Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Odd Laptop Problem

Each week I volunteer at a mid-sized non-profit in Memphis. I basically do break/fix stuff. When I arrive, they have a pile of PCs for me to fix/reimage.

Two weeks ago, they had a Compaq 6510b laptop that had had a hard drive crash. They had sent it out to have the drive replaced and my job was to reimage and install the local applications, e.g. Acrobat, Java, Office 200x.

I dove right in but immediately notice that the system was slow, REALLY slow. It is a Core 2 Duo 2.20GHz with 2GB or RAM so it shouldn't be slow.

Since it had a new hard drive, I suspected that. I ran HD Tune's benchmark and as expected the HD was much slower than the other reference systems I had. The facility manager returned the system to the provider who had replaced the drive.

They replaced the drive and returned it. I retrieved it and the power supply and began working on it. It was still running extraordinarily slow. The hard drive benchmark showed that it was as slow as before. I checked all the Device Manager settings as well as the BIOS settings with no solutions.

Finally I Googled "compaq 6510b slow hard drive" and on the second page came across this link:
This describes a user who had a problem with the power supply giving an incorrect signal to the laptop making it think it was about to run out of power and hence "cutting back on CPU/mainboard frequency to conserve power."

It seemed too simple but I unplugged the power supply. The laptop was transformed. Opening a new tab in Internet Explorer was instant. Plug the power supply back in and it once again slowed to a crawl. On battery, the hard drive benchmark now reported more than 60MB/sec.

How odd.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Apple Tax

The hand-me-down Bold has a slightly recessed 3.5mm headphone jack. My old 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable had fat plugs and won't work consistently.

One day I remembered that there had been a similar situation with the original iPhone. There's an Apple store nearby so I dropped in looking for a cable.

I found one.

$19.95! I left it in stock.

I did notice that it was made by Belkin. So when I got home, I went and looked at Belkin's site. This looked like the exact same item without the Apple brand.

$14.95. Headed in the right direction.

I finally bought it at Amazon.


Now that's an Apple tax.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Sometimes it's the simple things that make your day. Just go to TinyMailTo. You'll understand.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Drobo Is Hungry

Two years ago, I got a Drobo for my birthday. It is still serving me well.

Initially I populated it with 2 400GB drives.

That gave me 371GB of protected storage.

Then I added a pair of 500GB drives.

Bingo! 1.2TB of protected storage.

Looking towards Santa's visit this year, I bought a 1TB drive on Black Friday. To install it, I just popped out one of the 400GB drives. The remaining 3 drives began blinking orange. I slid the 1TB drive into the now open slot. In a few seconds all 4 drives were blinking orange and green. After about 6 hours, they were all green again.

This only took me to 1.3TB of protected storage due to the asymmetry.

After Santa makes his visit, I'll replace the remaining 400 GB drive with a second 1TB drive.

Ah! 1.8TB protected storage.

That's nudging right up against the 2TB limit of USB 2.0. Although the Drobo will present 2 drives to the host if it goes over 2TB.

But wait, if I replace one of the 500GB drives with a 750GB drive I get 2TB protected storage.

Dear Santa,

PS. Here's the Drobo Capacity Calculator.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

BlackBerry Gmail App

With my new (to me) Bold, I wanted to try the Gmail application for the BlackBerry. My first impression was WOW!

I loved that it pushed to the BlackBerry. You could archive from the BlackBerry and it would be archived on the Gmail server. You could even see sent messages! And messages were presented in conversation view. It even put an alert in the profile that you could manage just like BlackBerry e-mail, i.e. it'd blink the notification light.

But there are downsides. First the new message formatting isn't very good. This is a message that I wrote on the BlackBerry as it is presented in the Sent label on the Blackberry.

Ooops! There's a spoiler in there.

When you view it on a PC, this is how it is rendered:

The top of this conversation thread was composed on a PC. This shows the contrast between the compositions. It looks like the Gmail application inserts a hard carriage return at the end of each line. Not shown here is that the Gmail application doesn't honor the Labs "Signature tweak." It does honor your signature, just not the tweak.

I also use Google Voice. When I got a Google Voice voicemail notification, I went to click on the "Play message" link in the e-mail.

It isn't a link! It is in the standard BlackBerry e-mail client. To play this message I had to go to the browser and login to Google Voice and play it from there. There is a Google Voice client for the BlackBerry that I haven't played with.

