Category Archives: Gadgets

What’s a geek gotta do to get a cheap BlackBerry Q10?

I really want a BlackBerry Q10. But I don’t want to pay $200 for it.

I have a Torch 9810 and love it, except for one part: the camera. It’s not good. Every image I take is filled with grainy-ness that I can’t correct or clear. Seriously, check out this picture of some badass salsa verde:

Looks decent, right? Look at all the background noise. Then look at how the same noise is front and center is a well-lit shot. It’s obscured because of the salsa’s yummy tomatillos, but like Waldo, you can’t unsee it once you’ve seen it.

The BlackBerry Q10 doesn’t have that problem. It has a decent 8 megapixel camera with high dynamic range. It’s pics will never top what the Galaxy S3 can take, but at least it will have quality.

I stick with BlackBerry for the keyboard, built-in PDA functionality, keyboard, ease of texting and emailing, keyboard, keyboard, high degree of customization and keyboard. That’s why I covet the Q10 so much yet remain non-plussed by the Z10. But finding a working demo in Joplin is tough. I had to go to the AT&T store to test one. Best Buy can’t tell if they are getting any.

Because I’m a cheapskate, I don’t usually pay more than $50 for a phone. I’m OK with signing service contracts, and I don’t mind waiting for good tech — I don’t have to have the latest hotness right now. But my desire to take pictures that won’t get me laughed off or scorned off the Internet is pretty strong.

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Man gene on overload: Mower fixed

The picture to the left is my interpretation of what $100 looks like.

It’s a diaphragm and gasket for the carburetor of a Briggs & Stratton lawnmower engine. It rests on top of the gas tank and below the carburetor; it regulates how much gas and air get into the engine. Installing in requires removal of both the carburetor and gas tank, as well as disconnecting a fuel line from the engine.

But I did all of that. I could have paid one of Joplin’s fine businesses about $100 or more to do that. Instead, I paid about $3 for the parts and fixed it myself.

This geek’s man gene is on overload. I’m thinking about changing my own oil on the truck now. I probably won’t.

See, geeks pride themselves on ELECTRICAL mastery; the smaller the better. Combustion engines don’t really qualify as geeky — too noisy, too inelegant, too inefficient. Mulching mowers come close to getting a geek’s interest, but only because they accomplish two tasks (cut grass, fertilize lawn) and eliminate a third (bag clippings).

But my mulching mower was in bad shape. So bad that the grass at Geek Central, located near the seemingly inaccurately named Gabby Street Boulevard, was nasty thick and might-get-a-ticket tall.

I gotta tell you, I pulled a lot of joy out of working on my engine. I knew what I was doing thanks to this YouTube video by user craig1974:

Mower works well. Cut through the forest in my yard. I am MAN. Yep.

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3-D TVs, e-book readers, netbooks flood CES

The latest weather reports are only side reasons why I wish I was in Las Vegas. The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is slated to start tomorrow, but some media groups have already gotten sneak peeks at the tech on display.

One of those groups was Wired News, which published this video report. According to the report, 3-D TVs, e-book readers and netbooks are the dominating products at the show.

The report expressed some interest in the Lenovo Skylight netbook (pictured above), which is really a computer with the guts of a smart phone. Instead of using Intel’s Atom processor, Lenovo partnered with Qualcomm and used its Snapdragon chip, which features an operating system built on Linux.

The Skylight is reported to weigh less than 2 pounds and feature a 10-inch screen, WiFi and 3G connectivity and 10-hour battery life. As for that Linux, the OS has been customized so that customers used to Windows won’t suffer any “exposure to Linux.”

10 hours of power? Heck yeah! I’d be thrilled with eight. As much as I love my Acer netbook, I can’t go far from an outlet.

Kindle-killer could hit shelves in March

The next big gadget from the makers of the iPod and iPhone could be available in March.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple plans to unveil its new tablet computer sometime this month. Unnamed sources say the new gadget will have a 10- to 11-inch touch screen, which will make it an iPhone that is definitely too big for your pocket. (The picture to the left is not an actual picture, but Gizmodo’s envisioning.)

The company has released no official information about what has been dubbed the “Kindle-killer.” But speculation around the net says that the device, which may be called iSlate, will be perfect for print media such as magazines, books and newspapers. That would give Amazon’s Kindle a run for the money. Also, we’ve long speculated about the future of newspapers; could we be seeing it here?

The gadget will be well-equipped to handle the new onslaught of Internet entertainment. Not only might it be able to run the more than 100,000 apps available for iPhone, but it could play movies and music as well. More speculation: Designers are planning to make the device capable of turning print publications into interactive experiences. Kindle-killer, indeed: Current versions of that product feature a small, black-and-white screen.

My only gripe about this tablet PC: No keyboard. What self-respecting writer would be satisfied with a writing process that might as well be tapping fingers on a desktop? I love the sound of a keyboard clicking, and I have used that as a criterion for buying keyboards and computers. I’m more impressed with Lenovo’s idea for a netbook-tablet combo.

Whether it will be a really big iPhone, a shiny e-book reader or a keyboard-less netbook remains to be seen. But the release will be big.

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