GPS Watches, the iPod Nano recall, Online Collaboration, OpenVPN and Microsoft Surface for the Masses! – HT052


Jim, Andrew and Christian are joined this week by Bill Paulmenn for this weeks’ installment of the Home Tech Podcast.

Bill has also caught the “new microphone disease”, and the show starts off with Bill telling us about his new Samson Microphone. Jim talks about using a studio microphone along with a set of Yurbuds earphones, which let you hear ambient conversations, as well as the conversation you are partaking in.

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Bill tells us about the projects he is working on, building an HTPC for a neighbor, a new gaming rig, and consolidating some hardware for other folks.

Jim talks about the recent software upgrade coming through to his Samsung Galaxy S Android phone, which has bought some additional functionality, and saved him from upgrading to a new phone, although the Samsung Galaxy SII is a very nice device.

The guys talk about GPS-enabled exercise watches, with Jim favoring a Timex GPS enabled watch over the early entrant to the market being Garmin.  Andrew talks about using a Polar Heart Rate Monitor in conjunction with Runkeeper to overlay heart rate over a GPS-plotted map.

The guys move from running to cycling, and talk about the new exercise bikes, that simulate an actual bike ride.  Andrew talks about the XBike 1000, which is the next best thing to riding a real bike, which let you simulate riding in some of the major cities in the world.  Jim talks about the new exercise bikes in the gym at work, that let you plug in your portable music device.

While talking about portable devices, Jim reminds 1st Generation Apple iPod Nano users, that Apple is performing a recall due to battery issues, which under rare conditions can result in the battery overheating and pose a safety risk.

Jim and Andrew talk about the incredible ability to collaborate on a project across the world, when the guys worked on a website together, using Skype for a video call, and Dropbox to share the files needed in almost real time.  If you’ve not yet adopted these technologies, you should check them out, and see how they can work for you.  The guys talk about real-time collaboration using corporate tools such as Microsoft Lync, and the public tools such as Skype.  Christian tells us that his peers even use Skype for a study group tool!

Bill tells us about the way technology works in the automotive body repair industry, with assessing and estimating applications being built on the Apple iPhone / iPad ecosystem, allowing much faster quoting of repair jobs.  Bill talks about the changes in the repair industry, with the advancements in the technologies being seen in vehicles, and the necessity to be able to get information on the vehicle quickly in order to facilitate a the repair.

Christian gives us an update on his projects, in particular his OpenVPN project to be able to connect remotely to the family home, and access the network as if he were in the house.  Christian talks about the niceties of being able to utilize the HD HomeRun tuners on the home network, and consume content from wherever he happens to be.

Christian’s Deal-of-the-Week is the SUPERMICRO 1U Atom Server, from, a 1U rack mountable server, ideal for offloading critical Windows Domain functions such as directory services, DHCP and DNS on your network.  This server is currently out of stock, but be sure to check out all the details over at SUPERMICRO.

The Tweak-of-the-Week is the Logon Changer from, which is a utility that allows you to change the logon screen to any image of your choosing, and send the stock Windows 7 logon screen packing!

Bill brings us an article from Bloomberg which talks about why the price of hard drives has increased, and the timeframes that may be experienced while the hard drive manufacturers wait for the flood waters to recede, and bring their factories back on line.

The guys discuss the Samsung SUR40 “table of the future”, which promises to bring Microsoft Surface to the masses at a bargain price of $8,400 a throw!  The guys discuss the value of a device like this, versus buying a regular large-screen TV.  Is touch worth the extra spend?

The guys close out the show, talking about Google Music rolling out in the US, and the incredible potential of using Christians’ OpenVPN solution for streaming TV via Subsonic or the HD Home Run.

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