Where Does Hoody Get His Hoodies?

…From Crooked Brook of course. Over the years I’ve ordered quality products for my family like the soccer hoodies in the picture below from Crooked Brook. Due to my namesake ;-) I sometimes get asked by friends and site visitors if I wear hoodies and if so, where do I get them? I’d like to take this opportunity to post some links to a few of Crooked Brook’s products. They sell much more than hoodies as you’ll notice when you visit their site! Everything I’ve ever received from them has been of the highest quality. They have great in-house designers that I’ve worked with (and you can too) to take your idea and convert it into great custom clothing product!

Custom T-Shirts
Custom Hats
Golf Shirts
Polo Shirts
Promotional Polo Shirts
Embroidered Shirts
Logo Embroidery
Embroidery Designs
Embroidery Digitizing
Fleece Blankets
Wholesale Fleece Blankets
Sweatshirt Blankets
Wholesale Sweatshirt Blankets
Embroidered Patches
Embroidered Jackets
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Skype Video Calling for iPhone Released!

Finally! Needless to say, this will overtake FaceTime as the primary video calling application…if FaceTime even really had a foothold at all. Whether you enjoy looking at your callers mug or not, you have to admit that this is an overall score for technology and communications!

Link to full Engadget story

Google Nexus S Debut

Engadget has a great review of the new Google Nexus S. The original (and deprecated) Nexus by Google was a solid phone and my personal favorite Android handheld. I personally would rather have an Android phone with the ability to receive the latest version of Android (2.3 in this case) than have to wait for the OEM to adopt it (HTC, Motorola, etc…). Not to mention the manufacturers that discontinue a model and cease to provide updates. :-/…that’s just weak sauce.

The latest Nexus looks to definitely sleeker and more stylish. However, the tech specs seem a little underwhelming to me. :-(

At the end of the day, Android is kicking ass in sales figures and this phone will no doubt pile onto those figures. Buuuuut, I’m still not enticed to leave the cozy walled Apple iPhone world where I currently reside. With every Android release, it gets more and more compelling!

Good job on this one (well both, the phone and the OS) Google!

Engadget Nexus S Review

Google Has PacMan Fever!


As you have probably already noticed, Google is paying homage to PacMan’s 30th birthday! Happy Birthday little yellow man! I can only imagine the national (and international) productivity hit being taken over this PLAYABLE logo!


…..GAME OFF…back to work! :-(

AT&T Femtocell FAIL

Right about the same time AT&T unleashes its latest marketing battle cry of “97% U.S. Coverage”, they hypocritically release their femtocell product. Femtocell used to be known as Access Point Base Station and is basically a mini cellular station. It provides cellular coverage over a very short distance. Femtocell’s purpose is to expand and to enhance a provider’s cellular coverage in an area(s) where it otherwise would be limited or unavailable. So why would AT&T need something like this while claiming 97% coverage in the United States? Well, obviously Luke Wilson isn’t really an AT&T customer, otherwise he would look a little MORE awkward trying to convince us of AT&T’s claims of blanketing U.S. coverage.

Before I start to bash AT&T and it’s femtocell launch…I want to say that technically, it’s a great idea! Think about it. You’re a provider who has some spots in the country where you lack adequate  cell coverage. You have customers that while frustrated, continue to pay for your service in these areas. They have broadband at home, can add a femtocell unit and suddenly expand your footprint, provide them (and their neighbors) better coverage on your behalf. All of this while not even impacting your infrastructure since the traffic from the femotocell rides over your broadband…which could be AT&T DSL or possibly some other provider!

Awesome huh? It could be…except AT&T decided that they had a better idea on how to implement the program. For the low low price of $150, you too can help AT&T improve their network! So when you buy and install the femtocell device, and with your cell traffic now going over your Comcast broadband connection, you don’t get charged minutes on your service plan…right? I mean, the minutes you are charged for on your plan are basically to pay for the AT&T cellular infrastructure. Not so fast, even when using your newly paid for mini-cell station, AND providing the backhaul, you are still charged as if you were using the AT&T network. :-/ …well at least your friends and neighbors can take advantage of your new (and paid for) mini-cell site right? well, no. kinda. You have a limited number (10) of users that you can add via the web to access your site. But you have to manually add/remove users, making this functionality a real PITA.

Will Smith of Tested.com (former MaxPC fame) articulated his frustration much better than I was able to. Read his rant here.

