Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player (3rd Generation)

Google just launched the third generation Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player with a new look, some new features and the same price tag as before.  It comes in white and charcoal

Image:Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player (3rd Generation)

What does this new Google Chromecast version bring? In full 1080p you can stream 60fps which in previous versions was only available in 720p.  Google also reports a 15% hardware speed improvement which should help with the new video capability. They also slightly changed the look of the Chromecast but since it sits behind the TV at most houses you never notice.

See It. Stream It.
The idea behind Chromecast   Continue Reading here" Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player (3rd Generation)" »
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    On Monday, October 15th, 2018   by Chris Miller        

DUBS Acoustic Filters review - I love these

DUBS was kind enough to let us run the DUBS Acoustic Filters through field testing. We used them just about everywhere and have the results for you below.

You can get your hands on the DUBS Acoustic Filters and more information right here

I admit to being a person that would often wear foam earplugs at loud events to be cheap and better protect my ears. I am glad I was able to wear DUBS Acoustic Filters. I now carry them everyday and use them at least once a day. The DUBS help filter out that loud and harsh middle range of sound while still allowing me to hear easily. They are wearable for long periods of time without driving my crazy like most other in ear plugs do.
DUBS Acoustic Filters

Continue Reading here" DUBS Acoustic Filters review - I love these" »
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    On Thursday, July 30th, 2015   by Chris Miller        

How To: Using Chromecast in a Hotel wifi network

Using Chromecast in a hotel wifi network can be no easy task with authentications, splash pages and more. Here are two ways to get around issues using Chromecast on a hotel wifi network I found. We should be taking advantage of those large tv's with HDMI ports in the hotel rooms to watch Netflix, Hulu or whatever else.
Chromecast style=

The first option is the easiest.   Continue Reading here" How To: Using Chromecast in a Hotel wifi network" »
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    On Thursday, July 10th, 2014   by Chris Miller        

Logitech P710e Mobile Speakerphone review

I try to walk you through everything of the Logitech P710e Mobile Speakerphone from unboxing, pairing, call quality and features in the video.
Logitech P710e Speakerphone

The Logitech P710e is a weighty little device (9 ounces) in a nice thin foam carrying case. It has a very sleek look and flat black matte finish allow it to blend in to any desk or work setting. The foam pouch does not have room for the provided power adaptor that uses the built in USB cable on the bottom of the device to charge it. The good news is that most people have one of these USB to plug adaptors already in their bag. With the 15 possible hour battery life on a full charge you should be able to use this for a day easily.

Paring the Logitech P710e Mobile Speakerphone was simple as shown in the video. We did a Bluetooth pairing for the example but NFC is also possible. You could always plug this into a laptop or computer using the attached USB cable as well.

The top of the speakerphone slides open to reveal a slot to use as a stand for your phone or tablet. I was able to get my phone and tablet into the slot with very thin cases on the devices. Thicker cases will not work.

The side of the Logitech P710e Mobile Speakerphone has the buttons to pair and power and a headphone jack for private listening. The buttons are not huge and I agree with other reviewers having them marked better, lit or something to help identify would be better. They are labeled in black on the matte black finish making it hard.

The top of the Logitech P710e Mobile Speakerphone used lighting to give you status of volume, mute and connectivity. You just need to learn the colors. The buttons you see depicted on the top do not illuminate. The light dial around the buttons shows the status instead. Blue for pairing, green connected, red for mute. You get the idea. The buttons were small and for those used to backlit buttons this does not offer that.

Call quality was good as we show in the video. We tested in the studio so there was not a lot of background noise. Walking away a few feet did not degrade our voices. Noise canceling capabilities were built in and seemed to diminish most normal background office sounds. We did not test this outside.

We also used the speakerphone as a speaker for streaming some audio via Bluetooth from a phone as shown in the video. It performed well and sounded great so this can double as a small portable music speaker too.

Overall a good quality of production and call sound from the Logitech P710e Mobile Speakerphone. Great usability for simplicity of pairing. Great battery life on quick charges. If the buttons were easier to see and labeled this would be a 5 star.

Get your hands on one right here and let YouTube and Amazon know we were helpful by clicking yes

Make sure you subscribe to all the Spiked Studio product reviews
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    On Thursday, February 13th, 2014   by Chris Miller        

CES 2014 - Neptune Pine Smartwatch CEO interview

While at CES 2014 I had the chance to interview Simon Tian, the CEO of Neptune Computers, and get hands-on time with the Neptune Pine Smartwatch. I have previously written about this and did a technical interview with their CTO. Above is the video interview from CES 2014.
Neptune Pine Smartwatch

You can read more on Spiked Studio.  Make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel or playlist as tons of video are coming out the next couple weeks. Subscribe, subscribe is all I can say to keep up.
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    On Tuesday, January 14th, 2014   by Chris Miller        

CES 2014 - where to find me broadcasting live

CES 2014 is days away and I will be part of two teams live (TPN and aNewDomain) broadcasting as well as doing my own reviews for Spiked Studio. Here is where to find me:  They have a great presence at CES including a booth where live interviews are done in 10 minute rotations. Then in the evenings there is uploaded floor reviews and replays.  We will be on and embedded everywhere plus a live blog, including my IdoNotes live page.

I will be on Tuesday afternoon from 1-3pm PST live and again Wednedday morning from 9-12pm PST
  • aNewDomain will have a giant team there this year.  Look for us to broadcast live and cover ShowStoppers on Tuesday night with about 15 people.

    I will update the schedule shortly for the live broadcasts

The hashtag #CESlive will be in use by both the TPN team and GeekBeat (Cali Lewis and crew) so look for that across networks too.

If there is anything you want covered (think category and not an individual item) leave it in the comments below and I will see who is covering it

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    On Thursday, January 2nd, 2014   by Chris Miller        

Withings Pulse Wireless Activity Tracker review

Comparing the Withings Pulse Activity Tracker against other wearable health gadgets I own was easy to do. While the basics are the same they all have certain features that make them selling points for different individuals. The Pulse is a strong contender for someone that has normal activity and wants to add features like sleep pattern tracking and resting heart rate monitoring.
Withings Pulse

The application (for iOS and Android) uses Bluetooth to sync the Withings Pulse Activity Tracker. I ran the device many days without doing a synchronization to see if I lost any data and none seemed to be missing. They are always doing app updates for new features and bug fixes. Once you sync the data to the app it is also pushed to the web for viewing there. You can set goals and view trends. For sleep patterns the web interface was better. For simple heart and activity, the mobile and web interface are fine.

