I Want This for Dragon*Con!

There is a (not-so) new HDD camcorder from Sony: the DCR-SR100.

The estimated ship date is May 12, so the only review up is a preview on camcorderinfo.

If this unit does well in low-light, this will be the camcorder to get for Dragon*Con (in downtown Atlanta September 1st - 4th this year).  My first other consideration was the JVC Everio series- but even their 2nd generation cameras as getting pretty bad reviews for image quality...

And if both of these still suck and cost $1000 in 5 months from now, I will just get a Panasonic PV-GS500 and use archaic DV tape media... (I have rejected the mini-DVD format as it also leaves much to be desired in the area of video quality).

...or the Sony HDR-HC3 HD Camcorder that can record 1080i... <drool>

New Item for the Casa...

The roommie is trying to get the house all finished up, so she is wanting to install the house-wide audio system I wired for during construction.  During this, we chanced upon an auction on eBay a SpeakerCraft MZC-66 multi-zone controller with keypads..  She bid and won- now we have to find out if the deal is legit or not as it was a fairly new seller (2 months) and his score was 2 (no negatives).  The auction was for about $800 less than the going price on the Internet...

If this is a legit auction then I will be very busy one weekend coming up- both tying in those extra CAT5 cables I ran in the walls and trying to locate the speaker cables in the ceilings!  Look for LOTS of pics and notes on this bastard if that comes to pass...

And here is the MZC-66 Manual...

Printer for Cheap!

I love the closeout sales at stores; but the odd thing is that some chain stores decide to get rid of something while the surrounding stores in the area (same chain) do not- maybe it is a locally measured movement rate that triggers this...

I picked up a HP PhotoSmart 335 printer for $60 - $26 mail-in rebate = ~$36 (takes add another $4.80 here, so say $40).  So far the printer has some awesome print quality; I picked up a 100 pack of the 'premium plus' photo paper and another ink cartridge from WalMart yesterday (everything else was closed!).  Today I chanced upon the B&W ink for this printer for $6.24 on closeout at Target- sweet!  And to thing I was going do drop $150-$200 on a very similar printer a few weeks ago...

Print tests have been very good so far- I cannot tell it is from a printer for 95% of the pints- the ones I can tell are very over-saturated images- taken incorrectly- that are more noticeable on a printed surface than on the screen. 

The printer comes with the entire range of memory card readers (even XD for my Fuji S500), and it has an optional battery and bluetooth USB dongle (which uses the PictBridge interface if you are so inclined). Print time is probably about 1 pic a minute, but it is worth the wait.

Note: on the 'premium plus' paper it is a high gloss surface and it takes a little while longer to dry- so don't stick the pictures immediately into a photo album! (I found out the hard way).  The premium plus also has a 1/4" perforated tab that you tear off when the ink is completely dry- this is used (I guess) to handle the pictures while they are wet...

The roommie picked up a HP 2550N Color LaserJet for $300, but that is another review for another time (when I get done playing with this guy!).


Awesome Proggie...

Stumbled across a good freeware album cover art download program while I was setting up my MP3s to work with Media Player 10- looks like it updates an actuall ID3 tag property and makes the album art tied to the MP3- so iTunes sees the image as well as Media player!  :o)

New Client and X51v Updates

There is a new Semagic client out that will let a person post to a blog (deigned for livejournal, but also will work with Blogger, MSN Spaces and MetaWeblog API) and includes such nice things as spell check, WYSIWYG editing, and other such things. 

Recently the author has added support for posting images to Flickr.com, Photobucket.com, or Imageshack (but no ImageEvent.com?)- and since I have been trying to update this blog with image from Flickr (their paid account is friggin awesome! unlimited storage, unlimited bandwith- and a 2GB upload/month cap)

Anyway: here it goes- a Test post:

Screen Shots of the X51v VGA Screen

Axim X51v update:

Ok, so I have had my Axim for about a week now; and I am pretty impressed - fast, great screen, awesome sound (the sound blows my G5 iPod away), and lots of expandability; I have a 2GB SD card (for music, videos, etc) and a 512MB CF flash installed (apps, DBs, etc).  I also purchased a (non-OEM) extended run battery pack from eBay- and luckily the Rhino case I bought from eBay was designed for this. I have an extra sync/charger cable, four extra styluses and some screen protectors on order (from eBay as well).


