Google Secure Access?

Google Secure Access is a downloadable client application that allows users to establish a more secure WiFi connection.

Why would I want to download and install Google Secure Access?

Google Secure Access allows you to establish a more secure connection while using Google WiFi. By using Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted, preventing others from viewing the information you transmit.

Ok, so essentially Google Secure Access is a PC-only wireless internet connection utility.  The Secure Access software is free, but you may want to browse the privacy policy, especially after you read the following in the FAQ:

What sort of information does Google have access to?

If you choose to use Google Secure Access, your internet traffic will be encrypted and sent through Google's servers to the Internet. The data that is received will then be encrypted and sent back through our servers to your computer. Your privacy is important to us, we strongly encourage you to read our Privacy Policy to be fully informed about how your privacy is protected.


So with the locational information above, why am I posting about this?  Two reasons:

  1. Some of my readers are in the Bay Area.
  2. It’s interesting to showcase new Google technologies regardless of location restrictions as these technologies give us a glimpse into future Google technologies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

All this talk about razors . . .

. . . leads me to provide you with my recipe for the perfect shave.  Here goes:

  • Use a scrub on days when you do not shave.  I only shave every other day and sometimes do not shave at all on weekends.  Do not get any kind of scrub in your eyes — it hurts like hell.  Be sure to use a facial wash before you scrub — follow instructions below.  Also, soak your skin with warm water, apply the scrub with warm water, and rinse with cold water to close your pores  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Facial Scrub
  • Use a facial wash.  You need to use a wash before you scrub and before you shave.  Soak your skin with warm water, apply the wash with warm water, and rinse with warm water.  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Facial Wash.
  • Use an oil after washing, but before applying shaving cream.  Why?  Because it is direct lubrication for your skin and softens the hairs.  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Unscented Pre-Shave Oil.
  • Get a brush and cream that’s made for a brush.  Trust me on this one — if you’ve never tried a brush, it is worth the investment.  Soak the brush in hot water and gently dip it into the tub of brush cream.  A little bit of cream goes a long way.  Apply to your face with circular motions.  I start on my neck and work upwards to allow my neck to have the cream on it longer than the rest of my face.  Recommended products: The Art of Shaving Classic Badger Brush (hey, there’s lots of places that sell brushes, but you need to make sure it’s badger that is used for the hair — you can certainly find more expensive brushes) and The Art of Shaving Unscented Shaving Cream.
  • Use an alum block after you shave.  Wash all of the excess shaving cream off your face with cool water and apply the block over all over your shaved skin before drying your face.  If you’ve never tried this, trust me, it just works.  Recommended product: The Art of Shaving Alum Block (lots of places carry Alum blocks and they last a long time; just be sure to let them dry before you put them back in the plastic case).
  • Apply toner after the alum block.  Just splash it on your face after you’ve dried the water from the alum block.  Recommended product: Kiehl’s Clandula Alcohol-Free Toner (bet you thought it was going to be another The Art of Shaving product, didn’t you?)
  • Apply moisturizer.  Make sure it has a SPF of at least 15.  I do all of the rest of the things I have to do to get ready and then apply moisturizer last; essentially another 5–10 minutes.  Recommended product: Aramis Lab Series for Men Total Face Therapy SPF 15 (there are lots of moisturizers out there — you need to find the one that’s right for your skin).
  • Use a good razor that works for your skin.  I use a Mach 3 Turbo because of the coating on the blades.  Whatever you use, try never to shave against the grain.

A couple of other thoughts:

  • When I travel, I still use Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream because I do not travel with a brush.
  • I use the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado every day.
  • Anything that makes your skin break out you are allergic to and should stop using.  If you use higher-end products like those described above, you can get most of them at Nordstrom where they will accept a product for return if you get an allergic reaction.
  • Nordstrom is one of the few places you can find Kiehl’s besides the Kiehl’s website.
  • I get significantly longer life out of higher end products than I do out of supermarket products.  For example, I have an alum block that is 2.5 year old, shaving cream with the brush lasts me about 4–5 months, etc.

Everything above is my recipe for the perfect shave.  Your mileage may vary.  Note that although it may seem like it, none of the companies listed here have paid me any sort of promotional dollars to plug their products; I just like the products listed here and if I find something better, I’ll switch. 

