Saturday, December 30, 2006

Which Superhero are you?

I didn't need any encouragement to take the superhero quiz. I just needed to know it existed. Thanks to Arrington, I found it today. (Apparently I had missed previous posts by Winer and Calcanis.) The quiz reports that I am equal parts Spiderman and Green Lantern. Good news! Neither one of them wears a cape, so I can hope to avoid Syndrome's Fate.

My results:

I am Spider-Man (and Green Lantern)

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa has taken flight on Google Earth! (for real!)

For the past twelve days, Google Earth has been teasing us with toys hidden all over the planet, but since today is Christmas Eve, Santa has actually taken flight!

Santa's Flight on Google Earth - Click to enlarge.

A bit ago I watched him work his way through Australia and as I type this he's making his stops in Papua New Guinea. The satellite imagery is amazingly sharp. It's a great way to see the world from the comfort of your own home.

You can track Santa, too. You have to load Google Earth (it's free) and then load the Santa Tracker KML file. Easy to follow directions are available on the website.

DoThis: Get the Santa Tracker

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 23, 2006

We discover a new liquid treat -- adults only.

Starbucks now uses their coffee to make a delicious cream liqueur. We bought a sample bottle at the recommendation of a friendly liquor store owner we met while visiting Pawley's Island.

It's sweet, but not too sweet. Absolutely a creamy bit of heaven. We are now looking for ways to have tanker trucks deliver to the house. It's perfect straight up, or on ice.

We bought a sample of the dark bottle as well, but haven't opened that yet. We'll keep you posted.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 22, 2006

Podcast - Last minute advice on buying Tech

Linksys CIT310 for Yahoo Messenger
Phil Yanov and Eric Rodgers with a (nearly) full hour of technology buying advice.

Join us as we
  • Get advice on how to get the best deals on electronics when we talk to the Editor at large of Consumer Reports.
  • We get a lesson in HD-TV from Chris Hyder at Jeff Lynch Appliance
  • Play with some cool phones --
  • Get some advice from Leo Laporte, Chief Twit at Twit.TV, and KFI Tech Guy on how to choose between the Wii, PS3, and X-Box 360.
This show first aired December 20, 2006 on Your Day which is carried statewide on South Carolina's public radio network.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tagged MP3s easier to track in the wild, could serve podcasters

The Press Release:
The Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA), an international group of industry leading companies involved in commercializing digital watermarking solutions, announced today that proven digital watermarking technologies are available to help the music industry identify and better manage the MP3 digital music files many labels are beginning to sell on popular music download sites while enabling enhanced consumer experiences.
We long for the day when Digital Rights Management finally fades away for our music. I still "sort of" own Windows Media Audio files that I can't actually play because they didn't survive my most recent computer upgrade. Sure, the music industry needs to make money, but making it by making music unusable doesn't seem to be the ticket. It appears that we aren't the only ones that think DRM is on its way out. The Press Release cited above, from an industry alliance of music industry companies, including Dolby, Digimarc, and Phillips, and Thomson introduce the press release with their own situation assessment:
As record labels move toward distributing music in unencrypted MP3 formats for download...
This makes sense for lots of reasons. Most PC based music players keep track of the number of times you play a given song. If agreed to then this could actually let music sellers know how much their song is being listened to.

This also portends a useful mechanism for podcasters. Serialized or tagged mp3 files could let podcasters know if anyone is actually listening to their shows. The current state of podcasting is that our software downloads lots of files and queues them up for playing. We may never actually listen to the podcast, however, and with some of the automated software we might actually allow it to be deleted before listening to the podcast because the stack gets too big. It's a bit like cleaning out your magazine rack of unread magazines by just keeping the top two inches and throwing away everything underneath because you are hopelessly behind. The podcaster and his advertiser hopes and thinks you listened to the show, but has no way of knowing. Privacy concerns aside, Watermarked mp3 files may offer some useful podcasters much needed usage data for their podcasts.

qv: Digital Watermarking Alliance

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

FCC drops Morse Code requirement

Here is the official wording...

