Stolen TomTom and Escort replacement

I’m so depressed. I must have left the car unlocked, but got back and the glove compartment was missing my TomTom 720 and Escort 9500i. So sad! But, I can’t prove it was stolen, maybe I’m just absent minded. I need both in this car, so what is the state of the art. Well, quite a bit has changed in the last 2 years:

In GPS, the big news is that Magellan is out of the business and now all the big guys have a GPS Map Subscription so that you can now for about $4/month get updated maps. Really welcome.

The second is that the latest ones have a cellular modem builtin, so you can get real time traffic updates, you can use a real search engine like Google. And you can go on the web, find something and then send it to your GPS. So you have the really cutting edge and cheap in the TeleNav, the more expensive but cutting edge with cellular interconnection in the 740 LIVE and then the polished 855T with MSN Direct and not cellular so less of a growth path.

TomTom 740 LIVE vs TeleNav Shotgun are the two with them. The TomTom GO 740 LIVE Review has a user interface I like, but of course it is the most expensive. You pay $10/month for the traffic and then about $4/month for the GPS map updates. Plus $400 for the base unit. They have figured out how to get into the subscription business. The best choice for ease of use. It also has this feature called IQ Routes which uses the real world estimated speeds. Won the Best of CES 2009 because of its interconnection.

The TeleNav Shotgun is hardware that comes directly from the map vendor. Kind of continues the trend where the actual content people are building hardware like Amazon is with the Kindle. It is risky in that it is version one, but it is much cheaper. $300 direct from Telenav but most importantly map updates are free and the traffic service is $12/month ($10/month for two years). However in terms of usability, it certainly is version one. GPS Magazine sums it up well by saying it is slow to update

GPS Magazine really likes Garmin. It has the Nuvi 885T which has voice recognition that apparently really works. Nuvi 765T is best all around (775T doesn’t have bluetooth hands-free, personally, I’ve found hands-free to not work well, too noisy). Its biggest deal is a lifetime udpate for maps. 4 times per year for a single price. Cool. They have a ton of models, but the high end ones are 7x5Ts. It doesn’t have an internet connected device, but the Nuvi 880for instance is more polished in terms of user interface, etc. It is also brighter than the TomTom. Also the TomTom’s routing engine was worst compared with the nuvi 780. Garmin BTW uses MSN special traffic service instead of a general mobile phone connection.

Radartest Things are little easier with radar detectors as they are evolving less slowly. The big change is the move to having a database of speed cameras so you can get alerts and also noticing point sources that are falsing all the time. The 9500i got phenomenal reviews, now the 9500 ix seems just as good particularly with Southern car parts mount. I’ve found the suction cups are really bad on this thing. They have a bundle for $500 that include all this stuff. BTW if you have a 9500i (still!), Veilguy says for $90 you can upgrade it.

And if you are worried about laser, which is too fast, then you can get Veil to reduce reflections on your license plate and headlights or you can even get a …New Escort Passport 9500ix

The Blinder Xtreme units have proven to me to be an extremely reliable and dependable protection. The latest J16 versions of the M25 family have only improved over the original M10s and M20s and are very reasonably priced, IMO.

If you wish to have direct integration into your existing Passport 9500ix, perhaps you would be well to consider the Laser Shifter ZR4 [which also adds a rear shifter (ie; laser jammer head]. This unit is also reasonably priced and if its reliability proves similar to its predecessor, the Shifter ZR3, you won’t be disappointed, either.

Oracle buys Sun

Not like we didn’t see this one. Congrats to Credit Suisse, who was the sole manager on the sell side.

Oracle to Acquire Sun for $7.4 Billion – Mac Rumors

The big industry news on Monday was the announcement that Oracle Corporation would acquire Sun Microsystems for approximately $7.4 billion. The acquisition would bring Sun controlled technologies such as Java, MySQL and Sun’s workstations under the control of Oracle. The New York Times points out that Oracle sees Sun as a “software gem, skillful in computer design and ripe for cost-cutting.”

iTunes App Store without a credit card

I thought that you needed a prepaid card to get the free apps. I’m sorry I bought the $15 itunes card now. Here is how to do it if you just want free apps on your iPhone. Boy is it complicated!

Create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card

Create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card

1. If you already have an account, choose Store > Sign Out.
2. Pick your country from the pop-up menu at the bottom of the iTunes Store homepage.
3. If your country also has an iTunes Store, you’ll need to navigate to the App Store by clicking on the “App Store” link from the menu on the left. If not, proceed to step 4.
4. Important: Before proceeding to the next step you must purchase a free application by clicking ‘Get App’.
5. Click create new account.
6. Click Continue.
7. You’ll need to read and agree to the iTunes terms and conditions, make sure you check the box next to where it says “I have read and agree to the iTunes Terms and Conditions.” Click Continue.
8. Enter in your email address, create your password, continue to create and answer your security question, then enter your birthday. Click Continue.
9. Select None as the payment option.
10. Continue to fill out the required name and address fields.
11. You’ll then see a screen that says ‘Verify your Account’. Click Done and then check your email for a verification email from “iTunes Store.”
12. Open the mail, and click on the phobos link enclosed in the email to activate your account.
13. Once you click on the link, iTunes should then prompt you to sign in with your account name and password.
14. You’ll then see a “Congratulations” screen. Click Done to be taken to the App Store home page.

