Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sony KDL 46EX621 mini review

A couple Santas let me open a present early and it was a new Sony KDL 46EX621 LED LCD television. It is a wonderful addition to our TV room.
It's main features are four HDMI ports, a digital audio out, and an Ethernet port.
I'm primarily using it for streaming Netflix onto. There's no WiFi built-in but you can purchase a Sony adapter that can be used. Fortunately I can easily hard wire the internet access.
You can also attach USB storage devices to see photos and movies, but it doesn't support a wide amount of video formats, so that can be a limiting factor.
The Sony KDL 46EX621 support DNLA so I'm able to stream movies and photos from my Windows Home Server.
Sorry about the poor lighting in the video, but my TV room doesn't have a lot of bright lights.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Factory Reset Post-Op

Back on December 3rd I wrote about having to do a factory reset on my Motorola Triumph because it was crashing a lot. After I did the reset I installed only a couple must have apps and left the rest off to see if it was a hardware issue or software. Up until yesterday, I had no crashing so I'll presume at this point it was software, whether an app (I have my suspicions) or that the caches were corrupted.
Well another side benefit of having so few apps on my phone was that my battery life almost doubled! So yes folks, the more stuff you have on your phone the more battery life is eaten away.
Now I bought my phone because it is a smartphone. I use it for text, e-mail, and browsing the internet. And I figure I might as well enjoy my phone too! So as long as battery life remains reasonable, say 18 - 24 hours, then I'm fine. It's very easy for me to charge up while in my truck or at work so its not much of an issue.
So last night I put more of my apps back onto my phone. Not all, just a few. So we'll see how it goes.
So enjoy those phones out there and use the plethora of apps that are available, but don't be shocked if your battery life goes down. Just do a balancing act on the battery life you need and the number of apps you must have.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

SlideIT Keyboard Android App

Many have asked about using the keyboard app called Swype on the Motorola Triumph. Swype doesn't come with the Triumph, which is fine by me as I never really liked it. I found that I was correcting what I typed more than I was "swyping" so I abandoned it when I had the Optimus V.
Now I found SlideIT Keyboard in the Android Market and I believe it works a lot better than Swype. Here's a video showing it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Android Market

Hope you've been checking out the 10 cent deals on Android Market as quite a few good items for an excellent price. I've been picking up a few items that I probably wouldn't normally get but thought I would for such a great price.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Carrier IQ Video now posted

I've now done a video showing the Carrier IQ Detector app.

Carrier IQ Detector

There's a Carrier IQ Detector by the folks that wrote Lookout. It's available in the Android Market download it so you can see if your phone is infected. The Motorola Triumph, luckily, isn't!

Factory Reset

For the last few weeks my phone would unexpectedly freeze up. Mostly when I would wake it up in the morning for the first time.
So I've tried several things, the last being uninstalling most of my apps. Which didn't help. However, I did notice that my free space on the phone was probably 1/2 of what I would have expected. I explored the storage and it appeared that some was being used by the O/S for caching, though I'm not certain as I don't know all the ins-and-outs of Android.
So finally it froze up on me this morning and I did a factory reset and re-activated my phone which went rather smoothly. I've only installed Lookout and haven't done any updates to see what happens. If the freezing problem goes away I'll start reinstalling my apps.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Carrier IQ garbage

During the past couple of days the news that the phone companies are spying on us still has come to the forefront.
Trevor Eckhart has written about CarrierIQ being installed on many Android phones and it's also come to light that iPhones also have it installed, but it appears to be disabled.
One can only wonder what the phone companies are doing with the information? They claim it's only for "diagnostic" purposes, such as when we turn our phones on or make a call, etc. But why do they need special software for that? When we turn on our phone it reaches out and contacts the nearest cell tower. A cell tower also knows when we make a call, the contents of our text messages, etc. So there excuse isn't very plausible.
Also, the ego of these companies that think that what they are doing is going to remain a secret. In this day and age with hackers and heck just folks who enjoy exploring their devices someone was bound to find out.
It shall be interesting what further reaction will happen over the next few days or weeks to the complete intrusion on our privacy as the software records all key presses that are made on our phones.
Don't these companies realize that they can make plenty of money by honest means, but the rampant greed causes them to betray our, now even more limited, trust in them?
Will I give up my Android phone? Not sure yet. Going to wait it out. I have uninstalled most of the apps I have on my phone, not that it necessarily helps, as the damage is already done.
One could only hope that it might result in more stringent privacy rules, but we all know that is very unlikely since Congress is bought and paid for by the mega-corporations.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Google Mobile Rant

