Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crocs now has clothes

The company that makes the shoes that everyone loves to hate has come up with a way to leverage their foam resin technology in clothing.  The foam resin material will be combined with natural fibers and apparently will be breathable, sweat resistant, UV resistant, chemical resistant, and  not typical Croc qualities -- the name of the material is Croslite rt.  Croslite material is already used in the footbeds of some Crocs, so it's not a revolutionary leap, but rather an evolutionary leap.  I'll have to see if they're showcasing any of it at the CUB Boulder game on the 15th.



Perfect Pushup

perfect pushup

I ordered a set of Perfect Pushup devices to try them out and have been fairly impressed.  The included exercises are pretty basic -- normal arm width pushups, extended arm width pushups, and hand close together pushups -- and the idea behind Perfect Pushup is to promote a natural rotation in the pushup motion to reduce or eliminate muscle strains and muscle damage.

The first time I tried the devices, I couldn't really feel that much of a difference between using the devices and doing regular pushups until I stood up and could feel how I had worked my muscles much more effectively than with the normal pushup motion.  I've been using the devices for the past few days and it seems like I can add 5 or more pushups to my reps on a daily basis.  I don't buy into the whole "train like a Navy Seal" or the turn into a professional bodybuilder in 30 days bullshit, but the product seems to work very well.

Unfortunately the devices are bigger than they look, so they do not travel well, but, with that said, they are supposed to be releasing a travel edition soon:

perfect pushup travel

Assuming that the travel edition works as well as the home edition and is as low-profile as it appears in the picture above, it may join the resistance bands that I travel with as part of my "travel gym."


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Warning: you will be dumber after having watched this

Miss Teen USA 2007:


Here's the link if the embeded doesn't work. 


If only she had ended with: "San Dimas High School football rules!" 

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dim Sum for Sunday brunch

Maybe it's a coast thing -- growing up close enough to a large city with distinct ethnic centers that include a Chinatown; maybe it's my general addiction to potstickers and Chinese appetizers.  Probably it's a combination of both, but I've always been a huge fan of dim sum for Sunday brunch.

pork bao

If you don't know of a dim sum place in your town, you can check out CitySearch: just search for "dim sum" and you are likely to find some spots and reviews.  Traditional dim sum is served from carts that move throughout the restaurant.  In places like LA and San Francisco, the dining rooms resemble large hotel banquet facilities and the carts are constantly in motion; in smaller cities dim sum is sometimes only available on the weekends and the normal dining room is used.

I enjoy dim sum places that keep the items that are heavy on the oil in the kitchen and use the carts to distribute steamed and cold items; there are places that will actually finish potstickers and the like in portable fryer carts, but you wind up smelling like, well, a portable fryer cart when you leave.  Further, I enjoy dim sum places that have picture-based "decoders" of all the food available.  We went with some friends to a dim sum place in LA where the waiter was trying to serve us what sh termed "beef inside" -- turns out it was beef (read "cow") insides (read "intestines").

Most dim sum restaurants use a system of stamps to keep track of your consumption and generally different items are grouped into different price "buckets"; the cart servers and waiters all carry stamps and stamp the appropriate bucket each time you get a plate.  One dim sum place I used to go to in San Francisco simply color-coded the plates and counted the stack when you were done, but that does not seem to common around the country.

I do enjoy the dim sum with a Tsing Dao (it is actually pronounced "ching dao"), especially in those mornings where I'm recovering from the night before.  Traditional dim sum restaurants will include unlimited water and hot tea with dim sum service, but be careful with the tea if nothing indicates that it is bottomless.

In South Denver try the Palace Chinese Restaurant for dim sum on Saturdays starting at 11AM; if you get there right when the doors open, you can generally avoid the crunch.  I always recommend:

  • Potstickers

  • Shrimp dumplings (steamed; sometimes referred to as "shrimp shumai")

  • Pork shumai

  • Chive shrimp dumplings

  • Steamed pork bao

  • Shrimp rice crepes (these are called a multitude of things, but essentially consist of large, thin rice noodles wrapped around shrimp and covered in a light soy-based broth)

  • Foil wrapped chicken (unfortunately not available at the Palace, but a staple at dim sum places on the coasts)

Learn more about dim sum via the Wikipedia link below.