The clip for the Withings Pulse Activity Tracker is sturdy but I worry long-term about the rubber gasket that holds the Pulse in place. Over time I can see the edges cracking or tearing. I wear the Pulse inside a pocket for protection as I discuss in the video. The backing seems sturdy and fits snug on pockets and clothes.

The interface is easy to use on the Withings Pulse Activity Tracker itself. A small power/screen switch button on the top, a charger port on the bottom and the heart sensor on the back. Clicking the power button changes the screen for information or function. It was easy to see the steps taken, estimated calories burned and distance climbed/walked. The app attempts to know when you had more physical activity and highlights it.

Sleep mode, either wearing the clip or the included soft velcro wrist band, was simple to activate when going to bed and deactivate when waking the Withings Pulse Activity Tracker. That is also the time to take your resting heart rate. Once the data from sleep syncs you can see how long it took you to fall asleep, deep sleep times, awake times and general restlessness. I learned some trends over time and actually solved a sleep riddle.

Battery life was not the time they state in my month long test. I actually received about 7 days max. I do check it a couple times a day but nothing heavy. I am not sure if activity has anything to do with it but I noticed shorter battery when I had weeks with heavy activity trends.

You can choose to use the add-on apps and products to further strengthen the value of the Withings Pulse Activity Tracker. I still wear it daily and plan to keep doing so!  You can get your hands on one at the link below.  

Please let Amazon and Google know the review was helpful.  Also, make sure to subscribe to all the Spiked Studio product reviews

See also the Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker review from Spiked Studio.
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    On Wednesday, November 13th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

Holidays 2013 - Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores

I plan on having a few places and gift ideas for you to check out for the 2013 holidays. First up is the Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores.

Best Buy Mobile Speciality Store

Best Buy Mobile invited some bloggers to take a look at any of the 414 stores (at the time of writing) they have placed in malls, kiosks and shopping centers. Now I had been to large Best Buy locations, so visiting  one that focused only on mobile was right up my alley based on the cases, USB chargers, smartphones and tablet reviews we do here at Spiked Studio.
Continue Reading here" Holidays 2013 - Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores" »
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    On Thursday, November 7th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

Trendnet Powerline 200 AV Nano review

The Trendnet Powerline 200 AV Nano is a winner before we even get to the small size or ease of installation. It just simply worked. I have tested this now in my own home and on the road in other country. Plug it in per the directions and you have Internet or network access.

So the first thing to remember is not to plug any of the Trendnet Powerline Nano adapters into a power strip. This is not supported and the current draw on those power strips will easily block the ethernet traffic. There is no way most of you would see the proposed 200MB throughput the box states since you have slower ports and networks in the home. I never needed nor saw even 100MB in use for any devices. The other thing to remember is to make sure you are on the same power networks. This will not work across apartments or to your neighbors (yes someone tried)
Continue Reading here" Trendnet Powerline 200 AV Nano review" »
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    On Tuesday, September 10th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

Sony Experia Tablet Z (SGP311U1 10.1-Inch 16GB Tablet) review and setup

The Sony Experia Tablet Z (SGP311U1 10.1-Inch 16GB) Tablet  based on Android is quite an impressive piece of work. Lightweight, waterproof and IR remote controls built in make it a great contender.
 Sony Experia Tablet Z

The first surprise is the incredibly light weight of the Sony Experia Tablet Z. I thought the battery was not in it when I first unpacked it as shown in the video. From there the base functionality is just like any Android device with some added benefits. The screen quality was excellent, even dimming it some to conserve battery life.

Battery life: I easily got eight hours of usage out of the device including browsing, streaming, playing with apps and connecting to everything I could find in the house via IR or on the network. I did dim it to about 65% as I find no need for the brightest setting. In saying that this is like any other tablet that in direct sunlight you will not see it perfect. Think eInk technology of the Kindle for that. It takes a normal amount of time compared ot other tablets to recharge and can use any micro USB charger which is an added benefit. No special adapters needed.

Tablet size and weight: I was shocked at how light it is. Really, It still amazes me and anyone that picks it up. I did a direct comparison to the iPad for you in the video so you get an idea of overall length and width. It is both slightly wider and longer. The downside is that every bag I have is made for iPad or smaller and the length of the Xperia was not on their game plan. It is easy to hold yet when typing in landscape the keys are spread out quite a bit.

Hardware specs: As supplied on this page above, the specs are terrific with the Snapdragon processor and available memory that is built in. The ability to add a micro Sd card to the device for expansion shuts down any thought of the iOS devices. I had no issues with any of the buttons, tabs for the port openings or connections.

Waterproof (really?) : yes the Sony Experia Tablet Z is.. I dunked it in water. Quickly, but definitely under water for a short time. I sat panicked and astounded at the same time. It worked, was totally dry and sealed tight. If you use the tablet around the sink when cooking this is perfect!
Continue Reading here" Sony Experia Tablet Z (SGP311U1 10.1-Inch 16GB Tablet) review and setup" »
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    On Wednesday, July 10th, 2013   by Chris Miller offers 15GB free cloud storage to new accounts - link inside logo

I have been using as an alternative to Dropbox for splitting work and personal storage. Right now is offering 15GB free cloud storage for new accounts.

The performance of the service on has been great. Upload speeds have been quick and folder management easy.  I am waiting on their mobile apps to be released to make it even better.  All the sites offer different upgrades and enhancements like password protection of files, expiring shared links, and more.

So why do I use multiple sites like, Dropbox, and more?
  • Well free storage is one with the amount of data everyone now has
  • Separation of personal and business data is another.  I know that any folder I share on one service would never contain the other information. Call it a simple obscurity step to also reduce making mistakes. Like family photos, vacations and stuff like that would then not appear on the business one

So how do I easily manage it? Simple. I have two folders inside the syn folder.  One is set for business and one for personal.  I then have subfolders as needed under them and then they automatically get synchronized with and Dropbox.