I've had an Android phone for awhile now and I've encountered an annoying thing that Google Mobile's web site does every time I want to use it!
Ok, at first it was a minor thing, but it happens EVERY time I want to go from the web page to one of Google's services.
Check out my video as to what specifically I'm referring to.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Flash

Now here's something I can get totally behind. . . Occupy Flash! They definitely bring up some good points about the Flash Player.
I do admit that I unfortunately have to have Flash Player on a couple computers in my house, against my better judgement, but hopefully the websites I visit that require Flash will move to HTML5.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adobe Gives In!

Hopefully you've heard the excellent news that Adobe is going to quit wasting their time developing Flash any further on phones! They finally realize that trying to get a bloated piece of software to run on a phone isn't worth the time and effort. With many phones limited on processor power and memory it only makes sense.
Hopefully they'll continue their efforts in the direction of HTML5 which I believe will be the direction that many will be going towards. Something that is more of an open standard and not having to rely on a proprietary piece of software.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fruit Flies

Even though I consider myself a techie sometimes using a "low tech" method can be most gratifying.
In our house we have lots of fruit around, which comes with quite a few fruit flies. They aren't that harmful, in a house, but can be annoying flying all around.
When I started looking for a solution I ran across someone suggesting taking Apple Cider Vinegar and a little bit of sugar and mixing them together. Then put the mix in a container that you can put a lit on that has a couple small holes in the lid for the flies to get through.
In my case I took a drinking glass, put the mix in, and put some plastic on top, with a rubber band to hold it in place, and put a couple small holes in it. I must say it has been very successful. "Tons" of flies end up in there and a lot less buzzing around the house. So no fancy gizmos or "made for TV" gadgets to waste money on.
I change the mix about every 1 - 2 weeks.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

WidgetLocker updated but crashes Triumph

When I had my Intercept and Optimus V I used WidgetLocker as my lock screen replacement and enjoyed it very much. However, when I first got my Triumph it didn't work quite right so I uninstalled it and waited for an update.
Well the update came and I installed it a couple days ago. It looked very promising and I thoroughly enjoyed it's new features. However, this morning, when I went to wake my phone the phone crashed and I couldn't get it back until I took out the battery to reset it. I didn't think much of that event as it's happened a couple times before so I rebooted. But then it happened again and the only thing I could remember installing lately was WidgetLocker. So I uninstalled and the phone is working properly again.
If you got it working on your Triumph let us know!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Nest Learning Thermostat

Saw the Nest Learning Thermostat mentioned today and was definitely intrigued by it. I'm always on the lookout for ways to conserve resources and money. I currently use a programmable thermostat that tracks our comings and goings but realize while following it's instructions a couple months ago how hard it was to program.
Nest says that around 90% of households with programmable thermostats don't program them. Even comments on one of my favorite "techie" sites had folks that just did the manual override settings for there's and didn't bother programming them.
Apparently they'll be available this fall/winter at BestBuy for around $250. Ouch! Guess I won't be getting one this year, but someday maybe.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Battery Mix - Android App

For those, like me, who practically obsese over their battery life on their Android phones I've found a very nice app that I've been using lately called Battery Mix.

It runs all the time and is available via your notifications. It keeps of how much the battery is being used, by percentage per hour. Approximately how long of battery life you have remaining and how long it would take to charge to 100%
The graph shows when you are charging and when you are using the battery. The bar chart shows CPU activity.
Across the bottom it tracks when you have WiFi, Bluetooth, and/or GPS activated.
The Process tab shows what apps have been running and how much, based on percent that they were running..
It's an app I would highly recommend for monitoring your battery use.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Using Motorola Triumph's HDMI port

Sometimes you just wish you could display what you have on your phone (photos, games, video, etc) on a larger screen for people to see. Well the Motorola Triumph makes it easy with an HDMI port. Here I connect my phone up to my LCD screen. The cable is available at Monoprice for under $3 (not including shipping).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Roku update

