The Griffin PowerMate and Brian Eno

Griffin Powermate

Do you know what I hate about computers? The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them.
– Brian Eno, May 1995

This quotation is from an article in Wired Magazine that Oyvind pointed me to back in ’95. I have never forgotten it.

What’s pissing me off is that it uses so little of my body. You’re just sitting there, and it’s quite boring. You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes. That’s it. What about the rest of you? No African would stand for a computer like that. It’s imprisoning.
…still Brian Eno.

Yes. That’s May 1995. More than 10 years ago. And what has happened? The scroll wheel.

The scroll wheel is an excellent invention and I can’t think of using a computer without one. Still it’s just you and that mouse. Maybe you keep your other hand at the keyboard.

The Griffin Powermate has a name, a look and a description that suggest that you should use it to adjust the volume on your computer.

I love this incredibly well built, good looking, solid and very useful knob. I have never used it to adjust the volume on my computer.

I use it to scroll in my browser. To zoom in Photoshop. To shuttle in my video editing software. To scroll in my photo archive. Right hand on the mouse. Left hand switching between the keyboard and the Powermate.

It has completely removed quite a bit of strain on my right hand.

There is a very reliable rule that says that a company that makes hardware can never make good software (look at the software that follows ATI’s graphics cards or Creative’s MP3 players etc…*) Griffin has done an exception with the Powermate. The latest version of the software for this device is actually quite useful. And if you don’t like it you always have Girder and the Girder Powermate Plugin.

I haven’t tested the Girder Plugin yet. The original Griffin software does what I want at this point.

The Powermate puts a tiny, tiny bit of Africa back into my computer.

* Yes, Apple is an exception

The Griffin PowerMate and Brian Eno

iPod Photo Connector quick review – useless!

iPod Camera Connector

What it should do:
Give you a possibility to upload pictures from your digital camera directly on to your iPod. Fantastic! For the people that take large amounts of pictures, maybe with a high resolution camera the cost of memory cards will be huge if you want to bring enough of them to keep you going for a whole vacation.

Having the possibility to transfer them to your iPod and even review them on the iPod screen is a very good idea.

Unfortunately, the iPod Photo Connector fails to help you out…

Sony DSC-P150

The first quick test
I have a Sony DSC-P150 digital camera. It’s 7.2 megapixels. Pictures that I take are around 3 MB and I also use it to record quick video clips.

I didn’t find any information about people that had connected this particular camera to the iPod, but according to the information on Apple’s website it should work.

So, I snap a couple of pictures and a short video clip and connect my camera to the iPod with my original Sony USB cable. Great! The iPod recognize the camera connector and the camera and automatically shows information about what’s on the memory card in the camera. 5 items, 23 MB.

I choose to transfer them to the iPod. Great, a nice screen showing progress and the pictures as they are transfered. It takes quite a bit of time to transfer this small amount of pictures, but everything works out fine.

I can then look at the pictures on the iPod and it shows a small icon for the video clips as well. Kindly telling me that the iPod can not play this video clip but it will play when I transfer it to my computer.

Great. This looks like a useful little device. At $24 it wasn’t even very expensive.

Then the real test
I shoot pictures for one day, and have now a 1 GIG memory stick that is filled with 472 MB worth of pictures and video clips. Not even half way full, but I decide to test the transfer anyway.

This is when I realize that the Apple iPod Photo Connector is completely useless.

I start the transfer. Wow, it is really slow. It takes about 15 minutes and half the battery of the iPod to transfer these 472 MB. And, because the camera connector don’t let you charge the iPod while you transfer I guess transfering 1 GIG or more would be impossible.

The iPod is USB 2.0, my camera is USB 2.0, the cable is USB 2.0. What is this camera connector doing?

OK. It might be useful if I am traveling and has charge possibilities for the iPod and never fill my 1 GB cards.

Well, no. As mentioned. It is completely useless. Why? After the 15 minutes of transfer the iPod tells me that it has transfered the 143 pictures and 472 MB. But this time it won’t let me review the pictures. When I connect the iPod to my computer and check the folder with the pictures it has only trensfered 120 pictures and 350 MB. I try again with my wife’s iPod and now it only transfers 56 pictures! In other words it’s not only a huge battery drain but it is unstable as well. Transfering the same pictures directly from my camera to my computer and directly from a memory card reader both work out fine.

So now you have been warned. An iPod, a camera connector and a Sony DSC-P150 is a completely useless combination. Feel free to try with other cameras. I will keep the connector, and I hope that Apple can solve parts of these issues with new firmware for the iPod. Time will show.

Portable Hard Drive

So what do I do while I wait? I keep using my 80GIG combined memory card reader and battery powered portable hard drive. The eMagic USB 2.0 Data Storage Bank. Yes, crappy web page, crappy design. Not very well built.

But it is cheap, it empties my full 1 GIG card in a couple of minues and has enough battery power to empty several full 1 GIG cards.

Can’t watch the pictures on it, but it has not let me down one single time. Fast, reliable transfers.

iPod Photo Connector quick review – useless!

