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Unless proven otherwise, this will be another blog that I’ll fail to update after a week or so.

Draft Sarah Silverman for SNL Weekend Update Co-Host

Well, this post came out of a Twitter request from the Tribune’s RedEye for possible replacements for Amy Poehler. Besides the obvious choice of Tina Fey returning, I really like the idea of recruiting Sarah Silverman to fill in until the end of the season.

She’s intelligent, buzzworthy, political, controversial, an SNL alum, has a decent voice, and is easy on the eyes.

Unfortunately, I just read her wiki and it mentions that she claimed to have been fired from SNL via fax. Ouch! Still, that was over 10 years ago. Forgive and forget? Leave a comment if you think she’d be a good choice. If this gets any momentum, we’ll see if we can get SNL and Sarah to kiss and make up.

Filed under: Random...What? Yeah!, , , , , ,

Review: DLO Videoshell case for iPhone 3G

As predicted in my review of the Contour Hardskin, it was only a matter of time when I would want to try on a different look for my iPhone. As much as I loved the Contour (solid protection, lightweight, excellent customer service), there is something about seeing the iPhone for all its beauty, and the Contour prevented one from viewing the chrome side and the smooth glossy back.

Enter the clear case collection. There are several out there, from Contour’s own “iSee” and its new “Showcase”, to Agent18’s Shield, as well as other similar cases from Belkin and Speck to name a few. All of these were simple enough and ranged from $19.99 to $34.99. The goal was to find something that went above and beyond. My usual stop for reviews (iLounge) offered a possible option. Its review of the DLO Videoshell for the iPhone 3G offered a dual grade (A-/C-) to account for the problem of not being able to open easily. The Videoshell is very competitively priced (I got mine for $18 at SF Planet), comes with a screen protector, and has a viewing sliding stand that allows you to prop up your iPhone. Although this was quoted in an Wired article as a useless feature, it’s what ultimately sold me on giving the product a try since I found it to be rather innovative and potentially useful.

First, what I liked. Certainly, the price and the total package are very attractive. For $18 (maybe less if you shop around), you get a case and a screen protector. The case is of solid construction (sure, it’s cheap plastic, but it has been durable nonetheless), and the phone fits in snugly (almost too much). The sliding stand (once you figure out how to open it – HINT: use your index finger to prop it out of those grooves) is cool, and allows you to prop up your iPhone both vertically and horizontally. Plus, what they don’t advertise as much is that it resides flush with the case, not protruding like a belt clip. I was unsure of this until I received it. Definitely a big plus in my book. I did not use the included screen protector, since I have been very pleased with the one I purchased and applied already (Power Support Anti-Glare).

What’s not to like? Well, since it’s a clear case, it’s going to pick up some minor scratches, which over the course of time may diminish the case’s intention of showing off the iPhone. I still like the way it looks and feels, so I can overlook this for now. The plastic is a bit rough at the openings (volume and backlight), and dust seems to find its way in through those wide openings. The challenge of opening the case is a con, but I will offer a workaround for this here. The plastic adds a bit of bulk, slightly heavier than the Contour Hardskin that I had before, but overall, the feel is still smooth and still not as bulky as my Samsung i730 or a Blackberry. Finally, the sliding stand is a bit thin, so be gentle, or else you might not have it on much longer.

How do you get the phone out? So, the ilounge reviewers were correct in that it is a bit challenging to remove the iPhone from the Videoshell. However, after a bit of trial and error, and some minor nicking to my case, I have found a pretty solid method that you may find of use (DLO – you may want to advertise this method, and send me a replacement case for my efforts and minor nicking). Basically, it involves opening the case with a small coin (I use a penny), and this was advertised on DLO’s website. However, I still had a hard time getting the rest of the case to open. I nearly broke my finger, though I’m surprised the case did not give in as well. I also nicked up the sides of the case before I decided to bring in another piece of “plastic” to help out. Just as you would see in the movies, I used a credit card to get myself into a “locked” place. After opening the case with a coin, I slid a credit card through the sides and this easily forced open the case. It has worked every time flawlessly since, and I can now get in and out of the case as needed (mostly to blow out the dust and clean away smudges).

