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Friday, October 23, 2009
Windows 7 - First Day!
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Electronics
So on October 22, 2009, the release of Windows 7, I decided to buy a new computer. What better time, right? For crying out loud! I was running Windows Vista on 512MB of RAM for over 2 years! Time for something new. Something wayyyy faster. I wanna be able to watch an HD video, damn it! So I decided to go fairly big this time around. Right after work, I rushed down and bought me a notebook computer. Its a 17 inch widescreen with Intel Core Duo processor and 4MB of RAM. Windows 7 looks a lot similar to Vista but without all the bloat associated with Vista. Windows Media Center is included, and it is quite interesting. If you didn't like Vista because of its slowness, etc etc, but dug the look of it, you'll probably like Windows 7. It does have a redesigned task bar and some other neat features. But overall, it will remind you a lot of how Windows Vista looked. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Posted by +@\< at 11:55 PM EDT
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009
My New iPod Touch
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Electronics

I finally decided to buy an Apple iPod Touch. I went with the 8GB 2nd generation one. It cost me around 225 bucks. It was either this or a Nintendo DSi. My hope has sort of given up on Nintendo given their poor choice of titles as well as other crap they pull on their customers.

I have been hearing so much about this iPod Touch, that I figured it was about time for me to get my hands on one. I definitely don't regret my purchase.

This thing is much more than just a fancy MP3 player. It has the ability to play videos. Sure, they have to be in a specific format. But when you get all that cleared up, the display is quite good. If you have access to wireless Internet (via your own wirless router or public wi-fi) you can find online videos. This is where the apps come in. Quite a few apps (applications) for this thing are absolutely free! You can't exactly say that with the Nintendo DSi or the Nintendo Wii. It seems their prices are outrageous at times. Hell, they're trying to sell Commodore 64 games! Come on now! What would they be worth to you? For me? I'd say about 2 bucks. Nintendo charges well over 5 bucks for each one. Gimmie a break! Also, Apple offers some cool games for the Touch. They make great use of the touch screen. Also the Touch has a sensor to know when you're turning it sideways, so this makes for some interesting games.

You first start by installing Apple iTunes on your PC to make things run smoothly with your iPod Touch. Its basically Apple's version of Windows Media Player with a robust online store offering videos, music, podcasts, apps and more! While most apps are free, the pay ones are usually only around 99 cents or $1.99! The app to watch any YouTube video is already pre-installed. You also have the Safari Web browser. Which is actually quite good. Much better than most wireless phone browsers. Other neat apps you can download for free include access to AOL IM, Yahoo Messenger, Netflix, TV Listings, Weather Forecasts, Google Earth, plus so much more. I was quite amazed by the number of apps out there. You can access and download the apps directly on the Touch via wi-fi. Although you are limited to only audio and apps downloads. You'd have to download the videos via your PC, then sync them to your Touch.

Now as with any nifty gadget there are some problems. First off, they might say the battery lasts over 30 hours for audio playback, but that must be with the display off. If you plan on using the wi-fi a lot, expect the battery only to last around 4 hours per charge. If you watch just video (offline), you're suppose to get around 6 hours of viewing time. I've only used it around 7 hours and had to charge it twice so far. Of course, I've been doing nothing but wi-fi on it, so there could be my problem. Another thing is the damn thing is so shiny, that it gets fingerprints galore on it! Sure they include a simple cloth to polish it up, but you're gonna have to live with fingerprints because afterall its a touch screen device! Other than that, I can't really think of anything else bad about it. Maybe that the Apple accessories are outrageously priced, but you can find some accessories from other companies for less. Want an example? If you want to view your iPod Touch on your HDTV for some reason, Apple expects you to pay 100 bucks for its AV connecter! Outrageous! You can find cheaper alternatives. Question is, why would you want to view the Touch display on your HDTV? I don't see myself ever really wanting to do that. Hooking an actual computer up to your HDTV makes a lot more sense to me.

Overall, if you've been considering this purchase, I  say "go for it"!

 


Posted by +@\< at 11:00 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:22 AM EDT
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Sunday, August 26, 2007
XM Satellite Radio Vs. Sirius Satellite Radio
Topic: Electronics

Being a subscriber of both XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio, I can now give you some information about both. Both services have its strengths and weaknesses.

First off the price for both services is identical, $12.95 per month. XM lets you pay per month via a debit or credit card. Sirius only lets you pay quarterly (every 3 months) when you sign up online. There is no option to pay monthly online. If so, its hidden.

If you're going to be using satellite radio just in your car, you shouldn't have to worry too much about locking onto the satellite signal. Although since XM's satellite is stationary in the sky and lower sometimes it will be hard to keep a signal while driving through areas of high buildings and a lot of tall trees. Sirius has a few satellites that move around in the sky, plus they are higher up so its a little harder to lose the signal while driving.

