Stevenator65’s Weblog

Technology, Commentary, Opinions, Reviews and Fun Happenings.

Rush Time Machine Tour Review

ScreenShot002 The power trio, Rush, played the Chicago leg of their tour last night at Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island, a man-made peninsula along Lake Michigan, completed in 1925.  It was formerly the site of Meigs Field, a famous single strip airport featured in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator program.  In the middle of the night in 2003, Mayor Daley had it torn up purportedly in the name of Homeland Security.  This caused quite the uproar in the City of Chicago.  Nevertheless, it is now part of Museum Campus which features the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum.  Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears stands adjacent to the pavilion and this beautiful area, located just off downtown, set the scene for the 8000 people fortunate enough to get tickets.  How did Rush sound?

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | Opinions, Reviews, Social Events | 11 Comments

TuneWiki for BlackBerry

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I’ve had enough of iPhone this and iPhone that.  Let’s talk cool apps for your BlackBerry, shall we?  Gear Diary reported that TuneWiki is available for the BlackBerry.  What is TuneWiki?  It’s a website that plays music of your choice and displays lyrics.  It’s a community forum.  It displays maps that show what other users are listening to.  It may still be a beta, but it’s pretty darn cool!  Now they have an app available in the BlackBerry App Store (yes, we have one too).  It’s a free download, but you can upgrade to the Pro version for $4.99.  Supposedly the free version is ad-supported, but I didn’t see any.  So let’s give it a quick walk through…

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June 30, 2009 Posted by | Blackberry, Mp3, Opinions, Reviews, Software, Steals and Deals | 1 Comment

App of the Day: Copy and Paste Made Way, Way Better!

A couple days ago I presented a software program called, CopyPaste Tool, a utility that allows you to copy multiple clips of information before pasting.  I liked it, but it had some issues.  As you know, the Windows Clipboard only allows you to copy one item at a time.  If you find yourself copying then pasting over and over, then a program like CopyPaste Tool or the new one I will present, will allow you to copy many items before pasting.

Clipomatic is a free, and excellent copy and paste utility.  It blows away CopyPaste Tool.  How?  check it out.

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June 25, 2009 Posted by | Opinions, Reviews, Software, Steals and Deals, Utilities | Leave a comment

Xpad Slim Review

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In January of 2008 I had the pleasure to review the Xpad for Laptop, a nonslip laptop cooler and heatshield, and I have used it ever since.  As you know, laptops get mighty hot – up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit –  and uncomfortable sitting on your lap.  The Xpad for Laptop, as I said in my previous review, works like this: “The legs of the “X” shape are raised slightly above the base of the unit, allowing airflow and cooling.  Inside is a strong platform with insulative air pockets, and EVA insulation material at the bottom provides a third layer of insulation and acts as the non-skid surface.” 

There are no mechanical parts.  The design itself provides the cooling using passive technology.  No assembly required.  Just take it out of the box, put it on your lap or a desk, put your laptop over it and you are ready to roll.  It’s light and strong, and provides a great base for computing.  So does the new, slimmer version, improve upon the old design?

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June 6, 2009 Posted by | Accessories, Laptops, Opinions, Reviews | Leave a comment

The Top 16 Most Popular TV Sayings

This was sent to me by my wife.  I want to give proper credit to the creators, and I think it originally came from Yahoo!  If I’m incorrect please let me know.  Anyway, enjoy this awesomely fun list!

 

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16. “Eat my shorts!”
Who says it: Bart Simpson, “The Simpsons
Why we love it: It’s to the point, insulting, and irreverent, just like the show at its best.
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15. “Book ’em, Danno.”
Who says it:
Jack Lord, “Hawaii, Five-O
Why we love it: The best procedurals produce great catchphrases (“Hill Street Blues‘” “Let’s be careful out there,” for example), and this weekly signature has entered the American lexicon. The case was never closed until you heard those famous words — it was the “Law & Order” banging gavel of its day.

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14. “How rude!”
Who says it:
Stephanie Tanner, “Full House
Why we love it: This one is all about the delivery. Taken on its own, it’s little more than just another middle child whining. But with Stephanie’s pursed lips, raised eyebrows and “harumph” attitude, it becomes instantly memorable.

