AndyO Blog

Saturday, December 16, 2006

AndyO 2006 holiday gift recommendations

If you're still looking for holiday gifts--especially for that person who likes gadgets and electronics--here are a few recommendations. 

  1. Harmony 880 Remote Control $249.00 - This universal remote controls all your audio-visual components, including TVs, stereos, video games, DVD players and more. It plugs into your computer via USB. This device has taken me from three remotes to one. This model uses a lithium battery that can be recharged on a docking station. Logitech Harmony 880 Remote Control
  2. iRver CXW-2G Clix 2 GB Digital Music and Video Player, White with Urge Music Subscription - iRiver ClixThe matchbox-size iRiver Clix player holds 2 Gigabytes of music and has an intuitive design. You click the edges of the player to navigate, instead of using a button or wheel. The Urge Music Subscription has been one of the best investments I've ever made. Not only can I listen to the entire Urge catalog on multiple computers, but I can download these songs to my Clix. I've listened to more new music in the past five months than in the past three years.
  3. Palm Treo 700w smartphone - I bought this phone because I was tired of carrying around a cell phone, Pocket PC, and a laptop. The phone has literally changed my life. I have an Internet connection almost anywhere, via the broadband cell network. I have all my contacts in my pocket. I can read my work e-mail and Hotmail on Pocket Outlook. I can take 1.3 megapixel pictures. The thumb keyboard is a little clumsy, but it's better than using a stylus. 
  4. RokuSoundbridge M1001 - This handy device allows you to access your computer's music and picture fiRoku Soundbridgeles from any location in your house via a wireless connection (you need to set up a wireless network first). The Soundbridge also works with Windows Rights Management music services, like Urge. As long as you've downloaded the music files to your computer, you can listen to them through the Soundbridge.
  5. Soap Genie Automatic Soap & Lotion Dispenser - More and more bathrooms have motion sensors in the sinks, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers. Just put your hand under the Soap Genie, and it automatically dispenses soap. It even plays a little tune if you want it to (I shut that off almost immediately). The only problem I've had is the sensor sometimes gets stuck, dispensing ALL of the soap on the bathroom counter.
  6. Solar flickering lantern - At night, this lantern looks like three flickering candles. By day, the lantern recharges with solar panels. I'm thinking of buying another one.
  7. Shiatsu massaging pillow by Brookstone - I bought the first generation Brookstone shiatsu massager, and it's always the massager I turn to when I have muscle aches and pains. Well worth the investment.
  8. Princeton Tec Aurora Headlamp - Forgot about those book-reading lights; the Tech Aurora Headlamp is the best reading light I've ever owned. Plus you can take it on camping trips or dog walks.
  9. SanDisk 2 Gigabyte memory card - Memory has become so cheap in recent years. This card holds 2000 megabytes of data! This card fits in many digital cameras, PDAs, and other devices.
  10. Bacon of the Month Club - I heard about this on some radio show the other day. I guess this company sends you different kinds of bacon every month. The guy on the radio said it's the best gift he's ever received.


posted by AndyO @ 11:44 PM   0 comments

Friday, December 15, 2006

Wicked Weather in Seattle

Last night we had one of the most intense storms I've ever been through in Seattle. It's being compared to the Inaugural Day Storm of of 1993. The winds reached gusts of 90 mph (145 km/h). I was in Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isidore in New Orleans in September 2002. (This was the last major storm to hit New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina leveled the city.) What I heard and saw outside in Seattle last night was comparable to that storm.

It started yesterday, Thursday, around 4:00 with pounding rain and wind. Within an hour, major roads had turned into lakes.

My wife left her office in downtown Seattle at 4:30 to get both kids, and she called me at 4:40 to say she hadn't moved for many stoplights. This picture shows the reason:

(Photos from The Seattle Times.)







So, I jetted out of the office and took the backroads through Bellevue. By 5:30, I was calling neighbors and friends to pick up our kids. Brenda and I weren't going to make it. By the time we watched the news, we saw more pictures of lakes where roads and neighborhoods should have been.


As a precaution, we slept in the basement last night. We have a huge Douglas Fir tree on the side of our house, and we didn't want to wake to a large log bonking us on the head. Here are a few pictures of trees falling on cars, roads, and houses:





At 8:00 a.m., our neighbor was ringing the doorbell. Evidently, we lost a bunch of shingles. Fortunately, this neighbor helped put a tarp up. Brenda got on the phone and called our insurance company and roofing companies. As you can imagine, there's quite a wait for roofing companies, so we're hoping we don't see rain approaching the level we saw last night.

Here's what the house looks like with tarps:

So, at least 1 million people were without power this morning (we lost power last night, but it was back on by 8:00 a.m.). Many businesses are still without power, and the 520 bridge is closed due to some damage incurred by the storm.

WSDOT map from around 11:00 a.m. I don't think I've ever seen the "Bridge Closed" graphic before.


Right now it's party cloudy and not raining outside. I'm hoping that the weather stays relatively calm for a few days.

posted by AndyO @ 12:37 PM   0 comments

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Chris Mess songs available

In the past month, Chris and I recorded a couple new songs. They're now available on the Chris Mess MySpace website. The new songs are called "Vitamin D" and "Bend." Enjoy.


posted by AndyO @ 10:23 PM   0 comments