Published: December 6, 2008 at 6:13 AM
I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post. I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to look over the handful of Sideshow Collectible's 1/6-scale figures that have made it my way, including their latest Star Wars offering Obi-Wan Kenobi: Clone Wars - General. The Obi Wan figure is based on events in the Clone Wars animated series where Obi Wan battles the separatist armies dressed in a combination of Jedi robes and Clone armor. The gear makes for an interesting, visually pleasing pairing and though I'm not a fan of the prequel trilogy, I do like this version of the Obi Wan character. I managed to take a few quick photos of the figure, which is also the first to sport Sideshow's new armor body type. The new body type is a vast improvement over the previous Art S. Buck model body because it lends itself to a wider range of more natural looking poses. Once I get a chance to put a dent in his armor I'll whip up a full review with additional photos, but in the time being the teaser photos will have to do.
Published: November 4, 2008 at 3:15 PM
The Android Market has been growing steadily since the T-Mobile G1 launched this October. Thanks to the five-star rating system and user comments, in the market, it's been relatively easy to identify the applications worth downloading and those that should be avoided altogether. Here's a list of the top 5 Android applications that every G1 shouldn't be without.
- Locale (and Locations): Locale dynamically manages your phone settings based on conditions such as location and time. Locale works in conjunction with Locations—an application that pinpoints your GPS coordinates—and requires Locations if you're using geographic rules in your settings. You'll never have to worry about your ringer going off in the wrong place or at the wrong time. I personally use Locale to set my G1 to use my wireless Internet connection whenever I'm at home.
- ShopSavvy and CompareEverywhere: I've found that both ShopSavvy and CompareEverywhere have their unique upsides and are most effective when used in tandem. Use the camera in your phone to scan the barcode of any product to find the best prices on the Internet and at nearby, local stores. You can then read product reviews to find what others think as well as keep track of your items in a shopping list.
- Twidroid: If you tweet, Twidroid is for you. Twidroid a full-featured, mobile Twitter client that includes direct messaging, photo posting and background notifications. Twidroid is still in beta so not all of the features work flawlessly, but it boasts a clean, easy-to-use interface and has a lot of promise.
- WeatherBug: WeatherBug uses your GPS location information to provide live, local weather information featuring location-based forecasts, severe weather alerts, radar and satellite maps, camera views and more. WeatherBug is the most comprehensive weather tool in the Android Market.
- Dial Zero: Dial Zero allows you to quickly dial the customer service number of over 600 companies and skip the prompts to speak directly with a person. No more menu trees or annoying voice recognition software to stand in your way!
Published: October 30, 2008 at 11:26 PM
Tomorrow is Halloween and to get into the spirit of things I decided to carve a pumpkin. Up until now, the extent of my pumpkin carving experience has been under the supervision of a parent. Yep, it's been that long. Being a pumpkin carving novice, I decided to pick up one of those pumpkin carving kits that comes with everything you need to get started, including the carving and gutting tools as well as a booklet of templates. I figured that with the templates I could create something intricate and forgo the usual boring, old triangles.
Apparently, during the time I left to buy the kit, my neighbors complained that my dogs had been barking the entire day. Considering I had only been out of the house for the two hours it took me to run out to get the carving kit, I thought this was a bit odd. So it should be no surprise that I found it amusingly appropriate to use the template with the pack of howling wolves. I quickly learned that cutting a tough-skinned gourd with a saw that looks like it came out of a munchkin carpenter's tool shed isn't as easy as I thought it would be, even with a pattern to follow. The end result isn't precisely what the template looked like, but it's close enough. Besides I'm sure my neighbors will appreciate it every time they glance at doorstep. I took a photo of my disasterpiece in all its glory with my T-Mobile G1, which considering the circumstances, i.e. lighting conditions, produced a surprisingly good quality photo.
Published: October 28, 2008 at 6:04 PM
I’ve been at it for one week with my Android-based, T-Mobile G1. I admit that every time I get a new cell phone I either get a tinge of buyer’s remorse or end up comparing it to my previous phone more than I should. The G1 is no exception. When I pulled the G1 out of the box, my initial impression was that it was a bit clunky, bulky and even heavy. I know comparing the G1’s size to a Motorola RAZR (which it’s replacing) isn’t exactly fair considering what the G1 is capable of, but a precedence had been set.
What the G1 lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in functionality. Sure I would love the G1 to be the same size as the RAZR, but my concerns that the G1 would be a brick in my pocket subsided as I familiarized myself with the Android interface and started making use of the features that I cursed my RAZR for not having. I also felt better when I had a chance to compare the G1’s vitals to a friend’s iPhone. The weight of the two devices is very similar and though the G1 is thicker, the QWERTY keyboard that adds to the extra thickness is totally worth it.
