Saturday, September 30, 2006

I got a ticket

I ran several errands this morning and on the way home, I got a ticket for going 60 in a 45MPH zone. Before you think I'm a dangerous driver, this was on a freeway, in a construction zone, where nobody was working. The officer was standing beside his car and pointed to me and the car behind me to pull over. I wasn't wearing my seatbelt, but corrected that quickly.

It will be expensive. I think it will cost me $104 plus a defensive driving class to keep it off my record. That's about the same amount to just pay it, but that might cause my insurance to go up.


Today, I decided to go cash in all my change. I figured I'd use Coinstar and use their free service to get an iTunes gift card. You might remember that I mentioned this service earlier in the year. I got over $23.00 worth and followed all the right selections. At the end, it said there was a technical problem and I would be given a regular voicher (with the service fee of 2.07 removed). I took the voucher to the register and got my cash.

I went out to the truck and decided that I had been wronged. I called the company and spoke to Matt in Customer Service who was very helpful and is speeding me a check for the $2.07. He not only made me feel like they cared, he also gave me the technical explanation of the problem and how they are changing the service to fix this.

Wonderful experience, in spite of the problem.

Typing About Technology – Treo Replacement

I’ve spoken many times about my cell phone, the Treo 600. It’s a multipurpose device which I carry daily. It provides the following functions for me:
  • Phone
  • PDA
  • MP3 Player
  • Web Browser
  • Camera
  • Games

Some of the above tasks are performed better than others.

  • The phone is not great. When using it without a headset or headphones, the phone gets warm against your ear after 20 or 30 minutes. If using headphones, the sound is OK, but the sound quality that the other person hears isn’t great.
  • The PDA is excellent; it is as good as Windows Mobile. The problem is that the synchronizing software (HotSync/Pocket Mirror) is not nearly as good as ActiveSync which is what Windows Mobile uses. For example, all my Outlooks contacts are categorized and when I sync them to a Windows Mobile device, those categories are honored. All my contacts, calendar, tasks are included here and are sync’d daily to my desktop PC.
  • The MP3 Player is good. I use it to listen to podcasts, almost exclusively. I listen on my commute and usually at lunch. This gives me 2 or so hours of entertainment that I can’t get without carrying an MP3 player. I use an application called Pocket Tunes, combined with a 2G MiniSD card. This gives me enough capacity for several days worth of podcast listening. I do have to manage moving the data to it manually, but I have a pretty good system for that which has been perfected over the last couple of years (I was using the same system pre-Treo)
  • The web browser that ships with the Treo is called Blazer. It is quite elegant, especially when using sites that are made for tiny screens. It is reasonably fast. There are some websites which make this browser even more valuable which I will talk about in a later article. I have a plan which allows unlimited data transfer, so I can use this feature as much as I want.
  • The camera is lousy, but almost always available. Even though my Canon SD-450 can take nuch better pictures, having this camera around has been great for the blog, I have posted quite a few pictures taken with the Treo (even to my Flickr account).
Now comes the fun part. On April 22, 2007, I will be eligible for a $100 discount on a new phone. I would like the new device to provide all of the above functions and clear up some shortcomings. These include:
  • Better screen – The resolution on this one is 160x160 and even when the characters are big enough to read, they’re sufficiently blocky to make reading it difficult.
  • Larger screen – In addition to wanting a screen with a higher resolution, I also want a larger screen.
  • Bluetooth – When the Treo 600 came out, this was not something that was available to any real extent. When I bought the 600, I could have gotten the 650 (which includes Bluetooth), but it was $150 more.
  • Camera – I believe that any device I would be considering would have a better camera.
  • Ability for the media player to sync with desktop, so that my manual process can go away.
  • Wifi – If the phone I choose has WiFi, I might be able to do without the data plan, saving me $40-$50 per month. 802.11b will be sufficient for connectivity
These are only the options and prices that are available today. Chances are that in the next 7 months, these options will change.
  • Motorola Q – This device is closest in physical appearance and spirit to the Treo. Runs Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone OS, so it doesn’t include a touchscreen, something I like about the Treo. It doesn’t have 802.11b. It has better resolution than the Treo 600, and the screen is slightly larger. Cost to upgrade: $ 319
  • Verizon VX6700 – This is larger than the Treo. It has much better resolution (320x240) and a larger screen. It also has 802.11b wifi, so I would have Internet service where wireless service is available. The screen is large enough to watch videos as well. It has a full slide-out keyboard. Cost to upgrade: Cost to upgrade: $ 419

Sunday, September 24, 2006

No substitute

There's no substitute for a Uniformed Safe Key Attentdant (except for possibly a coin box)
That ain't a lot of job security, huh?

Women in hats

The best this hat will ever look
Amy tried on this hat at the Puma store and she didn't buy it. This is the best that hat will ever look.

Dodge Ram SRT-10

Dodge Ram SRT-10
This is the first SRT-10 I've seen and this one was a four-door. It's a Dodge Ram 1500 with a Viper engine creating 500 horsepower. $52,710 will buy you this pickup (well, that's the base price, this one may have had options).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

1dn 4up

The above is a Texas license plate. The first person who leaves a comment that explains what it says and what that means will win a special prize.

Thanks Mom & Dad !

Today, I locked my keys in my truck at work. I called AAA and they sent someone out within 30 minutes or so, who made quick work of the job.

Twelve years ago, my Dad got me a AAA membership for Christmas and he and Mom have done that every year since. My dad passed away more than three years ago, but today my life was made easier because he always looked out for me.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Forget the TV and watch the web

Lifehacker has a great article about how to stop watching TV and enjoy content on the web.

Movie Review: A Scanner Darkly

Sucked. Bad. Awful. Confusing. Retarded. Wierd. Long.

Real tech support conversation

Me: Does it give you an error message?
User: No, it just said “file could not be found”

(happened today)

I feel like a million ducks!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cool portable camp chair

The Trail-Sling™ Ultralight's patented collapsible frame makes it a portable genius! When packed down in its handy sack, the Trail-Sling™ Ultralight is as small as a water bottle! In addition to its amazing compactability, the Trail-Sling™ Ultralight unfolds to create a remarkably comfortable off-the-ground seat with back support, ideal after a long day of outdoor activities. The Trail-Sling™ Ultralight's small size is ideal for backpacking but it's so comfortable you'll use it for all your outdoor activities!

Portable Furniture - GCI Outdoor - Everywhere Chair, outdoor chairs, lawn chairs

Friday, September 01, 2006

5 Tribute Bands !!!

Check out the Beer and Whiskey Fest. It's happening in Atlanta a couple blocks from our house. They're having 5 tribute bands! We might go...