About MY Gear

Early Thoughts on Ubuntu Touch

At lunch today I was able to load up a version of Ubuntu’s touch based OS on my Asus EeePad Transformer, because I had come across a post on the infamous XDA forums from a hacker who has actually gotten this to work.  Well … it works in that it boots! 🙂  So I decided to try it, just to get an idea of how good or bad it might…


Apple Lightning Connector Broken Inside iPad Mini Port – Eeek!

Have you wondered how well the new Apple Lightning connector might hold up over time? I’ll admit not giving too much thought to it, because I chose to focus on the fact that I could plug the Apple Lightning Connector in from either side — a welcome new convenience from the old 30-pin. So far, I haven’t had any issues with my iPad mini or my iPhone 5, but when…


Microsoft Surface and Windows RT: Playing in the Windows 8 Sandbox

A Little History… A while back I took the plunge and made the shift from an iPhone to a Windows phone, first with a Nokia 900 and later with a 920.  It was an interesting exercise.  I learned a lot, discovered some new ways of working, and learned to make some compromises.  I even learned that some things I thought were “critical” to my daily functioning really weren’t so critical,…


Tres Generaciones Anejo Tequila, a Taste of Family History

Life is short. I see that all the time in my work, and I have seen it far too often in my own life. Life is too short to fill it with worries about the small stuff, and it is too short to fill it with bad people, bad experiences, bad food or bad drinks. Speaking of drinks; I have long been a scotch drinker, but  just as often as…


Garmin ForeRunner 10 Still Going Strong All Winter Long

Since I reviewed the Garmin ForeRunner 10 back in mid-October, the YouTube video has continued gathering comments. So I figured it was time for an update. You can see the Garmin peeking out above between my two thermal-tech layers and gloves. You can even glimpse the toll all of the salting and slush are taking on my beautiful new bright orange running shoes! Quick summary: the Garmin ForeRunner 10 is…


How Well Do You Trust Online Reviews?

Image courtesy of XKCD I recently read a very interesting post by Andrew Leonard about online reviews, and attempts by software companies to (as we say in the high tech world) productize them.  The question is valid:  In an online world with an overwhelming wealth of information about almost everything, how do you weigh reviews and make a buying decision? Certainly the online world is swamped in reviews.  But in…


Why I love my Samsung ATIV 500T enough to dump the iPad…

When the iPad first came out, I was as stunned and impressed as anyone, and anxious to have one of my own. My wife is largely supportive of my gadget addictions, but regarding the iPad, didn’t understand where it would “fit in” as a necessity when I already had an iPhone, laptop and desktop computer. She didn’t get it, even when I tried explaining it to her. (I believe that…


If You Want GOOD Service, Use the Apple Store Instead of Apple Support

Apple has a reputation and standing as one of the best customer support organizations in all of the consumer world. They top the ratings each year; due to their retail stores, the ability to quickly talk to someone knowledgeable has made using Apple products easier than ever for millions of folks. Truth is, in more than 30 years of owning Apple products starting with the Apple ][+, I have never…


Set Top Boxes, a Gear Chat

Over the years writing for Gear Diary, we often have chats behind the scenes about all sorts of issues.  Some are private and will never see the light of day, but many times what is said ends up in a long string of comments that would make a great post.  This one all started by a gift I received from a friend — a brand new Roku 2 XS — which…


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Regarding FedEx Smartpost and UPS Surepost

If you have ever bought something on the internet that didn’t ship solely via USPS, then using either FedEx Smartpost or UPS Surepost was likely an option; they are both shipping options that use the United States Postal Service for the final leg. In other words, UPS or FedEx will deliver the packages to your local Post Office, and the Postal Service will handle the actual delivery.  The concept sounds…


Best Buy Tech Service Gone Awry; a GM’s Customer Service Saves the Day

I came home a few weeks ago to find my almost four year old Gateway desktop rig powered completely off. I tried turning it back on, only to find out that it had decided that it didn’t want to at all. That could only mean the power supply, since it had been on and working just fine a few hours before. Annoying yes, but fortunately, not insurmountable. It took me…


