Posts about Gadgets


Engadget did a spectacular job covering the Consumer Electronics Show, even getting backstage. What strikes me, though, is that there was too much stuff and too much information about it. And as efficient as Engadget was at presented it, there was still an overdose. So I wonder whether CES is such a good place to launch products anymore. You get buried; as soon as you make news, you’re yesterday’s news.

Apple, however, is tomorrow’s news. That’s when MacWorld starts…..


I’ll be on CNN twice Sunday: on Reliable Sources at 10a and On the Story at 1p (a rerun from Saturday night). Subject: West Virginia.

I did my first blogcast with CNN, this time using Apple’s iChat and iSight (with my son’s invaluable assistance). When I used to do these with the late Connected show on MSNBC, we had to use Microsoft Messenger (of course). Apple’s solutions work far better: higher quality images and sound and easier to set up (except for those pesky router ports).

Smart Sprint’s unadvertisement

I got email out of nowhere from Sprint telling me that they’d read my blog and wanted to offer me a chance to use a new, high-speed phone free for six months. The email said:

The Sprint Ambassador Team recently visited and wants to invite you to participate in our Ambassador Program.

The Sprint Ambassador Program is all about exploring our latest products and services and allows you to give direct feedback to Sprint. We recently launched the Sprint Power Vision (SM) Network and want to provide you with the full experience, at no charge. Sprint Power Vision Network enables customers to download data at faster speeds and experience new data products.

The email and the terms and conditions ask to receive feedback but do not require it. I’ll take them at their word that they want feedback and if they get and use response from customers, that can only help them. If I were them, I’d publicize the ideas and feedback I got from customers and used. That is the real feedback loop.

And wisely, not a word is said about blogging this. If they tried to buy publicity with phones, that would not be good. But they’re smarter than that: They know that a blogger must blog. And so here it is: free publicity. And if I find anything noteworthy about the phone, I may blog it again. The publicity they get is not controllable. I could hate the phone (but I probably won’t since I am a gadget addict and a speed freak… and I could also buy the phone and hate it and blog that). It’s a risk, but a small risk well worth taking.

It’s also a very, very inexpensive form of advertising. Note well that I’d be a lot better off if Sprint bought ads on my blog; that would be worth more than and phone and six months of phone service. So it may be nice deal for me, but it’s a far better deal for them. And that’s smart on their part.

Full disclosure: The phone they’re sending is free and the service on it is free for six months. If I want to use the phone after that, I have to pay a signup fee and sign a contract. Sprint is still Sprint. If I do, I will tell you. I’ll add that I do not plan on using the phone after the trial and obviously won’t use it as a primary phone during the period; I already have my expensive Treo.

: I TAKE BACK ALL THE NICE THINGS ABOUT SPRINT I JUST SAID: I just spent three — three! — hours on the phone with Sprint people because the phone I ordered for my parents a week ago was never put through at Sprint and I dealt with no end of cluelessness and no end of hold music and lost calls and bad attitude. You can have a good idea at the top of a company but if the culture still sucks below, your own company will torpedo you. Having subjected you to cunsumerist rants before, I’ll spare you the details on this one. I’ll just say that it doesn’t take much to burn up goodwill.

I’m hugging my Treo 650

Both David Pogue in the Times and Walt Mossberg in the Journal are unhappy with the Windows version of the Treo. And I was getting all ready to have a case of gadget envy. I’ll stay happy with my Treo 650.


Ipevo, maker of my cool Skype phone, announces a Skype conference pod, sure to be the choice of startups everywhere.


Joe’s Dartblog has a most helpful and neighborly post explaining how to do a big wireless home network, answering my appeal most generously. Thanks, Joe.

Lost in a tangle of unwires

Haven’t been on the blog much in the last 36 hours for a number of reasons. One of them was that my son and I have wasted good chunks of the last three days trying to extend my home wireless network. If you have help, I’d be grateful.

I have a new Linksys SRX200 wireless router that works fine. But it doesn’t reach the other corner of the house: the rooms over the garage. What I want to do is use another router just like it to extend my network; I’ll connect them with a wire or without, you tell me. We tried to hook the two routers together; didn’t work because the first router grabbed the address off the cable modem and the other router couldn’t get it; it delivered junk addresses to our PCs. So we bought a wired switch thinking both would work off that; same thing happened. I would love to get both working to give strong coverage throughout the house.

Right now, after all the work, we got a Linksys wireless range extender working, I hope. But because I had such trouble getting it working, I’m nervous about that.

We’ve tried many, many things before. I had a Netgear powerline extender (one box plugs into the router and the power on one end; the other box plugs into the power and transmits the signal from there). I’d love it of that worked but it was extremely unreliable: It would not deliver a proper address until I turned off the box and my laptop wireless again and again and again. We used a Netgear wireless router with it but that was no better. I had an Apple Airport Express but never ever got it to deliver anything but junk addresses.

So, help: How can I get two wireless routers working with one cable modem (the two of them connected without or with ethernet cable)?

And why does networking have to be so hard?

Skype fun

I just got my Ipevo phone for Skype, the first for the Mac, and it’s great. Used it to scold FedEx for misplacing the package.