The High-Tech Texan Blog

Friday, September 29, 2006

Live Broadcast From Gringo's!

For one day only, I become The High-Tech Tex Mex. Stop laughing and come out and join us for a LIVE remote broadcast this Saturday, Sept. 30, at Gringo's Mexican Kitchen.

The show begins at 12pm at the Stafford location. Just off the Southwest Freeway, one exit outside Beltway 8. Easy to find and easy to get to. 12330 SW Frwy. 281-980-7482.

In addition to all the informative tips you can learn you will also be able to taste some great food. Lunch specials during this time include fajitas for 2 for $13.99 and $1.99 margaritas. I may be partaking in those libations AFTER the show!

Come get your HTT flashing logo pin and win some nice prizes just for stopping by.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Free Software Tuesday

In what I hope becomes a weekly feature here...get ready to download a free piece of software this Tuesday, September 26.

NewTech Infosystems, a digital media and storage management developer, is releasing a new USB data storage and protection software product called NTI Ninja. It will be priced at $24.99 however - in an unusual but interesting marketing ploy - they will offer it for free this Tuesday via download from their site. You must log on between 12:00 a.m. - 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time.
NTI Ninja was created in response to the growing demand to secure data on
mobile USB storage devices. Flash drives are ideal for business people,
students, and consumers who want to keep their digital data with them but don't
want to carry a notebook everywhere they go.

To meet the security needs of USB device users, NTI Ninja includes core
protection features. The user-adjustable partition sizing feature enables users
to create public and private partitions in combinations up to the maximum
capacity of their USB device. Ninja encrypts and password protects the private
area so users can be confident that sensitive data in the private partition
cannot be accessed, even if the drive is lost or stolen. Most USB security
software today merely password protects the entire USB device which stops the
user's ability to share public content on the device. NTI Ninja actually
encrypts and password protects the data designated by the user to be hidden in
the private partition while it maintains the full ability of the public data in
the public partition to be shared. Users also have the flexibility to reformat
their drive at any time to meet changing requirements.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Thanks for tuning in on Saturday, Sept. 23rd. I promise you'll be entertained and maybe learn a few things but it may be something you already know. We'll be running a repeat show which means it should be twice as good, right?!

I'll be back live next Saturday. Happy New Year!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

DVD For You And Me

Lots of HD-DVD news coming out today...

Microsoft introduced an external high-definition DVD player for its Xbox 360 player. It's designed to match the Blu-ray disc functions of Sony upcoming PlayStation 3.

The basic Xbox 360 doesn't come with a next-generation DVD player. The new HD player can be added on separately. I find this interesting that Microsoft is kind of playing follow-the-leader with Sony. Their PS3 will feature that company's new Blu-ray high definition DVD player.

Microsoft's HD-DVD will be released in Japan in Nov. 22. Again, kind of interesting that Bill G's company will test a market that has big ties to hometown Sony. No scheduled release dates for other markets including the U.S.

And typing about HD-DVDs...a patent application has been filed for a disc that would play two competing high-definition DVD formats.

This "multilayer dual optical disk" would have one layer of data in the standard CD or DVD format, a second layer able to play one high-capacity format and a third layer for the competing high-capacity format.

As you may know, rival formats Blu-Ray, which is backed by Sony Corp., and Toshiba-supported HD-DVD both work using a blue-indigo laser beam but are not compatible with each other. That will force buyers to choose one or the other, a situation that could slow the growth for the next generation of DVDs that store more information and have better picture quality.

The patent application was filed by three Warner Bros. employees, two of whom are engineers for the company.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I've told you many times about Otterbox products. Met these folks at CES earlier this year and my family uses their waterproof, protective cases on all pods. It's nice to run with music and not fear that my sweat will short out my nano or bust open if I drop it (I run very fast, ya know!).

The one issue I have is that my headphones do get sweaty. I've actually killed a few between my sweat and the one time I jumped in the pool and forgot to take them off. Aha.....

H20 Audio headphones! The company sent me a pair to try and I figured they would either float or the sound would be muffled underwater. Wrong on both counts. The phones are submersible up to 10 ft. when used with a special housing. My pool is only 5 1/2 feet at its deepest part so I am free to roam all 15,000 gallons.

The speakers are waterproof so when connected to my waterproof Otterbox there are no worries of a bubbly Mariah Carey. Crystal clear. To keep themselves anchored to your head the headphones wrap around the back of your neck; pretty smart as the cord does not get in the way of your swimming stroke.

Suggested price is $39.99 and H20 Audio offers several other models including a unit for scuba diving. I'm downloading the Yellow Submarine mp3 for that test.

$igh of Relief

Did you hear that big "WHEW" Sunday afternoon? That wasn't a cold front blowing in but rather Mattress Mack breathing a big sigh of relief. Not that he was ever really worried the Texans would roll over Indianapolis Colts. They just rolled over.

Mack offered a full refund to anyone who bought $3,000 or more worth of Gallery Furniture stuff if the Texans won their game this past weekend. 4 David Carr sacks and 400 Peyton Manning passing yards later the Texans are 0-2.