Have been using the Roku extensively since I got it this past Friday and it is definitely a nice device for streaming.
The initial pixelation that was in the video I made had pretty much gone away and only happens in the first few seconds that a video is being loaded.
I've been primarily using Netflix but have looked at a couple of other channels that I've added though more to just check them out than to watch anything extensively yet.
With 3 people in the house streaming content we've broken our one day download record by downloading 50 Gigs yesterday. How Comcast Home can limit homes to only 250 Gigs a month is ridiculous. But of course we all know that they are only interested in trying to protect their TV revenues and how dare Internet subscribers watch something else other than Comcast's cable TV. Anyway, that's a rant for another day!
If someone was to ask whether they should get a Roku, I'd tell them YES!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Roku 2 XS

As you may remember I recently moved and a part of that move was to cancel phone, DSL, and satellite service and replace it with just Comcast Business Internet.
We do enjoy watching some shows, though not enough to fork out the excessive prices that cable and satellite want so we've decided to stream. Most of that streaming has so far involved Netflix, which I recently subscribed to. Now we have a PS3 in the house and it is connected to our 1080i flat screen so it can easily stream Netflix. I still have an old CRT 4:3 screen that I would like to use for streaming.
I did hook up our laptop to it, but it wasn't very satisfactory. I saw a very nice 42" 1080p for $550 at my local mega-club-warehouse but I don't want to spend that kind of money right now so I began to look for inexpensive alternatives.
This lead to getting the Roku, which can easily hook up to my old CRT and stream Netflix, plus many other services. So here's a video of me unboxing the Roku and some of the setup. I didn't show it all as there were periods where I'd be entering private information in or waiting for Roku to finish a download and reboot. Initially I'm pleased.
There is some pixelation and some periods of very brief pauses, which may be the WiFi. So I may try hardwired Ethernet at some point.
Anyway, without further ado . . .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New Android Phones for Virgin Mobile

If you haven't heard Virgin Mobile is coming out with two new Android phones.
First the HTC Wildfire S.
Second the LG Optimus Slider.
Both are going to run Android 2.3,  have 3.2" screens, and be $199. Those that need a physical keyboard should be happy with the Slider.
They both look interesting, but since I have the Triumph I probably won't be getting either one of them as the smaller screens would be a step backwards for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mozilla Firefox 7 for Android

I downloaded Mozilla Firefox 7 onto my Motorola Triumph today to try out. The previous version caused my phone to reboot.
Well I barely used it on my phone for a few minutes and it rebooted my phone. I'm rather disappointed that I've now had to remove it from my phone for a second time.
Anyone else having similar problems with Firefox on their Triumph?

Amazon Kindle Fire

I saw the announcements of Amazon's new Kindle Fire and thought it looks really great for a tablet and especially for $199. If I had the extra money I'd consider getting one. My main use would be streaming content and cruising on the Internet.
It doesn't have a camera or GPS, though I can't imagine I'd be using those features that much if I had them. I have my phone that could do that.
It doesn't support 3G, which is fine for me as I wouldn't want an extra bill every month.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Battery for Triumph follow-up


Since we gave up the Dish Satellite service when we moved we thought about some viable alternatives for our entertainment.
Even with all of Netflix's recent missteps I signed us up for their 30 day trial and so far it's been pretty good. Granted not the most recent of releases, but that hasn't been important to us, but a decent collection which I'm sure we never scratch the surface of the offerings. For $8 a month it seems to be a great alternative.
I've been mostly streaming on my PC but I've also streamed to my Motorola Triumph phone while laying in bed. I've hooked it up to our old 4:3 TV via our laptop and it's ok. It would be nicer to have a dedicated device but we'll defer that expense to another day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Triumph's New Battery update

Today I didn't have quite as good of results but I think it was primarily because I was running a "battery saving" program that would turn on WiFi every 15 minutes for 1 minute. Now with my old Optimus V it would have been ok with that setting, but the Triumph sucks down battery life with WiFi on. Normally I keep it completely off until I get home.
So I've uninstalled the App and will try again tomorrow to see how well the new battery lasts.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Triumph battery replacement

It's now been 26 hours since I last charged my Motorola Triumph and it still has a 51% charge which is a lot better than the stock battery. I found this one on EBay. So far so good!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Combast 12/2 Business speed test

Here's one of my more recent speed tests with Comcast Business.

