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Big Jambox

remix-imageOK, maybe I'm a sucker for marketing, but it's just plain cool that they called it the “Big” Jambox.  9 out of 10.

I had the old Jambox, and it worked all right.  I didn't think the sound was phenomenal, and the speaker phone was “meh” at best, especially if you're sitting on the wrong side of the device.  The BIG JAMBOX however, has big sound, and works great as a speakerphone.  The omnidirectional microphone seems to pick up sound well and people on the other end of the line say the sound quality is great. To me, that's an awesome feature.

That said, sound quality for playing music should trump everything else, right?  Well, the thing sounds amazing.  I love the sound quality, and evereything from Bach to Dethklok to John Denver sounds great.  The battery life has been more than acceptable (days of occasional playback), and it charges relatively quickly (couple of hours at most.)  My two complaints, and the  reason it got a 9, are:

  1. The price.  $300 is a lot of dough for some speakers.
  2. The bluetooth.  It works fairly well, but if the phone is more than 15-20 feet away it chops up the signal sometimes.I think the range should be better.

Overall though, it's a great speaker, and I've been very happy with it.  I would buy it again.

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Dumb Ways To Die

I know I’m years late on finding this and falling in love with it, but I did, and I am.  Tangerine Kitty and the Australian Metro system get a 10 out of 10.

This cartoon was produced and sponsored by the Metro System in Melbourne, Australia as a public safety warning and viral campaign.  It’s completely delightful, silly, fun, catchy and great.  My wife also turned me onto an awesome iphone game that’s a ball to play.  If you haven’t seen this already, watch it.  If you have, send it to a friend and make them smile. (More about Tangerine Kitty here.)

 

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Love Has Come For You


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Love Has Come For You gets a 10.

I love Steve Martin as a comedian.  The Jerk, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Three Amigos, My Blue Heaven, and my favorite John Hughes movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles .. he's provided so much wonderful comedy.

He's also a phenomenal 5 string banjo player.  His new album, Love Has Come For You with Edie Brickell is nothing short of fantastic.  Listen to it right now.  Free to stream on Spotify, or available on Amazon.  Amaze-balls.

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Dr. John – Such A Night

It's just such a good song.  Dr. John is the man.  10 out of 10. mqdefault

Dr. John – Such A Night

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Powerful Love

tumblr_mf7pxusXGl1qji9aso1_1355810400_coverPowerful Love is an 8 out of 10.

I saw the movie Looper and liked it. But I was distracted at one point when a song I had never heard, but really liked, came on. It was a Motown song, and I quietly shazamed it in the theater. It’s a rare cut by a soul duo called Chuck & Mac, titled “Powerful Love”. iTunes and amazon both had a compilation album with the track:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/eccentric-soul-twinights-lunar/id211162176

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Carpenter Pencils


Pencils.com product
I like the big, square, carpentry pencils. I give them an 8 out of 10.

I've been made fun of for using these. “Why don't you just use a regular pencil?”

Well, I'll tell you why. I like the solid, square feel of these in my hand.  Sure they're a pain to sharpen.  You have to use a knife or utility blade, or else use a specialized sharpener that will inevitably get lost.  But I think they're actually quite handy.  I started using them

in the workshop and on jobsites, for the uses for which they're intended.  Namely, drawing cut lines on pieces of wood.  But I've taken to keeping them with me all the time, and using them in the office, at work, and even keeping one in my computer bag.  I know – what's more analog than using a pencil in the digital age?  Guess I'm just old fashioned.

I like these writing implements, and I think if you gave them a chance, you would too.  march-033

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Sigh

charlie-brown-sighSigh.  It gets a 6 out of 10.

Breathe in, and then expel your breath in a huff.  Look wounded, tragic, or depressed. Slump in your seat, and give your shoulders a defeated caste. IF you can achieve the above, you are in possession of a perfect sigh.

But sighing is mostly a plaintive action.  Maybe it's well deserved; perhaps you had a long, tough day. So be it, you're entitled to a big, self-satisfying, self-gratifying sigh.  That's cool.  Nevertheless, you should recognize that it's still plaintive.  You're allowed to be plaintive, but

it's important to recognize it for what it is.

Based on the plaintive nature of sighing, I give it a 6.  I don't condemn, but neither will I glorify.

NOTE: I will say, there are other types of sighs.  A satisfied sigh might complete a complex or lengthy project. A relieved sigh might accompany a positive diagnosis at the doctor's office.  A gratified sigh could accompany an amorous experience with your significant other.  These are all different from a plaintive, unhappy, tiresome sigh.  Still and all, a sigh is an accompaniment, a footnote of an experience.  Still a 6.


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Audible.com

Audible gets an 8 out of 10. audible-logo

I love audiobooks. I listen to books on CD all the time, while I'm walking the dog, driving in the car, cooking dinner… you name it. Most of the books I listen to I get from the public library (a review of the public library is coming soon.) But sometimes there's a title, or even an author, that's not available in audiobook format at the library. What to do.

I've known about Audible.com for a long time, but the cost always seemed a bit steep. But Amazon (who owns Audible) has done an effective job marketing to me, and I finally decided to take up their offer of a free book plus a free month. What did I discover? Audiobooks.

