Sunday, October 1, 2006

Archives-October 2006

October 31

Happy Halloween!

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So scary, its spooky! Celebrate Halloween tech style and get yourself one of these Pumpkin PCs.... is it weird that I actually want one?
October 27

A More "Image" Conscious World

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I can't help but notice how much Second Life is influencing the way people want to communicate. Suddenly, an avatar means so much more than just a cute little picture that may or may not say something about you. I stumbled upon this on the Yahoo page recently, prompting you to create an avatar that is a full 2-d character, which is also used in the Yahoo messenger program. Actually, this looks more like the characters you can create on IMVU, but still this is more reflective on the Second Life way of thinking.
More and more we shun simple text, wanting instead to have at least accompanying colorful images to look at. I found myself today deleting a few of my RSS feeds that do not include images anymore. We prefer trailers, to simple written movie reviews.
Its a sad reality, but even as applications like Second Life encourage you to use your imagination, the world is having less to refer to for one.

Top Reasons to Propose

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October 26

Veeker- Mobile YouTube?

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Now that YouTube has been bought by Google, perhaps they will work to rectify one of my main irritations which is the inability to view YouTube videos on the go. I have recently been using the workaround of downloading and converting videos on my desktop and copying them to my memory card. Its okay, but I wish there was a better way. Actually, there is- adding a hubdog channel of certain tags should work but you cant be sure how big the video will end up being.
In the meantime, another player comes to the foray allowing you to easily upload videos to the web from your camera or video phone and its called Veeker. I'm not sure what makes it special except that it refers to seeing "video peeks", i.e. veeks, and the ability to share veeks with your friends, or syndicate them on your MySpace or Blogger page. I wish  Veeker had spent the time coming up with a way to watch the videos on your phone, but as the watching experience requires FlashPlayer 8, I think thats totally out of the question for now. Check it out, and see if you can find some cool new ways to use such a program.
October 23

SlingBox- Satellite TV Anywhere

Yesterday we finally decided to tackle the issue of having a mobile television solution. Our current setup is that in the den, there is a television which gets just the basic network channels with the use of an antenna. One flight up is the living room television which has the Tivo and satellite signal. Finally, on the highest floor the bedrooms and study which share a satellite signal (i.e. Change the channel in the study and it changes in the bedroom as well). What we ultimately want to be able to do is to have access to the Tivo recorded shows from upstairs as well. Unfortunately we found out yesterday that multi-room viewing is only possible using 2 or more series2 Tivos.
What I did decide to do while we figure out how many Tivos we will be purchasing and how best to ultimately redo our home entertainment setup (hmmmm, I'm thinking HD Tv!) was to look at Slingbox as an option. I've heard a lot about Slingbox but it wasn't something I was interested in. I'd also heard that the Slingbox cost $300 which seemed to me like a lot of money for the luxury of watching TV on my pda. However, yesterday two things had me singing a different tune- one is that I am still determined to upgrade my T-mobile Sda to a Cingular 3G capable phone and find a way to dial up with my Exec and enjoy the high speed connection via my VGA device. The second is that the Slingbox was on sale for a mere $161 at BestBuy. We bought the box, followed the simple setup instructions and were up and running in no time. The tricky part was from something called uPnP which basically allows you to watch your SlingBox from a remote location. See, while we were able to watch the tv from laptops and desktops in the house, it was basically because we all share the same wireless network. uPnP is what allows you to dialup to your network from an outside internet connection. However, our wireless modem is a Westell and it does not inherently allow that type of connection. So I had to log in to the connection and change a setting to allow port forwarding. Today will be my first opportunity to use a connection faster than EDGE to connect. For some reason, I was unable to connect using my Edge connection, but I suspect that was due to the slower speeds.
I love Slingbox because it is a neatly thought out program that not only allows us to watch all the channels we have, but it also allows us to watch the shows on the Tivo box, which there never seems to be enough time to do. You can even set programs to record which is great as DirecTV does not support online scheduling. I am a bit disappointed that only one user can connect at a time. I would have like the option to watch in 'Cinema' mode, meaning that after the first person connects the others would have no access to the remote control options, forcing them to watch whatever is showing. (Kind of like the setup we use!). Fortunately, it seems like only one of us would be using it at a time, and if not we'd be watching together on a laptop while on trips. All in all, I think its worth the investment and its a good way to ensure the maximum use of the Tivo and satellite already being paid for.
 Slingplayer Mobile with Favorite Channels Bar and with Remote Control:
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SlingPlayer controlling Tivo:
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October 21

Pumpkin Picking

Today we decided to go pumpkin picking and carving. I've never done this before, so I was pretty excited to be doing this. We went to a u-pick farm and picked out 2 huge pumpkins (17 pounds each!) and then carved faces into them. I had no idea how putrid raw pumpkin guts smelled! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
 The finished product came out rather cute. Dean's is the one with the dead 'x's for eyes, and mine is the one that looks like it took the carving novice FOREVER to finish making!:
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October 20

O.J. Simpson: If He Did It

I have to hand it to him, O.J. Simpson has some set of brass balls. After the most unbelievable acquittal ever in history, he is collecting a $3.5 million dollar paycheck to write a book called 'If I Did it' which is supposed to be a hypothetical description of how the crime was committed if in fact he did do it. I am just completely flabbergasted and I can't decide if I want to believe that he did do it (in which case this makes him an arrogant show-off) or didn't (which would make him a complete moron). There is an old saying that if 3 people commit a crime, the secret is only safe if 2 are dead. Clearly, whoever came up with this saying had never envisioned a mind like Simpson's.

