Archive for: February, 2006

Verizon EV-DO

Feb 26 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I’ve been using Verizon’s EV-DO service for the past couple of weeks, and I have to say that I absolutely love it.

Its fast…. its VERY fast.

I almost never worry about trying to find a wifi hotspot anymore since I can get around 500kps on the EV-DO network most of the time (and faster if I have really good signal strength.) And to solve the signal strength issue while I’m in hotel rooms, I got a small external antenna

I’m still waiting for my Kyocera KR1 EV-DO wifi router so I can share the connection… and a mag-mount EV-DO antenna for my car.

I highly recommend it. πŸ™‚

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HD-DVD and HDTV

Feb 24 2006 Published by under Ramblings

As I said before, I continue to tell people NOT to buy HDTV sets for various reasons… one of which is the fact that the HDTV “standard” is a bit of a moving target.

A couple of years ago at CES, 1080-progressive, or 1080p, had become popular… (not there was any content for that format as the 1080p format isn’t supported via ATSC or QAM as far as I know)… turns out that 1080p will be supported in the new hi-def DVD formats coming up.

So lots of people I’m sure started buying 1080p televisions to make sure that they’ll be able to display the new Hi-Def DVD material…

But as it goes, the Hi-Def industry has moved the cheese again, and even if you have 1080p capable tv set, you probably won’t be able to display any HD-DVD content since they changed the DRM spec….

HD DVD to Screw Early HDTV Adopters

I imagine that the HDTV “standard” will evolve a few more times before its done… so to hold me over until then, I bought four standard-def TV’s the other day that were on sale. πŸ™‚

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Adapting

Feb 23 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Lots of folks in the advertising business have been poo-poo’ing the whole TiVo and PVR revolution… but I’m glad some advertisers are finally starting to adapt to the new technology instead of bitching about it:

Advertisers are running into a jam. With more and more people using digital video recorders, people are just zipping through the ads.

One company says you won’t want to do that with their latest commercial.

KFC says its latest ad has a hidden message. Apparantly, if you watch the ad in slow motion, you can decode the message, and get a coupon for a free sandwich.

KFC Unveils “Tivo-Proof” Ad

(Thanks to Vikram for pointing out this article – usually I’m on top of such things, but I was traveling when this article came out… πŸ™‚ )

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New Headset

Feb 17 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I had been looking for a new phone headset and I had a few minimum requirements:

  • Wired – No Bluetooth – I love BT, but I don’t want to carry (yet another) charger with me
  • Boom Mic – I hate the dangling mic on the cord, and I think that mics in the ear-piece still pick up too much noise (no matter what noise canceling tech is being used)
  • Easy to carry – I have been carrying a GN Netcom headset around with me, and its been great but its a bit of a pain to carry around with its metal headband and all.
  • Sufficient volume – The main problem I’ve been having with cell phones is that its difficult to hear the other person on the with so much background noise in the car or whever I may be at the time.

Speaking of volume – the Treo 650 I had was barely audible in a car or airport with the volume cranked (even with Volumecare), and the I-mate K-Jam I have right now is better, but not much of an improvement.

Instead of trying to boost the audio, I decided that maybe blocking out the ambient noise was better… While I was at CES this January, I had the chance to stop by the Shure booth and play with some of their newest sound-isolating ear-buds. I own a set of E2c ear-buds and I love them. So I wondered if they made phone headsets – and it turns out they do!

You can read about them here: Headsets For Mobile Phones

Mine came in today, and so far, I love it… it has a real boom mic, and its light-weight, and since it blocks out all the other noises around me I have to turn the volume down on my phone to its lowest setting so it won’t blast my ear. Sweet!

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Treo 700w

Feb 06 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I went to the local Verizon store today to buy a Treo 700w. But I didn’t.

Its not to say its not a great phone:

  • The sound quality is awesome – its loud and clear (finally!)
  • The proc is pretty quick – but its not quick enough… I managed to get it to slow down when switching apps.
  • The one-handed operation of the 700w is better than any PocketPC phone I’ve owned (or played with) but its not as slick as the Treo 650’s UI.
  • It has EV-DO for data access and I can only sum it up with one word – “WOW!” Its wicked fast.

So the upside is that its probably the best PocketPC phone I’ve seen… but the downside is that since its on the PocketPC platform its really hard to make it that much different than anyone elses PocketPC phone… I mean, is there really THAT much difference between one company’s WinXP machine to another’s? (I’ve not thought so in quite some time.)

Ultimately it didn’t make sense to buy it at the Verizon store even if I did want to go home with it since Amazon.com has a $350 (after rebate) price on it while the walk-in store had it for $500.

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About the ColdHeat

Feb 02 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Ok so people continue to ask me – “Does this ColdHeat thingy really work?”

I actually got one as a gift from Dirk, and quite frankly – I like it. It does take a little while to get used it – this is not your father’s soldering iron. But once you realize that its not the same thing, and treat it as something different, it actually does a pretty decent job soldering joints on wires and pcbs.

As an invention, Cold Heat seems to have everything. At first glance, it does something old (soldering) in a new, potentially better way (without a hot soldering iron and the risk of burns). It has the “Why didn’t someone do this before?” factor.

How Cold Heat Works

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HDTV Technology

Feb 01 2006 Published by under Ramblings

For years, I’ve been discouraging people from buying HDTV’s for two reasons…

  1. To date, there are very few shows in any sort of HiDef format or resolution
  2. HDTV display technology is changing rapidly and improving by leaps and bounds while prices continue to drop

There’s still very few shows to watch in HD… and while there was once simply CRT, LCD, DLP, and Plasma… there’s now LCoS… which appears to be the “new hotness”:

Liquid Crystal on Silicon, LCoS, is a relatively new and obscure display technology that is now making its grand entrance into the HDTV marketplace. What is really impressive is that instead of taking the traditional path of entering at the ground floor with mediocre performance compared to the established technologies and then trying to percolate up to the top tier in picture quality, it is starting out right at the very top. Already, LCoS provides the highest resolutions, the highest non-CRT Contrast Ratios, and the most artifact-free images of any display technology. For people that are sensitive to flicker and eye-fatigue, LCoS operates at the highest refresh rates (120 Hz) for the smoothest, most flicker-free images. This article will be an in-depth examination of 5 LCoS HDTVs, all but one of them prototypes, in order to get an early look into this unfolding technology.

LCoS Display Technology Shootout Part A

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