I know, hardly a surprise. But here's the two most salient points imho:
1. The selection is great
2. The service is excellent

First #1. There are lots of titles. Very few authors are underrepresented (though Parke Godwin is

noticeably absent, which I find irksome.) But in general, most authors, and most of their titles, are available.

#2, the service is well done. Books on audible are not as expensive as I thought they would be. The MSRP on many audiobooks is $25-50, and that's a lot of money to pay for something you might only listen to once. But many of the titles on Audible are discounted, and I've found awesome books for $8-12. That's start becoming a whole lot more reasonable, comparable to a print title in many cases.

Aside from cost, the service is intuitive and easy to use. Books are simple to purchase, and quick to download. Various formats (MP3, WMA, etc.) are available and easy to select. Once you purchase a title, it's yours forever; even if you discontinue your monthly subscription, you can still download a book that you've purchased. The mobile apps seem solid (though truthfully I haven't spent as much time in the app as I'd like – another possible review.)

Bottom line here is, the selection, pricing, and usability of the site and service at Audible is excellent. Good enough for an 8 out of 10. That's pretty high on the awesome-meter. Go Audible. Yay.

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AT&T is desperate to keep iPhone customers

On a scale of 1to10, AT&T is scared to death of losing their iPhone customers to Verizon.

Screen shot 2011-02-02 at 12.05.52 AMIn a very visible, transparent, and elucidative email to their current customers, AT&T is making a blatant plea to current subscribers to stay on board at AT&T.  Touting their make money easy home

2/01/att-verizon-iphone/”>well publicized advantage of web browsing while on the phone, AT&T has sent emails to their customer base (and even dedicated portions of their website)  to building a sandbag dike against the flood of Verizon-bound customers.

The ad says it all (look right dude).

On a scale from 1to10, this smacks of desperation. Nevertheless, if you got it, flaunt it.  It's an advantage, albeit a fleeting one, and they need to keep all the subscribers they can.  Go get 'em. Er, keep 'em.

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Add a robot to your data backup plan

drobo_logoOn a scale from 1to10, the Drobo FS is a freakin' 10.

You may have noticed (or probably not) that I have an obsession with data, with data backup, and with storage.  We ran an entire month of posts all focused on data backup.  Anyone who's lost data before tends to have this kind of an obsession.

I've used external HDDs, and set up RAID systems in my PC, but I've never found a perfect solution.  Maybe perfection doesn't really exist in data backup.  But the Drobo FS is pretty freaking awesome.

I'll backup a second.  I use multiple external HDD's for various purposes.  I have one for Time Machine, one that's plugged into my Xbox 360 for watching local media, and one that's plugged into my Pogoplug for easy backup and easy sharing of media.  It all works well, but it also all requires a lot of manual management and work.  The drive that's plugged into my Pogoplug has been clicking and that's ominous – usually means an impending mechanical failure. I live in dread.

As I mentioned, I did have a RAID 1 set up on my PC, but the RAID broke when I upgraded to Windows 7, and I haven't wanted to go through the hassle of fixing, re-formatting, or updating my motherboard BIOS. If all of that sounds incomprehensible, you're not alone.

drobo_left_angle_hiI've had my eye on a Drobo for a long time.  For the uninitiated, Drobo is a type of external storage solution for consumers, semi-pros, and commercial data backup.  The name comes from Data Robot. I've hemmed and hawed for a long time, because these are not cheap devices.  order generic cialis online

opnav=&cat=59219&hierPath=84*31022*59219*&lang=en-US”>Costco finally got a good deal for the Drobo FS (my preferred model) with 3 1TB HDD's for $799.  It's a good price, and includes the Costco guarantee, so I decided to pull the trigger.  I'm only bummed I waited this long.  Couple of benefits to the Drobo FS:

  • Holds up to 5 internal Sata Drives  (super easy, just plug them in, no cables or plugs)
  • Drives are hot-swappable (if you run out of capacity and want to put in larger drives, or if a drive goes bad, you can just yank out the bad / smallest drive and plug in a new one)
  • Data is striped across multiple drives (if a drive goes bad, you don't lose any data. It's backed up across the other drives)
  • It's future-proof (you never need to run out of capacity.  When you fill up your drives, you simply buy bigger ones and replace the smaller ones.  The investment doesn't go bad or get filled up.)
  • Networked solution (you can move the data onto Drobo via your local network. Also possible to stream to various devices.  More on this in a later post.)
  • Can be used for Time Machine (in Drobo you can set up multiple locations that you can label and designate for a specific purpose – these are called “shares”.  You can create a share specifically for Time Machine if you like, or to hold all your movies, or just to hold all the data on a given machine, etc.)

What I like most about Drobo is that it's available on my network, and that it offers a redundant solution for storage.  If a drive goes bad (and all mechanical devices, including HDDs, will eventually go bad) you can pull it out and replace it.  When you run out of space, you can go to Fry's and upgrade capacity with whatever the new price point drives are available.

I sleep a little better knowing that I have a storage robot minding my data, keeping it safe and redundantly backed up.  It was spendy, but I'm glad I made the investment.  The loss of family photos, or just the countless hours I've spent ripping my movie collection would be catastrophic.  This is good insurance.

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