Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Great Tablet PC site

What is new in the Tablet PC ecosystem? is a great site that I stumbled on over the weekend and wanted to share. The articles focus on Tablet PC's, which I think have a strong future. Tablets got off to a rocky start two years ago, but recent upgrades to the Tablet PC operating system as well as some better hardware are contributing to the Tablet market increase. It's still not scratching a dent in the laptop market, but if you are mobile computer user, you have to consider a tablet. If you are not a mobile computer user, guess what: I think you will be within the next few years; more on that in later posts.

For now, be sure to give "What is new" a look. I've added to my links section on this page and the site does support RSS subscriptions.


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MS Money for PPC

Microsoft has published the PocketPC companion to their popular MS Money 2005 software. If you have a PocketPC or Windows Mobile device and you use MS Money for your finances, take a look at this free download.

It's extremely useful to always have all of your financial information available at the touch of a button when you're on the go. With the PPC version of MSMoney, you can do just that. The PPC version will automatically synchronize with your accounts on your laptop or desktop running MS Money. I've stopped carrying checkbooks and rarely carry cash these days. Just a credit card or two and my Windows Mobile device running MS Money is all I need to know exactly how much money I have and where I have it. If I'm out on the town and pay for something, I just enter the transaction on my mobile device and it will automatically synch that transaction to my home computer the next time I attache the device. I can even glance at my investments and retirement accounts. MS Money is one of the best Microsoft developed applications for the Pocket PC based on the ease of use and importance to useful functionality.

MS Money 2005 for PPC is a 1.5MB download and requires 500KB of free space on your Pocket PC 2002/2003 device. To get the free download, just click on the post title. Let me know when you've made your first million by managing your money using MS Money; and don't be shy about sharing the wealth! ;>)


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Monday, November 29, 2004

Change in eBook: Left Behind

It's been a quick 10 days and I've devoured "Morgawr" from Terry Brooks. Terry continues this story in a new series, but only two of the books are out, so I think I'll give him a chance to catch up to me and write a few more novels. Today I picked up an eBook that I've read a few times before, but now the entire series of 12 books is available; the "Left Behind" series from Tim LaHaye and Jerry P. Jenkins. Tim is a novelist while Jerry is both a biblical expert and prophetic scholar according to LeftBehind.com. I'll say right up front that I'm not what you would call a formally spiritual person. However, this series is a very intriguing fictional piece based on the final chapters of the Bible and how they might apply to today's world.. What's amazing is that to someone like me (again someone who doesn't formally practice religion on a regular basis), this story really makes you think. It makes you question. It pulls you right in to the point where you can't put the book down. In short, it's both a very enjoyable read and a thought provoking experience, even if you don't have a religious bone in your body. For what it's worth, click the post title to view excerpts of the series and see what you think. Then check back in here and share your thoughts.


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DDD (11/29) - Test your geography skills

Here's a fun way to enhance your geography skills as well as represent your country or state. GeographyOlympics.com has entertained over 300,000 people from 179 countries since it launched two years ago. Here's how it works: Pick the country you represent. If you reside in the United States, you also indicate which state you live in. You are given 200 seconds and the names of 10 countries. Your mission: match each country name with the correct country on a map of the world in the given time frame. Sounds easy, but it's not! My best score so far is only a measly 5 out of 10, which is only just above average. In fact, I brought the US and Pennsylvania average down by a little bit; the site calculates with country and states really know their geography.
The site has recently received much world press, so you may experience some errors due to the high server demand. Click this post title and give it a try!


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IE market share continues drop

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the release of Mozilla's open source browser, Firefox. Short of a few key sites that don't display quite right for me, I've dumped Internet Explorer and any browsers built on IE. Firefox simply has more functionality, is less prone to virus or other attacks and allows for add-ons such as extensions and themes. Using my web stat counting service, I pulled this interesting graph up this morning:



It looks to me like the Interet Explorer folks should be worried, if they aren't already. eWeek reported last week that IE continues to lose market share: "Global usage share numbers released Monday by OneStat.com showed Mozilla Foundation browsers increasing to a 7.4 percent share from 2.1 percent in May. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer dropped 5 percentage points to 88.9 percent during the same six-month period."


