Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Link, want spam with that?

I had a post linked to earlier this week by GPS Tracklog. Within minutes I had 17 spam comments… all helpfully consigned to the trash by Askimet. Now they are just rolling in.

Mini Review: Garmin Zumo 550 vs. TomTom Go 910

I bought a Garmin Zumo 500 this week, and sold my TomTom Go 910.

I had really specific reasons for this decision. I wanted GPS navigation for my motorcycle, and back when I moved to the UK, the Zumo was not yet for sale. So I bought the best GPS with European maps available in the US, the TomTom 910. The Zumo is unique, because it’s waterproof, vibration-proof, and has an interface which is a bit more glove friendly. It also has a mount designed to really hold.

I’ve now had a chance to use the Zumo, and here are my impressions:

The TomTom UI beats the Garmin hands down. The Garmin’s UI is very similar to that found on the Nuvi models, so keep this in mind if you are thinking about getting one of those. It’s not that the Garmin UI doesn’t work, it’s just no where near as polished as the TomTom… and it’s these little things that make a difference when you are driving. The TomTom has this little turn indicator glyph in the lower left corner. The glyph really shines in roundabouts. At a glance you know what to expect ahead. It’s like this throughout the UI, little things that add up to a cleaner, yet more information rich display.

Startup time and satellite acquisition: again the TomTom wins. The Zumo takes longer to boot, and longer to acquire a satellite. The TomTom usually had a lock before I startred moving, the Garmin is about 30secs behind. It also jacks me off with a warning about navigating while driving every startup, then bugs me again when it connects via bluetooth to my phone. Hey Garmin: ditch the warning and use a little icon to indicate you connected to my phone, not a giant dialog that obscures the map.

Form factor: Garmin wins… it is larger, but not as thick making it more pocket-able.

Maps: TomTom’s map display looks better. Can’t comment yet on the accuracy or routing ability.

Cost: Zumo is close to $1000 (ouch) with EU maps, the 910 is $450 with NA and EU.

So why am I still happy with my Zumo: Works well on a motorcycle. Has really nice tracklog features. Expect future posts documenting my motorcycle adventures that you’ll be able to view in Google Earth. I can also cross reference these track files with EXIF data from my pictures to geo-tag them.

Update: I’ve had a chance to use it on the bike. Check out my first impressions.

I never had a need for a calendar before

I’ve been neck deep in support work for the last few weeks. Something I’d desperately like to dig myself out from under by next week.

In the meantime my calendar has been filling up. As of today I am booked almost solid through mid-to-end of May.

Summary:
On the 3rd I’m back in Sweden for a client visit.
2 days later my mother and grandmother will be flying in for a visit.
On the 15th I’m flying back with them to Pittsburgh.
I’ll be in the ‘burgh until the end of April for yet more training at work.
The week of the 8th of May I’ll be at a client near Manchester for the week.
The week after it looks like I may be in Madrid.

All TopGear all the time + boobies

We had a satellite dish installed this week. Pay a one time fee for the box & install (~£150) + £20 for the Sky card that enables “Free to View” channels, and you are good to go. No additional fees.

I’m guessing we have well over 200 channels. A surprising amount of good free content, sports channels being the notable exception. At least 20-30 of the channels are music video channels, which can be captivating for those of us with short attention spans.

I had been wondering if the content available would reflect a more European attitude towards moral issues. It wasn’t as noticeable on the few broadcast channels we had been receiving (basically the Beeb and ITV1), which seemed to edit out some gun violence and allowed some swearing. However, it’s boobies galore on the freesat channels. After 10pm, even the SciFi channel is showing Cinemax-style softcore (no penetration, no wieners.)

The real bonus has been all the TopGear. I’m quickly getting caught up on all the back episodes. Deb is now a fan too. I signed up for studio tickets, which have a 1-2year wait list. Maybe we’ll get a pair before we head back.

That’s actually a lot of money

American Express sent me my year end summary for 2006. I only got the card in June, but in that time I managed to charge $41,426 on it.

Today’s fun link

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmtorrone/tags/mousetaxidermy/

iPhone can suck eggs

Photographed by denovich

New blog theme: you shouldn’t care

Are you really coming to to read my blog directly? That’s a shame, because more often than not lately, you’ve either seen no updates for weeks at a time, or better yet the 500 Service unavailable error page.

The error was thanks to my server host’s ( overly severe resource enforcement bots killing my blog processes with extreme prejudice. Textdrive is a proud sponsor of the Ruby and Ruby on Rails communities… however their server setups making hosting non-static content (i.e. Ruby on Rails) a particularly trying experience. The worst was trying to migrate my database schema to sync with a small update to my blog software. Again the resource bots would pounce on my scripts killing them mid-process (after only like 30 seconds!) leaving me with a junk database. I complained, but was told to just do the migration on my own PC, and upload the results. Hey, thanks a lot.

Back from sidetrack: You really should be reading via a blog reader. I think Google Reader is the best. By subscribing to the feed you don’t have to come back here and be disappointed when there’s nothing new. When new posts are posted, you’ll see them…

But if you must visit directly, at least I prettied-up the site last night. Enjoy.

IBM T60p fan noise: slightly less deafening

From day 1, my company provided IBM T60p has had the acoustical properties of a 747 at idle. The fan had two settings, loud and LOUDER… the fan never turns off. At first I didn’t care too much, but my wife has since appropriated my “good” laptop, a Dell E1705 (a.k.a. the Boat Anchor) forcing me to live with this noisy, dim screened beast day and night.

The fan noise complaint is a regularly posted problem on the Thinkpads Forum. Until recently there wasn’t a lot you could do. But if you read this thread specifically the last few pages you will find a link to: http://staff-www.uni-marburg.de/~schmitzr/tpfcserv_t60.zip

This will install a fan control service which tweaks some of the temperature settings, allowing the fan to run more often at the whining speed as opposed to howling speed.

Still just a small band-aid on pretty poorly designed cooling system. It’s really pathetic for such a spendy laptop.

Long way to go

Countries visited in Europe as of 2/2007

France, Germany, Netherlands, and Turkey should all make the list in the next few months.

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