Category Archives: Technology

Gadget Man

Gadgets bring me happiness. Brilliant gadgets bring me closer to bliss. I purchased the new iPhone and it is bringing me closer to the bliss level. :-)

I’m probably like most guys and their love of gadgets but I’ve found many woman who are the same. I don’t think the stereotype of only man loving gadgets is accurate. But, i digress. Back to the gadgets.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of them. I especially like the visionary and elegant gadgets like the iPhone. The combination of simplicity of use while running complex tasks is quite exciting to me. For me, the gadgets don’t have to be as cool as the iPhone. Just about any gadget will do. I like using gadgets in my work and play. I also am a nature lover, so when I started using a GPS device while hiking, I was on the edge of nirvana.

I try to use gadgets when playing music and driving. And of course there is photography. That is gadget heaven. There are never enough gadgets for photography.

So, at the end of this day, I breathe a sigh of gadget contentment. Ahhhhhh!

Michael

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Erica gave me a really fantastic gift this year for Xmas. It’s the Amazon Kindle. I’m finding it to be one of the coolest products since the iPhone. In fact, it is like an iPod. As you know with an iPod you can have your entire music library on a device that fits in your palm. The Amazon Kindle is the same for your book library.

You can store about 200 books, newspapers, magazines, blogs and etc. on this wireless reading device. More if you add additional SD memory. Since I only just started using one, I’ve downloaded a total of two books to mine. It took less than a minute to download each digital book version. Most new releases and New York Times best sellers are $9.99. All Amazon purchases for the Kindle are stored on the Amazon servers in your account so you never lose them.

It’s incredibly easy to read and uses something called electronic paper with digital ink. The high resolution screen is not backlit like a regular monitor. Your eyes don’t tire as easily like they do with a computer monitor. The text is very crisp and navigating from page to page is very easy. It’s like reading a paper book.

The device always remembers where you where last reading and when you go back to your book, it automatically takes you to the last page read. I love that. Also, you can easily highlight sections that interest you, make notes and annotations, bookmark pages for future reference and clip entire articles that you can later download to your personal computer.

The free WhisperNet wireless network works flawlessly. You don’t need to find a hotspot as it accesses a high speed network like advanced cell phones use. I feel like I have stepped into the future. I learned how to use it in about 10 minutes, but then spent another hour learning the finer details. The Amazon Kindle is very intuitive and fun to use.

The battery life is great. If you leave the wireless off you can read for about a week until a recharge is necessary. If you leave the wireless on, you will need to recharge every couple of days. Battery recharge only takes about 2 hours. Bottom line; it is extremely portable and energy efficient.

I don’t believe I will ever get rid of real books as I love them too much, but now when I travel I can have an entire library at my disposal in a device that weighs about 10 ounces.

Thanks Erica!

Michael

Chaos

Since my father died a year ago, I have become messier than ever before. The disorder I create around me reflects my inability to place everything where it belongs. Looking at the piles of papers, books, and clothes strewn around my desk, I realize that, for the moment, I know how to start things but not how to finish them. I could analyze this tendency, analyze myself, and conclude that I am shying away from endings. Maybe it is that simple.

I don’t really want to turn the page. Dropping items wherever I am lets me avoid finality of any kind.

But it’s also a nuisance. When I was very young, I looked around my bedroom one day and decided that I didn’t want to live in the middle of a mess. From that point until I married twenty-two years later, I carefully put everything away: clothes, papers, pens, books. I’ve lost that habit, lost it long before I lost my father. It’s just that I am more likely to look around at the mess I’ve made now and think, “I will never be able to clean this up.”

At the same time, there does come a point at which you say to yourself, “Enough.” There are other people who are bearing up under much more tormenting circumstances. Who am I really to let everything go?

My wife always tells me that the way you clean up a mess is to pick up one thing at a time. I have always known she was right about that. The trick is to go ahead and start.

Blood, Sweat and Tears

I was up in Northampton, Massachusetts this weekend with Erica. She was at a show and I was there to play. Of course I helped out a little bit in the booth.

Right next to Erica’s booth was a lady selling ceramics. Her husband was Steve Katz, one of the original members of the 1960’s band Blood, Sweat and Tears. How cool is that. If you were listening to music back then, you may have remembered the hits “Spinning Wheel” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.”

We chatted for a bit, not about music that much, but about the new Amazon Kindle. It’s like an iPod for books. I was amazed as I could literally have hundreds of books, newspapers, blogs and etc. at my fingertips on one device. It is a first generation machine and expensive but I think it will change the way we do things, just like the iPod.

Steve was a good guy and very into the Kindle. I wish him luck on his current tour schedule with the band.

Michael

Don't Postpone

Yesterday, I wrote about my computer problems in Practicing Patience. Surprisingly I got the new battery in today. With anticipation and excitement I put the battery in and rebooted my computer.

Oh my! Now I got the worse error imaginable: hard drive failure. After two hours on the phone with Dell technicians, it was determined that my hard drive has a mechanical failure. They are shipping me a new hard drive for next week.