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration (Order) that modifies the rules for the Amateur Radio Service by revising the examination requirements for obtaining a General Class or Amateur Extra Class amateur radio operator license and revising the operating privileges for Technician Class licensees. In addition, the Order resolves a petition filed by the American Radio Relay League, Inc. (ARRL) for partial reconsideration of an FCC Order on amateur service rules released on October 10, 2006.

The current amateur service operator license structure contains three classes of amateur radio operator licenses: Technician Class, General Class, and Amateur Extra Class. General Class and Amateur Extra Class licensees are permitted to operate in Amateur bands below 30 MHz, while the introductory Technician Class licensees are only permitted to operate in bands above 30 MHz. Prior to today’s action, the FCC, in accordance with international radio regulations, required applicants for General Class and Amateur Extra Class operator licenses to pass a five words-per-minute Morse code examination. Today’s Order eliminates that requirement for General and Amateur Extra licensees. This change reflects revisions to international radio regulations made at the International Telecommunication Union’s 2003 World Radio Conference (WRC-03), which authorized each country to determine whether to require that individuals demonstrate Morse code proficiency in order to qualify for an amateur radio license with transmitting privileges on frequencies below 30 MHz. This change eliminates an unnecessary regulatory burden that may discourage current amateur radio operators from advancing their skills and participating more fully in the benefits of amateur radio.

Today’s Order also revises the operating privileges for Technician Class licensees by eliminating a disparity in the operating privileges for the Technician Class and Technician Plus Class licensees. Technician Class licensees are authorized operating privileges on all amateur frequencies above 30 MHz. The Technician Plus Class license, which is an operator license class that existed prior the FCC’s simplification of the amateur license structure in 1999 and was grandfathered after that time, authorized operating privileges on all amateur frequencies above 30 MHz, as well as frequency segments in four HF bands (below 30 MHz) after the successful completion of a Morse code examination. With today’s elimination of the Morse code exam requirements, the FCC concluded that the disparity between the operating privileges of Technician Class licensees and Technician Plus Class licensees should not be retained. Therefore, the FCC, in today’s action, afforded Technician and Technician Plus licensees identical operating privileges.

In essence, the FCC has dropped the requirement for operators to be proficient in sending and receiving morse code and extended voice privileges in the HF band to those with the entry level licenses.

In an article posted on it's website, the American Radio Relay League indicates that not all enthusiasts will be happy with elimination of the requirement to be able to send and receive code:
The wholesale elimination of a Morse code requirement for all license classes ends a longstanding national and international regulatory tradition in the requirements to gain access to Amateur Radio frequencies below 30 MHz. The first no-code license in the US was the Technician ticket, instituted in 1991. The question of whether or not to drop the Morse requirement altogether has been the subject of often-heated debate over the past several years....

Amateur radio operators of yore loved the code requirement. It kept those who aren't serious about HAM Radio off the airwaves. The problem is that as the years go by fewer and fewer people are interested in the hobby. Many old timers want to keep the hobby pure, while others believe that the hobby will disappear without an influx of enthusiasts.

Today's ruling will prove the worst of both arguments. There will be a quick bump of people with old equipment who will jump on and "junk up" the HF airwaves. These newcomers will quickly realize that there is almost nothing cool about amateur radio anymore. They will discover that the equipment and the people who operate it are "old school" and pretty limited when compared to any technology available in commercial radios or on the internet. These newcomers will then leave, the existing operators will slowly die off and in another ten years the FCC will close the door on this chapter of radio history.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 15, 2006

Podcast: Firefox 2 v. Internet Explorer 7 -- How do you choose?

The Mozilla Foundation has released Firefox version 2 and Microsoft has released (IE7) Internet Explorer 7. Both new browsers are out just in time for the holidays. Both are essentially free -- so how do you choose what to do next? Can you load both? Listen as Phil Yanov (that's me) and Eric Rodgers discuss the latest salvo in the browser wars!