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Where did everyone go?

Wow, what a holiday weekend; and most of it without my DSL connection! I've had sporadic service and even 48 full hours with no DSL service which has brought the "digital world" to a grinding halt. It appears that we're back on-line, so once I get caught up on e-mail & the "real world", I'll be back here with my random musings; probably later today.


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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Potential Cybook review (updated)

I'm negotiating with the fine folks over at Bookeen in France to get a demo unit of the Bookeen Cybook.


The Cybook is an eBook reader with a 10" diagonal display capable of 800 x 600 resolution at 100 dpi. This handheld hardware can display various eBook formats:
"
The Cybook is the world's first true open multi-format e-book reader; it supports many e-book formats like PRC, PDB, HTML, RTF and TXT. No more printing, with the Cybook you can read all the digital documents you want."


You download your digital content onto the Cybook using the included USB sync cable or the built in 56k modem. The Cybook is also capable of web surfing, e-mail, playing MP3's and editing Word or Excel documents. The unit is currently priced at $738. To puchase the Cybook from Bookeen, click the post title. I'll be sure to update this site once I have final word that a demo unit is on the way.

UPDATE: It's official. I have a demo unit on it's way and will have the opportunity to use it until mid-January. Thank you Bookeen, I'm looking forward to it!


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Initial dislikes of the Axim X50v

I usually start my product thoughts and reviews with the positives, but this time I think I'll reverse that. There are a tremendous number of positives to cover on my new Dell Axim X50v, so I'll be sure to make up for these few negative impressions.



1. While the 3.7" VGA display is crisp and clear, I'm not impressed with how hard I have to tap the screen for input. It appears that I have to put some minor force into my taps; I'll be searching the web for others to confirm or deny.
2. The screen is very shiny and reflective, more than I've seen on other PDA's. However, a matte finish screen protector will certainly help.
3. There is no divider between the SD card slot and the CF card slot, which makes it all to easy to miss the slot. Since the slots are so close, I also find it difficult to push the SC card so that the internal spring release will pop the card out.
4. I'm used to having more RAM than flash ROM. The Dell features 64MB of RAM and 128MB of ROM. I'm considering the use of the flash ROM for all of my program installation.
5. This one is totally nitpicky. When I had a Dell Axim X5, the cradle glowed blue when the unit was synching. Dell carried this on with the X3 and X30 models, but dropped it on the X50; an aesthectic design loss.

These are my first impressions after only a day with the unit. Of course, I will give the unit equal time on the positive side. So far I'm very happy with my purchase however, I wanted to present a few "gotcha's" right up front. Stay tuned!


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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Dell X50v has arrived!

Way to go, Dell! I took advantage of the one day deal on the X50v one week ago and sure enough, Mr. UPS delivered it today! As I indicated last week, this new handheld is calling for a new approach in how I manage it's configuration. It's all too easy to just install trial program after trial program only to find that you've used up your precious memory. And then there's the burning question of "Uh, oh; when was the last time I did a backup?" every so often. Sure, you can just re-sync your Outlook data, but what about all of those eReader books, software unlock codes and fun Today screen plug ins?

I've been in the IT industry for 10 years now, and it's about time to take some of those business lessons learned and apply them to the home computing environment. I think I'll start with the Dell Axim and see how it goes. If that works, then perhaps it's worth applying to the rest of the home network like the wireless router, the desktop, the laptop, etc.... My simple (but hopefully effective approach is shown here in Excel. Just some basic configuration management logs with the information I need to fully understand what I've done to my hardware!




More to follow on the new Dell as we get acquainted....I hope my Toshiba e805 doesn't get TOO jealous!


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Monday, November 22, 2004

Podcasts through Firefox

I've previously written about Podcasts and various software that pulls podcasts; podcatchers I call them. Podcatching software is great if you have a digital media player or Windows Mobile device to synch them to. If you don't have one of those however, there are other alternatives thanks to the new Firefox browser and a great extension called Sage. Sage is another implemenation of an RSS feed reader that is integrated into the Firefox web browser. On a whim, I decided today to try and add a podcast feed into Sage to see if it would let me pull the content. Sure enough, it did!

