Happy Birthday USA, you’re looking pretty good for 236! Most of you are probably outside waiting for your charcoal to get hot, but for those of you that are still indoors enjoying the air conditioning and surfing the net, I thought I’d post a mashup article of miscellaneous thoughts, news, etc.
4G and the Samsung Galaxy III
Two weeks ago Verizon Wireless flipped the 4G switch in Columbus, Indiana. Since my only 4G device at the moment is the new iPad, my Verizon rep was generous enough to send me a Motorola Droid RAZR Android Smartphone and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, both with built in 4G. Although my iPad has 4G, I haven’t had the opportunity to really use it very often, so I was excited to do some speed tests comparing my iPhone 4S and the Droid RAZR.
iPhone 4S Verizon
ping 114ms download 314kbps upload 853kbps
ping 536ms download 138kbps upload 738kbps
ping 149ms download 420kbps upload 870kbps
ping 146ms download 320kbps upload 770kbps
Motorola Razr Verizon
ping 122ms download 512kbps upload 583kbps
ping 69ms download 4840kbps upload 5046kbps
ping 128ms download 271kbps upload 978kbps
ping 73ms download 7233kbps upload 5218kbps
The tests were done using the iOS and Android versions of the free Speedtest.net app. I alternated the tests so that they were done one at a time with the phones laying side by side. The first set of tests was earlier in the morning before 4G was turned on. Both phones had full bars at the time of the tests. Wow… 4G is crazy fast. Unfortunately, my iPhone 4S is only 3G. Also 4G coverage has not yet extended to where I live. But it’s in town were I spend 8hrs a day at work. That means I’m ready to pull the trigger on a 4G phone. Sure, I could wait till the iPhone 5 comes out this fall, but what fun would that be? I’m pretty sure that I’ll be pulling the trigger on a Samsung Galaxy S III next week. It will be the latest and greatest must have Android smartphone and I’m over due for a switcheroo.
Verizon is supposed to send me a loaner of the SGIII to review, but so far it’s not shown up yet. I haven’t decided if I should fork over full retail for it or take advantage of the discount and re-up my plan since I’m due. I also haven’t decided if the new Share Everything plan is a good deal for me. I think it might be since I’m already paying for the iPhone 4S, a feature phone and the wireless plan for the new iPad. I’m assuming that I’ll be able to share the data with the new iPad if I switch over to Share Everything. Has anyone done this yet?
I’m really looking forward to testing the SGIII. The hardware looks sexy and some of the new features I’ve been reading about really have me excited.
Gear Bag Tragedy
A few weeks ago, my trusty Timbuk2 messenger bag suffered an accident when one of the dangling buckles got caught in the revolving security gate at work. I felt a tug, heard a pop and when I looked down on the sidewalk, I saw…
Luckily the injury wasn’t fatal, but I sure wasn’t happy about it. I suppose that I should get it patched up, but I think the gear gods are really trying to tell me that I need a new gear bag. So I’ve been spending entirely too much time researching messenger bags. One part of me wants to order a brand spanking new custom Timbuk2 bag, another part wants me to find a new messenger bag company/brand to try and yet another part of me wants to try a DIM (do-it-myself) project and create my own. I’ve had a dream of making my very own modular messenger bag for close to 10 yrs now. I’ve even shopped the idea around to 2 big name bag companies, but sadly neither seemed interested in my ideas. I think I have a really cool idea for the ultimate bag system, so it might be time to try to make it a reality.
If / when I do get a replacement for my injured T2 bag, I might get it fixed and give it away in a contest. I’ve carried it with me everyday for the past 2 years, so it has some great gadget mojo.
Goodbye Diet Coke
In the spirit of Independence day, I’m going to announce my independence from Diet Coke. I’m typing this as I slurp on my last one Really, I promise it’s my last one. I’ve been wanting to quit drinking them for a very LONG time and now that I’ve found an alternative that I’m happy with, I’m ready to do it. Why do I want to stop drinking Diet Coke? Because I don’t like the way diet sweeteners like Aspartame make me feel. When I regularly drink Diet Coke, my joints ache. When I stop for a week, they stop aching. I keep going back to them because I love the bite and fizz that soda provides. Regular water or even flavored waters just don’t cut it for me.
