simon-may.com

August 11, 2009

I hate mornings!

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 6:03 pm

Philips HF3490 Wake-up Light with Dock for iPodWell actually that’s not true, I just have lots of trouble waking up and it’s far worse in the winter.  I’ve been talking about getting an alarm clock that simulates daylight to wake you up gradually for a while, but I’d abandoned the idea in favor of an iPod dock to have an elegant charging solution by the bed.  It looks like I needn’t abandoned hope as Philips, who actually make all the most attractive daylight simulators have come out with all I want in one package.  This thing might actually wake me up.

It’s on the US Amazon site, but doesn’t seem to be available in the UK just yet, oh well.

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August 10, 2009

Possibly the best geeky t-shirt ever!

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 5:48 pm

Chewbika T-Shirt

I have a thing for geeky t-shirts, and this is a super example…might have to get my hands on it.  If you don’t know what it is it’s Chewbacca on a bicycle, Genius.

It’s available just here and I found out about it via the fabulous Uncrate

June 29, 2009

Geeky T-shirts

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 4:16 pm
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I do like geeky things and that extends as far as my attire under some circumstances, especially so in summer. So it was with sheer glee that I purchased this t-shirt from play.com last week as it matches my other number one criteria…bargins! The geekyness is doubled by its inclusion of not only Starwars but also of Lego, and all for just £4.99 delivered. It’s a Fruit of the loom tee too so the quality is good, in fact I remember printing the same in my fathers factory as a nipper.

November 13, 2008

Surfs Up! Live Wave 3 is comming

Filed under: Geek cool,Microsoft,Windows Live — Simon May @ 8:28 am

I’ve just been reading on Techcrunch and eWeek about the cool new features that are about to come along in Live Wave 3.  Basically it’s the next step in the story of turning Microsofts Software plus Services web technology on.

What we get this time though is what promises to be some hefty integration.  Bringing not only all your Live services together (which till now have frankly been all over the place) but it also allows you to start aggregating your external content, ala Friend Feed.  Mike Arrington on Techcruch has published the reviewers guide with lots of delicious detail, but this is looking good.

Potentially it’s less Walled Garden than most of the other social network sites and it also integrates your email, calendar, well pretty much every darn thing you’ve got.  The interface is also getting a far more consistent make over which is never ever a bad thing.

Reports are it’s due to be turned on this evening.

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October 21, 2008

The best way to buy glasses

Filed under: Geek cool — Simon May @ 1:09 pm

Sometimes a website gives you such great service that you just want to write something about them.  Glasses Direct has done that for me!new avtar big

In case you don’t know, which you probably don’t if you don’t wear them, glasses can be really expensive.  I wanted a new pair so I did the usual rounds on the high street, the only pair I found that I liked were upward of £200 – that’s a new PC!!  So I decided to get online and went strait for Glasses Direct.

They have loads of styles online to choose from and with much umm and arring with my fiancé we decided on a pair, then a pair of sunglasses.  You can see the new pair in this picture, which is incidentally my new profile picture / avatar everywhere (hence the new).

I placed the order by entering the details from my last prescription (which was from a hastily purchased and ill considered pair of Ray Bans).  I got an email to say that the order was placed.

A couple of days later I got an email to say that they’d been manufactured and sent.  The first pair made it through the letter box.  They were the sunglasses, and frankly they’re great.  Normally when I put on some new glasses my eyes have to adjust for a couple of days, these didn’t.  The new specs in this picture arrived a couple of days later.  Both arrived with an edible eyeball!!!!!

So, get your glasses here.  The website is great, the service is great, the delivery (which was from SMS) was great.  I’ll be buying some more soon just for the heck of it.  Oh yeah, and they blog too.  Total cost for both pairs £91 !!!

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October 14, 2008

The snag list

Filed under: Geek cool,Home automation,Home Server,Media Center,Windows Mobile — Simon May @ 7:34 pm

Ok, it is time to admit it.  All is not well in the geeky home.  There are little niggles, everythings working but it’s not slick and it’s not well integrated enough.  It’s time to start finding some solutions.  Here are the snags, if you know a way I can overcome any of them, then let me know in a comment on this post, email me, or twitter me.

  • There’s an annoying .net framework error popping up on the Media Center every so often.
  • My Harmony remote isn’t quite set up well enough.  It doesn’t work well when the Media Center is already on.  The problem is that I’ve installed a standby saving power bar, which I want to keep, but it doesn’t play nice with the remote.
  • I need to find a way to ARM the Y-CAM when we leave the house and disarm it when we return.  Or I need to move it to an area with slightly less traffic, i.e. where we don’t walk all the time so that my mailbox doesn’t fillup!
  • I need to be able to view the Y-CAM stream on my Windows Mobile device, or at least be able to see the latest image.  That might mean configuring FTP, which means finding a secure FTP server on the net.
  • I want to workout the overall power consumption of the kit in the house.  I might be scared.
  • The TV Arial just doesn’t seem to be quite right, it’s a few degrees off!  Time for cable?
  • My Windows Home Server is using a bit too much power, 40kwh in standby – that needs to come down.

