This is still the Tour de FRANCE, right?

It looks like the 2007 Tour de France is going to start in London. This just seems to rub me the wrong way. I know the route currently meanders into some of the other countries adjacent to France. I can see where that’s allowable since I always think of countries in Europe in relation to other states here in the US. I think the organizers of the Tour are going a bit far in allowing the race to start all the way across the English Channel.

Maybe US cycling fans can rally up enough money and support to have the 2008 Tour start in New York City. I hear the organizers can be bought. We could probably get them to rename the race from the Tour de France to the Tour de Monde if we can get enough worldwide support.

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And So Begins the Migration…

In case you haven’t heard (what, do you live on Saturn?), Apple released their new Intel based iMacs and MacBook Pros. Now I won’t burden you with a rant on how shitty the name MacBook is. You can probably read that elsewhere. I will tell you that two listings for G5 iMacs popped up on the Nashville Craigslist site within an hour of the Stevenote. I don’t doubt for a second that these won’t be last to pop up there either. I think now is a good time to buy a G5 iMac. You should be able to get something for a very good value that will last at least 3 years.

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Christmas Money + Bingo Win = IKEA Shopping Spree

My wife and I have been planning on driving down to Atlanta to buy some more of our bedroom furniture from IKEA. Luckily we picked a good time to go. We both received nice sums of cash for Christmas from our respective families, and my wife lucked out in our first ever trip to the Bingo Hall in Blue Ridge, GA. She wasn’t the big winner for the night ($500), but she was the only Bingo for the game she won. Now we have a little extra fundage for our upstairs. That makes this an even better holiday season.

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New PowerBook G3

I am now the proud owner of a PowerBook. It may be an old, long in the tooth PowerBook G3, but it’s still a PowerBook dammit. There are some people who consider this model to be one of Apple’s best in terms of industrial design and usability.

The reason I’m now part of the PowerBook in-crowd is because my aunt just purchased a new iBook after she ran into some problems with this machine. The so called “Mac Genius” who waited on her at the Apple Store in Nashville told her she would need to buy a new hard drive and reinstall OS 9 to get the PowerBook running again. She didn’t feel like going through that process. I told her I could help her out with the upgrades and reinstall—she offered it to me instead.

After picking up this machine from her house last week, I powered this sucker on to see if I could diagnose the problem. It seemed to boot up fine, which led me to believe that the hard drive was intact. It was only after the Finder tried to load that this PowerBook locked up. I promptly looked the error message up in Google to see if there were any answers out on the Interweb. Lucky for me the first result that popped up offered a solution. So after about 15 minutes of work I had this laptop back up and running. Who’s the “Mac Genius” now?

After getting the PB running again, I decided to do a little research on installing Tiger and setting up wireless networking with it. It seems that these Powerbook G3’s run Tiger just fine. I did go out and buy a new 512MB ram stick from MacAuthority here in town. I knew 64MB just wasn’t going to cut it. I also found this article on “Pismos” at LowEndMac which mentioned this Belkin 802.11g wireless card as being compatible with AirPort. The only thing left is to upgrade the hard drive once I buy a new one for my Mac mini.

I’m pretty excited about this new PowerBook (well, new to me at least). I’ve never owned a laptop, let alone one that had wireless Internet access. I think this will allow me to post more to my blog now that I don’t have to tied down to my desktop. It’s also going to come in handy for traveling and to use as a portable workstation. It may not be super powerful, but it’ll be enough for what I want to get out of a portable machine.

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World of Warcraft Owns Me

I’ve been a bit consumed lately by the succubus that is Azeroth. I downloaded the demo for WoW back about a week before Thanksgiving. I haven’t stopped playing it since. I was so addicted during the demo, I made my mom go out on Thanksgiving weekend to pick up the retail copy of WoW at Best Buy. If that’s not sick, I don’t know what is. I do have two pretty decent characters to show for my absence around here. I have a level 16 Troll Hunter and a level 8 Tauren Druid. Hopefully I’ll get back to posting on a more regular basis (regular for me anyway). Until then, For the Horde!

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Pro Bowl Favoritism

Well, it looks like the annual Pro Bowl teams have been announced. I never really expected the Titans to get more than one player selected this year. Unfortunately, it seems the Titans most deserving player, Kyle Vanden Bosch, was snubbed by both the players and coaches. The fans, on the other hand, actually cared enough to take a look at his stats and performance this season. They didn’t just blindly pick the same names that are always in the Pro Bowl year in and year out.

Keith Bulluck remained very polite and congratulatory during his interviews yesterday. Keith more than likely wanted to call “bullshit” on the whole process, but he thought better of it since I’m sure he would like to go back to Hawaii one day.

“Those guys that went, I’m sure they deserved to go because of how they’ve been playing and the fact that their teams are winning.”