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13. “Make it work!”
Who says it:
Tim Gunn, “Project Runway
Why we love it: Because Tim Gunn is the man, that’s why. Carry on.
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12. “Son of a b—h!”
Who says it: Sawyer, “Lost
Why we love it: It’s tough to own a phrase this common, but nobody says it quite like the surly one, Hoss.
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11. “That’s what she said.”
Who says it: Michael Scott, “The Office
Why we love it: Sure, the writers of “The Office” didn’t invent this versatile zinger, but we can thank them for making it OK to use it in our own office. You know, because we’re 13-year-olds at heart, just like Michael.

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10. “Jane, you ignorant sl–…”
Who says it: Dan Aykroyd, “Saturday Night Live
Why we love it: Aykroyd brilliantly lampooned right-wing rhetoric 30 years before Stephen Colbert with this sexist jab.
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9. “Legen- — wait for it — -dary”
Who says it: Barney Stinson, “How I Met Your Mother
Why we love it: We just can’t get enough of Barney’s awesomeness. His blustery bravado hits at a universal truth: You either know a Barney or are a Barney. Check yo’ self, people.

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8. “…for me to poop on!”
Who says it: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Why we love it: Robert Smigel’s off-color, cigar-smoking talking dog was just weird enough to work. Just when he got people to start talking to a puppet, he’d lay this gem on them — prompting hilarious shock value.

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7. “Oh my God! They killed Kenny!”
Who says it: Kyle and Stan, among others, “South Park
Why we love it: In a show that satirizes our culture’s love affair with extreme violence, this catchphrase punctuates one of the show’s funniest recurring jokes: They mercilessly off Kenny in nearly every episode for the first five seasons.

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6. “Let’s hug it out, b—h.”
Who says it: Ari Gold, “Entourage
Why we love it: In the venal shark tank that is Hollywood, it’s as close to touchy-feely as these macho men have gotten.

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5. “Holy _____, Batman!”
Who says it: Robin, “Batman
Why we love it: The Boy Wonder’s aw-shucks exclamation dovetailed nicely with the show’s campy tone. Plus: It helps us write headlines.

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4.”What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”
Who says it:
Arnold Jackson, “Diff’rent Strokes
Why we love it: This giggle-inducing question underscored the white man-adopts-black-boys show’s inherent message about learning to accept differences.

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3. “Yada, yada, yada”
Who says it: Multiple cast members, “Seinfeld
Why we love it: Because we all use it, but “Seinfeld” deconstructed it. “How can you ‘yada-yada’ the best part of the evening?” Jerry asks, when Elaine is less than forthcoming with a date’s juicy details. “I mentioned the bisque,” she answers tartly.

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2. “Dyn-o-mite!”
Who says it: J.J. Evans, “Good Times
Why we love it: We know it’s only technically one word, but its delivery was often accompanied by J.J.’s hilarious rhyming couplets about his prowess with the lay-deez.

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1. “How you doin’?”
Who says it:
Joey Tribbiani, “Friends
Why we love it: Matt Leblanc’s dirty-dirty reading of the simple line gave it life, while forging a new comic frontier for the played-out playa character. Plus, it works! Try it.

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Humor, Opinions, Social Events | 1 Comment

Reality Show Revamp

Who’s not getting tired of the reality show rut?  Every season it’s the same old same old.  The season starts out with a bunch of cocky contestants saying they’re going to win.  Every week one gets eliminated.  It was fun for a while, but it has become stale.  Below I propose some changes to some of the most popular reality TV shows.  Let me know what you think.

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1. American Idol.  Now in it’s eighth season, AI consistently ranks as the top reality show.  But even they recognize the need to freshen up the show, and have added a new judge and a new rule, called the Save.  The judges can now save one contestant from elimination.  That’s a good start, but let’s go a step further.   I propose that we stop the vote.  After all, anytime I call the line is busy anyway, not to mention that it has become a popularity contest.  Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry were eliminated too early, just to name two.  So forget voting.  Let’s have the contestants nominate the bottom two contestants, then the judges can decide.  That’s right, just like they do in Hell’s Kitchen, contestants will judge each other.  This way we’ll see their true colors.  And I promise that all those kids that come off as so nice and wholesome, will show an edge and add some real excitement to each elimination.

