System Administrator Appreciation Day

July 29, 2005

Today is the 6th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day — do something nice for whoever it is that keeps your machines running properly.

Remember, if you gave at the office, you don’t have to give at home (unless you want your stuff at home to work also.)

(Also check out the System Administrator Song)

Sage TV Version 3 Now in Beta

July 25, 2005

The next generation of Sage TV is now in beta, with some interesting new features — plus HD recording and playback to come…

A more complete list of changes will be available later, but for now, here are some of the v3 changes, in no particular order:

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Vaja iVod DJ iPod Case Review

July 20, 2005

Vaja iVod DJI love Vaja cases.

To me, the Vaja is typically the premier case for any portable device I own. Unfortunately, they’re priced that way too, but that doesn’t make them any less worth it.

Naturally, when I got the new iPod 60, I needed a new Vaja case (since my old 3G case wouldn’t work with a clickwheel iPod). I couldn’t resist going with the new iVod DJ — it’s just entirely too sexy.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite all it’s cracked up to be.
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Apple iPod 60GB Review

July 20, 2005

Apple iPod 60GBThe Apple iPod 60GB has been out for awhile — first as the iPod Photo 60GB in two different packagings, and finally as the plain old iPod 60GB, when Apple removed the monochrome iPods from the lineup a month or so ago.

So why review one now? Simple — when Apple reduced the price on the 60, I finally retired (well, resold) my old 30G 3rd Generation iPod and replaced it with a 60GB.

Now that I’ve had a month or so of using it under my belt, I’ve had a chance to form some impressions. Not surprisingly, this is more a “compare and contrast” exercise with the 3G iPod with the 4G color iPod than anything.
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Treo 650 Windows Media with DRM – Yahoo Music on your Treo

July 20, 2005

PocketTunes TreoNow you can get one of those “all-you-can-eat” music download plans from Yahoo, Napster or Rhapsody, and listen to your tunes on your Treo 650 (or other Palm device).

Normsoft is now out with PocketTunes 3.1 Deluxe, which supports Windows Media 10’s “Janus” DRM format, letting you listen to as much DRM’d music as you care to give up storage space for.
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Verizon FiOS High Speed Service

July 20, 2005

In all of the screwing around with my network over the past few days, I ran into two interesting things — one, that Comcast was now offering 6mb down / 768K up service in my area (and it turned out the be $25 a month cheaper than my existing 3mb service — go figure), and that Verizon is finally turning up their Fiber Internet service (“FiOS”) in my area.

The price on the Verizon service is extremely hard to beat — they’re offering 15 mb down / 2mb up for $49.95 a month. As a pre-sales incentive, they offered me the same service for $39.95 a month for the first year (this is the normal price for 5mb/2mb). They also have a 30mb/5mb service for $199.95 for those really in need of bandwidth.
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D-Link DGL-4300 Wireless 108G Router Review

July 20, 2005

D-Link DGL-4300 Wireless 108G RouterAfter my little Linksys WRT55AG adventure, I did what I should have done to begin with — my homework.

What I settled on was the D-Link DGL-4300 Wireless 108G “Gaming Router”.

I’m not a gamer (although I’ve got one on the premises), but their “Gamefuel” feature essentially operates much like the Hawking Broadband Booster — in fact, it uses an earlier version of the same Ubicom Streamengine that the Broadband Booster does, but exposes more of the interface for controlling how the Quality of Service (QoS) feature operates.

Although some other reviews suggest that the Gamefuel features don’t work quite as well on insuring the quality of VOIP calls as the Hawking box does, it still seems to help considerably.

The other big feature I was looking for was gigabit ethernet — the DGL-4300 has a built-in 4 port gigabit ethernet switch. At some point in the near future, I plan to dump my two or three remaining 10/100 switches and replace them with 10/100/1000 switches, so this puts me slightly ahead of the game on that item.
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Linksys WRT55AG (Sucks) Review

July 20, 2005

Linksys WRT55AGI hate it when I don’t do my homework on a new piece of hardware, and it comes back to bite me in the ass. Particularly when it’s from a company that I’ve sworn I’d never buy from again, like Linksys.

For several years I’ve been living happily behind a little Linux box, running IPCop as a firewall and router. It worked excellently, even on the old last-legs box it was running on. Unfortunately, it had gotten to the point where it was out of legs, and I’d need to actually drop some money into hardware to keep it running much longer.

At the same time, I was trying to fix my problems with Windows Media Center by making sure all of my hardware was on the “certified” list. Although I wasn’t looking to solve any network problems, I happened to notice that the Linksys WRT55AG was on the list, and so figuring to kill two birds with one stone, I purchased one (along with some other more on-point hardware), and sat it off to the side.

In due course, the little IPCop box finally expired, and I dug out the WRT55AG and plugged it in.

What a nightmare!
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Hawking Broadband Booster – Improving VOIP Quality

July 15, 2005

Hawking Broadband BoosterThis looks like it’s going to seriously rock. Tom’s Networking has a review up for the Hawking Technologies Broadband Booster.

I abandoned my local telco about a year and a half ago, and went with VOIP from Vonage. It’s saved me a pile of cash over that time, and I seriously like the features and the call quality — most of the time.
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More MCE Keyboard Info

July 12, 2005

Windows MCE KeyboardMore info on the new MCE Keyboard, from Chris Lanier.

Additional highlights include “spill-resistant” keyboard (hey, that means it’s livingroom friendly!), a “key lock” feature to keep buttons from being inadvertantly pushed, TV Power and Volume Control, and a 30 foot range.

Available in September.

Chris links Microsoft’s consumer page, Google’s cache of an OEM info page, and a Flash demo.

No official word anywhere of it using the same remote receiver, but apparently a new update for the existing remote receiver includes support for the new keyboard, so I suspect that means it all works together.

I’m looking forward to this one.

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