Should AT&T give this device to current subscribers for free? Perhaps no. There needs to be *some* barrier to prevent everyone (read: people who don’t need it) from requesting one. $20, $30, $50? Here is what I would do: Customers that are in *known* fringe areas and have confirmed logged complaints against service coverage problems should be issues the device for free. Others, well, how about $30. AND, all calls over the femtocell should be service plan minute-FREE. Access to the device should also be controlled by the owner, since they also have to pay for their broadband and should be able to determine who is able to piggy-back onto it. There should be a setting to make the device totally OPEN, and another to set connectivity restrictions, but not by specific device, maybe by a max number; 10, 20, 50, 100. All you need is to be in a densly populated area and have 1,000 users connect to your cell station and consume all your bandwidth.

Just think though, if AT&T would do this correctly, they would be patching the holes in their network, increase consumer loyalty, and save on infrastructure costs. But instead, some product dude sitting in their cubical is being pressed to meet numbers to fill in the gaps from lost POTS revenue. :-/


iPad – Love It Or Hate It

As an interested party, I’ve been keeping up on all the hoop-lah regarding Apple’s impending iPad launch. This post is intended to express my opinion and personal interest in a tablet iPad. Let me start by saying I am not an Apple fan boy (image to left was created to incite sarcasm as opposed to express position). I consider myself brand agnostic when it comes to technology (OK, maybe not in the case of cameras where I lean toward Canon). I’ve been following the tablet market for years, watched Mr Jobs unveil his latest wares, and pre-ordered my very own.

The blogosphere is very hot-and-cold on the iPad…actually, mostly cold. It seems that even though Steve Jobs stated where he feels this product fits in the market (between a smartphone and a laptop), people can’t seem to grasp it’s usefulness. Those who have a laptop, regard it as pointless, especially those with a netbook. Cost seems to be another factor. $500-$800 is no small entry fee for a ticket into a confusing tech marketspace.

I get all that. This product fills a niche market. For those people (like me), this is the PERFECT device (I’ll get into that more in a bit). For those not in-the-niche, it just doesn’t make sense…and proponents can’t seem to convince/sell them on it either. At least not yet.

Additional iPad bashing includes things like:

  • It’s first-gen, wait for v2 and pass on the bugs. I get this, believe me I do. However, here is my stance:  The OS isn’t new, the device is somewhat (IMO) an iteration of the iPhone/iTouch. The chip/screen/etc…are carry-overs. I see this from a reliability perspective as evolutionary. Will Apple release v2 with all sorts or cool features that I’ll want. I’m sure of it. If so, I will eBay my iPad in a year and get an upgrade. Apple products have traditionally done fairly well in the residual value department.
  • The price will drop shortly after it launches. Maybe. But so does ALL my tech gear! My $1,500 laptop purchased a year ago is worth about $500 now if I’m lucky. Lots of the naysayers are citing the iPhone release and it’s $200 price drop 30 days following launch. Hmmm. Again, no one knows what the market will do in the segment following the iPad launch. I think Apple is pricing this device already at a competitive price and lower than initially expected. Would I be upset if it dropped $50-$100 a couple months after I buy it? Maybe. $200? Probably. Will is cause me to wait? No!
  • It’s just a big iPhone/iTouch. Is that bad? I LOVE my iPhone! It has changed how I stay connected. It wasn’t my first smart phone. I’ve had others. I like to equate it this way; When I had my previous smart phone, it was convenient to perform about 50% of the functions of my laptop. Meaning, for 50% of the things I wanted to do, I didn’t need to schlep into my office and grab my PC. The iPhone took that percentage up to 80. The iPad? Possibly 95%.
  • I already have a laptop. :-/ My laptop, as nice as it is, isn’t always convenient. I don’t like to read text for an extended period of time (it gets hot). Movies are good, but not easy in a hotel room or on a plane. taking in and out of sleep mode for a 30 second mail check…really?
  • Why would I want to surf 80% of the Internet (lack of Flash support). Honestly, this bothered me at first. Then I thought back to how many times in the past year has not having Flash on my iPhone impeded my experience? Maybe twice. Is it a factor? Yes. A big one that will deter me? No.
  • There will be other/better tablets releasing soon. I hope so! I love competition, it drives innovation. But I have to go with experience on this one. Apple takes the gold star for hardware/software integration and ease of use…ie: polish. It will work! Are we (am I) confident that the Windows devices will be seamless? No, that’s proven through history. Chromium? Come on, it holds tons of promise but is still in its infancy. I am very confident that the iPad will look/feel/perform like that of a veteran device on day one!
  • No camera? come on… This bugs me the most. I was so hoping to be able to Skype with my family from this device. Maybe v2. ;-)
  • Honestly, I’ve been wanting (and waiting) for a tablet device for about 6 years now. Up until now, there hasn’t been a device that meets MY requirements. Up until now, tablets have been laptops with swivel screens and maybe pen-based screen support. 2010 is going to be an exciting year for tablet devices, and Apple is leading the way. Will they ultimately win? dunno. Will they have the best device? dunno. But I will tell you what I’ve been looking for and what I like in this device:

  • Instant on. Sounds silly right? I mean, is waiting for the lappy to come out of sleep mode really that bad? YES IT IS! I’m on my couch watching TV, commercial comes on, I want to pop in, check mail, a few other things and pop out. Time is of the essence!
  • Handiness (word?). Compact, easy to carry, easy to hold/use, battery not always dead (like my laptop).
  • Convenience. OK, I guess this is similar to “handiness”, but I travel, this device will make consuming media (incl. movies) soooo much better when traveling. Again, if you don’t travel frequently, this wouldn’t be a requirement for you. Load up my movies, books, magazines, newspapers (still waiting to see what the acceptance will be for this) and I have easy access to all my content at the airport, on the plane, in the hotel, etc…
  • eBook/eMag/ePaper/eThis/eThat. I held off in 2009 in buying an eReader. I realize it’s the way we are heading from a book reading perspective. I couldn’t get my head around black-and-white. For books, it’s cool. But I want to consume all my media on the same device and can’t imagine the magazines and newspapers not being in color. Think of the potential here. Books/Mage/Papers can evolve into Harry Potter-like moving pictures and videos. Book edition updates that don’t result in having to throw away the old version….just install the ‘update’. The potential here is enormous…and exciting.
  • It’s a big iPhone/iTouch. Again, I love my iPhone. Some tasks can become tedious on the small screen though. I can now remote desktop and not have to scroll the screen, web pages will render better and more completely, the world of mobile gaming changes with these new resolutions.
  • My goal for this post isn’t to convince YOU that this is a device you must have. It’s simply to help in understanding WHY some people are excited for the iPad. I know expectations are high. People will expect high sales volumes. I don’t think we will see that. This device could possibly land on a future 10-worst-Apple-failures like Apple TV. But you know what? I know some folks who have Apple TV and don’t consider it a failure. In fact, they love it. Why? Because it meets a need, solves a problem for them. That’s all this is. It’s another device that may not be something accepted by 80% of the public, but meet (and hopefully) exceed the needs and expectations of the millions of people within this niche market Apple is bravely addressing before all others. Don’t hate it for that.

    iPhone App of the Month

    If you have ever been abducted (mentally) by one of PopCap’s games, PvZ will not disappoint! While I’ve played this previously on the PC, this game was meant for the mobile platform. And at the low-low price of $2.99, it’s a bargain!

    Using your green thumb you must protect your house against the impending hoard of approaching zombies. While the zombies come in many different flavors, so does your plant inventory, and you must select plants that will defend best based on the situation. Front yard, backyard, roof, they never seem to stop.

    This game is entertaining for all age groups and can be purchased directly from your iPhone or via iTunes HERE.

    G-Unit, G-Force, G-Strings, and now G-Fiber

    Google has recently announced their FTTH (Fiber To The Home) effort. With 1Gbps super-broadband service to your home you could serve up all your questionable Anime content in lickedy-split fashion. Google hasn’t specifically said where they plan to trial this new service but expects it to be available in a small number of locations in the U.S..

    It looks as if Google is planning this rollout as an experiment into their giant lab (AKA America). I guess this isn’t really new, most of their products are released in sand-box fashion. Google is no stranger to throwing the spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. Remember their WiFi trials? Maybe not, that pasta didn’t stick.

    Not many companies have the ability to trial cool new things without a business case as Google is. So from this perspective, I am grateful for their innovation attempts.

