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Enroll in Automobile University with an Audio book Service July 17, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, iPod, Learning, Online Service, Technology, Worth a Look, Worth the Money.
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The phrase “Automobile University” will be familiar to anyone who’s read a Zig Ziglar book or heard him speak. It essentially refers to the idea that personal productivity and development can be increased by using commute timecap and gown.jpg for self-improvement and learning. Audio books and podcasts are excellent options for individuals looking to improve their productivity during their daily commute.

Of course, buying audio books isn’t cheap (podcasts are though), but you can take advantage of several online rental services. The various rental plans vary by price and many offer rentals without any late fees or due dates or shipping fees.

The web site eHow offers an article about what you need to do to listen to podcasts.

You can find a variety of inexpensive rental plans and prices from the sites listed below. Some even offer an audio download option , if you’d rather play one on an iPod or other handheld device.

Audio book Rental Services:

  1. Audible.com (celebrating its 10 year anniversary)
  2. SimplyAudiobooks.com offers CD rentals and MP3 downloads.
  3. Booksfree.com offers rentals for audiobooks and good, old fashioned paperbacks.
  4. Audiotogo.com offers a free trial of their service.

Of course, you can rent a good fiction novel to listen to in the car too. With thousands of choices, you’re bound to find a book to make your commute more educational, or at the very least, more enjoyable.

TIP: For many, money is tight these days. If that’s true for you, you may want to visit your local library to see if they carry any audio books. After all, the LIBRARY IS FREE and their selection may surprise you.


Get Fit! Technology That Moves You June 28, 2008

Posted by Mike in Blogging, exercise, family, geocaching, Hardware, health, iPod, Reviews, Software, Technology, Worth the Money.

What other technology products out there are designed to help you exercise or enjoy the outdoors?

The excitement surrounding the release of the Nintendo Wii Fit got me thinking about this question.

I spent a little time browsing Amazon.com and came up with a few technology gadgets — with many positive user reviews — that will help you get off your couch and get outside (or at least break a sweat inside):

Wii Fit

Exercise without leaving the comfy confines of your own living room. With Nintendo’s addictively fun Wii game system, this new software package will get you exercising in four key areas: Strength Training, Aerobics, Yoga and Balance Games. The games and activities are designed to appeal to all ages, so Mom and Dad can enjoy it just as much as the kids.

Price: $171 on Amazon.com

Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit for iPod nano 1G, 2G, 3G

This is actually an add-on package for an iPod Nano. You’ll need to buy the Nano iPod separately.

“Consisting of a wireless sensor and receiver, the Nike + iPod Sport Kit works exclusively with your Nike+ shoes and iPod nano to give you real-time feedback during workouts.” – Amazon product description.

Price: $29.00 on Amazon.com

Garmin eTrex H Handheld GPS with High Sensitivity GPS

This one intrigues me. GPS devices like this one have led to an explosion in popularity of a game called geocaching. In a nutshell, geocaching is a game of high tech treasure hunting. Players hide “caches” in various places, like parks or camp sites or even urban locations. The map coordinates of the cache are then posted online and other players can go and search for it using a handheld GPS.

For a full description of geocaching, please visit The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site

Geocaching sounds like a great family activity. I fully intend to play when my sons get a little older. When the time comes, I’ll take my friend Chris up on his offer to join him on a treasure hunt one day.

While there are a great many varieties of handheld GPS devices, this one is under $100 and should fit the budget of most families.

Price: $93.16 on Amazon.com

Omron HJ-112 Digital Premium Pedometer

Amazon Product Description:

“The HJ-112 accurately measures your steps, as well as aerobic steps and minutes. You can also use it to measure calorie consumption during your workout, as well as the distance you’ve traveled.”

Price: $19.82 on Amazon.com

So, now you can have your “tech” and exercise too. I’ll see you outdoors. Don’t worry about that big ball of light in the sky. That’s called the sun. It’s a good thing. Have fun!

Retrevo Helps Answer Your Tech Questions Quickly December 5, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Hardware, iPod, News, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
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The catch phrase on their web site is “matching people and electronics.”  Retrevo.com compiles lots of useful information about a product in a matter of seconds. 

