We are in for a heat wave in Vermont this weekend. The “eye on the sky” on Vermont Public Radio says this is the first official heat wave in several years. That makes it time for that old debate as to whether it makes any sense to own an air conditioner in Vermont. When Small Dog Electronics was up at my house we had so many people and computers in our office that we really had to have AC. I think most of the heat was generated by the computers, because the winter heating bills were a lot lower than they are now. When we moved the company to our current headquarters in Waitsfield, I ended up giving the air conditioners to my mom because I am of the theory that AC is not needed in Vermont. I guess we’ll see this weekend if I have to sleep in the basement. Actually I do have some passive air conditioning, first of all my house sits on the side of Prickly Mountain and we almost always have a breeze but I have also rigged it up so I can blow the cool air from my cellar upstairs using the fans from my heating system.
We had a great weekend last week for the Mad River Run & Rally and the Highland Games here in Waitsfield. Hapy convinced Artie to join the games and loaned him one of his spare kilts. It was funny to see these two guys in kilts. Artie was in the lightweight class and Hapy was in the heavyweight class so the kilt Artie borrowed was wrapped about his waist about 5 times. Art is now ranked #17 of the 40 amateurs in the USA. Not bad for his first meet!
My grandkids and their parents came over on Sunday and while I was working on my motorcycle doing some upgrades, my son-in-law, Ismael was upstairs watching the World Cup. Every now and then I’d hear some shouting upstairs and I’d run up and check out the action. I know that football is perhaps the most popular sport in the world and I have to respect that but I find it pretty boring. When the game came down to penalty kicks it sure seemed like an anticlimactic (and lame) end to a close fought game.
In a victory for press freedom and a good indication of the growing influence of blogs and on-line news sources a California appeals court ruled that the Apple-oriented blogs(Appleinsider and PowerPage) that had been sued to reveal their sources of a leak about an upcoming Apple product enjoyed the same right to protect their sources as traditional reporters. Apple let it be known this week that they were not going to pursue this case any further. I do not think this is a green light to steal confidential company information and I fully expected and support Apple’s rights to protect that information, however, it does recognize that on-line journalism is a vital part of the freedom of the press today.
Nike + iPod: First Impressions By Ed @ Smalldog.com
This article began as a post on Small Dog Electronics blog, Barkings. You can read this here:
I love listening to music when I run. I experience music best that way. Once I ran the Burlington marathon while listening to an old 2nd generation 20 GB iPod. That poor iPod froze halfway though the event, at about mile thirteen. I couldn’t believe it – I thought I was sunk, when suddenly, a couple of miles later, the iPod came back to life. My spirits lifted and my pace picked up. I created a 4 1/2 hour playlist for that marathon.
When the Nike + iPod kit was announced, I knew I had to try it. Besides being an occasional runner, I’m also an information junkie. The idea of carefully tracking my walks and runs through my computer was too good to pass up. About a month ago, I went on the waiting list for the Nike + iPod kit, and a new pair of Nike + Ready Zoom Moire sneakers. The big red box arrived yesterday.
The $29 Nike + iPod kit contains a small receiver that attaches to an iPod nano, and a bean-sized pedometer with built-in transmitter that goes into your shoe. When you walk or run, the transmitter in the shoe communicates with the receiver on the nano, relaying information about how fast, far and long you’ve walked or run. When you sync the nano with your computer, this information goes into iTunes, and can be uploaded to the Nike + website, allowing you to track your progress, and set running or walking goals in an interactive graph. You can see a demo here:
Nike hopes you will buy their special Nike + Ready shoes to go with the Nike + iPod kit. The Air Zoom Moire shoes I chose feature a love- it-or-hate it red, black and white color scheme and futuristic design. They are very light weight, and so far, extremely comfortable. When I put these shoes on, I want to run. I typically don’t wear Nike shoes, so it’s great to try them out. Right now there are five shoe styles available for men, and six for women.
The Nike + Ready shoes feature a special pocket under the foam insert inside the shoe, over the sole, for placement of the transmitter. The pocket seems very secure, and Nike says it’s “virtually unbreakable.” So far, I haven’t had any problems with the transmitter popping out of it’s pocket.
I can confirm that the Nike + shoes aren’t required for the transmitter to work. You can cut a hole into the inside sole of your existing fitness shoes, or otherwise figure out how to situate the transmitter in your shoes, and the system will still work. It seems the transmitter is designed to go under your foot, not on top of it or to the side of the foot.