All you need to get "podcasts on demand" is:
1. Mozilla's Firefox 1.0
2. The Sage extension




Sage will open in the left pane once you have the extension installed. To use it, just right click in the Sage frame and choose New Bookmark. Enter the URL of the Podcast feed in the Location field and click OK. Sage will find the RSS feed name for you. Once you have podcast feeds set up, you will see a listing of the available podcasts in the bottom frame (see photo above). In the main Firefox browser window you will get a brief summary of the feed's contents if the podcaster has set up the feed with the details. This comes in VERY handy so you can pick and choose which podcasts you want to listen to based on the content descriptions. To listen the podcast, just click on the podcast title of your choice! This is a great way to listen to podcasts on demand whereever you have an internet connection and speakers.


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Sunday, November 21, 2004

KCT's Digital World in Pics #2

I had the opportunity to take my son to an Alpaca farm today, which was a great experience. Alpacas are very docile animals and are bred for their warm coats which can be made into sweaters, socks and more. Although I took several pics of the alpacas, this pic of a cat watching over us all from the shadowy barn window is the "window into my digital world today".



I'll have a follow up picture that focuses more on the window and cat soon; it will be a black and white digital composition. Enjoy.


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Friday, November 19, 2004

KCT: "International Man of Mystery"?

I've recently switched the web statistic service I use for this site for a couple of reasons that I won't go into here. One of the interesting features of the new service, StatCounter, is the many graphs of information that are provided. For those unfamiliar with web statistics, a service provider gathers basic information by all web site vistors. The webmaster can then review the statistics in order to target the appropriate content and design to various visitors. For example, if I see that most people view this site in 800 x 600 resolution, I'll know that my digital pictures don't need to be any bigger than that; it would be a waste of file space and isn't effective for people to download any more of a image than they can view.



I particularly like the statistics that tell me what country my visitors are from. As you can see in the graph above, 70% are from the United States, which is where I'm based. However, 30% clearly come from elsewhere, which underscores the vast reach of the Digital World. From time to time, I'll share interesting statistics like this. If you have any questions about what types of information available, drop me a note!


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Final novel in "The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara" series

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that downloaded the eBook "Antrax"...oh wait...it was. Well, I've plowed through that Terry Brooks novel and grabbed the final one in this trilogy today from eReader. It took me 15 days to read "Antrax", which got me thinking: do I actually read more often now that I solely read eBooks?

I think I do read more often, and I'm not counting any on-line reading of web sites, blogs and the like. Since I take my Toshiba e805 with me everywhere I go, I literally have an entire library with me at my side. To give you an idea of how many books I could "carry" with me, I have a 256MB Compact Flash storage card. Currently, you can pick up a card like for roughly $20. Each of my eBooks is approximately 5ooKB, so in theory, I could store about 500 books on the card. This type of convenience is crucial to finding time to read; even if it's just 5 minutes here and there. If you're not familiar with eBooks, I suggest taking a peek at the eReader site. You can download their free Reader software and even some free books to see if you like the format.

On a related sidenote, I sent an e-mail to the French company, Bookeen, today. Bookeen manufactures the Cybook, which is a standalone eBook device that is capable of reading various eBook formats. I've indicated to the Bookeen folks that I write for various websites and I'm also an extremely avid eBook reader. I've asked if they have a returnable demo unit of their Cybook so that I can review it for other eBook advocates.

Are there any other eBook fanatics out there? Let me know if eBooks allow you to read more or if you think you'll stick with good ol' print books!


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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Another new e-book, "HTML: The Complete Reference

I've added another new e-book to my bookshelf: "HTML: The Complete Reference". It's abundantly clear that content on the web will drive the future. My thought is that I might as well know more than "just enough to be dangerous" and the reviews on Amazon for this book looked good overall. This book is available in electronic format for Adobe Acrobat Reader, so I have to read this on my laptop as opposed to my handheld. Probably not a bad thing because a technical book with code snippets is better on the big screen.
If I read anything I really like or dislike on this book, I'll be sure to post. If you're interested in the book, click on the picture of the book's cover in my "E-book(s) I'm currently reading" section.


