I love America

I love America

I went to the 4th of July celebrations put on by one of the churches in the area. I was impressed with how well they did the planning and activities. It was the first large scale fireworks I had been to in several years. I was also impressed because they gave a good gospel message and there was at least 100,000 people there that day. Many of those people are not regular church attenders.

Browster: A New plug-in speeds up web searching to lighting fast speeds.

A free plug-in released this week for Internet Explorer and Firefox allows users to mouse over Web searches for an instant view of the webpage rather than having to wait for the full page to download.

Browster Advertisement

Browster uses a pre-fetching technology that instantly renders the Web page in less than a second in a new window on top of the original search page.

Links can be clicked in the new window just like it was in a regular browser window. Then easily exit by moving the mouse back to the main search site. Browster works with search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo, and many other sites like eBay and Amazon.com, plus newsgroups and news sites. My only gripe about browster plug-in is the annoying ads at the top of the window. Hopefully Browster will release an ad-free version soon.

Browster is a must download. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out some of the 5 star reviews from popular publications.

“Ever wish it was easier to browse search results? With Browster, it’s much easier.”
PC Magazine*

“One of the year’s coolest innovations.”
Time Magazine

“As you mouse over a link in Google or Yahoo, for example, the HTML page pops up almost instantly. If time is money, then Browster saves money–you don’t have to wait for what could turn out to be useless pages to load.”
ZDNet

“Browster makes for faster browsing… an interesting and useful tool that is all the more valuable because it is free.”
Network World Fusion

Bathing lizard

Bathing lizard

While at the Barnes Jewish Children’s Hospital in St. Louis last week I visited a cool garden they have on the 8th floor. It is meant to be a place for patients and visitors to enjoy a walk and get some fresh air. I was very impressed with how good a job they had done with the garden. I found this metal lizard soaking up the sun and enjoying a bath.

TV Networks getting a clue?

CBS has announced they are launching a 24-hour internet news network. It seems that the TV networks are realizing that I am not turning on my TV anymore except to pop in a DVD.
uplink
I cancelled my Dish Network because it’s just a bunch of useless crap. TV on demand and news on demand is the way to go. I’ve been playing with a PC hooked up to my TV to record the few shows that I care to watch. I’m too cheap to get TiVo. Read the full story about CBS here.

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Camera: Canon PowerShot S400
  • Taken: 23 February, 2005
  • Focal length: 7.40625mm
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s

Do you digg?

I’m not much of one for going to the tech news sites and sifting through all of the articles to find new and useful information. Digg.com is a cool site where people post articles about different topics they find on the internet. You can then read the article and choose to digg it or not.

Digg

Articles with the most diggs end up on the front page of the site. If you are familiar with Tech TV and The Screen Savers show then Kevin Rose is a familiar name and face. He started Digg.com and it’s a great place to get news and information. Alex Albrecht (also an old Screen Savers guy) has teamed up with Kevin to do a podcast covering the top stories on Digg. Check out diggnation.com for the podcast. The two of them together is rather entertaining, plus they cover interesting tech articles at the same time. I know that the concept behind Digg is nothing new but I have tried other similiar sites and Digg seems to do a better job and isn’t as clunky.

Helicopter

Helicopter

This is from a 4th of July celebration we went to. Right as we arrived this Apache Helicopter was taking off and I quickly threw down my back pack, grabbed my camera changed lenses turned and started snapping.

Kids among us…

Kids among us...

Everywhere I turn there are two things that are not far from me. One is computer stuff and gadets, which my wife is ready to throttle me over. Not that I have parts and junk laying around everywhere, but there are gadets, remotes and such all around. T

2 Useful Websites

These 2 sites may be old hat to you but at some point in all of our IT careers we come across websites that we haven’t used before. One such invaluable website for tracking down problems with web hosting, email hosting or other such services is DNSReport.com.