To use the Nike + iPod kit, you have to use iTunes 6.0.5 or higher, and an iPod nano with iPod software 1.2 or higher. These are both free software updates from Apple.com.
Once your software is up to date, and you attach the Nike + transmitter to your iPod nano, you’ll notice a new menu on the nano that says “Nike+iPod.” Here is where you choose your workout goal (time, distance, calories, or open ended) adjust settings, and review previous workout session details, including your personal best.
Apple has long been rumored to incorporate spoken feedback into the iPod; this would be great for driving, for example, when you can’t read the iPod’s menu. The Nike+iPod software is the first officially recognized iPod software that features spoken feedback.
When you want to start a workout, browse to “Nike+Plus” on the nano, then choose the playslit you want to listen to while working out. A male or female voice (your choice) says “Press menu to begin workout.” When you pause your workout, the voice says, “Pausing workout. Press the menu button to resume workout.” When you are halfway through a timed workout, the voice says “You are at the halfway point of your workout,” and proceeds to tell you how far, fast and long you’ve run, and how long you have left to go.
You can access this information at any time during your workout by pushing the menu button on the nano.
The voice that reads the workout information sounds human, and is not at all like the Mac system voices (Vici, Agnes, Princes, and Kathy).
One annoyance: when you are working out and using the Nike+iPod features in the nano, you can’t browse individual song titles, only playlists. This will force me to be more creative with the song selections in my playlists. Also, when you are working out, and you change the playlists you’re listening to, the voice comes on and says “workout paused.” I couldn’t find a way to change the playlist I was listening to without pausing the workout. The workout resumes when the music starts playing.
Everyone who has seen this system in use has been impressed. There is something magical about interacting with the iPod through movement, without wires. I’m having fun tracking my movement throughout the day – and I admit, seeing bold graphs of how much (or little) I’ve moved makes me want to move more.
So far, the Nike + transmitter only works with the nano – it does not work with the iPod video, and it does not work with any 4G iPods, including the iPod mini. Perhaps an update will fix this in the future.
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d get a new pair of shoes that made you feel like you could run fast enough to fly? That’s how I feel about my new Nike + shoes, and the Nike + iPod kit.
Resetting Safari By Don @ Smalldog.com
I use Safari for about 95% of my browser needs. Sometimes I will launch Safari on a shared or public computer and will use it to check my dotMac account or some of the private Small Dog internal sites. Even though all of those sites are password protected, it doesn’t make any sense to leave those addresses in the history, cache or have cookies installed on the public machines.
Fortunately, Safari has a handy feature that will clean all that up. If you go under the “Safari” menu item and choose “Reset Safari” Safari clears the history, empties the cache, clears the Downloads window, and removes all cookies. It also removes any saved user names and passwords or other AutoFill data and clears Google search entries. In addition, any open windows are closed and a new window opens. The new window has a new history for the Back and Forward buttons and the SnapBack buttons.
One thing to keep in mind is that resetting Safari may also remove cookies that are saved by other applications such as Sherlock.
Restoring your iPod to Factory Default By Don @ Smalldog.com
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the 5 “R”s of iPod troubleshooting and repair. The last “R” was restore and several Kibbles & Bytes readers asked for more information about restoring their iPod to factory defaults.
Since the main library of your music is resident on your Mac or PC and not on your iPod you only really sacrifice some time to restore the iPod and re-sync it with your computer if you feel you need to get a fresh start for the iPod. Here’s some instructions on how to restore your iPod to factory default condition. Remember, doing this procedure will erase all of the data on your iPod and you will need to re-sync to restore the music and other data. This procedure is for the Mac – there is a different but similar procedure for PCs but Kibbles & Bytes is for Mac folks so…
1) Put your iPod preferences to the default condition. That is, iTunes automatically opens whenever you connect your iPod. You can restore a Mac with USB if it is running 10.3.4 and your iPod has a dock connector. When restoring some iPod models with USB you will have to disconnect the iPod from the computer and attach it to the iPod AC Adapter to finish the restore (a graphic of a plug on the iPod will indicate if you have to do this). Some iPod models connecting via USB, including iPod mini (Second Generation) and iPod nano, do not need to be connected to the AC power adapter.
