Archive for February 2007

How To Decide Which Satellite Radio Service Is Best For You

February 9, 2007

There are two Satellite Radio services available:

XM and SIRIUS. They’re both good, so which one is right for you? By spending a little time reviewing their differences, you will no doubt see which one should be your particular choice.



Here’s How:

1.     Check the programming: XM has 150 Channels. SIRIUS has 120 channels. Out of SIRIUS’ 120, 65 are commercial-free music channels and the other 55 are “talk, news, sports and entertainment programming”. XM offers 67 music channels, many commercial free, with 30 others that stream a similar variety as SIRIUS. (Note: amount of channels changes.)

2.     Review the cost: XM is $12.95/month but you can lock in lower rates for longer commitments. SIRIUS is $12.95/month and also has lower rates for longer plans. You can cancel either one at any time when going month-to-month. XM offers a pro-rated refund on longer plans. SIRIUS has a $75 dollar cancellation fee on prepaid subscriptions.

3.     Decide what equipment you want: Both companies offer various equipment options including satellite-ready radios for permanent installation and portable options for listening in the car or home. Each service offers comparable products in similar prices ranges.

4.     Review the websites: Both XM and SIRIUS have very functional websites where you can find out information, see programming schedules, read news, see subscription plans and even activate subscriptions. SIRIUS subscribers can listen to all streams across the web once issued a log-in password. XM offers looped samples of each stream to visitors.

5.     Also see:

XM Satellite Radio Hardware and Receiver Product Tour

SIRIUS Satellite Radio Hardware and Receiver Product Tour 


1.     Do-it-yourself car installation for many units is not terribly hard. You can save money going this route.

2.     Although the satellite antennas for autos are small, they still “mark” you as having expensive equipment inside. Having a good car security system is helpful.

3.     Check each website for current specials on equipment, activation and subscriptions. It’s very competitive and you can save money.

4.     If you’re still debating whether the cost is worth it, remember: if there is just one channel you LOVE with programming you cannot find anywhere else, that can make the expense worthwhile by itself. 5.     If your work takes you on the road often, you might be able to deduct some of the expense. Ask your accountant or tax professional



Delphi’s xm2go MyFI Satellite Radio Receiver

February 9, 2007


TheDelphi MyFI is here and with users of Satellite Radio no longer tied to the car or home, XM now competes with walkmans, iPods, and any other portable aural entertainment available. I know it’s unfair to compare the MyFI to an .mp3 player but I just can’t help it. I’ve owned 3 different players and hated each one for various reasons: the hassle of having to upload songs, erase songs, memorize a million different commands displayed on teeny-weeny LCD screens. In my opinion, the MyFI makes every .mp3 player I’ve ever owned its bitch. There, I said it. XM Radio and MyFI not only give me as large or larger of a universe of music and enterainment than I could ever fit on even the largest iPod, but I don’t have to do any of the work. It’s all there – just choose the channel. At first I was concerned with how well the built-in antenna would work because I walk a lot for excercise and I especially wanted to use the MyFI for that purpose. But, if you need an extra boost you can attach the wearable antenna extender. I clipped it onto the back band of my hat and it works like a charm.

At first I balked at the MyFI’s price. But, when you consider all you’re getting, including home and car docking kits, the ability to schedule and record programming for later playback and so much more, the MyFI is an excellent investment for Satellite Radio fans.


  • Hand-held MyFi receiver (weight: 7.3 ounces), Rechargeable, integrated battery
  • Complete home accessory kit, Complete vehicle accessory kit, First-ever built-in XM antenna
  • Headphones, Belt clip/stand, Remote control, Carrying case
  • Large, illuminated six-line LCD display, up to 30 channel presets
  • Live XM listening mode, My XM™ time-shifting memory mode (maximum of 5 hours)
  • Stock ticker, Sports score ticker
  • Built-in wireless FM transmitter makes any FM radio an XM Radio
  • Built-in alarm clock
  • Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $349.99