So go get 15GB free on while they still offer it for new accounts

Disclosure: That is simple a referrer tracking link so I might get some extra free space by helping share the 15 GB free on
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    On Thursday, May 16th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

NetZero 4G HotSpot review - a winner

NetZero sent a 4G Personal HotSpot for review and I was impressed from the moment I started using it. From the sleek look, shown below, to the simple couple buttons and LCD screen it is the size of drink coaster and as thick as deck of cards giving amazing 4G speeds to multiple devices. Before I wrote this review I tested the 4G HotSpot in a couple area of their coverage map to get a feel for performance. Make sure you check the map often as they expand coverage and to make sure you live in an area offered.
NetZero 4G HostSpot press shot
The default setup allows you to immediately connect up to eight devices using the on-screen LCD display to get the currently set Wifi password. The LCD screen also shows connected status, number of connected devices and data transferred for the current connected session. (The ability to disable showing the password, SSID and more is easily found in the settings screen.) I was quickly connected and using 4G speeds in less that a minute with the provided defaults.

See all of the Prepaid 3G/4G devices on Amazon

Here is a partial snapshot of the default web interface screen before you log in to administrate the device. It allows you to see battery status, number of connected devices, IP address and even 4G strength.
NetZero 4G status screen
After running some speed tests I logged in as the administrator and accessed the settings to find advanced features you would expect in todays routers. Firewall options, port forwarding, Basic/Advanced/WPS Wifi choices, the ability to check for firmware updates and IP controls were all present. There was much more to be found and configured giving you full flexibility of your hotspot.

NetZero 4G hotspot settings

After reading up more via their website on specifications, I ran across something I have not seen any other provider of 4G hotspots offer. If you pay full price for a device, they have a package that gives you 200MB a month, free.Yes, free bandwidth each month. If you need an emergency device with no monthly plan, that is a killer deal. After using this I ordered one to have handy for that emergency needed Wifi signal.

The device can run a couple hours with a single device connected. Multiple devices eat into that time as well as usage type. general browsing had excellent battery life. Streaming video worked it down noticeably. However you can also use it while plugged in. The 4G Personal HotSpot uses any standard micro USB charger.

Thanks to NetZero for sending the Personal Hotspot with 4G for review. I have been using it for blogging, updating the iPad apps, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and whatever else. I have connected up to five devices at once and have been impressed with the consistent strength of the signal in coverage areas.

They are running a heck of a special on the website right now. Buy any device with a paid plan and get it for half off.

NetZero HotSpot logo

See all of the Prepaid 3G/4G devices on Amazon

Disclosure: I was not paid for this posting, but I may earn affiliate credit. I was only able to use the device and test it without buying a plan no matter what my result or review results.

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    On Tuesday, May 7th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

Kinivo PowerBank EBT5X review

Kinivo PowerBank EBT5X

I received the Kinivo PowerBank EBT5X portable charger for review and it has some excellent capabilities and charging power.
The Kinivo EBT5X PowerBank is a portable USB charger capable of charging your iOS devices, Android, BlackBerry and even iPad.  On a single charge I was able to recharge both my HTC EVO 4G and BlackBerry Torch II.  After a recharge of five hours it was able to get an iPad back to about 60% capacity.

The dual LED lights on the end stay light 14 hours on a single charge and also offer a blinking emergency mode.

The casing is a hard rubber giving it protection and it comes with a carrying case and USB cable for charging it back up.  Overall a great portable USB charger. for the Kinivo device

Make sure you keep up with all of the product reviews from Spiked Studio from our YouTube playlist .

Other models referred to:
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    On Wednesday, March 27th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

Are you a Smartphone Photographer?

desk shadows by Joey Kelley

View a recent weekly Google Hangout below.

I am getting more heavily involved with communities in Google Plus and Smartphone Photographers is an awesome group you should investigate joining.  The community focuses on what we do everyday, take the best pictures we can using only smartphones. Any type of smartphone is welcomed and categories are there for each type.

There is also a weekly theme based contest .  Past weeks have included Different Perspective and Shadow Shots. A winner is picked by +1 votes and then makes up the category for the next week contest.  No prizes except awesome feedback, valuable critique (never any slamming) and incredible tips.

Did I mention we have a McGyver in the group that can show you how to build stands, tripods, and stuff for cheap to do amazing shots.

So head over to Smartphone Photographers and join in.  It is hosted and moderated by Ant Pruitt

Life isn't just Instagram anymore.
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    On Friday, February 15th, 2013   by Chris Miller        

Installing Windows Pro 8 on VMWare Fusion 5

I spent a while going through the install of Windows Pro 8 on VMWare Fusion 5 for my Mac Pro.  Everything on the basic Windows side worked fine but the tiles interface would not.  After some digging I found the simple little checkbox that solved that issue of making it all work.  I also continue on with some setup information for the beginners..

Keep in mind this is for new installations of Windows 8 and not the upgrades.  

Get Windows 8 Pro here
Get VMWare Fusion 5 here
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    On Thursday, December 6th, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Energizer Instant Charger for iPhone and iPod review

The portable Instant Charger for iPhone and iPod from Energizer arrived yesterday for review.  The Instant Charger is a low cost solution that takes normal AAA alkaline batteries that were included with the packaging.  The casing was a simple plastic that would not do well in a pocket, but would be good in a backpack, purse or drawer.  There was a single blue indicator light for power and a cap over the 30 pin connector.  This means it will not work with the iPhone 5. I go more into the case in the video above.

The good side of this charger is the low cost and the ability to use AAA batteries which would be easy enough to find and keep in stock.  Compare to other chargers like the Verbatim 97927 Portable Micro-USB Power Pack I have reviewed like the that you must keep charged every couple months for emergencies. The Energizer Instant Charger for iPhone and iPod sits indefinitely waiting for the AA batteries which you just have to keep nearby and refreshed every couple years.

See the video above for the full review of the Instant Charger from Energizer for the iPod and iPhone.

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Friday, November 2nd, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Review: Seagate Backup Plus for Mac 1TB drive with USB 3.0 and more

The amount of things I have been getting for review increases, but the Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive for Mac (STBW1000900) was a surprise that you should look into adding to your arsenal.  Not  only did it perform well and work seamlessly with Time Machine, but now includes automated social network backups.

The provided USB 3.0 cable is a bit short but is backwards compatible with 2.0 as well. It worked with an older and newer Mac as with no issues. But plan on keeping it close to the machine.

The included social media backup strategy was excellent. You could set the drive when plugged into the computer to check Facebook and Flickr for new photos since it last connected and to manually or automatically download and store images and videos you placed online. The reverse was also true where you can upload to Facebook, Flickr or YouTube right from the drive dashboard.

This makes backing up your social life even easier and allows it to work seamlessly in the background. I know many people who send photos right to Facebook but never download them from the phone and could possibly lose them. There is no guarantee social media sites will be there for you tomorrow.

