Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Archives-August 2006

August 30

Your New PC

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The Remedy for a Tough Week

I don't know how it is for everyone else, but historically this is the time of the year where, at work, all the ¿¡#@ hits the fan. Its as if the end of summer drives people to al types of crazy behavior. So this week has been the most difficult of the year so far, and I am slowly getting to the end of my tether. I hate having to fire people, but unfortunately sometimes that is the necessary action to keep everything else running smoothly.
So in the middle of this wickedly taxing week I really needed an extra pick-me-up. And this morning I received an email from a reader that really brightened my day. It reminded me of all the reasons why I keep this blog going I don't get any payment, perks or freebies for my blog, and to be honest,I'm not sure I would enjoy it as much if it was all about that. Its a place I come to and share with you all what techy, geeky thoughts have crossed my mind. But this morning I got an email from a total stranger that had the power to put a smile on my face at a time when I really needed it.
So what I've figured out is that this blog is a totally symbiotic relationship, and I'm really grateful for that. It encourages me to keep on doing this, knowing that in some small way I am making a difference in your day if only by sharing a piece of myself with you all. And in return, when I am totally frazzled and feeling really down, I am happy to have that reciprocated even if its just a comment pointing me to a cool freeware I might have overlooked, a question that you want us all to brainstorm over...or just a hi
Thank you so much for coming-its a pleasure and a privilege to be able to entertain you every day. Have a wonderful week!
August 29

Fantasy Football....D'oh!

I'm not a sports girl by any stretch of the imagination (although I will occasionally watch iceskating on the offchance that I'll catch a wipeout). This year, though, I decided to broaden my horizon and engage in NFL Fantasy Football! Hey, it's technically a 'sport'. I have no idea how this is supposed to work, but I will be sharing my progress with you all. So far we created a team and joined the league Sideline Brews, which is supposedly for novices. Let me know if you'd like an invite to join, as there are spaces for 8 more teams.
From what I was able to glean from listening to Dean's animated explanation, now that we are members of the league, we rank the players (which I did). I picked Tikki Barber as number 1 over Payton Manning, mainly because I like his name, and I think he has a brother somewhere in the NFL, too. On September 1, we will have the draft which is where we will be assigned players based on a random distribution which we can then try to trade if we want.
Honestly, I am a bit confused. Hopefully by Friday this will make more sense to me. You know, the fantasy game for The Apprentice was so much simpler to follow.

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August 28

MP3 MP4 Player

When I ordered my MP3 player from Ebay 2 weeks ago, I had very low expectations for what it would be able to do. After all, it was not a lot of money and it didn't have the infamous ipod logo which seems to be all the rage.
I was therefore quite surprised when I received this little powerhouse which combines music player, video player, voice recorder, photoviewer and text reader into one punch.the screen is crisp and clear and has a pretty simple interface. In fact yesterday I tried the voice recorder, thinking I would be able to use it for my podcast- however, while the sound quality is excellent it records into wav format only and my host, Bolt, only accepts mp3 format uploads.
The photo viewer is paltry, with the best results being if used to view a face shot of one individual. There is also a phonebook, but as I am already maintaining my phonebook on 2 devices I haven't really looked into this.
The music and video player are superb. The video player only plays movies in amr format so I don't have any other files except for the sample one that was included. The music player also supports lyrics playback so that you can use the device as a virtual karaoke machine.I thought this was pretty neat
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August 27

Podcast 2

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As promised, its time for my second podcast- Porn on your PDA. In this podcast I discuss various ways to obtain, secure and enjoy porn on your handheld device. Sound quality is much improved over my first podcast attempt!
audio:Podcast 2- Porn on your PDA
by lulugirl896
August 26

Saki Mobile for the Big Screen

By this time you've probably heard me rave about SakiMobile - a social application for the PocketPC.  On your pda, Saki mobile looks something like this:
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Today I  decided to take a closer look at the SakiMobile website and find out what else it offers. I enjoy Saki when I do log on, but because it is so resource-heavy, I tend to not log in very often on my XDA Exec. Its also not offered in VGA- and you know how I feel about that.  A brief scouring of the web led me to discover that Saki actually creates a webpage based on your profile entry. It looks like a less busy version of MySpace, except that your visitors cannot actually leave comments on your page. There are several available plug-ins, such as RSS and Google Maps that you can display on the page. Here's what mine looks like:

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This means that you can sign up for  SakiMobile and only use the web interface! The smaller window on the right is actually the display from the pda. So, if you don't have a pda- or don't want to use it- you can see the simulated image right on your pc or laptop.
But, it doesn't stop there! SakiMobile has plugins for your MySpace, SnowFlake page and the new Windows Live Homepage. I dont use MySpace or Snowflake, but I did incorporate the gadget into my Windows Live homepage:
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So, if like me, you weren't aware of the full scope of Saki Mobile, be sure to check it out- it's worth a second look!