Sirius S50 Satellite Radio/MP3 Player

February 9, 2007

SIRIUS helped transform the way we listen to radio, and now they’re transforming the way we listen to SIRIUS itself with the S50 satellite radio/MP3 player, a wildly innovative blend of features that’ll make your listening experience more rewarding. When docked in its cradle, it plays live SIRIUS broadcasts, captures SIRIUS content, and lets you store and listen to your favorite MP3 or WMA files. With its included accessories, you can play it over your car stereo, or take it with you and listen wherever you go. The S50’s internal memory stores up to 50 hours of content — your favorite SIRIUS programming, your MP3/WMA files, or any combination of the two. When you’re listening to SIRIUS, you can pause, rewind, and fast-forward live broadcasts. And when you want to save content, just press the “Love” button on the cradle — it’s the one marked with a heart.   The included accessories let you use the S50 as a portable player. Charge up the battery with the AC power adapter, slip on the earphones, and check out your digital music files and stored SIRIUS content (the S50 can receive live SIRIUS broadcasts only when docked in its cradle) — the battery provides up to six hours of life. A belt clip is also included.  The bright, legible, full-color screen shows you channel, artist, and song titles on SIRIUS, as well as the names of your digital music files. The S50 is smart, too — it learns which SIRIUS channels you listen to most, then captures content from your favorites and stores them in three different channels, which you listen to anytime you want. To avoid repetition, the S50 plays back the oldest content first.  You’ll also get the accessories you’ll need to play the S50 over your car stereo — a cradle that allows the S50 to receive live SIRIUS broadcasts, a car mount, a DC power adapter, a remote control, and a roof-mount antenna.  

The cradle’s Media Dial makes it super-easy for you to surf through all the great SIRIUS programming and save your favorite content. Voice-assisted navigation announces the name of the channel you’ve just tuned into, so you can find your favorite channels without taking your eyes off the road.  A built-in wireless FM transmitter “broadcasts” the sound over an unused frequency on any FM stereo — there’s no complicated installation process. If your in-dash stereo has an auxiliary input, you can connect the S50 directly to it for even better sound.  You can save 30 channels as presets, plus program the Jump button to take you immediately to your favorite channel. Select your favorite NFL, NHL, and NBA teams in Game Alert, and you’ll be notified whenever they’re playing. A customizable sports ticker scrolls across the bottom of the screen, keeping you up-to-date on the latest action.  Coming soon are an optional home kit that lets you listen to the S50 over your home stereo, and a desktop/wall-mountable Executive Powered Speaker System, which acts as a handy boombox.

These Low-Buck Flat Panels Are in “Hi” Demand

February 6, 2007

Vizio GV42L HDTV   

With picture quality decent enough to satisfy most viewers, the affordable, fully featured Vizio GV42L HDTV is one of the best values among big-screen LCDs.  

Vizio GV46L HDTV  

   The 46-inch Vizio GV46L HDTV costs less than the big-screen LCD competition, but its picture quality isn’t up to par with the company’s other bargain efforts. 

Westinghouse LVM-47w1  

  A high resolution, a bunch of HD inputs, and decent image quality performance make the Westinghouse LVM-47w1 a strong contender in the budget, big-screen LCD category 

Maxent MX-5020HPM    

Although it has enough features for most folks, the less-expensive Maxent MX-5020HPM can’t keep up with the picture quality of the competition. 

Vizio P50HDTV  

  With commendable image quality and plenty of connections, the relatively inexpensive Vizio P50HDTV 50-inch plasma is the best value in its class.

Wii outselling PS3 in Japan

February 6, 2007

Nintendo’s Wii game console outsold Sony’s PlayStation 3 by nearly three to one last month in Japan, the country’s largest video-game magazine publisher said Tuesday.

Nintendo sold 405,000 Wii units in January, compared with 148,000 PS3s, publisher Enterbrain said. Wii and PS3, made by two of the biggest players in the $30 billion global video game industry, went on sale late last year in a three-way showdown with Microsoft’s Xbox 360. A wider range of software titles and a lower price tag is helping the Wii, Enterbrain said. The basic model of the PS3 sells for $416 (49,980 yen) in Japan, double the price of the Wii. Nintendo has sold a total 1.4 million units of the Wii in Japan, far outpacing the 614,000 PS3s sold, Enterbrain said. “There could be a price cut for the PS3 by the end of the year, and more software titles will hit the market. I expect the PS3 to be doing better after awhile,” Enterbrain President Hirokazu Hamamura said. “Of course, the Wii will keep running ahead all the while.”

