Thursday, March 1, 2007

Karaoke, Steve Jobs, and Google Maps

No, there's no hidden message in this post title, these are just three things that are taking up space in this 48-hour span of my life.

I'm in between radio feature news assignments, so I've had a lot more time to focus on blogging over the last few days. I wrote up 12 posts between TV Squad and Download Squad today. I think that's a new record. And they're all pretty interesting topics, if I do say so myself.

Google's added real-time traffic information to Google Maps for 30+ cities, ReplayTV PC Edition has cut its price in half, making it much more competitive with alternative programs like BeyondTV and SageTV, the folks at XDA-developers have managed to create a ROM for Windows Mobile 6 that will run on Cingular 8525 smartphones, and my personal favorite (of the moment), Listpic is a new visual browser for Craigslist that lets you search listings by browsing through photos.

I've spent way more time playing with Listpic than I should have today. But Farrah graduates in a few months and we'll be looking for a place to live in New York, or DC, or some other city that's larger than Princeton, and Listpic will definitely come in handy while apartment hunting.

Rather than spend all of my free time online (where I spend all of my work time these days), I've decided I should read more books. My library's filled with books I've been meaning to read for years. I picked up iCon today, a book about Steve Jobs, expecting a pretty good biographical sketch of our favorite reality-distortionist.

I haven't gotten very far yet, but the author seems to be a card carrying member of the cult of Mac. Now I've got nothing against Macs, Apple products, iPods, or Steve Jobs. But in speaking of Jobs' childhood, he keeps dropping references to what a brilliant man he would grow up to be, or how much smarter than all the other kids he was. It might be true, but show me, don't tell me. If you have to keep pointing out what a brilliant kid the Jobsling was, it just means that you don't have enough faith in your anecdotes to let them speak for themselves.

I'll probably try to make it through a few more chapters before giving up on the book, if for no other reason than that I spend most of my days reading short news articles and blog posts. Reading books, no matter how biased, is good for my attention span.

As for karaoke, we're hosting a karaoke party tomorrow evening. Long before the Nintendo Wii made gaming popular among non-gamers with its easy to use, easy to understand controller system, Konami released the Karaoke Revolution series of games. I've never been a hardcore gamer and the only time we really pull the PS2 out these days is to plug in a couple of microphones and sing our hearts out. It's a great party game because everybody knows how to play right away.

In fact, Farrah and I have always have so much fun when we invite people over for a karaoke party that we decided to have karaoke at our wedding. For a while we even thought about setting up our Playstation2 at the restaurant we were holding the reception at in order to cut down on costs and enjoy playing the on-screen characters. But we eventually came to our senses and hired a great local DJ (If you're ever looking for a karaoke DJ in Philly, I highly recommend Lars Peterson).

Anyway, what better way to relax after a working your butt off in radio journalism and technology writing than playing video games that require you to hold a microphone?

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