IN·ovation

Technology that helps us… Technology that Wows us!

Archive for March, 2006

Lookout for Outlook

Posted by kbaggs on March 29, 2006


Along with 2Go SyncIt that I talked about in a previous post. Another one of my favorite utilities is Lookout for Outlook.

It is an add in for MS Outlook that loads into the menu bar. It is the same a the Find function, but far faster. It actually indexes every word of every email as it is added. The first time you run the software it could take 15-20 minutes to index everything. But that is a one time occurance. After that it indexes on the fly. What is great about it is the speed. Just this morning someone asked me about a document I had sent them in Sept. ’05. I simply typed in one key word and had the results back in under 3 seconds.

This product is so good, that Microsoft actually bought them to incorporate into future versions of Office.

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Which came first, the iPod or the PodCast

Posted by kbaggs on March 28, 2006

Being the Gadget person that I am, I own an iPod. I was late to the party though as I only got one about 4 months ago. I have to tell you, this thing is obsessive. I have the 4th generation 40GB model. When you first get the iPod it is great to carry your complete music library with you. You can never get bored.

Then it starts…first I had to listen to it at work. So I bought the JBL Sound Stage. Of course, who wants to plug and unplug speakers every day. So I bought a JBL unit for home. Let’s not forget the car! So I bought a Sonnet Podfreq. Then I heard about the new Shure ear buds. The sound is amazing.

Somewhere out there is a 12 step program for iPod accessories.

But seriously, the iPod is a cultural and marketing phenomena. Recently I discovered Podcasts. These are basically radio like broadcasts, that you can download and listen to on your iPod. They have everything from Technology to business to how to make bar drinks. Whatever your interest, someone out there has a Podcast on it.

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U3 for USB

Posted by kbaggs on March 27, 2006


I recently picked up one of those USB memory sticks. However, this one had the new U3 standard included. U3 allows you to run applications from the memory stick. There are several companies that are supporting this standard. McAfee, Skype, Trillian, Open Office, Firefox and many others.

It’s a rather interesting concept. As more and more people want to take their data with them this idea could be promising. Do you take your 4 pound laptop with you or your 2 ounce memory stick? The price of these memory sticks is dropping quickly. I have seen 1GB for less than $50. Capacities have increased to 8 GB.

When you sit down at a computer and plug in your U3 stick, you get a launcher window, similar to Windows Start menu. It allows you to run and save all your data on the memory stick. When you’re ready to move on, you simply hit the eject button on the menu and all of your data is saved on the stick. There is full password protection available.

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GPS that talks to you

Posted by kbaggs on March 24, 2006

This device is perfect for the runner, cyclist, skier or any outdoor activity. Anything you do outside, you will want to have this with you. A company called Motion Lingo is about to release Adeo. This device has built in GPS and speech. You can plug your MP3 player or iPod into it. Then plug in your headphones. Let’s say you’re out running. While you’re listening to your MP3 player a voice comes on and says “1 mile, 6 minutes 37 seconds”. The device keeps track of speed, distance time and elevation. When you have finished you can upload onto your computer. Motion Lingo has a web site that will track your activities and even link to the weather of the day.

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Blue Tooth, Hands Free rear view mirror

Posted by kbaggs on March 21, 2006


This falls under the “just gotta have it” category of gadgets. ModooFree has designed several models of rear view mirrors with varying levels of hands free features for cell phone users. Their top of the line has Bluetooth, so you can leave the cell phone in your pocket and still take calls. It has caller ID that projects onto the rear view mirror. And in the interests of safety, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road, it will speak the incoming phone number. And just when you think they have it all…they added a remote sensor that you attach to your bumper. When you back up it will show you in the mirror how far away you are from an object.

How cool is that? Installation is simple, just clips over you existing mirror.

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Skype

Posted by kbaggs on March 20, 2006

I have been using Skype for about 2 years now. Skype is software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world for free. When I was in Beijing, I was talking to my wife and kids. When I travel to Fremont I talk to my family. The clarity is better than the phone lines.

Most people that I have talked to do not know about Skype. They have heard about Vonage and their VOIP phone plan. Skype is basically the same thing, but it costs nothing. As long as both parties have the Skype software and a headset. You can talk for free. The latest version now allows for video. You can do conference calls with up to 5 people.

Skype was recently purchased by eBay for $3+ billion. With that kind of money it will be interesting to see where they go.