In Media (including View Pictures in Camera) you couldn't choose the Gmail client to send pictures. Worse, you couldn't attach anything in the Gmail client. So I had to setup the AT&T BIS just for that.

The "push" from Gmail wasn't more or less timely than the AT&T BIS push.

Now back to the spoiler. On my Curve, most of the time I could go 2 days between chargings. With the bells and whistles of the Bold I wasn't expecting so much. I got worse. By the end of the day, the battery indicator on the Bold had turned yellow. I asked my son-in-law about this and he said that he had often been able to go 2 days. Hmmm. Wonder what it was? I stopped the Gmail application and at the end of the next day the battery was at 70%. I think I found it.

I've gone back to the standard BlackBerry e-mail client.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

KingSpec SSD

You'll remember that I got a slightly used ThinkPad X40 and suggested that I might add a SSD drive to it? I did. WOW!

I ordered the 32GB KingSpec 1.8" PATA/IDE SSD Solid State Disk (MLC) P/N KSD-PA18.1-032MJ from MemoryC in Ireland.

This picture is of 2 KingSpec SSDs showing the top and the bottom. Don't panic seeing that jumper. Just leave it alone and it'll be fine.

Before I ordered it, I had a technical inquiry of them and it was answered via e-mail within 12 hours. The time difference worked in their favor. With that resolved I ordered it on a Tuesday afternoon and it arrived the following Tuesday, 7 days.

The end-to-end installation took 40 minutes. I booted Bart-PE with Ghost v8, created an image of the old Hitachi 40 GB HD on an USB HD, swapped the drive, and restored the image. Swapping the drive was just about the easiest hardware modification I've made. One screw to remove the drive and carrier. Four screws to remove the HD from the carrier. Put it all back together with the KingSpec SSD and you're done. Really couldn't have been simpler. Ghost handled the smaller sized drive with no problem as the 40 GB was only about 8 GB used.

And the results? With the Hitachi HD the X40 took 2:14 to hibernate and 1:05 to resume. With the KingSpec SSD it takes :29 to hibernate and :20 to resume. These aren't terribly scientific nor comprehensive but they are what I care about.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To Boldly Go...

I've loved my BlackBerry Curve. I hardly ever have to reboot it like I did the Motorola Q9h. Some people may complain about the 2G network but I never found that I wanted to browse long enough on that screen for the network to make a difference.

It's sad when you get so old that you look forward to the the hand-me-downs from your children. My son-in-law has been one step ahead of me in cell phone gadgets. He had a Treo 650 before me then when he went to a BlackBerry Bold I followed with a BlackBerry Curve.

Now he's gone to the iPhone 3GS. I'm holding out for a GSM Motorola Droid (Milestone?) but he passed on his Bold to me.

There's a great comparison here.

The Bold compared to the Curve is a tad larger at 4.5x2.6 vs. 4.2x2.4 and .8 oz. heavier.

But that screen! It's the same size as the Curve's and clearly smaller than the iPhone 3GS' but the resolution is what makes a difference. Not only is it brighter with more contrast than the Curve but it is 320x480 compared to the Curve's 240x320.

It runs BlackBerry OS 4.6 like the Curve but has Visual Voicemail. I had to call AT&T to get this provisioned on my account. There's no charge for it.

My son-in-law had had this Bold connected to his work e-mail so I had to remove the IT policy. I used BlackBerry's JL_Cmder to do this. It took 10-12 attempts to get it to "connect" so keep trying.

One of my projects is to tether a laptop to the 3G network via Bluetooth. That'll be fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

20 GB for only $5 a year

Google has always been about cheap (even free) storage. Initially Gmail had a gigabyte of storage. Unbelievable! Then Google raised the bar. Now the storage is over 7 gigabytes. This was used for Gmail and Picasa Web. If 7 gigabytes wasn't enough Google would sell you more. An extra 10 gigabytes was $20 per year.

Now Google has doubled the storage to 20 gigabytes and dropped the price to $5 per year. For the old price of $20 per year you get 80 gigabytes!

You can read about it here. The prices are here.

Pssst! Can you say Gdrive?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Office 2007 and Wide Screen Displays

I really prefer to call them Short Screen Displays. I've had personal consternation at Office 2007's placement of the ribbon across the top of displays when displays are becoming wider shorter rather than taller. It always seemed to me that it'd make more sense from a real estate perspective to at least alternatively allow the placement of the ribbon on the side rather than at the top.

I was never brave enough to put this in writing but finally someone else did.