2) Surf over to http://www.apple.com/ipod/download/ and download the latest iPod updater or open the iPod Software Updater application that is on your hard drive. It’s in the Utilities folder, which is in your Applications folder. Open the iPod Updater showing the most recent date in the filename.
3) Connect your iPod to your Mac.
4) When the iPod becomes available, click Restore. An alert box appears to confirm you want to restore iPod.
5) A dialogue box will appear prompting you to enter an administrator’s name and password.
6) A progress bar appears on the computer screen.
7) When the restore process on the computer has finished, close the iPod Updater and look at the screen on the iPod. a) If you see an image of a wall power plug, connect your iPod to the AC adapter that came with it and plug it into a wall outlet and wait for the restore to complete. b) If you see a progress bar underneath the Apple logo, leave the iPod connected to the computer. c) If you had to put iPod into Disk Mode before restoring, the iPod screen may display “OK to Disconnect” and you may need to reset iPod.
After the restore is complete and the iPod is connected to the computer, the iTunes Setup Assistant window will appear asking you to name your iPod and choose your syncing preferences similar to when you connected your iPod for the first time. That’s it! Your iPod has been restored to factory settings and updated with the music and playlists in your iTunes music library.
Small Dog’s Server Power System By Don @ Smalldog.com
Mark Engelhardt, Small Dog’s web architect and board member has designed a power system for our server farm that is pretty interesting. It’s on my mind this week because I am about to buy a new larger back-up generator for the system. I thought you might be interested in a simple explanation of how we maintain power even during power outages.
All of our servers, our phone system and other critical electrical systems are run from batteries. We have a large bank of deep-cycle batteries that are normally charged using sophisticated battery chargers. The DC power from the batteries is sent through DC to AC inverters and then supplies power to the server load. In normal operation, the batteries are being trickle charged and the system works great and provides a filter from potentially damaging voltage spikes. When the power fails, the battery bank provides as much as 4-6 hours of back-up power before under the current system the low voltage alarm goes off and Morgan’s pager starts vibrating.
With the smaller generator we have now, Morgan or one of us that lives closer to the office, has to come in and start the generator and use it to charge the batteries. It is not large enough to charge both battery banks so it is a laborious project and if the power is out for an extended period of time, Morgan is basically camping out here with flashlights. We are now installing a larger gen-set with automatic transfer switch so that process will be a bit easier.
You can buy a UPS system like this but it is quite expensive. WIth Mark’s engineering and the help of our friends across the lake at Shipstore (www.shipstore.com) we have a first class back up system that will keep Smalldog.com up and operating throughout any power interruption.
Haste Makes Waste By Holly @ smalldog.com
In life there are many lessons, many of which have given birth to age old cliches. One I recently re-visited is “Haste Makes Waste”.
I use a Griffin iTrip with my first generation iPod mini. This weekend I was in rush and hastily removed (or more appropriately yanked/ripped) the iTrip from the mini and tore off part of the little connector set on the bottom. Let me assure you the iTrip needs those to work properly. Without them instead of music you get a horrible screeching sound from the radio.
Now what to do? I use my iPod a lot in the car. However, I own two, yes TWO, types of iPods; the iPod mini and iPod photo. I wondered if there was an FM transmitter that would work for both, BUT I couldn’t block the lighter outlet because I liked to use an iPod charger. Well these two requirements were making things a little tricky, but then I saw on Small Dog’s pricelist Griffin’s Auto iTrip. It works with 3rd Generation iPods, iPod minis, 4th Generation iPods, iPod photo/color, iPod nanos, and the iPod with video through the dock connector on the iPod, AND it has it’s own charger!
Griffin iTrip Auto (Dock connect) FM Transmitter/Auto Charger – $44
Wow. It looked like my prayers were answered but then I got to thinking about how I’d been just placing the iPod on the car seat. It has a tendency to slide around. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to have it level with the car dashboard, which would keep it out of view while looking out the windshield? Of course, I couldn’t use the lighter outlet because of the Auto iTrip so what were my options now?
That’s when I discovered the perfect iPod auto bundle. The Griffin Auto iTrip with Small Dog’s iPod vent mount with The Gripper in black!
Small Dog iPod Vent Mount (requires “The Gripper”) – $5.50
Small Dog iPod “The Gripper” (Black) – $11.00
Small Dog iPod “The Gripper” (White) – $11.00
Folks, this is truly a good deal. The iPod is within easy reach and view. You can charge and play the iPod with the same item. PLUS you can change the iTrip station very quickly with the up/down wheel on the iTrip LCD. No more scrolling about in the iPod!