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Firefox is great, so let's try Thunderbird!

Last week, I decided to dump Internet Explorer and try Firefox 1.0 from Mozilla. In case you missed it, Firefox is a free open source alternative to Microsoft's web browser. So far, I've been completely impressed with Firefox. I've always liked multi-tab browsing and the browser does support that. I particularly like the RSS integration as well as the way you can easily add on new functionality in the form of "extensions". I won't even mention the fact that with 93% of the web browsing market, Internet Explorer is lined up in the sights of every would be hacker...oops, I mentioned it. In any case, since I've had such a great time with Firefox, I decided to take the same plunge with Thunderbird. According to Mozilla:

"Thunderbird 0.9 is Mozilla's next generation e-mail client. Thunderbird makes emailing safer, faster, and easier than ever before with the industry's best implementations of features such as intelligent spam filters, a built-in spell checker, extension support, and much more."

As of today, Thunderbird has taken the place of Microsoft Outlook on my desktop for a trial basis. I plan to use it over the next few weeks, post my comments and then make a decision on sticking with it or going back to Outlook. More to follow....click the post title if you're interested in Thunderbird now.


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A new handheld calls for a new approach

With 12 minutes to spare, I pulled the trigger on a great deal from Dell today. I was able to purchase their current top of the line handheld, the Axim X50v at 30% off. This means I'll be holding an official going away party for my Toshiba e805; it's just been so good to me....more than I deserve! I spent $599 on the Toshiba back in February of this year and have never regretted it. The Tosh was the first VGA capable device on the market and I believe that fact has driven some of the other manufacturers like HP and Dell to create their own VGA devices. Over the upcoming week, I plan to post some lessons learned from using my Tosh. I hope this will avoid some of the minor issues I had with the device; all of which were my own undoing. In the meantime, a similar article is available now at PocketPC Magazine; click the post title for the article. In this article, PPCMag editor Rich Hall writes up "10 Ways to Make a Good Thing Better":
"Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones are designed to be self-sufficient devices with all the basics built in and ready to go, but no single Pocket PC can be everything to everybody. Fortunately, independent developers have worked hard to create hardware and software products that help you customize your Windows Mobile device and turn it into a truly "personal" digital assistant. This article looks at some of these solutions. We've organized it not by individual products (there are far more than ten) but by topics: the 10 ways you might want to improve your Windows Mobile device. Then we list some "no cost" and (relatively) "low cost" hardware and software you can use to accomplish this. I couldn't resist adding a few tips to some of the sections."


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DDD (11/16) - Track an airplane in flight

One the best aspects of a digital world is accessibility of information. Some of it is useless of course, and too much of it is equally ineffective. Having access to just what you need however, is where the power of the digital world comes in. Have you ever expected family or friends to fly in for a visit and wonder exactly where they are? You can do just that with a number of flight trackers on the web.


This example is from CheapTickets.com; to access their flight tracker just click on the post title. You can see the speed of the plane, the altitude and more. This information could be used for foul play (or worse), so you're actually not getting the EXACT information. This "exactness" of readily available information is certainly a concern; the wrong people with the right technical skills can get more information than most of us would want. However, you can get a very good idea of where your favorite travelers are and where they are headed with a flew clicks in the digital world.


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KCT's Digital World in Pics

As a new feature to the Digital World that I share, I'm adding random digital photos. The thumbnail will be the normal, small size in order to speed up load times, but the archived photos will be available in 1024 x 786 pixels. If you like what you see, don't hesitate to take it for your personal use. Donations are always nice, but not necessary....guess I have to add a PayPal button! ;>)
Some photos will be black & white, while some will be full color; just some random and interesting shots of KCT's Digital World.


111604KCT = Sun & Clouds

This morning's sky in southeastern PA was worth sharing. The sun looked like it was building momentum to rise above the line of clouds in a fight it will invariably win.


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Monday, November 15, 2004

Minor Blog update; addition of SETI stats

I've added another new link on this blog to show my SETI stats. What is SETI, you ask? SETI stands for the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence and although it's a project run out of UCal Berkeley, I think my local electric company has a stake in it; I leave my PC's running 7x24 because of SETI!