  • Awesome Screen
  • Lots of expandability
  • Great sound
  • Integrated IE browser, Outlook eMail- add in a RSS reader and you are done
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Integrated 802.11b


  • Battery life is about 3 hours (or less) even when on standby- of course, I left Bluetooth and Wifi on and there were background apps running during this.  The extended run battery makes it last most of the day, so not really an issue.
  • There is some incompatibility with Windows Mobile 5 and the older apps; I am probably getting 8/10 applications I test to run with no issue, but the other 20% are usually causing weird issues that require a rest.
  • The screen has some kind of issues when used in landscape- I noticed this when playing Age of Empires; i had trouble focusing on the screen- kind of like being in a 3D movie with those prismatic glasses and sitting too close to the front.  I noticed this again when I played a video in landscape mode.  Everything looks fine in portrait mode- I am guessing the LCD screen was not designed to be viewed at this angle...
  • I had an absolute nightmare getting ActiveSync to setup correctly:
    • There appears to be an issue (which I sort of knew about) wit Dell USB ports- I could NOT get this to sync on my work PC
    • There are occasionally issues with the Install and Windows Media 10 syncing files after everything else appears to be working; solution- uninstall and re-install; now it works great (I did use the MS website version the 2nd time and not the Dell CD version)

GPS Stuff:

I have tried iNavigate and had some issues (cannot find the VGA executable, but it will run when manually selected) and I had to rebuild XP to get MS Streets & Trips installed on my main PC (either Picassa or ACDSee 8 corrupted a good part of my HKEY\Local User registry- I am leaning towards blaming Picassa)- but both are installed (to CF) and I have been able to run them (iNav also has a great demo mode). 

So far both look like decent GPS programs (I am still waiting on my Pharos Bluetooth base) but iNav provides 3D driving and is a lot easier to figure out what to do if I do need to glance at it.  The audio prompts are also MUCH better on iNav as well.

Overall, this is a great Pocket PC.  It ran me about $400 with shipping and the extras from Dell- but that is much less than I could have bought a comparable HP off the shelf at Frys. 

In comparison to the Nokia 770, it is dramatically faster and will do all the functionality of the 770 for about the same price; the screen is sharp, but the Nokia 770 was much better.  I think the trade of speed and the extra application/game base for the Nokia's screen (and Linux) makes the Axim a much better deal.

The only things I would have added to make it perfect would be a camera (at least 2MB) and a GSM phone with EDGE support- however a Skype client may overcome the phone issue- so long as I can stay within range of a hotspot!  :o)


Harmony for box 360

I picked up the Harmony Remote for the box 360 yesterday- this is a replacement for the Harmony 659 I purchased a few months ago. Both are similar, so why am I upgrading? The button placement and weight of the Harmony 360 remote are MUCH better- and I am planning to (eventually) get an xBox 360!

There is also a new Harmony 550 remote I saw at BestBuy that looks much like the Harmony 360, save for a few differences:

  • Black body instead of white
  • Blue backlight instead of greeen
  • A few more buttons in place of hte X, Y, A, B buttons
  • Ability to control 15 devices instead of 12
  • $30 more for the 550

I doubt I will ever need more than 12 devices (I currently have 8, including my xBox and PS2) and I prefer the green backlight to the blue, so I went with the 360.

So far... The remote is MUCH more comfortable to use! There are more physical buttons (54 vs. 51) but there are two less 'soft-key' buttons (4 vs. 6)- however the few addional buttons are much welcomed items for Windows Media Center and other PVRs- such as skip forward and skip back- and a back key as well. The four xBox keys are cutomizable (X, Y, A, B) and can be used for other DVR featurs as well (like Live TV, Channel Guide, etc).

The harmony remotes can be as easy or as complicated to setup as you desire; The xBox 360 remote comes with a v5.1 of the setup software that has a localy run GUI overlay to walk you through the setup on the members.harmonyremote.com website- i.e. you enter the information in a local 'wizard' program and it is transferred to the Harmony Remote site for programming/downloads.

It has taken me about 4 hours to tweak the remote and I have it almost exactly where I want it- but there do seem to be some caveats with the remote; for example, the TV power setting works fine on my 'Comcast PVR' setting, not on my 'Media Center PVR' setting- even though it is using the same IR command from the Logitech libriary. I need up having to use the learning feature of the remote to replace the IR command for that one particular option.

Other reviews:

Techage review of the Harmony for the xBox 360
Krunker's review of the Harmony for the xBox 360

In other news, for anyone looking for a good deal on a used Marmong remote, my old Logitech Harmony 659 will be on eBay shortly! :o)