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Pixlr Online Photo Editing - Recommended

Pixlr is an free online photo editor that works great if your not on a pc that has photo editing software or if your restricted on a company computer.

My New Touchpad and Thoughts

Checkout my new Touchpad review.

Baseball Collector's Dream Site - Zistle.com

Great place to keep track of your card collections online.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

My HTPC (Home Theater PC)


  • 37" Polaroid HDTV
  • Pioneer Receiver and speakers


  • Compaq Presario 6000 Computer
  • Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz
  • ATI All-In-Wonder 9600XT
  • 760mb ram
  • 40 gig hard drive for OS
  • 250 gig hard drive for tv show storage
  • Hauppuage winTV-PVR 150 - tv card
  • Soundblaster 5.1 live gamer - sound card
  • Onboard Nvidia graphics controller
  • 2 case fans


  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Beyond TV DVR software
  • Beyond TV Link software


  • HTPC Case
  • 5.25 Bay Display

$119.88 - cost of dvr through cable company, plus you have to have digital cable (more money)
$167.70 - Tivo for a year

This computer was used by my wife until I got her a laptop for Christmas. Putting it together was pretty easy, just install the tv card and plug up the IR receiver. I tried several software programs for recording. There are a couple free ones. They are usually a little more complicated to setup. I was using Yahoo Go! TV. It is a free beta product and didn't have many options. Now I am using Beyond TV. It's a great program. Very simple to use and setup. The commercial smart skip feature is great. It doesn't catch them all the time, but does a pretty good job. I've read it's because the cable company tries to trick your DVR. I also have Beyond TV Link which is great for watching recorded shows on all the computers in the house. I mostly use it to access the guide and schedule recordings. The remote control is easy to use. Over all I am satisfied with my HTPC.

Update: Just got a new video card for my HTPC. Got the ATI All-In-Wonder 9600XT on clearance for a good deal. It works great. Now I can watch something on live tv while recording something else on live tv.

Here is what Beyond TV looks like at work.

Getting ready to put it together.

Final location behind my TV cabinet.

Friday, June 22, 2007

MusikCube Music Player

I recommend anyone that uses a music player to try musikCube. It's the easiest and lightest music player. It's got an instant search function where when you type something in the search and it instantly starts searching what you typed. Best of all, it's free. Give it a shot. You won't look back.

"musikCube is an mp3 player for the modern generation. It helps you just listen to what you want to hear, while offering innovative features not seen elsewhere. For the
technical user, musikCube is based on an embedded SQL database engine
known as sqlite. For the non technical user, that means its fast.
Really fast. "Dynamic playlists" allow fully automatic, randomized
playback of songs based on your observed listening habits. The more
you listen, the smarter it gets. It also features browsable, user
reorderable playlists.

Cube also makes transferring audio between home and
work very easy with it's unique support for
removable storage devices. A "removable storage device" is any flash
memory, thumb drive, or portable mp3 player that acts as a hard disk
when you plug it in."


Thursday, June 21, 2007


I've had Vonage for almost 2 years now and it's been a great experience. One of several reasons I chose Vonage is so that I can call my family back home. I'm in the US Air Force and live in Minot, ND so the closest family members live 30 hours away. Vonage has been a life saver for me.

The Phone quality is great, just like a normal phone and they have tons of free features that they are always adding to. The only time there is a problem is when the internet goes out and that's not a problem if you have a cell phone. You can set up Vonage to forward calls to your cell phone in case you lose your internet connection . They have thought of everything.

I also added the 1-800 number for an additional $9.99 a month with 100 free incoming minutes. It enables family and friends that don't have free long distance to call toll free. I have my Vonage adapter set up in a way that I can hook up multiple phones to all the phone jacks in my house. It's simple,all you do is unplug the phone line coming into the house and plug up the adapter to any phone jack.

Here are some additional features.

Residential Premium Unlimited Plan
$ 24.99/month Unlimited local and long distance calling anywhere in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. NEW! FREE calls to select European countries! See details below.

Residential Basic 500 Minutes Plan
$14.99/month 500 minutes of local and long distance calling anywhere in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Only 3.9¢ per minute after the first 500 monthly minutes.


Voicemail -
This is nice because you can check voicemail through your phone or from the internet via windows media player, etc. The voicemail can be configured from the web to pick up after so many calls or after being forwarded to another number with no answer. Vonage does not limit the number of messages that you can keep in your mailbox and they can all be managed online. Vonage will also optionally email you when you have a new voicemail. You can customize the greetings and configure so that if you don't like call waiting, a person calling in gets a message stating you are on the phone so please leave a message and you will get back to them.

Call forwarding -
This can be configured from the webpage and is better than most because you have the option of forwarding immediately or after so many seconds. The fact that there is no long distance charges means you can forward it to any phone number in the United States or Canada for free. You are still able to have the Vonage voicemail be the default voicemail if the forwarded number does not pick up in case you want to keep all your voicemails in the same system.

