Current Cover (3068 bytes)
Current Cover

Recent issues

HOME | Windows Mobile | Palm OS | Rugged PDAs | Rugged PCs | Pen Computers | Tablet PCs | Case Studies | Industry leaders

« Christmas Ideas from | Main | »

November 30, 2006

Talkin' Turkey

It’s amazing what people will do for a little turkey. For instance, we drove 2500 miles to California and back risking life and limb. We had a nice partial family reunion at my eBook-hating daughter’s in Arroyo Grande who lives in a digital dessert with virtually no public access Wi-Fi hotspots, not even at the library. However, we were rescued by a gracious neighbor with an open network that I could connect to sitting at the kitchen counter.

While there, we went on a nice hike in the sand dunes of Pismo Beach with a naturalist who talked to us about the natural restoration of the area. The eucalyptus trees were orange, alive with wintering Monarch butterflies--always a welcome site.

I learned from some fellow hikers that while Wi-Fi may not be too healthy there, geocaching is alive and well; there are seven caches right in the town plaza and scores more in the vicinity with lots of enthusiasts pursuing them.

For navigation on the trip, I had at least three systems going at the same time tracking different information such as velocity, heading, altitude, latitude, longitude, and map location. I gave Earthcomber a good workout too for locating various points of interest. But I must say that I was disappointed in general for the missing information. For instance, we could be passing right in front of a restaurant, hotel, gas station, or attraction, and the program failed to display it.

I was particularly frustrated with my favorite GPS program, Co-Pilot Live. I was testing a new version for my Treo 700wx Pocket PC Phone. You have to re-authorize the software every time you reset your device because it thinks it’s a new unit, and the company doesn’t appreciate piracy and multiple installations. But, I could never get it to work on the Website, and technical assistance is only available during East Coast business hours and not on weekends when most people travel.

I’m sure truck drivers as a class are a decent lot, but something must happen to people when they are in charge of such big machines and virtually own the road. My pet peeve on the road is when a big rig pulls out right in front of you almost running you off the road and tries to pass another behemoth going uphill, and no one can pass for miles when one finally overtakes the other, usually on the downhill stretch. Watching big rigs race uphill at a thundering 45 MPH is not my idea of fun, especially when I’m behind them. Grrr…

It rained most of the way home on the I-5 corridor through Oregon. Can’t there be something done about the copious spray emitted from 18+ wheelers that all but blind you whether you are passing them or they are passing you? I don’t think the trucking industry has any idea of how dangerous this is. There should be some kind of splash law with fenders or skirts required.

And, what about all the truck tire detritus littering the roadsides of American highways? Some of those shredded pieces of tires are humungous and could easily signal the end of someone’s driving career by shattering a windshield and causing accidents. It makes me think that most trucks are running on cheap retreads and are a hazard to other motorists.

We had to take off earlier than expected to beat the weather back home. The day we left, the kids and grandkids went to see elephant seals, Cambria, and Hearst Castle at San Simeon. However, we were able to enjoy their little vacation vicariously thanks to my daughter sending text and photo messages on the cell phone every few minutes. It really made driving home fun.

Let me tell you what was waiting for me when I got home: a new Slingbox. Santa Claus came early. I’ve been coveting one of these since I learned about them not too long ago. Hook a Slingbox up to your TV video receiver box whether cable or satellite or digital video recorder (DVR). It conjunction with our router, it will broadcast your TV signal, digital and analog, over the Internet so that you can pick it up anywhere in the world. If your router is not located conveniently near your TV box, you can use a Slinglink to connect Slingbox to your router wirelessly.

It means that you can watch live TV on your computer or on your laptop anywhere in your house wirelessly. It means that you can watch your favorite programs on your laptop anywhere in the world.

It also means that you can watch TV on your Pocket PC or Smartphone anywhere in the world. Best of all, it means that you can even watch programs already recorded on your DVR. You can even control your DVR remotely from your cell phone and program it to watch your favorite shows from anywhere in the world where you can get online.

The screenshot (to the right?) shows some of the functionality available when you watch live or recorded TV on our Pocket PC or Smartphone.

Maybe you should ask Santa Claus for one of these beauties too. The Slingbox AV costs $179. The Pro model costs $249 and will allow you to control up to 4 TVs. The SlingLink costs $99.99. Check it out at

I will offer a full review as soon as I've had time to set it up and test it.

I will soon offer my annual stocking stuffer suggestion list, and I expect that the Slingbox will be high on that list.

Keep connected.

Posted by tim at November 30, 2006 11:19 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?