You can get your hands on the Seagate Backup Plus for Mac 1TB external dive with USB 3.0 right here

Keep up with all of my Amazon reviews right here and also make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Thursday, October 25th, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Review: TP-Link Wireless N Pocket Router & Access Point

The TP-Link TL-WR700N 150Mbps Wireless N Pocket Router (and bridge and access point) was sent over for review and I love this device.

I show more of the product in the video, but the TP-Link TL-WR700N is the perfect travel companion for anyone. The the power plug built into the unit and one single ethernet port on the side, there is no confusion on how it works. A status indicator on the side tells you that it is operational and connected. Plus the included ethernet cord allows you to get started right away.

The default setting of the access point allows you to quickly share out a single Internet connection to multiple wireless devices. However, some hotels will look at Mac Addresses (how your device identifies itself) and will still try to charge you for each device in the default mode.

You can easily change this device to be a Router which then allows you to create it's own wifi network appearing as one device to the hotel networks. You can the connect as many devices as you need and share the single paid Internet (or just your own network) connection.

I did find that this device also acts as a repeater, allowing you to boost a very weak signal in hotels and other places to give you a stronger connection.

It comes with a standard setup guide, a Mac setup guide and a tiny resource cd. The same documentation was easily found on the TP-Link website and I had no issues reaching support for more information as I built the review.

See the video to get a feel for the sizing, packaging and my other observations.  Then head over to Amazon to grab it really darn cheap.

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Wednesday, October 24th, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Geek households : Schlage Keypad and Alarm lock

I was able to get my hands on the Schlage FE576 CAM 619 ACC CAM Built-in Alarm door lock for home.  This being my third Schlage door lock of this type, minus the alarm, I was anxious to test it out.
I previously switched my doors over to the Schlage keypad entry type door handles to make it easier by not carrying keys and the ability to provide multiple and even temporary codes. The addition of the alarm makes this perfect for external doors on your home.

This fits almost every standard door sizing and existing frames. I have had no problems simply screwing it together on an internal garage door, front large glass door and back garage door. I even went so far to test it on an internal wood storage room first to make sure I understood how it worked. With a few screws removing the old lock and catch, this fit right into the same screw holes for me. It does come with some additional sizings to help.
Remember to switch the door handle the direction you need before installing however.

Setup and Configuration
: (DO NOT lose the master code that comes with the lock)
It comes with a code that allows you to set every possibility from multiple user codes to temporary. If you follow the diagram and wait for the proper flashing indications it is simple. If you type too fast or do not pay attention you just have to start over. From there the supplied sheet walks you through each step with a diagram flow chart


It comes with the necessary batteries so you are ready as soon as you install it and configure your codes. There is always the backup keys, but the batteries have worked in all mine well over a year ()even with the box saying 3 years). It includes low battery warnings so you don't get caught by surprise.

Access is as simple as typing in the correct code and you have a few seconds before it automatically relocks for security. You can alway throw the latch on the inside to turn the lock off if you will be in and out, such as bringing in groceries. If you enter a code wrong you get an audible beep and flash of the light. You can then try again. Also if you know you entered a number wrong, just stop and wait a second and it will give the same warning and reset to allow you to start over.

The alarms are the new features for me and worked quite well. You can easily toggle between the choices with the large button on the inside as shown in the picture. The main alarm for forced entry is quite loud and noticeable at a distance. The tamper alarm is something I will not enable as walking up and just jiggling the handle sets it off and kids often forget to enter their code first to get in, so it went off a few times. Tamper mode lasts a short interval but can still be heard. The single beep was great for signaling when someone went in or out. For kids, elderly or a door that really never opens it is a great tool. You also have the option to turn them all off and have the alarms silenced. I started turning off during the day and enabling alarm mode at night and when leaving.

Overall I have had nothing but success with these locks. Always worked, sturdy construction (meets high security standards) and gives a very modern and cool approach to home access.

Disclosure: The link for the  Schlage FE576 CAM 619 ACC CAM Built-in Alarm  is an affiliate link
Schlage FE576 CAM 619 ACC CAM Built-in Alarm, Camelot Collection Keypad Accent Lever Door Lock, Satin Nickel

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Verbatim 97927 Portable Micro-USB Power Pack Charger review

I had the chance to test yet another portable USB power pack, this one being the Verbatim 97927 Portable Micro-USB Power Pack Charger.  At under $40 on Amazon for the 2200 mHa battery inside, it does hold enough power to support charging an iPhone or any other type device.  It will not charge an iPad and I had some issues with a new BlackBerry.

It comes with a short cable to charge it up, but anything else you need to provide.  I did not like the single LED that they use multiple ways and coloring since you can never tell how much charge is left and they use the same color light for different meanings (red means charging and also that it is running low for example depending on what you are doing).

Watch the video where I show how it compares in size, portability and other variables I walk through.

Disclosure: these are affiliate links.

You can order yours Verbatim 97927 right here on Amazon

You can get the PowerGen 5200mAh device here

You can get the amazing PowerGen 8400mAh here

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Tuesday, May 29th, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Bell + Howell 8553 2.4 GHz Wireless Video Door Intercom System product review

At Spiked Studio we were sent the Bell + Howell 8553 2.4 GHz Wireless Video Door Intercom System for product review. Above is the video and below is the summary.

From the Amazon page:
I was able to be highly disappointed. After seeing the pricing of this unit I am glad it was not a purchase. While the review I provide video goes into great detail I will summarize:

- The quality was cheap plastic for the casing. I did not like the locking mechanism for the battery compartment on the outside unit
- The outside unit came with a scratch on the screen while the inside had protective coating.
- There is no volume controls or battery indicator on the outside unit making it impossible to manage
- The inside unit functioned well and came with a base and charger
- However, the control menu on the base unit had the look of a 20 year old device with outdated technology
- The unit leads you to believe it sends constant streaming video. I was only able to find pictures taken y the camera, fuzzy at best. It also came with 3 pictures loaded on the device (I presume from testing?) of a guy in a shop
- The wireless frequency competes with many home phone systems and wireless access. Be careful as interference did occur in our tests
- The range was not as expected. I know there are tons of variances, but I couldn't get it to full signal in the same room feet apart as the video shows

So I hope that summarized our video for you. We always try and do videos now showing the product, packaging and you can see our reactions

So if you are still intrested in the ~$230.00 equipment you can visit the product page for the Bell + Howell 8553 2.4 GHz Wireless Video Door Intercom System.

