NosillaCast 12/04/2005 Show #20

Show #20
Full country listing, Minolta Dimage Z3 review, Seagate 4GB Pocket Drive review, podcatching tip/warning, Pandora Music Genome Project, Hoax advice, other uses for Google, how to shrink urls, Smell-O-Mints, why WebTV is so cool.

Listen to the Podcast – Time: 20 min 57 seconds

Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast podcast – a technology geek show with an ever so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday December 4th, 2005, and this is show number 20. Wow, that’s a big milestone – should we celebrate? Naw, we’ll wait for show number 100 for that kind of tomfoolery.

I sure hope you’re not getting tired of me excitement over all the new countries that join our listening audience every week, because I never tire of this topic! We added Puerto Rico this week, and so I’d like to give a shoutout to Javier who wrote to me from there. With any luck I’m going to do an interview for him which I’m really looking forward to. I’m so obsessed with this topic that I’m going to post the month end statistics where you can see all of the countries that listened this month and how much traffic they generated. I think it’s fun to look at, perhaps you do too! the countries that aren’t in the MB of bandwidth must just be reading on the website, and not downloading, but that’s cool too. check out the stats at:

Countries November 2005

Today’s show will feature two hardware reviews: the Minolta Z3 digital camera and the Seagate 4GB pocket drive.


Minolta Dimage Z3
Last week when i talked about my “play” camera, I also referred to my grown up camera, the Minolta Dimage Z3. As always, I like to start with what problem I was trying to solve. While the Exilim fits my requirements for easy to throw in the purse, takes nice pics at parties, the Minolta fits a much different requirement. My kids play soccer so it’s fast action, requiring a really fast shutter speed, and a long zoom. i could have bought an SLR, and I may do that eventually, but I wanted something smaller, and didn’t want to screw around with lenses. the Z3 has a 12X optical zoom at 4 MP! Now I’m not faking this combining digital and optical, it’s all optical. This allows me to take closeups of the other side of the field that are amazing. Leo says you can’t hold a 12X zoom camera still without a tripod, but I do it just by propping my elbows up on my knees in my lawn chair. Because of the 4MP combined with the zoom, I can crop in real tight and make great shots (maybe not 8x10s but darn good 4×6’s). If you don’t believe me, check in the show notes for a shot of my son more than half the soccer field LENGTH away from me:

Kyle’s goal kick

In addition to the great zoom, it meets my requirements for a fast shutter from the time I push the button till it actually takes the shot. this is a notorious problem with digital cameras, and the only truly instantaneous ones are the SLRs, but the Z3 is really really good. i can now catch the ball in the air 80% of the time, while with my previous camera I hardly ever captured it.

The body of the Z3 has a really nice form factor for my hand, it’s not slim by any means, it looks more like a miniature SLR, and the hand grip is perfect for me. It ran around $400 in mid-2004 when i bought it, so there’s even better models in the Z line now to choose from, so check them out! Check out my website under my gadgets page for a picture.

My Favorite Gadgets

Seagate 5GB Pocket Drive

I’m really excited about a new pocket drive I found – it’s made by Seagate, and it’s actually a 4200RPM drive (not flash memory) so it’s not expensive for its size. It fits in the palm of your hand, is shaped like a rounded hockey puck and is extremely light. there’s no visible signs of a USB cable at first, until you rotate the casing around and it reveals the cable where you can pull it out about a 3 inches. This makes it easy to attach to a USB port. of course it lights up blue when you transfer data, which is critical, right? The cool thing is that it’s only $85!

Seagate 5GB USB 2.0 Pocket Hard Drive
Buy at Amazon for $85

I gotta get on that Amazon deal where you get kickbacks if people click the links!

Podcast catching tip

If you’re new to podcasting since iTunes picked it up, just ignore this next time. I noticed I was running out of disk space, so I went on a witch hunt to delete podcasts I’d already listened to. I did it first inside iTunes (my preferred podcatching client) but then i took a look at my iTunes directory on disk. i discovered that all of the podcasts I’d downloaded using other tools, such as iPodderX and iPodder Lemon (now known as the Juice Receiver) were all still in there, NOT in the podcast directory that iTunes makes for us. Just a little tip that you may have wasted disk space there too. Remember these files are huge, so do a disk cleanup once in a while!

Pandora – Music Genome Project

Music site that allows you to create your own music “station”. they’ve analyzed musicians’ style and developed elaborate DB. You give it an artist you like, finds similar. Queries if it guessed right or wrong. (If you say no, it says “Sorry about that. We’ll try something else and we won’t ever play that song on this station again.) As you keep listening and answering right/wrong, it develops your tastes. Eventually have a “station” that whenever you go to that link, it’s playing what you like right away. Can’t download, but a cool idea. can buy tunes online at the site and it’s all free!

Pandora Music Genome Project

Snopes

Get those emails of doom from friends/relatives? You know the ones – Mars will be as big as the Moon? always always always check at Snopes to see if they’re a hoax. Usually a hoax, sometimes some truth – for ex on Moon issue – unfortunate typo caused the confusion, AND it was the wrong year. Save the world some bandwidth and check first. Also fun to tell the person who sent it to you that they blew it! Check it out at snopes.com.

Google – Other Uses

So we all know to use Google to do searching and excellent maps, but did you know it can do all kinds of other cool things?

