article-1208038-06212B30000005DC-264_306x423-777174Titanic director; James Cameron gets ready to unveil his long-awaited sci-fi adventure “Avatar.” While I admittedly hadn’t closely followed what he’s been up to recently, an article in Wired magazine quickly peaked my interest. Wired takes a looks at the filmmaker and the technological achievements that helped him bring his stunning 3-D Avatar to the big screen. There was a lot of vision & patience that went into the creation of Avatar, and technological advancements that needed to happen before the movie could really be made. I for one respect his passion and patience and will do my part to help ensure that this movie earns at least the 250 million that it needs to in order to be profitable.

Link: Wired Magazine: James Cameron’s Epic Quest for Avatar

Link: James Cameron Stereoscopic 3D camera


dual-monitor-731875Do you have two computer monitors? have you ever been sick of what’s on TV and wanted to watch something from a site like Hulu or YouTube full screen on your second monitor while reading through Facebook news feeds, chatting with friends, checking your email, or just surfing around the web? Well they don’t make it easy, but it is possible. After a bit of reading around I found that it can be done. There’s a how to included below, but there’s also a linkto the file that will make it all work. In either case the end result s fantastic!

Link: The “How To” – Dual-Monitors Full Screen Flash
Link: The “Quick way “- (File) Dual Monitor Full Screen Flash Fix

You may recall having seen my post about Computer Repair Software back in May of 2008. If so, I hope you’ve listed to my advice and run some of those great programs which should help protect your computer. The other night while using my computer I got a warning from Avast! (a program I had recommended) that my computer had a virus; a Trojan to be specific. Then it happened again, and again, and again. I started a virus scan which ran all night, finding more and more comprised files. After that scan finished I did another from outside windows, then a third within Windows again. More and more new infected files each time. Finally near the end of the 3rd scan, I thought I ought to look for and download any new Avast! virus definitions updates that could be out there. I did, and then I went away for the weekend. upon returning I created an 120gb Acronis backup (outside or windows) which took about 7 hours. Then I entered Windows, scanned again with Avast! and another time with “Malware Bytes – Anti Malware.” This time; nothing. After a bit of research I learned the following:

On Thursday 12.3.09 avast! had a bad false positive issue. At around 00:15 AM GMT an update was downloaded which started flagging hundreds of innocent files as a ‘Win32:Delf-MZG’ Trojans (or, in less common cases, as ‘Win32:Zbot-MKK’.) On Thursday 12.3.09 at 5:50 AM GMT, another VPS update was released, fixing the issue.

If you were like me and quarantined otherwise safe files, there’s some info on how to restore them at the link below. Sorry if this program I recommended caused you any harm, and hopefully your computer was off during the 6 hours this was a problem. If not read some more below.

Link: Win32:Delf-MZG & Zbot-MKK false positive issues

After being on the market a week I figured it was finally time to go & look at the Motorola Droid.  Initially I was very impressed.  I’ve got a laundry list of demands from my handset & this is the first phone to even come close to date.  The Droid is a relatively compact device, filled with lots of features.It’s got a very speedy response time and it just simply very well polished.  The calendar & contact management seem to be pretty good, & the camera looks as clear as the digital camera I carry with me next to my phone.  Google maps with built in GPS navigation is really cool, and the phone copies & pastes.  (This feature was a big deal to me.)A lot of people are going to really like this phone!I was however a bit underwhelmed.

While my current phone (Verizon XV 6800) is a bit buggy it’s got a lot of features, a number of which aren’t available on the Droid.(Not yet anyway.)  First foremost is a tethering app.Verizon says tethering is coming in January, but unfortunately they’re making customers double down in paying for this feature.Programs such as Joikusoft & WMwifiRouter offer this feature, turning the phone into a mobile internet hotspot while using the existing data plan.(The question of whether or not it’s right to use these programs & not pay Verizon for the additional functionality can be debated in another blog post.)  The browser on the Droid is nice.  It renders pages really quickly, & well, almost making you forget you’re on a handheld device.  I did however notice 2 major short comings in the browser.  First off it’s lacking flash support, & secondly it does not load the LogMeIn interface.  I have since researched & I see that there is not yet any sort of app that runs LogMeIn on Android devices.  I use LogMeIn a lot, and missing this will greatly effect how helpful this phone is to me.