So who bought in to Mack's grand marketing plan? Wonder if he took out any insurance for the promotion.

If Mack was smart - and we know he is - he'd run this promotion EVERY week of the football season.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Come On And Zune, Zune, Zune, Zune

Come on give it a try...We're gonna show you just why...

I doubt that Apple is sweating the big news out of Redmond. Microsoft explained the details of its portable digital audio and video player. (and I will NOT be calling this another "iPod killer")

The Zune will hit the market this holiday season - no exact date or pricing given yet - and will firmly be positioned as an alternative to the iPod. The device, manufactured by Toshiba, will store 30 GB of songs, photos and video, which users can buy from the online Zune Marketplace.

The Zune will come in three colors: black, white and brown. Yessir, brown. What can brown (and the other colors) do for you? Well...

It will also have wireless technology to let users swap music, an FM tuner and a 3-inch screen. So much for Zune owners tuning in to my show. No manufacturer seems to like AM radio these days.

Here's the deal on the WiFi. Owners will be able to share between Zunes full-length sample tracks of select songs, playlists, pictures and homemade recordings. Users will be able to listen to it for up to three times over three days (we'll call this the Zune Rules of Three), then mark it on the device and buy it from the Zune Marketplace. Users will be able to get a flat subscription to access Zune's music library or buy songs individually.

Unlike the many iPod models the only choice consumers seem to have here is the color. 30GB is a decent size which can hold up to up to 7,500 songs, 25,000 pictures or 100 hours of video, according to Microsoft. Apple offers a 60GB video iPod but more Zune models are sure to come quickly.

Along with the WiFi offering my fave feature as of now is the ability to watch videos in portrait or landscape mode. Nothing like viewing shows in wide-screen on a 3 inch-monitor!

More info: BetaNews, PCMagazine, Reuters

Pick The Texans And SAVE MONEY!

Here's a classic sales promotion and only from Mattress Mack. If you buy $3,000 or more of furniture and electronics at Gallery Furniture and have it delivered before Noon this Sunday, Sept. 17th, you'd better root hard for the Houston Texans.

If the team beats the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday, you get all the gear for free! At first glance this seems like a gamble you want to take odds on. But it's the Texans. Versus the Colts! At Indy! Peyton Manning v David Carr. Marvin Harrison v the Texans defense.

Mack has got himself a sure bet as humidity in Houston. Hell, he may as well put up co-ownership of his store at these odds. Wonder how many suckers, er, customers will rush out to I-45 beween Tidwell and Parker to shop?

Hmmm, wonder if there is a 3 day return policy on a big screen TV out there. Save the receipt!

Who Wants To Be A Celebrity?

A new YouTube video contest is offering lifetime passes to the Bonnaroo and Vegoose music festivals. To enter, you have to upload a video of yourself impersonating a celebrity. (I'm still trying to blog like local celebrity blogger Laurence "Crapman" Simon)

The entries will be posted here, but so far there aren't any good clips. Hurry up and make something worthwhile so we can all watch, critique and invite you to perform at my kid's bar mitzvah next year.

Segway Recall

Great. Now I have to schlep my 75+ pound Segway in my car to get a glitch fixed. Or I could just glide down the Southwest Freeway, recharging it every 10 miles.
Segway Inc. is recalling all 23,500 of the self-balancing scooters it has
shipped to date because of a software glitch that can make its wheels
unexpectedly reverse direction, causing riders to fall off.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is cooperating with
Segway on the voluntary recall announced Thursday, said consumers should stop using the vehicles immediately.

Segway is offering a free software upgrade that will fix the problem. The
upgrades will be done at Segway’s 100 dealerships and service centers around the
world, according to Segway spokeswoman Carla Vallone, and the company will pay
to ship the devices to the appropriate center if need be.

It is the second time the scooters, which sell for about $4,000 to
$5,500, have been recalled since they first went on sale in 2002. The 2003
recall involved the first 6,000 of the devices sold, and involved a problem that
could cause riders to fall off the device when its battery ran out of juice.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Little Tiny Movies

Holiday shopping season must be around the corner as two big announcements recently came down to help separate us from our money. And who doesn't like watching movies, kids!?!?

Notice I wrote watching movies, not going to the movies. That's because Amazon and Apple are now offering downloadable movies for you to watch at your leisure. And if you enjoy holding a video iPod or sitting upright at your PC for 2+ hours, then get ready to party.

Amazon actually beat Apple to the punch with the news. They have cut a deal with over 30 major studios including Sony and Universal to download near-DVD quality movies priced between $8-$15. These flicks can be viewed on your PC and most all portable media devices EXCEPT the iPod.

So in order to watch downloadable movies on your iPod (officially and legally from Apple), Steve Jobs announced that his fruity company struck a deal with a studio (as in ONE studio) - Disney. It could be ironic that he is a board member and the largest individual shareholder of Disney but don't let that get in the way of the hype; more studios are surely to hop on the big bandwagon.

