Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Fort Myers Area Dunkin' Donuts Now Have Free Wi-Fi!

Old berry has his traveling shoes on, and he's got big news for all you Red Sox Spring Training devotees; the Fort Myers area Dunkin' Donuts now have free Wi-Fi.

The Cleveland Ave. Dunkies has now become a full service pit stop for me on my way to and from the pahk. I can get my large iced coffee, make room for it, and check my email. How cool is that?

Don't be checking your email while you're emptying your tank though. Handhelds don't float...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lost is back!

Sit down in your favorite chair and strap yourself in, because this Wednesday night (01/21) ABC kicks off season 5 of Lost with not 1, not 2, but 3 new episodes of our favorite show. Here’s the lineup:

8pm EST - “Lost: Destiny Calls” (An all new recap episode)

9pm EST - “Because You Left” (Season 5/Episode 1)

10pm EST - “The Lie” (Season 5/Episode 2)

Just to whet your appetite, check out the latest Doc Jensen column. Doc’s already seen both episode 1 and 2, and although he doesn’t give too much away, he does confirm my suspicion that season 5 will focus on time travel. He also recommends some previous episodes for rewatching, as they just might help you fit some pieces together in the coming months.

If you don’t have time to rewatch them all, you can check out the Lost section of our website, for reviews of past season’s episodes and screen caps. And as always, we’ll be posting new reviews and screen caps following each new episode.

So, we’ll reconvene after the premier, and as our friend Dr. Candle/Wickmund/Holliwax/Chang (Phew, this guy’s got some serious identity issues!) likes to say:

“Thank you, namasté, and good luck.”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thoughts While Mindlessly Moving Snow

I’m sure that there are some very good employees at Circuit City, and I hate to see anyone lose their job, but I think one of the main reasons that they’re going out of business is customer service. Every time I go in there and need help, I can’t get anyone to even acknowledge my existence, and I am not shy. There always seems to be plenty of sales associates, it’s just that they’re gathered in little clumps, deep in important conversations, working overtime at not making eye contact. I’ve never understood this, especially when there’s always a Best Buy within a mile that sells the same stuff for the same price.

Winter sucks.

People should stop demanding to know what’s wrong with Steve Jobs and let the man have some peace. I know he’s a huge part of the whole Apple mystique, and everyone is afraid that without him the company may stumble and fall, but come on people, get over it. He’s a large part of a small subset of people who are responsible for bringing us all into the digital age, changing the way we do business and how we interact with each other. He’s certainly earned my respect, and hopefully yours. I say if you’re concerned about his health, you should send him a get well card, or even just some good thoughts or a few prayers.

I LOVE my Toro Power Throw!

How about that, the craptastic Cardinals are headed to the Super Bowl. It kills me that a 9 and 7 team is off to the big dance, especially since they rolled over against our Pats just weeks ago, but I have to admit that I’m happy for Kurt Warner. Hopefully his wife has gotten over her feathered boa stage. I don’t think I could take seeing that again.

My back hurts.

Although I often feel overworked and underpaid, I’m really glad I have a job, and I really like what I do. A lot of people I talk to lately seem to feel the same way, and I think this bodes well for the future. When things are good, people move around from job to job, always looking for that next big pay increase. For quite a while now, loyalty and continuity have been kind of frowned upon. In the high tech world it’s almost a badge of honor to have a huge list of past employers, but to me, there’s no reward in that. If you’re changing jobs every few years, you’re definitely not focused on the long range plans of your company, and without people pushing and shoving their organizations into the future, nothing much happens, and consequently both business and the economy suffers.

My gloves are soaked through. I probably should stop and change them.

