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  • New Years Eve with complete (and very nice) strangers


    Check out @geekbarchicago's Tweet: https://twitter.com/geekbarchicago/status/550531148884226048?s=09? Embedded Link Geek Bar Chicago on Twitter “We kid, we kid. #gbnerdyears” Google+: View post on Google+ Post imported by Google+Blog. Created By Daniel Treadwell.

  • She's so mad at us for making her wear her monster sweater, she got back at us…


    She's so mad at us for making her wear her monster sweater, she got back at us by snoozing on the couch.? Google+: View post on Google+ Post imported by Google+Blog. Created By Daniel Treadwell.

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  • "It is entirely possible to be a jack of all trades, master of many."

    Yes!? Embedded Link The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss Specialization isn’t always a good thing. Are the days of Da Vinci dead? Is it possible to, at once, be a world-class painter, engineer, scientist, and more? “No way. Those times are long gone.(…)

  • Craig just finished a Runtastic run of 3.26 mi in 33m 01s

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  • Craig just finished a Runtastic run of 2.05 mi in 21m 09s

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SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drives + PortableApps.com

I’ve been consistently upgrading my SanDisk Cruzers every couple of years as flash memory gets cheaper. I just received my 32GB model. I still have my 16 of course, but also my 8. These guys last forever!

But my interest in a solid, hardworking flash drive goes beyond mere portable gigabytes, especially in the era of cloud storage.  My Cruzer is loaded with the PortableApps.com suite – a pocket toolbox of apps.  PortableApps acts like your second “Start Menu” loaded with your favorite apps.

Why run software off of a flash drive?  Maybe you can’t install something on your work computer because it’s locked down.  Or perhaps you just want to keep your settings in one place rather than maintaining them on different computers.  All software available on the PortableApps site is open source and free.  There are dozens of apps in the categories of Accessibility, Development, Education, Games, Graphics & Pictures, Internet, Music & Video, Office, Security, and Utilities.

Here’s a list of what I use everyday from my Cruzer:

This multi-account IM client lets me stay connected on any machine without remembering my login credentials for my Yahoo!, Google (x2), AIM, and MSN chat accounts.  It’s the open source Trillian and it works GREAT!

Google Chome
Take your bookmarks with you.  There are several browsers available like Firefox and Opera.

The best open source FTP client out there.  Again, I have so many FTP accounts for work and personal projects.  I could export that manifest of login credentials and send them around to my various machines, but why?  Take that stuff with you!

Another great open source package, this one for audio editing.  I LOVE Audacity.

There are quite a few password management apps out there and at least one that’s very popular.  I’ve used PasswordSafe for many years now and having it with me all the time, AND not installed on any computer, is the handiest thing I can think of.

Here’s a cool little detail – PasswordSafe is not available on the PortableApps website.  The developer shared a version of PasswordSafe for portable useage.  The PA suite allows you to add that app (or any other stored on the drive) to the launcher.  Seamless!

PasswordSafe has an Android app as well.

The PA Suite
The Suite itself has a lot of great features including:

  • App updater
  • Backup/restore
  • Onboard app installer
  • One-click access to document folders

Home office – Crate and Barrel Sloane desk hacks

We went with Crate and Barrel’s Sloane leaning desks for our home office set ups. They look great, but two things are glaringly absent – drawers and keyboard trays.

Enter Ikea and Target. $10 buys you a great keyboard tray you can install into any surface you can drill into. Closet Maid makes stand-alone drawers that match Sloane’s espresso finish almost perfectly.

And yes, I’m using a desktop AND a laptop cuz I had to take work home. J’s rig is a headless HP laptop.

Kinect (First Impressions)

I picked up the Kinect for the Xbox 360, Thursday (Day One), thank god I did cause it sold out quickly. I went in skeptical at first and was pleasantly surprised. The camera really picks up every movement. I thought the Kinect could read my gestures very well and is quite responsive. The three microphones are very sensitive, works great. Voice command menus were a breeze to navigate. I did not know the Kinect had motors in it, for tracking purposes, very subtle. The technology of Kinect is a game changer, not for video games but for what this tech could do in other areas.

