Author Archives

Doug is a nerd from way back, falling for a Commodore PET at the age of 15, and never looking back. Riding the nerd wave, he got a Computer Science degree and entered the tech industry at a young age, deciding after a year and a half of front-line phone technical support that he should try something, *anything* else. He settled on technical writing, and has been cranking out documentation for companies like Unisys, SGI, Cisco, Juniper, and many others ever since. He is nothing short of ecstatic to be working for H-P from his home base in Austin.

  • How to Use Online App/Product Reviews to Your Advantage


    You can probably trust any reviews written by this guy! Recently, our own Carly Z pointed us GD folks to a very interesting and, for me, thought-provoking article about online reviews and blogs published to the web that contain reviews–like this here one that you’re reading–by Al Gauthier of “Living Barefoot”.  (N.B.–I don’t follow the “living barefoot” guidelines, but if… Read More ›

  • Why the eBook World Makes Me Nuts

    eReaders 001

    Image taken from the Wayback Machine In the beginning, there was Peanut Press . . . Seriously, though; as you’ve probably noticed from Carly’s great postings, the eBook industry is . . . well, the polite way to put it is, “In flux.”  The less-polite way to put it is, “A big friggin’ mess.”  The same book cannot be read… Read More ›

  • Review: iDisplay Gives You Second Monitor Capability on Your iPad (and iPhone)

    idisplay 001

    All images courtesy of Shape Services A couple of months ago, Shape Services–the makers of IM+ and IM+ Pro for the iPad and iPhone (which I will also be reviewing)–let me test out their iDisplay program.  The idea behind iDisplay is simple:  why not turn your iPad or iPhone into a second monitor?  How did it work out in practice?… Read More ›

  • GD Quickie: When Fandom and Philanthropy Meet

    cowboy bebop

    Photo courtesy of James Wong One of my favorite works of any genre–fine arts, performance arts, what-have-you–is Shinichir? Watanabe’s future-cowboy noirish anime Cowboy Bebob.  I’m not going to get all gushy and fanboy-like telling you about how wonderful Bebop is, and why you should ignore the kinda silly name and rent it from Netflix right now–I’ll restrain myself to just saying… Read More ›

  • Verifone vs. Square, a Perspective

    roam data

    The recent Square vs. Verifone kerfuffle/gymkhana/embroglio/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is, I think, a pretty important one.  Not just for itself, but for what it says about the tech industry. (This also happens to be my industry.)  There are a number of companies right now trying to muscle and/or bully their rivals out of the marketplace– Twitter is a recent example with their attempt to… Read More ›

  • iPads in Education: Some Thoughts on Pros and Cons


    The new look of textbooks? The iPad app Solar System, by Touch Press The discussion started out because my daughter Maggie, who is a freshman at the local High School, spotted an opportunity to get herself a device that she covets . . . an iPad. Here’s the deal:  Maggie’s school district is holding a vote on whether or not… Read More ›

  • Breaking TV Monopolies Through Technology?


    You can keep up with the situation in Egypt on al Jazeera English . . . if you could get it on U.S. TV Right now, Egypt is undergoing a major upheaval, the kind of thing that may or may not lead to a new Egyptian government, and the first new Egyptian leader after nearly 30 years.  And interestingly to… Read More ›

  • Power of Tech Shown by Egyptian Protests

    egypt protests

    Photo courtesy of the The International Business Times When all of Iran seemed to be exploding in the wake of “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s “victory” in the 2009 election, the news was noteworthy not just because a country struggling against authoritarian rule was trying to free itself, but also because of how the news got out:  Twitter.  Before cell phones integrated… Read More ›

  • Review: Solar System for iPad

    solar system 006

    A few months ago, I was lucky enough to get a review copy of the iPhone 4 version of The Elements, a book/media/textbook/app that describes and demonstrates the Periodic Table of the Elements (with pictures of examples that could be manipulated). I loved it. In fact, I ended up absorbed in it so much that it put me behind on… Read More ›

  • How the iPad and Twitter Have Changed My News Consumption


    Image courtesy of CleanSlate and Better Homes and Gardens I’m 47 years old–the “wedge” generation just after the Baby Boom, and just before Generation X.  I’m old enough to have owned a black-and-white TV (13″; it was my high school graduation gift!), had rotary dial phones (Michael just talked about these the other day!), one phone company for the whole… Read More ›