October 18

New HubDog 2.0 Alpha version

As you can see from my previous entry, Hubdog has released an updated version which allows you to email from within the application to an email recipient, including my Windows Live blog. I'm pretty thrilled that it also carefully includes all the html code in the emailed entry- this is a feature that seems to not be present in the SecondLife 'send postcard' option.
There are other features including improved vga handling although the images still do not appear crisp and seem to be scaled to 640x480 display. However, I will concede that the application seems much improved from the prior versions.

Hubdog Quick Guide to encoding Video for Windows Mobile now Online :: sent from lulugirl896's mobile

Hubdog Email Item
 Your friend lulugirl896 thought you would be interested in reading this

HubdogThis Items is coming from the channel:
Hubdog Community Blog

 Hubdog Quick Guide to encoding Video for Windows Mobile now Online
10/18/2006 2:30:21 PM

Hubdog Quick Guide to encoding Video for Windows Mobile now Onlinefri, 08 sep 2006 23:44:04 +0000
Hubdog Quick Guide to encoding Video for Windows Mobile devices
is now Online:
This should help all videocasters out there to create great video podcast shows
for Windows Mobile audiences !
We are working on a videocast showcase section for Hubdog !
All interested video podcasters can submit their shows at:
Cheers !


 Take a look at
lulugirl896's Hub
 Write back to
October 17


I got an email last night from a reader pointing out that my newly placed skype link at the top of the page does not appear to be active. Yes, unfortunately that is correct. I will be working to get that resolved.
I had heard about Skype for a long time and recently decided that adding it to my Exec would be a neat way to add telephony to my non-phone device. I'm happy with the phone quality and excited for the next GeekBrief conference call as I can now participate. Skype for the pocketpc also has a nifty today screen plugin to make it easier to access. Hopefully in later releases they will add more information to the plugin like number of contacts online or chat/call requests. And Skype is free!
If you do have Skype you can add me to your list with the user name Lulugirl896.

October 16

Toshiba Bubble Helmet

Here's another gem from Toshiba which promises to give you a 360 degree panorama view while watching watching tv or playing video games. It weighs 6 pounds and looks like something an astronaut would wear. Having said all that, I'd be pretty curious to experience the 360 degree display. I'm also wondering if you have to have a special tv package that would build the panorama view?


I found this picture on Engadget above an article about the McDonalds MP3 players in Japan that were preloaded with Malware that stole passwords and would email them back to the author. However, this McBaby is just so adorable I could just super-size him!

October 14

SakiMobile becomes the latest Meat Market

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I had such high hopes for SakiMobile, kind of looked at it as the thinking man's MySpace. The tie-in with the Pocket PC platform meant that you had an instant connection with the other users. It has an RSS reader, weather, stocks and therefore seems like it could be THE mobile application.
Imagine my suprise when I received an email from SakiMobile encouraging me to vote for my favorite 'Hot Saki Girl'...what? First of all, did I miss the 'Hot Saki Boy' contest? Secondly, what the hell???? I looked at the contest rules and noticed that this has NOTHING TO DO WITH SAKIMOBILE!!!! Being half-naked does not have anything to do with a mobile device (I know- I've done both!)
So, as a happily married woman, not interested in showing a naked profile to the single Saki boys, I suppose there is no longer a place for me at SakiMobile. That's a shame. With all the work that Saki invested in their product, I thought they would go for a much broader approach and try to use a PR tactic to appeal to more than just the lower mid-region of college-aged boys. Saki, when you're done with your 'competition' and are interested in taking a more mature and sophisticated PR stance, let me know. We might be able to get you a business plan after all.
October 13

Built for the Hustle

Here's a secret: I'm in love with the hustle.

Every morning I'm up at the crack of dawn, out the door and headed to work as th sun comes up. But the moment I truly wake up is at Penn Station when I join the sea of thousands of bodies moving at about 15 miles per hour. Its not for everyone, I know, but the surge of adrenaline I get from this city is unlike anything I've ever experienced in my life. It takes precision and skill to navigate between the pulsating crowd, and there is almost a minor sense of accomplishment once you succeed.
I love this town.

Poor Puppy

Click on the picture and take a close look at that puppy's face. I dare you to tell me that you don't feel his horror.

