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Mobile data plans are so expensive

I am looking for a mobile device for Twitter/IM/Blogging and got really excited today about the new iPhone.

That was until I did some math and found the total cost of ownership (2 year w/o taxes) of a new iPhone.

The phone, voice, and data cost is almost $2000 ($1,878.76 16GB and $1,978.76 32GB. Includes $39.99/month for voice and $30/month for data)  for the contract-mandated 24 months.

That, to me, is far from a trivial amount of money.

So, I decided to revisit a few things.

1. Cost of mobile data on various mobile carriers including possible data-only plans.

2. N810 or Eee PC.

AT&T’s prices are about what everyone else offers (when you add text, data, voice, etc) so for me the first solution is out.

Looks like solution 2 (still have choices to make) is the winner as data plans are as much as cable and 12Mbps cable broadband.  I am sure if I had a need for such a device for work, I would pay it, but man, cell phone plans in general are overpriced for what you get.  Old Ma Bell wanted metered service for POTS and now they have it for wired.

WiMax will you save us?  I had an N800, but it full of of my car and I then ran over it.

I liked the device when I had it, so the N810 sounds pretty promising, but having full XP on the Eee is nice too. No decision yet.

GTA IV made me do it.


So I have a birthday coming up and I don’t have a next-gen console.
I own a Dreamcast, PS2, and PSP and my household also has an NES, SNES, and N64.
My couple-year-old HDTV is aching for some more HD goodness and I must do what my electronic devices ‘want’.

The TV talking to me while I sleep, and the constant barrage of GTA IV ads and discussion made me anxious about someone ruining a plot point.  So, much like I went to see Iron-Man this weekend, I was forced by my fears of ‘spoilers’ to buy a 360.

Today I saw that Amazon had a deal where you get $30 off when you buy a console and the game at the same time. That and a trial for Amazon Prime got the price way down even with 1 day shipping.

All these factors and what fields like the world were telling me to buy it, so I finally did.

So I sit here… waiting… how many hours will it take? Come on shipping company… be fast!

R/C Car + camera = fun

Some test video of my new R/C car with a camera taped to the top of it.

I am going to get a more permanent camera for it soon.

RC CAR video test 001

RC car camera test

Facial Hair: O what time changes


Looking into the mirror after a fresh hair clip and shave today, I couldn’t help but think back (wavy lines) In high-school I was a bit down about my lack of facial hair. Unfortunately, this was one of the few things in life my ‘wishing’ worked. I now have facial hair everywhere on the sphere of my head except: 1. 2 ‘silver dollar size’ circles below my eyes. 2. one mom’s side of the family balding region on the top of my head. 3. one dad’s side of the family balding region on the front of the top of my head. 4. inside my ears (time will change that I suppose)

Rockbox… umm ROCKS!

I have RockBox setup on my Sansa e250.

It adds a few features that are pretty cool.

1. FLAC file playback

2. Audio file bookmarks

3. JPEG image viewing

4. TXT file viewer

5. customizable themes

6. a whole bunch of games.

7. MPEG1/2 video playback

8. preservation of original firmware via bootloader

9. file tree browsing and playback

10. Gameboy Color emulator.

11. DOOM!

I didn’t even know about FLAC support when I installed RockBox and it is my favorite feature.

So if you have a device that supports RockBox, I would say go for it.

Bought this weird beast I twittered about yesterday.

I’m a sucker for something that is 25% of the original retail.

The “iSee 360i iPod Video/Recorder for iPod

It essentially uses an iPod exclusively as a hard drive and has it’s own processor and screen.

It records and plays back video.

I forgot I had a 4GB iPod mini sitting around that works perfecly, except for the lack of a useful screen.

I’ve used it for years as a small firewire drive, but now it gets to be more useful again.

I’m pretty sure the video will look so-so, but for $40 it should be fun.

I am thinking about finding a cheap video cam that just has an composite video out.

kick ass: camera RAW format without buying a new camera

Wired has a really cool Wiki explaining how to get some great new features on a Canon camera using free custom software. It even leaves the existing firmware intact.

Biggest addition for me is the ability to shoot in camera raw format (CRW).

You will need to convert that CRW to a PNG, but that is pretty simple.

Even though the utility says it only support DIGIC II, it does work with the SD 800 IS which has a DIGIC III.

I am running a beta build on my Powershot SD800 IS.

Haven’t spent much time with it, but it is pretty cool so far.

I just love custom code on my consumer electronics!

Now I need to get RockBox running on my Sansa e250!

update: RockBox is running on my e250 and… well… rocks!

update: Here is some video I shot using CHDK’s ability to change the bitrate or quality via new menus.

Untitled from zebtron on Vimeo.
caveat: this video was converte3d in some manner my vimeo.

Why do I have so many MP3 players?

I finally broke down and bought an MP3 player that is smaller than the 3 I already have.

I decided, as I am working out almost every day, that I needed a smaller PMP primarily for working out.

I wanted something that was:

1. cheap

2. small

3. had a memory card slot so I can easily update the card and then throw the card in the player. Also so I could have multiple cards.

4. FM tuner

And what did I find? The Sandisk Sansa e250. A 2GB flash-based MP3 player that almost/kinda’ does video. It plays WMA, MP3, AAC, audible, and WMA DRM files. Almost plays photos and video, but you are required to use the Windows-only software to convert the files into a format specific to the e2xx. It does have an FM tuner and records FM radio as well as voice messages using the built-in mic.

Did I mention it was $40? I have had this refurb for a few days now and really like it.

My refurb 30GB Zune is a bit jealous, as is my PSP, but they will be ok.

portable power

Just bought 2 portable rechargeable battery packs from
Made me think about the energy I use and I stumbled on a form that will help you calculate your energy usage.