It was very easy for the Kinect to recognize me, visually, and link my gamertag to my visual and sign me in. All the gesture menus worked great, but Kinect also gives you the option to navigate through the menus vocally as well.


Onto the games -

Kinect packs in one game when you buy it, Kinect Adventures. Kinect Adventures is a collection of mini games that is there pretty much to show off the variety of things you can do with the Kinect. There is a moving obstacle course that you are moving left/right, crouching/jumping. A river raft game that has many different secret paths you can head down (it looks like a blast with two people).  The next mini games has you in a glass enclosure under the sea and underwater creatures are trying to damage the glass. You must move within the 3D space to place your hands, feet, head, and elbows over the holes created to patch them up. The last game is like kickball and breakout combined. Kinect Adventures is a decent pack in game that shows off what can be done with the technology.

Dance Central – this was the reason I picked up the Kinect. My wife saw some in-game footage and was immediately hooked. Dance Central didn’t disappoint. Harmonix (creator of Rock Band) hit another homerun. After two songs I was completely into it. My wife became completely obsessed with beating people on my friends list and a getting higher point total. I predict Dance Central will sell not just Kinects, but 360 systems. Because Dance Central will be selling this to house wives and girls, the demographic that normally doesn’t buy video games. Heck Harmonix did the same thing with Rock Band because I know plenty of people that bought a 360 just for that one game.

Yourself: Fitness Evolved – haven’t played it yet.


Throughout all the games I have played the Kinect is taking random pictures/video of you (and others you are playing with) and will give you the option of posting them on-line (my guess is Facebook or other social media sites). Once you see yourself in a couple pictures you really relax and just have fun with a “Who Cares?” attitude. You certainly don’t have to upload them, just something you can do with the tech.


One thing that I will say about all of the launch games. There isn’t ANY hardcore gaming titles. Right out of the box Microsoft is targeting family fun for the holidays and I think they hit a homerun.

Android Tablet Watch Update

I’m still keeping an eye on the Android tablet market for my dream device for reading comics. My two top contenders for my near-future purchase are the Notion Ink Adam and the Archos 101. Both are 10″ displays.

Here’s how they compare from CarryPad

My interest was piqued today with the announcement of the Nook Color. Optimized for displaying reading content, it sounds like the most interesting 7″ tablet so far.

Apple iPhone 4 Recall?

I watched this video from G4TV.com who had the Consumer Reports annalist  who broke down the defects of the iPhone 4 antenna.


It sounds ridiculous about touching the lower left side of the phone would make reception drops. But I actually saw this issue first hand. One of my buddy showed me his full strength signal, then he put the tip of his index finger over the spot and within 90 seconds the full strength signal dropped all the way to showing the “E” for being on the EDGE network.
Crazy time.

I hope Apple can bounce back from this debacle. Or will this be Apple’s “Red Ring of Death”?

I’ve got my eye on the eDGe

LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 07: The enTourage eDGe e-...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I just went through the Laptop Magazine review of the Entourage eDGe and she seems to be everything I’m looking for in a tablet and then some.  Two screens is twice as nice, right?

Here’s how my list breaks down:


  • At least a 7″ color touchscreen capable
    How does 10″ sound, plus the additional e-ink screen?
  • Android under the hood
  • As close to 1Ghz processor as you can get
    I read that the 1.2Ghz processor is underclocked to 800Mhz.  Should be able to get around that with software (there’s an app for that).
  • At least as much storage for apps as the Nexus One
  • SD card slot
  • USB host for storage and mouse
  • Bluetooth for wireless keyboard
  • Wifi – I don’t care if it has 3G


  • No multitouch
  • No access to the Android Market
  • 3-freakin-pounds!
  • $500+

I think I can live with all of those Nays except the 3lbs.  Not only is that a wrist-breaker for casual usage, that’s a lot of weight to add to my bag if I’m flying to Toronto or slinging my bag on a bike.

