Monday, March 17, 2008

My mom's a teacher, my dad's a teacher...

Val's mom's a teacher, Val's dad's a teacher, and we have lots of teacher friends. I think they ALL would appreciate this video:

Those who can do. Those who can do it better teach.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Zune update...


I've had a few days with the Zune, and so far I like it. I do miss some of the "auto-generated" lists that the old GigaBeat inherited (Songs by decade, recently added, etc.). From what I've read that stuff was all in the last version of the software, but the most recent version removed it - not quite sure why. I'm ok with apps having a "simple to use" interface - especially if they perceive themselves as competing against companies such as Apple who prides themselves on being so "simple to use" they're almost useless, but for Pete's sake - leave in the OPTION of going to an advanced interface for those of us who want a bit more.

One thing I do love is the "Zune card" which - whenever you sync your device - updates the tracks and songs you're listening to. My Zune card is below the blog list - you can see what I've been listening to of late, and check out the faves I've marked. This is similar to the "Xbox Live" gamer card tag, and a great addition. They even have a facebook gadget designed to allow you to embed your Zune card in your profile - very nice.

I also tried converting a video ripped from my Tivo to the device. I downloaded a 1/2 hour TV show and converted it to the 320x240x30bps wmv format that the Zune plays back. The playback was very good - not grainy or hard to see. Words in credits of course were almost impossible to read, but in general the video and audio quality was excellent. The conversion time was pretty long though - you can do all the stuff in the background while converting but it does slow your machine down (I used Roxio Media Creator 10 to convert the video). In general if you have time to convert, you probably have time to watch it :) If I had more energy I could probably set up a machine to just "bulk convert" stuff that was ripped and that would take less time, and free up my laptop for other things. Of course having more time is like - yeah right :)

In general though I love the new player - nice headphones, good response time, very nice "touch sensitive" scroll and volume control without having to gum up the screen with my greasy fingers (the touch sensitive part is on a "dpad" like controller). And Microsoft has announced the possibility of mobile games to go with it. So far battery life has been decent, though you need to remember to turn off the wireless if you're not using it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The good.....

And the bad. I crushed my favorite mp3 player by sitting on it on the way to Robotics with the team. This was bad. It was a 60gb GigaBeat, so it held all my music, and pictures, as well as some videos, and required only Microsoft Media Player for syncing. The interface on the device was also similar to the Windows Media Center edition "twist" interface which I love. Repairing it would have been more than 2/3 the original cost, and about what you can get them for practically new on EBay. And they no longer make them. And it's just not very sturdy (As I discovered). So the good news is I got myself a Zune 80gb Generation 2 player. I went and visited and checked out all their reviews and decided the Zune was the way I wanted to go. So far I've been very happy with the software part of it. We'll see how things go with the actual device, but it looks pretty and seems to work well in the sync department... Oh and this time - I got a case with a screen cover.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Process your email - don't let it process you...

There are 5 things you can do with email. This video will show you what to do with your email so that you control your inbox, instead of having it control you. The 5 things you can do are:
  • Delete or Archive -> to ONE archive folder
  • Delegate -> forward or email task to someone else
  • Respond -> Quick response that resolves the email in whole right then
  • Defer until later -> Defer it to some other time
  • Do something about it -> Take an action as a result of the email
If you ALWAYS do one of each of these to each email AS YOU CHECK IT your box will never take control of it. Here's the original blog post.