My overall assessment of the Droid is this; I’m quite impressed.  Droid seems like the device that will finally bring Android into the mainstream.  I realize however that I am a power user & this phone just can not accomplish what I need from a device.  Not yet anyway.  I’ll keep my ear to the street waiting for the features I want & hoping for Android’s success.  In the meantime, it looks like no Droid for me.  In this case, my current phone might have it’s fair share [strike that:A LOT] of issues, but I’m not in the habit of getting a new phone unless it’s an either an upgrade or I,’m replacing a broken phone.While the droid does a lot of thing better then my current phone theres still things it doesn’t do.  That’s not an upgrade.

I didn’t intend to make a follow up post to my previous phone post right in a row, but as I started writing this, I realized what I was writing was a post very similar to another I had just written. I’m talking about cell phones again. Or am I? Maybe I’m talking less about cell phones and more about PDA’s. That’s really what smartphones are. It’s no big surprise really. Computers started the size of a Uhaul truck, and have just gotten smaller and smaller. Suddenly computers the size of the mac mini, the mac air, and netbook computers. Thought these computers are amongst the smallest computers on the market, are smartphones really so far off from them? I can do almost all the same stuff on my smartphone that I can do on a computer. Why, just last night I logged into my server at work and modified a playlist, starting a new program playing to over 50,000 cable subscribers right out of my pocket.

So while I was out with some friends last night I looked up at the TV screen and saw the new commercial for Verizon’s flagship Android phone: The Droid – hitting the market on November 6th. This seemed to start a friendly argument across the bar between 2 phone geeks like myself. One touting the iPhone and another with T Mobile’s new myTouch. I had to quickly run over and represent the Windows Mobile camp (even though I’m not it’s biggest fan.) Lately I’ve been more of an Android fan. Android is open source and that really is where I think the future of all computing is. Having proprietary anything is a hindrance to getting things done. No one wants to rely on Microsoft or Apple to support a particular type of document or software, and nor do people want to have to search for a specific style of plug just to charge their phone. But open source is so much more then just standardization of hardware, it’s also allowing open development of software creating nearly limitless potential for what can be done from the device. In this discussion, both users (Android, and iPhone) were comparing apps. This was pointless, and I finally just walked away. The fact is any application can be ported over for use on another operating system. The key (and the entire reason that Android is great) is that while an iPhone application would have to be created by someone at Apple or another developer who will later sell their application online or at the app store (without sharing the code, allowing for others to improve it,) Android applications can be created, edited, & shared by ANYONE. While the iPhone was on the market first and hooked a lot of people, the future looks very bright for android devices.

In June of 2006 I bought a Palm 700w smartphone. Having just upgraded from a Nextel flip phone my mind was completely blown. This new phone ran Windows Mobile 5, synced my calendar & my contacts, gave me access to Microsoft Office mobile, and could run all sorts of applications. I really liked it but had a lot of technical difficulties with this phone. Finally in December of 2007, after at least 3 replacement Palm 700w replacements from Verizon I decided to try a new phone.

My new XV-6800 arrived just before Christmas and it was truly like a Christmas gift. This device even further expanded what I could do from my phone. With Windows Mobile 6 a larger screen, slider keyboard, built in wifi card, & GPS capability; I was now able to do lots more from my phone then I had imagined. I could now remotely control my computer through mobile, emails & texting became much easier with the larger keyboard, and best of all I could now use this phone as a WiFi modem for tethering with my laptop. I really loved this phone! Unfortunately however there was also a lot to hate. This phone has turned out to be even more unreliable then the phone it replaced.

As time went on however the biggest problem turned out to be the Network. Verizon? You might ask how I could have a problem with their network, since they have the largest network, with the most coverage.” This is true. However my issue is actually their business practices. I’ve learned that if there’s one thing Verizon does it’s nickel and dime their customers to death. The most glaring example is GPS functionality. The phone I purchased included a chip set which will receive GPS satellite data from satellites launched & run with my tax dollars. Instead of allowing customers to use the equipment they’ve already paid for they make them pay for it, and not just with wit h a one time fee, but rather with a monthly access charge. While the company seems to have realized they were wrong (thanks to a class action lawsuit) and opened up GPS functionality on select handsets, mine of course isn’t one of them, since they haven’t released an update. There are also similar problems with proprietary charging cables and jacks.

