Archive for March, 2008

Flickr Post: Ireland Trip Photos, 2008

Posted by matt on March 31, 2008

Me, my wife and another couple spent a week on the Emerald Island last month. Check out the public flickr pictures here (sorry I had a bad link here… it’s been fixed-thanks tenny!). We had a blast, with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Contact me if you are interested in a login to view the larger gallery (300+ photos) of our travels which spanned a lot of the southwest part of Ireland.

I’m working to get a lot of my other international trips online as well–back to 2002, so more to come!

Posted under photos

Mini-Album Review: Vampire Weekend, Self-Titled

Posted by matt on March 26, 2008

vampire-weekend.jpg Artist: Vampire Weekend
Album: Vampire Weekend
Wikipedia Genre(s): Indie rock, Afro-pop, Indie pop
Matt’s Fav Tracks: None really, mostly annoying
# times listened:
Not Many (<10 times)
Matt’s Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Buy CD: Amazon
Have a listen: Non-DRM MP3‘s on Amazon

So I heard a lot of hype about these guys and thought I’d give them a shot. After about 6-7 times through the album, I just don’t get it. For all the attention they are getting, I’ve heard better local bands when I was in college. They sound like a bad Paul Simon tribute band mixed with an annoying hippie jam band. Not my cup of tea.

Now I’ve heard they are decent live which I brings them up a bit, but jeez, these organs/flutes are just annoying. Well mixed, but freakin’ annoying. And the yelling ‘oh oh oh oh’ on A-punk? Ugh. I wish Hank would go to one of their shows and when they play this song, pound these wimps with their own instruments. Maybe I’m missing the point, but these songs are just all really whiny and weak. A lowly 2 out of 5 stars for me.

If you like this kind of droning, maybe try something a little more original like one of my old-school standbys, fIREHOSE. Check out Brave Captain which is a fav of mine.

Posted under music, reviews

Unbox Gadget Review: Popcorn Hour A-100

Posted by matt on March 23, 2008

Okay, so the name is wack, but I’m hoping this device lives up to what it looks like it can do. I just got this, so this initial post is just some pictures.


So what the hell is this “Popcorn Hour“? Well, what isn’t it might be a better answer! I would describe this as what Apple TV should be. A device to hook to your TV that can stream devices from a variety of sources (including watching YouTube easily on your TV), in almost every format (unlike Apple TV), and also acts as a NAS, and you can even plug in thumb drives w/ content on them! (full specs here) It even has Bittorent built in! Pop in a 750GB hard drive, and you’d be set for probably 2 years of entertainment.

Note the ports–component, composite and HDMI (cable included, which is rare). Funny though, no composite or audio cables included. They properly presume you have a ton of them lying around already. No wireless on this, so you need a network connection near by or some HomePlug. Popping it open, interesting to see… not much in there! Room for the IDE hard drive and the power is all in the chip.


Remote is also decent as well–quite a step up from my MediaGate.


Right now, I haven’t even hooked it up yet, so hopefully this review isn’t too premature…but if it is anything like the MediaGate devices I have, then this thing should rock. Also note, that I had to join their list just to get this thing… the availability is quite limited right now.

Look for a full review soon!

Matt’s Popcorn Hour Articles:

Posted under Popcorn Hour, reviews, tech gadgets, Unbox

Unbox Gadget Review: One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Posted by matt on March 23, 2008

Last fall, I found out about the OLPC and after seeing the 60 minutes special, I was hooked on the prospect of the idea. The fact of giving this technology can have quite a tipping point effect; one that came to mind was the Sinclair ZX80 that spawned a generation of hackers in the 1980’s in Great Britain.

Last Christmas, I decided to donate a laptop, and at the time, you had the option to also purchase a second one for yourself. Intrigued, I bit the bullet and got one for me. It arrived last week:



Note the minimalist packaging. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do with it, but it is a pretty amazing piece of technology so far (for the price). Opera is the default browser which was a bit of a pain (i.e. no flash worked natively) but I did get firefox on it. It is also tricky to get hooked up to your network if you run WPA for your wireless. The screen is visible in bright daylight–remarkable! I wish my eeepc had that.

Fun to mess around with though, and if you were a kid, it would be a great learning tool. I’m hoping it becomes more readily available here in the states.

Posted under reviews, tech gadgets, Unbox
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Unbox Gadget Review: Garmin Nuvi 360 GPS

Posted by matt on March 23, 2008

After trying this GPS out on my recent trip to Ireland, we got this feature as an add-on with our rental car and I was very impressed with this device. While my current car already has a built-in, because this is very portable, it is a must for travel. I figured it could also do some double duty for geocaching. I’ll do a review later, but just some pics unbox-style for now:


Check it out here— Doesn’t get much better for the money.

Posted under reviews, tech gadgets, Unbox