Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

I’m Now Officially Addicted to How Stuff Works

January 24th, 2011 Comments off

While searching through the most popular podcasts on iTunes the other day I stumbled upon the Stuff You Should Know podcast. Right off the bat I found a segment on Should You Eat a Gluten Free Diet. It was a good 1/2 segment on what celiac disease is, where it came from, and how to treat it. Other interesting podcasts are How Does the Mafia Work and how does immigration work.

If that wasn’t enough they actually have an iPhone app that not only has these podcasts but videos and articles as well. I have found a new, educational, time waster. The app is awesome and can be downloaded here – How Stuff Works iPhone App

I Took the Acer Aspire One Back because of My MacBook

October 1st, 2010 Comments off

A few days after I got the new Acer Aspire One all installed with my software I came upstairs and my MacBook’s screen was locked up. This is the first time in the history of having this computer that this has ever happened. Horrified I restarted the computer and a terrible clicking noise was came from it which could only mean one thing – a dead hard drive.

I was not too upset about this as this was not the original hard drive that came with the computer. This was an aftermarket Hitachi 200GB 7200rpm hard drive that was over 3 years old. In fact I used this hard drive in other MacBook I had for a year before I got this Macbook. The hard drive was older then the computer.

To remedy the situation I headed over to Fry’s and picked up a new Hitachi 500GB 7200RPM hard drive. 2 1/2 times the storage. Thank God I had a good Time Machine backup as I was able to get the computer back up and running in just a couple of hours.

So What Does This Have to do With the Acer Apsire One?

Well the first thing this has to do with it is that I got the Acer because my MacBook was running slow the last few weeks especially with Windows 7 in Parallels. After I put the new hard drive in it ran better then before it started to run slow. I could now run Windows 7 in Parallels without skipping a beat.

The second thing was that after loading everything on the Acer it ran slower then Windows on my MacBook so it kind of defeated the purpose. The biggest culprit for this was Dropbox which is a necessity for me. If I turned Dropbox off it ran pretty well, with it on it was a dog.

So having the Acer kind of defeated the purpose. I needed to check browser compatibility the quickest way possible and that was now with the MacBook.

The Acer was cool but it just didn’t quite fit the bill for what I needed.

Related posts to my journey of MacBooks and Acer Aspire One’s:

Related posts:

  1. Trading in the Acer Aspire One for a MacBook
  2. I Picked Up Another Acer Aspire One Netbook
  3. Acer Aspire One – The Perfect Vacation Computer

I Picked Up Another Acer Aspire One Netbook

September 18th, 2010 Comments off

acer-aspire-one-d260 Yep, after almost 2 years of getting rid of the first Acer Aspire One netbook I picked up another one a few days ago. The reason fro picking up another netbook was that I have been having issues running Windows in Parallels on my MacBook. The reason for running Windows is to check how websites look in IE 7, 8, and soon to be 9 when I am working on them.

Why I Chose Another Aspire One

I spent several hours researching netbooks to try to find the one that had the best performance verses for factor. Because netbooks are so small the size of the keyboard and mouse are pretty important and do very significantly from model to model. Also there is a divide right now between model where some run Windows XP and others run Windows 7. I had been running Windows 7 on my MacBook so I wanted a netbook with Windows 7 as well.

After all on my research I initially thought that I wanted to get the Dell Mini 10. It seemed to have the best reviews but after I got my hands on one at Best Buy I didn’t like it. The main reason was that it seemed thicker then the HP and Acer (I have never like Asus so I was not considering them) but the main reason was the mouse. It was so small that it was difficult to use. I considered the HP after using it but the screen just did not seem as sharp as the Dell.

Best Buy did not have any Acer netbooks so I made my way to Fry’s. There I got to play with the HP, Dell, and the Acer side-by-side. The Acer seemed to have the best screen, keyboard, and mouse size compared to the other two. The only thing that I did not like about the Acer was that the mouse was not smooth but had little divots in it. It was not a deal breaker but I moved on to find one at a good price.

Chose the Acer – Looking for a Deal

My price journey took me to both Target and Walmart where I ended up buying a D260 at Walmart for $270. This is the model that was just released back in June so it was the latest and greatest. The one at Target was actually $20 less but it was the model that came out in December last year and also had the mouse with the divots. Having a more comfortable mouse for $20 was worth it to me.