Apple IPhone

February 5, 2007

Apple today at MacWorld unveiled their latest take the world by storm device. The new iPhone will be available in June in a 4GB model for $499 and an 8GB model for $599 and will run off of the Cingular cellular phone network.


 The Apple iPhone, which runs off of Mac OS X, is being touted by its maker as a device which combines “a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, searching and maps-into one small and lightweight handheld device”. The iPhone is indeed a device that seems to be in a class by itself, using built-in sensors to do things like observing that a user has rotated the device from portrait to landscape, then automatically changing the contents of the display accordingly, with users immediately seeing the entire width of a web page, for example. This built-in sensor feature also detects when you lift iPhone to your ear and immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches. This is on top of a built-in ambient light sensor automatically adjusting the display’s brightness to the appropriate level for the current ambient light. As for controls, the iPhone sports a multi-touch display. This display basically lets you control all functions with your fingers. The iPhone is also relatively thin, measuring 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches.
Battery life is reported to be up to five hours for talk time/Web browsing/video watching and up to 16 hours for audio playback.

Here is a further breakdown of features based on the three different directions the iPhone takes: Mobile Phone:

  • Allows users to make calls by simply pointing at a name or number.
  • Syncs all of your contacts from your PC, Mac or Internet service such as Yahoo!
  • Construct a favorites list for your most frequently made calls.
  • Merge calls together to create conference calls.
  • Visual Voicemail lets users look at a listing of their voicemails, decide which messages to listen to, then go directly to those messages without listening to the prior messages.
  • A SMS application with a full QWERTY virtual keyboard with predictive text to send and receive SMS messages in multiple sessions.
  • A calendar application that allows calendars to be automatically synced with your PC or Mac.
  • A 2 megapixel camera and a photo management application. Users can browse browse their photo library, which can be synced from their PC or Mac, and choose a photo for their wallpaper or to include in an email.
  • A quad-band GSM phone which also features EDGE and Wi-Fi wireless technologies (802.11b/g) for data networking as well as Bluetooth 2.0 EDR.

Widescreen iPod:

  • Touch controls that lets music lovers scroll through entire lists of songs, artists, albums and playlist.
  • Cover Flow, which lets you browse your music library by album cover artwork. When navigating your music library on iPhone, you are automatically switched into Cover Flow by rotating iPhone into its landscape position.
  • A 3.5-inch widscreen display.
  • Touch controls for play-pause, chapter forward-backward and volume when watching TV shows and movies.
  • Syncs content from a user’s iTunes library on their PC or Mac, and can play any music or video content they have purchased from the online iTunes store.

Internet Communications Device:

  • Features a HTML email client which fetches your email in the background from most POP3 or IMAP mail services and displays photos and graphics right along with the text. iPhone is fully multi-tasking, so you can be reading a web page while downloading your email in the background.
  • Yahoo! Mail is offering a new free “push” IMAP email service to all iPhone users that automatically pushes new email to a user’s iPhone, and can be set up by entering your Yahoo! name and password.
  • iPhone will also work with most industry standard IMAP and POP based email services, such as Microsoft Exchange, Apple .Mac Mail, AOL Mail,
    Google Gmail and most ISP mail services.
  • Runs a version of the Mac Safari web browser for viewing web pages and lets one zoom in to expand any section by tapping on iPhone’s multi-touch display with their finger. Also includes built-in Google Search and Yahoo! Search, automatic syncing of bookmarks from a PC or Mac.
  • Support for wireless Internet usage via Wi-Fi or EDGE.

Built-in Google Maps, featuring Google’s online maps service and iPhone’s maps application, lets users view maps, satellite images, traffic information and get directions


Top 50 Emergency Uses for Your Camera Phone

February 5, 2007

Ways Your Camera Cell Phone Can Save Lives and Property In an emergency you’ll need to provide and receive help, and after it’s over, you’ll have to return, repair and rebuild. Central to this is communication and documentation. Any camera could be used for some of these things, but the phonecam carries a distinct advantage. It can immediately transmit your pictures. Disposable cameras and digital cameras are acceptable. Below are 50 ways the camera phone can be used in an emergency to document, record, and relay important information. (Excerpted from