This peaks my interest in the Open Handset Alliance, and Google’s Android. The Open Handset Alliance (formed by Google when Android was released in 2007) is a collection of companies and standards which promote a better experience to users through open standards. While I’m afraid that Verizon would never embrace Android due to the seemingly 180° difference in how they conduct business, it seems the users are asking for devices which run Android, and the rumors seem to indicate that Verizon’s listening. I for one am waiting with bated breath, although if not, it my be my last breath, and a carrier change may be eminent.

If you weren’t already aware I bought a boat last month. It’s probably a large part of the reason I haven’t made many blog posts recently. It’s been great & even though I didn’t have the boat in the water & ready to sail until late July, I’ve still gotten in some great evenings & weekends. Now however we’re in hurricane season. Now I get nervous each time I see or hear the word “hurricane” on the news. It didn’t seem like we got this many hurricanes last year, (1 in fact, which ended up being a tropical Depression by the time it hit) but now that I bought a boat it’s like every weekend. In any event I thought I’d throw together a list of resources that help track hurricanes & predict their paths. I’m certainly hoping that this storm (Danny) goes out to sea!

Link: IbisEye – Atlantic Hurricane Tracking 1850 – Present.
Link: StormPulse – Tropical Storm tracking, including “”cone of uncertainty.”
Link: Tropical Atlantic – National Hurricane Center model data (“Spaghetti Plots.”)

I’ve just returned from The Alliance for Community Media North East Conference held this year at Champlain College in Burlington Vermont. I took the New Media track as I always do so most of the seminars I attended focused on the web 2.0 concept & social media specifically how they can be utilized in the access television realm. While in these seminars, we also had an opportunity to discuss some of these social media forms and debate their uses as well as their usefulness. To the passive observer it definitely seems that social media and social networking is the in thing for 2009, and that’s great, but why? Common Craft produced short explanatory video which explains that the amount of information on the web has reached a quantity that there needs to be some better way of organizing it and that’s precisely what social media provides. We’re able to get recommendations from our peers (whether we know them or not.) Social media can provide an engine to unite groups of otherwise unfamiliar people who share interest in some common item. Social media can also serve as a meeting area for people of a real world group to converge and share information in a virtual space. There’s lots of social networks out there, really too many to mention (see the graphic,) and most of them provide a slightly different service to their users. From connecting with colleagues, friends, & groups on Facebook, to sharing photos on Flikr, searching through the many blogs out there on Technorati, or sharing video on YouTube. Perhaps users are “tweeting” about the local news or where they’re going to eat lunch on Twitter. Maybe they’re sharing a great bookmark on; no matter what the use, social media has quickly become an extremely valuable tool in navigating the internet.

Today is one of the lesser celebrated yet extremely important holidays; Earth Day. With recent trends in recycling on the rise and the public embracing the cause more and more it’s great to see new products coming out which not only help to keep our planet green, but also keep your money in your wallet. Imagine being able to cut your car’s emissions while simultaneously increasing your fuel efficiency. That’s just what Sabertec makers of the Blade claim to be able to do.

Sabertec tells us that the Blade can in effect reduce greenhouse gasses by up to 34%, & filter vehicle air pollution by up to 57%, all the while increasing your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by 10-30%. By capturing post-catalytic particulate matter through a filter replaceable filter, the Blade is also able to decreases the time it takes for your vehicle’s catalytic converter to heat up preventing exhaust from slipping back into the combustion chamber as it is expelled, theoretically maximizing gasoline efficiency. I recently had a chance to speak to William O’Brien, CEO of Sabertec, as well as Director of Blade Sales, Steve Joyce, here’s what they had to say.


While I’m not the biggest fan of the MBTA, I’m in the market to buy a house, and would like it to be near the train so that there is easy access to the city. Specifically I’m looking for somewhere that is walking distance from the train. Initially I was looking for somewhere near a subway station, but I’ve broadened my search to include houses near commuter rail stations. I get a number of email about houses which are for sale, but the first thing I want to look into is location. How far is this place from the nearest train station. Aside from knowing the area, there doesn’t seem to be any way to find this information.