Archive for February, 2010
Just when I think I’ve got my budget under control, I am tempted yet again by another gadget. I am usually able to resist the temptation of instant gratification because I love a good bargain, but when after a year or more I find that I am still lusting after the same item I end up buying it.
A good example of this is my recent purchase of the OXO salad spinner which I had resisted for about 4 years before finally purchasing it from Kitchen Stuff Plus for $24 in December. I’ve tried other salad spinners in the past including a $5 version from IKEA which I tried to convince myself was good enough. But, a great design will never go out of style and I am oh so glad I’ve got my OXO salad spinner now.
I’ve also had my eye on the Canon 20D, 30D, 40D and now 50D digital SLR camera since 2005 and will hopefully have the 50D it in my hands in May, 2011 (or perhaps sooner if my tax refund is large enough). The budget buster in this case is not the camera body itself, but the $1000 EF-S lenses and flash that I just have to have!
But I digress… I am here to talk about my lust for a home server.
I have had my eye on the HP MediaSmart Server since it was first released several years ago along with the Windows Home Server (WHS) OS. I work with Windows Server all the time at work so I’m comfortable with the configurations, but it really is overkill for home use. WHS bridges that gap and provides a Server OS for home users for back up, recovery and sharing media amongst all PCs and Macs in the home environment.
I don’t have a lot of digital media amongst my two computers (one desktop, one laptop) to store. I manage quite comfortably with a custom built Windows 7 Professional desktop running on an Asus P5Q Deluxe motherboard and Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 processor, and a 6-year old Dell D600 laptop running Windows XP Home. I use my laptop for light browsing and all my school work and my desktop for everything else (storing music and photos, running IIS, web development etc).
I don’t like the idea of using a third-party web app for syncing my files and prefer something I can host myself. Further, I would like to separate my development machine from production machine to force me to develop better habits for testing new code.
I recently completed the network wiring of my apartment with gigabit ethernet, moved my wireless router and Rogers modem into the closet and have my desktop hooked to the wall jack. I am so ready for this server.
Of course after acquiring this piece of hardware, I will begin thinking of giving in to some other desires for other gadgets like a home theatre system to better enjoy the music I can now stream from my home server, and the Mac Mini or PS3 I will need as part of the home theatre package. I guess I better buy a lottery ticket tonight. $42 mil is up for grabs in the Loto Max draw tomorrow. Wish me luck!
I’ve got another year left on a 3-year contract I signed with Rogers, the largest wireless carrier in Canada. I have been with them since 2002 and have been largely content (read: conditioned to be content) with my service. I have a great voice plan that is almost tailor-made for me… 250 day time minutes, unlimited evenings (from 6pm) and weekends plus free caller ID. All for $25. For an extra $3 a month, I get 30 text messages.
I also like my Sony Ericsson W580i phone. I really do. It is not a smart phone and it does not have a touch screen or fancy ring tones and wall paper and the camera sucks. But it is very light and has a small form factor which fits in my pocket, and ithas Bluetooth. It works very well for my needs.
A new wireless carrier in Canada called WIND Mobile has been making waves since they opened for business last year. Currently only available in the Toronto and Calgary, they will be opening locations in Calgary and Edmonton any day now. They set themselves apart of their competitors by offering no contracts, phones for sale at cost, and no system access fees. I realize that Fido, KooDoo, Virgin and most of the other smaller carriers have eliminated system access fees but I still pay $6.95 every month with Rogers. Another huge attraction is their U.S. & Canada roaming fees only 25c per minute! That’s really incredible especially when you compare that to Rogers’ rate of 99c per minute PLUS long distance charges. They are also the only carrier in Canada that offer unlimited data, which is a big deal for smart phone owners.
WIND mobile will be my next carrier, no question. But speaking of smart phones… I mentioned my contentment with my W580i. This is not to say that I have not been tempted by the iPhone and Blackberry madness that have swept the world in the past few years. With the iPhone, it has been easy to resist because I already own an iPod Touch (though it is a 1st Gen without the microphone). With the Blackberry, post-iPhone I could no longer fathom using a device with so little screen space. I also flatly refuse to pay $70+ per month for voice and data plans I would not use to the fullest.
The iPhone is a great phone, don’t get me wrong. However, the Nexus One phone by Google is now on my radar as a “gotta-have-it” item. This fantastic Google phone which runs on the Android platform is not available in Canada (yet), but rumors that WIND is talking to Google about bringing it to Canada have been confirmed. It remains to be seen what the $$$ for the phone will be since WIND does not use contracts as an incentive for lower cost phones.
As I mentioned before, I already own an iPod Touch and thoroughly enjoy having access to a device with a touch screen and access to the wonderful applications from the App store. I already know that I will buy an iPad once a camera has been added in the 2nd or 3rd Gen line. Like any respectable geek however, I respect and applaud the idea behind the Android platform and am anxious to test drive the applications available for this platform. Of course the lack of multitasking is a big complaint of iPhone owners and one of the reasons many give for choosing other smart phones like the Palm Pre or Blackberry.
Come February of next year, I expect I will be carrying one of these around or whatever newer version of it is released in the next year.
There is a new contender coming to town that I’m now considering. The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. I’ve used Ericsson phones for many many years and I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of the products and most importantly, the user interface. It looks really great. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with WIND’s network and Rogers has signed on an exclusivity deal, so we’ll have to see how this plays out. I’ve got 11 months to go afterall .
I just happened upon this cool site today called DailyLit which delivers free books in small bits by email or rss feeds at a schedule of your choosing. So if you have every wanted to read any of the classics by Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, or even the Bible you can do so if you can spare 5 minutes a day. It is an amazingly simply concept and one that I plan on trying out.
My wish list includes -