Making it Mine

At home I took all the bloat wear it had on it and installed programs that I would use. I tried to keet in mind the purpose of this computer. It is not a replacement for my MacBook, it is a supplement. The unfortunate truth is that this is mostly a Windows world and I need to play in it so I need a Windows computer. I don’t have to have Windows as my primary operating system but I still need it. The idea behind the Windows netbook is checking website compatibility, surfing, checking email , and the occasional blog post (like this one).

The cool thing is that I had a license for Windows 7 Professional  and was able to use it to upgrade the Acer from Windows 7 Starter. Just in trying to personalize the Acer I was hitting Starter’s limitations. The cooler thing is that I was able to use the Windows Anytime Upgrade to do the switch. It took about an hour but I didn’t have to use my DVD at all to do the upgrade. Windows was able to do it on it’s own.

I put the usual programs on it such as Microsoft Office, Picasa, and Dropbox. I didn’t put Dreamweaver or Photoshop on it because I am not sure if it could handle it and that is not what I have this for. If I ever have the need for some reason I will figure it out then.

Props to Windows 7

I feel weird saying this but I have to give props to Windows 7. I think it is everything that they wanted Vista to be. I have been using it on My MacBook for a while and the issues that I have had I blame on trying to do too much with my MacBook. Yes, Windows still installs updates all the time which takes over your computer but that is just par for the course. This little laptop runs great with it’s little processor and it measly 1GB of RAM. That is a testament in my book to the fact that Windows 7 is a great operating system.


I am extremely happy with my New Acer Aspire One D260. It is a great little machine at a great price. It is not a full system replacement but is a great computer having sit next to my main machine. I believe that if I keep my expectations in the right place with this computer that I will be happy with it for a long time to come.

Related posts to my journey of MacBooks and Acer Aspire One’s:

Related posts:

  1. I Took the Acer Aspire One Back because of My MacBook
  2. Blogging from the Acer Aspire One Mini Laptop
  3. Acer Aspire One – The Perfect Vacation Computer

Lego Store in Austin at the Barton Creek Mall

July 22nd, 2010 Comments off

On Wednesday we got a flyer in the mail telling us that there was a new Lego store opening in Austin in the Barton Creek mall. Cool I thought, I wonder if anyone else knows about it so I Googled it. Sure enough they knew about it because they actually opened it last week. It was too late to jump in the car that day so we went yesterday instead.

It is a good size store that is about twice as big as the one that we had been to in Frisco, TX. It is a fraction of the size of the one that we had been to several time in Downtown Disney in California though. It was still way cool though and of course we had to buy some Legos. Here’s a video we took while there.

Related posts:

  1. iPhone 3G Reception in the Austin & Round Rock Areas
  2. Austin Community College Coming to Round Rock
  3. Butterfly at the Gas Station

Categories: From the Network, Legos, Technology Tags:

Butterfly at the Gas Station

July 4th, 2010 Comments off

A little fun with the iPhone 4 at the gas station. I edited this on my iPhone as well.

Related posts:

  1. Video Recorder on the iPhone via QuickPWN
  2. iPhone 2.1 Firmware – Keeps Getting Better
  3. I Caved and Got an iPhone 3G

My First iPhone Amazon Kindle Purchase

March 18th, 2009 Comments off

p-480-320-b0200dfe-74af-4e45-aac9-bb6924ef1b81.jpegCool! I just made my first iPhone Amazon Kindle purchase. I was in a book store and found a book that I was about to purchase when I thought “it would be realy nice to have this on my iPhone instead of luging this hunk of paper around”. So I jumped on to check it and and sure enough they had the book. The best part was that it was 50% cheaper as a ebook then a real book. I did a quick “One Click Purchase” and was told that the book would be added to my iPhone the next time that I opened the Kindle app.

After closing Safari I opened the Kindle app and it said that it was syncing and in less then 30 seconds my book appeared. I opened it and the whole thing was there. I though that it would need to download for a while but it was actually pretty quick. The whole experience was pretty cool!

This has opened up a whole new world for me as having the book “in my pocket” will give it a much better chance of getting read. Good work Amazon!

– Posted from my iPhone, please excuse any typos!