SETI basically is a distributed computing project that chops up radio telescope data and sends small packets of that data for hundreds of thousands of PC's to process. The PC's then send the results back where they are re-assembled and a new packet is sent. I'm currently close to being in the top 1% of all packet crunchers. SETI has over 5 million members so basically, that tells me that I've used more electricity that 99% of the other participants! If you would like to donate some of your PC time to SETI, click the post title.


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Does Microsoft tip hand for future SPOT Watch channels?

Apparently, Microsoft doesn't like me. I've been one of the biggest evangelists for the SPOT Watch platform, but the only conversation they have with me has to do with my account billing. According to SPOTStop, a SPOT Watch enthusiast site, Microsoft has sent a survey asking about potential new features. I never got one, but the questions are sure interesting. Here's a sampling of a few items that Microsoft polls for interest:

"Watch Face Builder: Create your own watch faces on your PC and then put them on your watch"
KCT: It would be fun at first, but hey, we're talking about the time here. You can only do so much.

"TV Schedule: Daily TV schedule, alerts for TV specials, and reminders for your favorite shows"
KCT: Bah...been there done that. Check out my tutorial at
PocketPCTools.

"Multi-Player Games: Play interactive games with other Smart Watch users within close range."
KCT: Sounds like fun but I'm near Philadelphia and the closest SPOT user I know is near Boston!

"Don't wait for broadcast updates. Download your MSN Direct content from your PC using a USB connection"
KCT: Why am I paying $60 per year to get the FM signal updates again???

"Download a watch face that displays abbreviated content from up to three MSN Direct channels, in addition to date and time. For example you could view the time, your company's stock quote, tonight's weather forecast and your next calendar appointment all on the same screen"
KCT: My eyes are bad enough; I wouldn't go any smaller on the watch face that we already have.

All kidding aside, while I'm not on the edge of my seat for any of these features, the SPOT concept is truly a good one. There was even one or two questions asking about receiving RSS feeds through the SPOT Watch, but again, they were through a direct connection to the PC; not via the FM broadcast. Although I didn't get this survey, this does show that Microsoft is committed to extending the SPOT platform towards consumer preferences. OK, I have to go check my e-mail....that survey HAS to be sitting in my Inbox by now! ;>)


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jkOnTheRun voted 6th best independent tech blog!

A well deserved congratulations for my good friend James Kendrick; his 6 month old blog was not only nominated for the top 10 independent blogs by TechWeb, but ended up 6th in the voting! This is an outstanding accomplishment and if you're not already visiting his blog daily (or several times a day!), then you are missing out!

jk provides mobile insight to technology that's not difficult to understand. He routinely places a personal emphasis on the topics at hand so that many can relate. I highly recommend his blog and make it a point not to miss a single post! Congratulations James!


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DDD (11/15) - Extend an MP3 player (1 of 3)

Whether you own an iPod, a MuVo, a Yepp or a Dell DJ (like me!), you can extend an digital audio player beyond the headphones that came with it. Starting today, I'll show you three ways to share your mega-music collection with others. The first way is by a simple hook up to a stereo receiver that you probably already own.



For $6 or less at your local RadioShack you can purchase what's called a "Y-adapter". I show it next to my Dell DJ in the photo. The bottom end fits into your headphone jack, while the other two ends connect to RCA jack wires that are attached to your stereo inputs. One is for the left channel and one is for the right channel. For a small price, you can connect and play your entire digital audio collection through your more powerful stereo component.
Click the post title for a link to the part you need from RadioShack.


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Thursday, November 11, 2004

DDD (11/11) - Put useful widgets on your desktop

Three days ago, Konfabulator was released for the Windows platform. Konfabulator is a JavaScript runtime engine that provides small useful applets. You can configure and create your own applets if you know a little XML and JavaScript. So what's a widget? Widgets are small applications that have a very specific purpose. In the screenshot below you can see two widgets that I've added to my desktop; one is my local weather and one is a calendar.