Comcast Business

When I decided to purchase a new house I had to decide what my ISP was going to be.
For over 10 years I had Earthlink (Mindspring initially) DSL and was very pleased with it's speed. Typically I could get 4 MB down and 600 KB down. However, I was looking to try and cut back on my bills and would have wished that Earthlink would have offered naked DSL (doesn't need a phone line) as I would have stuck with them. I found having a land line an unnecessary expense as everyone in the house was using their cell phones and rarely used the land line.
Also we were using Dish Network for TV, but decided that we really didn't watch that much so we cut that expense.
So I began searching for a new ISP and considered Comcast Home Internet, but they unfortunately cap how much you can use it, so that was out. My sister has used Comcast Business for a number of years and since it doesn't have a cap I placed my order. I decided to only get Internet and nothing else bundled with it. Though I was told that as a residence I couldn't get TV service with Business even if I had wanted to.
The only down side is it seemed to take a long time than it should have to get it installed. It took a week for Comcast to do a "drive by" (not their term but mine) to see if the house was connected up to Comcast. It was, and one would have thought there system would have shown that. After that it took another week for a tech to come out and install the service. He had to turn it on at the pole and do a little figuring out which cable went to the room I wanted to use, and then plugged in the modem. After that it was pretty quick for him to get it setup via a laptop.
After he left I fired up my Netgear router and away I went. This time I had no issues with the Netgear as I did when I tried using it with Earthlink.
I must say I've been very pleased. I ordered the 12/2 service (lowest tier) and have tested it and get 20/5 quite often. Before it would have been quite a challenge to stream a movie with the DSL line I had, but now can have a couple streams going at once.
We've even signed up to try out Netflix for the next 30 days to see if that'll be something that the household will enjoy as a replacement for Dish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jury Duty

Definitely not tech related, but I was summoned for jury duty and today was the day. I've never been so it was a completely new experience for me. I took some extra power for my phone, but I didn't need it. I mostly read, and much of the time I had to have my phone off.
The court did mention that they don't use strips with our names on them to randomly pick, they let a computer do that now so there's the tech related portion for this blog post!
All in all a good experience. I think for the day that you have to take to do this it is well worth the time to experience one of the things that has set us apart from some countries in the world, trial by a jury of your peers.
When I was in a pool of potential jurors for a trial we had to go around and introduce ourselves and answer some basic questions, one of which was our occupation. It was sad to hear how many were unemployed. I know that unemployment is high, but until you actually see folks that say it, then it really hits home. I'm very fortunate to be working now.
Now that I've done it today I won't be eligible for another 2 years. . . and then I'll be much more positive when I go now that I know what goes on.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Triumph WiFi

I've been noticing that whenever I have WiFi turned on the battery drops quite rapidly. One overnight period it went down over 50% 7 hours. If WiFi is turned off it goes down around 25%. So I pretty much keep WiFi turned off all the time now as 3G has been more than adequate.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Despite the rumors to the contrary :-) I didn't fall off the face of the earth. In the last month I sold my house, bought a new one, moved, and then today got internet installed! So in due time I'll be back in business. It might be a little slow as I still have unpacking/setting up to do!
Thanks for your patience!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Android Market update

Well while I was on vacation the Android Market was updated. For most apps, an update is welcome, this one had an unwelcome side affect.
For the garbage apps that are foisted upon on us by Virgin Mobile I had turned off the automatic updates. Well when the Market was updated it turned back on those updates and proceeded to download all those updates. I have since uninstalled the updates and turned back off the automatic updates. It is unfortunate that you can't set something up on your phone and have it stick, it has to be overwritten by another app.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rocketfish Cover for Motorola Triumph

Picked up a Rocketfish Cover for my Motorola Triumph at BestBuy today for $21.
It's ok. It has a snug fit and allows me to turn the phone face down without me worrying about scratching the screen on anything.
I'm sure as time goes on there will be other nicer and cheaper covers for the Triumph. So unless you are in a big need for a cover you might wait a month to see what else turns up.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

GPS Smackdown with Motorola Triumph and Optimus V

Numerous people have been reporting issues with the GPS on the Motorola Triumph and, well, I have them too. I've sat the Optimus V and Triumph down side by side and ran GPS Test. Needless to say the Triumph failed miserably! Come on Virgin Mobile get Motorola to make an update!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Motorola Triumph 3G results