  1. Last minute child ID. Whenever the family might be separated, take last-minute pictures of all family members, especially the kids, and pets.
  2. Send a map. Draw a map on paper, take a picture and send.
  3. Injury photos to the doctor.
  4. Damage documentation. In catastrophes, it’ll be days before insurance adjusters get there to file claims. Photo all damage.
  5. Report suspicious activity. Upload pictures of suspects and the situation to the police.
  6. “Here’s the landmark.” Gathering the family is critical. If you don’t have a fixed meeting place, send pictures of where and what you’re near so others can find you. This also works well if you’re lost in the wilderness and need to relay pictures of landmarks.
  7. “Meet us here.” If you have a fixed rendezvous point, send a pic you already have on file so others will know where to meet.
  8. Photo shopping list. When stocking up in anticipation of an emergency, take a picture of your pantry as a quick shopping list.
  9. Driving directions. If you’re trying to tell others where a certain location is, send a picture by picture set of directions.
  10. “Meet this person.” If your family evacuates, send them a picture of the person they’re to meet.
  11. Last minute property inventory. Snap quick shots of your property and to show the current condition of your property.
  12. “Adventure” journal. Take pictures to record what you do, where you go and people you meet during an evacuation.
  13. Situational severity. First responders will be overworked. They might not be available for what they consider a minor situation. Send a picture of how bad things are.
  14. Quick text messaging. You might not have time to type a message, and the lines might not be open long enough for a conversation. Write a note on paper, take a picture and send that.
  15. Minor traffic mishap. If told to swap info by authorities, photo the damage, people involved, witnesses and their tag numbers, and others involved to show their injuries (or lack thereof).
  16. Wallet backup. Take pictures of your wallet’s contents (or important documents) to record numbers, and show that cards are or were in your possession. Be careful with this info as it’s very sensitive and can be used for identity theft!
  17. Inclement weather reporting. Send a picture to the weather service.
  18. First Responder intel. The more first responders know about an emergency, the more rapid and appropriate a reaction they can make.
  19. Missing persons. Send picture of picture from your wallet.
  20. Relay property damage to or from neighbors who return home first.
  21. Help insurance adjusters find your property. Take current pictures of landmarks or unique damage near or at your property.
  22. Copy bulletin boards from an emergency shelter.
  23. Bus, subway or city map.
  24. Document your route.
  25. Record medicines or food brands.
  26. Record parking spot locations.
  27. Engine repairs. Send a pic to a mechanic who may talk you through a quick fix.
  28. Business or service function and hours. Copy posted business hours or listed service functions (and pricing) for later review and recall. You can also report price gouging.
  29. Child custodian. If you can’t get to your kids at school or other function, relay a picture of the person who is coming to pick them up.
  30. Info on injured or hospitalized people.
  31. Hotel room number and location.
  32. ID your evac gear. Take a picture to prove ownership.
  33. Photo scavenger hunt. Give kids a short list of things they should take a picture of.
  34. Identify the close-up. Take a really close up picture of something while the kids aren’t looking.
  35. Document your whereabouts.
  36. ID the rescuer.
  37. Document your cleanup.
  38. Document expenditures. In addition to receipts, photograph the goods acquired, equipment being used, services being performed and the people involved.
  39. Property pics for retrieval companies. Some scenarios will see you unable to return home. Property photos will allow you to identify specific items you’d like retrieved.
  40. Evacuee status. Authorities will want to know who is injured, dead or missing, and who is okay and where they are.
  41. Overcome language barriers. Pictures make communication easier.
  42. Transmit road conditions.
  43. Relay traffic conditions.
  44. Crime scene evidence. People have returned to a home undamaged by a disaster, but later looted.
  45. Too much on the screen? Should the TV flash pertinent information and you don’t have time to write, take a picture of the screen for later review.
  46. ID for doctors or pharmacies.
  47. Emergency supply information. If supplies are low, people can send a picture of the types or brands of items available at different spots.
  48. “Last Minute List” items and shutdown. In addition to a written list, create a photo file showing items you need to take and steps to secure the house before leaving.
  49. Evac atlas. Create a “travel atlas” of emergency assets available along evacuation routes.
  50. Reaction plan for the reading disabled.