The High-Tech Texan Blog

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Show from Belize

This place is unBelizable! Been here since Thursday and no sign of Gustav. We have met Captain Morgan, though. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam have taken a back seat to the locals here.

Me and a few guys (Turtle, E, Drama) are the guests of Journey's End and Las Terrazas resorts on the beautiful Ambergris Caye, an island just off the east coast of the Belize mainland. Thanks to technology including phone lines and the Internet, my show will air from here on Saturday at our usual time, 11a-2p CDT. We are one hour behind Houston time which means we can hit the water just after 1pm local.

This is truly a relaxing destination with white sand, a small town feel and crystal blue-green water being the major transportation up and down the caye. It was a short 2 hour flight on Continental Airlines - right on time, as usual. A 15 minute island hopper flight on Tropic Air put us in the heart of San Pedro on the caye. Then it was a water taxi to the resort.

You'll learn more about the country and the resorts during the show. Try to be near a computer to log on and watch our regular videoconference to see the sweet sights. I'll try to keep the microphone away from the infinity pool; that's lesson number one when broadcasting a radio show.

No worries about the tech aspect of the show. A rep from HP will call in to talk about several new lines of business and consumer notebooks including back-to-school gadgets. And we may have to touch on high-tech travel and leisure gear like SCUBA diving computers, how to stay connected internationally and GPS units to track your travels.

It's all gooooood down here, Belize it or not.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Saturday Show Topics

Between Las Vegas last week and Belize next week, I plan to actually do my show from The 9-5-0 studio tomorrow for a change. Wonder if my producer JoAnne will recognize me?

It will be similar to a three-ring circus with in-studio and phone interviews. First up is Don Rabalais from CORESTAFF. I've got some qusetions about the current status and future of IT jobs in Houston; hopefully Don has answers.

Energizer just came out with a new battery called Advanced Lithium. Why do we care? It alledgedly last 20 hours longer than the Energizer MAX battery and weighs 33% less than standard alkaline batteries. That could good news for wireless gaming controllers like the Wiimote and the guitar from RockBand. An Energizer VP will call in around 12:40pm to discuss and we should have some of the batteries to give away over the coming weeks.

And for all you home media wanna-be's check in just after 1pm when the folks from Aveon come in. They recently installed a Control 4 system in my home media center which allows for single remote control access for several different functions including home security and thermostats.

Rumor has it that a local restaurant is bringing in some food to put some meat back on my bones. I'm sure it will be good but I worked hard at dropping nearly 30 pounds and am in no hurry to put it back on.

Make sure to hit our live videoconference to join in the fun.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

iPhone Updates & Houston WiFi News

While I was sweating it out in 107 degree weather in Las Vegas over the weekend (okay, I was in the pool and inside air-conditioned casinos most of the time), the national and local technology world continued to progress.

We knew last month that Discovery Green was lit up with a free WiFi signal and the City of Houston formally announced the service and launched a landing page earlier this week. It is being called a pilot program which could mean more free wireless spots may pop up around the city but we do know that a city-wide signal will not be coming soon.

The web site looks pretty clean and provides information about downtown hotspots. I would suggest using a laptop to find the locations as the cool-looking Flash map can't be viewed on the iPhone and other mobile devices.

Speaking of the iPhone, I continue to have issues with my 3G version. I am having many second thoughts about selling my original version as this 3G seems to be slow and sluggish. Apple released a new software update today (v2.0.2) and I now have to go in and reinstall my email settings.

Did I mention the battery life sucks? Who wants to buy my iPhone? The Blackberry is looking better all the time.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Selling Your Old iPhone

  • The new iPhone 3G has been out for over one month and selling pretty well, I might add. Every time I pass an Apple store I see a line of about a dozen people waiting to get one and the regional AT&T stores have been sold out since the first weekend they went on sale.

    A lot of the people buying the new devices were owners of the original (1st gen) model that was released in June 2007. Some of these owners are still baffled about what to do with their original device now that they have the new 3G model.

    The folks at Newsradio 740 KTRH asked me to comment on ideas of what to do with your old iPhone. I'll speak with J.P. and Lana this Wednesday morning at 7:30am but here some quick tips and links:

  • Give it away (I'd rather have the cash)

  • Sell it (that's what I did with mine)

  • Jailbreak it (kind of tricky but it can be "unlocked" to use on another network)

  • Turn it into an iPod Touch (kill the cell/data service

A quick check of eBay found over 53,000 iPhone-related items. First gen iPhones range from about $250 up to $500 for unlocked versions. If you are not a fan of eBay there are other options to sell the device online. NF Technology Services will buy it from you (and other Apple products). Gazelle is another service that will buy your used iPhone and other gadgets

What did you do with your old iPhone?