There are literally hundreds of widgets available once you've installed Konfabulator, ranging from clocks to stock tickets to RSS headline feeds. The install package is approximately 8.1MB and runs on Windows 2000 or Windows XP. It's a simple install and even easier to add or configure widgets. What was once only available for the Mac is now on the Windows platform, so pull the free download and see what you think! There is also a 142 page reference manual in Adobe Acrobat that explains how to create widgets, so be creative and hone your programming skills.
Click the post title for more information on Konfabulator.


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

More Pocket PC's sold than Palms!

For the first time ever, more Pocket PC devices were sold than Palm devices in a given quarter according to Brighthand today. Palm actually started the handheld revolution with the introduction of their Palm Pilot 1000 back in 1996, a time when Palm was owned by U.S. Robotics. The device had a whopping 128KB of RAM. Today, the average Pocket PC has roughly 64MB of RAM as a comparison!
It's been a long ride since 1996; Microsoft offered Windows CE 1.0 to the handheld market and 6 manufacturers built devices to support it; the HP hx300LX and the Philips Velo 1.0 were the first available CE devices. Ever since then, Palm has enjoyed a majority of the market share for handhelds, but Microsoft devices have slowly closed the gaps.

In my opinion, there are several reasons that Microsoft powered devices will eventually overtake Palm and other devices in the market:
1. Microsoft has capitalized on their dominance in the Office productivity software area by allowing their devices to easily support and synchronize with e-mail, word processors, spreadsheets and more.
2. Microsoft has embraced audio and visual media playback as a staple of the handheld device.
3. VGA support (640x480) is supported by the Windows Mobile operating system alone.

Click the post title for the full story as reported by Brighthand.


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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Firefox 1.0 released

Mozilla Firefox 1.0 was released today as an alternative to Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. I've previewed this web client for about a month and I'm nothing short of impressed. I had previously stopped using IE in lieu of AvantBrowser but as of today, I'm making the switch to Firefox.



There are tons of great functions in Firefox, but I'd like to focus on one specifically because I think the developers really understand where the web is headed; RSS & XML. Firefox integrates RSS subscriptions right into the browswer as shown in the screenshot above. On the left side you can see that I've subscribed to JKOnTheRun as well as my blog. The headlines appear in the left frame and you can have one (or all) of them open up in the browser; one tab for each headline story. This can save tons of time when scanning through headlines for those of interest. By integrating this right into the browser, you can quickly find feeds that are of interest and a quick click opens the full web page.
Firefox is a 4.5 MB download and well worth it the FREE price. Since IE appears to be the focus of so many attacks and viruses, I'm going with a more functional browser: Firefox! Click the post title to get Firefox.


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Halo 2 has arrived & it's kicking my butt!

Halo2, successor to the best selling title for XBox arrived in stores today. I've spent about 30 minutes with it so far and it's incredible. I'm actually stuck at one particular point, but it doesn't help that my neighbor set the game up on "Legendary", which is the hardest way to play. This title was definitely worth the wait and I applaud Bungie for taking the time to do this right; even if it meant months of delays.

I haven't tried this on my XBox Live! account just yet but the potential for new Live! subscribers is just what Microsoft is hoping for. I've heard accounts that this game had sold 1.5 million copies in pre-orders and by dawn this morning, another 200,000 copies were sold. Microsoft has finally put out a game that will increase their Live! subscriber base. At a cost of $59 per year, Microsoft has found another way to bring in subscription dollars on a recurring basis. I give them $60 for my Live! account and another $60 for my SPOT Watch content. The business model is clear; control the content and make tons of cash....


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Monday, November 08, 2004

DDD (11/8) - Get a SmartPhone AND $25

The Audiovox SMT5600 SmartPhone is out and available for AT&T Wireless (which is now Cingular) customers. Normally, this phone is over $300, but as a new customer with rebates, you can actually get this phone AND $25 in your pocket after rebates!

This is a next generation SmartPhone which means that in addition to GSM cellular service, this phone also has Windows Mobile functionality! You can use it to keep your Contacts, get e-mail in Outlook, listen to music with Windows Media Player 10 and much more. This phone also has Bluetooth wireless functions built in so you can use a Bluetooth headset to talk hands free. Oh, and did I mention the built in VGA camera? The list of features goes on and on, so I'll stop here. For a review on the phone, see the Windows Mobile site. For this awesome deal, click on the post title.


