JRock3x8's Life Musings

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Push Up Pandas (PIC)

one too many christmas cookies!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

HUGE Hoth ice world Star Wars LEGO Diorama [PHOTOS]

This is the entire 93-PHOTO set of the Hoth base from Empire Strikes Back. Astounding. On brothers-brick.com that it took four years and $3,000 to complete.

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Security Standards: Voting Machines vs. Slot Machines

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How Company Logos Look In A Recession (PIC)

See the attached pic - hilarious.

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Friday, December 19, 2008


Test blog.

Sent from my iPod
Jason Williams

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vicious Polar Bear Attack (Pics)

These pictures were captured at the onset of this vicious attack. Unfortunately, onlookers could do nothing but watch.

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Blurred Out: 51 Things You Can't See on Google Maps

For all of the places that Google Maps allows you to see, there are plenty of places that are off-limits. Whether it's due to government restrictions, personal-privacy lawsuits or mistakes, Google Maps has slapped a "Prohibited" sign on the following 51 places.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stupid TV! Be more helpful!

See the attached pic in the "read more" link.

Somewhat silly, but true...a group on a commuter train once asked me what I thought of a certain TV show and I looked at them with a totall straight face and said "I don't watch TV". You would have thought I spontaneously turned into a lizard the way they looked at me. They were horrified, and I think they probably thought I wasn't quite human.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Things to Love and Things to Tolerate with the Ipod Touch 2G

Last Sunday, I bought an Ipod Touch after months and months of coveting the device since it first became available.

I didn't think much of it when it first came out only because the range of what it seemed like you could do with it was pretty limited. Music, Video, Web (wifi only) and Email/Calendar/Contacts (wifi only). But when the 2G Touch was released in conjunction with the App store and a reduced price, my desire for the device literally bubbled over.

So after doing a LOT of research on what the unit could and could not do, I finally bought an 8GB model with a $25 gift card free from Target which basically paid for the case - more on that later.

So, let's not put the cart before the horse. What was I looking for this thing to do when I bought it? Every morning, I spend about an hour in front of my computer reading email and a small collection of RSS feeds (about 150 news items a day). I wanted to move that time spent onto the train, freeing up more time for studying and reading at home as there isn't really enough room to spread out a book and notes on the train. I also like to listen to music on the train and on occasion watch TV shows on the way home (when I'm too brain dead to think about anything else). I also like to listen to music at my desk while I'm at work.

So how did it do?

Email - set up was a BREEZE as Yahoo! is already pre-loaded as an e-mail provider on the device. Reading and writing emails with a wifi connection and without is very easy. The device will auto-sync your emails the next time it gets connected to the internet. My only gripe is that email doesn't seem to work in landscape mode. The keyboard is nice in portrait mode but it REALLY shines in landscape mode where the buttons are just a bit bigger.

RSS Feeds - There's a $5 app called "Byline" which will automatically sync your Google Reader feeds and display them in a very clean mobile device friendly interface. It even works in landscape mode which is a great blessing. Overall, this is a very nice app and well worth the cost to me. I have 2 gripes with this app :
---1) sync the feeds through iTunes and then load them onto my ipod. Sync'ing 200 news items to the ipod per day over wifi just takes way too long.
---2) Just because I push "Mark all items as read" doesn't mean that when you sync up to Google Reader that you should report that I actually read every one of those items.

Music - I'm actually a little disappointed with the music player and actually prefer my old ipod's control and display to the ipod touch. I can't just push a button anymore to play, pause, track forward or track reverse. Volume control is now a rocker switch instead of the nice scroll wheel. I realize I need to get the earbuds with the in-line remote but I'm not there yet. I'm not sure why it covers the album art with the controls in the "while playing screen". In landscape mode the ipod flips to "Cover Flow" which is a very pretty but not very functional way to listen to your music. The only way I can have my ipod on my desk is in landscape mode which means I'm stuck with Cover Flow. The problem with cover flow is that there is no volume control (the rocker switch is on the bottom on my ipod flush with the desk surface) and no track forward / track back. Also, if you're not very good about updating your cover art (guilty), then this is a really pointless way to listen to your songs.

Video - The video player is very pretty - the larger screen absolutely SHINES here and the external speaker makes the thing a mini-TV - very, very cool. My only complaint here is fast forwarding and rewinding is much more difficult here vs the regular ipod. For example, on the ipod I knew to go forward 30 seconds I would give the click wheel a half turn. That's next to impossible on the touch.

The Case - I bought a Griffin case for it with a belt clip and again there is good and bad. An unexpected good is that the belt clip doubles as a kickstand which is all kinds of awesome. The kickstand is prone to falling over in portrait mode but is rock solid in landscape mode. Also, all of the ports and external buttons are nicely carved out of the case for easy access. The bad is the belt clip. It loops under the belt and it requires 2 hands to unfasten - not cool. Also, I think the belt clip is reversible (so that the volume buttons would be on top on my desk instead of underneath) but I haven't figured that out yet.

Other -

---I was a little bit alarmed at the port for the headphones initially as it looks like they forgot to install a part but it works great - no issues.
---I should mention that I had to ditch my JBL dome shaped speaker stand because although it would play music, it wouldn't charge the unit.
---The battery life is great as long as you don't turn the lock off and leave the screen on. I have found that the screen is the single biggest battery drainer on the device. Fortunately there is a switch on top which will turn it off.
---The number of really useful free apps on the app store literally knows no bounds.
------I downloaded a free app from lifechurch.tv which will let me read the bible in as many different translations as you can think of and more than a few of them offline (Although not NIV or NSRV or The Message).
------The free app for Facebook even sorta works offline.
------The Nike+ integration is really fantastic.
------The iTunes Remote app is a real gem (although why it doesn't turn off your music player when it starts is a bit strange to me)

One final mini-beef I have with the entire device is that it seems to expect that you will always be by a wifi hotspot when you're using it. In fact, I spend about 10% of my day in places where I can access wifi hotspots. It's also not very good at auto-logging into hotspots. The way I would ideally like it to work is that I walk into a Starbucks and the device just automatically starts syncing my email, RSS feeds, facebook updates, stocks, weather, NY Times news articles, etc. It doesn't do any of that. You have to manually connect to the wifi device, then open the app and let it do its thing.

Last but not least 8GB just aint gonna cut it for me. I'm going to have to go back to the store to get a 16GB model. I'm used to hauling around 50GB of music and whittling that down to 4GB (have to leave room for apps and video) was just way too painful. If I can't return the 8GB, I guess my wife just got herself a Christmas present! (Which she REALLY wants by the way)

Overall though, this is a sensational device and there is just nothing else even remotely close available today that delivers the same kind of functionality for the price.