Tomorrow it will be one year since my Dad passed away, and the day after that, the country’s first black president will be sworn in. I really wish he was here to see it. He lived through a lot of changes in his 84 years; The Great Depression, World War II, television, space exploration, computers and cell phones, but with all the change he saw, he was still convinced that the country wasn’t ready for a black president. We started this debate in 2006 after my youngest son’s graduation. Barack Obama was the commencement speaker, and when he finished and walked off the stage, I said that the Democrats would be crazy not to nominate this man in ’08, that he represented their best shot at getting back to Pennsylvania Avenue because he had that indefinable power to move and unite people. Although my Dad agreed that he very well could be the right man for the job, he felt that people weren’t ready for it. He grew up in a very different world, a world in which racism was always present, and he just couldn’t see it happening. I think he would have really dug it.

S#*t, I can’t feel my fingers. Should a changed my gloves. Gotta go, but I'll leave you with one more thought:

Only 4 more weeks until pitchers and catchers show up at Spring Training!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Apple Gives Us A Reason To Whistle A Happy Tune In The Post Holiday Season

Earlier this week at Macworld, Apple announced that they would now be offering iTunes Plus versions of their music, which are better quality and DRM free, as their standard 99¢ download, and that starting in April they would be shifting to a tiered pricing structure, 69¢, 99¢ and $1.29 per song.

This is great news for me. Santa brought me a fresh iTunes card, and I’m snagging tracks as I type. DRM-less, 256kbs tracks. Sweet. iTunes also gave me the opportunity to upgrade some of my existing library, for a fee, to Plus, but I passed for now.

While this is a big deal for me, and from what I read in the forums, for a lot of you out here on the interwebs also, the major tech sites have been bemoaning what a drag Macworld was. It’s a veritable chorus of “I flew all the way here and there was no unveiling of the Next Best Thing, no Steve Jobs. What a drag, man.”

You know what? I don’t care. Boo hoo. Apple just had a major product release in September. The accessory manufacturers can’t keep up with all the product changes, and people don’t have the inclination or the disposable income to swap out devices every 6 months when the economy sucks. I say this was another great example of Apple understanding what the market can bear, and what the public wants.

So, hopefully these reviewers have refueled their company jets and bopped on over to the CES to drink their fill at the trough of excess. I hate to see them so unhappy. As for me, I got what I wanted, and I’ll be doing the iPod happy dance (when no one’s looking, of course) throughout the long cold winter months. Thanks Steve. Much love.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winegard RCDT09A Battery Operated DTV Converter Box

The February 17th shutoff of analog television signals is rapidly approaching, and one of the few actual casualties of the conversion to digital broadcasting is going to be your battery operated analog TV. The one you depend on when the power goes out.

There are currently only a handful of 7 to 10 inch LCD TVs with ATSC tuners available. They start at around $149, and are backordered on most sites. That’s a little pricey for me, especially when compared to my current 5” Coby set that I paid $20 for at CVS. Hey, it’s good enough to catch the news during a blackout, and that’s all it’s really for. It may seem like a little thing, but in an emergency it’s essential to stay informed.

Well, someone has finally come up with a solution. Winegard has come out with a converter box that has an optional battery pack and a 12v DC converter. It’s the RCDT09A, and although it’s not rated as “best of class”, it is a very serviceable little unit that features analog pass thru and a rudimentary program guide. Check out Cnet’s review here.

According to the manufacturer’s specs, it will run for up to 18 hours on battery power (6 D cell batteries), and it qualifies for the TV converter box coupon program. You can order it at Winegard Direct for $62.99, and the site is set up to credit your $40 coupon at checkout. Cool.

While the Winegard is the perfect solution for emergencies, for a straight up powered device I’d recommend the Zenith DTT901 converter. It rates highly in all categories on, just look down the handy comparison chart for the device with the most dots. It has excellent reception, analog pass thru, easy channel tuning, universal remote and a much better guide.

I plan on using both coupons, one on a Winegard for emergencies, and the other on a Zenith for better reception in non emergency situations, like when the cable goes out and the big game is on. We’ve got a beautiful 27” Sony Wega flat tube analog TV that isn’t going anywhere until it dies of natural causes.

Be sure to check out our DTV transition survival guide for more detailed information on how the changes will affect you, and how you can get your coupons.

Sunday, January 4, 2009