  • Unit conversion – type 10 gallons in liters and it will tell you the answer is 38 liters
  • Calculator – type in 3*7 and it will tell you the answer is 21
  • Define words – type “define: ” followed by the word for which you want a definition, returns answers from several sites, depending on what you asked for.
  • Search a specific site – if you know the site where you want to look (and they have a lame or non-existent search), type the thing you’re searching for, then “site: ” followed by the site name (e.g. “camera site: amazon.com”)
  • Movies – for showtimes just type in the movie name, and the first hit will be images for the movie, but the second hit will be for show information and locations/times near you (must be caching our addresses from driving directions). Also can search for movies when you can’t remember the name, by typing movie: followed by the search term!
  • Tracking shipments – probably my favorite hint is to just type in a UPS or FedEx or USPS tracking number (not even telling Google what this number is) and it gives you a link to the appropriate tracking for your package.
  • If you think Google is fun, you’ll enjoy this site my friend Bruce showed me. If you go to logogle.com and type in any name you like, it creates a functioning Google site with your name instead of the Google letters (styled just like the google letters). Completely useless but fun!

    URLs too long?
    So you want to send a link to someone (like for a great gift you want them to buy you) but when you paste it into email it’s so long the text does a word wrap, and you KNOW they’re going to get a broken link when they try it – what to do? try out tinyurl.com there’s several sites like this that allow you to paste in the gigantic url and it returns a tiny one! For example, i just put in the link to Steve’s Digicam Photo of the Day for December 1st, which is normally:
    http://www.steves-digicams.com/dpotd/dec2005/12012005.jpg

    and tinyurl returned:
    http://tinyurl.com/8vs2g

    While I’m at it, Steve’s Digicam Photo of the Day website is awesome, fantastic photos every day!

    Weird and Wacky

    This is not actually a WWW but a WW application. If you’re a geek and like the Periodic Table of the Elements, you’ll love Smell-O-Mints! As the developer describes it:

    Smell-O-Mints is a Periodic table of the elements for the Macintosh. It’s not as full-featured as a lot of other Periodic tables out there, but it’s free and looks very nice. Especially if you put it next to the coffee table by the ferns. Click on an element symbol to get a little more information on the item, like atomic weight, radioactive properties, and atomic number. You can use the popup menu to switch between the basic table and a table of solids, liquids and gasses, and more.

    I like it because the colors are cool, the noises are fun, and of course it’s free! Unfortunately i can’t give the developer’s site a plug, because it’s not functioning. I’ll write to him and ask him whazzup and update the link in here if he sends it to me.

    WebTV and why it’s so cool

    My buddy Harry has WebTV (which is now actually MSN TV). The idea is you hook this little box up to your TV and then surf the internet on the TV. I’m sure you all think I’m nuts for saying this is cool, but it really is! Here’s my story. Harry is a big ol’ surfin’ maniac, writes emails like crazy, has a great time. but one day he says to me “I need to print some stuff off, I’m out of disk space on the server so i need to delete some emails.” I’m thinking how on earth you can print from this darn thing. so I took a look at the back and the documentation and it turns out it’s got a parallel port on it. I went online to try and find what printers worked on it, and finally found an old archive site with a list – and all four of my HP printers were on the list! i went over to Compusa and bought a serial cable, and drove over to Harry’s. I explained that this was either going to work, or not, but there’d be no way I could make it work if it didn’t, as there’s no way to load drivers or anything like that since it has no hard drive. I plugged in the printer, turned on the WebTV, hit the printer button…and it printed.

    Just like that! when was the last time you plugged ANYTHING into your computer, Mac or PC, and it simply WORKED? I’m serious, this was a digital miracle!

    They have MSN TV for broadband now, it’s around $200 (but there’s a $100 rebate right now) and the dialup service isn’t cheap ($21.95/month or $9.95/month if you bring your own ISP), but broadband service is only $9.95/month with your own ISP. You can also pay upfront at $99.95 for a year. I really recommend this for your non-computer literate friends. I’m thinking my brother would be happy with this. he hates computers (he says that’s not true, that they hate HIM!) Check it out at webtv.com

    Well, that wraps it up for this week, hope you’ve enjoyed the NosillaCast. As always feedback is welcome at allison@podfeet.com I’ve heard from a few folks that they’ve had trouble emailing me (getting bouncebacks) – if that ever happens to you, please use the comments section on the website to tell me! Thanks for staying subscribed!

    3 thoughts on “NosillaCast 12/04/2005 Show #20

    1. Neil - December 4, 2005

      (Just a tip Allison…)

      I often follow along with Podcasts, checking out the websites mentioned, while still listening to the podcast…

      Well, if you ever mention a site like Pandora again, do it at the end of your “show”… I am playing w/ it , (it’s cool), but I had to pause your podcast…

      The 1st half of Show 20 was good so far…

      …Neil 🙂 (another old fart)

    2. Nosilla - December 6, 2005

      Neil – thanks for the great advice. i’ll make sure that nothing interesting happens in the NosillaCast unitl the last 5 minutes…

      to old farts,
      Allison

    3. Gary - December 6, 2005

      Good 12/5 podcast. I enjoyed hearing about the Z3 camera and learned something new about shrinking URLs and undocumented Google features!
      Keep it up!

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