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How to Sync your bookmarks on multiple PCs

Posted by kbaggs on March 19, 2006

How many times has this happened to you? Someone you know finds a good web site and sends you an email with the link. You want to add it to your favorites. Problem is, you have your PC at work, your notebook that you travel with and then there is that PC (or PCs) at home. If it’s a good website you would want it on all of those PCs. So you send yourself and email, then go to each PC and open up the email and copy the web site into your favorites. What a pain!

Now there is a simpler innovation. A company out of Brasil has a free utility called 2Go SyncIt. You download the utility from here. The first time you install it on a PC, you will be asked to set up an account or login. Once you install it on your PCs. Any change you make on one PC, is automatically updated on every PC you have the software installed on.

One of the bonuses of this software I discoverd a few weeks ago. I was doing some house cleaning and accidentally erased about 80% of my bookmarks. An email to 2Go got a response within a couple of hours that showed me how to restore all the bookmarks. It seems they hold on to any deletions for 30 days.

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So what is this Blogging Stuff?

Posted by kbaggs on March 18, 2006

I have to admit. When our CEO Jim Estill first told us about his blog, I think the word I heard the most was “eccentric”. To those people that said this simply shows that we didn’t understand blogs. (“mea culpa” or in the present day vernacular, “my bad”). I consider myself a pretty well informed person. Especially when it comes to technology. I had heard about blogs, and had passed them off a daily journals. That is about 10% of what a blog is.

I had come across blogs as a way of finding out the latest trends and gadgets. I incorporated these into my daily RSS feeds. I came across Robert Scoble’s blog, before the release of his book. (one of the authors of Naked Conversations).Then Jim loaned me a book called Naked Conversations. I’m only about half way through it, but it is fascinating. CEO’s from GM, Intel and several other companies use them. Some companies have become companies because of the power of blogs. From a tailor on Saville Row to a software company.

Blogs are the new marketing, instant messenger and PR department all rolled into one. But without the corporate “stuffiness”. One of my favorite quotes in the book is “blogs should represent the unedited voice of the individual. It’s not an organization speaking. It’s informal. It’s ‘Come as you are. We’re just folks here. We’re not concerned with typos or grammar errors’, which reminds readers that it’s just a human speaking.”



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RSS Feeds

Posted by kbaggs on March 17, 2006


I mentioned RSS feeds 2 posts ago. They are an amazing way to save time reading about technology, or most any other topic. You can pick and choose what you want. Of course you will need an RSS reader. You can go here at CNET to find the one you like. I was pleased to see that my favorite, Desktop Sidebar, is the #1 downloaded reader.

Then you can do one of two things to collect your feeds. As you surf the web, you will see little orange buttoms with either XML or RSS.
This means, that what you are reading is available as an RSS feed. You simply click that orange button and you will see a screen of what is called XML code. Don’t worry, you don’t have to understand it. With Desktop Sidebar, you click on the same orange button in the Internet Explorer bar and you have added that site to your feeds. The second method is to go to RSS sites and choose from the many topice. Here is an example of Yahoo’s . Another site is Syndic8.com. Many of the Home Page websites have the same feature, such as Google, Yahoo and MSN. This will consolidate all the news that you’re interested in reading. And none of what you’re not interested in reading.

RSS feeds are a big part of blogging. Rather that going back to check a site every day to see if there is a new post, you can add the blog to your feed. Then as new posts are added, you will see them in your reader.

The marketing potential for RSS gets very interesting. Rather than sending what we think the customer wants, imagine them picking the feeds that they want. Every time something changes on the web site. It automatically changes the information for every single customer who has signed up for that feed.

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Running

Posted by kbaggs on March 16, 2006

Tonight I started a 10K running clinic at The Running Room. I did better than I thought I would, considering I haven’t been running in months. I completed 5K in 33 min. Not bad for the first night. The clinic is 10 weeks and my goal is to run a 55 min. 10K race on May 13th.

The Running Room is quite a Canadian success story. Started by John Stanton in 1984, they have grown to almost 80 stores. They have branched out into their own branded clothing and accessories. All top quality products. I believe their pull is their clinics. For about $70 they will tell you everything you need to know about running. (plus you get a $40 T-shirt). And while you’re sitting there in the store, listening to all that great information, you’re staring at all this great running gear.

Now, for me, gear is probably as close to an obsession as one could get. Whether it be running, backpacking, mountaineering or camping; I need gear. And not just a little, I need it ALL. Just ask my wife Dianne. Now imagine a gear obsession combined with being a computer geek and you can see why she rolls her eyes a lot.

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