Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eon Mini spinal cord stimulator

Anyone who had been on heavy pain medication understands the problems associated with them: sedation, loss of mental acuity (it took me about 5 minutes to come up with that phrase), etc. On the medications I'm on right now, I don't feel that I'm safe driving and I'm careful going up and down stairs. But without the meds, I'm in so much pain, the negative effect causes the same issues. My pain management doctor talked to me during my last visit about a game plan for resolving this. One thing he recommended is a device similar to what was posted on Ubergizmo. Basically, what this device does is jam the signal between the nerve and the brain, so the brain only gets mild static, which causes a mild neuralgia feeling (tingling or massaging feeling).

Eon Mini spinal cord stimulator: "
Eon Mini spinal cord stimulator

Despite all the advances made in the world of medical science, nobody still knows how our spinal cord actually works, but we have discovered enough to know that low levels of electrical energy, when delivered straight to the nerve fibers in the spinal cord, is able to disrupt the signals that certain chronic pain conditions send to the brain, resulting in displacing those for a much more pleasant tingling sensation. St. Jude Medical follows up on this knowledge by unveiling the smallest and longest-lasting rechargeable neurostimulator in the world known as the Eon Mini. Measuring the size of a silver dollar, this 1cm thin device tips the scale at a mere 29 grams, and will be placed under the skin of the buttock or abdomen. The internal rechargeable battery is able to last for around 10 years, where it can be programmed via a remote control to treat up to eight different chronic pain areas. As a result, many patients suffering from chronic pain could eventually be weaned off morphine and lead a normal life.

Permalink: Eon Mini spinal cord stimulator from Ubergizmo | Hot: Wii, PS3 and Natal Motion Sensing


Friday, August 21, 2009

Secret passage consultants

This looks really cool, but all I can think of is getting stuck in it and saying


Secret passage consultants: "


Steve Humble of wants to build your secret lair. For the right price. But even if the United Nations hasn't paid you that ransom yet, it's still fun to browse around his site. Yes, they will build you a rotating fireplace. What you do behind it is your own business. Props to Cara for the link.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

No “Pubic” Option and other funny signs from town hall protests

I couldn't resist putting this one up. "Uncle John" Dvorak has done it again.

Now, I'm not saying I agree with federal government getting into the health . . . wait. I already have federal health care through the military. We ended up with HillaryCare as a test, and we're stuck with it. I would not wish this system on anyone, including my worst enemy. Well, maybe my worst enemy, that way, we wouldn't have to worry about him any more, because he'd die from bad health care, or while he was waiting on hold to get a referral approved.

Anyone who would send a person with back problems on a two hour drive for physical therapy and then drive two hours home, when there's a place 15 minutes away that already knows his history. . . well, that's what happens when people follow bureaucratic rules, not what's best for the patient.

Let's laugh about it, shall we?

By the way, the last one is really hard to read, but it's worth every minute you spend trying to figure it out!

No “Pubic” Option and other funny signs from town hall protests: "

This is from the Huffington Post. More after the break.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PS3 Slim sized up: smaller, deeper, no Linux or PS2 compatibility

Well, here's the details on the new, slimmer PS3. Still not PS2 compatible. Too bad; I was thinking about getting one until I read that.

PS3 Slim sized up: smaller, deeper, no Linux or PS2 compatibility: "

120GB PS3 Slim

160GB PS3

80GB PS3

Product code CECH-2000A CECH-Pxx CECH-Kxx / CECH-Lxx
Price $299.99 $399.99 $299.99
Color Matte Black Piano Black (Glossy) Piano Black (Glossy)
HDD 120GB 2.5-inch SATA 160GB 2.5-inch SATA 80GB 2.5-inch SATA
Dimensions 11.42 x 2.56 x 11.42 in. 12.75 x 3.86 x 10.8 in. 12.75 x 3.86 x 10.8 in.
Weight 7.05 lb. 11 lb. 11 lb.
Power 250W 280W 280W
Vertical Stand Optional ($24) Not necessary Not necessary
Compatibility PSOne PSOne, Linux PSOne, Linux
PS2 compat? No No No
Bundle Wireless DualShock 3 controller Wireless DualShock 3 controller, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, PAIN downloadable game voucher Wireless DualShock 3 controller

At this point, would-be PlayStation 3 buyers have two options: wait until next month to get the ultra-hip PS3 Slim model for $300, or plop down that same figure now for its chunkier older brother. As far as we can tell, unless you're absolutely dying to load Linux or another OS on top of the console, or have some strong aversion to matte finishes, there's really no incentive to purchase one right now without a more drastic price cut -- or if you're really lucky, perhaps you can find one of the older, discontinued models that can still play PS2 games.

