Now that I’m a full blown Vista Media Center fanboy, it’s no surprised that I was able to finagle my way onto The Media Center Show. Ian and I recorded this about a month ago and it was a blast. We didn’t talk that much HD, mostly it was Home Automation (my new girlfriend) and why I switched from TiVo. Have a listen, if you don’t mind listening to me ramble on for an hour.
Archive for July, 2008
Not sure how new this is, but with the first NFL pre-season game kicking off this weekend, I wanted to quickly check who was playing, and to my surprise the useful — but ugly — m.espn.go.com was replaced with a down right cool website. I wasn’t sure if this was iPhone specific, so I checked on a co-worker’s Blackberry and it didn’t look the same. This might work out better for checking scores than SportsTap, either way I’m happy to have another option.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the new iPhone 2.0 software, but the games are terrible. Sure they are fun after you wait 30 seconds for them to load — when they don’t crash — but the entire point of a game on your mobile device is to fill in the gapes in life. To make things worse when you get a call, or for whatever reason need to do something else on your iPhone, you have to wait for them to load all over again, this makes them almost completely useless.
The other really annoying thing is the music. Do these companies really think I want to listen to their generic game music instead of my own? How can there not be a setting that lets me choose to listen to my own music — or an Podcast in my case?
I’m sure some people don’t care about this, but I’m not a big gamer, I just want to enjoy the occasional game of Tetris or solitaire while I wait for the elevator to arrive, sheesh.
I understand why Apple changed the activation process with the 3G iPhone, and if given the choice to wait in line with other Apple Geeks for 4.5 hours or pay $600 for a 16G 3G iPhone, I’d most definitely choose the wait; but man it’s amazing how much faster the line went last time. The good news is I made some great new friends while waiting and without much fuss was out of the Apple store in about 30 minutes.
Anyhoo, although I love the new iPhone, the real killer new feature is the applications, but with only 25% of them free and no trial period, it’s too easy to burn through all your iTunes credits on crap. So here is my list of iPhone applications, highs and lows — Thanks for the idea Richard.
- WeatherBug – Free and easy access to radar maps and weather cameras, but no animated loop. Wouldn’t mind paying for a weather app if it featured animated loops.
- eBay – Free, but not super fancy, but still faster than using the web browser.
- Remote – Who doesn’t like this?
- Tetris – $15, much better than the free Jailbroken version, but takes a long time to load and has crashed on me during games a few times. But very impressive implementation using the touch screen. Definitely worth the money, but I’ll be looking for an update to make it more stable.
- SportsTab – Free, very quick access to sports scores, seems easier than espn.go.com, but we’ll really see when football season starts.
- vSnax – Free, like YouTube but more useful, because there is actually recent news and other corporate content.
- Talking Spanish Phrases – Free, this is a great little phrase utility that includes the pronunciation of spanish phrases as well as to speak them out audibly.
- iLoveControl – Free, even at free, this thing is completly useless and even if I did have a Crestron HA system, it doesn’t look like it’d be that cool of a way to control it.
- Super Monkey Ball – $10, this game is impossible and you have to look down at the iPhone to even play it. Not much fun at all.
- Texas Hold ’em – $5, not a bad deal for $5, but the game is like 150MB and the game play is too slow.
- NetNewsWire – Free, I’m a long time NetNewsWire fan, but I have to say that Google’s Web reader for the iPhone is better, much better.
The rest of the apps I tried that were just all right were, Cro-Mag Rally, which isn’t as much fun as Crash’s race game. Blip Solitaire which isn’t bad, but takes too long to load and isn’t as good as the free version I was using on my jailborken iPhone.
Overall I’m happy, but I wish Apple had an RSS feed that would make it easy to keep up with new apps and udpates.
I read on TGB over the weekend that Dell.com was offering the Linksys DMA2100 for $199. A few others got the bright idea to see what their Dell employee discount program price was, and when I used mine it was only $129! So of course I ordered two! Then as soon as I got the “out for delivery” tracking update, I put one on eBay for $189 which sold in a few hours. So now my guest room has access to all my HD content, and it only cost me ~$70!
The bad news is that Dell.com is already out of stock. Some are picking up DMA2200s for $149, but DVDs are so 20th Century. Luckily there are a few other 2100s on eBay for $189 so get ’em while they last.
If you wondering what the best Extender is, then maybe you haven’t seen my shootout on Engadget yet.