By the time you read this, I'll be into Day Three of a week-long visit with my wife at her mother's house in San Antonio for Thanksgiving.
That's right. A week. Staying in my mother-in-law's house.
Even you mothers-in-law out there are thinking, OH…MY…GOD, you brave, foolish, poor man!
Nah, it's cool. I get along with my mother-in-law just fine (he said three days before actually getting there) – I'm her favorite (okay, only) son-in-law. Besides, it gives me a brief semi-vacation from technology.
And I need a digital-free vacation. This has been one wacky (and zany) fall for digital goods. Starting with the usual hysteria surrounding the debut of the iPhone 4S on October 4, it seemed every day brought another "can you top this" gadget, especially an amazing series of Android smart phones, along with Amazon and Barnes & Noble both announcing and introducing of their new color LCD e-reader, the Kindle Fire and the Nook tablet.
And then, there's the ramp up to the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
I need a break.
FedEx here? Again?
And there's been daily visits from the USPS, UPS and FedEx guys who must think I'm opening an electronics store, bearing gadgets and gizmos to review or consider for the multiple holiday gift guides I've assembled, including:
- the Kindle Fire (which I shared my disappointment about on Monday) and the new Kindle Touch e-ink e-reader (of which I'll post a review later this week, with any luck); I'm waiting for my review sample of the Nook Tablet
- earbuds, earbuds and earbuds from H20, Shure, SkullCandy, SuperBeam and others
- three iPhone AV remote control gadgets, the Surc, NewKinetrix Re and VooMote One
- a Plantronics Savi W740 multi-device wireless headset system
- bags, including a Powerbag backpack
- a NeatReceipts portable scanner
- a Lutron Occupancy Sensor switch, for which I have to turn off the power to my office to install (thrillsville)
Act surprised when you see the stories I post on these subjects in the coming weeks.
Hello? Tech support?
Since I am a tech geek, I am everyone's first contact for tech questions, and the last couple of weeks my phone and email have been burning up with questions.
For instance, my dad wants to buy a portable projector to do historical slide shows for groups – he's the chairman of the Lakewood (NJ) Heritage Commission.
My mother-in-law's TV crashed, so I researched and bought her (she reimbursed me) a new Panasonic 42-inch Viera plasma HDTV, which she seems pleased with it. It's a Web-connected set, so I've brought along (or will bring along, since I haven't packed yet) a Netgear Powerline AV500 rig (about which I'll be writing more upon my return) to get the Internet into her living room.
But the bulk of my spare time (what little of it there's been) has been dealing with my wife's laptop. She works for IBM, but her office is primarily our living room.
IBM, however, has seen fit to outfit my wife with the Lenovo T400, a now-discontinued laptop, running Windows XP Pro, the 10-year-old operating system abandoned by Microsoft nearly three years ago – which now refuses to re-connect to our wireless network that every other device in the apartment seems to have no trouble connecting to.
Then last week, her "n" key fell off – and her laptop's password, of course contained the letter "n." We ended up calling an at-home PC repair service, who got the nub of the key working.
IBM sent her a replacement keyboard, with instructions for installing it on a T40, R40 or R60 Lenovo laptop – no indication of its compatibility with her T400. Suspicious, I queried a Lenovo exec, who told me it was the wrong keyboard – but IBM's tech support people insist it will work.
So, I have delayed vivisecting her laptop like a corpse in a morgue to replace her keyboard until I'm sure we've got the right part.
Cool. One less thing to do before we leave for San Antonio.
May we open your bag?
My Texas sojourn will not be tech-free – it just gets me out of cramped home office, essentially a dusty Radio Shack stuffed into a 12 x 20 room. ("Do you have a left-handed three-quarter-inch digital RCA HDMI parallel serial USB connector for a dot-matrix laser printer to connect to a CP/M PC?" "Why, yes, I have one right here!")
Much to the bemusement of the ever-vigilant TSA folks, packed into my suitcase were (or will be, since I actually haven't started packing yet):
- an iPad 2
- a MacBook Air
- my wife's Lenovo T400 laptop
- a Verizon MiFi 4G LTE
- a Canon PowerShot G12 digital camera
- the twisty flexible Casio Tryx and the Samsung MV800 digital cameras (about which I'll be writing more upon my return)
- a pair of the aforementioned Netgear powerline connectors (about which I'll be writing more upon my return)
- the Kogeto Dot and GoPano 360-degree camera accessories for iPhone 4S (about which I'll be writing more upon my return)
- one half of an iTwin USB remote PC connector (about which I'll be writing more upon my return)
- a Seagate GoFlex Satellite external Wi-Fi hard drive (about which I'll be writing more upon my return)
And, of course, both my and my wife's iPhones, the usual power and Ethernet cables and outlet strips.
My brain hurts.
Hopefully this brain-ache will be ameliorated, if just for a few hours, by a healthy dose of tryptophan-filled fowl this afternoon.