Sierra Nevada Porter I

Sierra Nevada Porter

I saw this and couldn’t resist trying it. I must admit that I didn’t know that the Sierra Nevada Brewery made a porter. I was skeptical but went ahead and paid the $7.99 for a six pack. 5.6 percent alc. per 12oz bottle, it had a thin, light head when first poured. A much more bitter porter than I anticipated, I was a little disapointed to be truthful. It had a strong but quick bitter aftertaste and was not nearly as sweet as any of the other porters I wrote about here. I don’t know that I’d recommend this beer as a “must try” but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one.

Okocim porter “Traditional polish

Okocim porter

“Traditional polish taste” it says on the bottle. A dark, thicker, quickly sweet porter. Malty and strong, sharp and quicker flavor than many porters I’ve had. 8.3 percent alc. in this one pint bottle that I picked up at Friar Tuck for $2.99. This was a little different in a way I really couldn’t put my finger on. I’d probably buy this again, but I wouldn’t drink more than one.

I discovered a nice little

I discovered a nice little app called CallFilter by Velocity Software recently. A lot of folks were raving about it on message boards and blogs so I thought I’d try it out and give a quick review of what I thought of it after using the (limited) demo they make available. Let me preface this by saying that I’m a big fan of screening calls and being able to know who is calling and from where. I need something that can do distinctive ringtones; I was previously using mring on my 600 and had removed it from my 650 because I felt it was to limiting by forcing me to use mp3’s only as ringtones, preventing the use of midi. Callfilter can use both, but that it but the tip of the iceberg. Being familiar with firewall rules and ACLs the structure that the callfilter uses made sense to me, it allows for rules to be created based on different criteria. It can filter certain callers right to voicemail, pick up and hang up on them or send a sms message reply to the number. It can speak the phone number to you, it can take action based on sms messages (this is very cool). It can lock your treo based on an SMS message (useful if lost). The list is huge, it’s a very feature-rich app. One unique feature is the ability to open a notes page after a call has ended, I find this very handy since I’m always forgetting important stuff after a call.

The things i had some issues with:

I had a weird problems where my phone rang continuously and I had to reset it to get out of the “loop”. I don’t know if it was callfilter related or not.

I couldn’t really test it’s full capabilities since I was limited to 5 rules (and 10 days)

I was unable to make the “reply with sms” work when call was set to “phone call was ignored + From a contact”.

Not so much an issue as it was intesting:

“Send to voicemail” seems to just ignore the call as opposed to going right to VM, the call rings as many times as set to (on the calling end) and then goes to VM.

I did _not_ read the entire manual and at the time of this writing have not looked into the “reply with sms” I saw. There is also a very active forum at mytreo.net

Overall I think this app is extremely useful, it also has an almost cult like following. It’s pricetag of $29.95 was a little of a sticker shock to me (I still have not actually purchased it) but with all it does I think it’s worth it.

I am rough on stuff.

I am rough on stuff. I needed a good case for my Treo 650. I had many a choice in this area but was patricularly interested in the rubber “skin” type cases. I have wanted one of these for my ipod but never got around to getting one. I did a little readong and decided on the Spec Products Skintight case. I liked the fact that it had a sscreen cover that I could remomve if needed and came with a holster for when I was feeling particularly geeky and wanted to wear it on my pocket (which is rare). It was a little pricey at $34.99 from Treonauts but work was paying so I went for it. My initial impressions were good, I opted for the Black case to “hide” dirt. The installation was simple, quick and painless. It covers and protects nicely. I’m a pretty pickey person when it comes to something I use every day (otherwise I generally don’t care) so I’ll point out some of the things I _didn’t_ think about.

1. I like to keep stuff in my pockets, the case has a friction to it that pretty much disallows this when I’m wearing jeans. No big deal I can just clip the case to my pocket or belt.

2. The way the clip works is not conducive to using an SD card. The clip pushes out my SD card every time I put the treo in it. Very annoying to say the least.

