This is my life. Sometimes shown through the eye of my camera phone, and sometimes not. I'll talk running, gadgets, music, and whatever else I stumble on to

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Awesome Chicago View

Awesome Chicago View
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2.

A great view from the 25th floor of the Hyatt Regency at Mccormick Place, Chicago.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

In need of fuel

On an otherwise boring workday, I thought I'd get a little adventurous and see how far I can go through the workday on a drop of fuel in the gas tank.

I think I'm done adventuring- I've never run out of fuel before!

It's a good thing this photo was taken less than five minutes away from a gas station.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Crazy week!

Bits and Bytes

It's been quite the busy week. It's always nice to decompress with a cold beverage and, uhm, a blog post on a Friday!

-Monday: Found out I'm joining my boss on a trip to visit my company's latest acquisition fresh off of going public. This place is nearly twice the size. It's my job to assess their technology needs.

-Tuesday: Picked up Guitar Hero for xBox 360 on my lunch at Best Buy. Fortunately, they were nicely stocked. Got a jump start on prepping for the radio show since I'll be traveling Thursday.

-Wednesday: Conference calls all day on a new project. More prep for the radio show Thursday night. Made plans to have Robyn and Kain keep Mooney company at the radio station since Sam and I will be gone.

-Thursday: Road trip! Two and a half hour drive each way minus traffic. Not much scenery in Indiana. It's flat. Period. The aquisition is in better shape than I thought technology-wise, but could use an overhaul. It's nearly a quarter of a mile long! Came home late evening and broke open the Guitar Hero and shredded for a bit.

-Friday: Back in the office. More conference calls. Organized all of my paperwork and gathered some 'homework' for the weekend. Had a quick drink before heading over to Lidia's.

I'm looking forward to that 80 degrees on Sunday!

'til next time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Review: Mundu IM v.4 for Palm

Review: Mundu IM v.4 for Palm OS
Developer: Geodesic
Platform: Palm
Device: Sprint Treo 700P

Geodesic's Mundu IM mobile messaging client is fast becoming one of my favorite Palm Treo apps to date. Since the demise of Verichat, I've been hunting around for a Palm based IM client to fill the void.

Mundu IM allows messaging accross all of the major IM services including ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk, MSN, and Yahoo. The cross conferencing feature of Mundu is unique, innovative, and quite useful (more on this later). The one feature that is not available in this release is the ability to sign on to two IM accounts on the same service - a feature found in Mantra Group's Causerie, which I've used with mixed results.

Mundu's chat interface is squeaky clean and a pleasure to use and work in. Your chats open up in a separate tab from your main contacts window. A small talk bubble starts to flash on the tab when you've received a new message, and the main Contacts tab is nicely organized. The views in your buddy list window can be customized various different ways to get the view you prefer (i.e. less clutter).

On five way navigation: The Treo 700P's five-way nav pad works as it should in the main chat window. It gets a bit tricky when you try to navigate through the different menu's, though. At times, I've had to bring out the stylus to scroll down to the various selections.

On speed: I tested this by having one of my AOL IM accounts open on my desktop PC, and another open on my Treo. The delay to either chat window was less than a second either way. No problem here.

On background performance: Various alerts can be set when the app is running in the background to alert you to incoming chats. These include vibration, sound, and pop up windows. They do not, on the other hand, light up the screen or flash the Treo's signal meter when the device is in sleep mode, so you won't notice a chat has come in unless you've got the volume up on your sound alert. I hope this changes in an upcoming release.

On opening and closing the app: I can do without the splash screen that shows up when Mundu is started. This delays opening the app by about 2 to 3 seconds. Exiting the app is fast, unlike Causerie which took about 13 to 15 seconds to close on exit (!!!).

On battery drain: Ok, no doubt this app will suck out your battery power if you have email open, the browser running, and you're talking on the phone with a bluetooth headset all at once, which I've done. It took about 3 hours of doing this before the battery was dead on a 70% charge. From what I can tell, it is easier on the battery than Causerie was, which is a significant improvement.