There is only a small, remote chance of getting all of my data back. I always make backups of my most important files: photographs, music, financial data and etc. So, most things are okay, but a lot of little things I was working on are gone now, possibly forever. One of my action items yesterday was to back up files again, but I didn’t get to it because of the crash.

There are two very important lessons here:

  1. Backup all of your computer data regularly, preferably on two separate external drives. It’s not if your drive will fail, it is when.
  2. But more importantly…..Don’t practice postponement. Postponing backing up some of my files has potentially cost me losing them forever.

Don’t postpone anything. Do it now. Don’t wait until tomorrow. You never know what is around the corner. I’m not talking just about work and technology. Don’t postpone telling that special person you love them. Don’t postpone the special day with your children. Don’t postpone the travel adventure you have planned. Don’t postpone having fun now for later.

Don’t postpone your life. Live it now.

Michael

Practicing Patience

I needed loads of patience this afternoon. I turned on my relatively new desktop computer and within minutes it completely locked up. When I rebooted, it came up with the error, keyboard failure. It technical terms, that means you are screwed.

So, after an hour on the phone with Dell support the conclusion was that the CMOS battery (about the size of quarter) had low voltage. Technically speaking, that’s not a good thing. Dell is shipping another battery in 3 days. It’s supposed to solve all of the problems. Fantastic!

While I was on the phone with Dell, I booted up my laptop and it promptly froze and crashed almost immediately. But, I was able to get that one working. Then my cell phone had problems connecting to the cellular network. Oh yeah and I woke up at 5:55 a.m. this morning with a massive and very painful charlie-horse in my calf. :-)

Deep breaths!

I was calm and patient the entire time I was dealing with my computer issue. I just went with it. In the past I would have been angry, impatient and generally in a foul mood. Now after years of working on this aspect of myself, I just relax and flow with whatever happens.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have parts of my life that give me challenges and test my patience. I view those as opportunities to uncover areas I need to develop patience with and practice the technique of “going with the flow.”

It’s all good. I really (and usually) believe that. When I do get upset now, it typically doesn’t last that long as I can quickly transmute that energy to something more pleasant.

Have a great day! 

Michael

Paris – Day 3 – Sacred Ground

Note: I wrote this blog post on a plane using cellular technology. I love this kind of stuff. You can be connected any where and any time now. The world will never be the same. (for the better of course!)

After the Louvre we took a bus again to the Montmartre area and began walking the streets again. We stopped at just about anything that looked interesting, which in this area can be quite a lot. We finally meandered over to the Funicular (spelling?) so that we could ride it to the top to visit the Basilica at Sacre Coeur. It sits on the highest point in Paris and you can see for miles around.

Once at the top, we were amazed at how peaceful this place felt even though there were hundreds of people milling around and musicians playing. It felt sacred and we sat on the steps of the Basilica and soaked it all in. I love to “people watch” and this was a good place to do that as there were people from all over the world here.

We went inside the church and walked around while listening to the nuns sing. The sound quality was incredible and the church was beautiful. The peaceful feeling continued inside. After a short stay in the church we went outside and listened to a musician playing some Bob Marley.

Strolling around the streets near Sacre Coeur is a lot of fun. There are a number of great places to eat, lots of art, lots of interesting people and many places to relax and have good conversation with friends. After a nice glass of wine and a crepe (fromage and jambon) we continued walking around the area until it was late. We were somewhat subdued during the train ride back to the hotel mostly because we had done a lot today and it was the last night in Paris.

As stated in earlier posts, departures can be challenging whether they be from friends or places, but the memories never leave.

The adventure continues!

Paris – Day 3

Note: I wrote this blog post on a plane using cellular technology. I love this kind of stuff. You can be connected any where and any time now. The world will never be the same. (for the better of course!)

We started off our last day in Paris by having an espresso and croissant near the Louvre. After we were fortified with the proper French nutritional supplements, we walked to the museum. The Louvre itself is quite impressive in scale. The buildings are enormous and go on for several city blocks. The entire collection has over 35,000 pieces of art. According to one of the guides, if you stood for 3 seconds at each piece of art, it would take you over 3 months (24 hours a day) to see everything. It’s hard to fathom. I like to call what we did in the Louvre, a running tour. We walked for about 4 hours and tried to see a little bit of things we liked including Italian, French, and Dutch paintings spanning several centuries. We also saw ancient Egyptian art and artifacts plus Mesopotamia and Levan cultures. We ran out of time to see the statue collection. That will have to be another trip.

Highlights for us included the Venus de Milo and Rembrandt paintings. The Mona Lisa was obviously a popular work and there were hundreds crowding around. Patience gave us the opportunity to stand near the painting and observe it from several feet away. I had always heard that the eyes of the Mona Lisa follow you no matter where you stand. I tried it from several angles and I have to say that the stories are true. I tried this with several other paintings and none had the effect that the Mona Lisa had. How did Rembrandt do that? I find that fascinating.

Finally, after our feet were complaining and our heads were packed full of art, we stopped in one of the Louvre cafes and had a late lunch.

We are now off to sacred ground which I will detail in the next blog post.