Was out and about yesterday and did several tests (down/up):
  • 341 / 129
  • 601 / 462
  • 703 / 485
  • 845 / 551
  • 284 / 419 
So some pretty good numbers and a couple marginal. So I'm not seeing the 3G issues some report (not just with the Triumph) but it all depends on location. When I was in a less populated area then the speeds were higher than the more populated areas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Motorola Triumph's 3G Speed - More Results

Just tried the 3G Speedtest about 1/2 hour ago and got:
  • 953 down and 692 up
  • 720 down and 638 up
Then just a few minutes ago:
  • 361 down and 678 up
I think it's going to boil down to time of day, congestion on the towers, and signal strength.
So just because someone reports lousy results doesn't mean you'll have lousy results too.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Changing Android Keyboards

Ok, so my memory failed me when I installed the keyboard that I purchased for my Android series of phones (had the app since the Intercept). Anyway I just couldn't figure out how to get my Triumph to start using that keyboard.
Google has all the answers . . . or so they say . . . in this case yes, I searched and went to a web site and had a face slap to the forehead moment when I went "oh yeah that's how it's done!"
Anyway go to any app that will use the keyboard, such as the Texting App. Press and hold your finger on the area where the letters would appear when you type and select "Input method" from the popup menu. Then choose which keyboard you want to use. Then, bang, zoom, pow you are using your preferred keyboard!

Motorola Speed

Been out running around today and have been testing 3G and results should be better but they are averaging around 250 kbps down and 200 up.
I'm not thrilled with that but it is ok for my needs.

Motorola Triumph's 3G Speed

When I had the Optimus V I typically got 500-700 kbps down and 600-800 kbps up. Now that was an average over time, based on my memory. So definitely not scientific.
Someone asked on YouTube what was the 3G speed like for the Triumph. Well I've only had the phone for a couple days so I don't have a good "average", but in the one test I did for the video it is a little slower than the Optimus.
Over time I'll post back what speeds, in general, I'm getting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Camcorder App on the Motorola Triumph

I took a 720P video of the Motorola Triumph taking a 720P video, which is below. I added the video that the Triumph took to the end.
Now, I think the Triumph took a reasonable video for a phone, and being held by a hand that can't hold perfectly still. I would use it for those quick videos, but I would definitely use a better camera and tripod for taking more important videos.

Camera App on the Motorola Triumph

Here's a short video on using the Camera app on the Motorola Triumph.
Forgot to mention that the LED acts more like a light than a traditional flash, where it lights up the scene for the camera, not just a quick burst of light.

Motorola Triumph's Notifcation Light

The Triumph now has a notification light! YEAH!

Motorola Triumph's storage space

Now when I had the Intercept and the Optimus V I was always watching out for my storage space. I liked to keep about 50-70 MB free at any one time. So I'd uninstall apps I didn't like or move them to the SD card.
Well on the Motorola Triumph that isn't such an issue anymore as it has nearly 1 GB of space! Yes 1 GB! Right now I have most of the apps I had installed on my Optimus on the Triumph and I still have almost 850 MB of free space!
Wow feel the breathing room!

Updated: Had wrong video attached.

Adobe Flash on the Motorola Triumph

Ok, I won't beat around the bush, I don't like Flash. I avoid it all costs!
That being said, someone did ask to see it work in the browser on the Motorola Triumph, so I made the ultimate sacrifice and installed it. Don't worry folks, it did uninstall without issue!

Virgin Mobile's website now has Motorola Triumph

Virgin Mobile's website now has the Motorola Triumph listed for $299.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Virgin Mobile's Motorola Triumph