Darn it, bought too soon, big screen Kindle is coming

I hope they also make it a touch screen and simplify the user
AppleInsider | Amazon to introduce “big screen” Kindle device this week

New York Times cited people briefed on Amazon’s plans as saying the retailer was gearing up to introduce “a larger version of its Kindle wireless device tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines and perhaps textbooks

Nuforce 8 vs. Shure er210 vs Brookstone Pro plug

I lost my beloved etymotic 4s on the plane. Maybe I should buy them again. These sealed isolation things are great but in buying $40-150 ones I’ve found the biggest variable is a good seal:

1. Brookstone Pro Plug. $40 so inexpensive. Fit is not really sealed bit they r just so bassy. Not recommended.

2. Nuforce 8. $70. Supposed to be amazing. I tried with the stock earplugs and can’t get a good seal. Recommendation is to buy a $15 set of super pro plugs. Ill try that but that puts it a pretty high price point like the Etymotic 6i. They r more balanced than the Brookstone. So not recommended with stock plugs. Will see with the add-one.

3. Shure Se-210. Widely distributed. Sound ok and better fit than Nuforce. At $120 I wouldn’t say they r much better than the $90 etymotic 6i

4. Etymotic 4s. Although only a single driver the main thing is that they really fit well. Thy have foam plugs that r as tight as soundplugs. Sounds is remarkable at $180

Mac File compare and sync

Now that I keep music and new photos on my local machine, I also need to sync these files up to a server. Thats because I’m constantly changing things. So looking for something as good as beyond compare on Windows. Looked before, but never found anything. Google search for mac os x directory compare led me to:

Smart Synchronize

Guiffy

Trying them both now…both are slow

Lost headphones mean new phones

I haven’t posted in a while because somehow the lastest scribefire no longer likes to post to my WordPress. So I’m back to using the web interface.

Anyway, since I lost my Etymotic ER-4Ss, I seem to have ended up with two sets of Shure SE-210 (lost one of these!), bought a $40 pair of Bridgestone’s that I just hate. So what’s the state of the art now, so recommendations from <a href=”http://headphones.com”>headphones.com</a>, <a href=”http://ilounge.com”>iLounge.com</a> and <a href=”http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/”>Head-fi.org</a>.

The highlight, is there are two categories of in-ear designs at $100-150 which are Shure SE210, E2c and E3c, Etymotic ER6i, Ultra-ears Super.fi 5 pro and JVC Marshmallow/JVC aircushion. Then at $180-200 have the Etymotic Er-4P, Klipsch Image X-10, Denon C700, JAYS q-JAYS, Shure SE310 and E4c. Here are the recommendations:

Etymotic ER-4P. These are still viewed as the best single driver headphones. About $180 street these days. I found them super comfortable, but reviews say they are a little lacking. If you want throwaways, or near throwaways, the $80 ER-6i is a good choice.

Ultimate Ears 700. These are what are called dual driver so are smaller and easier to make sound good. They have a $230 street, so if you can find the Jays Q-Jays which are also dual driver, get them.

Jays Q-Jays launched in 2007 were the first really affordable and great sounding headphones. Better than the Etymotic ER-4P. They are just hard to find. They are truly small. Amazon Z-shops has them for $189, but they are hard to find.

Shure SE530. These are triple drivers and probably the best sounding period these days. But cost is $250 street, so don’t lose them! They are $330 street, so expensive.

The forums are buzzing about “<a href=”http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/review-nuforce-ne-7m-iphone-iem-vs-denon-c700-klipsch-image-x10-ne-8-impressions-added-1-15-09-a-383617/”>Nuforce NE 7m</a> which cost $50 and sound great. Amazing! You need different tips to fit it in and the comply 400. The Nuforce Ne-8 is just $60 and also have lousy tips, so need something else. Wow. <a href=”http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/nuforce-ne-8-arrived-short-review-updated-pg1-389811/”>Head-fi.org</a> says the NE-8 seems to be more Etymotic-like with better treble and midrange while maintaining a decent soundstage while on the other hand, the NE-7M is more Shure-like with good bass and a warm sound.

nLyrics, iTunes, iChat, gTalk, Friendfeed, Twitter, Facebook, Tongfamily run amuck

No, I haven’t lost my mind, but had to share since I’ve had about 10 people ask me what’s going on. Sorry about all the random entries in friendfeed, twitter, facebook and tongfamily.com. For the geeks, read on. Here is the chain:

  1. nLyrics is this great plug in for getting lyrics to songs kareoke style (don’t ask!)
  2. Listen to iTunes while typing away and you get your lyrics embedded
  3. Tell iChat to listen to iTunes and post iChat status which is the artist, album and title so your chat buddies can see what you are listening to
  4. iChat notifies Gtalk of the status messages and Gtalk treats them like regular IM
  5. Play with friendfeed and turn on Gtalk status notifications become friendfeed messages. Oops. So now every song you play every 3 minutes is getting posted to http://friendfeed.com/richt
  6. Also tell friendfeed to post everything it sees to http://twitter.com/richtong and now suddenly every song update appears on twitter too
  7. Tell twitter to publish everything it does into facebook and now your facebook friends are wondering WTF
  8. Tell wordpress’s twitter plugin to look for all twits and put them on your blog
  9. Have real humans actually reading twitter, facebook, friendfeed or your blog and send you nasty WTF are you doing anyway, have you lost your mind
  10. Rinse and repeat as needed. I’m going to bed!