In Jerry Pournelle's Computing At Chaos Manor: The Mailbag a reader wrote:
Also, the ribbon occupies some of the most valuable real estate on the modern display: vertical space. On my laptop I have a modern wide aspect display. MS Word XP displays templates, formats and similar helpful stuff off to the right, leaving me with a relatively tall text space. A ribbon would be disastrous. It's merely annoying on my 4x3 display, but I keep it minimized. Needless to say, despite having access to cheap copies of Office 2007 (two more students in our household), I will be maintaining our Office XP versions.

It's very interesting to watch a huge company make such a bone-headed decision on its flagship product. At the very least, you'd think there would be a way to run the ribbon vertically, so that it could be a sidebar, like the bookmark and history sidebars we see in some browsers. Heck, even my ancient copy of Paint Shop Pro 7 allows for vertical toolbars. And MS's own Vista developers allow for a sidebar display, with pretty widgets. They get the wide aspect business. You would think that watching Firefox get ready to destroy its classic UI to reduce the browser's vertical acreage would be a clue to avoid filling up vertical space.
Yeah. What he said!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christmas Wish List 2009

32GB KingSpec 1.8" PATA/IDE SSD

Samsung CL65
about $295
Google search
User manual

8GB microSDHC (with SD adapter)
around $20 - for the camera
Google search

1TB Internal SATA hard drive
as low as $75 - 2 would be great!
Google search

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ajay Bhatt

I'm not a big fan of Conan O'Brien. Between he and Letterman they've given me an extra hour of sleep each night.

Anyway, I came across this clip that Conan did with Ajay Bhatt.

I love his response about Firewire!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Office Web Apps

Heard about Microsoft's Office Web Apps? Didn't get in the Beta? Want to? Here's how.

Go to SkyDrive. Login. See here for how to get a Windows Live ID.

Now just go to any folder. I chose Documents. Click on "Add Files" and upload a Word document. You'll get this screen when it's done.

Look at that cute little line!
Join our preview program to create, edit, view, and share Office documents! Learn more
Don't just sit there. Do what it says. Click on "Join our preview program" and you're on your way.

Click on "Accept" and then click on "Documents" up at the top.

Hey! There's something new there - New. Pull it down and click on Microsoft Word document.

Sorry. That's not ready.

Click on "Microsoft Excel workbook" and that'll work.

Click on "Create" and you're on your way.

Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Live Mesh

You'll recall I was a BIG fan of Microsoft's FolderShare. I used it until my wife's work blocked it.

Then Microsoft changed FolderShare to Sync. But wait, that's what Microsoft calls the gadget that Ford puts in its cars. I'm confused. I think I'm not alone.

Anyway, to get back on track, I wanted to find something to synchronize photos between my house and my daughter's house. I looked at a lot of alternatives including Dropbox and Hamachi. Close but no cigar.

Then I stumbled across Microsoft's Live Mesh. Its web site doesn't do a good job of explaining but just go with it for a minute. You need to have a Windows Live ID. Don't sweat that even with the footnote:
If you have a Passport Network, Hotmail, or Windows Live Messenger account, you can use it as your Windows Live ID.
Just click on the "Need a Windows Live ID?" and create one using your favorite e-mail address.

Login and you'll get this screen.

Click on "Connect" and you'll get this screen.

From here you can create a folder and upload (using the ugly web interface) just like SkyDrive. Microsoft seems to have at least two of everything.

This folder on your Live Mesh Desktop is a little different than SkyDrive though as you'll see in a minute.

Back up at the top of the screen, click on "Devices" and click on "Add Device."

Pick your OS and click on "Install."

Unlike most Microsoft products, this is a light client.

Now, the folder you created above can by synchronized with your PC, i.e. Device. Then you can update it on your PC and the changes will be replicated to the folder on the Live Mesh Desktop. And you can invite other Live Mesh users to share it.

But the real trick is that now you can create a folder on your PC and enable Live Mesh for it and then invite other Live Mesh users to share it. BINGO!

It works like a charm. I have created two folders and enabled Live Mesh for them and shared them with my son-in-law. One folder is for us to send to them and the other for them to send to us. One would suffice but separating is easier to think about.

Think of all the things you can do with this. You can share like we have. You can use a remote PC (think your mother's) as a backup! And if you place this folder on your Live Mesh Desktop you can access if from the web. By the way, this all works fine with Firefox!

Oh, did I mention it is free?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Recently I was reviewing a web site that was still evolving and wanted to mark it up and feed my comments back to the creator. (He is a friend of mine so I wasn't just taking pot shots at him!)