Well I got the Motorola Triumph yesterday at a BestBuy. When first opened I went "ooh" and "ahh" over the large screen compared to my Optimus. Below is the video I made right after I took it out of the box.
Now I didn't have a totally smooth transition to the new phone from my Optimus. I fired up the Activate icon and got an error back about No Service. I then tried the on-line method and it too told me that it couldn't do it because of an error. I thought, no sweat, maybe I'm too early to activate, but then I got an e-mail that said the swap was completed. Strange, but it still didn't work. So I just happened to try to make a call with my Optimus and an automated message stated I had No Service. What the . . . !!!
So I try to call Customer Support . . . "sorry our offices close at 10 PM"!!! Say what!!! Just great.
I wait until this morning and called in. Fortunately their tech was able to get me up and running in about 5 minutes.
I unfortunately haven't been able to play with it a great deal, but it appears that GO Launcher isn't "flagged" to allow installation on the Triumph. Hopefully that'll be fixed in the near future.
What I have really liked is that there is an LED that flashes to indicate a new notification! WAHOO! No more apps that have to turn on the screen to tell me of a notification!
One thing that is unfortunate with the "soft keys" is that they don't wake up the screen. I have to tap the power button lightly. I'm sure this will be easy enough to get used to, so it's really a super minor quibble.
Also, I tried using Navigation on the phone, and though it worked great, I did have the phone plugged into my car but it wouldn't charge at the same time. If I had Navigation off, it would charge. Definitely some investigation due on my part to see if I can figure out why that is. Maybe the connection just wasn't good when I had the phone mounted vs. when it was just laying on the dash charging.
All in all a great phone so far. I will be making more videos so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Motorola Triumph

Been reading online that folks have been finding the Motorola Triumph at some BestBuys. I tried a couple in my area tonight and no luck. I'm going to keep my eyes out and see if I can find one so I can get a unboxing video made.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Virgin Mobile to End Unlimited

Virgin Mobile announced that starting in October they will throttle their cell phone users if they go over 2.5GB in a month. Fortunately for me I've never gone over 1GB in a month.
Guess being throttled is better than the outlandish overage charges by Verizon and AT&T.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

WHS 2011 and Dynamic Memory

My home setup consists of a Windows 2008 R2 Hyper-V server that has 8GB of memory. In that I have a WHS 2011 guest that I've allocated 2GB of memory to. I also have 4 other guests using varying memory footprints.
Now I know I'm not the "average" user of WHS 2011, but in my setup it sure would be nice if WHS 2011 had a dynamic memory driver so that it could, conceivably, only use what memory it needed at any particular time. That goes the same way for Microsoft's other Windows 7 products, as only the top end have the dynamic memory driver.
My feeling is that why should we be limited on what we can do in our virtual environments especially if it would require little to no effort on Microsoft's part to allow for that functionality to work?
Microsoft has been pushing the Virtual environments for quite awhile now so why not encourage it even more in the home environment for those that want to have that capability. Is everyone going to use it, no, but I think as time goes on more and more will.
Afterall, who would have thought many years ago that a server product (WHS 2011) would be used in the home?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Space Shuttle

Today being the last launch, in 5 minutes, I can remember back in the 70s when the Enterprise was first shown and that was the pinnacle of high tech. I thought how cool it would have been to be on a space flight and orbitted the earth.
I can still remember where I was when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up on January 28, 1986. I was in Corvallis, going to Oregon State University, and how profoundly depressing it was to see it explode.
We can't dwell on the accidents, as they unfortunately will happen, we should dwell on the great successes that have occurred over the years.
Even with that I still want to go into space and hope that someday it will happen.

NASA Android App

I'm sitting here watching the final launch of a Space Shuttle (STS-135) into orbit and low and behold NASA has released their Android App. Find it here in the Android Market. I had used the iOS version for a little while and now that my primary portable "device" is my phone so this is a welcome addition!
Go Atlantis! Go!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roxio Creator 2011

To edit the videos I put out on my YouTube Channel I use Roxio Creator 2011 to edit them once they come out of my Kodak Zi8. It's nice that I can add text overlays and boost the volume some, as many have complained that my early videos needed a volume boost.
Not having used many other video editing products except for Windows Live Move Maker I'm not really sure how it compares to other software.
I do find one thing annoying and that is that I produce it in Roxio then have to import it into Movie Maker so that I can upload to YouTube. I've not had any success at getting Roxio to upload it, though it is supposed to support it. Maybe an update, or I'll do some more searching on-line for a solution unless you have one and want to leave it in a comment.