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2. Hell’s Kitchen.  This show has to be staged.  Who would subject themselves to such abuse?  Why would anyone (hello Gordon Ramsay) act like such an ass on national TV?  I say we give Mr. Ramsay a taste of his own medicine.  Let’s make him go on the losing team each week and see how he does.  We should also ban swearing.  Anyone caught swearing will be subject to elimination.  That should quiet the old boy some.  Then let’s see if he gets eliminated if that team loses the next week.  As for judging, let’s get the three judges from the Food Network’s Chopping Block to judge.  They are real chefs, and decent people.

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3. Rock of Love.  Come on, Bret, you already picked two Rocks of Love, and ended up with neither.  Is this skank-a-thon ever gonna end with you settling down?  Didn’t think so.  Hence our new rule changes.  The first show will now start with 30 women.  Viewers will see them on TV, get to know them, then vote to keep the top 10.  The first show thus ends with twenty eliminations.  Every week a skank will be voted off by viewers, not Bret.  That’s because he failed so miserably with his first two and needs help.  At the conclusion of the show, he will have to marry the remaining skank.  Yes.  MARRY!  And he can’t sing “Every Rose Has its Thorn” anymore.  Please!

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4. The Celebrity Apprentice.  Firstly, even if we pretend that there’s any reality to this show, what’s with the nepotism?  Donny, get rid of the kids.  No twenty something kid should judge anyone, no matter how much you donated for their education.  If you have to keep the children on the show, put one on each team and subject them to elimination if they’re on the losing side.  Let’s see what they’re really made of.  Now that that’s settled, we have to eliminate the contestants’ ability to call their friends for donations.  If they’re going to sell cupcakes, then sell them to regular people.  There’s no such thing as a $5000 cupcake!  If the cupcakes are good and the marketing plan is well thought out, then your team will outsell the other team.  Is this a contest of who has the richest friends or a contest to ferret out the best business people?

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5. America’s Next Top Model.  If I have to hear the phrase, “Tyra Mail” again, I will barf.  Ditto “fierce”.  Your fierce!  That’s fierce!  You’re not fierce enough!  OVERUSED!  You would think a top model contender would be attractive, but anorexic giraffe-sized waifs do nothing for me.  The only saving grace to this show is the cat fighting.  So why not extend it?  Instead of Tyra eliminating the contestants, let’s have the contestants nominate the bottom two, then every week they can have a fashion magazine editor make the final decision. 

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6. Flavor of Love.  Nobody likes a skankfest more than me.  But no self respecting skank would date a 50 something year old washed up rapper that wears a clock around his neck that is bigger than him.  I just don’t buy it.  But I do like skanks, so I’m ready for Flavor of Love 4, but with some changes.  Let’s get rid of Flavor Flav and put someone cool and current in.  Maybe Kanye West, or Justin Timberlake.  Then we move the show to HBO so there’s no censorship.  The bottom four will face elimination and have to go mud wrestling.  The top two mud wrestlers will be safe.  The bottom two move on to the wet T-shirt contest.  Sadly, the loser will go home and not get a clock.

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7. Top Chef.  Love it.  But answer this:  How did Padma Lakshmi become the end all be all of judging food?  Isn’t she a model?  She replaced Katie Lee Joel, who actually is a chef, after season one, and it was thought that they wanted a more lively, less monotonic sounding host.  Ok, she wrote a cookbook.  But is she really a chef?  I say we keep her as host and drop her from judging.  When she has her judging hat on, she makes me think she’s Dominatrix Padma, so stern, and serious is she.  I fear her like I feared my mommy when she came home to find my bedroom untidy.  Speaking of judging, let’s make a switch and have Gordon Ramsay judge this show, and Tom Colichio judge Hell’s Kitchen.  And finally, can we have the contestants stop using fancy terms and just say what they are making so we can understand?  And while we’re at it, let’s de-snub a bit more.  Make the contestants cook the kind of real food you and I have at home.  Let them come in my pantry and make something out of peanut butter, white bread, macaroni and cheese, and oodles of noodles.  And one more thing, they must cook food that is actually good for you, not buttery, fatty, high cholesterol-laden decadent foods that none of us can afford.

 

I was going to do a more comprehensive list, but got intimidated when I saw the Outrageously long list of reality shows.  There are hundreds.  Check out the list and you’ll see.   You thought game shows were taking over TV in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but this is an epidemic.  It has infected every channel.  The Golf Channel has a reality show.  How about a Bowling reality show, staring Simon Cowell?  Tennis with John McEnroe?  We have cooking covered.  Nannies, check.  I even saw a reality show for makeup artists.  Wait, I have a novel idea.  How about a Scott Baio reality show?  What?  It’s been done?  Twice!  I’m having a reality show at home.  Each week I will eliminate one person from my family.  Whoever annoys me most, be it step-mom, cousin, sister-in-law or wife, will be eliminated.  Something tells me I’ll end up all alone.  That just leaves more time for REALITY TV!