Gillette Fusion

This article on MSNBC has an article about the new 5–blade razor announced by Gillette.  Here’s the picture from the article:

Do we really need a 5–blade razor?  I would have said that we never really needed a battery-powered 3–blade razor, but according to the article, the M3Power is “. . .  is now the world's top-selling razor. “

To get more information, I went to the Gillette site and selected the Fusion Tour.  It appears as though the Fusion and Fusion Power might both be released at the same time.  Ok here seem to be the benefits:

  • Blades are 30% closer than Mach 3 and the tight blades create a “shaving surface” that distributes force across all the blades — The first time I used a Mach 3, I cut my lip open because the blades were so sharp and tight, so if I actually try the Fusion, I’m going to be damn careful.  Also, I already have a hard time getting whiskers and shaving cream out from in between the blades of my Mach 3, so I don’t know that I am looking forward to tighter blades.
  • Enhanced lubricator strip — I live at high-altitude and my lubrications strips dry out in no time; I doubt that the “enhanced” means it doesn’t dry out quickly at high altitude, although I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
  • Flexible comfort guard — Don’t Mach 3s already have this?
  • Modern razor handle — Yes, I don’t want to get carpal tunnel from the several minutes that I spend shaving.
  • Precision trimmer blade on the back to trim sideburns, etc. — I am really worried about this as I have cut myself several times when grabbing my Mach 3 at home and especially when grabbing it out of my travel kit when I’m on the road.  Now, will this cause the Fusion to be classed as a weapon by the TSA?

I think that I’m just going to go buy a straight razor and strap from  Hell, I’m already using a brush, so I might as well go totally old school.  Of course, I don’t think they’ll let me bring a straight razor on a plane.

Another way to access Google Blog Search

You can also access Google Blog Search through, although I am not sure why you would want to.  In any event, if you use the Blogger search function and click through to a link, you will see a Google redirection to any link you click as it loads.

Google Blog Search is live

You can find it right here and it’s as fast as any other sort of Google search.  Here’s a hint:  If you want to see links to a blog (like a Technorati Cosmos search) simply type “link:” before the URL.  Every time I’ve tried this, it has worked quickly and easily, unlike Technorati these days.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


If you’re looking to notify services that your blog has been updated, Pingoat is a new site that notifies a dizzying number of different services — check it out.

Nextel service in the DTC

Ever since the Sprint/Nextel merger, Nextel service in the Denver Tech Center seems to have gone to crap.  In places where I used to have full service, I now don’t receive service at all.  Furthermore, there seem to be many more instances of my receiving a voicemail message without ever having had my phone ring.  The interesting part is that Sprint and Nextel do not use the same technologies, so it’s not as if Sprint took down a bunch of duplicated towers once the merger was complete.  I can now transfer service to Sprint with no Early Termination Fee (ETF), but am wondering whether the service is really better.

DTC is the primary place where I use my phone, but I also use it in downtown Denver, and I travel frequently to Dallas, Washington, San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, and some other major cities.  I am not out of contract with Nextel and would have to pay a ETF if I went with a carrier other than Sprint.

Any thoughts from anyone?

Washington travel

I was out in Washington over the weekend.  Unfortunately on Sunday morning there was a rock slide on the Sno Pass; I hadn’t been watching the news, so I didn’t hear about it.

I arrived at the Pass at about 10:30AM to find it was closed, but I heard it might open around 12PM.  When 12PM arrived, the new time for opening was 2PM, so I decided to take an alternate route through Wanatchee.  Unfortunately, a lot of other people decided to use the alternate route as well, so, long story short, I finally arrived at the Seattle airport around 8:30PM.  Because there were no flights out to Denver that night, I got on the 6AM flight yesterday.

Despite the inconvenience, Washington is a beautiful place to drive through.  If you ever get the chance to take the longer drive from Seattle out East and you have the time, I recommend taking the 405 to the 522 to the 2 and driving through Wanatchee — the drive is very scenic and all of the little towns along the way look like cool places to stop and/or camp.

One thing I found very interesting was that every little mom and pop gas station or store along the route I took had a drive-through espresso shack.  I guess Washington is the home to Starbucks and coffee is a way of life, it just sort of surprised me.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I can’t tell you the first time that I saw the term “auto-magically,” but I guarantee that first time was on someone’s blog.  Blogs are viral.  Everyone’s using the term now.  There are now more than 900,000 results for “auto-magically” with the hyphen and more than 900,000 results for the term “automagically” without the hyphen.

