Monthly Archives: March 2012

WRIST WATCHES AS TOOLS OF LIFE MANAGEMENT

I love my wristwatch. It’s more than a timepiece for me, it’s a tool of time management and therefore life-management. If you can manage your time, then you can manage your life.

How so? Let’s look at the current wristwatch I have. It’s a  Timex T5K413 Ironman 30 lap. It comes with some really cool features that I find are underused: The Chronometer and the Timer.

What I like about these two features? I can measure how long something is happening (say like how long the laundry room washer and dryer take) and later on set my timer later so that while I am multi-tasking I can keep track of of it.

Now some people do this with their phones, or even there computers, but the thing it about watches is that they are not overwhelming unlike PC’s and cellphones. And it can be there with you at all times.

Now some watches have become far more sophisticated over the years,some including GPS and health monitors. In all these new timepieces I will list you 5 of my favorites and why.

1)      Casio Classic Calculator Watch

You can’t go wrong with a watch that enables you to make quick basic arithmetic. While lacking in the many features of the more modern watches, if you remember anything useful from your science and math class, this makes a good companion.

2) http://www.usbwatches.com/

This watch, with an analog faceplate, has usb memory inside. This is useful for those with medical conditions who want to have a copy of their [[http://www.medictag.com/|medical record]] on hand and you can even stuff it with some portable apps. You never know when you need some usb space or that tool you use.

3) I’m Watch.

It’s an android os watch. I am not making this up!! All the goodness (and gripes) you’d expect from a wearable android device. And it’s also a phone, an mp3 player. It’s basically an android phone that’s wrist-mounted. Calling Dick Tracy, Calling Dick Tracy!!

With a host of devices and sensors in it, all it needs is the timex’s Healthwatch system and a decent camera and you’d have the perfect augmented reality platform.

4) MTM BLACK HAWK™

You can’t go wrong with military watches. They are big, ugly, and resiliant time-pieces. And they have added features, that can be useful for the common civilian who doesn’t want a watch that will crap out on them.

The blackhawk has several features that I like. It’s got internal and external lights (pretty useful if you need to find something in the dark), Lithium Ion battery (guaranteed for 10 years) and a neat recharging system that I like. A “electro-magnetic Induction” system. Nice.

5) Portable astronomical ring

Ok, so it’s not exactly a wristwatch, but you got to love the idea that it will never run out of battery power, and that it will last a lifetime. Also, imagine the fun learning how it works and that sense of controling your time.

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The hammer – There is nothing simple about Simply Accounting.

In IT, you must encounter many types of software. Graphic rendering software, desktop publishing software, Audio-Visual software. Those are all softwares that are high-end, and programmers are willing to join companies to help bring about the next best version.

And then, there is accounting software. Accounting software while being the lifeblood of the financial department, suffers from having software that utterly stinks from an IT point of view.

Case in point: Simply Accounting. To put it mildly, it’s a horribly designed program. Oh don’t get me wrong, if your company’s financial department consists of one person who uses it, then it’s no trouble at all. It will work, and it will work nicely.

But the minute you have to network that puppy, it will bring about grief, frustrations and bewilderment. In other words THERE IS NOTHING SIMPLE ABOUT SIMPLY ACCOUNTING!!

Here are my three biggest gripes with Simply Accounting;

1) The connection manager. Let’s start with simply accounting’s most irritating feature; the connection manager. This program has to be installed if you want SA to function on a server. It installs itself as a service (in windows) and like any good service on a windows server, you have to tweak it so it doesn’t misbehave.

At least in theory.

Of course, that is fine and dandy if you are using windows, but what if your server is *nix based? Tough luck buddy. They “have” a version of the Linux connection manager. But it suffers from a major problem. SA’s priorities are as such that it doesn’t particularly care if your servers are Linux as it’s connection manager isn’t all that well supported, and it seems to be for Red Hat systems and that’s about it (and development is somewhat dismal).

That’s too bad, since Ubuntu, a Debian based distribution of linux ranks slightly above Red Hat as far as the Linux server edition in use.

How to remedy to this: Just build up a window server dedicated to that task. It will work with Win 2003, which can reduce costs. Not much of a solution, granted, but in the light of this poor support, one can’t do much with it than grin and bear it.

2) There is a lack of backwards compatibility. Simply Accounting forces you to upgrade, and when it does, rather than run the file you were using, it forces you to upgrade it to the latest version of the format. Why is this even necessary? In an office suite, you have less problems opening files from the former version of the software and it’s a key point in business software: Compatibility. It’s what it makes it so that you can recover old files and enable you to work with them and update them.

No such luck with Simply accounting. It will force you to upgrade the format, and if you didn’t make a backup copy and it corrupts, you will be stuck calling customer support.

How to remedy to this: Make several backups. Backup regularly, and when it’s time to upgrade, you won’t have to worry about the potential loss of data.

3) Total disrespect of the customer. You want to see a clear example of a company that practically mocks it’s consumer-base, look no further than the support forums, where you will see a festival of customer frustration!!

How to remedy to this: Other than not buying that product? If you absolutely have to deal with that software, document everything, Have the client numbers and serials in your technician’s handbook and a hidden bottle of Scotch. For every functional solution you find on that forum, print it to PDF and then a hardcopy to your IT Handbook. They will save your neck!

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The Cat’s Meow – Raspberry PI

I have a fascination with small things. I like small vehicles, I salivate over micro-housing and well, last but not least, I got a sweet spot for tiny computers.

Enter Raspberry PI, the smallest computer you could own for 25$-35$. The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The Foundation’s goal is to offer two versions, priced at US$25 and $35 (plus local taxes). The Foundation started accepting orders for the higher priced model on 29 February 2012 The Raspberry Pi is intended to stimulate the teaching of basic computer science in schools.


And it’s powered with Linux. No Microsoft here, and there is talk of Android support!! Of course, It’s not rocket science to figure out the other applications what this brilliant little device could bring. Considering it’s got HDMI built-in, this is the most inexpensive upgrade for your big screen TV (And finally have a browser that doesn’t suck ass!!). Just throw in a wireless USB adapter and a wireless keyboard/mouse combo and voila!! You have a smart TV.

And considering it’s small size and low voltage, its perfect for a robot’s brain too. It would be neat if someone who revamp an old HERO-1 robot with the Raspberry PI as the brains. Toss in VNC , a webcam and wireless and you have your own very robotic drone on the cheap. This could open a lot of opportunities for home made CNC’s as well.

Want to buy one? Go to Premier Farnel or RS Components, although you may want to wait a bit, they have a hard time keeping the supply up, since so many are interested.

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