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Entries in technology (6)


Unboxing 14-year-old Technology

As a follow-up to my post on bringing back the use of the Swatch .beat Universal Internet Time, here's a gallery of the unboxing of my original Swatch Beat watch after being in storage for all these years.


PSE&G: A Public Utility's Failure to Inform the Public

It's been nearly four days that I, and a number of my neighbors, have been without power due to this year's early snow storm.

While the storm was unexpected, the results were not: the snow was dense and heavy and the abundance of leaves still on the trees made it easy for snow to find purchase on weak limbs which fell onto power lines. Given that I live in a town called Maplewood, you can imagine how many old, large trees we have in town and that extent of the damage is probably higher than other towns.

Needless to say, it's got me a bit torqued out. Finally, this morning, I had to get on a plane to go to Blogworld LA, leaving my wife and son home without electricity and a wood stove that neither of them are comfortable operating.

But what's really got me pissed off is our utility company, PSE&G.

Click to read more ...


Steve Jobs is gone. Why am I so upset?!

Steve Jobs is gone.

He's a guy I never knew. I bought computers and gadgets from a company he founded. He wasn't family, a close friend or even an acquaintance.

So why the hell am I so upset?!

Click to read more ...


Tron Legacy


How to Upgrade to an iPhone 3G S for $199

My wife has been reluctant to get a smartphone - I think she can sometimes be intimidated by technology. Over the past year I 've been guiding her toward an iPhone - it's consumer friendly, even for those who aren't technically inclined. Still, she wasn't ready to get one.

Today, out of the blue, she called and said, "Honey, I want to go to the Apple Store and buy an iPhone today." I have no idea why she had the sudden change of heart, but I informed that there would be a new one released soon and that we should pre-order it.

I jumped on the AT&T Wireless site and ordered an iPhone 3G S for the lovely price of $199. I opted to pick it up at a local store so they'll tell me when and where to go. When it arrives I'll swap the SIM cards and voila! - new iPhone 3G S for me! ;) 

Apple better damn well make good on their claim of "better battery life."


Swoopo: Unique Auction Model

I'm in the market for a netbook for use as a lightweight, secondary machine. In the process of searching for the features I wanted, I discovered a very different kind of auction site called Swoopo and learned very quickly that things work a bit errr, differently.

In about 45 minutes, I blew through $40 with nothing to show for it.

In all fairness to the folks at Swoopo, I didn't RTFM.

Now that I've felt the pain, here's my understanding of their model:

  • Items start at just 15 cents with no reserve price.
  • Each bid costs $1.
  • The price only goes up by 15 cents when each bid is placed.

If you win your auction, Swoopo is great.

Let's do the math on the Acer Aspire One that I lost, but someone named "Mom09" won.

List Price: $399.99 (actually $329.99 on Amazon)

Placed Bids: $177.00

Final Auction Price: $59.25

Savings: $163.74 (~40%)

Bottom Line: "Mom09" got herself a netbook for $93.74 less than Amazon's best price. That's a great deal.

But let's be clear - bidding is an expensive process - and can be really expensive for the losers. Think about it: What if I continued to bid and only spent one dollar less than Mom09? I would have thrown away quite a bit of money and had no netbook.

Oh - and Swoopo? They collect a dollar for every bid made by every participant. I'd have to run the numbers on a typical auction, but they can potentially earn much more than the MSRP of an item.

Kudos to Swoopo. I think it's an interesting business model, but not one that I'm willing to gamble on. My Acer Aspire One will arrive on Wednesday from Amazon, shipped free thanks to my Amazon Prime account.