AndyO Blog

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Motorcycle racers

I saw this on someone's YouTube site. The description above the video was "Ducati 996 vs. Bimota SB8R - Nice crash at the end." It's mesmerizing to see these two guys flying down the road -- and also watch them crash at the end. I don't know what they were thinking.


posted by AndyO @ 12:26 PM   1 comments

Monday, December 17, 2007

The AndyO Sweeney Todd trailer

On the website for Sweeney Todd, you can cut your own trailer. Here's the one I cut


posted by AndyO @ 12:22 PM   0 comments

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Holiday gift recommendations - 2007

12/13 - Update: Added item 9.

Like everyone these days, I like to give my own Holiday gift recommendations. You can read my previous years recommendations here.

These recommendations will probably work best for someone who loves The Sharper Image or Brookstone, and also enjoys Sci-Fi movies. There are some practical gifts in here, too.

1. Zune Originals 8 GB ($199.00) and Zune Marketplace Subscription ($14.99 per month)

Last year I recommended the 2 GB iRiver Clix with the MTV Urge music service. Now that Urge is no more, and now that Microsoft has released Zune v2 with the smaller 4 GB and 8 GB form factor, my new recommendation is the 8 GB "original" model. The Zune Originals website actually let you customize the back of your Zune with art, text, or both.

Zune 8 GB black player Zune original art

The Zune Marketplace v2 is an improvement over v1, with a richer, lighter interface. Personally, I use the subscription service because I can download as much music as I want to my Zune for about the cost of one CD per month. Plus, you can use the subscription to listen to music on three computers.

Click here for Zune purchase options.

2. Dustbuster -- $49-59.00

The new Dustbusters are more powerful than their 1990 cousins. I plug mine in near the kitchen, and use it every day. Here are just a few uses that I've found:

  • Pick up after your kids eat (especially if they're in the 2-year-old range)
  • Pick up after your kids track dirt or sand in the house
  • Pick up the pile of dirt, dust bunnies, Legos, or other stuff after you've swept up.
  • Go after fruit flies, flies, or bees (you can even let the bees go after you vacuum them up).
  • Pick up after your kids' art projects (think: little pieces of paper, wax, glitter, plastic, etc.)
  • Vacuum out your car (the new Dustbuster is not as powerful as a Shop Vac, but it'll do the job. The battery lasts about 15 minutes on the lower setting).

3. U.S.S. Enterprise replica - Art Asylum and Master Replicas

I bought the Art Asylum Classic Enterprise after reading about it on and a few other online stores. The customer reviews convinced me to buy one.

What makes this model work is the attention to detail, like the numbers and graphics on the side of the hull, and the way the ship comes to life when you  press the bridge: the engines light up, and you get to hear authentic Star Trek sound effects, including dialogue from Captain James T. Kirk.

If you know a Star Trek fan, this is great gift for big and little kids. (I keep mine on my desk at work). However, If money is no object, then you probably want to get the Master Replicas U.S.S. Enterprise replica (only $1,499!).

4. ARTFX R2 and C3P0 figures - $149.00

These figures, which are imported from the Japanese company KOTOBUKIYA, are highly-detailed models of the famous Star Wars robots. There is some assembly required, but it's no more than snapping an arm or leg into place. 

This replica also sits on my desk, and I'm always noticing new details.

5. Force FX Lightsaber - Starting at $119 (Limited quantities!)

Now that Master Replicas was purchased by Corgi, a larger toy company with shareholders and profit margins to worry about, they aren't renewing their Star Wars license. This means that you won't be able to get the incredible Force FX Lightsaber for much longer. Note that many of the Force FX models are sold out.

I have the Darth Vader model, and it's one of the coolest "toys" I've ever bought. Whenever I fire it up, my kids go crazy. Well worth the $119.

6. Norelco Electric Shavers - Starting at $99.00

If you've never tried an electric shaver, you should. I own a Norelco 8170 XL model, and it's amazing. Instead of shaving at home, I shave on my way into work in the car (I'm in a lot of traffic). Sometimes people stare at me, but I don't care.

7. True-back

If you're one of those people who suffers from chronic back pain, the True-back device is something you should try. As you lie down on it, the track in the middle of the device actually puts your spine in traction, while at the same time stretching your back. When my back is bothering me, this is the first device I turn to.

8. ThinkGeek Wi-Fi detector shirt - $29.99

The idea of a shirt that lights up when it senses a Wi-Fi signal is novel to say the least. I wondered how they did it, but then I saw that it does use 3 AAA batteries.

ThinkGeek's Wi-Fi detector shirt

9. Finger Mouse Drum pad - $39.95

This one made it on the list of the Skymall "dumbest item of all time," but I think it's kind of cool. For those drummers (and non-drummers) who want to play at work, this looks like a good choice.

To see another list of tech products, go to:

29 Exceptional Products for Tech Lovers by PCWorld


posted by AndyO @ 11:47 PM   0 comments

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hillary and Bill stop by my work

Within one week, Hillary and Bill Clinton stopped by my work. For Hillary, it was a campaign stop, where she outlined her platform and talked about what she would do as President. For Bill, it was a chance to talk about his foundation. This was the second time I'd heard both of them speak, and, as usual, I was impressed.

Hillary Clinton in SeattleHillary has convinced me that she has what it takes to be President. She spent 8 years in the White House as the First Lady, and she's spent another 7 years as a U.S. Senator. She understands how things work, and how you get things done in Washington.

I like that Education is one of her top priorities, as it's one of the places the U.S. has fallen behind. The last time we fell behind like this, as she pointed out, was when the Russians launched Sputnik. She said she still remembered when her teacher told her she needed to start learning more science -- a directive coming directly from the President of the United States. What she didn't say, but what I've read, is one of the reasons the U.S. fell behind the Russians was that science wasn't being taught in schools. Instead of Evolution, many schools taught Creationism. It was at this point that Evolution replaced Creationism in U.S. schools. And then we went to the moon.

Bill Clinton in Seattle<soapbox>The Bush administration has perpetuated a similar scientific slide that we saw prior to Sputnik. Whether it's their ignoring the facts on Global Warming, pretending that Evolution didn't happen, or banning stem cell research, we must stop this slide or the U.S. will not be part of the technology leadership in the 21st Century. Only this time, instead of the moon, the United States' economy is at risk. </soapbox>

The other area that resonated with me was that Hillary said if she's elected president, she'll send out envoys to all corners of the globe to tell the other leaders that "cowboy diplomacy is over." I think many Americans are tired of being viewed in this light by our fellow citizens in the world. Any change isn't good enough. We need a radical change. 

Finally, a note about the polarizing effect of Senator Clinton. One conversation I had with an older woman on a flight from Detroit, MI, to Buffalo, NY, is a good example: this woman, a life-long resident of New York, said, "Hillary does what's good for Hillary." When I told her I'd actually seen Hillary speak, and that I was surprised how warm, funny, and smart she was, this seemed to take her by surprise. I said to her, "You should really go see Hillary in person -- especially since she's your senator." She agreed. And I guess this brings up a good point about Hillary: She doesn't come across that well on TV. The media always seems to find a way to use her sound bites against her -- which is true for any candidate. But there's this perception that she's this selfish, power-grabbing woman who's just in it for herself. All I have to say is go listen to her in person and see what you think.

We'll see what happens...  

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posted by AndyO @ 7:06 PM   0 comments