    Business Week posted a story guesstimating the costs of this roll-out. Below is a quote from the story (full story linked to the left):

    Google wants to offer 1 gigabit-per-second speeds to some 50,000 to 500,000 people. At 2.6 people per household, that roughly translates to 20,000 to 200,000 homes. Our friend Ben Schachter, Internet analyst with Broadpoint AmTech, estimates that it will cost Google between $3,000 and $8,000 per home, or roughly $60 million to $1.6 billion, depending on the final size and footprint of the network. If Google reaches, say, 100,000 homes, it would cost the company about half a billion dollars.

    Interesting. We know that Google has about 25 Billion in cash so this effort is well within their means. But don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Just look at how long Verizon has taken to lay down FiOS, and AT&T U-Verse, which isn’t even FTTH (AT&T took a FTTC (C=Curb) approach which reduces the cost and decreases roll-out times).

    I’m still a little fuzzy on their model. Maybe they are looking to take their control of data to a lower layer? Should the MSOs and LECs be scared? Maybe. Everyone is (or should be) aware that the residential digital service anchor is broadband. Both voice and video are slowly but surely converting to data-based Internet-driven technologies (VoIP, Hulu, etc..). In the next decade it will be all about robust broadband to the home. Hey…that’s what this story is about! Ahhhhhh, maybe Google is on to something here. ;-)

    Surveys, Polls, and Data…OH MY!

    I’m a huge fan of both qualitative and quantitative data, mostly because if analyzed correctly it can paint a very useful picture. However, data can be also be dangerous. How many times have you heard this from someone: “I read on [insert website here] that 75% of people think…”?

    When considering data one must understand how the data was gathered, from whom the data was gathered, and from how many entities sampled.

    Surveys can be a great way for a company to obtain data on its product(s), or a way to understand consumer wants and needs. A couple recent examples I want to present are: 1) The 2009 Engadget Awards and 2) Steam Hardware Survey

    Both surveys produce lots of data in their results. Engadget is a survey completed by the user directly from their website. There are lots of categories and technology products to vote for. Below is a snippit of a few:

    I consider myself fairly acute to the latest tech products. However, I was a little surprised to find some of Engadget’s survey questions…well…leading. For example, in the ‘Wireless Device or Technology of the Year’ category (see above), I feel like I am looking at the old Sesame Street bit entitled ‘One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other‘. The options are 3 wireless technologies, 2 consumer electronic charging devices and a home automation product. HUH? WTF?! Did they not have enough Wireless Technologies to have their own category? AND…the choice that is currently leading is a technology that while only recently officially *certified*, has been around for ages. I voted for MiFi BTW. ;-)

    Also, ‘Tablet PC of the Year’ (see above). There are/were tablets before the iPad? hehe. I scratch my head wondering if the Lenovo is simply in the lead because no one knows ANY of the devices and simply chose it due to length of characters and inclusion of the word “capacitive multitouch”. I know I did.

    Finally, and definitely not least (visit Engadget’s survey to see the rest) we have the ‘E-reader of the Year’. Yea Baby! The newest and arguably one of the biggest subjects in the tech world today. I don’t think there is any question the Kindle 2 (leading in the polls) should win this one. But wait, close on its heels is the Nook. The Nook? Wasn’t that released in very limited inventory only weeks prior to year end? Bravo Nook for capturing the hearts of the voters! You’re almost like a Republican with a Pickup truck!

    One of my favorite surveys is the yearly Steam Hardware Survey. As a self proclaimed GAMER, I like to see where I fare in comparison to my running-and-gunning rivals around the world. For those of you not in the know, Steam is an online distribution medium for PC games. It’s an application that allows you to shop, pay for, and download games instantly. It’s also a community in the fact that it has built in friends lists, chat, and voice functionality. It allows you to see what games your friends are playing and join them (if you also have the game of course). Honestly, it’s great. Since Steam I can’t think of the last PC game I actually purchased at a brick-and-mortar store or other etailer in years.

    Now that you know what Steam is, know that they have a mechanism for sucking all the technical data from your PC and sharing it with the world! Scared? I’m not, I love it! this method is harder for people to manipulate the results. In the end it produces more accurate data.

    Would I use it to drive the optimum resolution I should build my businesses website? No. Would I use it to determine whether I should optimize my application to support multiple core CPUs? Maybe. Like I said earlier, take all this data with a grain of salt and consider the source (and sample). ;-)

    Click on the image to visit the Steam Survey results…and feel free to consume the data anyway you see fit!