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PS3 Slim sized up: smaller, deeper, no Linux or PS2 compatibility originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 18 Aug 2009 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Before There Was Twitter, There Was Blogger. And It’s Turning 10.

I knew Blogger was old, but 10? Wow. I had just gotten my first "high-speed" internet connection.

From TechCrunch:

Before There Was Twitter, There Was Blogger. And It’s Turning 10.: "

blogger_logoWhat were you doing in 1999? Maybe you were following the Kosovo War. Maybe you starting using Napster. Maybe you were entering your senior year of high school (I was), or maybe you started blogging. After all, on August 23, 1999, Pyra Labs launched its Blogger product, which would go on to become the biggest blogging platform in the world.

Yes, on Sunday, Blogger turns 10 years old. And to celebrate, the Blogger team (which is now a part of Google following the 2003 acquisition) is promising a bunch of gifts to users in the form of new features. Without naming anything specifically, Blogger points to this list as a good reference point for some of what they’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks. Of note on that list are a better commenting system and WordPress-style pages (About page, etc).

It’s worth noting that Blogger’s roots are deeply tied to the new hot web platform of choice: Twitter. Pyra Labs was co-founded by Evan Williams, who is now the CEO (and co-founder) of Twitter. Also a part of Pyra Labs were Jason Goldman who now runs product development for Twitter, and Jason Shellen who now runs Thing Labs, the makers of Brizzly, a much buzzed-about new Twitter client.

Biz Stone, another Twitter co-founder, joined the Blogger team at Google before leaving with Williams in 2004 to start Obvious Corp. which would eventually birth and turn into Twitter.

These days, while the web is abuzz over Twitter, no one really talks much about Blogger despite millions of people using it everyday. The fact is that as a platform, it has fallen behind the more nimble blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr in recent years. Still, in terms of straight up simplicity in setting up a blog, it’s easy to see why Blogger is still popular among users (and, unfortunately, spammers).

Crunch Network: CrunchBase the free database of technology companies, people, and investors


Sunday, August 09, 2009

New Insight

And again, it's been two weeks. I have a valid (at least I think it's valid) excuse this time, and I'm going to write about it today.

Since my back problems started up, I've been having issues getting in and out of the Cobalt Bomber. It's an awesome car, but it's just too low to the ground for me. I started doing research into the existing hybrid cars on the market, and I kept coming back to the 2010 Honda Insight. Even with the mid-range package (the EX model), it's cheaper than the Toyota Prius. But price wasn't my only concern. My major concern was comfort. I'd already done all my research online, so it was time to visit one in person.

I called Koon's Honda in Manassas VA (close by the house) and set up an appointment for Saturday afternoon, August 1st, but we didn't take the Cobalt Bomber, we took my wife's minivan. When I called, I made sure they'd have one I could at least sit in. The reason I checked is because when I was shopping for the Cobalt Bomber, we didn't even get to test drive the standard transmission version. We were sitting in the car and a sales rep sold it literally out from under us. They walked up and said "Please get out of that car. We just sold it". We ended up buying it in Maine at Blouin's Honda in Augusta. We saved money, and got a 3 day vacation out of the deal.

But back to recent times. My appointment with Josh Bond (I bet he hated being called James as a kid) went well. Josh seemed impressed with our knowledge of the car and had limited knowledge of the older Insights, but that's OK because they weren't selling them anymore. The first test was sitting in one. I was impressed. The seats were very comfortable, and the driver's seat was adjustable in all three dimensions. My wife and I also tried the back seats and found them comfortable, too. During the fall and winter, my mother-in-law and her sister live with us, and I wasn't about to get a car that wasn't comfortable for them, so we called them up and asked them to go to a Honda dealer where they are in Maine and try out the seats for them. A few days later we got a call back saying not only are they comfortable, but my mother-in-law's sister would actually consider buying one for herself!