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Wednesday, April 25th, 2012   by Chris Miller        

Review: Belkin 4-Way Privacy Screen Protector for Apple iPod Touch 4G

I was able to get my hands on the Belkin 4-Way Privacy Screen Protector for Apple iPod Touch 4G for a review.  I was impressed with the ease of applying the film to the device and how well it worked.

While you could tell it was applied when using the power button it did not interfere with any of the touch features on the device.

The packaging came with a cleaning cloth and credit card like board for smoothing out the film and making sure no bubbles were there.  By rotating the angle of the Apple iPod Touch 4G just a bit you could see how it was blocking viewing of the screen.

This Belkin 4-Way Privacy Screen Protector for Apple iPod Touch 4G gets a thumbs up and will come in handy on flights.  Numerous manufacturers do make other types of device privacy screens for iPhone, Android, ipad and it seems every device.

: Yes the above are affiliate links and make sure you subscribe to Spiked Studio for more reviews. Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews playlist from Spiked Studio
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    On Wednesday, February 29th, 2012   by Chris Miller        

IdoNotes Episode 118 - Plantronics Calisto P420 speakerphone review

You can also watch the video in full HD on YouTube.

I had the chance to review the Plantronics Calisto P420 Speakerphone and was impressed with the quality it offered.  It is a simple plug-and-play device that was instantly seen by Skype and Sametime as an audio choice. watch the review for my other thoughts on the ease and call quality.
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    On Tuesday, December 20th, 2011   by Chris Miller        

HTC EVO - my phone case of choice is Seidio Innocase

After looking at numerous phone cases for the HTC EVO, I finally decided I wanted both a cover and a holster to carry it around.  The large screen made it bulky no matter what.  An added case made it bigger.  So I did some searching and ran across the Innocase line from Seidio.  It has a snap together cover that leaves the camera, flash, speaker, volume controls and kickstand open.  It raises the back of the back of the phone just enough to protect the camera lens.  Then it snaps into the holster that is covered in a felt for the screen while allowing the clip part to cover the power button to make sure it doesn't get turned on or bumped.

So if you have the EVO and are looking for a case that doubles with a holster, the Seidio Innocase is my choice.

Note: Yes, It is an affiliate link and comes in other colors as well.

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Saturday, July 17th, 2010   by Chris Miller        

HTC EVO first impressions before video review

We talked about the HTC EVO on Episode 26 of TheSocialGeeks this week, but now having actually worked with the device, I am stunned and actually enjoying working with a phone.  The interface is slick.  The application choices immense and the quickness and response impressive.  Even with multiple applications open all the time.  The deal-maker for the day was when I received a quick message to load a specific app.  I did and was able to fully work with our Citrix environment, even launching the Notes 8 Standard client within the phone.

Forget the geek features like 8MB camera, 1.3 MB front facing camera for video chat, HDMI port, multi-app, kickstand, etc etc.  So far the phone is a winner and worth the change.  Oh, and Sprint named us a 4G city and I pick it up here and there as they deploy towers.  HTC has also promised free upgrades to Froyo (Android 2.2) for these phones.

Also,  make sure you keep up with all the product reviews from Spiked Studio on YouTube.
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    On Friday, June 4th, 2010   by Chris Miller        

Lotus Notes native mail on the iPad - is it time?

Get notified of new events!

I watched, not one, but three people within two rows around me pull out iPads (in varying cases I noted) and begin reading books or other writer material.  As I watched them flip a page here and there, open a game app on another and generally do nothing else, email was a missing component.  One even took out a laptop as well.  So I began to think, it pursuing this as a true mobile platform client worth it?  If you want the summary answer now to skip reading, I say no. Not as "client" as we know it.  But a hybrid model of some sort.


People are wanting more applications and function.  They believe that this can replace basic features they have in their netbook or laptop.  It is highly portable, super long battery life, quick to launch and offers a blend of work and pleasure.  Carrying a lighter weight client and browser in one is attractive.  Having a device employees want to carry makes it an easy sell.  If you walked in to a meeting with a stack and said use this for your mobile (non phone) device how many would turn it down?

With 3G and wifi, you are online anywhere.  Data plans are reasonable.  Attending online meetings is a breeze.  The camera and mic built in. Carrying cases for #nerdgirls will be stylish.


The iPad is a media consumption device, not enterprise.  It was built as such and will grow in that direction for some time to come.  It is not a true replacement for laptops and netbooks, yet the comfort factor drives adoption.  Enterprises do not have control, policies enforcement or even the ability to remote wipe.

There would be difficulty handling encryption, connectivity, replication.  An id file is not something you toss on the device easily since application deployment goes through Apple, not your company.  Storage space would compete with movies, videos, pictures and music.

No real keyboard.  The virtual one is ok, but takes getting used to.  Then the added accessory of adding one.  Printing is not native, it costs a few bugs to buy an app to allow you to print.

All your other applicatons they expect from Lotus Notes will either be web (which can then be done on anything) or written in addition.  Once again it would be Apple deployment control, not your as in plugins for Lotus Notes and Sametime.


I could go on and list each and every aspect, but I find it redundant from other web sites.  The point being that just having web access is "ok" via Lotus Domino iNotes (not the other one), so why put forth the effort?  Pulling mail via POP/IMAP is a show-stopper right away as most enterprises have killed that off as an option.  Not being able to control the app deployment and configuration (policies) is a stopper.  The demand for them makes them a risk item to carry.  Encryption in the true Notes model is missing.

Oh yeah, I couldn't have written this offline on the plane, replicated it quickly later and moved along.
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    On Thursday, May 13th, 2010   by Chris Miller        

PL was down.. who was using their RSS readers?

I was just as surprised to see PL down with the awesome service record this free service to us has.  But then the few emails and tweets trickled in to me asking about RSS readers, OPML and more.  Some of this followed along behind my BOF at Lotusphere that included references to both PL and RSS.

I do visit both but live in RSS heaven with Feedly (which is a great UI interface extension in Firefox for Google Reader).  By importing the OPML file a while ago of all the bloggers, I kept right up with everyone and was able to whip through quickly.