Amazon Cloud unlimited, for now

If you have paid for a 20GB, or larger, storage account then Amazon is allowing unlimited storage, just for MP3s, for a limited time in their Amazon Cloud Drive!
What perfect timing as I was lamenting having to buy the next level up for my collection!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Google Maps Android update

Google has now released an update for their Android based Maps app. Supposedly is better at battery usage with Navigation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Virgin Mobile Raising It's Rates

At some point in the near future the Beyond Talks Plans are going to be:
$35 for 300 minutes, unlimited data
$45 for 1200 minutes, unlimited data
$55 for unlimited everything.
Here's a link the the document that talks about Virgin Mobile's new rates.

Amazon S3 storage

Got my bill for Amazon S3 storage, and for the 10 days or so that  I used it for it was a grand total of $0.54. Not too bad for almost 6 GB worth of data. Also a good deal of that was the actual uploading of the data, which now Amazon is offering for free.
As of right now I'm figuring I'm not going to be spending more than $5 per month for the service.
Having a place off site for part of my backup strategy is well worth it and with Cloudberry it is automatically done every week.
I suppose I could have purchased a safety deposit box, but that would have probably cost more in actual dollars and in time to drive to the bank to swap a physical drive.
I still haven't decided on upgrading my Amazon Cloud to 50GB yet so that I can store all my MP3s. I know that $50/year isn't a great deal, but still I'm trying to keep costs as low as possible. The Google Music storage might be viable, but until they actually print a cost I won't do that one yet.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I received an e-mail from ALK Technologies Ltd announcing their new version of CoPilot. I currently use CoPilot version 8 and haven't been totally enamored with it. Here's my video review.
The update is going to be $9.99 for a short time for all who want it, which in a way, irks me as I'm already a customer I should get some form of discount, maybe pay $4.99? Well anyway, even if offered that I don't think I'd buy it. From what I can tell you still don't get full functionality and still have to pay additional to use some of CoPilot's newer features.
Granted $9.99 isn't a huge amount for software, it is for phone apps though, I'm going to pass. I don't use my phone as a GPS all that often so I'll just keep version 8 and use Google Navigator.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Google GMail's New Look

If you go into you GMail Themes and select either Preview, or my fav Preview (Dense) you'll get a look at what I believe is going to become GMail's default theme in the near future.

Android App: My Tracks by My Tracks Team at Google

We like to go on walks when we can and being a person who likes stats or bits of useless data, maybe one and the same?, anyway, I enjoy knowing how far our walk took, how long, etc.
I could use my GPS for some of that info, but to know all the details enter the Android smart phone. My Optimus V runs on Android 2.2 and has a GPS. So all I needed was to find an app that would tell us about our walk. I found My Tracks in the Android Market and have been using it for a couple months now. There are probably other apps, but this was the 1st I tried and haven't seen a need for anything else.
When we start our walks I just make sure my GPS is on, and open up My Tracks and select Record Track from its menu. I then stick the phone in my pocket and away we go. Then when we get back I stop the recording, again from its menu, and then save it. You have the ability to upload the tracks to Google Maps, but I haven't really figured out a reason for me to do it.
On the phone I can see the track that we took overlaid on a Google map.
I can then, by clicking on the right side of the map, see all the stats relating to the walk. How far, how long, highest elevation, etc. It also totals all your walks in a Aggregate view and you can see how many miles you've walked over time.
I might normally be concerned about battery drain, but we took a ten mile, 3 hour walk today and I started out at 100% battery when we left, and when we got back it was down to 84%. So plenty of juice in the phone. I probably wouldn't let it run all day if you were on a day hike, at least for my phone.

Netgear WNDR3700v2 Setup as An Access Point

Some asked in my video on YouTube about setting up their new Netgear as an Access Point and here's how to do it.

Log into your Netgear and go to Basic Settings and set it up like this:
Then under LAN Setup give the Netgear an IP address in your network. My network uses 192.168.1.X so I gave my Router 
Hope it helps.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Office 365

