Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pentax Optio W90

When I met with Pentax during CES 2010 I had a chance to see all of the new cameras they were introducing in 2010. By far the most interesting camera to me was the Pentax Optio W90. The W90 has been officially announced and here's the announcement:

For those with an insatiable taste for adventure, may we present the Optio W90. The waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, coldproof compact with LED illumination for ultimate close-ups. With 12.1 megapixels to capture all the insane moments of your latest adventure, the Optio W90 is built to handle whatever you can. Visit the PENTAX® website to learn more about the Optio W90 and watch the interactive product tour.

   Waterproof to 20 ft, shockproof to 4 ft, coldproof
to 14ºF
   12.1 megapixel high resolution CCD sensor
   Wide 5X internal optical zoom lens
   Digital Microscope mode for illuminated Macro
shots as close as 1cm
   Available in Black or Pistachio Green (Editor's note: I think Rain Forest Green would be much better as a color name!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More free software

Steve Bass once again managed to find more free software. He's a wizard at finding useful software that doesn't cost money! Thanks Steve. This is from his excellent TechBite Technology newsletter.

Free: DiskAnalyzer Pro
My PIBMUG buddy Mike Lanzarotta found a giveaway version of DiskAnalyzer Pro (it normally sells for $30). The tool analyzes your drive, pokes into all the folders, and lists everything: big and small files, old files you've saved since 1995, junk files, and more. It's definitely a useful app to clear out clutter.

Before you download it, there's a big but: With few warnings, it's way too easy for you to delete tons of files with one quick click. If you're a seasoned PC vet, download the freebie; if you're a novice or have uncontrollably twitchy fingers, move on to the Time Wasters.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No post today

I'm exhausted. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Free iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch apps

I received this from one of my PR contacts today:
First of all, all three (3) apps are FREE.
The apps are the brainchild of Visionary Apps founder, technology forecaster and business strategist, Dan Burrus. Released for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, the new apps are called the Complete Realty Suite and promise to revolutionize the way that people conduct their home buying searches, and the way real estate professionals connect with and assist potential homebuyers. Free to consumers, the suite includes three separate applications for download: Complete Foreclosures, Complete Homes and Complete Rentals. Most Web-based listing sites only offer a few hundred thousand listings, however these handheld apps hold over 1.6 million listings nationwide per app, for the most complete mobile database available.
Users can also find it directly with the following link:

Friday, February 19, 2010

March newsletter

Our March newsletter was emailed out this afternoon to all of our subscribers. If any blog readers aren't newsletter subscribers, just let me know and you'll be added to our distribution list.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kingston Digital Ships SDHC Class 10 Card

Follow the link below for the announcement from Kingston for their new Class 10 SDHC cards. Kingston Digital Ships SDHC Class 10 Card

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Win7 RC version is about to die

If your were one of those people that loaded the Win7 RC on a computer then you need to read this: Starting on March 1, 2010 your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Your work will not be saved during the shutdown. The Windows 7 RC will fully expire on June 1, 2010. Your PC running the Windows 7 RC will continue shutting down every two hours and your files won’t be saved during shutdown. In addition, your wallpaper will change to a solid black background with a persistent message on your desktop. You’ll also get periodic notifications that Windows isn’t genuine. That means your PC may no longer be able to obtain optional updates or downloads requiring genuine Windows validation. To avoid interruption, please reinstall a prior version of Windows or move to Windows 7. In either case, you’ll need to do a custom (clean) install to replace the RC. As with any clean installation, you’ll need to back up your data then reinstall your applications and restore the data. For more details about replacing the RC, see the Knowledge Base article KB 971767. For more information, visit the Window 7 Forum.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's back!!

MSFT recently announced the imminent release of a new Windows Activation Technologies for Windows 7. The update will make an initial validation check and then update itself every 90 days. MSFT says they are going to allow anyone who is skeptical of it to opt out with no negative consequences. I have always found these "validations" to be very intrusive and I remain opposed to anyone peeking at my computer and it's contents whenever they want. I can understand validating that software has been legally licensed when it's being installed, that makes sense to me. But why they need to re-check every 90 days boggles my mind. No thanks MSFT. I'll opt out.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This post is from our west coast bureau: MacWorld 2010 Moscone Conference Center San Francisco, CA Maybe I’ve just been to too many of these shows. Almost didn’t make it to this one. But I had paid my registration long ago. (Yes, one has to pay to attend this series of infomercials.) And I has seen and heard the hype about the iPad. So when I got several emails teasing me with a conference session discussing same, I got myself across the Bay. In my rush to get there, I forgot my camera. But not to worry. I didn’t find much to take pictures of. The session, it turned out, didn’t even have a single live iPad. Just some foam mock-ups. Four talking heads and a moderator discussed their ‘extensive’ experience using the device. Extensive was defined as 20 minutes. None of the panelists quite matched the user demographic I identify with. So when the second one began to reiterate how comfortable it felt in his hands. I left for a more hands-on experience, feeling like I wasn’t even being given sizzle, let alone steak. I was hearing someone give me a second hand report that he had felt the sizzle briefly while under the direct tutelage of a sizzle-master. I couldn’t see spending my time without the shadow of an opportunity to see what the display is like, how the device as a whole fits together, and whether it’s visible in daylight, etc. And I’ve got a bunch of questions about downloading and uploading. As a potential consumer, I felt disrespected by Apple, or whoever pulled this event together. Since it was about an Apple product, in my mind Apple gets the credit, even though they are no longer an official sponsor of MacWorld. They can call back when they are ready to let me have a hands–on experience with my own hands and trying to use it as I anticipate I would in my world. The rest of the show didn’t go much better for me. Since I had forgotten my camera, I had thought I might pick up an inexpensive one. Nary a one to be had. Several tables of iPod skins. And some really bling jewelry for dressing up your Bluetooth earpiece. A very helpful Advanced PhotoShop tutorial, clear and well presented. Couldn’t get my schedule to coordinate with Beginning PhotoShop, which is more my level. The chairs were comfy. I’ve been eying several of the schemes to imprint pictures onto mugs and other paraphernalia. I work with a couple of high school classrooms that are looking for money-making ventures that they can conduct without having to leave campus. Transfer It has a series of presses, transfer paper and other materials. Wonder if we can get a micro-loan to start up a business? What else did I like? Tenonedesign has an app that turns your touchpad into a mini tablet and a touchpad stylus that won’t scratch. Fun and potentially useful. Wish I had access to a Mac with a relevant touchpad so I could experiment further with handwriting. (I think I have a handwriting program that would work it it comes in a Mac version.) GameSalad makes game creation and development look possible, if not downright fun and easy. It leaves the question of content quality still unanswered. 4i Thumbs has a clever tactile keypad for the iPhone. It functions as a pretty good screen protector, too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Digital cameras