Call Transfer -
I have to admit that I love this feature. You can transfer your current call to anywhere or anyone within the U.S. and Canada. Lets say you are on the phone with someone and you need to hit the road. Just transfer the number to your cell phone and keep on going. Don't stop there. Think of the possibilities. Lets say you live in Boston and your brother lives in Seattle and your mom lives in Dallas. Call your brother and talk to him for a few minutes and then say "Why don't you talk to mom". All you need to do is transfer him to your mom in Dallas and hang up. Those two will be talking absolutely free of charge for everyone.

Caller-ID -
Vonage currently supports caller-ID assuming your phone has it built-in. This works fine but does not support caller-ID with call waiting at this point.

Caller-ID Blocking -
Vonage allows you to use the *67 in order for your phone number not to show up on other persons caller-ID display.

Repeat Dialing -
This is sometimes known as "demon dialing". You dial 5 when you get a busy signal and then you it keeps trying to contact the person and rings the phone when the line is no longer busy.

Call Return -
You can dial *69 and a computer voice will tell you the last person that called and ask if you would like to return the call. This is voice activated so you just need to say YES or NO into the phone.

911 Service -
This is a new feature at the time of the writing. You have to register this with Vonage by entering in your exact address and then Vonage will have any 911 calls go directly to your local emergency team for your area.

Bandwidth Saver -
This allows to sacrifice sound quality for the phone using less bandwidth. If you have a good broadband connection, you might as well leave this at full which is 90kbs.

Network Unavailability Forwarding -
This is the feature that allows me to get rid me of my local phone carrier. If your cable modem is not on or there is a network failure then Vonage will forward the calls any number of your choosing. I have it set where it forwards to my cell phone. This way if there is a power, I can still receive the calls to my cell phone.

Virtual Phone Numbers -
You can have multiple virtual phone numbers in different cities. If you live in Boston and want to make it local for your family member to call you in Atlanta then you can get a phone number that is local to Atlanta. It does cost 4.99 a month extra for each phone number outside of the first one you choose.

Instant Online Records -
In case you want to see who called and didn't leave a voicemail or who you or a family member has called in a month, it is all accessible in real-time from the web page. They have a dashboard view that shows all activity of incoming and outgoing calls. You can do advanced searches in case you want to find out who called on a certain date or how many phone calls were made to a certain phone number.

Take Vonage Anywhere in the world -
You can travel anywhere that has broadband connectivity and hook up your phone and still call the U.S. and Canada for free. The internet connection still goes to the Vonage server so as far as Vonage is concerned, you are calling from the U.S.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Windows Home Server RC

I'm trying out the new Windows Home Server Release Candidate. It's the final beta before the full release later this year. It's fully functional. So far everything works on it. I've backed up my computers and put all my files on the server. It's very easy to use. I will definitely be getting this when it is released. Here is a little more on what it is.

"Introducing Windows Home Server

Windows Home Server helps you simplify the digital aspects of your life, connecting PCs, devices, and people. It provides a familiar way to store, share, and automatically protect what's important to you—your digital memories.

With Windows Home Server, you can store your music, photos, and other files on a central hub-like hard drive, accessible from every PC in your house. Protect your files and your PCs with automatic backup and a simple restore process—even gain access to files on your PCs from anywhere with an Internet connection through secure Web access.

Simple to set up and easy to use, Windows Home Server helps you and your family get organized, connect your PCs, and protect your data."


Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Home Network


  • Dlink Wireless Gaming Router - DGL-4300
  • Netgear Hub - DS104
  • Linksys Vonage Adapter - PAP2
  • Cable Modem - U10C018


  • Airlink Switch - ASW105/A4
  • Belkin Wireless Access Point - F5D7130


  • Amd Athlon 64 3000+ - Self-built
  • Pentium 4 3.0ghz - Self-built
  • Compaq Presario 6000 HTPC / DVR
  • HP file storage
  • HP Pavilion dv6000us Laptop - AMD Turion (the wife's)
  • HP Pavilion ze4400 Laptop - AMD Athlon XP 2200+
  • Xbox 360

My network busy with transferring files and Vonage.

My File Server


  • HP Computer
  • Intel Celeron 1100 Mhz
  • Asus motherboard
  • 512mb memory
  • onboard Intel graphics controller
  • 250 gig Western Digital hard drive
  • 2 case fans


  • Windows Home Server
  • Vibe - MP3 streaming server
  • Filezilla file server

My Home Theater

  • Polariod 37" LCD HDTV FLM-373B
  • Pioneer receiver - SX-316 and speakers
  • Pioneer laser disc player - LD-870
  • RCA dvd player - RC5220P
  • Sanyo dvd player - DWM-400
  • Hitachi VCR - VT-F382A
  • Phillips Audio CD Recorder - CDR775/17
  • HTPC Compaq Presario 6000 - 6473SA
  • Sony Powered Subwoofer - SA-WM40
  • Xbox 360 - Oct 05

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