Why exactly does Apple need Motorola?

There’s tons of media around Sept. 7th’s anticipated announcement of the ROKR iTunes phone.  So here’s a question: Why couldn’t Apple just release an unlocked GSM iTunes phone that they had made by a company like HTC?  There certainly seems to be a little of fighting amongst the carriers about carrying a phone that potentially takes revenue from and over-the-air download model.  If Apple were to create a GSM iTunes phone that was unlocked (i.e., would take any GSM SIM card), they would at least have a phone that would work with Cingular and T-Mobile — Verizon and Sprint/Nextel might be harder due to the fact that they do not use SIM cards.  This, of course, would open the phone for use to many overseas carriers as many of those carriers use GSM technology.

The current model for cell phones is that the carriers subsidize the cost of the phone in return for a one or two year contract commitment that is enforced with an Early Termination Fee (ETF).  If Apple were to manufacture their own iTunes phones, they would have to bear in mind that the retail cost would be the retail cost to the consumer.

To take this a step further, if Apple were to take the time to sub the manufacturing of their own phone, it is not inconceivable that PIM functions in the phone could easily sync with OSX applications — easily synchronize your contact and calendar with the built-in applications in OSX.

Here’s the big limiting factor, Apple by itself or Apple with Motorola — the damn battery!  Every phone that I have ever used burns through a battery very quickly with heavy phone usage.  Probably the best phones that I have used are Nokias that can go several days in standby mode, but still do not last any longer than any other phones when actively talking.  How long is the battery really going to last on a phone that has an iTunes player built into it?  Batteries are, of course, what make phones heavy, so it’s a matter of the right performance/weight matrix.

Perhaps Apple should focus on software development for existing platforms.  What if Apple created iTunes that would run on Symbian, Windows Mobile (it could be the “best Windows Mobile application ever!”), Palm, and RIM?  Granted not every phone has flash memory or large built-in memory, but a software model might be a good play to drive people to the iTunes Music store.  Of course, this gets away from the hardware model, but might be the best play in the long run.

We’ll see what happens on Sept. 7th.

Who's There?

Seth Godin’s promised new e-book, Who’s There is available here and here.  What is it?  Well, it’s Seth’s incomplete guide to blogs and the new web.  More importantly is what this e-book is not.  From Seth’s post:

Who's There is not an ebook about how to write better or how to follow the traditional conventions about formatting and building a blog. It's not designed to sell you one service instead of another, either.

Instead, I divide the blog world into three groups and turn my attention to one. And in particular, I try to sell you hard on how building a blog asset can have a spectacular impact on you, your career, your organization and your ideas.

I promise this ebook is incomplete. I hope, though, that it encourages you to pay attention to some of the underlying forces at work online and off.

Read and share. 

Secure RSS

This article on Internet News provides information about a company called Reactivity that has hardware solutions to provide secure RSS feeds.

Imagine what you would send via RSS if you had a secure feed — the possibilities are endless.

24 marathon on A&E

I had never really gotten into watching the TV show 24, but I did watch all of the second season during the twenty four episode run on A&E.

This is a damn good television show; I will definitely be watching season 3 and plan on borrowing the DVDs for season 1 from one of my friends.

It is programs like these that do make me want TiVo — I could have recorded all 24 episodes this weekend and watched them at my leisure, including skipping the commercials, at my leisure.

TiVo cash rebate

TiVo is running a $150 cash rebate for all TiVo boxes.  Over the weekend, Amazon, a certified TiVo seller was selling the 40 hour TiVo box for $99, which meant that you could have received $50 in cash if you had purchased the box; unfortunately, just yesterday Amazon changed the price of the 40 hour box for $199, meaning that the net cost to you is a $40.

Now, in order to qualify for the $150 rebate you need to sign up for a one year commitment with TiVo at $12.99 per month or alternatively you can sign up for a “lifetime subscription” for $299 (note that “lifetime” refers to the lifetime of the piece of TiVo hardware — if you upgrade, the membership is not for your lifetime).

Something new is this page on TiVo that instantly gives you a $150 rebate is you pre-pay for a full year of TiVo service with the purchase of a TiVo box (note that the page I link to is for the 40 hour TiVo box with the one year pre-pay).

