Saturday, January 06, 2007

Audiovox PPC 6600 Review

Originally uploaded by marcymakesaparty.
Here's a picture of someone's broken ppc 6600, luckily mine isn't this broken.

I like this phone. It is a pocket PC, which allows it to all kinds of crazy things. I use a freeware VNC called .NET VNC viewer to view my ubuntu machine. I also use to see my PC desktop. Both are free, and both work pretty sort of ok. I've found it's actually much faster to do some kind of remote desktop thing and open a complicated webpage remotely and view it over a cellphone connection than to try to open it directly with the phones browser. When I so open web pages directly, I use the opera browser.

There are also lots of instant messenger apps that you can get, but they cost way too much money and don't work that well. I've tried im+, agile messenger, and some others. They usually cause lockups and cause me to miss calls. This could be more the phone than the software, but I don't' have any way to tell.

The last part of the puzzle with this phone is the sprint service. It's CDMA service, which is pretty widespread. I've had some trouble in the mountains, but you can roam and use Verizon. Of course when you roam data service doesn't work. The good thing about sprint is the internet service is unlimited, and you can easily talk a sprint representative into giving you the vision service for $10 a month. The bad thing is this phone can't do data and get calls at the same time very well. It's also not as fast as the new services I suppose.

This phone can also use Bluetooth to work with a Bluetooth GPS and you can load tomtom on it. That is cool, but it does weird things to the phone, like load up whenever it feels like it. It takes a LONG time to load up too.

One real headache is to try this phone as a dial up networking device. You're pretty much limited to using Bluetooth, especially if you use a Mac or Linux as the phone isn't recognized on those devices. If you use a PC you have to disable activesync, but I haven't bothered to try it since my PC is connected to a much faster internet route and isn't portable. On the Mac using OS X you can setup a Bluetooth wireless DUN connection, but I couldn't find any way to make it reliable, and have had to recreate the connection each time I wanted to use it. I also had to make the phone less secure so I could easily pair it, but I'm not too worried about Bluetooth attacks due to its limited range. I haven't been able to get ubuntu to work with it, but I have read of some success from others. I might also be experiencing issues due to my cheap USB Bluetooth dongle, in addition to any quirks the phone has. So to sum it up, DUN on this phone is way more difficult than a normal phone but it is possible. It seems even slower than my old TMobile phone that worked fine with a USB cable, but that's what you get I guess.

This phone is capable of so many many things, but this may also be a weakness. The camera is crap, although can shoot crappy video. The keyboard is tiny and is on the wrong side, although the sliding is cool. For some reason my phone won't "turn off" when pressing the off button anymore, the case is separating, and it got some snow in it in the recent Denver blizzard. It still does work though. Oh, it also has a habit of losing all its data so you have to restore it from a SD card or a computer. Backing up to an SD card takes hours for some reason too. But it was cheap, and it works often.

LCD Topgun lightgun review

So I like light gun games, a lot. Even if I suck at them. So I heard about this new lightgun thing, I like. Of course by the time I found out about it it can't be found through the previously reported means. This is because the company violated some law and Sony or some game company the manufacturer shut down. Anywho, I found the gun for sale at and ordered it.

The neat thing about this gun is that it doesn't work the same way earlier lightguns did. Instead of getting a signal from the tv screen, it has infrared lightbars that go on the sides of the screen to figure out where it's pointing. This allows it to work with projectors, LCD screens, etc. Theoretically this should also make it more accurate. It also means it has to be calibrated if anything moves. Since I have the 100 inch screen this seems like a good idea.

Unfortunately the 100 inch screen is too much for the included lightbars. So I ordered the "blaze stands" to accommodate the larger screen. I haven't received these yet, but perhaps I'll update this review when I get them.

As it is I've been able to use the gun with my much much smaller computer monitor. It did work, although I had to stand as far away from my desk as possible to make it work, which is about 4 1/2 feet (I have a small apartment). It did work pretty well, and it was configurable with included computer software. The gun comes with two USB plugs, one of which is purely to make the recoil function work. It doesn't seem to work well with a 15 foot USB extension chord, probably loses signal, so I'm not sure how to use it with the 100 inch screen anyway.

It also has a laser, which is cool. All in all, its the only gun I know of that works with PC's, ps2's, xboxes and projection screens. I'm not sure if you can use two guns with a PC. It has lots of chords hanging around for all the lightbars. It looks cool. That's about it.

Student Loan Consolidation

After the many years I've spent in college, and the many years I have yet to come, I've certainly racked up my share of student loans. There are a few companies out there to help consolidate them, and I've looked into many. Then of course after you do choose one, it will probably be bought out by another company, so maybe they are all the same one. I'm not sure, but remind me that I have to consolidate once again, as I seem to have two companies asking me for money now. Yuck.

Cheap Auto Insurance

It's time once again for me to search for cheap car insurance. I've done progressive, geico, and now state farm. I even switched back and forth between geico and progressive as they gave me better offers.

Having never had to claim anything against my own auto insurance company, its more of a nuisance than anything else, but at least I can be comfortable having coverage. Mostly I'm worried about getting hit by some uninsured person who sends me to the hospital. This is why I go for the 100k/300k uninsured motor vehicle coverage, even on my motorcycle. This almost came in handly when I was rear ended by a mexican national a few months back, but the damage was superficial on my car, which already has more than 200k miles, so I didn't bother doing anything about it.

So back to the search; I've been seeing these cool commercials from with animated motorcycle and car drivers, and it propogates itself as the insurance for the hip set. I'm not sure if I'm hip, but at least I can use a more computerized internet friendly company. I just filled out the quote info and they would indeed save me a few bucks. Then they also have a comparison search, which is something progressive likes to advertise, and it showed a far cheaper price. So off I go to some other website, and after giving away all my sensitive personal information, the new website, travellers, tells me the quote is even higher than what I'm paying now. So much for comparison searches.

After all is said and done, I decided to just stick with state farm. In this technological age it seems nice to just have some guy to call up and complain to, if anything did happen. I think my agent wasn't able to conceptualize my views about the fate of the stock market and retirement plans, but that is for another post.


L'uomo e la Vita
Originally uploaded by MoMaStalker.
I found this great photo while perusing flickr. One thing you have to watch out for when urban exploring is asbestos. This is why urban explorers often wear P100 respirators. The dangers of asbestos inhalation are mesothelioma, asbestosis, interstitial fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and lung cancer. These diseases can take years to develop, so you wouldn't know you had them for some time.

When exploring abandoned buildings, look out for crocidolite and amosite asbestos, known as amphibole asbestos, as they are the most dangerous forms. Of course, since we aren't experts on this stuff, we'll just protect ourselves as we can. Many urbexers choose to wear P100 respirators for protection. 3M makes a decent respirator that can be found on ebay for about $20, medium size seems to work for most people. The filters are pink though.

The other thing to note is that the people who have cancer now often were handling it in close proximity for years. I wonder if just being in a building for a day is all that harmful.

You can read more about asbestos dangers and mesothelioma and other asbestos related cancers here Handyman asbestos page and here Mesothelioma site.

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