Seattle clubs, photo frames and other miscellaneous

I’m actually at a computer typing. Which I never do anymore. Too much time reading everything on the the iPhone, but here are some quick reviews of things:

Nightlife in Seattle. A buddy asked me about this, it sure ain’t NYC or LA and there are no online reviews, but it looks like the dance club trio are Venom, Trinity and Ibiza and the order really seems to vary.

Digital photo frames. These are too ubiquitous to review. I got a set for $50 each at Costco and they were terrible. Screens were so dim, you couldn’t see a thing. Samsung SPF-87H might be better. 1GB internal memory, powered by USB cable, 8″ screen and 500:1 contrast for $130. To me, I’d pay a little more. Also, it can be a secondary monitor for your computer.

Compact projectors. BenQ GP1 Mini Projector is the first one that uses LEDs and no lamps. It is just 1.4lb and is $500. So great for the office for portable movie watching! At these prices, just buy one.

Wireless router. Verizon MiFi 2200 for $100 and then $60/month you get 5GB of bandwidth on the Verizon network. The little credit card thing is a Wifi hotspot that let’s you have wifi just about anywhere and you don’t need to put a goofy card in your laptop. Just turn the thing on and keep it in your backpack. Amazing device in that it is battery powered and amazingly it really works.

Final aside for a digital movie project, I had to go back to an old 15″ MacBook Pro. I had forgotten how much I really like the higher quality screen that are on the MBPs and MBAs vs. the MacBook. Sign. The 13″ screen is OK and great for normal use, but once you get use to the brightness and color quality of the higher end ones, it is hard to go back. Still, the MB is better than 99% of other notebooks out there 🙂

Mini CD stuck in MacBook

Arrgh I knew I shouldn’t have put it in, but got a mini-CD with a copy of Photo Rescue (a $29 value!) which I need, so I just stuck it into the MacBook and it is stuck. http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=406613 says never do this. But how was I to know?

The solution is ridiculous. Turn off your MacBook and then give it a good shake the mini CD comes out. 🙂

Compact Flash tests

I lost a Transcend 16GB 300x card. I’m sooo sad. Not only did it cost $$$, but it was absolutely filled with photos I had not yet downloaded.

Sportsphotoguy is one of the few folks who are actually texting these high end cards. These very fast cards do make a difference in performance. And most of the manufacturers specs are meaningless, so here are his tests, so here is his list. I had previously used the San Disk Extreme III which is a 20MBps card and the Transcend which is a 24MBps card.

In my Canon 5D Mark II, the question is what transfer mode it is using. These are with the fast UDMA 4.0. Here is a list of the card, their maximum frames per second on a Nikon D300 and the overall throughput when connected to a computer:

  • San Disk Extreme IV.  6.3 fps, 28MBps
  • Sony UDMA 300x. 5.5 fps, 24MBps
  • PNY Optima Pro.  5,  24.
  • Transcend 300x UDMA. 5,  24.
  • Lexar Pro UDMA. 6, 23.
  • Pretec 433x. 5.5fps,  23
  • ATP Pro Max II UDMA. 5, 22.
  • Pretec 333x. 5, 22
  • Lexar Professional 233x. 5,  21
  • A-Data Turbo 350x. 5, 20

The SanDisk Extreme IV is the best quality at $203, for a limited time a buydig you get a $60 rebate in the form of a visa card that is prepaid. But you have to mail it in etc.

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