On chatting with your buddies: Something Causerie has over Mundu is the ability to assign your contacts an alias name so you can easily identify them in your chat window- a useful feature when you've got +40 buddies. This was nearly a killer for me. The chat window is a bit small, and I found myself scrolling the chat window more often than not to look back at the chat history during a busy conversation. There is an option to turn the tool bars off and on, which helps expand the chat window a little.

On conferencing with your buddies: I have two words to describe this handy feature- simply cool. I had an incident recently when I needed to conference in to friends on my chat to talk about a local music venue we were researching. I fired up the conference window, sent the invites, and all were joined and chatting in a few seconds- right on my Treo. It all worked flawlessly- I bought the software the second the chat was over.

The price? A one time fee of ONLY $11.00 with no recurring charges. Upgrades and minor bug fixes are free for the lifetime of the product until the next major release, and there is a 5-day fully functioning trial period.

Pros: Clean interface, multiple IM service support and logins, conferencing, tabbed chat window, customizable buddy list, sound/pop-up/vibration alerts, incoming chat indicators, file transfers, chat history, inexpensive

Cons: Unable to assign alias to buddies, battery drain is noticeable, small chat window (with toolbar unhidden), "MunduIM" logo in upper left takes up valuable screen real estate, alerts can remain hidden when Treo is in sleep mode

Recommended? Yes, but get yourself an extra Treo battery.

Check out Mundu IM here.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

One in a million shot

One in a million shot
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2.

Playing darts at The Bally Muck in beautiful Waukegan.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Vista desktop it is!

An Update to this post:

After a long struggle with making up my mind on what OS to get on a new computer I was purchasing, I decided on an HP a1730n Vista Home Premium desktop.

The why on an HP desktop? I've always either built my own computers, or purchased them built from the ground up through a local dealer. I've never really been a big fan of retail PC's, so I really had to do my research. I've dealt with HP at my job and don't have too many bad things to say about them, plus retail PC's have come a long way in terms of technology on the inside.

The why on Windows Vista? I love Mac's. They're powerful and beautiful machines. And very good at what they do. At the job, I support over 300 Windows XP PC's and one Mac (can you guess which department?). We'll be upgrading to Vista at some point in time, so I'd figure I get my feet wet on the OS now. Besides, Microsoft's never ending quest to patch up all that is broken with their software is job security for me and my team, don't you think?

The Specs:
  • Dual-core 2.4 ghz AMD Athlon processor
  • 2gb of DDR2 SDRAM memory (expandable to 4gb)
  • 320gb 7200RPM hard drive (nice!)
  • All in one DVD and CD burner
  • nVidia GeForce graphics card with on-board 128mb memory
  • More memory card reader and USB/Firewire ports than you can shake a stick at.

First impressions:
  • This thing is WHISPER quiet. I had to make sure the fans were actually running. Quite impressive.
  • Noticeably faster than my old box- WAY faster.
  • Removed all of the extra CRAP software that came pre-loaded - much cleaner desktop now.
  • Windows Vista is VERY nice- rock solid. A bit of a learning curve to move around in at first, but the familiar Windows XP stuff is just under the shiny surface of the OS.
  • "Cancel or Allow"- Remember the PC/Mac guy commercial with the FBI'ish guy in the background? I laughed when I first saw this pop-up on my screen. It comes up whenever you try to install software in Vista. Annoying at first, but not much of a bother anymore.
  • It bugs you whenever something tries to mess with system files - again, annoying, but I know the security is working.
  • Windows Media Center ROCKS! My Cable TV-tuner installed with no problems and I'm able to watch, pause, rewind, and record live TV. I spend a lot of time in here.
  • My Xbox 360 took about 2 minutes to connect up to Media Center on my wireless network - it 'extends' all of your media to the Xbox. Again, impressive and works like a charm.
  • All of my old software still works in Vista.
  • Palm still needs to work on a compatible version of Palm Desktop for my Treo to sync up properly. I sure wish they'd get with it already.
  • Not many bad things to say about it yet, but time will tell.
Overall, I'm happy with my decision. I can do my work without a hitch now, and I'll have more updates as I hammer away at it.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jstreet on the web - Links you should know

I've put together a long list of links of everything related to Jstreet on the web.

Click here to visit.

More soon I'm sure...