Computers

Running your domain through this will give you all the information you need to see what’s working or not working with your domain. The domain name system (DNS) is the way we translate easy to remember domains (ie. www.misguys.com) to the IP address of where that domain resides. How about having to say “goto 67.15.111.132 or whas is 133?” to direct someone to your website? DNSReport.com has helped us numerous times track down problems and return the aggitated network users back to normalacy. Or as close as we can to normalacy that is.
The second useful website is What Is My IP.com How many times have you tried to find out what IP address a remote user is assigned to only to end up ready to go to the remote site and permanently remove the remote user? It’s much easier to say “open Internet Explorer (not that I use IE, but the majority of the users you will deal with do) and type www.whatismyip.com in the address bar.” Usually the next thing you have to say is “no, not the search bar of google or MSN, but the address bar.” Like I said these may be old hat to you but at some time in your distinguished IT career it wasn’t. Somewhere out there there’s some worn out person trying to track down some problems and these two websites are a couple of pieces to getting the puzzle figured out.

The land of the little people

The land of the little people

This is one of my kids favorites places. Here they are kings and queens and whatever else seems to be on their adventureous minds. To be that age again and not have a care in the world would be both awesome and scary. It’s scary because then I’d have to go through Jr. High and Middle School and High School and College again and I don’t really want to repeat those years. Sometimes I’d like to skip from those years to the end. The in between is too rough, too unpredictable. Little one year old girls shouldn’t have growths by their brain that have to be removed by long and dangerous operations. My niece has to have surgery tommorrow to remove a growth. Sheesh. I want to be a kid again.

Canter please

Canter please

I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile. I can’t decide wether I like it or not. Usually when I can’t decide I just have to post it and see what happens. I like the color and the motion, but I wish the rider was more in focus. What do you think?

Podcast Revolution

Guest post from Brandon Crain:
Most tech guys own an MP3 player of some sort. I currently own three MP3 players, a Pocket PC, PSP, and iPod. The iPod is the only truly dedicated MP3 player of the three. The Pocket PC’s main purpose is an electronic organizer, and the PSP’s being a handheld game machine. Podcastrevolution
I don’t consider myself an expert on Podcasting or MP3 players, but I do get asked questions about Podcasting / MP3 players frequently. Hopefully this article will help shed some light on the confusing term, Podcasting. Podcasting is a method of publishing audio files via the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new files automatically. Podcasting is still increasing in popularity, and has become more main stream toward the end of 2004. Podcasting is a confusing name because it implies you need an Apple iPod to listen to Podcast. That is not the case at all; you don’t even need an MP3 player for that matter. The main tools you will need to get in on this new audio revolution is a PC running some type of Operating System (Windows, Linux, OS X), Audio Software (Windows Media Player, Winamp, QuickTime), and an internet connection. If you own a computer, you are probably Podcast ready.

Podcasting is different from other types of online audio delivery because of its subscription model or RSS (Really Simple Syndication) file format. Podcasting enables users to create radio type shows & audio shows. Podcatching software can be used to periodically check for new downloads. Some Podcatching software is also able to synchronize Podcasts to portable MP3 Players. RSS can deliver video files, and since the newest version of iTunes supports video, I’m guessing a video iPod is in the works. iPodder is currently the Podcatching software I use, however there are many other good free ones to choose from. iPodderX is a good choice if you use a Mac.

iTunes is now jumping on the Podcasting revolution by integrating it into it’s newest version of iTunes, 4.9. I think Apple plans to keep this feature around too because iTunes offers thousands of podcast in it’s debut. However there are many other podcast to be found, and if you limit yourself to iTunes, you may miss out on some of the other great Podcast not listed with iTunes.