For a crash course, I might do a screencam to make it faster to understand how the sharing, importing of OPML and more works.  Here is the original posting I had with the OPML files to keep all of you moving along.
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    On Wednesday, January 27th, 2010   by Chris Miller        

My Top 5 geek gift picks for Christmas 2010

In my Sys Admin Tips for December each year I always pick the silliest technology gifts.  I think it is time to get serious too.  I always mentally start making this list but never published it.  Let the tradition begin:
  • Flip cameras - they were still a bit in the infancy before and a few geeks had them.  Now they are becoming mainstream and every kid, grandparent and parent that wants to capture every moment should get their hands on one.  With the point and click recording and easy sharing, why not have one.  For those at conferences, how better to get the blackmail material you so desire? Sony, Kodak and more are getting into the game letting you know it is an emerging market.  The leader is still Flip Video in my eyes with a ton of models
  • Ebook readers - now this is something I have personally owned for like 10 years and still use constantly.  The same device even.  I started with the RCA Ebook, which used to have it's own store and more.  But it was way ahead of the time and delivery is via sync, still like many of today.  Sony and some others are coming on full steam with readers and agreements with online bookstores, like the Barnes & Noble or the world.  I can't see why we pay full printing costs (meaning reduce the price to eliminate what is paid to the paper supply instead of inflating your profits more) and it would only increase sales in my opinion.  The leader is still the Kindle for the wireless buying power and scheduled daily delivery, but look for more offering this soon enough.  If you are an avid reader, the eInk technology is amazing and you get used to the 1 second delay or so as you turn pages rather quickly.
  • Plantronics Calisto Pro headset - holy crap.  This thing rocks from firsthand knowledge.  One bluetooth enabled set to handle VoIP, landline and cellular phones, all at once.  There is a handset and headset (earpiece).  Have a call on your cell, click to answer, a call comes in over Skype while on the phone, just click over.  All integrated at one time.  Try that with your current bluetooth.  It uses DECT 6 so there is no competition or interference with wifi in the house like many 2.5 Ghz systems too.  I love this thing!!!
    Image:My Top 5 geek gift picks for Christmas 2010
  • Pokens and more Pokens - yes I have spoken about them and the impact they can have.  They seem to be the current leader in the space, with some other upcoming contenders, like HelloMyNameIsE.  This takes business cards and social interaction to a new level at events when people have these.  Instead of trading a card with limited space and no living information, you exchange information that can then be tagged, receive updates, show multiple addresses, emails, phone numbers and social networks that the person can be found on.  I create a tag for each conference and assign it to everyone I meet there.  Searching for contacts then goes beyond trying to remember or searching alphabetically.  I can then see their recent updates on networks and a sliding timeline, with picture (if they include this option).  It is a one time purchase that can have multiple business cards created.  So for one event you are your company, another you are your social interaction information.  Heck, want to keep up with the family?  Grab a bunch of these, create a "private" card with home information and take them to the family reunion.  If you do not want the fun little characters, there is a business Poken Pulse and custom ones that can be done as giveaways.
  • Motorola Droid - you know it had to be in there.  This is the newest gadget for the geek to show off to his friends.  While you need to consider where they have their phone plans already (as in don't get it if they are not on the right network or changing soon) this is one heck of a geeky gift.  Even accessories are being made by tons of vendors.  Applications are coming out of the woodwork and even some iPhone developers said they are tired of the AppStore and are heading to Droid.  It is a big blow to those that don't want to be locked down and the geek will love you for this.

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    On Monday, November 30th, 2009   by Chris Miller        

I can count to 1352 and Report it

I had the last minute pleasure of participating in the most recent 1352 Report podcast, hosted by Bruce Elgort.  I joined in place of Sean Burgess to the normal cast of characters, Carl Tyler and Jess Stratton.  This is the holiday gadget show, so take a listen.

Apparently Jess has a tiny car that does not have vents due to her demand for gadgets.
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    On Wednesday, November 18th, 2009   by Chris Miller        

Graphical display of my Facebook circle

This is a cool tool I ran across that pulls your friends, group memberships and builds a diagram of such.  It shows how interconnected and isolated our group is. Take a look, I can click anywhere and it will show that range of names and connectivity.  While I don't use Facebook (here is a book for users just starting out) on a daily basis, I still have it auto updated and connect when asked.  Seems I spend all my time on Twitter and FriendFeed with bookmarks dumping to Diigo.

Image:Graphical display of my Facebook circle
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    On Tuesday, May 20th, 2008   by Chris Miller        

We started going topless at meetings, try it

In big meetings we make sure we never brought cell phones in, not even on vibrate mode.  But now, what the heck, go topless.
Frustrated by distracted workers so plugged in that they tune out in the middle of business meetings, a growing number of companies are going "topless", as in no laptops allowed.  Also banned from some conference rooms: Blackberrys, iPhones and other personal devices on which so many have come to depend..

Seems to be a pleasant way to actually get things done.  Anyone going to try this?

Sounds like VGS once again to me....
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    On Tuesday, March 25th, 2008   by Chris Miller        

PrimeTimeRewind.TV is interesting (so far)

I am plaing around with the cube, but it also lets you add any TV show via RSS feed, so I could grab my shows from Hulu. Interesting experiment to getting prime time shows online with no TiVo in the middle

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    On Tuesday, March 18th, 2008   by Chris Miller        

A Lotus Support Mega Feed widget and Google Gadget for you..

I created a Google gadget of this also but I am piping my LotusChannels Jaiku feed into Dapper to make some widgets and gadgets. Then we can toss this into the Notes 8.0.1 widget sidebar and viola!
Note that you select which technote you want and click the twisty to have it slide open to see more of the entry

 Add to your site powered by Dapper 

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    On Tuesday, February 5th, 2008   by Chris Miller        

Humorously, the Microsoft Surface thingy uses special tags dubbed Domino

So I read this article based on the topic of touchscreen stuff and came across this little gem.  The tags that get put on devices so they can be 'seen' by the Microsoft Surface are called Domino tags.  I am sure IBM will not pursue and trademark infringements against anyone right?
Surface computing isn't only for playing around.  The system supports object recognition using a technology dubbed Domino, which works like a bar code.  A Domino tag - basically a small sticker with a black and white pattern - allows the Surface computer to recognize another electronic device instantly

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    On Wednesday, August 1st, 2007   by Chris Miller        

Dash looks to update my driving experience

It isn't often I blog about other geek toys but this one I waited patiently for.

While the beta is now closed until product launch, this looks to change the way you drive.  Combine a GPS with the ability to get driving stats from other dash drivers in the area.  Don't forget you can send addresses to your Dash so it will have directions ready and even grab the local movie times (or other Yahoo searches) right from the device.  Then head straight there.

