Friday, August 21, 2009

New Cell Phone

My Palm OS Treo 680 is failing. The case is cracked, there's dust behind the screen and it has lost its mind. Sometimes it just doesn't respond or takes a minute before doing anything. Sometimes it doesn't want to talk to T-Mobile any more. Also. It's a little shaky on letting me send text messages. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. Weird. I used this Treo a LOT though. Every day for years. When I was working in San Francisco and commuting on CalTrain I used it for dial-up networking for my MacBook Pro. It's seen a lot of use. Still, it sucks that it's broken or breaking. It's a mess.

Now that I'm going to be so rich (see previous post) I bought a used iPhone 2g. I need a new phone and I'll use it for development too. I just unlocked it and it took a little under one hour. So now I have an iPhone 2g that works with my T-Mobile plan. Nice.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Highly paid expert consultant!

I got some email from someone at DeMatteo Monness a month ago. They're a "a boutique primary research firm and full service broker-dealer serving the institutional investment fund community." They were looking for someone with expertise in the things I know about (board games and porn?*).

I spent 20 minutes with my initial contact there talking about my experience, what I know about the things they were interested in etc. At that point I thought "Wait a minute, I'm not being paid and I want to get back to work!" So I interrupted the conversation to let the interviewer know I needed to get back to work, and to ask "How much will this pay?" As it turns out they pay $300/hour. I quit griping and said "No problem!"

The first call fell through because I didn't have the specific company experience that their client wanted. D'oh. Another of their clients was interested in talking to me. I joked with Kelly and our friend Alan about how I'd speak really slowly and make crazy references to drag the call out (more money!). "Okay, are you guys familiar with the show Seinfeld? Do you remember there was the tall guy and he would suddenly burst into Jerry's apartment? What was his name?" "Yeah, that was Kramer." "No, that's not it. The guy with the crazy hair." "His name is Kramer." "Was it Carl?" You get the idea.

Even with my excellent money-making plan ready-to-go I ended up skipping that and answering their questions. I didn't even mention Seinfeld once. Anyway, it was fun and went well. Although since I knew someone was paying $300/hour that caused me to speak really quickly without realizing it until later. I didn't want them to waste their money! Ha.

* What!? No, more like mobile apps and casual games. And porn. I'll be here all week folks. Thank you, and good night!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Kodak Zi6 (low-end) HD camcorder

Our old camcorder stopped auto-focusing. And it doesn't have manual focus. It's kind of "Random Focus" now. Theoretically we could run around and change the distance to what we're recording to put things in focus (or yell to the kids "Run, fast, closer!"). But then it would react to that and refocus on something random ("No, stop, okay go way back! Go go!"). Kind of a Schrödinger's cat deal. Well, I'm not sure that's true. But still, that's a good Wikipedia page.

Anyway, even though we're not really buying anything, ever again (. I bought a refurbished Kodak Zi6. It's pink. I'm going to say it's Kelly's. Besides, I'm red/green color-blind and it doesn't look pink to me. Ha. It was $87 with shipping (from on eBay) and has a one year warranty. I also paid $18 (at Amazon) for an 8GB class 6 (which here means "fast") SD card for $18. The camera came with two rechargeable AA batteries and so far works. It saves QuickTime .MOV files to an SD card and it's easy to get them into iPhoto and then iMovie.

The idea is the next time we go visit our families we can videotape us visiting or doing things. That are funny. Or nice. The camera doesn't do so well with motion. I guess that's how it is with < $100 HD camcorders... It does great in sunlight and with things that aren't moving quickly. iMovie '09 has image stabilization so you can process your videos and make 'em look less shaky. I'll see how that goes.

I just checked the firmware version on the camera. And it's an old version. Whoever refurbished this didn't update the firmware. That's okay, 'cause I LOVE updating software. Seriously. It's like you get a better product for free. So I'm updating from 1.01 to 1.11. Wish me luck.

Update The 8GB Class 6 SD card arrived. I took some test video with it and it seems much smoother than what I shot before. I think the 2GB SD card I used from my cell phone was probably fragmented AND slow. So I'm a little more optimistic. With that said... the audio is crappy. It's got a high pitched hiss. I'm going to chat with Kodak online now...