Archive for January, 2006

This year's coolest geeky gift.

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

The winner of this year's “What's the coolest geeky gift that Rich gets for his birthday” goes to my darling Lauren. She got me something that I've wanted for as long as I've known about it, a Fossil PDA watch. Fossil first announced this a few years ago, then seemingly withdrew it, then announced again as a MSN-powered wireless news portal watch. My hopes for a Palm PDA on my wrist seemed dashed forever, until this year when I heard rumors that Fossil was releasing it again. This always fell for me into the category of “Dang, I'd *love* to have that, but I can't justify buying it to myself when I've got other uses for the money.” Seriously, I do this a lot. (On the other hand, if my Treo 650 ever fell and broke, I'd be buying a new one that very same day.) 
So you can imagine my delight when La's gift, which she gave to me early, turned out to be the very thing that I've wanted for so long. 
This is essentially a Palm PDA with 8 megs of memory that sits on your wrist. It has everything you'd expect a comparable Palm to have, including IR beaming and receiving. 
The coolest feature of the whole thing was the fact that they managed to shoehorn a stylus into the watch, rather than trying to do everything with buttons. 
It does have a rather short battery life when constantly used as a PDA, I've found, but it can both sync and charge via USB.  
Consequently, when I know that I'm going to be working on my laptop or near my desktop computer at work for a while, I'll pop open the cover over the USB port on my watch and plug in. I'll admit, it does look a little like I've got a weird cyborg IV line from my laptop to my wrist, but it's pretty comfortable. (The looks from some people in the first meeting I did this in were pretty interesting in their own right. My project manager told me later that, before she figured out what was going on, she kept expecting me to be electrocuted.) 
Technical Specifications 
Operating System: Palm OS 4.1 
CPU: Motorola Dragonball Super VZ 66MHz 
Memory: 8 MB (RAM), 4 MB (Flash) (approximately 7.7MB RAM available) 
Display: 160 x 160 pixels, 16 level grayscale, EL backlight, Touch Screen 
Built-in Applications: Address Book, Date Book, To Do List, Memo Pad, Calculator, Time 
Third-Party Application Support: Will run most Palm OS applications 
Interface: USB 
Infrared Port: IRDA (v1.2a) (communicates with all Palm OS devices) 
Battery Life: Approximately 3-4 days (Based on an average use of 30 minutes per day, with no backlight or IR. The battery life varies depending on the temperature and conditions of use.) 
Power Requirements: AC power Adaptor (100V – 240V), DC output (6V), Lithium-ion rechargeable battery (internal) 
Warranty: 90 day factory warranty 
What's in the Box 
Wrist PDA watch, HotSync Pod, USB cable, AC adapter, extra stylus, installation CD, wristband link removal tool, Getting Started guide 

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Apparently, when you turn 30, the gifts are really cool.

January 28, 2006 Leave a comment

I'm heading into the final days of being able say “Yeah, I'm in my twenties.” Not that that seems to stop some people from continuing to say that for a couple more decades, but I've decided for myself that I'm going to go into my thirties with as much grace as possible, especially since I'd like to live to a ripe old age and whimpering about entering the next seventy percent of it (I hope!) strikes me as whiny. Besides, for my 30th, I'm gotten some really cool gifts. 
My wonderful sister, reaching back into our childhood to our favorite books when we were in high school, bought me a number of books by the poet and author Richard Willard Armour. He wrote a number of satirical books, including The Classics Reclassified, It All Started With Europa, It All Would Have Startled Columbus, and It All Started With Hippocrates, among others. Most of his works are out of print at this point, but Mess managed to track down and send me all of the books listed above, making me very happy indeed. She also sent me a copy of a book that I'd loved and misplaced years ago (I suspect Mom packed it off to the thrift shop as a donation years ago), You're Stepping on My Cloak and Dagger by Roger Hall, a book which chronicles “a hilarious account of what really happened in the O.S.S – at least to Roger Hall.” 
My darling La got me a wonderful gift as well (and also gave it to me early,) but that deserves its own entry, such is its wonderfulness, so I'll be posting a separate entry on that shortly.  

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A week with Verizon's FiOS.

January 15, 2006 Leave a comment

Lauren and I had Verizon's FiOS fiber optic internet service installed at our house last Saturday. This entailed that Verizon come out and replace our copper wiring at our phone box and replace it with their fiber optic cabling, as well as installing a couple of new boxes in the house to provide a UPS backup for our phone service. 
Benefits to installing FiOS at your house: 
Really fast internet – Seriously, we're talking 2 megabit/sec. upload and 5 megabit/sec. download for roughly the same money that I was paying for my 128 kilobit/sec. upload and 384 kilobit/sec. download that I had with my DSL line. Sweet. 
FiOS TV down the line – Allows you to get your cable TV service, at some point in the future (depending on location, may be available now), from Verizon. 
Downsides to installing FiOS at your house: 
Verizon takes out your copper lines and replaces them with all fiber optic lines – Verizon takes out the regular copper phone lines running to your house and replaces them with fiber optic cables as part of the installation. What this means is that Verizon, for now, is the only place you can get phone or DSL service from. You can switch back, but you'll have to pay to have your copper lines reinstalled. 
Electricity isn't able to be provided to your phone in case of a loss of power – Your phone company provides power to your phone normally, so in case of a power outage, your phone can still work. Fiber optic lines don't conduct electricity, so this ability disappears. Verizon compensates by installing a UPS that provides up to eight hours of power, though power is cut to the internet connection to allow the power to stretch as long as possible for the regular phone connection. 
I was pretty happy with Verizon's install team and the installation process. I had one false start, where Verizon had said they were coming to install the new fiber optic service, then called that day to let me know they weren't going to be coming after all. We rescheduled for last Saturday, where two gentlemen showed up when they were supposed to, worked with me to get their equipment installed so that my office was the place where the internet connection came in, and even worked to get my existing Linksys router connected and talking correctly with the D-Link router that Verizon says is needed by their service. 

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That's right, Communism!

January 7, 2006 Leave a comment

Ran across this while I was checking out The Museum of Hoaxes. Needless to say, it's a joke by someone other than by the RIAA, but a pretty good one. 

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Early to bed, early to rise

January 5, 2006 Leave a comment

La and I have been having a problem recently (more of a problem that's started at the beginning at the holiday season, but bear with me) where we plan on going to the gym early in the morning, then don't. Part of the problem is that, when you're going to bed after 10 you're much more inclined to slap the alarm off and continue snoozing when it goes off at 5:30 AM than you are to get up and actually go to the gym. Admittedly, that's hard at almost any time, but it seems especially hard when we've had less than eight hours of sleep. So tonight, I'm planning on hitting the sack at 9PM and seeing if that makes a difference. Wish us luck! 

Categories: Uncategorized
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