Sleeptracker – experience so far


First impression
Very nice package. The watch itself looks better than expected. Feels quite well built.

Don’t consider this a complete review of the Sleeptracker. This is my first experience with a device that needs time before it is possible to judge the potential benefit or function of it.

I have now been a proud owner of a Sleeptracker for two weeks. The problem is that these two weeks has not been very representative for the typical days when I need an alarm clock. I am on a vacation and use my kids as alarm clocks. Why get up before you have to?

Of course, as a true geek I have tested the new gadget anyway.
Continue reading “Sleeptracker – experience so far”

Sleeptracker – experience so far

It’s gadget time!


I’m currently in the US and will be here for about a month. I will mostly stay at the same place. What does that mean? People living in the US will of course not see any obvious and revolutionary advantages from this fact. Apart from the fact that being in the US is quite fun in general.

I’ll give you some hints: Amazon, eBay, Best Buy. Webshops! Ordering stuff from the fantastic assortement of Amazon when you live in Norway is OK, but it always include huge amounts of waiting, payment of taxes and hideously expensive shipping.

Now, for the next four weeks I can order stuff for something close to half the price compared to buying the same goods from my home in Norway.

I don’t have unlimited amounts of money, so I have to consider each purchase carefully.

That’s why I kick this off with a product that I have absolutely no faith in. The Sleeptracker. I have read fantastic reviews. I understand the concept. Still, I don’t think it can help this seriously sleepless blogger.

But if it can. I mean – wake me up after my not-even-close-to-enough hours of sleep at a moment that makes the horrible exercise of getting up slightly easier. It’s worth every cent.

Of course I’ll be back here with more info when it arrives.

It’s gadget time!

SkyMall – Holiday 2005 Edition


As a passionalte gadget freak this amazing product catalog called SkyMall that I find on board american planes has always fascinated me. It’s one of the very rare printed publications that actually can give me just as much fun as half an hour of good web browsing. SkyMall is a product catalog with all kinds of stuff that you can order.
A fantastic collection of everything from high quality well known brands to the most amazing crap you can imagine.

And of course I have to share some of the highlights of amazing crap in this edition. Please note that all the pictures will be enlarged if you click them. I’ll start quite simple.


Buy yourself a stylish iPod. Then add the world’s most ugly set of speakers. It’s called the iPulse. “Colorful LED lightshow plays in sync with your music!”. Only $129,95

Gravity – that’s sooo last century

FlyBar Gravity defying boots

SkyMall to the rescue. This edition gives you both a Gravity-Defying FlyBar and a pair of Gravity-Defying boots. FlyBar for $299.95 and Boots for $139.95.


Then for the haute couture. First, the essential accessory for any serious american. “Earband makes your ball cap warm for winter” You have to wear your cap. No matter what. So, rather than buying something that is suited for winter you simply add a earband to your cap. Excellent. $19.95

But if you want to look really ridiculous. I mean, seriously ridiculous. Of course SkyMall can still help you. Not for the modest price of $19.95, but if it’s important enough for you to look ridiculous, then the $227,- Original Woven Collar Shirt should not be left untried.

“The shirt that allows you to show off your expensive ties”

Woven Collar Shirt Woven Collar Closeup

“Exclusively fashioned with american ingenuity and european style”
– I haven’t seen anything like this in Europe though.

Then, what do you get if you combine haute couture and gadgets?
Continue reading “SkyMall – Holiday 2005 Edition”

SkyMall – Holiday 2005 Edition

Why your camera phone will outperform your compact camera – bigtime!

The companies making mobile phones know it. They have a huge advantage over all other gadget vendors. The mobile phone has become the device that you really can’t do without. If you forget your iPod while heading off for work it’s not that serious. If you forget your digital camera, you’ll not return unless you really, really need it that day. It is the phone that makes you turn around and travel all the way back home to get it. So, they have a very valuable place in your pocket.

The only reasons for not having all your gadgets in the same device are:
1. Size
2. Price
3. Quality
4. Usability

There is absolutely nothing that indicates that it should be impossible to make a device that has a reasonable price, good usability, perfect size and includes the functionallity of my phone, MP3-player and digital camera in the near future. However, there is another huge difference between my Sony Digital Camera and the one in my Nokia Phone.

The operating system
The camera in my Nokia is a camera with an operating system. Basically that gives endless possibilities to system developers and third parties making additions and extra functionallity. Marking my pictures with data from my bluetooth GPS. Giving my camera advanced direct blogging functionallity. Supporting new image formats. Analyzing and recognizing patterns in the picture. Combining the camera with the networking functionallity of UMTS, GPRS and bluetooth.

All of this is impossible in my Sony Cybershot DSC-P150. I need to buy a new camera to give it new functionallity.

The same goes for my MP3-player. The stupid dependence on firmware from Creative is an example. With an open API in my MP3-player someone would have fixed that before Creative could put down their first meeting in the group that makes firmware.

So, even if you don’t want all your gadgets in the same device, gadgets without an operating system are sooo last century…

Why your camera phone will outperform your compact camera – bigtime!