Monday, June 21, 2010
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The other day I decided to stop in at a little hole in the wall shop selling those Chinese scooters and atv's at pretty good prices. While looking at a nice 250 tank touring scoot The Tank touring 250DE my mind drifted back to the days I had my old reliable Honda 250 Elite scooter. I have ridden many different types of motorcycles over the years from a little Honda 50 up to sport bikes that could take you from 0 to the chiropractors office in a heartbeat, and of all those I had the most fun on that little 250 scooter. I remember smiling at work when someone would tell me that it is a cute bike but you couldn’t take a trip on one, knowing that weekend I put over 300 miles on it ( and only two tanks of gas) . I took that thing everywhere; around town on trips even on the trails ( but very slowly). The full floorboards, front fairing and windshield were great on cold and rainy days. I only had three real gripes with that scoot. My legs are long enough that my knees were about a quarter inch from the glove box and hit it many many times while riding, while it had more then enough power, with the cvt transmission, if I got slowed down on long hills behind a motor home or trailer I couldn’t get back up to speed until we hit flat ground again, and while in the mountains those little drum brakes would heat up and fade on a long downhill making the corners at the bottom more exciting then I would have liked. Despite all that I had more fun on that scooter then I had on any other motorcycle and to this day have regretted selling it. Now these new Chinese import scooters are looking pretty good. I know some of them have had quality control problems and I also know that they don’t meet the same standards of fit and finish as the Japanese brands but they are getting better and with prices sometimes thousands less then their Japanese counterparts they are an attractive option. I might have to pick myself up one of those Tank 250 touring scoots one of these days and see if once again I can enjoy the freedom and fun that comes from riding a scooter.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I wonder why manufacturers have chosen to make the graphics cards on notebooks so hard to upgrade. I think it is a choice they have made to build them like that and that’s a shame too. I know there are some specialty notebook makers out there that offer some kind up upgradeability for their notebooks graphics’ but I think all notebooks should be upgradeable. What I want to know is why can’t they set up their graphics cards in some sort of modular bay. When you want to upgrade your graphics just go out and purchase a new graphics card, install it in the modular graphics tray and slide it in. Lets say a gamer goes out and spends a few thousand on a gaming notebook to take to lan parties or maybe their a student with a small dorm room and only have space for a notebook but still want to be able to relax and play their graphics intensive game; so they go out and drop a few thousand on a good gaming notebook with a high end dual core or quad core processor , lots of ram, and a good graphics card and they are happy. Ok a year or two down the road and a new crop of games comes out and they can still play them but their notebooks struggling. They check the recommended specs and see that their processor is plenty strong enough and they have more then enough ram and uh oh their graphics which were cutting edge just two years ago is now considered a mid level graphics solution. So where does that leave them? Having to spend another few thousand on a new gaming notebook? Paying someone a boatload of money to dismantle their notebook and install a new graphics card? Perhaps praying to the all powerful frame rate gods to bless your notebook with more power. With the graphics cards sitting in easily accessible modular bays it would just be a matter of purchasing a new graphics card or two and sliding them in. I have to honestly say I don’t see a downside here. Notebook manufacturers will sell more notebooks because people will be more willing to spend money on a product they know will have longer usable lifespan. Graphics card manufacturers will have another market they can sell product to and consumers will get more for their money. Now we just need a manufacturer to be the first one to do it. Gaming notebooks wouldn’t be the only ones to benefit. Take my notebook a Compaq v5000series. It is a good notebook. A little older but still works well. Its only real downside is the old ati mobility Radeon express 200. Now if I could upgrade that to a newer card with its own dedicated memory that would make this old notebook seem new again.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Ok I have written before about free global wi-fi and I used the example of a mall with its many stores and how it can take advantage of it, but now lets talk about some different uses outside of shopping and malls. What about a Wi-Fi 911? It just like dialing 911 on your phone but with extra benefits. You make your call using VOIP ( just like Vonage or Skype) but this time they can pinpoint your location exactly using a type or terrestrial GPS ( using triangulation based on what Wi-Fi locations you are connected to and satellite GPS) This can greatly decrease the time it takes for help to get to you when your not at home. Missing children; as soon as a child goes missing an Amber alert will have their face on every connected device instantly as well as a description of them and any information about the abductor. If anyone sees them just clicking on the message will instantly connect them to a hotline where their location will be recorded and they can tell them what they saw. That will significantly increase the chances the child will be found quickly and hopefully unharmed. Lets say our cars are connected too and someone steals yours. You call up and reports it missing, the police type it in and your car shows up on a map giving its real time location. Whatever patrol unit is closest will make the stop and you will have your car back. My sons last school was using an automated phone dialing system that would call our home when any school event was coming up. I loved it. With everyone connected a parent can subscribe to a school news feed and always be up to date on what is happening in their children’s schools. You could even subscribe to information feeds on different things like late breaking news, weather updates, a gallery or museums coming displays or even local events. Free Wi-Fi internet access is I believe critical to our connected future and I believe the FCC’s decision on whitespaces will be pivotal in that future. I also believe that a law should be passed requiring