Technology


4
Feb 10

Fun With Keyboards

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase, “Oops, I spilled cheese on my keyboard”, you might be a nethead from Wisconsin. Luckily my keyboard seems to be okay.

Cleaning a keyboard can be a scary endeavor. You just never quite know what you might find under there. But based on past experience, I’m guessing you’ll find hair, dust, crumbs, and weird mystery objects that seem to defy the natural order of things by somehow fitting under your keys.

Of course, if you’re going to pop the keys off your keyboard, make sure you’ll be able to get them back on. Generally speaking, you should only remove the letters, numbers and punctuation keys. The spacebar, shift keys, backspace and so on never go back on quite right so you’ll probably want to avoid taking them off.

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Putting the keys back on in the proper order is sorta like putting together a puzzle. It’s especially fun if you try to do it from memory.

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There we go! It’s as good as new! (Be sure to click on this picture to enlarge it.)


3
Feb 10

Midweek Thoughts – Part 5

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Good news everyone! It’s time for the fifth installment of Midweek Thoughts.

Last week, Apple announced an extra-large iPod Touch that they renamed “iPad.” For a mere $499 to $829 (depending on features) you can own a 9.7 inch tablet “computer” that doesn’t multitask, support Adobe Flash, or even provide a USB port. And if you decide you want to load pictures from your camera, you’ll have to purchase a special camera adapter. I bet that adapter is really pretty and shiny. Great job naming the useless product too, Apple. Now every time women see an iPad they’ll be reminded of feminine hygiene products. Yay.

Sometimes when I order a bunch of stuff from Amazon, they’ll randomly ship one of the items through Fedex. This annoys me because then I get stuck waiting for two different delivery guys. But on the bright side, Fedex has never mangled a package of mine, so I’m fairly confident that my nifty new cooler will arrive safely.

The Fedex guy was just here delivering a package, but it wasn’t for me. Darn it! Their website claims my package is out for delivery. Are they really dispatching two different trucks to the same location? I guess that explains why their rates are so high.

The second Fedex guy was just here. Now I’m happy.


2
Feb 10

Dear Internet – Part 2

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I just wanted to send you a follow-up to last week’s letter. You’re still shamelessly wasting hours of my time every day, and I’m just as upset as I was about it last week.

Thanks to sites like Hulu, Netflix, and Youtube, I could watch video online for the rest of my life and never run out of stuff to watch. How dare you overwhelm me with all this selection! Not only that, but you’re putting cable companies at risk by giving away what they want to charge an arm and a leg for. I need a big cable company in my life to complain about! After all, complaining about crappy cable service has been an American tradition for decades! Way to ruin American tradition, Internet.

And nice job killing off the newspapers, murderer! Now that I can access my news instantly from literally hundreds of different sources, I no longer need the germ infested newspaper that the paper boy sneezed all over. Thanks a lot!

And you and your freaking online stores.  Did you know that I once bought a candle shaped like a pineapple online? Do you know WHY I bought a candle shaped like a pineapple? Because I could, that’s why! I don’t even like pineapples very much!

Oh how I loathe thee, Internet.

Sincerely,

Mr Nethead – Your Biggest Fan


26
Jan 10

Dear Internet

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Dear Internet,

I’m writing to complain about all the time I am wasting on you. When I wake in the morning, my first urge is not to eat breakfast, but rather check my Facebook. I am disgusted by the addictive nature of this social networking site and demand an apology… right after I check the latest status updates.

Furthermore, I am outraged by Amazon.com’s low low prices. This causes me to spend more money than I probably should, because shopping there is so easy, convenient and affordable.

Thanks to sites like Newegg, Tom’s Hardware, CNET, Engadget and Gizmodo, I find myself wasting hours staring, drooling, and lusting after the latest tech gear. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves – blatantly parading the latest and greatest tech toys, and filling my mind with fantasies of a mansion full of all that wonderful stuff.

And because of despicable sites like Google and Wikipedia, I now have constant access to information. I endlessly find myself having questions that need to be answered, such as “Which episodes of The Simpsons did Conan O’Brien write?”, “What is Aaron Rodgers middle name?”, “What is the scientific name of the almond?” It’s a miracle that I get any sleep at all!

So Internet, in closing I just want to say, you suck!

Sincerely,

Mr Nethead – Your Biggest Fan


14
Jan 10

Behold the Amazing Gorillapod!

How many times has this happened to you? You wake up, look in the mirror and think, “Wow, I look hot today! I should take a new picture for Facebook.” But then, being alone, you struggle to take a good picture of yourself. You try to balance your camera only to have it fall down. You set your camera on a flat surface but it’s too low and the picture completely cuts off your head. You can end this frustration today. You need a Joby Gorillapod!

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What’s a Gorillapod you ask? It’s a flexible tripod that bends and contorts in just about any way you can imagine.

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You could mount it on a chair.

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Or even on a light fixture if you’re looking for a nice overhead shot.

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And I know how much Facebook users enjoy taking photos in the bathroom. Happily, a Gorillapod can make that easier too!

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Say NO to crappy mirror pics. Say YES to Gorillapod!