Friday, August 24, 2007

If you are a one-man business and want Blackberry service, it's free if you're running a server

BES express

Let me clarify the title a little bit: if you're a one-man show that happens to be running a Windows Server box with Exchange, RIM actually will give you Blackberry Enterprise Server Express edition that includes a single user seat at no charge.  Even better, you get full installation support from RIM as if you had spent big money on the product.

What would be interesting would be if the Blackberry server could connect to some sort of "light" version of Exchange that could run on Windows Home Server.


RIM makes a move that involves software, not a new device


It's called "Blackberry Home Server" and it seeks to give you access to files that you store at RIMs network operations center (NOC).  The user installs software on their computer and that software allows the user to access a file storage area set up at RIMs NOC -- think about being able to load up MP3s at home and access them via a server sync on your Blackberry and you'll begin to get the picture.

Although details are not complete, there are a few things that I want to comment on:

  • Software client required.  Really?  Just make it web-accessible and license or copy's little Java applet that lets you drag and drop files onto the server.

  • Storage space.  I'm guessing there's a cap and, therefore, probably a revenue model in there for buying additional storage.  Hopefully RIM will offer 1GB or more for free, but there's no mention made of storage size (yet).

  • Hooks into online PIMs.  Imagine if you could configure the RIM service to sync your contacts with Gmail and your calendar with Gcal over the air in real time, just like Blackberry Enterprise Server does with Exchange.  If you were an Outlook user, have the RIM service link up with Plaxo to sync everything in real time.  I suppose that RIM could develop a proprietary service, but I'm guessing that if they did an exclusive deal with Google or Yahoo!, the exclusive service would see a measurable jump in users and would be amazing functionality to products like Google Apps.  Note that nowhere does it say the RIM service won't support this, so it's entirely possible this functionality will exist out of the box.

I was going to post a screen grab that's been floating around with stories about Blackberry Home Server, but I looked at it hard and it's got a Roxio logo, so unless Roxio built this for RIM, I'm guessing that the screen grab is plain wrong.

Oh, and how long do you think it will take Apple to get .Mac fired up to perform similar functionality for the iPhone?

Link -- Globe and Mail

Wednesday, August 22, 2007



Ever looked for an open source alternative to MS Project?  Perhaps something with similar MS Project functionality for the Mac?  Search no longer -- OpenProj is a multi-platform, open source alternative to MS Project.  Yes, that means it is free.

I'm sold.


Bucket Explorer

If you are an Amazon S3 user (or want to be), Bucket Explorer is worth taking a look at.  Unfortunately it's only currently available for Linux and Windows (what, no Mac port?!), but it's free until the end of the year and if you provide feedback, they might send you a free license key.  Until the Mac version comes out, I'll stick with JungleDisk .




Vlingo's whole goal is to allow you to interact with you mobile phone using your voice.  Essentially vlingo works to translate your word into text and they are showcasing the technology in an application called "vlingo FIND ," which is a local business search and mapping service.  Unfortunately the vlingo FIND application is not available for at&t (not sure why it's a carrier thing), so I'm currently unable to test it.

I'll follow up on this when and if it's available for my carrier and phone.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Refurb iPhones on Apple's refurb site

Although it doesn't say, I'm sure you probably get locked into the same pricing plans with ATT if you purchase a refurb, but if you're looking to hack one up to not work on ATT, it's probably worth saving $100.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

D-Link DIR-450

While from the outside it seems like a regular wireless router, the D-Link DIR-450 is a router that gets it WAN connection from either a EVDO PCI card or EVDO USB dongle (the DIR-451 handles the GSM/HSDPA side of the world).  I've had the occasion to use 2 of these devices quite extensively and have to say that I am very impressed with their performance and ease of set-up.

dir 450

I was actually able to pick one of these devices up at a CompUSA for $99 vs. the normal retail price of $199, but even at around $200, the device is well worth the price to be able to share a single card connection among multiple machines, especially if you have desktop machines without PCI slots.