Apple movies will cost from $9.99 - $14.99 and downloadable at the new iTunes Movie Store. But the films will be tethered to consumer's iPods or computers, and consumers won't be able to burn copies of their purchases to DVDs.

And Stevie J. rarely stops at just one announcement. Be on the lookout for a new iPod nano with more battery life, bigger storage capacity, a brighter display and more color schemes. The Shuffle is now almost as small as in the famous SNL skit where a faux Jobs holds up an invisible device. And coming sometime in 2007 a set-top box that will let consumers move their downloaded movies from their PCs to their TVs, via a wireless connection (codename - iTV).

More: MacNewsWorld, CNET, Forbes

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Great Football Weekend, huh?

Ugh! I'll blame Vince Young on the Longhorns' loss. If he hadn't left school early he could have single-handedly won the game.

The Cowboys started strong but then Bledsoe did his best Colt McCoy impersonation. I don't know whose name I heard being yelled louder on Sunday - Tony Romo or Sage Rosenfels.

Oh, and the Texans lost.

The most interesting part of the TV sports weekend was watching the newly revamped NFL pregame shows. FOX is trying something new by taking their studio crew to the #1 game site each week (Jacksonville on Sunday) so Joe Buck can host the show and then hop up in the booth for p-by-p. Buck is my new favorite sports host. He's got the right mix of personality, humor and cockiness. Reminds me of legend Bob Costas (must be a St. Louis thing).

The J-Ville fans behind the set were a bit thin but this new traveling roadshow hasn't yet caught on. I expect a full house as the season goes by. Me thinks the FOX guys are trying to emulate the popular College Football Game Day over at ESPN. No doubt Bradshaw will soon be sporting his version of Lee Corso's obnoxious game prediction. And I loved Frank Caliendo's impression of the departed FOX host James Brown.

J.B. has moved alphabetically down the dial this year to host the CBS pregame show from an air conditioned NY studio. What happened to Dan Marino? Has he been on the Nicole Ritchie diet? Shannon Sharpe still can't pronounce a single word in English and Boomer Esiason still can't be funny when he tries. And this is where Charlie Casserly landed? They need to put more make-up on this guy and PLEASE get a professional hair stylist. Terry Bradshaw's 'do puts Casserly's wig to shame.

Nothing much changed on ESPN's early NFL Countdown show. Ditka nows sits on the desk as Steve Young opted to stay at home on the west coast this year. Lots of packaged stuff with the obligatory Chris Connelly overcome-the-odds-let's-try-to-make-you-cry story. (and did you see his piece on Texas QB Colt McCoy on Saturday? Talk about stretching a non-story into a 6-minute long let's-make-Colt-a-hero piece of crap!). And I always found it interesting how ESPN saves its "big" piece to air exactly at 10:58am CT. That's because if you find yourself getting wrapped up in the story they are hoping you will forget to turn the channel to FOX or CBS for their 11am shows. No such luck, ESPN. I'm an NFC guy and my TV automatically switches to Buck/Bradshaw/Howie and Jimmy.

I caught a quick glimpse of NBC's Football Night in America. Costas is solid gold and Chris Collinsworth, though overexposed between HBO and NFL Network, is very good. Sterling Sharpe thinks his stuff doesn't stink and Jerome Bettis was an odd choice for the recently-retired-player-going-straight-to-the-booth. They'd better be good as NBC paid a ton for this programming and there is no other football option at that time. Hopefully this experience will transform Sunday nights into the Monday night experience of yore.

Side note: What the hell was that opening song thing on NBC? Pink?? Guess the network is trying to get females to watch (at least the opening montage). I almost turned it off after the second shot of her nose ring. It's never gonna touch Hank Jr.'s Are You Ready For Some Football but I do give her points for making at least 16 versions of the song for each weekly match up. Hey, it's tough rhyming "Manning vs. Manning."

Side note #2: Can't believe it took NBC a whole 8 minutes before the first Manning parents shot.

And speaking of Monday night football shows, if this Tony Kornheiser thing doesn't work out, I've got much more hair and almost as much b.s. I've got my pads on and am waiting for the call.

Football 2006-07. Let's roll!!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Laptop Profiling

This is gonna slow down those airport screening lines even more:
Korean Air, the largest airline based out of South Korea, on Wednesday said
it would not allow any Dell laptops or certain Apple notebooks to be used
during flights while running on battery power due to concerns over potential
fire hazards, the Associated Press reports via the International Herald Tribune.

In August, both Dell and Apple announced massive recalls of notebook
batteries that contained faulty power cells manufactured by Sony. Both
firms recalled 5.9 million Sony-made batteries after reports that some had

A Korean Air spokesperson told the AP the ban has been in effect since
Aug. 30; however, its customers can still use their Dell and Apple notebooks
while aboard flights after they’ve detached the batteries from their machines
and plugged into a separate power outlet.
All Dell laptops are included
within the ban, and Apple’s iBook and PowerBook computers are also covered,
according to the AP.