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October 13, 2008

Y-CAM

Filed under: Geek cool,Home automation,Media Center,Mobile,Windows Mobile — Simon May @ 8:35 pm

For a while now I’ve been looking at some home monitoring systems and how I can best integrate them into my digital experience.  Previously I’ve used Yawcam with some pretty great results but currently I’m trying to reduce my carbon foot print and I want to make everything that has to run as low power consumption a possible.  For that reason I really wanted an IP Webcam that didn’t need a PC powered on all the time.image

Having done loads of looking about the only really good thing I could find was from Y-CAM.  It’s now been delivered and it’s installed.  I picked the Y-CAM Black and bought from ebuyer, since it was about £30 cheaper than everywhere else.

Having installed it, at first it really wasn’t a great experience, it didn’t like my router and it brought down the whole network…I’ve done a firmware update now and all seems to work well.  Very well.

This camera sees really well in the dark with its knight vision, and the management software is pretty good.  Actually it’s a breeze to setup.  It can do motion alerts to email, which again was simple to setup and allows me to select 4 regions of the picture to watch for motion.

Two I need to work through at the moment:

  • I need to setup FTP publishing to somewhere so that I can view the camera at work since I can’t see the active X control
  • I need to get an app for my WinMo phone that allows me to view mp4 encoded RTSP…unfortunately HTC Streaming media won’t cut it.

Finally I’ve also emailed the manufacturer to find out if they have an API, so that I can develop something to easily arm the motion detection.

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June 30, 2008

Long term test – the new Jawbone

Filed under: Geek cool,iPhone,Mobile,Technology,Windows Mobile — Simon May @ 5:00 pm
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jawbone-earwearWhen I was in the states a few weeks ago I picked up the new Jawbone from an At&T store.  A small sleek black unit, with hidden buttons, leather bound ear loop and the killer feature “Noise Assassin” technology.  Well I’ve been using this device for lots of phone calls, from both my BlackBerry pearl and my T-Mobile Touch Plus (HTC Touch Dual) and I’m now ready to talk about using the device on a day to day basis.

You can read the full review at Mobile Tech Addicts

June 10, 2008

Squezebox part 1: Squeezebox Duet Installation Experience

Filed under: Geek cool,How I Use...,Media Center,squeezebox,Technology — Simon May @ 4:00 pm

So time for my long awaited Squeezebox Duet review, actually make that series of posts.  I first read about the Squeezebox when it was announced, and Automatedhome.co.uk also has great review.

Whilst I was in the states I picked up a Squeezebox Duet from Fry’s in Seattle, it was actually on sale on Memorial Day weekend, so it cost $349 + TAX.  This thing is brilliant!

CIMG1587 When I got it home it was a doddle setup.  First off, I bought this in the US, so power needed to be sorted out.  The power supplies are international and can take anything from 100 to 240v input, just a case of changing to the UK adapter.

The next thing to do was to install the SqueezeCenter 7 software on the Media Center.  Again a simple process, no install glitches – but I did have to manually start the scan of my music library.  About 20 minutes later it finished and had catalogued all the albums.

Next I installed softsqueeze3 on the Media Center.  This is a cool bit of software that emulates a squeeze box.  After configuring it with a name and pointing it at the SqueezeCenter installation, a web address on port 9000, it was able to access the media fine.  So I turned on the Duet controller.

CIMG1588

The controller picked up my Wifi network and asked me for the security setup.  Then it found my SqueezeCenter server automatically, and, I was a bit surprised about this, it let me select my SoftSqueeze installation on the controller.  All of a sudden my Media Center was pumping out tunes controlled by my Squeezebox Controller!!

Very cool.  This thing can control any squeezebox!

CIMG1589 So I went into the kitchen and setup a micro hifi and plugged in all the stuff for the Squeezebox Reciever.  I pressed the button on the front and… the controller sprang into life and picked up the receiver, automatically configuring it!  Next thing I know I’ve got some Fun Lovin Criminals bouncing out of the stereo in the Kitchen…and it sounds, GREAT!

Wondering what else this thing can do I found the ability to sync the output from the Kitchen Squeezebox Reciever with the Softsqueeze installation in the lounge!  This is going to be great when we have a party.

Next I went into SqueezeCenter, which is really the heart of everything and found that I can control all the squeezeboxes through the web interface.  Including being able to make changes to them.  So I did, I changed the names, the Softsqueeze to “Lounge” and the Duet Reciever to “Kitchen”.

This is becoming one cool whole house audio system.  Need to sort out Media Center integration though, enter MCE Softaqueeze.

How would I rate ease of installation 5 stars, Ease of use 5 stars.  I love this thing.

Comming soon:

Part 2 – Overview of the Squeezbox controller

Part 3 – Looking around SqueezeCenter

Part 4 – Extensions

Part 5 – The wish list

May 20, 2008

HelloTwitFace – now with Summize search!

For the past week I’ve been toiling away on integrating Summize into HelloTwitFace.  Screen06 Summize replaces TweetScan as HelloTwitFace’s replies and search tabs.  This was a challenge as I’d already built in RSS reading capabilities to read the TweetScan results, but Summize works with ATOM.  I did some diggining and finally got it working…and I have the start of a Summize .NET API.

I think this is the first Windows Mobile app out there to include Summize capabilities.  Summize rocks by the way, it is SUPER FAST!

Deets on how to use what’s new after the jump.

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