Listen: [Firefox v. IE7]

Labels: ,

New Google Toolbar for Firefox

The new beta version of the Google Toolbar lets users to create, label and manage bookmarks for their favorite sites with a single click. Bookmarks are now saved to a user's Google Account, making them accessible from any computer. For example, if a user bookmarks an interesting news article at work that they want to read later, they can now easily access the saved bookmark from their home computer by simply logging in to their Google Account.

qv: [New! Google Toolbar Beta]

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Your Day Christmas Card!

Phil Yanov and Eric Rodgers pose for their Christmas Portrait with a bit of help from the captioner tool at

Labels: , ,

What do cops, calamari, and computers have to do with your lunch?

Cops, Calamari, and computers are the three topics covered on Your Day, today at noon on the South Carolina Public Radio Network. Phil Yanov and Eric Rodgers will be taking your calls in the second half of the show.

The full rundown of the show is blogged here.

Labels: ,

Gadgetfest Photos are posted!

Gadgetfest photos on FlickrThanks to our hard working photog Carin Meerdink, we have photos from today's gadgetfest. We had a good sized group and got to see lots of cool stuff. The ToughBook was a big hit and I finally got to play with a real working Zune. The screen and rubberized finish are a beauty. If you missed the video from WYFF, be sure to go back and catch it. JL Watkins did a great job of capturing the spirit of gadgetfest!

[View Photos]


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WYFF-TV Video of Gadgetfest

JL Watkins has posted the video segment he did about gadgetfest. It's uber cool, of course.

qv: [Watch the video]

update! I fixed the broken links in this post. ooph!

Labels: , , ,

Am I Twitter? Oui ou Non.

Evhead thinks I should Twitter. That means I should use his Obvious service that lets me periodically update my status and then alert my friends to that status. It sure appeals to my inner narcissist. I am guessing that the service appeals to others with the same proclivities. I'm ok with that. I've looked at Twitter before, but didn't get it. JL Watkins mentioned it at gadgetfest today so I revisited the website.

qv: [Twitter]

Labels: , ,

On the move...

I can blog from my Blackberry if needed.

Santa has taken flight on Google Earth!

Google has announced Santa's flight and the web page is now active. For the next 12 days you can look for presents on Google Earth and watch Santa in flight on the big day.

I'm giddy with excitement!

qv: [Track Santa on Google Earth]

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, December 08, 2006

Santa will be hiding toys on Google Earth

From the Google Earth Newsletter:
Santa Sits
'Tis (almost) the season, and when Christmas Eve finally arrives, Santa Claus fans all over the world will be able to track his minute-to-minute whereabouts, with the help of some friendly elves and Google Earth. Be sure to visit starting on December 12th to learn more.

Santa Tracker is a KML file, viewable in Google Earth that shows a 3D SketchUp model of Santa flying around the world delivering presents on the evening of December 24th, Christmas Eve. This year, Santa will also be hiding some giant toys in Google Earth. Beginning on December 12th, Santa will leave a clue outside of his house at the North Pole up until his flight on December 24th. Each clue can be used to find a city where a giant SketchUp model of a toy is hidden. Each day, the location of the toy from the day before will be revealed. Don't forget to visit the website on December 12th to see Santa.

Just four more days until Santa appears on Google Earth! (I hope he brings that red wagon I've been asking for.)

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bionic hornet to pack deadly sting

According to Reuters:
Israel is using nanotechnology to try to create a robot no bigger than a hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets...
The article further reports that prototypes of the new weapon will appear within three years. Islamic fundamentalists are reportedly stocking up on flyswatters.

qv: [Reuters]

via the Danster

Labels: ,

Symantec fails to make a backup -- customers without protection

Oh the irony, Symantec customers are being told that their anti-virus software can not be updated because they are not able to get their certificates renewed. They can't get their certificates renewed because Symantec lost the capability to renew them during a system upgrade. They can't go back and recover the capability because they failed to make a backup before they started the upgrade process.

