Saturday, September 8, 2007

Dorky Apple Post

This is more or less a further discussion on Dave's iPod Touch decision.

I do think that they're either going to have notes, or even some kind of mail program on there so that you could compose a draft offline and then sent it when you get to a hotspot. If Apple doesn't include anything like that, a third party would undoubtedly fill that gap. Even though Wifi is seemingly everywhere, free wifi is certainly another thing. Even in Microsoft neighborhoods, there's only a handful of places with free wifi. The most notable one is Marymoor Park, which is a huge park that I guess, a lot of Microsoft employees go hang out during lunches or whatnot, and so they just made most of the park a free hotspot, which is pretty cool. Downside is that parking is a buck, but I suppose that's not that big of a deal.

For me, if I had the money, I would probably shell it out for the touch, since my "Cream of Crop" playlist is in the neighborhood of 5 Gigs, but it would still run a little tight. I wouldn't spring the extra hundred for the 16 Gig, because a 400 dollar iPod just seems a bit high.

I was going to use a analogy with my wife, whereby the PSP is like the well-rounded, practical marrying type and the iPod Touch was like the hot looker that turned heads but overall was more about presentation (though the function was definitely top notch, even if the storage was meager) and gadget lust. But I didn't get very far with that analogy because it made the term "wives" seem like a consolation prize.

But yesterday, my used copy of GTA: Vice City Stories came in the mail which was very exciting, and this afternoon I spend quite some time acquiring a PSP/Mac syncing program in order to coordinate all the media onto the PSP. I encoded a second movie (Van Wilder II: The Rise of Taj) in addition to the first (The Promise) without even knowing for sure if it would work with the PSP. So, all I need is the PSP and I can start having some fun!

I'm totally guessing on this, but Sony had neglected to make a big deal of this PSP Lite and Slim release, so when stores started getting stock on Thursday and Friday, some retailers, Target included, started putting them on shelves prematurely. One of the bundles was selling for 169.99, which is a great price, and some people online got a hold of it. I tried on Thursday but to no avail. Target had since taken that price offline, so I'll be hounding the papers for more details.

Well, geek out.

Alex's Fourth Birthday

It was such a noticable difference - from his first birthday whereby you had to rip a sliver of birthday wrapping to unsuccessfully persuade him to unwrap the present to yesterday, his fourth birthday. Yesterday he would begin to open the present, say, "There's something weird inside..." and then see the present and say, "Wow! That's cool! That's awesome!" He even diplomatically extended that to clothes, even though most boys his age could really care less about the duds. "Wow! Cool pants!" But he made out pretty good, and he was spending some quality time with some of his gifts.

One of his gifts was a portable extension of the kid's learning videogame system, Leapster. We had gotten the system last year, but it was seldom put to use because the interface was actually more complicated and not exactly a cinch to hook up (for everyone else anyway), but the portable one was more of a touch screen, looked better on the smaller screen, and was more logical than a big system. Anyway, he took that in the car on the way to the airport to drop off my Mom, but then on the way to Puyallup, he got sick. Which confirmed for once and for all, he inherited one of my less desirable traits, motion sickness. So, like me, he can be handsome and witty and crazy, but put me on a chair and spin me a couple revolutions and I'm as good as dead.

But we had fun at the Puyallup Fair yesterday, with us eating a whole lotta junk like "pink clouds", or in adult speak, Cotton Candy, and other kinds of junk. We didn't spend as much as we did last year - but that's pretty relative anyway. You can't go to the fair and not have your wallet gouged for the overpriced food and rides. One of the photos on the slideshow shows a fire engine one story off the ground - the kids are running shotgun in that, arms braced and head between their knees. The employees were actually waving to them and talking to them, but they were definitely white knuckling it. We'd like to think of it as a bonding experience, when two siblings experience what is seemingly a life and death situation, they grow closer together.

After that, we went back to Grandma's house and had the bluest cookie monster cake. It was disgustingly blue and doesn't even come off skin well. I suspect it's done some slight pigmentation damage due to the amount of food coloring used. We didn't get to wish him Happy Birthday one last time because they both fall asleep in the car, but I'm sure he had just that.

Alex's Fourth Birthday

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Damn You, Steve Jobs

Seriously, Apple really has me under its thumb. I was doing just fine and dandy and then they come along and mess with my reality, leaving me completely flustered with my options. I'm writing this because Dave evidently counts on me to give him the Apple scoop. I'm sure he's caught the news too, but for those who could care less, here's my lowdown on the Apple updates.


So I'm actually happy that the Nano has video capability, making it one of the first portable and affordable video players. It's not the first, and not the cheapest personal media player out there, but anyone who has an iPod knows iPod is really just half of the equation - iTunes is the other half. It makes getting music, organizing it, transferring it, and getting media for it a cinch. And unlike most other digital jukeboxes, it evolves over time.

The Classic iPod is now at an obscene 160 Gigs, which is something monstrous. I have hard drives that are smaller than that. My music collection alone is only about 15 gigs, and even when all my podcasts are decked out, it's only about 6 Gigs. What the hell would someone do with all that space? I suppose a buttload of movies could fit on that. Who knows.