One of the things that held true with both boxes that I used was that they had very old firmware; considering the fact that I bought each box in a different state, I would have to guess that this is a global issue until the stock turns over.  My advice: before you do anything else, update the firmware from the D-Link site (I downloaded the firmware update on a thumb drive at the office so that I could do the update in the field).  Be sure to let the firmware update fully complete (takes about 15-20 minutes) because if you interrupt it, you will fry the box, which I found out the hard way -- it is done when the box fully reboots and all lights on the front go blue.

Once the firmware has updated, the setup wizard included with the box is pretty intuitive.  Unlike other routers, there is a user mode and an Admin mode -- the user mode allows a user to log in and reconnect the card to the network via a web interface, while the admin mode allows full configuration of the box.  The setup wizard makes you set up the admin password, and I suggest that you do so, but leaves the user account password blank, which I found to be a fine solution.

I configured a CBeyond card, which is Sprint service resold by CBeyond (when you configure for CBeyond, you actually select the appropriate card model as a Sprint card) -- the CBeyond card requires a WAN username and password to connect to the network, which CBeyond was happy to give to me; there is also a WAN server address input field that should be left blank.  The other box I configured with a Verizon card -- Verizon requires no username or password, so I assume that the service is locked to the card or that they information they need is hard-coded to the card. 

It takes the box 3-5 minutes to reboot and establish a connection through the card once all the configuration is complete.  The box serves up access to clients with either 802.11a/b/g and/or 4 10/100 ports on the back.  Another good reason to run the firmware update is that WPA2 is not enabled until you run the update.

The CBeyond card was a EVDOrevA card running in a revA city, and was noticeably faster than the Verizon card, which was not revA.  Obviously the speed of the card providing access to the WAN is the limiting factor, but doing basic e-mail and Citrix work over both connections was acceptable.

Both cards seemed to time out after certain periods of time and lose their connection to the WAN, and there are 2 methods to fix this:

  1. Pull the power cord out and reboot the router, which will force the card to reconnect.

  2. Go into the web interface as either a user or admin and use the software to click the connection button to reconnect to the WAN.

The first method is by far the easiest for non-technical users, but the second method doesn't take down the entire network if the D-Link is the only router and switch in use for the LAN.


How do you get your political news?

man of the yearbill maher

I'm not ashamed to admit that, just as they state about a lot of America in Man of the Year , I get a lot of mine from Bill Maher.

Link -- Bill Maher 

Friday, August 10, 2007

ExpressJet is flying out of Colorado Springs

ExpressJetCurrently they seem to only support flying from Colorado Springs to San Diego, Ontario, and Sacramento, but I'm hoping that they'll add more destinations soon.  To give you a comparison, I just ran a search on flying out of Colorado Springs and into San Diego, departing today and coming back on Saturday -- total cost on Express Jet is $244 each way, or approximately $488.  On United the same flight configuration is $688.

I'll be keeping an eye on ExpressJet's expansion in the Denver area.


Buying additional Google Account/Gmail Storage

google accounts

Google announced buy-up plans for additional storage for Google Accounts -- this probably most specifically applies to people that have maxed out their Gmail account, but shows that Google's potential overall future strategy is simply to provide a certain amount of free storage shared between all services; this may be especially relevant if Google ever unveils a hosted storage solution.

Here are the pricing plan options:

  • 6gb for $20 per year

  • 25gb for $75 per year

  • 100gb for $250 per year

  • 250gb for $500 per year

Some bloggers are comparing this to Yahoo's promise of unlimited e-mail storage and are less than pleased, but if you consider this as more than just an e-mail offering, it does make sense.  Further, bear in mind that Google currently provides almost 3gb of storage space for free, which is 2gb or more bigger than what many file storage sites provide for their free accounts.