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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Great site for low level formatting of hard drives

I've spent the better part of 7 hours today trying to rebuild my son's PC. I'm not even close to being done yet, because there was a system hiccup when installing the operating system and I'm not able to boot into ANYTHING....not even a C: prompt! I've tried various boot disks and the like, but nothing has worked yet.
However, I'm holding out hope for a low level format of the hard disk. There is a great site that provides links to all of the major hard drive manufacturers and each of them provides a utility that basically wipes the hard drive clean. I had tried to do that with a boot disk and the FDISK utility, but since this PC has had both Windows 2ooo and XP, nothing has worked just yet. I'm not out of the woods just yet, but I can honestly say that the utilities I've found from this site are great. If you know the manufacturer of your hard drive, you can download a utility that will give you bunches of information on your drive. The nice part is, you can save the utilities to a floppy disk and build a boot disk to run the app. Hopefully, you never have to low level format a drive, but if you do, this is the place for you! Click the post title for the link.


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Friday, November 05, 2004

Microsoft adds Movies to SPOT Watches

According to SpotStop, Microsoft is enhancing their SPOT Watch content by adding local Movie showings on Monday, November 8th, just in time for the holiday season.

I wear my SPOT Watch just about every day as it provides a great link to information when I'm on the road, in meetings, or just showing off my techno-geekiness! ;>) I'm not a big movie-goer as I tend to wait for DVD's on my widescreen HDTV, but adding this channel shows Microsoft's commitment to providing quality content on the SPOT Watch platform.

Click the post title for the full story.


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Thursday, November 04, 2004

Publication news: Pocket PC Magazine

A little less than a month ago, I whipped up a quick tutorial on how to get Podcasts on your Windows Mobile device. It appeared that Podcasting would quickly catch on as a delivery medium, so I tried to build on the momentum of my tutorial and pitch it to a print magazine. The first magazine I sent it to was Pocket PC Magazine, which is a bi-monthly publication that sells roughly 60,000 copies per issue. After explaining the story idea and getting feedback from great friends in the community, it appears that the article will be published!

I'm not yet sure if I made the deadline for the next issue, but if I did, it will be out on newstands towards the end of December. The article is generally based on the tutorial I wrote and features the Doppler application for pulling Podcasts. Cross your fingers that I made the deadline and be sure to check the newstands for Pocket PC Magazine! Thanks to Paul M. at work and especially James at JKOnTheRun for your feedback and support. A special thanks to Barbara for her patience and support; I am truly fortunate.


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Change in ebook - Antrax

I've just completed Ilse Witch from Terry Brooks and have moved on to the next book in the series, Antrax. Terry is an outstanding author and a genuinely nice person; I've met him at two book signings over the past 10 years and he was generous enough to personalize and autograph all of my hardcover editions of his books. I have roughly 10 of them, so this was no small task for him over two signings!

For those not familiar with Terry, his first novel, The Sword of Shannara was published in 1977. I can vividly remember purchasing that book when I was roughly 10 years old in New York City. I was on a Cub Scout trip to the U.S.S. Intrepid and afterwards, we went to the World Trade Center. As a young boy who marvelled over Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, I was drawn to Terry's novel. Since then, Terry has written a prequel and several series all stemming from that book. All in all, Terry has written 19 novels and each of the 19 was a New York Times bestseller. His fantastic writing is evidenced by the fact that he was entrusted to write the novelization of George Lucas's "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace". If you are at all into great fantasy, I highly recommend Terry Brooks. I would start with The Sword of Shannara, and if you check eReader.com, they typically sell the series in bundles at a great discount. Now if only Terry could sign my eBook copies.... ;>) Click this post title for a full bibliography.


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DDD (11/4) - "Hire" a personal trainer

Want to work out, get in shape or lose that gut? You can do it on the web! Well, sort of....I'm the kind of person that likes a structured workout and schedule. So I did a little research and found what I wanted from Men's Health; the Men's Health Personal Trainer!