Ahead of My Time

I just stumbled across an old Amazon Listmania list that I created back in 2001! Look at all those goodies that I selected! Its hard to believe that I was that hardcore tech even 5 years ago!
August 25

Cathy Strip Has me pegged!

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PSP vs Nintendo- Round One: Media

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Of course the PSP can do gaming, that much is a given, but as a hardcore handheld user it needed to be packing some serious heat to catch my eye. The screen on the PSP is crisp and clear...a perfect fit for mobile media.
Because the PSP can connect to your PC in usb drive mode, you could conceivably use your PSP as a visual flash drive of up to 2gb (the size limited only by your memory stick). The PSP shows your pictures in stunning clarity and as a neat trick you can set the slideshow and use your PSP as a high-tech picture frame when not in use. I purchased a low cost cradle which charges the PSP while allowing it to remain in an upright position. When placed on my desk I have my favorite pictures play in a slideshow.
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There are now a huge number of movies available in the UMD format (the proprietary PSP disc) and the PSP can be used as a handheld dvd player. There are various bags available that will enable you to carry several UMD discs at a time. And when you factor in that you can watch 2 full movies on a single charge, you are looking at over 4 solid hours of entertainment. The movies play pretty much exactly like regular dvds with indexing to make navigation a breeze.

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If you'd rather not fork over the money for UMDs you can simply transfer your collection to the memory stick. PSP Video 9 is a free and simple converter which can convert several movie formats to the mv4 format preferred by the PSP. Conversion is extremely easy and uses low resources on your PC, meaning you can set it up in the background then do other projects on your PC.

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Finally there's music- and this is by far my favorite media feature on my PSP. The sound is rich and clear, and using my PSP cradle with speakers I can enjoy amplified sound for about $10. Create a pallets of all your favorite songs and the PSP will let you jam for hours. There is also the freeware PSP radio program which allows you to listen to the radio on your PSP.
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For me, this is an ideal makeshift jukebox because you can easily take your PSP to the beach, or poolside without worrying about damage. In fact, I am probably not the only one enjoying the music from my PSP- play 'The Sims 2' and see how your Sim character gets jiggy anytime you turn on music!

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Picture depicts a random Sim from SIMS Nightclub Expansion Pack for the PC, not PSP.

Now, head on over to Adorkable Chris' site at TechRevelry to read his rebuttal on Media on the Nintendo DS and pick your winner. Vote for your favorite device in the comments' section.
August 24

Thursday Tidbits

Structure. That is the keyword for what I have been trying to accomplish over the past couple of weeks in my personal, professional, and internet life So far I've had more luck in the 2 former aspects so now I'm trying to do it with my 'online' life. Here are some of the things I will be straightening out sooner rather than later;

-I will be bringing back my 'Subway Peeves' section where I detail in each entry one aspect of the MTA Subway system that drives me bonkers.

-I will also use Wednesdays for 'Humpday Humor' where I find you entertaining comics, jokes or pictures to get you over the hump. This will probably be the only entry I make on Wednesdays.

-Every other month I will post a podcast. Granted, it may not be very long, and it will be hosted remotely (YouTube, I think) but I will be putting it out.

I have generally tried to prevent my blog from becoming a bunch of links referring you to stories on other news sources- I mean, I expect you know where to go when for specific news. This is the home of my thoughts and impressions on items that I am interested in, and I intend to keep it that way. If you find something interesting and want to draw my reader's attention to it, please feel free to leave a comment, or you can email me at my email address indicated on the right hand box titled 'Contact Me!'

As you may know, Adorkable Chris (http://techrevelry.spaces.live.com ) and I are having a friendly online head-to-head on Playstation vs Nintendo DS. Tomorrow is the due date and we will both be posting our first entry on Topic 1: Media. We've agreed to throw up our dukes (i.e. Blog entries) every other week. There will be 4 topics in all, and we sincerely hope that you will be rooting for your favorite device by putting in your 2 cents in the comments section- its all just a bit of fun!

-I plan on being at SecondLife this evening so please feel free to look me up if you are on. My SL name is Lulugirl896 Tal. SecondLife is absolutely free and a great alternative to 1-dimensional forums, or instant messaging. See you there!
August 23

Windows Mobile- Why Now?