Now if you're going to be using the satellite radio just indoors, you'll have a lot better luck with XM. You can basically mount your antenna in a window facing southward (in NY anyways) and the signal will go through windows and even some walls. This isn't the case with Sirius. With Sirius you're more than likely going to have to mount your antenna outside your window or just by your window to get a strong enough signal. Since XM's satellite stays in the same location in the sky, you can just place your antenna and forget it and you'll probably always get a good signal. Not the case with Sirius. With Sirius you'll notice that there will be times where you'll lose the signal completely. I'd say about an hour or 2 a day. There's really no way around this unless you go and physically move your antenna again to try to find the satellite in the sky. Yes, the Sirius satellites do move around in the sky. Some people have overcome this by mounting their antennas directly on their rooftop. This choice is not always possible for some people.

As far as music goes, you'll notice Sirius is probably more similar to FM. The reason I say this is because you'll hear a ton of hits. Sirius focuses more on just playing singles from albums. Sirius is also really bad about expanding their music playlist. After a few weeks you'll notice the same songs playing over and over. XM is a bit better. They seem to have wider playlists on most channels. Also, they open up their playlists to include lesser known songs, and the other NON-single songs on albums. So you'll usually always get a nice variety of music.

Now if you're into talk radio, Sirius has Howard Stern exclusively, while XM has Opie and Anthony. You can listen to these guys for free with your subscription. There is no longer any premium cost. Being a fan of both, I am forced to subscribe to both services. Sirius also has Playboy Radio for free while XM doesn't carry it at all anymore.

Ultimately, its your own choice, but above are some facts to base your decision on. You can also check out each service's website for even more information:

XM Satellite Radio

Sirius Satellite Radio


Posted by +@\< at 3:51 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, December 24, 2007 9:36 PM EST
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Thursday, May 24, 2007
Bought a Digital Camera
Topic: Electronics
I've just bought a new digital camera a few days ago. I'm still getting used to taking pictures with it. So right now my pics don't look so good. Very amateurish I must say. Anyways I've decided to start a photo album online. You can check it out here.

Posted by +@\< at 1:52 PM EDT
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Saturday, April 30, 2005
SIRIUS Satellite Radio
Topic: Electronics
So I recently switched back to Dish Network Satellite. Time Warner Cable was pissing me off.

With Dish Network I get access to the music channels on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. So here's a little review of them:

Well I'm a fan of rock music, so I mostly just listened to the rock channels so far. But there are channels for Top 40 hits, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s music, country, rap, jazz, classical, dance, and even a channel that plays nothing but Elvis.

Their big claim is that they are commercial free. Indeed they are. Sure some of the channels have little announcements between songs (to let you know what station you're listening to), but zero advertisements.

Some of the channels have DJs as well. They are actually not bad. I used to listen to Music Choice on digital cable and that got boring because it was just like a jukebox - no human interaction at all. Its nice to have a DJ to tell you about certain songs.

The channels I listen to are Octane, Alt Nation, Hard Attack and sometimes Faction. Octane plays mostly current hard rock songs. They have some interesting DJs like the sexy voiced Kayla. She's always interesting to hear. They have a show called "Pump Your Own Octane" - which is basically a Top 5 countdown show. Its on weeknights and its the top 5 most requested songs. This is similar to what FM radio does, and I happen to like it. They also play "mash ups". These are basically a rock song and a rap song "mashed" together. Like The Prodigy and Eminem - "Breathe" & "Superman". That's the first one I have heard. They are kind of interesting to hear. Alt Nation plays alternative music (new and some from the 90s), but some of the music on Octane can be heard on Alt Nation as well. Alt Nation also has DJs. Hard Attack is where the metal is. They also have some cool DJs that give you info about bands. Sometimes on these stations they have artists live in the studio as well. Note that XM Satellite no longer has an all-metal station (they got rid of XM Liquid Metal), so SIRIUS is the only satellite radio service currently with a metal station. Faction is basically a channel for extreme sports enthusaists (like skateboarders, snowboarders, etc.) They play a mix of punk, rock and hip-hop. It can get annoying if you don't like hip-hop. But I tune in every now and then because they play some good rock and punk.

SIRIUS basically plays a lot of singles that can be heard on FM radio. While I have heard that XM plays both singles and deeper cuts off albums. Although, there are occasions when SIRIUS will play the additional songs off albums and not just the singles or hits from a certain band. Seems that if a person requests a song that isn'ta single - they will actually play it.

SIRIUS also has a tendency to repeat new songs a lot. Which is kind of nice if you want to hear a new song, but it gets annoying after you have heard it a lot. But I have been reading online forums about SIRIUS - like SIRIUS Backstage. And they claim on there that SIRIUS is expanding its playlists. So that is good. It seems they are currently working to improve their stations, and I fully welcome it.

Overall, I am satisfied with SIRIUS. Like I said, the DJs are refreshing to hear after getting so used to the jukebox-like Music Choice channels on digital cable. The fact that they have basically 4 stations that play newer rock is nice as well. The sound quality of the channels on Dish Network is actually quite good. I have heard some people complaining about the sound quality on the SIRIUS receivers, but it seems fine when heard through Dish Network.

Posted by +@\< at 2:28 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2005 2:34 PM EDT
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