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Free ZoneAlarm Download Today Only

Once a year the generous programmers and marketers at Checkpoint Software offer a free download of its ZoneAlarm program. And today's the day!

From 5am CDT today through 5am CDT tomorrow, you can download a copy of Zone Alarm ForceField. It's a virtual browser which means it creates a clone of your browser. According Zone Alarm, "every time you visit a website, open a new page, or download a file, everything that could attack you or your PC goes to that clone. That way, if any threats do penetrate your defenses, only the temporary clone is infected. Not your computer.
You and your PC remain protected, immune to attacks."

Browser threats have become prevalent recently with issues like keyloggers and phishers adding to the omnipresent spyware.

ForceField normally sells for $29.95 on the website so start downloading now. Each license is for 1 year in 1 PC.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Technology

I was pretty impressed with the Opening Cermonies at the Beijing Olympics on Friday. Don't think there wasn't technology involved in making Li Ning "walk" across the Bird's Nest stadium to light the Olympic caldron. And how about that LED scroll that magically moved on the stadium floor? Cool and expensive stuff.

Technology seems to be a big topic at the XXIX Summer Olympics and no more so that a specific piece of equipment that can most certainly provide athletes an edge. And it is approved by all the sanctioning bodies. Any guesses?

The Speedo LZR Racer suit. According to Reuters, 22 of 2 swimmers who medaled in the games as of Monday morning wore a Speedo suit. Has any one company in modern times had so much dominance in a sport? I doubt it. At this pace, the Speedo brand is going to put some of its competitors out of business. Speedo commands about 60% of the swim apparel business with Tyr at about 20% and Nike with approxiomately 8%.

It's hard to explain the technology behind the suit but several swimmers were given permission by their swim apparel sponsors to wear the Speedo brand during the Olympics. It's tough to find a better endorsement than that.

And speaking of swimming, U.S. multi-gold medalist Michael Phelps now has eight gold medals to his name and three for this Olympiad. The bad news? He's not allowed to have any more friends.

On Friday, the day of the Opening Ceremony, Phelps reached the limit on his Facebook page of 5,000 friends. More than 1,600 come from the University of Michigan, where Phelps goes to school, almost 200 come from New York and about 170 friends come from Baltimore, his hometown.

But I'll still be your friend.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Busy Saturday, August 9

Back in H-Town after a stint and live broadcast from the Left Coast. While playing Mr. Mom to the kids this weekend...

...busy radio show on Sat from 11a-2p CDT (12a-3a Sunday - China). Interviews with a rep from the Wi-Fi Alliance about new Internet access on airlines, live BarCamp 3 updates from the Houston Technology Center and a great local cause called Wreaths Across America, to name a few.

Plus plenty of suggestions and questions to be answered about back-to-school tech gear.

Next week we come live from Las Vegas and on August 30 we will be doing the show from beautiful Belize. Make sure to tune in and log on the videoconference as we broadcast from Las Terrazas and Journey's End resorts. Can't wait to hop that Continental Airlines flight about 2.5 hours south for scuba, sun and fun.

Later that night I'll be emceeing the Sugar Land Superstart finale from Sugar Land Town Square. Come out and watch me do my best (better) impersonation of Ryan Seacrest as we find the most talented singer in Ft. Bend County. Afterwards I'll be hanging out at Olive's Martini Bar and Grille for - and I'm not kidding - the new High-Techtini they just added to the menu.

And on Sunday he rested...

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Monday, August 04, 2008

FOX 26 Website Goes High-Tech

For a local TV station that had a horrible website for such a long time, I've got to give props to Fox 26 (KRIV) for pushing the envelope with new features on their website and newly launched beta site.

As southeast Texas prepares for Tropical Storm Edouard, the Fox 26 beta site is multitasking with live streaming video of its 9pm newscast, animated satellite images of the gulf, links to radar in 18 surrounding counties plus webcams from Galveston, Kemah, Corpus Christi and other locales.

An interesting feature is that the live newscast feed from the studio continues to roll during on-air commercial breaks. It's always fun to learn what goes on behind the cameras when anchors are not on but someone should tell Melissa Wilson not to brush her hair so much and watch the chatter on her personal life. But this is an experiment in progress.

I'm still trying to figure out the usefulness of the chat feature. Users can log on and type messages to each other. The chatter I noticed centered around the newscast and the doomsday forecast. A lot of mocking going on but what else do they have to do as they stock up on water and tuna? If you hang around the web page for a while make sure to mute the sound on the chat feature as each message posted has an accompanying noise. The messages were coming fast and furious and that noise drove me crazy.

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