I wanted something to capture the entire page (most required you to scroll to see it all) and then be able to annotate it.

I found nirsoft.net's SiteShoter but that was really too simplistic and didn't allow me to annotate.

Then I found aviary.com.

In some aspects it is simplistic as well. For example, to capture a page, just put "aviary.com/" in front of the URL, e.g. "aviary.com/http://google.com"

Then you get a Flash page up with the target web page captured. There are some simple editing/annotating tools there and the option to save it to your desktop or to their site.

The editing capabilities here are simple (that's what I was looking for) to the point of being rudimentary. But be careful of clicking on any of the more advanced options. Let's just say they go to the other end of the scale. They were way more complicated than I needed.

Play with it some before you're trying to use it for real. Find your own sweet spot for the level of complexity you need and can handle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Link to Link to Link to...

I realize this is petty but it frustrates me. I hate it when one news feed just references another that references another that references another ...

Today on my engadget feed was an article on a robot that was being developed to draw blood. I clicked on the link. Here is the string of links I had to follow to get to the original post.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Google Maps Traffic

I have Google Maps on my BlackBerry Curve. One morning on my way to a meeting I ran into a traffic jam on I-240 Eastbound.

As I sat there, I had time to play with Google Maps. Tennessee's SmartWay has started publishing traffic reports. Google picks them up and overlays them on their maps.

Google also "crowd sources" traffic information from the My Location feature of Google Maps. This is enabled by default but you can turn it off.

When I first looked, it seemed that the information was incomplete. I saw green on the Westbound lanes but the green stopped just behind me.

It turns out that there is a yellow line indicating slow traffic on top of the yellow line for Eastbound I-240. Look closely and you can tell the the slow traffic line is more golden than the road line. That's hard to tell on the low contrast BlackBerry screen.

This became obvious as I traveled further Eastbound. A red line started indicating stopped traffic!

In a later trip I was able to take advantage of this information.

I was Eastbound on I-240 approaching Millbranch and the traffic slowed to a crawl. I dived off on Millbranch.

Once on Millbranch I fired up Google Maps and this is what I saw.

What that told me was that I could hop back on I-240 at Airways since the green started back up between Millbranch and Airways.

How cool is that?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


If you listen to a lot of podcasts like I do, a way to speed up the replay speed without distorting the sound would be a great find.

Well, then go to podshifter.com. Paste the URL of the RSS feed into the page and select how fast you want to go. I use 1.4. Click on "shift it" and you'll get a page back with a new URL that you can put into your podcast catcher. (I just use Google Reader.)

This reduced Windows Weekly 118 from 105:31 to 75:23. That'll give you half an hour of your life back!

There's one nuance that took me a while to figure out. PodShifter doesn't compress the podcast until someone requests it. How that affects me is when the RSS feed shows up in Google Reader and I click on it to download, I only get a 1K file. This means that PodShifter needs to go copy that file and compress it. Just delete that small file and wait an hour or so. The next time you try to download you'll get the compressed file.

I listen on my BlackBerry and the name that presents in the Media Player looks garbled. Interestingly, the album art is fine.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


One of my favorite BlackBerry applications is BBWeather. You can get the over the air (OTA) download here.

Here's what your home page will look like when the BBWeather icon is not selected:

Here's what your home page will look like when the BBWeather icon is selected:

The options you select affect this. We'll look at mine in a little bit.

Click the icon and you'll get the Current Conditions:

Press Menu and select Daily Forecast:

Here's the Daily Forecast:

Press Menu and select Hourly Forecast:

To set it up, go to the main menu and select Options and then Add.

Enter the ZIP Code and press the menu key.

Select Lookup Location ID. It will fill in the name of the location. Select Ok.

There are several settings to consider in the Options menu. Here's how I have mine set.

Oh, BBWeather is free.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Google Voice

There can't be much new to be written about Google Voice. Everybody has covered it. Here's the wikipedia article on it and here's the NY Times article on it.

I've been using what is now Google Voice since it was GrandCentral. Google bought GrandCentral and seemed to let it lie dormant for a long time. In the Spring of 2009 Google renamed it to Google Voice and began ever so slowly handing out new invitations. Google killed off a couple of GrandCentral capabilities (being able to make your ring-in sound like a European phone) but added many more such as voice mail transcription (cute but really pretty worthless).