And of course, the iPod Touch. When the iPhone came out, I thought that if they had that without the phone part, I would be sold on it. And for a while, when the rumors started swirling about a touch iPod, I was pretty tempted, but I was sure that it would just be an iPod, nothing fancy. And then I watched yesterday's presentation. 8 Gigs, Wi-Fi, keyboard, Safari, Youtube. And then today, ironically while searching for the PSP Bundle, I wandered into the Apple Store and played with the iPhone. And I was Smitten.

But anyway, it's all very confusing in my head. I told my wife about it and she's resistant due to the cost, which I don't blame her. It's $299, which is a far cry from the $169 I had tried to sell her on. I told her that with the PSP, with the $169 core, the $25 game, the $40 memory card, possibly the $20 case and some more games, it's easily the same price. I think that amused her even less. But there's my breakdown.

PSP Pros:

Actual Gaming portable, with big boy games.
Cheaper. Kinda.
Multimedia goodness.

PSP Cons:

Data entry for web surfing is phone-like, which is goofy.
Browser is supposedly iffy.
Doesn't do flash video or 640x480, which means a lot of video conversion.


How much web surfing will I do on the PSP?
Will future firmware fix the 640 x 480 problem?
Will I rely on Wi-Fi that much?

iPod Touch Pros:

Seamless integration with iTunes, less conversion
Freakin' touch interface, can download apps for iPod since it's running an OS.
Safari, QWERTY text entry... That's cool.
Youtube integration.

iPod Touch Cons:

No Games! Will Video wear off?
Two iPods is gadget redundancy.
Basically getting it mostly for the video playback and touch novelty.
Youtube is not the complete library, since Youtube is only starting to encode H.264 compatible videos that iPhones and Touch iPods can read. Only 2 of my videos were searchable.

iPod Argument:

How often am I around Wi-Fi and if I'm mostly at home, aren't I already on my laptop anyway? Touch keypad and all, will I even use it?
iPod clickwheel I can navigate without looking, but the touch will need to be flicked - so skipping a song or anything might be too much trouble.
I might get jacked - they are pricey little gadgets.

Well, this actually helped. I think I'll stick with the PSP. Even though the Touch is fancier and has slightly more convenient video options, the fact that I'm not always around Wi-Fi, and the video only benefits of the touch iPod (as opposed to the video plus gaming benefits of the PSP) make the PSP the logical choice. I have to do a bit more maintenance for the PSP, but I think I'll get more mileage out of it. It's like the practical and the pretty. The practical PSP wins out.

But the Touch is sooooo pretty.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Me, the Kids, and Eyetoy

The last time we played with the Eyetoy, which is a PS2 game coupled with a USB cam, was when Brendon and Maralise came over and played, which was a long, long time ago. I don't play by myself for obvious reasons, it's much more fun as a party game. Now that the kids are older, they're getting the concept of the games and the goals associated with each game, so it's much more fun. For Alex, it's basically him, but with a purpose.

Yeah, the kids beat me in Knockout.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Something about Nothing

I got something to say and nothing to say all at the same time. So here it goes.

These next couple weeks are going to be quite something for me. Since I don't really have any friends and all I write or think about is tech stuff, it's a fairly wet week for me. On Wednesday, Apple will be announcing the next line of iPods, and even thought the likelihood of me getting one is almost close to zero (see below), it's still exciting to see how they will confirm or astound the rumors that are currently out there. Certainly, a video iPod Nano is highly plausible, a touch screen iPod as well. The thing is if they've got something up their sleeve on top of that. The iPhone certainly floored all the mockups, I'm hoping this one will too.


This Friday Alex will be turning four, and we're going to the Puyallup Fair, which will be tons of fun. Even though I'll be getting a smaller paycheck this week because of Labor Day and the lack of overtime last week and this week, it'll be okay. Just have to chill out on the spending and since we already bought the tickets, the cost of everything should be manageable. I think the kids will have fun at the fair though. At the very least, I can get photos of the kids looking terrified on the kiddy rides.


And of course, the PSP. I've been granted permission to get it when it comes out, including an advance from my Mom. And I've ordered a used copy of Vice City Stories for the PSP just to keep me busy. But mostly, I'm excited to start putting video on that sucka and have a portable media player. Woot, baby.


I'm often a late adopter of Web 2.0 (although I was early on Flickr and Blogger, though I didn't use Flickr for a while after I initially used it.), but I'm discovering that is actually really cool. It started out with me watching the Diggnation podcast, which is this breezy, low production yet high entertainment value podcast of these guys responsible for talking about the highly Dugg articles. Their banter and ease about the whole thing just seems like it's just a bunch of guys, just jabbering about cool news and tidbits. I like Digg so far because of its range. From serious news to trivia to tidbits, just basically the best bits of news out there as determined by nerds like myself.


It's almost 2 in the morning. Tomorrow I have to wake up at 4:30am. That is hell on my internal clock.