My alternative is to mix a glass of bottled seltzer, which is just carbonated water and NuNaturals Orange NuStevia drops. I’ve mentioned NuNaturals in some of my other diary posts and they actually contacted me a few months ago to tell me that they had two new flavors of their NuStevia drops. Orange and Lemon. I’d used Orange stevia drops before from another company (Sweetleaf) and wasn’t overly impressed because they always left an aftertaste. They informed me that these new drops would blow my mind because they taste so great. I said I’d try them and they sent me a few bottles along with some of their other products which I’ve also come to really enjoy.
Mixing a dropper of these Orange drops with a glass of cold seltzer water makes the yummiest soda I’ve had in a long time. The fact that it’s calorie free, doesn’t have artificial sweetener like Aspartame, no caffeine and no other questionable ingredients, makes me ready to finally stop the Diet Coke habit. I also enjoy NuNatural’s Vanilla drops too. They make a great Cream Soda type dring. But the Orange drops are my favorite. I hope they come out with more flavors. I’d absolutely love Grape, Berry or Cherry.
What I do is buy 5 or 6 liters of seltzer at Walmart for less than $1 each. I take a couple to work with me and just leave them on my desk. When I want some soda, I take my glass down to the cafeteria, fill it with ice, come back to my desk, pour the seltzer over the ice, add a dropper or so of the Orange drops, swirl around with a straw and enjoy.
The drops aren’t cheap at $14 a bottle, but they seem to last for a very long time.
All Purpose Gear iPad Sleeve
When you run a website like The Gadgeteer, you receive a LOT of emails every day with review offers. Because they are so popular, the bulk of those offers are for iPhone and iPad accessories and apps. After awhile, the cases, holders and stands all blur together into a big ball of ho-hum. Several weeks ago David from Apgear.com asked if I would review their iPad sleeve. I took a look at their website and wasn’t blown away by the looks of the sleeve and told him thanks but that I wasn’t interested in doing a review. David wrote back asking me to reconsider and offering to go ahead and send a sample even if I wasn’t planning to write about it. I caved and he shipped one.
When it arrived and I opened the package, I pulled it out and thought hmmmm, it’s actually quite nice if you don’t mind the drab color (it’s only available in Grey and Black). Color aside, the iPad sleeve is very well made. The outside is made of sailcloth, which is very strong, and the inside is lined with soft polyester with a polyurethane foam that is a good shock absorber. What I absolutely love is that this sleeve does not use Velcro, snaps or even a zipper to hold the flap closed. It uses magnets.
My iPad fit like a glove in this sleeve. The only improvements I’d make would be to make it a teeny tiny bit bigger so that the iPad with a smart cover would fit. As is, they fit, but it’s a tight squeeze, making removal a little difficult. I’d also like to see a loop along the bottom edge that would help you hold on to the sleeve while you are sliding out the iPad. But as is, the All Purpose Gear iPad sleeve is surprisingly nice. Bonus points that it’s been designed and is made entirely here in the US (Oregon). It’s a little pricey at $49, but I think this is one that might last forever.
When you go on vacations, do you take your regular journal along with you, or do you take a special travel journal like the Midori Traveler’s notebook just for the trip? If you fall into the last group, Daycraft is offering a 128 page MyTravel Notebook. It’s available in yellow, black and white with a double cardboard cover that is held closed with a horizontal (instead of the typical vertical Moleskine style band) elastic band. The back cover includes a handy pocket for snippets and souvenirs. This notebook is priced at HK$199, which works out to about $26 US. Pretty pricey, but they do offer free worldwide shipping from Hong Kong if you’re interested.
In addition to kicking the diet soda habit, it’s time for me to get more active. After sitting / laying around for 7 months last year during the whole cancer adventure, I find that the habit of sitting for most of the day has stuck with me. I need to break that habit asap. I have a desk job at work and then come home and sit in front of my iMac to work on Gadgeteer stuff. That makes for a whole day of sitting on my butt. Not good. My idea is to get a treadmill desk. I already have a treadmill, so I just need a flat surface for my Macbook Air and a mouse. Anyone else out there using a treadmill desk? How has it worked out for you?
If I do end up getting one, is there an interest in a review?
Ok folks, that’s enough rambling for this gadget diary entry. Go enjoy some fireworks; But be careful and remember this sage advice… It’s all fun and games till someone loses a finger…