The Gorillapod for small cameras can currently be purchased at Amazon for $20.33. http://www.amazon.com/Joby-GP1-D1EN-Gorillapod-Flexible-Tripod/dp/B000EVSLRO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1263504276&sr=8-1


10
Jan 10

Pre-order Your Flying Car Today!

Over the years I’ve heard many people ask, “when are we finally going to have flying cars?” Well if everything goes according to plan, next year!

A company called Terrafugia has created what they call a “roadable aircraft.”  Not only is it a plane you can fly, but it’s also a car you can drive. (The wings fold up in car mode.) The vehicle has been aptly named Transition.

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For a mere $10,000, you can place your deposit and reserve one of these flying cars today. The total price tag is expected to be $194,000 and please keep in mind that you’ll also need to be a certified pilot. (What, you didn’t think the FAA was going to let just anyone drive/fly a flying car did you?)

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All in all it’s a pretty funny looking vehicle. In fact, I’d say it’s downright ugly. But that doesn’t prevent me from wanting one.

If you’re curious about the Terrafugia Transition or would like to throw down 10 grand to reserve one, you can find more info at http://terrafugia.com.


8
Jan 10

Mobile Computer Cleaning Day

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Today was “mobile computer cleaning day.” I think it’s a good idea to always maintain a capable arsenal of computer equipment.

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In these pictures we see an Asus Eee PC 1005HA netbook with upgraded ram.

There’s also a 13” Acer Aspire 3935-6504.

Finally, on the bottom is an old 15.4” HP Pavilion DV6000.

I love my little Asus netbook. Generally I’ll use it for light computing on the go, or keeping up with NFL scores from my recliner while watching the Packers play.

The Acer is my everyday laptop. It performs okay, but their are sometimes an issue with the wireless connection which is a bit annoying. I don’t know that I’ll buy an Acer again.

The old HP is a backup computer. (It’s always good to have a few backups.) It’s undergone expansive repair, as it had suffered from a broken power button, malfunctioning speakers and a dead display. Luckily all of  the problems occurred right before the warranty expired. That was in 2007 and the machine has run perfectly since then.


4
Jan 10

Teetering on the Brink of Obsolescence

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The year was 2000. We had just entered the new millennium and I was the proud owner of a shiny new HP Pavilion computer sporting a 533mhz processor and 64mb of ram. This computer had something extra special though. It had a DVD drive!

I remember combing through the tiny selection of DVDs at Shopko. Eventually I found a copy of U2: Rattle and Hum. This was my first DVD; it was $25.

It was hard to get DVDs at the time. I asked the guy at Family Video if they carried DVDs yet and he quite rudely informed me that “no, we don’t!” The stores had a very poor selection, and since I was only 16, I didn’t have a bank account yet and buying online wasn’t a viable option.

Still, I was the first person in my family to use the DVD format, and at the time it was amazing and incredible. But what few people outside the realm of geekdom realize, is that the DVD format is now teetering on the brink of obsolescence.

Between 2006 and 2008 we had the “high definition optical disc format war.” In this war, HD DVD (principally backed by Toshiba), and Blu-ray Disc (principally backed by Sony) fought it out, while most people just sat back and watched. The movies were expensive, the players were expensive, and most people didn’t want to risk so much money on a format that may not even be around in a few years. Sales for either product were mostly relegated to “gotta have it” early adopters. Eventually Sony won the format war by bribing Fox and Warner Bros. with hundreds of millions of dollars.

Blu-ray is now the sole high definition optical format. As HDTVs penetrate an increasing amount of households, more and more consumers will also want to enjoy their movies in brilliant high definition. Sales of blu-ray players will likely rise in response to that demand. But blu-ray isn’t the future. In fact, the days of the blu-ray format are likely going to be much shorter than Sony and its backers would like.

The real future is HD video on demand delivered over the Internet. 10 years from now, we won’t need to buy or rent a disc at all to watch a movie. Instead we’ll have set top boxes which connect to the Internet (Such a the Roku player), or TV’s which support online movie streaming.

Netflix already supports instant movie streaming to the Roku player, Playstation3, Xbox 360, certain Sony TVs, and various other consumer electronic devices. We’re seeing the first stirrings of a fundamental shift in how we rent and watch movies.

This shift could make “owning” movies completely unnecessary. After all, if we can “rent” any movie we want instantly and have it streamed to our televisions, why would we ever buy a movie? That notion has got to be scaring the movie studios!


2
Jan 10

Best Rewards Program Ever

Due to the fact that I live in central Wisconsin, a place where we only have one cable company available, I’m forced to be a Charter Communications customer. Last year they announced their new “Live it With Charter” rewards program. I could earn points just for paying my bill every month. And with those points, I can earn great rewards!

What kind of rewards, you ask? Here are some of the actual rewards that they offer.

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White Hex Wall Plate (800 Points)

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White Screw Clip (800 Points)

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F-81 Barrel (400 Points)

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4-Way Splitter (2800 Points)

Wow. Just wow. I have no idea how they can afford to offer these great rewards to their loyal customers. They must really love us.  On the bottom of the rewards page it says, “Automatic Points. Unbelievable Rewards. Absurdly Easy.” Unbelievable? Yes. Absurd? Definitely.