So, the decision was made; we were going to buy the 2010 Insight. Now we needed to figure out where and how.

We do most of our banking with USAA, as well as our insurance. We went to the USAA website, logged in, and noticed they have a car buying program through We went to the special website for the program, put in our zip code, selected the make, model, color and special features, and we got an email from for three dealers in our "area" that participated in their program, and pricing for that specific car. Then, the dealers contacted me either by email or by phone to discuss my particular needs. The only problem was that Koon's Honda doesn't participate in that program. I was disappointed, but I had a plan. I spoke with a representative at Hendrick Honda in Woodbridge VA and got what they called the "out the door" price, to include tax, tags, and other fees. Now that I had their bottom line, I could move forward with my plan.

We also needed financing, so we noticed that we were "pre-approved" for a new car loan through USAA, so we put in the bottom line number we got, rounding up, of course, and I clicked the "Apply" button. My wife was watching over my shoulder. "So when do we hear back?" she said. "That's it. It's done. We're already approved." It was that easy. Too easy. (ominous background music to show foreshadowing).

The following Saturday, August 8th, we got a 1:00PM appointment with Josh to discuss the deal. We left the house a little early so we could grab a quick lunch at McDonalds, across the street from the car dealer (this is an important point. We ate lunch literally 100 yards from where we would buy the car). We had cleaned and vacuumed the Cobalt Bomber that morning, so she was looking good for her appraisal. As I pulled into the parking space at McDonalds, I heard a sickening sound, the sound of fiberglass rubbing on concrete. The guy in the car next to us looked at us and pointed down and forward at the front of the car. I slowly backed the Cobalt Bomber away from the front of the parking space, turned her off and got out. The bumper cover and air dam on the front of the car had caught on the concrete edge of the parking lot. When I backed up, the piece, in its entirety, broke free of its retaining clips and fell to the ground, with only one of the about eight clips still holding on. My heart sunk. We couldn't believe it. We had just cleaned the car, so there were no tools, no supplies, nothing to help fix the problem. We stood and stared at the bumper and air dam, dumbfounded. We're right across the street from the dealer! What do we do now? How do we hold the bumper on the car long enough to get it over there so we can trade it in? It's like she KNEW we were taking her for our last ride with her, and she didn't want to leave.

I remembered the Valet key. Any time I took the Cobalt Bomber in for work, I would leave the valet key, and they would put the tag for the service on the key. When it was done, I'd remove the tag, but leave that little metal ring on the key. Now I know why I did that. I pulled out the valet key and removed four of the little rings. I put one ring in one of the holes for the retaining clips. I put another in the corresponding hole in the bumper cover. I used the four rings together to tie the bumper cover back into the car. It wasn't a permanent solution by any means, but it would hold it to cross the street.

After lunch, we drove across to Koon's Honda. We met up with Josh and asked what he could do to help us get into an Insight that day. He had our car appraised, and came back with numbers for us, but they were much higher than what we were quoted from Hendrick Honda. We jockeyed for position, playing the pricing game that new car dealers play, and then I took out my ace in the hole; my quote from Hendrick. Josh took it back to his manager, and came back with a comparable offer. They would have to drive one of their Insights to Leesburg and trade for the "Atomic Blue Metallic" color that I wanted. While Josh was getting the car in Leesburg, we talked to the Customer Care representative and a Finance representative. We added on the Honda extended warrantee and got a better financing deal through Koon's network of lenders (ultimately PNC bank). I took six hours, but we left that night with a new car that I could drive and get in and out of!

I have nothing but good things to say about Koon's Honda and Josh Bond, our sales representative. They all worked very hard to make sure we were happy with our new car and that the deal was the best we could do. I've been having service done at Koon's Honda since we moved into this new house three years ago, and I'll continue to work with Koon's Honda. They're all good people there, and they work to ensure the customer is happy.

My new Insight doesn't have a name yet, but I'm working on it. Here's a picture of it before we left Koon's Honda last Saturday. So far, I've driven it to work and to church, and I'm averaging about 45 miles to the gallon. Not the 60 I was getting, but for a four door car, it's great!