Marco's Blog

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A Week with Amazon Echo - the Review

2014-12-17 8 min read Gadgets marco
Really? Amazon Hardware? Amazon’s hardware efforts have always been a mixed bag. Some of them, like the Kindle eReader, were a smashing success to the point of helping change the way we read. Others have been largely panned, like the Fire Phone. When Amazon delivers, it gives us the hardware we expect: state of the art, but much less expensive than other state of the art. Just like everyone else, but better. Continue reading

Living With the Puck: StraightTalk Unimax U240C Reviewed

2013-12-09 5 min read Gadgets marco
Results in Hilo: Ping: 128ms Download: 2.27 Mb/s Upload: 0.51 Mb/s San Diego: Ping: 79ms Download: 1.35 Mb/s Upload: 0.79 Mb/s My annual pilgrimage to Hilo used to be fueled by a Verizon 4G MiFi. But it made really no sense to have a $50 a month plan that I’d use only in emergencies and when I was on the islands. So I gave that up and have been looking for a replacement. Continue reading

Chinavasion Rear View Mirror Device

2013-11-19 5 min read Gadgets marco
Verdict: buy if you like installing things without good instructions. Otherwise wait until someone posts a video on YouTube, or some reseller afraid of lawsuits creates a real manual.I just got myself a new car (a Subaru Forester) and I’ve been interested for a while in getting a **dash cam**. That’s the cameras you install inside the car to keep records of what’s happened on the street you’ve driven on. I am a fairly polite and safe driver, and if anything happens, it benefits me if I have a video showing what went on. Continue reading

Nexus 5 - First Look

2013-11-07 8 min read Gadgets marco
Short version: buy it, buy it, buy it. Then get a T-Mobile SIM card (micro) and show off.Do you like your 2 year contract? Do you like the $100+ bill for such precious commodities as the unlimited long-distance calls you don’t use, while you are stuck with a hard limit of 2GB (AT&T) or 5GB (Verizon)? Do you like the mysterious charges that show up in your phone bill? I got fed up with all of that a while back. Continue reading

Review: Stainless Steel Waterproof Watch Mobile Phone W818 Black with Silver

2012-06-12 9 min read Gadgets marco
I’ve always wanted a watch phone. Why? Because it’s an incredibly practical concept. My use case may be slightly different than most people’s, but in my case a watch phone would be perfect: I constantly forget my phone everywhere, but I won’t leave a watch phone behind If the phone is on the wrist, looking at the caller ID is the same as looking at your watch; no need to find the phone or get it out of the holster In almost all cases, I don’t need the bulk of a phone; I rarely dial a phone number, and even then I’d rather do so on the computer and have Google Voice route the call I don’t like using a smartphone for voice calls; actually, like a lot of people, I don’t like voice calls at all I am on the move a lot and it would be good to have some sort of paging mechanism to warn me of impending doom A watch phone is the perfect solution for all those things, plus it can easily work as a bluetooth MP3 player. Continue reading

Withings WiFi Scale

2012-04-16 5 min read Gadgets marco
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I track my weight. Ever since the days of the fat teenager, I wanted to keep it under control. I’ve had my ups and downs, but in the past 20 years, I have never moved more than 10 pounds from my standard weight of 174. I wrote software to track my weight on a variety of platforms. It became the default thing for me to do with every new programming language and UI environment: create a widget that allows you to enter weight (and later bodyfat) data and display it in a meaningful way. Continue reading

Android vs Garmin - GPS for the Masses

2011-06-14 6 min read Gadgets marco
I finally decided to get myself an Android phone. I was sick of my N900 and its eternally unfixed bugs (including the interesting reboot in the middle of a phone call), and I took the news of T-Mobile’s selling out to AT&T as my launch pad. Within days, I had run to the various stores and found exactly what I wanted: a no-contract Samsung phone on the fantastic $25/month Virgin Mobile plan. Continue reading

MP3 Players for the Gym Geek

2006-09-21 7 min read Gadgets marco
{moszoomimglink:ifp790}So far, I have been using an iRiver iFP 790 at the gym, and it has worked pretty ok for me. Not spectacularly well, not spectacularly poorly. Its 256MB are definitely getting to be a little small; after a year or so, it’s definitely acting up: the headphone plug is noisy and doesn’t grip the jacks any more; the buttons on top (not the best placement anyway) are starting to become insensitive; and the luster on the shiny red exterior is wearing off. Continue reading

Canon Digital Rebel XT

2006-04-03 1 min read Gadgets marco
I compared the Digital Rebel with a bunch of other Digital SLRs in a different article. Here now, after a couple of months, my first impressions with the Canon. Overall Impression I am very impressed with the Digital Rebel XT. It is a very responsive camera that delivers clear shots in most lighting conditions. The autofocus is very precise, battery life outstanding, and the availability of accessories excellent. The only drawback (which is shared by all digital SLRs) is sheer size. Continue reading

UPDATED: CanoScan N 1220 U

2006-04-03 1 min read Gadgets marco
Guess what? Now it all works. Regardless of whether you use OpenSuSE or Fedora, it’s all good. You just fire up the scanner tool and scan the images the way you want. I have tested it over and over again, and I am thankful to all those that made it work for me. Go, Linux!
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