My Bag: Ham Radio Edition

Hurricane Sandy, the derecho and the upcoming winter season has had me thinking about what I carry on a daily basis. It also prompted me to consider what I might add to it to be better prepared.  In HAM lingo, we refer to this as our GO bag– the bag that serves in an emergency preparedness capacity. Here’s a look at my Go bag. The Bag Itself My bag is…


Gear Chat – the ‘Mike Wasn’t Getting an iPad Mini’ Episode

OK, so just a few weeks ago I made some bold declarations about how I would not be getting an iPad Mini, stating it in our last Gear Chat, then taking a bold stance on the ‘Five Reasons I Won’t Be Getting the ‘iPad Mini’’ (which Dan rebutted with a single reason). Since release although I didn’t explicitly post a review or anything else declaring that I had gotten the…


Weeks Number 2 & 3 of My iPad-Only Challenge!

Welcome to the second ‘weekly’ (yes, it has been a month since my last one) report on my quest for the 99% computer! (Here is my first update) As noted, my plan was to use my iPad for as much as I possibly could, and note whatever functions required me to use a ‘real’ computer. I had planned on reporting weekly, but I haven’t done that – what could that…


Special Holiday Pricing Available on Pivothead HD Recording Sunglasses

I LOVE the Pivothead HD Recording Sunglasses that I reviewed last month and used while in Cuba two weeks ago. They are comfortable, look good AND they record amazingly clear video. You can check out our full review of them here and see how they work in this video. At $350, the glass aren’t cheap — although I have paid close to that for sunglasses that were simply… hum… sunglasses….


My Hurricane Sandy Survival Gear

I started this post prior to losing power Monday night. In the middle of writing it, the power went out … and it stayed out until late Thursday night. We had no heat or electric; because we are on a well and septic system, we had no water. We had no internet and no phones either, since I had insisted we get rid of our landline a few years ago…


A Week in Cuba and the Gear I Carried

I spent last week in Havana Cuba touring the city, listening to lectures, and doing some good as we visited with Havana’s Jewish community and shared the medical supplies we’d brought. While there, certain key pieces of tech came in rather handy; I thought I would run down just a few of them. First and foremost, my Canon T3i DSLR and iPad were great for taking and manipulating pictures on…


Got an Old PowerPC Mac? Resuscitate It with Linux.

Apple has long left the PowerPC based Macs of old behind; however, any G4 or G5 based Mac is still a very capable machine.  Most of the G5 Power Macs I have come across are dual-core G5 machines and some of the iMacs are as well.  Apple isn’t releasing updates for the last supported version of Mac OS X that will run on PowerPC based Macs.  Firefox and Chrome are…


Five Reasons I Won’t Be Getting the ‘iPad Mini’

Speculation is out of control about the October 23rd Apple event and the anticipated ‘iPad Mini’. During our last Gear Chat, Dan asked me about the iPad Mini, and I declared that I wouldn’t be getting one; to which he replied that ‘he’d believe it when he saw it’! I wanted to go on record based on what we know, suspect, conjecture, and/or know about Apple in general … and…


My Journey to the Dark Side…er, Apple is Complete

A long time ago, in a service provider far, far away, I had joined the ranks of mobile phone users, sporting a Motorola Razr V3m back when it was de rigueur for mobile types. For a time I was content, and as technology evolved I migrated my mobile phones, ever searching for the trifecta of ease of use, reliability and variety of peripherals. Here is a representation of all the major…


Week Number 1 of My iPad-Only Challenge!

Welcome to the first weekly report on my quest for the 99% computer! As noted my plan was to use my iPad for as much as I possibly could, and note whatever functions required me to use a ‘real’ computer. So let’s get to it! Setup Perhaps not surprisingly, there wasn’t much for me to do. I have had my iPad loaded up with email, web, productivity, statistics, music, games,…