October 11

The Sounds Men Sleep To

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October 10

Mediastation MultiMedia System

Even I am baffled by the concept of this device, and even more puzzled by the man in the tub. Are we to believe that this man is so busy, so bogged down with his daily events that he is unable to simply wait the 2 seconds it will take him to finish in bathtub before sending out a text message? Is it possible that Chuck (he kinda looks like a Chuck, doesn't he?) was unable to remember to put on some tunes BEFORE soaping up and now feels the need to get jiggy in the suds. And even though this device is waterproof, is that really a risk worth taking simply to listen to some Gnarls Barkley (yes, in my mind Chuck's favorite song is 'Crazy'). I just don't know anymore. First the ipod toilet roll dispenser holder, now this. I think we are sending out a bad message encouraging people to spend entirely too much time in their bathrooms.

October 09

Alternate Approaches to Podcasting on Second Life

Over the weekend I had a mini brainstorming session with Elie from HubDog over ways that Hubdog could find a presence in Second Life. One of the most rigid things about Second Life is its lack of mobility- but imagine if you could carry the streaming audio from your favorite club or DJ on your mobile device. By the same token, you could  find a way to bring your real life media to SL to enjoy.
Here is a shot of Podcast Island:

The layout is pretty simple, there are several lined up 'Pickle Players', each of which will open a webpage with the audio from the podcast streaming. Although there is a lot of content, this is not my favorite approach to the idea. You should be able to fully navigate from within the Second Life client,

Now, here is the layout from the Mobile Computing Headquarters:

Tiberius Spearmann, the owner of this hub, has a wonderful grasp of the concept of bringing the podcasts in-world. He has built what looks like a rooftop living room which has couches as well as a funky rotating dance floor. Tiberius wants you to come to stay and enjoy the podcasts in his space, hopefully meeting other people with similar interests. Unfortunately, and most likely due to all the SL downtime,I could not get the TV to play the video podcasts for a demonstration, but I think the image is pretty self-explanatory.
My thought process for the Hubdog integration would be two-fold;
1. Create a setup where you can bring your existing channel list in-world to listen to or watch while you are in Second Life or to allow others to also watch your selected feeds.
2. Develop an in-world application that will allow you to 'grab' the streaming audio or video from a certain area and play it back on your mobile device using the Hubdog console. This allows you to continue to enjoy the SL experiences that you like while on the move.

Why Won't They just give us VGA????

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Here is a sneak peek from Engadget of the HTC Herald, and guess what; NO VGA!
Everyone likes to see clearly... given the choice I'm sure we would almost always pick the highest resolution possible, so why do companies like HTC, Palm (Treo) and others insist on rolling out QVGA devices? I constantly compare VGA and QVGA screens and I cannot fathom why anyone who sees them side by side would shun VGA.
Sure, the battery draw and memory resources are higher on VGA devices, but if the devices are not being built constantly, how do we ever expect to troubleshoot and find the fix for the problem? The HTC Universal has been out for over 2 years now and, with the exception of a few ROM updates, we have seen no sign that HTC has learned the cause of the rapidly disappearing memory, or has developed the technology to combat the problem. Sure its expensive to build a device, but at this point just about everyone who has an HTC Universal, myself included, would gladly shell out another $1200 for a qualified successor. The delay on the part of HTC to do so, or even confirm that such a plan is in the works, means that we'll have to take the money burning a hole in our pockets and spend it elsewhere. We might even be forced to shell out for a *shudder* Blackberry Pearl or 8800.
Perish the thought!

The Dark Side of Second Me

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It was bound to happen...there comes a point in time when you make a decision in Second Life to either be yourself, or be someone else. For me, crossing that line was a very concious decision that I made... the choice to leave podshow island and all things tech, the very reason that I came to Second Life in the first place and to begin to explore this other side. I was mean to people, I was catty, I said all the things that don't even cross my mind to say in Real Life. I was predatory, I created situations to simulate the all-American high school experiences that I was not in the states to experience. To my mind it was the equivalent of deliberately crashing and burning my Grand Theft Auto vehicle- not something you'd ever do in reality, but you do it just to see what happens.
The problem with taking this approach to Second Life is that there are other people on the other side. Actual people, who are experiencing real emotions based on these actions. In GTA, when you crash your car, or slap a person on the street, they react by making the standard pre-programmed action and then thats that. In SL, when you slap a person, they are sitting at their computer watching this happen. And suddenly your actions have repercussions. Its no longer just a game, you are crossing a line into someone else's reality.
Watching my avatar on my screen I saw a scary thing happen. As a creature who looked like me, and had a carefully matched wardrobe to mirror my RL outfits (chalk that up to the OCD) I saw the person I could eventually have become; promiscuous, deceptive, predatory and mean. Why was it so easy for me to create this alter-ego?  Evidently, I am not the only one with this problem; there are men pretending to be women, adults posing as children, and if you look at enough profiles, you notice that some people are a bit, ahem... liberal..with their representative avatars.
I'm making a conscious decision to work on this. I'm going to take a risk, and behave in Second Life the way I do in the first. And to all those who I have hurt, offended, upset, or generally disrupted, I do sincerely apologize.