I've been reading some on the new Office 365 that Microsoft has announced. Now I'm one that like to save money, but this product just wouldn't save me money.
I can get a copy of Office for three computers for $120. So let's say the next release of office is in two years, though more likely three years, but I'll just stick to $120 for argument sake. The equates to $60 per year. Now if I sign up for the cheapest at $6 per month for three people and that is $216 per year, much much more than just buying Office in the store.
The advantage is that the copies of locally installed office is that I don't have to rely on having an internet connection to use it. But I do have to admin, my DSL connection has had very few connection problems so I'm pretty confident I'll have a connection 99% of the time at home.
Now the advantage with Office 365 is that I could access my docs from anywhere that I could use a browser from. But not $156 per year more worth.
I do use Google Apps, the free version, for a few documents that I access at work regularly as it's much easier than using a USB flash drive. But again, have to rely on an internet connection.
Now granted I do have a smart phone but trying to work on a spreadsheet with a 3.2" screen is the pits. I will be upgrading my phone next month to a 4.1" screen and hope it will be more usable.
So for me at least Office 365 won't be for me or my household.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Motorola Triumph for Vigin Mobile

I'm going to be one of the early folks and have already ordered a Motorola Triumph to use as my main phone. I currently have an Optimus V, and it works great, but I really am wanting a larger screen and the Triumph is going to have a 4.1" size screen. So I can't wait for it! It should arrive towards the end of July so stay tuned for when I get it I'll be sure to make a video!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Backup Backup Backup

For quite a few years I've been using Windows Home Server to centrally store all the household documents, music, videos, etc. To keep it backed up I have three hard drives that I copy the files onto, making a mirror of what is on the server. I have been keeping one backup on me, but recently I decided that wasn't enough. What if I was home and some disaster struck and all my hard drives and the server were destroyed. Well I'd be out of luck!
So I decided with all the hulla-ballo about the Cloud I would try saving the more important files there. So, being the cheapskate that I am I didn't want to spend a lot of money.
I figured that I would classify my files into 3 categories:
  1. The files that I must absolutely, positively have no matter what,
  2. The files that I have purchased or are important (MP3s, photos), but if they were lost, it would be tragedy, but not the end of the world,
  3. The files that I have that have no monetary value (recorded TV shows) that could be lost without much "pain"
Thus my plan became to continue doing my normal backup routine with my physical hard drives, backing up the #1 files to a safe cloud, and backup #2 to the "less safe" cloud.
In looking around at backup solutions for Windows Home Server I decided on CloudBerry's product CloudBerry Back for Windows Home Server 2011. I also picked Amazon's S3 cloud storage to be the repository for the #1 files. I figured I had about 5 GBs worth of files that I would store there. CloudBerry works great, and I'll write about it another time.
For the #2 files, well I have about 60GB worth of those, so I thought, being the cheapskate that I am, to store those in another location. Well, I already use Picasa, and I went ahead and purchased 20GB of storage from Google for $5 per year which is pretty cheap. Okay, check those off the list. Next, the MP3s. Well I do use an Android phone and use Amazon's Cloud Player, so in looking into their service I discovered if I bought an album I could get 20GB for a year for free. Check! However, that isn't quite enough, so at some point I'm going to upgrade it to the 50GB of storage for $50/year.
As for the #3 files, I'll just continue the normal backup routine.
Well my DSL connection doesn't have the quickest of upload speeds, around 600 kbps so it took about 1 1/2 weeks to get all the #1 files and the photos uploaded to the cloud. I was working on the MP3s but when I realized I wouldn't have enough room I stopped figuring I'll get to those at a later time.
In CloudBerry I setup two different backup schedules for two distinct sets of files. Each happens once a week, I really don't update those files that often, so once a week works. The advantage with CloudBerry is once it is setup it is automatic and I don't really have to do anything but pay my Amazon storage bill.
With Picasa and Amazon's Cloud storage I do have to do those operations manually, but that's not too bad.
So far after doing the initial upload to Amazon S3 I've been charged 50 cents. So it will be interesting to see exactly how much I end up spending per month. I'm budgeting around $5/month and I think it will be, but I want to let it operate a couple months before making any final pronouncements.
I'll be back with updates in the future.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Virgin Mobile's Optimus V

Here's one of my videos where I talk about the Optimus V that is sold by Virgin Mobile. It's the phone I'm still using.

A Start

Here's post number one for my new blog on tech. I have a main website ( which deals with World War II, but I have another hobby that I dabble in, and that is Tech so here I go! Mostly I've done YouTube videos of the phones I have and the software I run on them and a few relating to other items I've got my hands onto so I could do a YouTube video on them as well.
So for now I'll point you to my existing YouTube channel ( but as I go I'll add the videos here too.
My plan is to do other thoughts on Tech, not just videos. But I'll just play it by ear and see how goes!