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Monday, April 18, 2011

Justice for fun- Listen to Judge John Hodgeman- he rules!

I use my iPod to fill the empty space in my day- driving to and from work, weeding the garden, painting a bedroom or listening to the wife (just kidding, honey). I fill it with all sorts of podcasts dealing with history, science and tech news of the day. But my player is not just filled with serious subject matter, I have more than a few podcasts I listen to because they amuse and suprise me and keep me laughing through my chores and drudgery.

One of my favorites is "Judge John Hodgeman". You might know him as "PC" on the famous Apple ads from not too long ago. Turns out, Mr Hodgeman is a Yale man and is deeply thoughtful and hilarious at the same time. As a bit of fun, he produces, along with some friends, a podcast where he is the judge and presides over a court of silly disagreements. Topics in the recent past have included How to Peel a Banana Correctly, Is a Machine Gun a Robot and Should my Dad Make me Watch Classic Movies. He has a blaiff sidekick who adds his two cents to the case and introduces and explains each case to the listener.

This show is guilty of being hilarious
Each case is real in the sense the people bringing the case are genuine and the interplay is not scripted. No outcome is promised and the only award a "winner" might get is the satisfaction that his/her side of the case is the correct one in the eyes of His Honor, Judge Hodgeman. The banter between the judge and the litigants is snappy and smart and it appeals to the intelectual in me as some of the theories or ideas introduced force me to think on a higher plane and that makes the humor even sharper to me.

You can download the episodes on iTunes or in the Zune Marketplace or you can go to the website directly and play each episode there, no iPod required- although a speaker is necessary.

You can hear the entire list of shows by going here to listen to the funniest courtroom you've ever heard and you'll find it to be your newest "guilty" pleasure.

Court's Adjourned.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

An Android tablet alternative to the iPad from Archos.

Think tablet and most of us think iPad. This isn't surprising as iPad has had a long time to build the name recognition and ingrain itself into the mind of the consumer. Those who build Android devices have only now gotten started on producing competitors that even start to approch the capabilities and ease of use of Apple's offering.

Looking on the horizon, there are literally hundreds of models just out of sight that are ready for their debut in the marketplace. By this time next year, we'll be knee deep in 5, 7, 10 and even 12" Android devices. But, there is a manufacturer that offers Android tablets right now and in a variety of sizes too.

Their biggest problem? Marketing.

Archos has been around for years and virtually no one had heard of them in the United States (have you?)and that's a shame. With offerings that range from MP3 players no larger than a stick of gum to full sized tablets , Archos seems to be running under the radar of the common consumer.

Sticking to the Android theme, Archos has platforms with 2.5". 3.2" and 4.3" screens that appear and operate exactly like a typical Android cell phone- without the phone part. Relying on wifi for an internet connection, these are able to use most of the same apps with the same performance and results as a $75/mo. cell phone would provide.

Moving up in size, 5, 7 and 10 inch models are available that mimic the tablet form factor and some of them have memory up to 250G in size (the iPad maxes out at 64G).

The Archos 101 internet tablet
(source: Engadget)
Is it better than the iPad? No- not yet. Most of the tablets aren't on the Honeycomb version of Android software (yet) and the ease of use may not be at the Apple level for awhile. But for those of use who could use the utility of the Apps without the inflated costs of cell phone service, the Archos line deserves your consideration, especially when you consider the model most comparable to the iPad (the 10" model) comes in at $300 less than the model from Cupertino.

I'm looking at getting one to keep near the couch upstairs for casual browsing, checking e-mail and other impulsive, light duty computer use.

BTW, I found an interesting review of the internet tablet in the photo. Go here to see it.

Go to the Archos site here and maybe next time someone mentions a tablet computer, you'll think of more than the iPad.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eat Cheap- Spend a few bucks at to save big bucks at your local eatery!

There are two things I love in this world besides my wife and kids: saving money and eating out. If I can do both at the same time, even better. Lately, what with gas prices going sky high and my new job, money has been a little tight lately, so when I was on the lookout for different ways to save money and still do what I love, my friend Allison came to the rescue.

Thank you Allison!
(source: unknown)
She told me about Here's an example of how it works: Buy a $50 gift certificate for $10 from the long list of restaurants in your area. They have a contract with to accept the certificate and in the unlikely event your certificate is denied, you'll get your money back. You can search for a place by name or zip code.

Is it legit? Allison seems to think so and has used the service several times with full satisfaction. Also, the site has more than 18,000 "likes" on Facebook, so that's promising.

There are a few minor catches: all are local restaurants (no chains that I could find), Drinks are not included and the tip is to be computed before the discount is taken- although this is standard for all discounts. Finally, you have to spend a up to certain amount before you can redeem the certificate (easy with a family). This is Ok with me as we have several locally-owned favorite places we frequent and one well-liked Mexican restaurant three blocks from my house is on the list, so you can be pretty sure I'll be buying a certificate soon.

BTW, if this seems like a commercial for the site, it isn't. I have no connection whatsoever with I just love saving money and feeding a family of five ain't cheap and if there's a way to keep a few dollars in my pocket and frequent a local business, I'm in.

Go to here and don't forget to tip your waiters!