Once I got over the dimension shock, the only real issue I had with the G1 is battery life. If you’ll be using your G1 heavily throughout the day, you’ll need to keep a charger handy. Even with recommended settings to extend the battery life (GPS, brightness, WiFi and auto sync settings turned down or off) the phone eats up the charge quickly. I would imagine that if you took the phone on a trip to use as a reference guide and were out of the hotel all day sightseeing, you wouldn’t make it into the evening without needing a charge. I’m not sure how this compares to the battery life on an iPhone, but I could definitely see it being an issue at some point.
What I don’t see being an issue is the Android Market. There have been dozens of new applications added since theG1 launched on the 22nd and every time I check the Android Market, the application and game libraries seems to be growing. Obviously some of the applications are more useful than others, but it’s nice to know there’s no shortage of developers working on the Android platform. I’ll blog a more detailed account of some of my favorite applications later in the week, but want to include a quick real world example of how the G1 is making a difference in my life.
I downloaded one of the first applications available in the Android Market, named QuickList, to create a running grocery list throughout the week. If you’re wondering why I don’t just write a list out, I’ve tried and since my list isn’t at my hip at all times—like my phone—I always seem to forget something. As I navigated the aisles of my local Publix this weekend, checking off the list items as I add them to my cart, I didn’t have that usual “I’m forgetting something” feeling that comes over me right before I check out. When I cleared those automatic doors I not only felt confident that I got everything I needed, I also realized that for once, I didn’t forget the garbage bags!
In the end, my week with the G1 was as much of a learning experience as a realization that the device has the ability to change the way people live their lives. It’s not that the G1 can make you a better shopper, a healthier eater, an accurate tipper or even more productive, but it gives you the tools that put you on the right track.
Published: October 20, 2008 at 8:28 PM
If you follow me on Twitter, about a month ago I tweeted about a 16GB microSDHC card by SanDisk. The card just hit the market in the UK and at the time was available for around $80 shipped to the U.S. I decided to buy one of these cards since I pre-ordered the T-Mobile G1 and it only comes with a measly 1GB microSD card, but supports microSDHC. My order was shipped (dispatched if you're in the U.K.) quickly and arrived with plenty of time to spare for the G1, so I snapped a few photos.
For those of you unfamiliar with SDHC, it's a flash memory card format that supports capacities of 4GB and beyond. Chances are you're most likely using an SD (under 4GB) or SDHC (over 4GB) card in your digital camera. microSD—used mostly for cell phones—is a teeny-tiny version of SD memory. So a microSDHC card is basically a mini SDHC card that supports high capacity memory. Not to make matters any more confusing, but you can use an adapter and plug a microSDHC card into an SDHC fitting to create an SDHC card and there are USB adapters that allow you to plug an SDHC card into them, creating what equates to a flash memory stick. The last photo in the set will help differentiate between the types and gives you a size comparison so you have a better idea of what's what. Now that I've got my memory, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that UPS gets my G1 to me in one piece.
Published: October 18, 2008 at 10:43 AM
I've pulled the plug on cable television. I called to cancel my television service on Thursday and dropped off my HD-DVR this morning to make it official. I decided to stop paying for cable for because it was costing me about a $100 a month and I only watched a few stations that weren't the major networks. Now that most television content and shows are available online—be it on the networks' Web sites, Hulu.com or marketplaces like Xbox Live, Zune and iTunes—I shouldn't miss much of anything, if anything at all. As a trade off, I decided to pay an extra $10 a month to increase the speed of my Internet connection, since I'll be doing a lot of downloading. I think the hardest part will be the ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel withdraws, but I figure I can always drop into a bar and catch a game. This reminds me of when I dumped my land-line phone several years back and used my cell phone as my primary phone. It took a bit of adjustment getting used to monitoring my minutes, just as I imagine downloading shows will takes some getting used to, but in the end it was a good decision that felt quite liberating.
Published: October 6, 2008 at 10:38 AM
If you watched the 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show you'll recognize Uno, the 15-inch Beagle, who won best in show. Being a Beagle owner myself (Brodie, whom I sometimes refer to as Ono for reasons I'll explain), I was amused to see Uno strut his stuff around the show floor and demand attention with his obsessing bays. Uno's victory has not only raised awareness of the Beagle breed, it increased the number homes choosing a Beagle as their family pet. If the baying didn't deter them, chances are most of these new Beagle owners are just learning about the kind of trouble an unsupervised Beagle can get into. The YouTube video above is evidence of Beagle mischief (and ingenuity). Don't get me wrong, Beagles have the friendliest temperament and I highly recommend them to anyone considering a dog, but don't let their cuteness fool you because they'll have you shouting "Oh, no" in no time!