My goal here was to give a general explanation of Podcasting, and hopefully help you find the right software to start downloading your favorite Podcast. I love listening to my Podcast before I go to bed or on long road-trips. Check out some of my favorite Podcast links below, and get in on the new Podcasting revolution.

|| BCrain ||

Great Podcasting Resources
Podcasting Tools
Podcast Alley
iPodLounge

Podcatching Software
iPodder
iPodderX
iTunes

My Favorite Podcast
This Week in Tech
Diggnation
Engadget

Charity horse show

Charity horse show

We went to a charity horse show and it was really dark where we were at. I knew my flash wasn’t going to reach and I didn’t feel like dragging out my other flash. So I figured not much was going to come out. I had the ISO pushed way up and was just exp

War of the Palm Worlds

I found this definition from dictionary.com Insisting capriciously on getting just what one wants; difficult to please; It’s the definition of finicky.Lifedrive

Some might say that I am the definition of finicky when it comes to handheld devices. I held out a while before getting my first handheld, they seemed only for those who actually had enough contacts and appointments to keep track of. Then I started seeing the number and breadth of applications available, so I decided it was time.

Consider this taken from the palmOne website, The PalmPilot was invented in 1994 by Jeff Hawkins who founded Palm Computing and is now palmOne’s Chief Technology Office. So, my first handheld was a Handspring Visor in 2001. I tried to go thrifty by getting an open box, bottom-of-the-line model. That lasted about a day as I quickly realized I wanted more storage for all of the applications out there that I would never actually use. So I got the next model up with more memory. One of my co-workers had a color model and I had to have that. So I got a Handspring Prism and used it for about 6 months. Then I discovered the Sony Clie. I got the 615c, but the 655c came out the following week and it played MP3s! So I returned to Best Buy, they exchanged it and I paid the difference. I used it for about 6 months and had wander lust again. I had never really liked the design of the Palm brand until I saw the Tungsten T3. It had the bottom section that slid up and down. I liked it and used it for a good 6 months. I had never cared for the size of most Pocket PC handhelds, but now they had come out with several models that were the same size as the Palm OS based models.

So, I went with a HP 4155 and I have to say that out of the Pocket PC’s it was the best for features and size. I used it for about 6 months (see a trend here?) and again was overcome by the desire for something new. Pathetic, I know. So, I went with the HP RX3715. I never really cared for it. Buying on the internet has it’s downside sometimes. It was big and bulky and it didn’t last too long. I decided I missed the Palm OS and went with a Tungsten T5. For features it was ok, but I really missed the Wi-Fi that the HP 4155 had. I didn’t like how the T5 felt in my hand either. (Remember the definition of finicky?) Then came the Lifedrive. I had read about it and the rumors as to it’s specs and thought “I gotta have that!” It came out around the middle of May and I had mine in my hot little hands the following week. I really like it. It fits perfectly in the hand. lifedrive2The 4gig of space provided by the microdrive inside is awesome. Plus I have a 1gig SD card, so I’m not hurting for space. The Wi-Fi works flawlessly and MP3s sound great on it. I even sold my 30gig iPod Photo because I didn’t want another device to carry around. Not that it compares to the iPod for it’s user interface or storage, but for my needs it’s perfect. Complaints, yeah I have a couple. There are delays when launching applications, especially for the first time after a soft reset. If I’m listening to music and I hop to another application it causes serious hiccups in the playback. The headphone jack is at the bottom of the device, so I have to put it in it’s leather carrying case upside down to avoid removing the headphone cord each time I want to remove it from the case.

The life drive is not a revolution in handhelds, all of it’s features have been around for sometime. It needs some improvement on handling of the hard drive, maybe this will be addressed by Palm OS 6. The thickness could be reduced some. I am surprised that there is not more heat associated with the hard drive than there is. I only gets warm if you do a lot of transferring of files to the hard drive. Overall I am well pleased with the Lifedrive. Check back with me in 6 months and see if there’s anything that’s peaked my interest enough to switch. If you are wondering where the title for the article came from I just saw War of the Worlds. I really liked it and thought Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning did awesome jobs. Go see it.- jason

Little innocent one

Little innocent one

My kids are awesome. They are the source of great joy and wonder. It’s just fascinating to watch them as they grow and discover things. They are better entertainment than HBO or cable! :)

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