anyone with a wi-fi capable device be allowed free internet access. Now I don’t think it would be right to make it cutting edge high speed but no less then 500 Kbs. That will be plenty fast enough for most things and still allow the current internet providers room to offer faster internet for those willing to pay for it. I know I personally would like having access to a 500 kbs connection for free while I’m out but have no problems paying for 5Mbs or better connection while home. I believe that will be a win win situation for everyone. People who can’t afford broadband will have access to it. Those that can will probably pay for faster access. Online business will have an even greater pool of people to sell too. Brick and motors ( actual physical stores) will have a new avenue to market their wares and new tool to attract customers. Cities will be able to more easily get the word out about coming event s which can make them more profitable. Schools can be more connected to parents. Emergency and public services will be more effective and I am sure many more benefits will pop up because of it. So come on FCC lets do the right thing for our future and open up those Whitespaces for everyone to use free of charge.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I have written about the Internet and how the time will come when it is an integrated part of our everyday lives. What I think we really need is better wireless access. Now you can use WiFi hotspots and they are good but you only have access when you’re within range. Cell phone brandband cards are good , their speeds are improving and you can get online anywhere you can get a cell signal, but they are a little pricey and most limit you to five gigs of data transfer a month. You can use a service like Clearwire ,which is what I currently use, their speeds are fast and they don’t have a five gig cap but even with their pc card you still don’t have connections everywhere. I think it is time for a change in thinking. I feel that charging for Internet access is an outdated idea. I believe there needs to be free Wifi worldwide. I think there should be free internet access to anyone with WiFi capability. Now I’m not saying that all those who provide interent access now needs to be put out of business. I just think that instead of them being internet providers they need to become content providers. People who choose to go through them should have access to content that they woudn’t be able to get through the free access. Some examples might be much faster access then the free WiFi can provide. Virtual worlds that can only be accessed through that provider. Exclusive or easier access to high quality streaming audio and video. They just need to get creative and come up with content that will make people want to continue to pay them for access. I think it can really change the way we live and the way businesses operate. Think about this for a moment you decide to head to the mall for a little shopping now you walk into the mall check out a few stores ,grab few flyers to see what's on sale and toss them when your done, maybe you check out the bulletin board to see if they have any events coming to the mall that you might want to come back and see. If your mall has a movie theatre you might head on over and see what's playing. Now lets see what it could be. You decide to go into the mall. You get ready , grab your pocket computer with it’s mobile operating system, unplug your car from its charging station and off you go. When you get to there the mall shows up as a local network and presents you with a little icon on your screen. Clicking on that shows you a map of the mall; clicking on a store tells you what they have in stock, what's on sale, even if they have what you want in your size. Going back to the mall map you click on events and see if anything is going on in the mall and what is coming. Clicking the movie theatre will show you what’s playing, show times, ticket costs even what's available in the snack bar. Business owners can take advantage of this connectivity as well. What about random hourly specials. One hour only special saving in our children’s clothing department. Things like that will have people coming back often to get a chance at hourly specials for things they want and need. The interesting thing about all this is it can happen now even without the free everywhere wifi. We already have devices like the Apple Ipod touch which has wi-fi built in. The stores inventory are already computerized. And it wouldn’t be difficult for businesses to create local wi-fi networks for their stores . That way when the free global Wi-Fi becomes a reality we will all be able to roam freely from one network to another remaining connected the whole time.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
It is surprising how much we rely on the Internet. The other day I was asked if I knew the phone number to a certain business; which I didn’t so I looked it up; now did I open up the phone book and start searching though the pages? No. I opened up my Firefox browser and did a Google search for it. Now in all honesty living in a small city the phone book might have been a little faster, but I still prefer to go online for that information. Why? Well because in addition to the phone number I can see things like store hours, weekly specials, current inventory and whether or not they have some web only specials, and if it looks interesting to me but I don’t know how to get there then I just use a mapping site like Google maps or Mapquest to show me the way. If I am in the mood to watch an older TV show or a movie then I check out free sites like Hulu. I know that now even ABC , NBC , and CBS all offer clips and full episode on their sites as well. When I am in the mood for a little gaming I open up Steam and head straight for my favorite game Team Fortress 2. Where I can easily knock off a few hours on a good server. If I want to find out if there is anything new about Autism that might be helpful to my son It’s just a matter of typing a few words into a search engine and if I want to listen to music most radio stations have an online broadcast as well and if I am I the mood for a certain type of music I can go to a site like Pandora and select my music from Artist , Genre or many other options. I know many of you are the same way, some practically live their lives online and through sites like Second Life and Utherverse they can pretty much do anything they can in real life and often times more. The Internet has come along way since I first jumped on it using a dial up modem and windows 98 and I believe there will come a time when the Internet is not just a fun and convenient thing to have access to, but an integrated part of our everyday lives.