Here’s something important to note if you are going to get a TiVo box — you need one-time access to a land-based phone line for the initial TiVo installation.  This is especially important for someone like me that does not have a land-based phone at home.  Assuming that you can plug your box in at work, a neighbor’s house, etc. for a few hours, you can then purchase a USB ethernet adapter to plug in an ethernet cable or a USB-based wireless 802.11 receiver into your Series 2 TiVo box and receive all further updates in that manner.  As a side note to all this, there is this guide on configuring your TiVo from the start without a land based phone line, but obviously I haven’t tried it, so I have no idea if it works — based on research it seems like this works well with TiVo Series 2 boxes using the 4.0 software, but not necessarily for DirecTiVo boxes.

Why is TiVo doing this?  Both Dish and Comcast are pushing hard on their own brands of DVR services.  Additionally, DirecTV will be launching their own DVR service in October, which may significantly effect the number of TiVo subscribers, especially as the Comcast DVR, Dish DVR, and DirecTV DVR services all cost around $5.99 per month as compared to the $12.95 per month for TiVo.

This certainly makes TiVo more attractive to me from a price perspective, but I am still worried about of the monthly fees.  I’ll let you know if I decide to take the plunge.

First-hand accounts of New Orleans

If you are looking for information about what’s going on in New Orleans, check The Interdictor.  Be sure to check out the webcam that these guys are running at the top of the page — it shows a lot of activity going on in downtown New Orleans.

Ultimate Google search interface

Take a look at this — basically this interface lets you search everything on Google from a single interface.  Pretty cool.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Television Retardation

I just watched a Dateline special about Katrina. The reporter actually called someone trapped in their house to talk to them about being trapped. Of course, the person was talking on their cell phone and the connection dropped. It is unknown as to whether it was a signal issue or the battery died, and it was further unclear as to whether the person the reporter was talking to had power to recharge the cell phone battery. To add insult to injury, the reporter then called the Coast Guard hotline to ask about rescue for the person she had been talking to and was connected to a 911 operator that she proceeded to bombard with questions -- in other words, she monopolized the time of a 911 operator for a new story.

The whole 5 minute story made me sick. Want to really raise some money for relief? Charge the news stations that do stupid-ass stories like this for ratings.

Worried about your MPG?

In the face of rising gas prices, you may find that is a place to visit; if you already have a vehicle, you can check what you are supposed to be getting, but it’s probably more useful if you are looking at buying a new vehicle — yes, you might get a smoking deal on that Excursion with Family Pricing, but can you afford to drive it?

Knock Knock

In case you missed the free download of Seth Godin’s Knock Knock previously, you can download it free now from here, here, or here.  Here’s a tip: read the RSS instructions on the second page, Seth has promised to post the sequel this weekend.

Technorati cosmos search

For those of you that don’t know, a Technorati cosmos search shows blogs that are linking to a particular blog address.  I have posted recently about Technorati sucking, and so I was interested to see this post by Joy Ito that links through to this post by Dave Silfry with Technorati.  From Dave’s post:

The blogosphere has been growing at an explosive rate - Technorati is now indexing over 16 million blogs, with about 100,000 new blogs created every day. And there's over 1.4 Million new posts every day, and about 22% of those posts are from spam or fake blogs, which means that even after we pull out the spam and fake blogs from the indexes, we are dealing with about 1.2 Million posts each day.

We just weren't expecting that kind of sudden growth, both on the posting side and also on the search side, and frankly we didn't plan well enough to handle the load. We've been adding new machines to our datacenter, - over 400 now - and more coming each week, and we've been fixing bugs and making performance enhancements on the web site as well.

. . . Cosmos search (or URL search) is still being worked on, and is often timing out under the increased load. Unfortunately this is also one of the searches that bloggers find most compelling, as it helps you to all know who is linking to your blog, and it is the very first type of search that Technorati made available, so it is near and dear to our hearts. Everyone here also uses it every day, so it really sucks when it isn't working right.

Once we got our keyword search infrastructure back on track, our infrastructure team has been working 100% on fixing Cosmos search. Our current plan is to have Cosmos search back up and running by the end of September, and you'll see incremental improvement throughout the coming month. I'll keep you informed on progress of this critical project. As the project progresses throughout the month, you'll be able to see progress because you'll see fewer and fewer error messages when you do a URL search as September progresses.  

I guess I’ve been waiting this long for a Cosmos search that I can wait through September, but I do have to say that I haven’t had a cosmos search return results for the last 3 days.