The question I've been asking myself a lot lately is 'Why now?'. Why is the Windows mobile platform suddenly such a perfect fit for me? If you view my 'Past Pdas' list to the right, you can see that a few years ago I used the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition 2003. Unfortunately, at the time it was the most depressing pda experience I ever had. All I clearly recall about enjoying that device was playing the Jawbreaker game incessantly. It was large, had no keyboard, and had very little by way of third-party software. I would use it as my mp3 player at the time, but it wasn't very intuitive. I kept the device for all of 30 days before returning it and upgrading to the Treo 600.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Fast forward to today, when you would have to pry my Exec out of my cold lifeless hands. What changed in 2 and some years that have me singing such a different tune to the same OS? To be honest, I'm not really sure. To begin with, I think the HTC Universal is such an interesting device that I never cease to be amazed by the various ways I can use it. While the twist-head is not a new concept, something about its incorporation into this device makes it extra novel. I also think that the last year has seen a flood of new Pocket PC developers coming onto the scene. I'm not sure what the case is, but I do know that its not a simple case of Palm OS developers incorporating their applications into Windows Mobile (currently Hubdog, SakiMobile, Plusmo are not even available for Palm).Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My needs have also changed considerably from where they were 2 years ago- I'm in a higher position with much more stress and responsibilities, and I look to my pda to have a calming effect on me. While I can life with the occasional slow-down, a spontaneous reset could be devastating in the middle of a meeting. Say what you will about Windows, but at last you an see a problem coming from a mile away! I'm no longer interested in loading up the latest software on my device- I have a core group of apps that I use, and I really have no desire to constantly change. Scouring the freeware pages of Palmgear was fun for a while, but now I'm distinctly over it.
I'm not particularly knocking Palm- I can certainly appreciate the many years of happiness it gave me. And whether Windows Mobile users like it or not, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Palm for developing the Treo 700w which single-handedly forced many developers to port their applications to WM in an effort to keep the ever-growing Treo population. And the LifeDrive certainly got Palm people intrigued by the concept of a device as an external drive (made possible with ActiveSync).
So, to me the answer would have to be that a number of meaningful events lined up at the same time, making this Windows Mobile device the right fit.

August 22

Guess Who's Hooked on PSP!

First of all that's Playstation Portable, not a typo of PCP. Secondly, it ain't me! Its Dean!
For those of who who haven't been following from the beginning Dean is my darling husband- truly the dream spouse of any techie. He doesn't always get it, but he's always a wonderful sport. He'll turn the bluetooth on his phone on if I need to test something out, he totally understands delivery-day jitters and he's always great about dropping off my ebay shipments.
For most of our marriage I've had my nose stuck in some high tech gadget or the other. I even took my Treo with me when we went on our honeymoon! (See the June 2005 archives for my Daynotez journal entries!) Dean is always appropriately impressed whenever I show him some new tech development but he has never really caught the 'fever'.
2 weeks ago (or so) I bought a PSP online and decided to get a pool game called 'The Hustle' which I thought Dean might enjoy... And did he ever! All of a sudden Dean does spot checks to make sure the PSP is charging on its base if not in use. He's finicky about fingerprints on it and the other day I could have sworn I caught him trying to check how much memory was left on the 2GB Memory stick!
On Sunday we took a trip to Circuit City to buy a copy of the Sims (my ebay seller never sent the item-complaint already filed) and it took all of his self restraint to allow me to finally play on the PSP for the first time since I got it.
There is no feeling quite like being sitting together cosily on the couch- him playing PSP and me with my XDA Exec...its the marriage I've always dreamed of.
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August 21

Separated at Birth?

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This time it's the Zaurus c3200. Am I the only one who missed all these Jasjar-like devices?

Non Sequitur mocks Mel Gibson

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Fall Lineup

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThis year, as with most, I'm giddy with anticipation of my favorite returning shows. I've also made a decision that I will not be watching any of the 100s of heavily advertised new shows coming on. This should drastically cut down on the amount of disappointment I experience from watching all the crap they think they can get away with.
My favorite shows that I watch very regularly are Lost (I don't even Tivo it, I have to see it the second it comes on), NipTuck, Big Love and Weeds.
The worst shows that I am baffled are still on the air are; Cuts, (in fact all the UPN shows), My Wife and Kids, the Michael Rapaport sitcom that is stuffed between the Simpsons and Family guy on Sunday nights, most of the WB shows which just seem to confirm the sheer vapidity of teens today. Theres also all the reality crap which I won't even bother to list individually. I will, of course be periodically checking out America's Next Top Model, but that is strictly to see how orange Jay Alexander is this season. Finally a reality (type) show modeled after Laguna Beach was cancelled after only 2 episodes this summer- how refreshing!
I also look forward to my favorite English shows (throwback to my childhood) - Keeping Up appearances, Catherine Tate, Footballers Wives. If you haven't seen Footballers Wives, do yourself a favor and check it out. This is a completely over the top, campy, delightfully rubbish show that never takes itself too seriously. Its funny, completely unbelievable, with story lines so over the top that it makes Desperate Housewives seem like Dateline.
What shows are you planning on watching this summer?
August 18