Need a product review before you buy? Retrevo has them.  I typed in iPod Touch and Retrevo listed expert reviews at ilounge.com, zdnet.com and playlistmag.com.

Need a manual for an electronics product?  Retrevo can help find them. I typed in HP Deskjet 5850 and the site found the manual for me.  True, I can go to HP.com to get it, but then it may take a few minutes to narrow my search and find the manual.  Retrevo got the link for me in less than 5 seconds.

Doing the math:  If time=money, then time saved=money saved.  Retrevo’s service will save you money!  Of course, that’s far-fetched claim that you won’t find anywhere on their site, but maybe it’ll help you find the best deal on that iPod Touch which could save you some real coin.

Want to shop for a Slingbox?  Retrevo will give you plenty of sites to browse.

Retrevo will also list blogs, forums and manufacturing info on a given product (when available).

Trust me, this site is worth a look and a bookmark in your favorites.

WildCharger: A Wireless Charging Pad for Your Mobile Devices November 21, 2007

Posted by Mike in Hardware, iPod, Technology, Worth the Money.
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No cord needed to charge your mobile phone? I haven’t seen anything quite like it, but yes, that’s the idea. By purchasing and attaching a compatible adapter onto your mobile phone, you can then simply place the phone onto the charging pad without connecting a cord.

You need two things to make it work: one a WildCharge adapter for your mobile device (mp3 player, iPod, mobile phone, PDA, etc) and the charging pad itself.

Here’s a link to their web site explaining how it works.

After looking at their web site, WildCharge, the manufacturer, has already made a charging adapter that snaps onto the back of the Motorola RAZR mobile phone.

They are working on an iPod Nano charging adapter as well as a Blackberry charging adapter, but neither can be purchased in their online store at this time.

It’s a novel idea, but may be limited by their ability to design and manufacture customized charging adapters for each type of device. Consumers may not want to purchase multiple charging adapters for their multitude of mobile devices either.

They’ve already received some good publicity and rewards for innovation, which you can read about in their Press Room.

MusicRescue – Transfer Music from Your iPod to a new PC August 9, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, iPod, music, Software, Technology, Worth the Money.
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If your computer dies and takes your music with it, you still have your iPod, right? However, iTunes only lets you transfer tracks bought from the iTunes Store back to your new/fixed computer. What about those tracks ripped from CD, or lovingly recorded from your vinyl collection? Enter Music Rescue – the answer to your nightmare.

Quote from the MusicRescue web site

Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I’m entitled.
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth.
Col. Jessep: You can’t handle the truth.


Here’s the truth:

If you’re assuming that your iPod doubles as a backup device for your music, you’ll be in for an unhappy surprise if your PC does crash. As stated above, music that you’ve put on your iPod that does not originate from the iTunes store cannot be transferred back to a PC with the standard iTunes/iPod software.

For example, you take your favorite Dave Matthews Band CD, Busted Stuff, and copy those songs from the CD to your iTunes software and then to your iPod. These songs didn’t come from the iTunes store so they won’t transfer from your iPod back to your iTunes software in the event of a hard drive meltdown or laptop theft.

Don’t believe me? There are folks on Yahoo Answers looking for a solution to this very problem.

I assume Apple designed it this way to limit the possibility of music piracy (Arrgh, matey!) and ease the concerns of the music industry. I think it’s a bit late for that, but it is what it is.

MusicRescue is a nicely designed piece of software to help you solve this problem. You install onto your iPod and it then allows you to transfer all of your music from your iPod to any PC. MusicRescue calls this their iPod License.

There is also a different type of registration (called the Computer License) that allows you to install MusicRescue onto a PC and then transfer it to as many different iPods as you like. This may be a solution for a family of iPodders who share one PC or one music collection.

The MusicRescue software has both a free and a paid version. The features in both versions are the same. However, the free version “politely” reminds you that you should pay for the software while you’re copying music.

I haven’t tried the free version, so I don’t know if the “polite” reminder pauses the copying process and requires your presence to click OK. I suspect that it does, which means that you may find yourself glued to your PC clicking an OK button for however long it takes to transfer the music.

Keep this product in mind in case you find yourself in this type of situation. It works well on a Windows PC or a Mac.

You may download the software from MusicRescue web site by clicking here..