I use it for 2 purposes. First, I have it ring my home phone and my cell phone simultaneously so I can always be found. I can even add locations when I'm going to be somewhere else, e.g. my mother's, for a while. That's so easy to do.

Second, I use Google Voice to present a consistent caller ID. The free long distance is nice but I use Google Voice to make even local calls so that people I call always see the call coming from the same number.

There are some other considerations. If you receive a call on your cell phone through your Google Voice number you don't get the benefit of mobile-to-mobile. Also, Google Voice is subject to service disruptions like Google is. Occasionally, you'll notice things like incoming calls going straight to voice mail or even that the call can't be connected.

Google Voice is not a part of Google Hosted Apps. What this means is that if you have a Google Hosted Apps e-mail (like I do) that your contacts are not shared between your Google Hosted Apps e-mail and your Google Voice. Maybe someday.

I'm sure that Google is going to continue to develop Google Voice. This service will redefine what voice service delivers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I can't tell you how many PCs I've come across that have all kind of toolbars and crap installed on them. You wonder why people install all of them. They're such a drag on the PC's performance.

Here're a couple of blog posts that explain what's going on. First there's Windows Secrets' article on the latest Java update. Next there's Lifehacker's post on the Digsby instant messaging client.

I won't rehash these stories. Just go read them yourself. And when you install any update or new program, READ EVERY SCREEN and uncheck freely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Google Search

Mashable has a post about a test version of Google Search. Google talks about it here.

Here's a post that tells you how to add it to your Firefox search bar.

It's too early to tell how different it is.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ultra Capacitor Screwdriver

My wish lists for gifts are always made up of URLs. For Fathers' Day, the URL was this. My wife was a little suspicious of that web site but she went with it. You can also get it at Amazon.

What this gadget is is a Coleman 5.4V Flashcell Cordless Screwdriver. That's a mouthful. What it means is that it doesn't have a conventional battery. Instead it uses an ultra capacitor.

The effect of this is that it charges in 90 seconds. It does have a downside. It has about half the capacity of a traditional rechargeable screwdrive. This isn't much of a downside when the charge time is less that the time it takes you to go to the bathroom.

Popular Mechanics has a good write-up here.

Here's a YouTube video on it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

ThinkPad X40

If you've been reading my posts for a while, you know I'm a big fan of ThinkPads. I've written about my history of ThinkPads, my current T42, and my wife's current T61.

For my birthday last year, I got an Asus Eee PC 1000H. I love the physical dimensions of the Eee PC and the battery life. The battery lasts hours and I've never had it run out on me. As an aside, I have begun to notice that it drains slightly faster but I'm talking about 4 hours vs. 6 hours. The right shift key took some getting used to but I'm pretty good with that now. The 1024x600 screen takes a little adjusting to.

The 1000H weighs about 3.3 lbs. While the dimensions always impress onlookers, the weight surprises them. The weight is in the battery which is at the back of the unit so it makes it off balance when the screen is tilted back. It wants to tip over if it's on a soft surface, e.g. your lap.

The ongoing irritant is the touchpad mouse. I like that it is multi-touch but for those of us with that little dent on the tip of their right index finger from the ThinkPad's TrackPoint, nothing will take its place.

So I kept lusting after ThinkPad X-series. More so the slightly older ones with the 4x3 screens rather than the latest with wide-screens (I call them short-screens). In one of my previous posts I even said "I can't imagine what a new X40 would be like."

Now I can.

On my favorite used PC site (Intechra), I came across an off-lease ThinkPad X40. I held my breath until I had it in my shopping cart and checked out. The cost with shipping was just over $200.

It is a 2371-G4U with a Pentium M 1.4GHz, 1 GB of RAM, and a 40 GB HD. As expected, the battery isn't "fresh" but it will run for an hour or so. It came with 802.11A/B/G and an SD card slot (the X20 had a CF slot).

The appearance looks like somebody had it in a docking station for 3 years. Barely a mark on it anywhere.

I used my procedure to reuse the Windows XP Pro COA.

It is practically the same size as the 1000H but amazingly it is lighter! 2.7 lbs. And it's thinner. Overall it clearly feels smaller than the 1000H. Even more people "oh and ah" over it than the 1000H and it's 4 years old!

I need to replace the battery (about $40 on eBay) and am looking at doing some sort of solid state drive.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Browser Vulnerabilities

It's been a while since I've talked about vulnerabilities. This time it seems like there's been a flurry in both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Last week, SANS reported a 0-day exploit in Microsoft's DirectShow ActiveX control that can be exploited in IE. This ActiveX control is not intended to run in IE. Microsoft's advisory is here. Microsoft created a "Fix it" article that turns on its kill bit. Though unaffected by this vulnerability, Microsoft is recommending that Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 customers apply the "Fix it."