3. I can’t get to the SD card easily if I want to change it. This really doesnt occur often, but it’s still something I didn;t think about.

4. I can’t beam stuff from the Treo because the IR port, like the SD card port is protected by the case.

5. I can’t easily do a soft reset without removing it from the case.

Again, I think this is a really good case, I think it is a very nice compromise of form and function, these are just things that I didn’t think about (or didn’t research enough before making my purchase). I would recommend this case to those that, like me, are rough on their gadgets. I have been extremely pleased with how well this has protected my Treo650 in the 3 weeks that I’ve had it so far.

The plus sides are many:

Cutout for camera. (I don’t really use the camera much but it’s available if needed)
Easy to use, removeable flip up screen cover
Cutout for mute toggle, stylus, dock / power and side buttons
Can take a beating
does not cover keyboard, making for easy use.
not overly expensive

For those that are even more rough on their gadgets than me, there is a Ruggedized version available for the same price.
I’d like to try out the Smartphone Experts S650 Skin Case as soon as I can get around to buying it. If someone wants to donate it thats be great too, I’d be happy to write a “regular guy” review of it.

I’ve never been an early

I’ve never been an early riser. In fact, I’ve been more of a night owl than anything else. I like to stay up late and sleep in. Well, some of the activities and lifestyle changes I’ve made just don’t allow for that anymore. Training for Triathlons, bike races and other physically demanding activities necessitate a “cleaner”, more organized lifestyle. Organized is something I am certainly _not_. In an effort to change this, I got a Treo 600. Recently. when it was time to replace that I got a Treo 650. The thing that I thought was sorely lacking on both devices was a decent alarm clock app. Sure, I could clutter up my already messy calendar and hope simple alerts I could set would wake me up (which I KNOW they would not). I saw somewhere that someone recommended Treoalarm as a good all around alarm. OK, I decided to try it on my trip to Seattle, WA for Supercomputing 05. I’ve had problems with hotel wake up calls and the in-room alarm clocks before. My trusty Treo would hopefully not let me down. I installed the demo. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was a demo when I installed it, I don’t believe any functionality is limited. Off to Seattle. I set up a few alarms, one to wake me up, one to make sure I got up.
A really nice feature of TreoAlarm is the ability it has to update weather. I find this feature extremely valuable for people that travel. I never know what it’s going to be like when I’m on the road and getting a quick and easy weather forecast is nice. I don’t have to wait for it to come on the TV, it’s ready and waiting when my alarm goes off if need be. They’ve just added a new layout and are always working to make improvements. A really cool (and unexpected) feature is the ability to set an alarm to turn the phone on and off. Say you’ve got a meeting every Tuesday from 1pm till 3pm and it can’t be disturbed. Set TreoAlarm to turn the phone off at 1 and back on at 3 every Tuesday, simple, easy and taken care of. No need to worry about your phone beeping or ringing during that important meeting. It’s clean interface is easy to navigate one handed or with the stylus and best of all it’s takes up only 172k on my treo. For the pricetag of $18.50 you get one year of free upgrades, an alarm clock with multiple alarms, the ability to get weather anytime or automatically and the feature of automatically turning on and off the phone in a tiny footprint on everyone’s favorite smartphone.

I’m a mac user, I

I’m a mac user, I have been for years. I have a (although somewhat outdated) knowledge of hardware and I’d like to think I know my way around a Unix system. So when I had a problem with my 20gig ipod I figured if it wasn’t hardware I could fix it. Well, it was hardware. My wife got it for me in Feb. of 2004 for my birthday. She got it at best buy, and knowing how I am rough on stuff, she bought the extended warranty from them, giving it coverage till 2/2008. OK, they sent it off and supposedly replaced the drive. Great. I pick it up and take it home. What a big surprise, it’s formatted as a windows ipod. No problem, it should still work. No dice.
Lovely messages in the logs:

Error with partition Bad file descriptor
Erase complete.