I love my GPS and I love my Google searching from the Blackberry for stuff as you drive around.  But they were never combined into one dash sitting, summer sun grabbing, traffic avoiding, Internet connected, traffic speed sharing device.  Plus 3 possible routes to the destination instead of the dreaded GPS crowded road or even closed for construction got my attention right away with all the Highway 40 reconstruction taking place the next 8 years or so here in St Louis.
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    On Friday, July 13th, 2007   by Chris Miller        

Interesting music site I found and how it is provided

As many of you know I am a music fiend and always looking at new ways to hear/listen/filter.  I have the local collection (way to big to hear it all) and also the Yahoo streaming with a custom channel.  Well I came across a site today that I found quite cool and a neat way to navigate moods/tempo/etc.

It was called Musicovery and I happened to stumble across it.  You can select year ranges/tempo/mood/genre and all of that in a sliding connected image that let's you choose paths.  There is like 18 genre's and then sub moods then a sliding bar for year coverage.

Image:Interesting music site I found and how it is provided
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    On Saturday, February 3rd, 2007   by Chris Miller        

Ed hooked me onto the new Plazes badge

Geek toy alert: The new Plazes badge runs on Flash with color options and built in history.  Check it out on the right while on my homepage here

I had to update since Ed took you right to one of my postings where I had not changed the frame yet
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    On Wednesday, August 9th, 2006   by Chris Miller        

AIM Pro enters the market, and damn, that was impressive.. review and small screenshots

First of all, there are no ads, it is free and offers the normal chat, video and audio.  What is better about the Pro version is the integration with Webex, tabbed chats (with another neat feature below) and the Outlook and Office integration.

As soon as it fired up it prompted for my DAMO hook I had installed.  Which then is able to grab my calendar.

Image:AIM Pro enters the market, and damn, that was impressive..  review and small screenshots

I jumped into a chat with Carl Tyler (who was on Trillian at the time) and we did the normal testing to see what works and what doesn't when not using the same client.  I switched to "Share my Screen" and since he was not running AIM Pro, it offered him a URL that was all Webex technology behind the scenes.  And it was lightening fast.  Highlighting, text, annotations.  The whole idea of screen sharing.

Image:AIM Pro enters the market, and damn, that was impressive..  review and small screenshots

Tabbed browsing worked very well and even notified you in the left pane of how many unread lines I had per chat on other tabs.  We couldn't do audio and video as this was a test machine, so I will load this and try again.  File sharing offered an inbound and outbound window to show multiple transfers.  Firewalls were no issue in testing so far.

Quick contacts was a cool feature.  Add by email address or name in a drag and drop or selection box.  Since I had the DAMO loaded, it grabbed our Domino Directory also.  Encryption was built in to all the chat sessions.

What I didn't like was there was no install path selection available, it chose it's own.  Plus, there were some things in the EULA that got announced it was installing I was not sure about.  I am investigating those.  It also used some hefty memory but I was trying everything.  Still smaller than the recent Sametime 7.5 betas unfortunately.

Go and take a look.  Once all the federations are complete, you could have a powerful free client to choose from for chat and meeting services.
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    On Wednesday, July 19th, 2006   by Chris Miller        

IBM Support Assistant (ISA) 3.0 testing

I downloaded this for the first time to play around and see if it could help. The interface moved a little slow on my test machine, but that is to be expected.  A lot of Java on Eclipse technology was at work.  The interface did the same searches I usually do right in the databases themselves, like Knowledgebase.  It was able to grab from numerous sources, just like you can do from the homepage of Notes.Net.

I could not get any login in the world to work for creating Electronic Service Tickets, but I leave that to my mistake in not knowing if my IBM id is registered to do so.

The only thing I liked so far was the Collector task that ran, including the ability to create remote collectors.  I went through the Updater to load any product tools for remote collection and found that Notes/Domino 6 and 7 were both there.  Unfortunately Sametime was labeled at V3 only.  Not sure if that carries forward.  A restart of the Assistant was required after installing the tools, no biggie.  But then I could not get any tools to load from them after install.  Just the homepages and some tech info for each product.

The local system collection jumped a jar file somewhere on the operating system.  I wish I could specify or open it from the collection screen.  Unfortunately it just gives the path to where it is, which you have to remember.  If you change screens and come back it resets the screen I found.

I might play around some more, but I am guessing that NSD, Automatic Diagnostic Collection and Fault Analyzer will get all this and more in the Lotus world.
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    On Tuesday, April 25th, 2006   by Chris Miller        

iPod has podcasts and tons of accessories, now the EyeBud for video. Where are vidcasts?

So you went out and bought the new video iPod but wondered how you can watch a movie or video on that little screen.  Fear no more.  Think geeks look funny with Bluetooth cellphone headsets, try this device, that when worn will look like this on your head.  Apparently it makes the screen look huge if you read the article.

You think you have bad depth perception now?  Try walking with one of these on.
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    On Friday, January 13th, 2006   by Chris Miller        

A small new geek toy: U3 technology and USB

I went ahead and ordered the Kingston U3 Data Traveler (1GB) to not only finally get a USB drive, but to add the cool portable desktop theory.  So far I have managed to load and easily configure a few pieces of software:
  • Trillian for U3
  • Firefox for U3
  • Skype for U3
  • Diskshredder
  • Filezilla
  • A small (1MB in size) PDF reader!  Quite quick.  Awesome for server work with readme or install files and no Adobe

First thoughts are that I am impressed with the technology, the ease on installation, the ease of the launcher and a bunch of smaller things.  I am planning on loading the OpenOffice version for U3 this weekend to have a look at that functionality too.

 Anyone else using U3 before I play around with it this weekend and blog it some more?
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    On Friday, January 6th, 2006   by Chris Miller        

I hear JINGLE bells while I SIP tea and dabble in MEEBO (anyone get that?)

If you didn't get my subject line, here is what it breaks down to:

Jingle is the new extensions for XMPP from the Jabber Software Foundation (press release from them). Basically it is an alternative to SIP, without the additional hardware.  If you have built some infrastructure on XMPP, then it will use that exact infrastructure for negotiations and setup.  What a cost savings for enterprises instead of having to create and manage SIP servers.  This might be something for IBM to investigate and get them back into linking to public IM networks.  I would not be surprised to hear they already have this being tested somewhere.