Then this week, SANS reported a 0-day exploit in Microsoft's Office Web Components ActiveX control that can be exploited in IE. This ActiveX control is not intended to run in IE. Microsoft's advisory is here. Microsoft created a "Fix it" article that turns on its kill bit. (Is there an echo in here?) Microsoft's Security Response Center says it doesn't affect Vista. Read the details for yourself.

Then today, Brian Krebs reported a "highly critical" vulnerability in FireFox 3.5. He describes the "about:config" as a work-around:

To disable the vulnerable component, open up a new Firefox window and type "about:config" (without the quotes) in the browser's address bar. In the "filter" box, type "jit" and you should see a setting called "javascript.options.jit.content". You should notice that beside that setting it reads "true," meaning the setting is enabled. If you just double-click on that setting, it should disable it, changing the option to "false." That's it.
The bad news is that this slows Firefox's Javascript back down to 3.0 levels.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Creative Labs Vado HD

As a going-away present, my former co-workers gave me a gift certificate at amazon.com, one of my favorite stores. The timing (of the gift certificate) couldn't have been better.

My daughter was expecting our first grand-baby so I was in the market for a grand-parent's camcorder.

I had already been shopping for a camcorder. I wanted something with a USB connector. Not only did the Vado have that but it had a built-in HDMI connector. It uses its own 8 GB internal storage so I didn't have to buy a separate SDHC memory card.

I'd read a lot about problems with low light recording and shaking but I haven't seen problems with either of these.

The size is amazing. It is only slightly larger than my wife's Blackberry Pearl. It charges from the USB connector so you don't have to fool with a power adapter.

It wasn't obvious from the advertising but the USB presents a drive to Windows that has Autoplay. If you let the autorun.inf run, it installs a codec for the Vado and then launches a limited version of muvee's Reveal. It is pretty crippled, e.g. it won't convert to DVD, but it does Ok.

It even has a button that directly uploads to youtube. I've also used its capability to consolidate a couple of clips and output a .wmv.

The codec that is used by the Vado is a proprietary h.264. Even with the Vado codec installed, I've not been able to process the files directly using uLead DVD Movie Factory or Pinnacle Studio.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


My wife has 2 shelves in our kitchen full of recipes. They're in boxes, magazines, books, and scraps of paper.

I've been wondering how I could help her keep up with them and find just the one she wants. Of course the first thing that came to mind for me was technology, perhaps a data base?

Then I came to my senses. I played around a little with Google Docs but that seemed awkward.

One day, I came across posterous.com. All you have to do is to e-mail something to post@posterous.com and it's posted. They even clean it up for you. For example, if there are multiple pictures, they setup a picture gallery!

You can see her recipes here.

There's a great podcast about it here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


After our trip to Long Island last summer, I laboriously went through all my pictures on Picasaweb and geotagged them. I liked the result but not the effort!

So I've been investigating how to do this automatically. I searched high and low for GPS loggers. I looked at ATP PhotoFinder (original and mini), Sony GPS CS1KA, Qstarz BT-Q1000P, Canmore GT-730F(L), i-gotU GT-100, AMOD AGL3080, and more.

My key criteria were that I wanted it to be rechargeable via USB and to not require Windows drivers to get the data off the device.

The closest I came was the Columbus V-900. It recharged via USB and wrote KML files to a micro-SD card. That way all I needed was a micro-SD to SD USB adapter. Close enough so I clicked on "Submit" on Amazon.

Then I remembered my Blackberry Curve has GPS. Duh! I googled "Blackberry geotagging" and eventually found GPSLogger on some of the Blackberry forums.

It met both my criteria. Obviously the Blackberry is rechargeable via USB and GPSLogger creates standard format files on the Blackberry's micro-SD card.

The short version is that it just works. Surprisingly, it runs in the background. I've run it for 12 hours and it drew down about 1/2 the Blackberry's battery.

Here's the track in GeoLogger:

Here's the altitude:

And the speed:

Here's what I have for Options:

When you want to export the track, go to the path manager and "Export Path to Filesystem":

To apply the GPS data to the photos, I'm using GeoSetter. It's real simple but very capable.

Here's the result in Picasaweb.

Now I'm set for our next vacation. And I have to return the Columbus V-900.