Symantec's official response:

"Symantec has identified an issue with a number of new license and maintenance renewal certificates not reaching some channel partners. We are completely focused on resolving this issue as soon as possible and anticipate that everyone still waiting for certificates will receive them by the end of this week.

"In the meantime we are working with channel partners to ensure that the impact on our customers is limited and we have put several processes in place to prevent any similar problems occurring again in the future.”

qv: The Guardian

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

We're taking calls on December 14

I have got to come up with a better way to let you know when to listen to Your Day. Until then, I'll be posting periodic reminders here.

This is the complete rundown for the December 14, 2006 episode of Your Day. In upstate South Carolina, listen on 90.1 FM, WEPR.

An award-winning police annex.
Donna London, Director of the Jim Self Center on the Future talks with Mayor Andy Ingram of Cheraw, SC, about a new police annex that won an achievement award from the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Grilled Stuffed Calamari.
Libby Hoyle, Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist in the Department of Packaging Science at Clemson University visits the kitchen of Roberts of Charleston and talks with Chef Robert Dickson and his daughter Chef MariElena Raya.

A live call-in segment on the Internet and related technologies. Eric Rodgers hosts Internet expert and blogger Phil Yanov, executive director of the GSA Technology Council and president of Thinkhammer Communications. Listeners can call in via the tollfree number 888-539-8859 to ask questions about using the Internet, computers, new digital devices, and related topics during the second half of Your Day.
As Dyana Daniels says, we'll be taking your calls about the Internet, cell phones, gps, HD-TV, and computers. Give us a call.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

GSATC TV - Gadgetfest is coming Dec 13!

Play VideoOnce again the nice guys at Champion have helped us put together a video to talk about the upcoming GSATC meeting. Sitting on the fence about attending? You shouldn't be, we have lots of good reasons to come. We've got gadgets, thank you gifts for all who attend, and a special gift for those who bring a new, unwrapped toy to be distributed in the community.

Gadgets we know are coming:
  • WiMAX
  • USB Missile Launcher
  • Mac PowerBook
  • Tough Book PC
  • Ubuntu (a free Linux)
  • Head mounted display
  • Zune
  • and more...
Learn more: GSATC Gadgetfest

Labels: ,

Cell Tech directs efforts in Kim Family Rescue

Although the search for CNET Editor James Kim continues, his family has been found, in large part due to technology and the persistence of friends and family. The Kim family had missed a couple of turns as they traveled into an increasingly remote area of Oregon. The family had been traveling to see relatives for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

According to a report in the Seattle Times, Kim's cell phone helped direct the search effort:
Though the cellphone was not able to connect from the remote location, experts hired by the family were able to pin down a cellular tower that had picked up a signal from the phone. They then used a computer model to approximate the location of the cellphone, and that helped lead searchers to an area near Bear Camp Road, where Kati Kim and the children were found.

While Kim's wife and daughters have been flown to safety, the search for the journalist continues. He left the family vehicle in search of help three days ago.


Wanna know if you are totally hip to what's going on right now?

How many of the following can you explain in one breath?
1. britney spears
2. valentin elizalde
3. cyber monday
4. christmas wallpaper
5. national weather service
6. nativity
7. christmas tree
8. kate winslet
9. kendra jade
10. charlie brown christmas

What do they have in common? They are this week's top gainers in the Google Zeitgeist. How can Google claim to have a clue to the Zeitgeist? Well, if zeitgeist means the spirit of the time, and as a group we all end up searching for the things we think about, then Google is as good a place as any to catch the spirit of the (online) world. Peer into the many minds of the world's citizens by country on their zeitgeist by country page.

Always totally hip to tech, but not nearly so on pop culture, I couldn't tell you anything about numbers 2 and 9. Until I click the links, I won't know if they are tennis players or porn stars. That puts me at eight out of ten and in my system that's earns me a grade of "B."

Labels: ,