You may have noticed my absence on the GeekTonic blog over the past several months or perhaps you didn’t. I’ve been simply buried in work and life as often happens at times and since I run this blog at break-even at best, I sometimes have to put it on hold to keep up with the rest of my life. Enough about that, I wanted to spend my first post back doing a bit of rambling about things I’ve been doing and thinking about during this winter/spring break from my favorite GeekTonic readers.
Where Have I Been?
Why thanks for asking. During the holiday season my family took a nice Caribbean cruise. We had with us a little tech including the iPad, my Verizon MiFi, the iPhone 4 (gotta stay connected to work even on vacation these days), a nice Kodak PlaySport videocam (my daughters Christmas gift) that records underwater and above water pretty nicely, my Kindle and my trusty old Panasonic compact zoom camera. I left behind the work laptop and survived on the iPad for very light work duty. This is probably one of the smaller piles of tech I’ve carried with me even on a vacation trip like this and I can safely say I still took more than I needed.
I also spend countless hours driving (and riding) over 6,000 miles across the Midwest region of the United States during as many snowstorms as you can imagine. This was a work trip so I had with me my work-issued Lenovo X201 (love this laptop), the iPad (and iPad2 for the last few trips), the Verizon MiFi, iPhone 4, random compact external hard drives (lots of data carried along with us), two projectors and a nice compact Panasonic RF speaker for presentations. Most of the time I was working on this trip, but the iPad gave me a way for me to carry along some movies & TV shows converted from my SageTV as well as the perfect mobile internet device. I used the iPhone for the usual things plus some lower-quality photo taking. Oh and a Garmin GPS to keep us from getting lost with the added benefit of telling us when we should arrive at our next destination for the day. I carried along tons of cords, USB drives and connectors since most of this travel was by car and weight and size of my geek gadgets wasn’t an issue.
My Favorite Tech – Still
When you’re extremely busy like I have been over the past four months or so you really learn what tech devices are important to you because those are the ones you still use/want during limited time. Here’s the things I still used on a regular basis during my busy season:
- iPad – This could be any tablet I guess, but the iPad is the one I chose (twice actually) and I use it more today than I did in the first several months of owning it. It turns on instantly, has replaced my newspaper, laptop for web browsing and even video watching. It’s far from perfect and yes, it’s still more of a consumption device for me not to mention a want – not a need. But I love it and use it daily.
- iPhone – Again, I’m on the Apple thing but I’d probably be just as happy with an Android phone. But the smartphone has become a business necessity as well as very convenient thing to have with me at all times.
- SageTV – My Home Theater PC software/hardware of choice continues to be SageTV. I still think Windows MediaCenter is nice and CableCard keeps it in the game, but I want more – and thankfully the Hauppauge HD-PVR and more recently Hauppauge Colossus along with SilicondDust HDHR tuning devices take care of the digital cable thing for me. And more importantly to me, SageTV gives me all the digital media things I want in the way I want them. Throw in the fact that SageTV has THE best extender solution on the market and you see where I’m coming from. That being said, I fear SageTV is taking too long in several areas and is slipping – not behind Microsoft, but behind even CableCompanies and in other ways if they don’t hurry up. More on that soon.
- Sonos – My gosh I think I love Sonos more than any other device. That may sound silly to you, but this wireless networked music system is something MrsGeekTonic and I use all the time. Since we use Sirius & Pandora with it so much we play the music we want when we want it througout the house. It’s a crazy-simple solution that just works and we both love it!
What Else Has Been Going On at the GeekTonic Home?
I have had some time for messing around outside of work and travel.
- I installed a new SDD Drive, the Intel X25-M SSD as my SageTV HTPC OS drive. The improvement has been significant for reboots, program startups and even UI snappiness for SageTV. Really happy with my choice on the Intel too.
- I sold my iPad 1 for about $20 less than I had paid for it and purchased a new iPad 2. WiFi only was for me as I didn’t care about the 3G (have that via Verizon MiFi & iPhone already) and don’t care much about the GPS not being inside the WiFi only versions. I was pleasantly surprised by the thinner & slightly lighter form factor of the new iPad.
- My DIY Digital Photo Frame died. I haven’t had time to investigate, but sadly my awesome DIY Digital Photo Frame just stopped working. I suspect it’s a hard drive gone bad, but haven’t had time to investigate.
- Watched some 3D TV on my Panasonic TV. I watched Avatar and other 3D movies on the Pany in 3D and while I didn’t purchase the TV for that 3D capability it is kinda nice. Avatar was beautiful on the TV at home.
- Netflix – Throughout most of this time I kept up the Netflix subscription. This wasn’t the smartest of decisions as I definitely didn’t get my monies worth. I’m still scratching my head on why I didn’t put that on a long vacation.
- TheDaily on the iPad along with the WSJ on the iPad kept me updated on the news. I check out my continually weakening local newspaper – the Kansas City Star on their website (again using the iPad) and throw in some Atlantic, NYT and other publications as well since I’m kind of a news junkie.
- I transcoded a bunch of Blu-ray’s from my SageTV to my iPad and watched them while travelling. Even when I connected to my hotel TV using the Apple HD connector the picture quality was surprising pretty good – much better than the stupid hotel TV feed.
Whats Next for the GeekTonic Blog?
As you have already figured out, I do this blog for my enjoyment – because I enjoy tech gadgets and I love to share. If it were about being the first to publish an article or about making money, I wouldn’t be typing this today cause… well because I don’t have the time or energy to keep that up. But I do plan to continue sharing what I know and learn about technology – things like Home Theater PC, Mobile Media Gadgets, TV and Movies and even some new stuff like fitness tech. But I’m still on the fence on whether I’ll keep up the What’s on TV stuff as that has been pretty time consuming and I’m not convinced it’s loved by readers as much as I first thought.
I would still LOVE to have some guest posts from readers like you. Something like this excellent article written by one of my favorite readers – Clift. Better yet, I’m open to having a co-author of GeekTonic who would sign on for more regular writing if they have the time. The money is really bad (like zero) but I do throw in some perks for writers once in a while and it gives you an outlet to write something that roughly 1,000 – 7,000 eyeballs a day (sometimes more) will see – not to shabby exposure if you ask me. If you’re interested and willing to stick to the topics GeekTonic focuses on send me a note.
I may not be around every day, but I’m not going anywhere – so stay tuned!