Now here is the real kicker.  Google Talk is already using something quite similar Jingle so they are pooling their resources.  Trillian has, of course, stated it will support Jingle in upcoming releases.  Who are they to be left out?

Ok, so Meebo.  Picture three friends that come up with a great idea and actually do it.  It is an ajax-based web interface that lets you log in to the major chat providers from any machine with a web browser.  They grab and encrypt your passwords after you type.  I wish SSL would pop up but the idea of this is quite fascinating.  No client locally to install, it supports most everything but audio/video at this time.  So if you are the grandparents or kiosk, one interface lets you log into the chat providers.  Mini windows are maintained in the big one, so that can get cluttered if you have a lot going on.  From reading, they haven't added Skype yet but have interest in it.  The big 4 are there and ready to go.  My first experience was excellent and I could see the promise.  Their end goal is to sell the rights to use code I imagine as the service is free and donations are accepted for all their hard work.  Emoticons and stuff need work but who cares at this point.  I was more interested in the technology and basic functions.  But then again everyone whined and Sametime is tossing them in now aren't they?
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    On Wednesday, December 21st, 2005   by Chris Miller        

Found this neat little MSNBC flash file for following the past and recent hurricane paths

With all of us having friends and family all over the world, this was an interesting flash file that shows where a hurricane went and the projected path for the current one.  You can even see some past paths into last year in the navigation.

Here is the site
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    On Wednesday, October 19th, 2005   by Chris Miller        

A recent article on E-books caught my eye

They still lurk out there, we are some diehards for this way of reading.

For those of you that do not know (since I haven't talked about it in ages), I carry an E-Book that was made by RCA a few years ago.  The REB-1100 to be exact.  The article I read  points to the 1200 version, which had color and a bunch of other unnecessary things for me.  I can say it is one of the best investments I made long ago.  Unfortunately, the author is also right on that the cost of the digital books was one of the demises he starts to define.  I saw the advantages of the device from day one.
  • No more carrying large quantities of hard or softback books along for the plane and train rides.
  • Reading in bed was a dream.  No more lights as it is backlit.  When you doze off it turns itself off and comes back on at the same page.
  • Loading material was easy through USB
  • Materials (non-protected I say to protect the innocent) is abundant, but on-line stores are hard to find now
  • Maps and other things could be brought down as HTML and moved to it
  • It was rechargeable
  • Books do not have to be on paper, I say!
  • It has underline, highlite and the ability to drop countless bookmarks everywhere
The list goes on but you get the idea.  I do agree that the pricing model was crazy.  Instead of a wonderful discount that still gave everyone necessary  their money, the prices were kept high.  Now if there is no paper medium, binding and distribution, where does all that extra cash go?  One can only imagine back to the publisher and not the author.  Stephen King understood that and started selling his chapters at a time electronically.  He gets all the money!!!

Anyone else use one of these?
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    On Thursday, May 26th, 2005   by Chris Miller        

A quick IQ test for those of you with freetime

Here are the rules of the game...

To start, click on blue circle.

The IQ test rules are:

1. Only 2 persons on the raft at a time
2. The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother's presence
3. The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father's presence
4. The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there
5. Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft
6. To move the people click on them.
7. To move the raft click on the pole on the opposite side of the river.

and here is the URL

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    On Tuesday, April 19th, 2005   by Chris Miller        

I talked about the Ogo months ago

I made one simple posting back in September of this year talking about the AT&T device called the Ogo.  Apparently there are people looking for more information as my blog is showing searches quite a few times more recently.  So I went poking around to see if this device had taken off and one discussion thread gave me second thoughts that there might be some usage for this in comparison to the BlackBerry and SideKick.

I had no idea of the integration with Hotmail and some POP support.  Plus the inherent ability for wireless phone built in but not enabled yet. Even the numerous chat clients that were part of the device, like AOL and Yahoo.  At first reading it sounded only like a text to text device through AT&T.

No, I do not want one of these, strictly doing research for fun here.
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    On Saturday, December 11th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

Anyone on the Gmail beta from Google?

I was curious if anyone else was able to get on the Gmail beta program?  Yes it is free webmail but they are offering some new unique features based around the idea of their search engine.   One highlight stands out.  You get 1000MB (yes darn it that means a full GB of space) included.  But here comes the really neat part.  You never need to file a message again.  Everything you send and receive is then searchable using the Google type search engine.  Plus all replies are listed to emails for context and conversation following in chronological order.  Very neat idea.  Spam filters and non-pop's are included it seems.  They did also put (besides the links of info above) a sneak peek of the client interface for those not on the beta.  The full conversation view is the one that caught my eye though.

Anyone like this idea?
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    On Tuesday, May 4th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

I can hear you grunting

This was totally cool.   I received it via email from a friend and this technology could solve lots of my early morning grunts at people.
NASA hears words not yet spoken

Wed Mar 17, 6:28 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - NASA (news - web sites) has developed a computer program that comes close to reading thoughts not yet spoken, by analyzing nerve commands to the throat.

Jorgensen's team found that sensors under the chin and one each side of the Adam's apple pick up the brain's commands to the speech organs, allowing the subauditory, or "silent speech" to be captured.

"What is analyzed is silent, or subauditory, speech, such as when a person silently reads or talks to himself," Jorgensen said.

"Biological signals arise when reading or speaking to oneself with or without actual lip or facial movement."

On early trials, the program could recognize with 92 percent accuracy six words and 10 numbers that the team repeated sub-vocally.

So we already have headsets for cell phones and look goofy, why not one around the neck for subliminal speech.  What are you afraid the person next to you would hear what you really think about them in the elevator?

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    On Friday, March 19th, 2004   by Chris Miller        

I bought another geek toy

With all the flight and travel I do I decided it was time to invest in some noise cancelling earphones.  The Bose ones were way too expensive I thought so I hunted around.  The best value versus performance was the Sennheiser PXC250 from my very limited research.  You can find a picture of them here.  They come with the stereo adapter and also one of the older mono airplane ones.  I am looking forward to hearing my MP3's play without having to crank the volume on the player.
  • Ideal for aircraft and other environments with engine noise: the switchable NoiseGard active noise compensation attenuates frequencies below 1,000 Hz by up to -15dB
I think these might come in handy at the holiday family dinners now that I have had time to ponder other reasons to use them. Image:I bought another geek toy
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    On Friday, January 9th, 2004   by Chris Miller