Yeah Keith, I’m sure Jason Taylor deserves to go to his umpteenth Pro Bowl since the Dolphins are so stellar this year. The Pro Bowl voting is such crap. Every year it’s the same guys. It’s sort of like the local elections—the coaches and players keep voting for the same names no matter what. It’s a great system.

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In All My Widescreen Glory

Desktop Screen Cap

I finally opened the wallet and grabbed one of the Dell 2005FPW flat-panel displays while they were on special this week. My wife and I have been talking about purchasing a new display ever since we bought our Mac mini in August. We’d been thinking about “rollin’ deep” with 20“ Apple Cinema Display (ACD), but we were also considering the Dell as an option. The major plus about the ACD is that it would have totally kept the Apple look and feel consistent. The only bad thing about it is the dreaded ”Apple Premium“. Was it really worth $350 more to get a display that completely matched my system?

As you can tell, I’m not so blinded by the allure of Apple. The 2005FPW is, for all intent and purposes, the same display as the ACD. I just didn’t feel like getting road hard and put up wet over it. This display rocks so far. It makes my creaky 19” CRT seem like a pile of sludge. I hadn’t realized how bad that monitor was getting. I have a feeling my wife will think the same thing once she puts some time in on the computer this weekend.

Rating so far: 8.5/10

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Entertainment Execs = Boneheads

This story in Variety really pisses me off. Do the suits/morons that work in the entertainment business have any semblance of a clue? Their panties are getting all in a bunch just because TiVo is going to offer out-of-the-box support for downloading shows to iPods and PSPs. I say right on TiVo.

There are quite a few programs out in the wild right now that will allow consumers to do just this very thing. TiVo gets my applause (Hurry up with the Mac support!) for making this easier for the non-techies out there who would love to watch Lost or Veronica Mars on their iPods while they’re on the go.

Everyday I realize that the only fair use the entertainment boneheads are interested in is what’s fair to them. Now I know why I don’t feel bad when I use BitTorrent.

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New Study Focuses on TiVo’s Buzz

I came across this post over at Lost Remote while I was catching up on my feeds, and I started thinking about how I refer to my ReplayTV when I’m posting online or talking in casual conversation. A research firm called Brandimensions points out that TiVo seems to be losing mindshare to the more generic terms “recorded” and “DVR” in place of “Tivo’d” or “TiVo”. I guess this is a double-edged sword for TiVo. On one hand it helps them keep their name out in the public, but on the other a company doesn’t want their brand name to become the generic term for a market either.

Personally, I think it has more to do with the recent rise of Home Theater PCs and DVRs offered by the cable and satellite companies. Being a ReplayTV owner, I’ve always shied away from using the term “TiVo” or “TiVo’d” in reference to my box or recording. I’m sure my ReplayTV thanks me for that.

The Brandimension study also pointed out that the market doesn’t see TiVo advancing fast enough.

The study also concluded that consumers are growing increasingly concerned with TiVo’s standalone box and its inability to record in HD or two shows simultaneously.

This is probably true in some sense. TiVo and ReplayTV have been stagnate in the field of HD recording innovations. TiVo has one unit that will allow HD recording, but it’s locked up with DirecTV service. ReplayTV, on the other hand, is totally lacking in this area. I’m also not sure if they are developing a HD capable recorder or not.

Both TiVo and ReplayTV should be able to rebound a bit once CableCards become readily available. Then they’ll easily be able to offer HD recording and become the one and only set-top box required. The only problem is getting the cable companies to agree on a standard, but that’s an entirely different ball of wax.

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Your Friendly, Family Tech Support Guy

Being the resident “Geek” in my family, most of the tech support issues that crop up in my immediate family tend to fall on my shoulders. As you may have read in my earlier post about buying a Mac mini, I’ve moved away from the Windows platform so I don’t have to play games with my OS to keep it updated and virus/spyware/malware/RATware/crapware free. I’d rather focus on using my computer as a tool rather than fighting with it in order to get it operational.

While I’ve been able to successfully move away from the menial updating tasks in my everyday computing life, I still have to deal with my family and their desire to buy the cheapest Dell they see advertised in the paper on Sunday. I’ve already set my mom up with a good base of spyware removal and blocking tools (AdAware, Spybot and SpywareBlaster), additional firewall software (ZoneAlarm), a virus scanning and removal tool (AVG Anti-Virus) and a more secure browser platform (FireFox of course).

This seems to have kept her secure for the most part; the only real problem with this set up is keeping it up-to-date with patches and new definition files. Usually this takes me an hour or so every month since my mom has no idea how to operate any of this software effectively. The best thing about this is my mom is always nice enough to feed me every time I go over to her house to help with her routine maintenance.

I’m sure there are more “geeks” out there who are, by default, the main tech support facilitator for their families. It’s not a bad thing, but I sometimes find it hard to comprehend that my mom or dad didn’t grow up doing this and they don’t care to learn about it as much as I do. They just want it to work. From here on out, I’m recommending all of my family members buy a Mac when it comes time to upgrade. That will take the burden off me after I set them up initially.

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