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Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tax Refund Tech for Geeks

If you over paid your taxes you’re probably looking to spend your refund on some new high-tech toys.  I’ve been on a little geek shopping spree and can tell you what I like and dislike.

TiVo Series2 80 Hour DVR
If you don’t already have a TiVo, now is a good a time as any. TiVo received great news and over 73 million dollars when jury decided that EchoStar Communications Corp violated some of TiVo’s patents. Watch for all the other DVR makers to want to buddy up with TiVo. If you already have a TiVo but you’re not hooked up to your wireless network go for a TiVo Wireless G USB Adapter.

Sling Media's Slingbox
The price of a Slingbox dropped below $200 so I had to try it out.  Setup was fairly easy and included an immediate firmware update to make sure it worked with the newest software.  I connected to the 2nd output jacks on my office TiVo and I can now watch and control my TV from anywhere. We’re finally getting some nice weather here so I can bring my Tablet PC outside by the pool and still watch my latest TiVo recordings or live TV. As with any video stream over a network it can get a little choppy but Slingbox has some kind of optimization that seems to change based on the programming content and device.

Palm Treo 700w Smartphone
My friend Tim talked me into this one.  I’ve never been a PDA user because my eyes aren’t what they used to be. The Treo 700w finally has all the features I wanted in the size of a cell phone. I don’t know how much I’ll use all the traditional PDA features but this one gives me a cell phone with all the features of an iPod with Video Playback and more.  Ringtones are now old school. When a call comes in I can see a photo or video of the person calling. What’s really cool is Sling Media has a beta of its mobile software so I can even watch TV on my Treo!

Bose® CineMate™ Home Theater
The only disappointment in my shopping was my Bose CineMate home theater system.  This system claims to reproduce the surround sound experience with only two speakers and a subwoofer. Maybe my ears are getting old too but I just couldn’t hear the advantage.  I was extremely happy with the Crutchfield return policy which included excellent customer service and free return shipping!

 

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