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New Digital Camera – Canon SD630

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware, Man Toys | Posted on 07-11-2006


Sometimes you are forced into buying technology products when you don’t want to but it makes sense at the time. Friday was one of those. It was Ellen’s mother 70th birthday and we of course needed to take pictures. My cell phone has a 1.3 mp camera but let’s face it, that just isn’t good enough. Our current Canon Powershot S230 camera’s battery is on the fritz. So much so that with a full charge it will only take one picture! Since you can’t readily pickup Canon batteries at a nearby store here, we were going to be left with no pictures from her mom’s 70th birthday party. I did some quick research on Friday and decided to head to the nearest store. When I got to the store I decided that all the models I was looking at had the same basic features. It came down to price and “feel”. I settled on the Canon SD630 camera.

I’m not going to bother writing a long review of the camera, there are plenty other places that have done that. Let me just say that I really like the 3.0inch LCD on the back along with the scroll wheel enabled selector. The function selector feels really natural. While it doesn’t do the pictures justest, having the large LCD is awesome. So far the pictures are turning out well.

Glad I dropped Tivo for Media Center

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware, Internet, Man Toys, PC Gaming, PC Software | Posted on 09-03-2006


It was December 2001 when my wife bought me a Tivo for Christmas (see tivo review). At the time I loved it. It was the best thing since electricity. I decided to not purchase the lifeline subscription because I knew something better was going to come out with more hard drive space, ethernet etc. As it turns out I was right. Back then I think it was soemthing like $9.95 per month. Not too bad really. I remember walking around the office after returning from Christmas break selling Tivo to everyone. One of my co-workers at the time, Mike Kimsal listened to how things worked and in true Mike fashion researched it to death and when he decided he wanted one, like a true geek he wanted it RIGHT THEN! It’s funny because he called me on Super Bowl Sunday during the game wondering where he could get a Tivo in Ann Arbor. Luckily I had Tivo so I could pause the game otherwise he would have been in big trouble. I kept the Tivo around and kept selling them to anyone that asked and that would listen. By now they were becoming main stream. Sorta like Google where you hear people say “google for it” you started hearing people say I “Tivoed” so and so show last night. Probably a year or so after we owned the Tivo they released a newer version which could get its listings via wireless download. We upgraded ours and continued to use Tivo. By this time the price had gone up to $12.95 a month though. Where am I going with this posting you ask? Well, earlier this week Tivo announced new pricing plans. They’ve gotten rid of the lifeline subscription and instead charge you $19.95 a month or $224 prepaid if you want to buy a year in advance. Thanks but no thanks Tivo! shuttle xpcI haven’t posted about it to the blog but I took my Shuttle PC I purchased back in 2003 and converted it to run Windows Media Center several months ago, Novemeber 2005 to be exact. The only thing I had to do to convert it to media center was purchase a Haupaugge MCE 500 tuner. It has two tuners on it which allow you to record two shows at once or watch one and record one. As a side note about MCE you could even add two MCE 500 cards and record 4 shows at once, how cool is that? So for about a $100.00 I took an existing PC and converted it to Media Center and don’t have to pay Tivo a DIME every month. You can do your own research about media center but its a very cool platform and there are tons of hacks and even a complete API to develop custom plugins for it. After several months MCE is still running and recording shows all for the low low price of $0.00 per month. Besides the fact you have a computer and can do WAY more with it than the Tivo I call it a win. Wake up Tivo, you are approaching having to be put into the budget with your pricing and there are cheaper ways to get the same thing.

Mac Mini Prices, are they really that good?

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware | Posted on 31-01-2005


A few weeks ago Apple introduced a new computer known as the Mac Mini. It is small and cute and is being marketed as a cheap way to own a Mac. Before you run out and buy one, you should stick around to see my comparisons.

New AMD 64 Gaming Machine

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware | Posted on 30-01-2005


antec p160 caseIt has been several years since I had a dedicated gaming machine. I decided it was time to put together a new Windows machine to play games on, and to continue working on my MCAD certification in .Net. The last big gaming PC I had was way back when I ran Affordable Computers. I honestly let that machine go down after I became the proud owner of a Powerbook. At the time I didn’t have a need for a PC workstation so I stopped using it and just put it up on the shelf. Fast forward a few years from the Powerbook purchase and things have changed. I am no longer doing web development in PHP everything is in .Net now and although I do own a Shuttle PC (AMD 2.4GHz) it just isn’t fast enough for today’s games. As a result I built a new gaming machine with a computer loan from work. It is a perk working for one of the 12th best companies in the US.

Nintendo Power Play

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Computer Hardware, Funny Stuff | Posted on 05-12-2004


I am standing here in the mall waiting on my oil to be changed when I hear familar music from my childhood. I walk over to the vendor and it is super mario playing on a TV. Not only was mario on there but duck hunt and other games totaling 80 games in all. The crazy thing is that all 80 games were in one remote control. This just begs the question, in another few years when are the current PS2 and XBOX games going to fit into one controller?