Category: "Toys and Tools"

Netflix CEO Rates Blockbuster, Amazon Threats (Reuters)

12/12/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Toys and Tools, Personal Life, TIA Life

I've seen several articles about competition to Netflix over the years. But I've never seen one that mentions the competition that drew me away from Netflix: DirecTiVo - that wonderful combination of the TiVo DVR and DirecTV. Coupled with any premium movie channel or PPV, and it's a very important part of the TeleInterActive Lifestyle. The entertainment I want, when I want it, my way. Using Linux. Makes my geeky heart jump.

Reuters - Netflix Inc chief executive Reed Hastings said on Friday that Blockbuster Inc has more to lose in the war for online DVD renters than emerging foe Inc.

[Yahoo! News: Technology - Personal Technology]

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Blog Reading Tools

12/04/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Toys and Tools, TIA Tools & Toys, Blog Tools

There are many tools on the web and for our desktops to help us find and read blogs. Some of these tools are based on the RSSv1, RSSv2 or Atom syndication protocols, some are blog search engines and some are listing services. I won't try to evaluate any of the tools out there, but I'm posting this as a convenient list of links to reviews and sources available on the web.

  1. From Wired, we have "A Scan of the Headline Scanners", which reviews four products.
  2. PCWorld looked at 18 readers and published reviews on five plus some blog listing sites and search engines in "News on Demand".
  3. has a review of bloglines and articles on five aggregators.
  4. Robert Teeter has a very good article on RSS and Aggregators at
  5. And no list would be complete without looking at the Wikipedia entry on wiki(News_aggregator,Aggregators).

I use the following in various situations.

  • NewsGator provides an online news aggregator service for free, a variety of premium services, and a $29 Outlook add-on that allows you to read feeds in Outlook, arrange the feeds into Outlook folders and even post to your blog from within Outlook. I particularly like the fact that I can synchronize my subscriptions between the online services and the Outlook version, and that I can read my feeds on my Palm via the mobile and wireless Webpro browser and Newsgator's mobile version of the feeds. I also use the browser toolbar that allows me to subscribe in Newsgator to any site using RSS or Atom. Mostly I use the NewsGator Outlook add-on when I want to quickly scan headlines and briefs from news articles and blogs. But it is also useful in that I can forward the article or brief as though the post were an email. Very handy. And, since the Outlook add-on has plug-ins for many popular wiki(blogware) APIs, it allows you to blog about something you just read, using a very familiar interface.
  • is a great service. They have free and paid versions. I really like the Blogroll Panel that I can activate in Firefox, IE, or whatever browser I'm using. Again, I can subscribe via a browser toolbar plugin. One advantage to this service is that you can subscribe to a site even if the site doesn't use a XML syndication protocol. From that aspect, I guess that isn't strictly a news aggregator or RSS reader, just like a wiki(bookmarklet) only different. You can arrange your links/feeds by category - essentially, in the premium version, creating multiple blogrolls. I generally use my blogrolling panel in Firefox when I really want to read the blog and get it the way the author intended.
  • I've also been using the beta RSS feed reader addition to My!Yahoo. More of a matter of convenience, really. 'Tis a great addition to your My!Yahoo pages.

Many aggregators allow you to export your list of feeds and links in a variety of ways. So, you can easily add a list of RSS or Atom powered links, headlines or a blogroll to a web site or blog. All-in-all, these tools are a great addition to the collaboration kit of anyone living the TeleInterActive Lifestlye.


Verizon's V710 Ticks off the Web

Chris Lindquist writes in Tech LinkLetter about his experience with the Verizon implementation of the Motorola V710 phone. Our research showed the same problems, but with our Palms. Verizon and Motorola have so broken Bluetooth, that we wouldn't be able to hook up to the Internet using our Tungstens and the V710.

There's even some question as to whether or not the V710 can hook-up to non-Motorola Bluetooth headsets.

As ATTWS degrades in service, we've been looking at Verizon as a possible carrier. They have a great reputation and good coverage. But they only have this one Bluetooth phone, and it's broken. :crazy:

Very frustrating. So, we're still searching for the "ideal" mobile and wireless connections.


Installing & Securing Windows XP

09/19/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement, Toys and Tools

François PLANQUE recently wrote in his blog about the trials and tribulations of moving, especially in regards to his computer and networking equipment. In his "Installing & Securing Windows XP" article, he focused on the problems associated with recovering a PC and upgrading to Windows XP at the same time. I recently had a similar experience (caused by a laptop monitor dying rather than by a move) and found the following helpful.

Jerry Pournelle, Ph.D. published a good "crib sheet" for installing a new system in the "Hot House Computing" article of the Chaos Manor column for DDJ. I've adapted it here, from my own experiences.

  1. The drive software, or other start-up software from the manufacturer's boot disk.
  2. Windows XP.
  3. Windows XP SP-1a from a CD.
  4. Intel chipset information from the motherboard disk for a new installation or driver software.
  5. Intel Ethernet from that disk for a new installation or more driver software from the manufacturer's CD.
  6. A firewall or hide behind a router.
  7. Any good Anti Virus from the Intel startup disk (includes NAV) or other non-online source.
  8. Intel Active Monitor from the Intel startup disk, if required.
  9. Other stuff from the Intel startup disk.
  10. Windows updates, then Office updates (if used) then your applications and their updates.

PC World magazine has had some helpful articles and product reviews as well.

Symantec's Norton wiki(Firewall) and Internet Security Suite are always highly rated, though I've had many problems (crashing Windows, ccApp.exe failing, loosing connection with Outlook 2002) with the 2004 version of NIS. We're planning on trying Trend Micro's PC-cillin internet security suite when the next NIS subscription runs out.

In addition to AdAware and Spybot - Search & Destroy, we've found the Yahoo Toolbar Anti-spy to be useful.

Of course, I would rather being doing something fun - analyzing and designing a large Oracle database application, like the wireless Logistics Barcode system we're doing for a regional transportation district here in the Bay Area with our partner Eleusinian Enterprises.


Jabra versus Plantronics

08/28/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Mobile and Wireless, Toys and Tools, TIA Tools & Toys, Bluetooth

Recently I had the opportunity to use a Plantronics M3000 Bluetooth headset for several months. My normal headset is a Jabra FreeSpeak BT200. The Jabra is easy to use, extremely comfortable, and produces high-quality sound through both the speaker and the microphone. The Plantronics doesn't match any of these.

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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