I've been reviewing a number of digital cameras lately and have come to some conclusions. There are a couple of companies that may have stumbled on the ideal solution that I'm proposing, but most companies seem to have missed the ball. We review a LOT of digital cameras and as a result we have 27 bazillion battery chargers hooked up. It seems that batteries, even from the same company, always require a different charger. Why? They seem to have a different sized battery and require a special charger. For many years I've championed cradles as a solution. In most of the reviews I've written I've supported vendors using cradles. But technology has leap-frogged cradles, there is a better solution available. Some of the cameras I've reviewed lately use a USB cable, not just as a method of connecting to a computer to download photos, but also as the method of charging the battery!! Genius! Perfection! I'm on the road. I have my netbook and my digital camera. Space is limited and I don't want to carry a bunch of power connectors. The perfect solution is to use the netbook as the power source for all of my other devices. To all of my camera vendor contacts: make your camera battery charging and downloading processes USB based. How simple and elegant can you get?

Pentax videos

As an experiment, PENTAX recently commissioned two Colorado companies to create an entertaining short film that demonstrates the possibilities of shooting video on the K-7 digital SLR with a lens assortment that offers cinematographic perspective to anyone. Please enjoy UNCLE JACK and THE RIDER here:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gmail Buzz

When I logged into my Gmail account this morning I was greeted with a new Google + Buzz screen. It looks like Google is trying to get into the social networking business and compete with Facebook. At this point, Facebook has an enormous lead but I wouldn't count Google out. Google has always found a way to make money once they decide to get into a market and we'll see if they still have the Midas Touch.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I've been working on a couple of reviews on netbook computers and my research has led me to some interesting places. It turns out that netbook computers that are pre-loaded with Linux have a higher return rate than those loaded with WinDoze. What does this mean? Are Linux computers being sent back because they are slower, don't work well or something like that? Nope. They just look different. They were sent back because they weren't the same thing the buyer used before. I know MANY users that don't want their computers to look or act differently than they are used to. If anything is different then their computer doesn't work right. My wife sometimes complains that her computer doesn't work. That's the problem: my computer doesn't work. What is the real problem? Her WiFi connection to our LAN didn't connect when she logged on. To her it means her computer doesn't work. Do you think she'll be happy switching to Linux???

Monday, February 8, 2010


When I was at Lunch@Piero's during CES last month I spoke to the people from Openmoko about updating their WikiReader. Apparently, they listened!! This came across the wire this morning: Openmoko (Om) today announced the Spring 2010 update for WikiReader, the popular palm-sized electronic encyclopedia that displays the more than three million searchable English Wikipedia articles. The latest update features an improved on-screen keypad that makes finding Wikipedia entries easier and faster and makes enjoying one of the largest reference archives known to mankind even better. Responding to customer demand, Om also included math equations within the vast array of Wikipedia's more scientific articles. I'll be updating my WikiReader today at!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I'm in the middle of testing a Netbook computer that has been frustrating me to no end. There are times that I love it and times that I hate it. Today I thought of a great analogy: it reminds of Nicole Kidman. The Netbook is beautiful to behold: a great form factor, everything is in the right place and shaped well, and it's topped off with a gorgeous red case. Sounds just like Nicole Kidman to me! But it's software package is terrible! Just like Nicole's choices of movies to star in! I've never been able to sit through one of her movies and I never get through a testing session with the Netbook without getting frustrated or angry. If you ever hear me complaining about how Nicole is getting under my skin you'll know I'm talking about a Netbook, not a person!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MiFi contest

I received this announcement from Novatel Wireless today. Novatel Wireless announced the opening of its “How Do You MiFi?” contest. Participants are asked to submit their personal MiFi success stories on the Novatel Wireless website to be entered for a chance to win a Samsung 55” Flat Screen TV with a WiFi LinkStick. To enter, simply go to the Novatel Wireless website and click on the “How Do You MiFi?” contest button at the bottom of the page. Visitors will be asked to fill out a basic entry form outlining their personal success story with the MiFi platform. Users with success stories chosen to be featured on the Novatel Wireless website, will be automatically entered to win a 55” Samsung Flat Screen TV with a WiFi LinkStick. The MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot represents a new category of mobile broadband device. The device creates a portable, personal cloud of high-speed Internet connectivity that can be shared between multiple users and up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices. MiFi provides freedom from Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing users to bring Internet access anywhere and share that access with a set of Wi-Fi enabled devices. The “How Do You MiFi?” submission page is officially open and will close on February 12, 2010. The winning story will be announced on February 19, 2010. The “How Do You MiFi?” contest is open to U.S. MiFi users only.