  • Review: Akron Portable Fold-Up Stand for Apple iPad

    akron IPM-TAB1 ipad stand

    (Note: All the photos here but one are from Akron–since they matched my experience, and are of better quality, I used them instead.  Hope y’all don’t mind.) When I was planning what accessories–if any–to get for my iPad, one of the things I was pretty sure I was going to pick up was a stand.  I fly back and forth… Read More ›

  • Wired Magazine iPad App–an Ironic Fail

    wired app screenshot

    I didn’t begin today thinking, “Boy, I better review the Wired Magazine iPad app, or Judie will really get on me”.  Nope; I have lots of other stuff on my plate, including news items and reviews of other apps (e.g., Mushroom Age!).  But as I sat there waiting–and waiting and waiting and waiting–for the one issue I bought to download,… Read More ›

  • Microsoft’s “PC vs. Mac” Site: What on Earth Are They Thinking?


    Mac vs. PC ad still courtesy Chiat/Day One of the things that’s wonderful about writing for Gear Diary is the diverse  mix of folks involved in the endeavor.  You got your PC folks… you got your Appleheads… and you got your LINUX fans (well fan… Joel) and so on. We’ve got gaming folks; hard-core gadget nerds; exercise mavens; and gear… Read More ›

  • FHA Deals Housing Market a Blow


    Photo courtesy of  A Different Kind of Blog There is nothing about shiny new gadgets and gear in this post; sorry about that.  But your friendly Gear Diary folks think that you, our readers, should be warned about stuff every once in a while.  Why?  Well, if you’re well-off enough to buy some of the gadgets, gizmos, and gear that… Read More ›

  • On Piracy and Copyrights: The Stupidity of Delay and Denial

    reading ebook 1

    The folks here at Gear Diary are in lots of different industries:  financial, tech, rabbinical, teaching . . . me, I’m a technical writer.  I write books and “topics” about technical topics for a living.  Computer manuals, network system reference pages, instructions on how to install everything from giant Cisco routers to that teeny 2Wire modem some of you may… Read More ›

  • iPhone App Review: The Elements, by Theodore Gray, Adapted for the iPhone 4 by TouchPress

    the elements-iphone

    I spend a lot of time on my own.  My family is in Austin, but I work in Sunnyvale, leaving me with a two-week period where I’m, in essence, a bachelor who doesn’t date.  So when I’m in Sunnyvale, I revert to my true nerd state, spending extra time at work, obsessing over work-related details, making a nuisance of myself… Read More ›

  • Use Your Cell Cam, Go to Jail


    Photo courtesy of ABC News© We don’t talk much about politics here at Gear Diary.  It’s not our thing.  We’re geeks and nerds here, not PoliSci majors.  We like to talk about the positive side of tech. But every once in a while, tech news and politics do bleed into each other.  One of the classics is Net Neutrality, of… Read More ›

  • Review: Daniusoft Media Converter Ultimate Converter and Ripper


    In case I haven’t bored you enough by mentioning it, I do a lot of travel.  Three-four times per month, I fly between my family in Austin, and my job in Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I’m not complaining–at least I’ve got a job!–but it does leave me with a lot of time on my own waiting.  Waiting… Read More ›

  • Tech Infrastructure and Monopolies


    When I was a kid, phone design was still pretty much in its infancy–the “Princess” phone was pretty much the height of technology then.  It wasn’t bolted to the wall!  The dial lit up!  It came in colors other than black or beige!  Eventually, it even had buttons instead of a dial! In those prehistoric days, everything ran across copper,… Read More ›

  • iPhone Bluetooth: Flaky but Predictable Corner-Case Problem


    Image courtesy of Natalie Jean Lovin Holbrook I find corner-cases.  I don’t want to; I don’t try to; I just do.  Like last week, right?  I was working with some fairly sophisticated online documentation build and publish tools–and they weren’t working right.  I was making my co-workers upset.  I was making my boss upset.  Heck, I was making my wife… Read More ›

  • Pleasantly Waste Time with Onmsoft’s Squaree Puzzle Game

    squaree 004

    I’m a big fan of puzzle games, especially ones that don’t have a time element involved.  (Or preferably don’t require excellent twitch reflexes and small muscle coordination.  Glyder is about the fastest-paced game I can handle.  I have this neck injury, see . . .)  I’ve spent hours playing everything from Scrabble to Myst to Bejeweled.  So when Onmsoft came… Read More ›