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Opinions, Social Events | 1 Comment

18 Months is a Lifetime

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When I wrote the article, “Divergence and Death” last August, I said in regards to Windows Mobile (WM), “Windows Mobile is Dead.  Read on to find out why your next device will not have a Windows Mobile OS…It’s grown old.  And boring.  I’m thinking of kicking my excitement level up by taking up Bocce Ball or Bowling.  All the devices are the same.  They are no better than what we had four years ago.  They’re just getting bloated with compromised add-ons.”  ZDnet just did an interview with Andy Lees, Microsoft’s top WM guy, and he admitted, “We aimed to go for a lower common denominator…We started out when we were in PDAs (personal digital assistants) and then a phone got strapped to the back of the PDA,” Lees said. The company also failed to recognize that phones–even those that were used for business–were still as much personal as they were professional.”

There were 38 responses to that article, such as,

“Another anti-Windows Mobile rant. Why don’t you write about how cameras have not really changed in 10 years, or laptops? They still sell like hotcakes, much like Windows Mobile. 90% YoY growth is not to be sneezed at, and WM gained market share on Nokia in Europe recently.

People who have used WM for 10 years are understandably bored. They should really just move on without this traditional “slamming the door on the way out” rant.”

and

despite ANYTHING that is said here, WinMo is NOT, I repeat NOT dead or on life support. As I recall, this was a hardware based rant. Which, was right… I’m not certain why we are still using devices with speeds and capabilities we had 3+ years ago…

and on the opposite end,

“The big culprit here is the Windows Mobile OS with the lack of innovation and effort from Microsoft over the past several years. Honestly, the devices are good in terms of hardware but the core is lacking significantly.”

and this:

I’ve been having this conversation with Chris Gavula and the rest of the Team over at Gear Diary for more than a year. While this rant is right on when it comes to the hardware, in many cases, its not about can’t…its about don’t or won’t.

We had wildly divergent opinions to the article.  But the bottom line, at least to me, was that WM phones and PDAs made today are using the same hardware as almost five years ago, and WM looks like DOS next to next gen OS’s such as the iPhone, Symbian, BlackBerry, Android and the upcoming Palm Pre.  Is all hope lost?  Can Microsoft regain the confidence of users?  Andy Lees thinks so.  He said, “Microsoft embarked on a new strategy some time ago that will come to fruition over the next 18 months.”  Wow, 18 months is forever in the world of technology.  Time seems to have stopped for WM.  With incremental upgrades to the OS, Microsoft is making a half-assed effort at pleasing customers.  If they come out with an OS with a major WOW factor, if it’s not delayed, if it is not buggy, are you going to wait 18 months for it?  Are their competitors?  Apple has made significant improvements to the iPhone, RIM is cranking up the heat, Android is new and exciting and Palm really is putting forth a huge effort with the Pre.  I don’t see any of them falling to the wayside.  Chances are that over the next 18 months your cell contract will be up.  Will you pay hundreds of dollars for a WM device that is no better than what you have today or will you look at the competition?  I believe many people will think twice before going to the same old same old.  And once you change trains, it is that much harder for WM to win you back.  18 months can turn into a lifetime.

Source: ZDnet via Pocket PC Thoughts

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Apple, Blackberry, Opinions, Pocket PC, Software | Leave a comment

25 Greatest Albums Ever – Of All Time! Redux

in May of 2008 I created the first version of the 25 Greatest and really enjoyed doing it.  Sure, it’s a bit off the beaten path of what you normally find at this site, but many people found it interesting so I’m back with 25 more.  As before, feel free to comment on your favorites.  I’m always looking for something unique, new and different, so your contributions are welcome.

The original 25 seemed to share a theme of great musicians who died before their time.  This set features singers who would not make it to Hollywood on American Idol, yet made great rock anyway.

So now I present to you, in no particular order, 25 more Greatest Albums Ever – Of All Time!