Jan 12 07:43:57 Mackie diskarbitrationd[37]: unable to mount /dev/disk1s2 (status code 0x00000047).
2006-01-12 07:44:24.161 iPod Updater Extreme[500] Can’t read checkpoint data
2006-01-12 07:44:31.198 iPod Updater Extreme[500] Can’t read checkpoint data
2006-01-12 07:44:34.811 iPod Updater Extreme[500] Can’t read checkpoint data
2006-01-12 07:44:38.326 iPod Updater Extreme[500] Can’t read checkpoint data
2006-01-12 07:44:41.870 iPod Updater Extreme[500] Can’t read checkpoint data
2006-01-12 07:44:45.443 iPod Updater Extreme[500] Can’t read checkpoint data

I can’t find much on these errors while googling around. Damnit. What a pain. It is also making a terrible clicky clack while plugged in. I drag the old XP machine out of the closet and plug it into the PCI firewire card. explorer.exe crashes. OK, I can accept that. This machine is terribly unmaintained. I take it into work and my boss plugs it into his firewire port on his laptop. Same behavior. ::sigh:: I have to take it *back* to best buy. Work and training end and I head off to Best buy.

The Geek Squad guy was nice, not terribly personable (although I wasn’t either when I did that kind of PC repair work). He plugged it into a windows PC using a USB cable and it worked flawlessly. WTF?!? OK. I had my powerbook there. I plugged it into my powerbook with his USB cable and it worked. DAMN! OK, I want to restore it as a Mac formatted disk so if needed I can boot from it. No deal, it needs a firewire cable to do so. I plug it into the PB with a FW cable and it fails miserably. By this point I am super frustrated. Maybe it’s the firewire Dock cable. They say it’s not broken and 5 minutes of me arguing that I can’t use it because I

A. DON’T have a USB cable

and

B. DON’T Want it formatted FAT32

ensues. As far as I’m concerned if I can’t use it it’s worthless to me. It’s an apple product, I should be able to use it as I have for 2 years without issue.

He was not really sympathetic, he’s not a mac user and doesn’t really seem to understand that all I want is for it to be THE SAME as when it was shipped off. Finally after talking to a manager he agrees to send it back with the firewire cable and have it formatted HFS+ and test the cable. OK, another few weeks without it. We’ll see if it works when it comes back. Theoretically, if it gets sent off one more time I should get it replaced with a new one. We’ll see, I’d be willing to bet they fight that tooth and nail.

After my last post regarding

After my last post regarding my treo I started looking into why certain apps were failing or whatever, specifically rmrdiet. Others were using this app on a treo 650 and it claims support. I reinstalled it to RAM (as opposed to my memory card) and it’s working very well now. This really is a powerful app for $20 (although I have still not paid). It seems to just give the nag screen and not a requirement for registration. My only gripe is that I can’t figure out how to add different calorie burning activities. I don’t use a windows machine so I have not tested the windows app to see if thats needed. Once I figure that out I’ll happpily give them my $20. If you’re looking for something that tracks calories, fat, cholesterol, excercise / activities etc, I think I can safely recommend rmrdiet. I’m going to try putting it back on my SD card and see if it crashes…

In my apparently never ending

In my apparently never ending quest to use my Treo 650 to it’s absolutely fullest capacity, I have found some helpful links that I thought others may find useful (I certainly did):

More up to date “Must have Software” list from Howard forums
A nice thread on keeping your Treo 650 up and running with minimal crashes.
I’ve found that my treo 650 is pretty stable but not quite as rock solid as my 600 was, which had less than 1 crash a month. The upside to this is that I’m almost 100% certain that any stability issues I’ve seen have *not* been the Treo. Instead, they all appear to be the result of 3rd party apps, both normal and system-patching. I like to try a LOT of apps out. Pretty much anything interesting that has a demo version ir is under $10 I’ll give a try. One thing is annoying though, I have yet to find an economical (