Learn to Speak Chinese...or come pretty close!

Learn to speak Chinese in 5 minutes.  You must read them aloud.
From left to right
That's not rightSum Ting Wong
Are you harboring a fugitive?Hu Yu Hai Ding
See me ASAPKum Hia Nao
Stupid ManDum Fuk
Small HorseTai Ni Po Ni
Did you go to the beach?Wai Yu So Tan
I bumped into a coffee tableAi Bang Mai Fu Kin Ni
I think you need a face liftChin Tu Fat
It's very dark in hereWai So Dim
I thought you were on a dietWai Yu Mun Ching
This is a tow away zoneNo Pah King
Our meeting is scheduled for next weekWai Yu Kum Nao
Staying out of sightLei Ying Lo
He's cleaning his automobileWa Shing Ka
Your body odor is offensiveYu Stin Ki Pu
GreatFa Kin Su Pa
Blame my sister-in-law for these ones! Happy Friday!

Join me at Second Life!


Join me at SecondLife! Hands down, this is the most fun I have enjoyed online EVER! Go to a cool club and dance the night away, all while chatting about things that interest you.
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Last night I made a new friend, and after a failed attempt at bowling, we enjoyed a relaxing discussion by the pool about music genres, and the pros and cons of solo artists vs bands.
My new hangout has also prompted me to clean up the my categories- sorting which is the only thing I haven't really kept on top of here. This should be done by the end of the weekend, at which point you can select the category you are most interested in and have easy access to those entries.
August 17

Gmail and Windows Mobile-Not the Best

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Your mileage may of course vary but this is my 5th or 6th Windows Mobile device and I have never had consistent luck with getting my Gmail email onto my device. Inevitably, even if the first retrieval would work, the second would delete everything that had been downloaded. I don't really know why this doesn't work, and frankly, I'm too tired to try and figure it out. Yesterday I set out to find a workable solution to retrieve my 2 email accounts (1 for my ebay account, and the other for all the forums,etc that I participate in).
A search of free pop accounts led me to Bluebottle, which is a really neat provider that provides free pop and smtp access. It doesn't give you the huge amount gmail gives you, but that's okay for my purpose. I set up my free accounts using the same usernames that I had for my gmail accounts. Then I went to my gmail account and configured each one to forwared my email to the corresponding Bluebottle account. Now I can easily download my forwarded mail to my pocketpc using my Bluebottle pop server, and then delete them from the server, keeping the gmail copy as my archive. Its a perfect solution and allows me to keep the structure that I like of having separate accounts for each purpose, and the ability o keep as much email history as I want

August 16

Second Life

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This is probably the coolest thing I have seen lately. I found out about Second Life from watching the GeekBrief vidcasts, and I am so glad I did. Basically this is a Sims type program except all the other people in the neighborhood are actually other online gamers. I haven't figured things out, but I have met a few cool people, and I enjoyed an hour or so figuring out how to move around and how to change my appearance (I'm the chick with blue hair). If you do decide to take Second Life for a run, look me up. My Second Life name is Lulugirl896 Tal!
Here is the description from the site:
What is Second Life?
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by 236,562 people from around the globe.
  • From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
  • You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow residents. Because residents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.
  • The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world currency, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online currency exchanges.
Welcome to Second Life. We look forward to seeing you in-world!

You DO Love Me!

Sometimes blogging can be the lonliest feeling in the world. You make entries daily, and yet you never really hear back unless people take the time to enter a comment in response to your entry. Well, I had forgotten one of the most useful features in Windows Live is the statistics page (actually it hadn't been working for a number of weeks so I stopped even trying to load it). LuluLand has been visited a total of 18,199 times!

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And then there's my Splashblog which has been viewed over 20,000 times!
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So even though actual feedback is few and far between (Thanks, Chris!), it seems you all are interested in what I have to say.... well, I love you all too!
Thanks for checking in!!