Overall, I am happy with the case. I got it for a fair price, it shows off the iPhone well, adds a coolness factor with the sliding stand, and I can work around its shortcomings with ease. Let me know what you think – I thought about making a quick YouTube video to show the credit card trick, so if there’s a demand, I will oblige.

Filed under: iPhone, Reviews, , , , , , , , ,

Volunteering at the Marathon – Gatorade, anyone?


T and I volunteered for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning, waking up at 5:45 am and filling up over 1,000 cups of Gatorade in preparation for the onslaught of runners at the finish line. There were an additional 15-20 other tables stocked 4 levels high for approximately 20,000 cups of Endurance Formula Gatorade (2 jugs of water to 1 jug of concentrate was the recipe for the still too sweet energy drink). So, after the debacle last year and the Olympic bid looming, Chicago was ready and prepared for the 80+ degree heat that once again plagued the 26.2 mile race. Interestingly, one drawback of all that preparation was that the Gatorade ended up tasting hot as a result of sitting under the sun for 3+ hours. Sorry, runners. T and I did try to pour fresh/cool Gatorade to all of our runners, and other tables started to do the same. Great job to all who beat the heat!

Filed under: Findings, , , , , , , , , ,

Google, Outlook, Plaxo, oh my! Syncing Multiple Calendars on the iPhone in Five Colors!

After recently getting married, I realized that my schedule is not the only one that I have to take into consideration.  Truthfully, T and I have been together for over 4 years, so our schedules have slowly merged anyways.  However, it’s nice to be able to view each other’s calendar during times when we need to consider making joint appointments.  I’ve been a Google Calendar convert for over a year now, but I still rely on Microsoft Outlook as my main organizational program at home.  On the road, I’ve got my trusty iPhone as my gadget to rule them all.  So, the question is, can they all get along?

Prior to the iPhone, I was a Pocket PC/Windows Mobile user, and Activesync made sure that my Outlook was kept in sync with my phone.  When I started using Google Calendar, I needed to find a way to keep that also in sync.  I can’t remember how many different programs I used.  I do remember some of their funny names, however.  Funambol, GSync, Goosync, and Plaxo were all services/programs that I gave the old college try with.  Plaxo was the one that I eventually stuck with, as it smoothly synched my Google Calendar with my Outlook.  It was not a cure for syncing my Samsung i760 to Google Calendar directly, but I was willing to live without that OTA capability in exchange for ease of use and reliability.  Thankfully, I did experiment with Plaxo enough that it remained on my computer when I switched over to the iPhone.  

Thus, Plaxo was still able to sync my Google Calendar to my Outlook, and with the iPhone 2.1 update speeding up the syncing process, I was now more inclined to experiment further.  Back to my marriage intro, I began to get greedy and wonder, “Can I sync multiple Google Calendars to my Outlook and then to my iPhone?”  Really, the question arose after seeing different colors of calendar items on another iPhone.  I said to myself, “I’m tired of red.  How can I get the blue and green colors?”  

A little google search revealed a nice post that discussed the setup that I eventually stumbled upon myself.  In the author’s post, he reveals how to sync multiple Google Calendars to your Outlook (using Plaxo), which then you can sync to your iPhone (via iTunes).  I can verify that this works smoothly, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Now that you’ve got multiple calendars on your iPhone, how can you assign the colors?  I mean, is it me, or is orange to close to red to be assigned as the second colored calendar?  Well, sure enough, there is a fix, and again, I can’t take credit.  Your iPhone can show calendars in the following colors: red, orange, blue, green, and purple.  The trick is that it assigns them in that order.  Fortunately, there is a fix, and the post will effectively walk you through.  However, I will add a suggestion that when you make a “dummy” calendar to take a color, make sure that you have at least one “dummy” event, as my iPhone didn’t recognize the calendar otherwise.  Again, feel free to leave a comment if you have questions.  I promise to respond in a timely manner.

Filed under: Findings, iPhone, , , , , , , ,

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