This on-line application has a 10 day free trial and costs $5.99 per month, which is downright reasonable. Here's how it works in 3 simple steps:
1. You answer a bunch of questions such as what type of training you want to do, what results are you looking for (get fit, get strong, etc...), what days of the week you can work out and how long you want your workouts to be.
2. You enter some measurements like weight, bodyfat, waist, etc...
3. You tell the program what type of equipment you have and what your max bench press is, your max curl and\or how many pushups you can do.

That's it! The application will give you a customized on-line workout, complete with short videos showing you how to do each exercise. Once you complete a workout, you enter your results and the application will automatically adjust your next workouts up or down, depending on what you did! It's that simple and the price is right so give your mouse and keyboard a rest...click this post title for a sample preview of the application. Look for the "Take the Tours" section.


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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Decision 2004 on NBC: which Tablet PC?

The election results are starting to flow and it's always interesting to see the digital aspect. I'm watching Tom Brokaw on NBC and Tim Russert has a nice Tablet PC that sends the display wireless to a large screen behind him. This is a great use of digital technology and wireless networking. Here's the REAL question to vote on: which Tablet is he using? My vote is for the Fujitsu Stylistic ST5000. Here's a pic of it from Fujitsu's site:



Be sure to cast your vote...what do you think Acer, Avertec, Compaq, Fujitsu or something else?


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Presidential websites

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We're down to less than a day before the 2004 Elections and I think there's a digital aspect worth mentioning.  It's not e-voting or anything like that, it's just a basic question: have you reviewed the presidential candidate's websites?  There's a definite difference in the approach, style and presentation between the two.  I'll leave my personal views and commentary out of it; my point is for you to do some due diligence and review their sites.  If not this time around, I think that going forward candidates websites may actually help sway people towards or away from voting for them.  Regardless of who you are voting for, you owe it to yourself to take a look and see how these two high profile people represent themselves in the digital world.  Take a few minutes and look at George Bush's and John Kerry's websites; and by all means: don't forget to vote tomorrow!


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More podcast bashing...don't they get it?

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Last week it was John Dvorak.  This week it's Sean Gallagher's story at eWeek called, "Invasion of the Podcasters": "Don't get me wrong. Podcasting itself--the act of publishing a set of audio files via a syndication technology such as RSS. which can be subscribed to and automatically downloaded to an iPod or other MP3 playback device--is not the problem. It's the best thing since "rip, mix and burn" for do-it-yourself media distribution.....But in the hands of some bloggers, it becomes deathly boring. Or worse--it becomes deathly boring and fills up your iPod to the point that you can't download the U2 digital box set without erasing all those bootlegs you had of the ZooTV tour."
 
What folks fail to realize is that podcasting (or any other dynamic medium) is all about two key points: simple delivery & choice of content.  Podcasting at it's base core is just simple audio recording.  You can jazz it up if you want to, you can use a full production studio if you have one, or you can just record your thoughts.  My test of text-to-speech blogging is a simple example.  The point is that the podcasting initiative has provided for simple delivery of your programming choices through RSS.  Sean, if you're filling up you're iPod with crap, my guess is that you've chosen to subscribe to that crap.  I'd recommend you review your subscription choices rather than focus on the amateurs that are choosing to express themselves to anyone who will listen.  Give 'em a chance and if you don't like their format, don't listen anymore!  You thoughts are analogous to this ludicrous statement: "Tivo has to go because my hard drive is filling up with so much television junk!  PVR's are a flash in the pan!".  It's just not true....don't you get it?


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Major lag time in blog posts

Just a quick update that I'm experiencing a small issue with my blog. One of the nicer features of Blogger is that you can post from e-mail; just send your post via e-mail to a special e-mail account and voila! your post will be added to the blog. It's an invaluable feature to me because I'm not always able to log in to my blog depending on where I am. Many places (especially in the corporate world) block any sites that are blogs or blog-like. I'm looking into the issue, but until I do, you may notice a 1 to 2 day lag in posts.
As a quick heads up to what I expect to see later today on my blog (since I e-mailed the posts yesterday!):
1. Another "podcast-bash" sighting in a major web site and my response to it.

2. A timely comment on the presidential candidate websites (well it's only timely if it gets posted today!) and a reminder to vote.
Thanks for your patience and understanding!


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