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» Gadgets

Gadgets


Ups and Downs of the Week

Mom – Mom’s birthday was Wednesday. She’s doing quite well. We had a good time last weekend while I was there. I need to do that more often. Love you, Mom.

New Tripod – The new tripod worked like a charm on my trip to MA last week. So easy to set up and use. Should have bought one ages ago.

Red Sox – I didn’t expect a great season, but this is pathetic.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Baseball – Even though the Sox lost their opener, it’s still good to have baseball back.

New Tripod – I finally bought my own tripod. This is a Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod. Two things I love about this tripod: one, when it’s fully extended, the camera is just a bit above my head, so if I want to shoot sky images (moon, stars, etc) I don’t have to be sitting down or trying to twist into odd positions to see the Live View screen, and two, the center arm extends outward so the camera can be suspended over objects on the ground, like flowers and such. It also has nice, quick release leg locks. My old tripod (which actually belongs to the university) had clunky, slow thumb screw leg locks.

Tripod

Tripod

This week it’s the 35mm F2. It’s a cheapo lens, but the image quality isn’t bad at all.

Full shot.

Barn Bolt

100% Crop

Barn Bolt

The wild cherry trees in our front yard are blooming.

Blooming Tree

Blooming Tree

Blooming Tree

Blooming Tree

Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – Sad end to a season. Now the truth is coming out. Egos, excuses, finger pointing, and now the axe has fallen on Francona. Or he’s had enough and chose to leave. Believe whichever story sits with you better.

Unified Communications – Microsoft’s UC system is pretty slick. I can use the Bluetooth system in my car to call into the system and it will read my email to me or tell me what’s coming up on my calendar. Very cool.

Patriots – The offense is still scoring points hand over fist. The defense can’t seem to live up to the same standards.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – They lost 1st place to the Yankees and have sunk to 2-1/2 games back. But despite injuries and poor performances from some key players, they’re still showing some signs of life. Once interleague play is over and they get the majority of the starters healthy, they might return to their winning ways.

Poor Timing – Our refrigerator died Thursday night, so we had to grab a floor model from Home Depot in order to have a fridge over the long weekend. We could have saved a bundle by using the discount I get at work from Whirlpool, but that would have meant no fridge for a week or more. Not an option.

New Refrigerator – On the Upside, we now have a very nice 22 cu. ft. LG fridge. Lots of space and very quiet. We need a trip to Trader Joe’s over in Indy to buy stuff to fill it up.

Long Weekend – Happy Fourth of July everyone.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – They finally won, and against the Yankmees no less, but what a horrible start to the season. 1-6 does not make them look like contenders. The pitching has been abysmal (with the exception of the 1-0 loss where Lester was superb). John Farrell must be having a good laugh.

Warm Friday Afternoons – Talk about therapy. I had a rough week ending with a depressing day, yet this afternoon was warm and sunny and I drove the 55 miles home with the top down on my Z4 and the tunes cranking. I arrived home in a very good mood. Best therapy in the world.

Mac Minis – Very cool little devices. Hook one up to an HDTV via HDMI cable and and you have a very capable HD media center/computer console. Throw in an HD webcam and you have an excellent video-phone to use for video calls to friends and relatives. The downside is the $650 price tag which does not include HDMI cable, keyboard, mouse, or the RAM needed to make it truly useful. If Apple would get off their high horse and charge reasonable prices for their cool devices, maybe they’d gain wider acceptance.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – The season opener today was a serious letdown. The pitching was awful. But it’s a brand new season with a long way to go. Adrian Gonzales looked great as did Ellsbury. You still gotta….

Believe

DirecTV – The Sox game looked great today. I’m seriously impressed with the quality of the image and service. Can’t believe I put up with the crappy service from Mediacom for so long when I could have been watching this.

Sky View – The Smithsonian Channel’s Sky View series is awesome, especially in HD. We’ve seen Tudor England, Emerald Isle, and Italy. Fantastic photography.

Ups and Downs of the Week

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami – The news keeps getting worse. Possibly more than 10,000 deaths, a nuclear disaster in the making, whole cities destroyed. One city had just a few concrete buildings left standing and one of them, a three story building, had cars and debris on the roof. The tsunami must have been incredible to cause that.

DirecTV – So far, so good. Much better reception and image than with Mediacom cable. Can’t wait for baseball season to start.

Libyan No-Fly Zone – The last thing the US needs is any level of involvement in yet another Middle Eastern conflict. What are they thinking?

Springtime weather – Into the 70’s by Monday. The Z4 is coming out of storage this weekend. Can’t wait.

I’m told this is a thresher (thanks, Dana). I bet it was noisy as hell when it ran. Now it just sits and slowly rots. Reminds me of a dinosaur.

Prairie Dinosaur

Prairie Dinosaur

Nice sunset yesterday, too.

Prairie Sunset

Prairie Sunset

Ups and Downs of the Week

Verizon Home Phone Connect – Well the Bluetooth connection on the Vtech turned out to be inconsistent. If we used the phone frequently, it worked ok. But if the phone sat idle for a few days, which is often the case, the Bluetooth would lose the ability to transmit and receive voice signals. The phone would ring and could be answered, but no one could hear anything. So I went with Verizon’s Home Phone Connect device. This router-looking thing is always on Verizon’s network and has a regular phone cable to attach it to a phone system, like our Vtech base. The Vtech base doesn’t know the difference from a regular landline. It works quite well (so far). It even allows us to use the built-in voicemail system on the Vtech instead of Verizon’ voicemail. Time will tell if it continues to work as designed.

Verizon Home Phone Connect

 

Feeling Better – Still coughing a bit, but I feel human again.

Formula One – Bahrain canceled (well, postponed, but…) the opening round of this season’s Formula One series. Understandable considering what’s going on there, but very disappointing nonetheless. Now it will be another two weeks until the Australian race. There is another Middle East race later in the season in Abu Dhabi.  I hope it remains on the schedule.

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