Monday, February 15, 2010

Random Technology Reflections

  • Kindle - I'm still using my Kindle, even more than ever, really.  Ever since I figured out how to check out books from the library and read them on my kindle, the barrier of paying $9.99 for the convenience of reading a book only once is gone.  Apple's negotiations with the book distributors to actually increase this by 50% seems counter-intuitive from what they'd done with MP3's in the iTunes store, and I think will create a huge backlash and increase piracy unless they can provide a better, differentiated book experience.
  • Calibre - This is a great app to manage Kindle books, formatting and delivery onto my Kindle.  I can re-format the library books into something my Kindle can digest.  It also lets me subscribe to content and deliver it to my Kindle on a periodic basis.
  • Stanza - One of the things I lose by not buying the books through Amazon is the overall portability and syncronization between my iPhone and Kindle.  I'm getting more and more used to reading on my iPhone on the go, and this app lets me sync books from my laptop to my iPhone.  It doesn't sync with my Kindle, but it makes it very easy to share books out to my phone for reading on the go.
  • iPad - I know people hate the name and think it's just a big iPhone.  Not me.  I think it's fantastic.  I like where Apple is going with the device, except for the fact that they won't unlock it.  It would be unacceptable to buy a mac and have it locked, so why is it acceptable for a tablet to be locked?  The fact that Apple won't install Flash on it seems to be purely driven by the revenue they would lose from the App Store applications and the increased bandwidth that it would drive from the cellular network.
  • Nate's iPhone - When I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS, I sold my son my old 3G iPhone which he used as a camera, GPS and MP3/Video player.  He lost his cell phone and rather than renewing with Verizon, I activated the iPhone on a cheap plan through AT&T's GoPhone program.  There's no contract, I pay $20/month for unlimited texting and minutes are charged as they're used.  It's costing me about $25/month right now.  I disabled the cellular data portion of the iPhone and it's a pretty cheap way to go.  It required me jailbreaking and unlocking the iPhone, which took about 30 seconds.  It works great.
  • YouVersion - I'm still using this iPhone app/Web site for my Bible reading plan.  I'm getting more and more used to reading on my Phone, and the Bible is no exception. It lets me pull over different version offline for reading and check off my reading each day as I complete it.  It has a variety of plans, and I like the Blended plan I'm reading right now, which currently has me reading the gospels in parallel with the book of Isaiah.  It's made me even more aware of how the two sync up, and just how much Jesus referenced it in his teachings
  • TripIt - I've been using TripIt for a while to manage my travel.  I e-mail it my travel itineraries, it puts them online, notifies me of flight changes and tells me when I'm near someone I know.  Pretty simple.  They've got a BlackBerry app for TripIt as well.  Nothing that new, but something I'm still using and like.
  • WD My Book - My Buffalo LinkStation NAS Drive died, and I wasn't smart enough to put it in a RAID 1 mirrored mode.  Luckily, it was all backup stuff, and I didn't lose much of anything.  I upgraded to Western Digital's My Book 2 TB NAS Drive (Yes, I mirrored the drives for redundancy this time) and I like it so far.  It works with Apple's Time Machine and Microsoft's built in Windows 7 Backup.  It has a built in iTunes server, media streaming, off-site file access and a torrent/download server as well.  I'm very impressed with it so far.  Western Digital seems to have come a long way with this.
  • King Size Bed - While this may not fit in the bucket of true "technology", I figure that anything that I spend this much money on better have some pretty wicked innovation built in.  Our mattress was 15 years old and was pretty painful to sleep on.  I've been sleeping horribly lately, not helped by my dog coming into bed at 4AM every morning and trying to squeeze between my wife and I.  We upgraded to a King Size mattress (thank you Costco), bedding and soon to be bed frame.  The space is nice, the mattress is excellent.  When we were looking at the mattresses, Emily thought we should get the memory foam because it would allow her to "draw a smiley face in the bed that we would see every night before we fell asleep."
  • TV - I haven't bought it yet, but I'm getting close.  I'm looking to get an LCD screen to hang on the wall of my family room and move my current DLP into the basement.  My brother Jon has been coaching me along the way to make sure I don't do something foolish.  He said he'll disown me if I don't get something at least 120Hz or better.

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