Categories: Apple, From the Network, iPhone, Technology Tags:

The Allure of a New Mac Mini

March 6th, 2009 Comments off

mac-mini-09Apple updated their Mac Mini line this week after almost a year of not touching it. The upgrade was not that significant other then the fact that it is now possible to use dual monitors via the Mini DVI and Mini DisplayPort ports. This has raised an eyebrow for me because I have wanted to use two displays with my present Mac Mini for quite some time.

My current Mac Mini is setup as the kid’s computer in our upstairs family room and the kids absolutely love it. I have a 22″ monitor and a hard drive full of movies on it. Across the room I have a 42″ Phillips plasma TV that at times I will hook my MacBook up to in order to watch something that is on Hulu or that is ripped to a hard drive. My ideal setup would be to have the ability to display the Mac Mini on the 42″ so that we could watch items off of it as opposed to having to setup my MacBook to do so. It would also be beneficial to the kids to have this setup as they could watch their movies and even surf on the big screen as well.

At $600 for the base version of the new Mac Mini it is not too expensive to make this change but in the current economic client I may have to wait a while. it is nice to know that this is now a native possibility though.

Categories: Apple, From the Network, Mac Mini, Technology Tags:

Trading in the Acer Aspire One for a MacBook

January 16th, 2009 Comments off

macbook_whiteI have traded our Acer Aspire One for a 13″ MacBook.

While looking for a new Product Manager position I am stepping up my side business in Web Design and Development to generate some extra income. I tried using my wife’s Aspire One but it was just too small and underpowered. Therefore tonight I went to the Apple store and got a white MacBook.

Netbooks are great to travel with because they are so light. But unfortunately there wasn’t much more I could do with it that I couldn’t do with my iPhone. The MacBook isn’t full size but it is bigger then the netbook and is a reasonable price for the features. I used to have one that was issued by my company so I am already used to it’s size and performance.

Netbooks are cool but just a little too small for me to be completely usable. Your mileage may vary.

My Apple Keyboard Survived the “Spill Test”

December 18th, 2008 Comments off

IMG_0207-1 I thought I would energize my aluminum Apple keyboard yesterday by dowsing it with some Red Bull. The keyboard didn’t flinch but I sure did even though there wasn’t any sparks or explosions.

After unplugging it from my computer I placed it upside down so the Bull could flow out of it. After I wiped it down I plugged it in and it still worked. I used it the rest of the day without a hitch.

When I came in this morning I did not think about yesterdays baptism in the Bull until I tried to come to this website and was typing my name. The R was slow to some back up after being pressed and so I need to perform some surgery on my keyboard.

I ended up popping off the a Shift key, plus the T, R, and E keys. I rinsed each key and its little plastic spring with water and wiped the inside of the key socket. While those keys are now nice and responsive I have noticed that the G key is also acting sluggish so it looks like I will need to pop it off as well.

I wish I could just throw this thing in the dish washer and take care of it in one swoop.

P.S. This post has caused me to add a new category named "Doh!".

The iMac Has Been Moved Into My Home Office :-)

November 14th, 2008 Comments off

imac_24inch 6 months ago when we moved into our new house we had some cash that we set aside to buy things for the new house. I was able to sneak in money for a new computer and was able to score a previous generation Intel iMac 24” for $1300. The thing was practically brand new and had 2 years of AppleCare left on it and 3GB of memory.

When moving into the new house the new iMac was placed in our room on my wife’s desk. At the time I did not have my office downstairs because my brother-in-law was staying with us. About a month after we moved in he moved out and I had my office back but opted to get a 22” monitor to hook up to my laptop from work. I used the iMac from time-to-time upstairs but never really got to play with it.

AcerAspireOne As mentioned before I purchased my wife an Acer Aspire One and for convenience I hooked it up in my office to my 22” monitor so she could use it down stairs. While it was usable the Acer Aspire One is a Netbook and obviously is no where as powerful as the iMac. In talking to my wife she thought that maybe it would be better to switch the two computers so that the iMac is downstairs in my office :-) . Sure babe we can do that I told her ;-) .

That conversation took place on late Wednesday night and you know the first thing that I did when I got home last night – yep, I switched the computers.