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January 26, 2009 Posted by | Mp3, Opinions | 2 Comments

I Want a New Drug

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I’ve had a Windows Mobile (WM) device for 8 years, as I’m sure many of you have.  I feel so comfortable with it.  I know its capabilities, I have tons of great software, and best of all, I have support from this excellent forum and others like it.  If I want to find how to do nearly anything a Windows Mobile device is capable of, all I need do is ask.

But my comfort has grown into boredom.  I’ve done many things to alleviate this boredom and make my device more exciting and user friendly, such as upgrading the ROM to WM6.1, and adding Winterface, ZoomBoard and other modern applications.  But when it comes to using the device, ultimately I have to pull out a stylus, and that’s where my frustration lies.  When a customer calls and I need to look at the notes in his contact information or look up product information in my device, I get very frustrated by having to pull out the tight-fitting stylus and navigating a bunch of menus.

Supposedly Microsoft will unveil the next version of WM in the second half of 2009, called WM6.5.  But there are no firm details as to expected improvements.  And the new version will reportedly only be available in new handsets.  I’m not sure I want to wait at least six months for a new, exciting product, when I have no idea what to expect.  Will we still have to drag out a stylus for picking out contacts or playing some of my favorite games?  How will our user experience be enhanced?  Judging from past versions of WM, I suspect only incremental upgrades, and that’s ok, because I’m sure Microsoft doesn’t want to alienate their current user base by making radical changes.  But I feel radical changes are in order.

If you were to suggest a pocket pc or new phone to someone, would you recommend a WM product if they had no previous experience?  I don’t think I would.  I think it would be a steep learning curve as compared to the out-of-the-box user experience that competitors supply, such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, the upcoming Palm Pre, Symbian and Android.  I have many non-techie friends who have recently bought new handsets from BlackBerry and iPhone and were up and running quickly.  Can one expect that from a WM device?  Certainly a WM device has more capabilities, is more tweakable, has a huge software base, and of course huge communities to help one along.  But the vast majority of users are not looking to reflash ROMs, or edit the registry.  Which begs the question, what is a power user?  Is a power user someone who endlessly upgrades roms and software, tweaks the endless amount of settings and spends hours hacking away at the user interface, or is a power user someone who makes tons of calls, emails and text messages?

I think both are power users, but they are very different types of power users.  One is a power user and the other is really a power tweaker.  Take my wife, for example.  She is very non-techie.  When her work got her a BlackBerry Curve she was emailing and texting in minutes.  She has turned into a major power user.  Yet she has no idea how the inner-workings of her phone function.  And why should she care when everything works with no intervention?

I enjoy tweaking my device.  It’s fun.  I’m amazed at some of the incredible ideas people have come up with in order to enhance the WM experience.  But really, is this experience radically different than it was 8 years ago?  I submit it is not.  And that would be fine if I never saw a BlackBerry or iPhone.  But with that door open, WM suddenly seems old fashioned.  To be sure, you can dress it up in the beautiful cocoon of an HTC Fuze, and you can add finger friendly software, but that won’t attract the casual user who makes up the vast majority of customers.  Isn’t it obvious?  A recent article from Computerworld.com showed the numbers.  For the 3rd quarter of 2008 Symbian is first in sales with 15.4 million sales, followed by RIM with 5.8 million units sold, and 3rd place iPhone finally beat out WM devices for the first time, 4.7 million units to 4 million.  Of these nearly 30,000,000 units sold, how many owners are in the power tweaker category as opposed to the power user?

Are you happy with your WM device, or are you looking for easier access to your information and communication functions?  Do you want to spend your time tweaking or texting?

And while I’m at it, I have to say I am sick of using a mouse.  I only have two hands and the mouse is slowing me down.  It’s also time for a new desktop user interface that allows two handed use or we will be forced to evolve into three-handed people.

January 23, 2009 Posted by | Apple, Blackberry, Opinions, Pocket PC, Technology, Windows, Windows Mobile | Leave a comment

New Blog Milestone

Wow, I reached 5000 hits on my blog!  It took many months to reach this milestone.  I’d like to thank my mom for clicking on it so many times!  By the way, if you have trouble leaving comments please email me at Stevenator65 at Yahoo dot com and let me know about it. 

 

I really enjoy blogging and hope you like reading what I write.  Let me know what other subjects you want covered and thanks for visiting.

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January 3, 2009 Posted by | Opinions | Leave a comment