.Mac with iWeb Visual QuickStart Guide 2nd Edition – $19.99 In this completely updated edition to .Mac, leading software application expert David Reynolds uses crystal-clear instructions and friendly prose to introduce you everything that’s new. Filled with step-by-step, task-based instructions and loads of visual aids, this book explains how to publish your photos, movies, podcasts and blogs on the internet with iWeb; share your photo albums in iPhoto as a photocast; access your files from anywhere with iDisk; keep all your Macs in sync with another with .Mac sync; and more!
Googlepedia: The Ultimate Google Resource – $23.99 you want to learn and ultimately master Google’s web and software tools beyond what information can find through their help files? Well Googlepedia shows both casual end-users and professional web developers how to get the most out of the Google search site and Google’s powerful tools.
Macs on the Go! Mobile Computing Guide – $19.99 Now that you have a Mac laptop, you have everything you need to be a Road Warrior — a mobile computing expert. Grab your Mac laptop and let John and Robin show you how to realize the full potential of mobile computing. Be productive, be creative, or just have a lot of fun while you’re on the go! Whether you’re traveling from one room to the other, from home to office, or even to another country, Macs on the Go! shows you how to take advantage of the power of mobility.
Targus Eyelet Security Lock for iPod – $18.99 The Targus Eyelet Security Lock for iPod is a unique adapter lock designed specifically to work hand-in-hand with legacy or pre- installed Targus cable locks, or third-party cable locking solutions. It provides end-users an affordable way to secure their iPod while at work, without having to purchase an entirely new, more costly solution.
Targus Mobile Security Lock for iPod – $37.99 The Targus Mobile Security Lock for iPod is a perfect solution for those who need to secure their iPod on the go. The dock connector is easy to use and provides mobile protection for your device. This lock is compatible with iPods that have a dock connector. The 3-digit combination lock can be reset by the user at anytime for increased security. The stylish and unique housing allows for easy storage. Ideal for kids, students, mobile listeners, back packers and anyone on the go.
Kensington RDS iPod FM Transmitter Car Charger – $69 While listening to your iPod, see the song and artist’s name displayed on car stereo using our patent-pending RDS FM Transmitter/ Car Charger for iPod.
Here are the specials for this week, valid through July 21 or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
Micro Accessories 65 Watt AC Adaptor for PowerBook or iBook – only $29.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16805/mymac
Ogio Jackpack Redline Messenger Bag – with Free Shipping- $40.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16806/mymac
Brenthaven Edge II Black case 15.4in for MacBook Pro – FREE 3-day express shipping – $49.95!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16812/mymac
Brenthaven Edge II Light Blue case 15.4in for MacBook Pro – FREE 3- day express shipping – $49.95!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16813/mymac
EZQuest Monsoon 300gb Firewire 400/USB 2.0 drive – $152!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16782/mymac
Two gigabytes of RAM for any Intel Mac – $196!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16677/mymac
Apple iPod 40gb Clickwheel with Dock, Griffin iTrip (Dock connector), Kensington Case – $224!
iBook 14″ G4/1GHz 768 MB RAM/40 GB/Combo/AP, Airport Extreme Base station, Sling case – $1099!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16798/mymac
iBook 14in G4/1GHz 768 MB RAM/40 GB hard drive/Combo drive, Airport Extreme Card – $949!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16797/mymac
MacBook 1.83, Canon iP1600 Printer, Belkin Surge Protector, USB Cable for printer, Ogio Case – $1189!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16817/mymac
PowerBook 15in G4/1.67GHz 512/80/Super/AP/BT (r), MS Office 2004 – $1479 PLUS $50 Rebate!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16779/mymac
MacBook Pro 15in 2.0GHz 1gb/100/Superdrive (r), Plus 3-year Applecare Protection Plan – $2189!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16803/mymac
Have a great summer weekend and thanks once again for reading Kibbles & Bytes. Be sure and let Ed, Holly or myself know if you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see us cover in future issues. We know that Kibbles & Bytes is a great opportunity to communicate with our customers and we are committed to bringing you interesting stories, reviews and commentary!
Your Kibbles & Bytes crew,
Don, Ed & Holly