I have to say that it looks so nice sitting on my desk. As good as the performance of the iMac is it is also a beautiful looking computer. The other thing is that is awesome about it is that the screen is huge. While it is only 2 inches larger then the monitor I had there the 22” monitor was wide screen so it was not as high. The iMac is not a wide screen so the height of the screen is much more noticeable.

cod4 Now here comes the true confession. One of the real reasons that I wanted the iMac in the first place was in order to play games on it. I have Boot Camp setup with Windows XP and have Call of Duty 4 installed. With the computer in our room I only got to play a few times in the last 6 months. Now I should be able to play much more often. The only trick is not to get myself in trouble with my wife ;-) .

Acer Apsire One – The Perfect Vacation Computer

October 22nd, 2008 Comments off

image As mentioned before my wife and I are down in El Salvador. After a little hesitation  decided to our Aspire One with us. I am glad that I did. Due to where we are you don’t want to carry a computer around with you everywhere. The first reason forth that is that you are on vacation. The second is safety.

After a few days here I have a pretty good feel for the area that we are in so my wife and I ventured to a ciber cafe where they let me plug into their network. Really this is my wife’s computer so she should be using it but the other computers have Windows En Espanol so they are a little more difficult to use (at least that is what I told her ;-) ). Anyway it is really cool to have your own computer to surf and connect to the rest of the world.

The biggest thing that I like about he Aspire One is how little it weighs. Really, I could carry twelve of these things. I am used to carrying my IBM T60 and my MacBook around and those guys with their power packs and everything are easily 20 ponds. The Aspire One is about 2 1/2 pounds with everything. The other nice part is that I am using the same back pack that I usually use with the other 2 laptops so we have room for a lot more stuff like snacks and souvenirs.

I am seriously considering getting my wife a pink Aspire One so I can inherit this blue one for myself. That sounds like a good Christmas present for her me for both of us.

On Vacation in El Salvador

October 22nd, 2008 Comments off

el-salvador Tomorrow morning I am on my way to El Salvador for the first time. It is my wife’s native land and she has been wanting me to see it since before we were married. We will be spending a week down there visiting family on both of her parent’s sides.

I am hoping and expecting that it is going to be similar to Mexico, I have not traveled extensively in Mexico (only the Baja area) but I have see the little towns and the larger cities and my wife says that it is similar. My wife’s nephew who lives here in the states has a house down there that we are going to stay at. Another family member is going to drive us around while we are there as well.

We are bringing the trusty Acer Aspire One netbook with us. It is perfect for the trip as it is really small and light and God forbid if we lose it we will only be out $350. I am hoping to find some wifi down there to do some blogging and surfing. I don’t think that I have every been without internet access for more then a day or so in the last 10 years so I hope that I don’t go through withdraws if we don’t find access.

My wife is as bad off as I am every since she got her first gen iPhone. I call her a “Craigslist Junkie” because every time I turn around she is browsing We will see how she fairs on the trip.

Well I got to sign off now, It is midnight and I have to be up at 5am in order to catch my plan at 7am.

Slow Internet Wifi on the MacBook – My Fix

October 3rd, 2008 Comments off

Airport Extreme Wifi Channel Settings

I had not used my MacBook at home under OS X for a while because it had temporarily became my main computer at work using Windows XP under Boot Camp. A few nights ago I booted it into OS X to do some browsing and the internet was so slow under OS X that I rebooted into Windows XP (Sad, I know -( ). I had experienced the same type of slow connections before at Starbucks but could never figure out the cause.

Tonight I had the same issue and was determined to figure out what was going on. There were a few suggestions out their about renewing your IP Address and rebooting your system, which I tried to no avail. Others said to reinstall OS X to try to fix it which I thought was going to far. Finally someone suggested changing the channel that your router was broadcasting on to try to fix it.

Previously I had a Linksys router that in between it and my computer was a microwave. Every time the microwave would go on I would lose my internet connection. When the microwave turned off the internet would come back on. While investigating that issue someone had suggested changing the channel on the router to a higher channel and sure enough that worked for the microwave issue.

I am happy to say that changing the channel on my Airport Extreme router fixed my MacBook slow Wifi issue as well.

The place to change it in the Airport settings was under Airport and then Wireless and then about half way down is the channel selector. Mine was set to Automatic and was on channel 1. I selected channel 10 and then once the Airport rebooted I had a speedy internet connection on my MacBook via Wifi.

This obviously won’t help me at Starbucks but it is possible that if I have this same issue that I can call their tech support and they can hopefully VPN in to change the channel. I had issues with T-Mobile at Starbucks before and their tech people helped me out so I would hope that AT&T would do the same.