Christmas gift awesomeness

* The “Kindle”:amazon is awesome. The awesomeness is due to the wireless delivery of books. And the fact that I can browse Amazon at my PC and direct books to my Kindle with one click. (Similarly, the Unbox/Tivo integration is awesome for the same reason — Amazon is silently building a great asset here). The book selection is soooo much broader than that for the Sony Reader.
* Call of Duty 4 is awesome. the ranking/challenge system keeps you engaged. Haven’t cracked the UT box yet, so entranced with COD4 — must get to 5-star general.
* Stupid little RC helicopters that we got are fun. Available from lots of vendors. Pretty uncontrollable, watch out lamps!

Everything else is awesome too! I will blog it all in the fullness of time.

Software links

* WikiMatrix – Compare them all — lists and compares all the wiki implementations
* Forummatrix — same dealy for forums
* MonkeyGTD — the fusion of wikis and GTD ideas is a strong draw to me. i religiously use my blackberry todo list, i wish it could be richer and embody more GTD functionality
* Pictobrowser flickr viewer. nice way to view a flickr photo album
* WIndows codec installer. Amazingly sad that you need tools like this on windows.
* How to use photoshop to create a mosaic effect
* Bust a name — better way to find domain names
* I never knew the value of CTRL-SHIFT-ESC. ANother sad commentary
* Turok — maybe I will need to get a PS3

xbox 360 #1 blown

OK our first 360 bit the dust. locks up 1 minute after booting. 7 months into owning it — just out of the warranty phase. so $129 to get it fixed — this must be the microsoft strategy for making money, $129 every six months…

I considered buying a new one at the msft company store but they don’t seem to have them, and i am not sure the discount would be anything special.

the real pain is the amount of time to get it fixed. they are shipping us a mailing box, it will take 3-5 business days to arrive. then another 3-5 to return to them. then 3-5 to fix and 3-5 to get back. so a month gone. during summer vacation high season. not good.

Starbucks Crossword contest wrapup

Good discussions of the final tiebreaker puzzle over at crossword fiend and crossword bebop. Personally I sailed through the first 6 weeks and easily made it into the tiebreaker round. But today’s tiebreaker puzzle crushed me. I knew there was a nonstandard trick involved, but I didn’t figure it out in any kind of reasonable time. Hat tip to the mystery winner who may have just made a lucky guess at the right answer — if I had smartly applied game theory to today’s tiebreaker, I would have called in with an educated guess as well. I know that I am nowhere near the crossword solver that some of the participants are, my only chance to win would have been to make an educated guess. Someone did that and won, smart thinking.

Recent Software of Note

  • The Elder Scrolls Oblivion. What a massive game world. You could get lost in this thing for years.
  • Secondlife. kind of yawn. the graphics aren’t as good as online games and the action isn’t as fun. but obviously a lot of people like it. the customizability and persistence features are cool. just shows again that you can’t go wrong giving people ways to form communities and to express themselves.
  • Newsgator inbox. I depend upon newsgator. But it seems I have to pay for it yet again if I want the latest outlook integration. not clear to me it is worth it. UPDATE: no you don’t have to pay again, the newsgator team pointed me towards the right download. thanks guys.
  • Direct2Drive. Tried this for one game download, worked great. Nice to not have to shuffle cd/dvds to play a game. A little nervous about what kind of drm hackery it might be installing on my system.

Logitech g5 mouse and g15 keyboard

To match my new sli pc, i updated to gaming-optimized input devices — the g5 mouse and g15 keyboard. The keyboard is cool — the little lcd display during games is very cool. I’ve seen this keyboard in action for months and finally had to get one. The mouse is also cool — the adjustable weights are awesome — i am running in the heaviest config right now but will see where i end up.

One huge beef tho — the lack of certified drivers. Not that I am anal about certification, it is just that install is a PITA as you have to wade thru a sea of warnings from MSFT that these drivers will make your PC break out in hives. Logitech is a big company, MSFT is a big company, why can’t they get their heads together and get this solved?

Business readings

* Subvert from within — great tips on how to remain focused on the customer, even within a large org. Totally relevant to team members in orgs of all sizes. (from
* Google’s use of prediction markets internally. I wonder how many participants you need to make this work well.
* NetworthIQ. If this was done in depth, allowing users to compare investment strategies and particular investments, that’d be pretty powerful.
* A VC’s view of web2.0 investing. Good points. Like the observation that these services can be built and trialed very inexpensively. That seems like the right first step to me — no point in investing huge gobs of time and dollars if no one cares about an initial quick implementation.
* Same guy on games investing“Despite the incredible market size numbers, gaming, as a category, hasn’t produced many significant wins for venture investors. I think this will change as the underlying technology continues to improve and as people–not just kids–spend an increasing amount of time and dollars playing games.”

Software roundup 9/12

* 64bit windows perf testing — as i buy a new machine, looks like i should stick to 32-bit windows for now. not because of perf issues, but because of driver and sw compat issues with 64-bit.
* Frankston on the confusion between features and protocols/media — good stuff — why we need bluetooth, wifi, and wireless usb is beyond me. would have been great if they had all agreed at least on a link-level protocol so that they could all play nicely. But I admit I’ve been guilty of this mistake in the past — inventing new protocols when all we needed was some feature work layered on existing solutions. Seems like the marketplace eventually shakes this stuff out for the most part.
* Furrygoat on foldershare — i think the folder sync feature is going to be a feature that shows up in a hundred products. I don’t think it will last as a separate business. That said, simple folder syncing is a real need — lots of people love foldershare. (Another related solution to check out is the recently announced ibm continuous backup product — different solution but does achieve one of the goals, backup) (oh and larry likes his mirra)
* Ed Bott’s recommended software list. Good stuff.
* Larkware on Omea Pro — I was initially intrigued but it feels heavyweight to me. I want something simpler than outlook, not something equally complicated.
* A better attachment viewer for the bberry — bberry attachment viewing is pretty bad, this looks nice.
* Scott provides a bunch of AJAX links, good place to start reading.

Gaming PCs

So rich looked at some gaming pcs recently — the big brands of alien, voodoo, and falcon nw. I’m in the market soon for a new pc and looked at their sites. On the way, A9 and Google pointed me towards some other contenders: Hypersonic in New York, and WidowPC in Texas — the Widow guys are particularly aggressive at trying to get gaming pc search traffic.

And PC Mag mentions ABS and Velocity Micro as options.

The Widow systems seem to have the most extreme config options. I’m tempted to try them.

Keeping up with Rich

As usual Rich has been a posting machine during the last month. Some of the highlights I’ve noted:

* Iceland travel. I hear they have some fantastic river rafting there. I’m ready to go. Just added to my 43places goals.
* Grilling resource — I can always use grilling tips.
* Rich’s small camera recos. I’m about due.
* Tips on HT PC setup — sounds like zoomplayer is essential.
* NTFS resizing tips. I am sure I will need these some day.
* Rich is playing FEAR. I think I need a new PC.
* Rich on Gaming PCs. Having bought 3 and bult 2 others, I am inclined to buy from Falcon Northwest for my next. Debugging the assembly of a high end machine with 2 SLI cards, 10K sata drives, raid arrays, fast dvd/cd drives — well it is just a lot easier to let the Falcon guys burn their time.