The balance point is what you get for that extra weight and what I’d do with it.  Would I use the two screens simultaneously, taking notes while I read a software manual for example?  Am I more likely to only be using one at a time?  Is this additional screen something I could use as a sketch pad with reference material on the other?  I might need to handle one to find out.

Bottom line is this would make for a sweet comics reader with some very nice productivity possibilities added in.

Zemanta helped me add links & pictures to this email. It can do it for you too.

Posted via email from Craig’s posterous

My dream tablet for reading comics

Screenshot of Android Emulator for SDK version...

Image via Wikipedia

The iPad isn’t even out yet, but there’s lots of speculation about how it will change the fact of content delivery.  If folks are already talking about how it could affect how we read in a niche as small as comics, you know people are chomping at the bit to get this device.

Two articles that jumped out at me were c|net’s “iPad might breathe life into digital comics” and this post on the Panelfly website.  Panelfly is an iPhone app that hopes to be big (no pun intended) on the iPad.

I’m sure the experience of reading comics on the iPad will be really slick, but I will never buy a closed device from Apple.  Not when I know there’s better overall experiences out there to be had.

I’ve been reading comics on two devices for a few years now: my Samsung Q1 and my Android phone.  The Q1 would be absolutely perfect if it weren’t so damn heavy.  It’s just too much for my wussy-boy wrists to use one-handed.  The screen is perfect though and any smaller than 7″ won’t allow for a readable full page IMO.

The Android experience is helped big time by the very excellent Droid Comic Viewer.  You can pretty much only read one panel at a time and there’s LOTS of panning, but DCV adds all of the features you could want.

So here’s what I want for my digital comics enjoyment:

  • At least a 7″ color touchscreen capable of multitouch
  • Android under the hood with access to the Market
  • As close to 1Ghz processor as you can get
  • At least as much storage for apps as the Nexus 1
  • SD card slot
  • USB host for storage and mouse
  • Bluetooth for wireless keyboard
  • Wifi – I don’t care if it has 3G
  • Around 1lb in weight
  • I think this can all be done for under $400

I’m already hearing about such devices, but I haven’t found the perfect fit.  The Haleron iLet Mini HAL doesn’t seem to have the processing power.  The Entourage eDGe is very expensive and may be overkill.  The Dell Mini 5 is too small.  I guess I just need to be patient.

Posted via email from Craig’s posterous

TVersity is my new media buddy

Image representing Miro as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

KoolRock sent me a link last week about TVersity.  I’ve been waiting to post about it until I’ve done some experiments to fully investigate the possibilities with the software, but I just had a breakthrough realization that has me pretty excited.  To quote a forum post on ars technica:

Miro+TVersity+Xbox 360= an easy to use on-demand system with all sorts of amazing programming.

TVersity is a free media server which, among other things, lubricates the streaming capabilities between your PC and other computers on your network, including consoles.  I’ve tried streaming video from my PC to the Xbox since the update to NXE, but it’s been chuggy and inconsistent.  I’m guessing the issue is that my PC is on the wireless.  TVersity works MUCH BETTER.

As you know, I’m a big fan of the bittorrents for my video entertainment.  I have a 500GB Lacie external drive connected to my Xbox at all times loaded with music and video with the intention of having everything in one place.  Every time I download some new content I have to unplug the Lacie, connect it to my PC, transfer the new stuff onto it, and then reconnect it to the Xbox.  I’d been recently investigating network storage to be able to skip this process altogether.  TVersity may just save me lots of money since I can keep my media on my PC. More

2GB in my Samsung Q1

Samsung Q1
Image by srharris via Flickr

I didn’t think it was possible, but I got 2 sweet GB of RAM humming in my UMPC, the Samsung Q1.

Much thanks to the mobile blog JKontheRun.com.  I can’t tell you the number of times this site has helped me get the most out of this tablet pc.

My “Sammy” shipped with 500MB of RAM.  About a year ago, I updated to 1GB in a warranty-breaking, nail-biting procedure that was actually ridiculously easy.  Now thanks to a BIOS update from Samsung, 2GB are possible.  Go Sammy GO!