Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

What a fantastic Christmas this year. Lots of fun with the family. I introduced both sides of the family to the Wii and we had great times no matter what age or experience level with gaming. Time for the goodie list.

  • Logitech Harmony 890 Remote

  • Hackers & Painters Book

  • Joel on Software Book

  • Camelbak Rogue 70oz

  • Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter 8000

  • Plantronics Discovery 655 Bluetooth Headset

  • Chicago Cutlery Insignia Steel 18-Piece Cutlery Block Set

  • New Zeland Dog Whistle

  • Insteon wall switch

  • Comedy Club Tickets

  • Red Steel Wii

  • Flexible Cutting Mats

  • Chefs Hat

  • Analog Clip Watch

  • World of Warcraft with 90-day subsciption

  • Bike Storage Lifts

The next remote in the Harmony line, the Logitech Harmony 890 Remote from Melissa. This thing is great. So far I have spent a lot of time setting it up. It has an RF link to a little remote blaster in my video cabinet so no more getting just the right angle on the remote to hit everything. Very pretty screen and a great feel. I copied my original Harmony settings into it but found that it has quite a few more buttons so I have been tweaking it sitting in front of the TV every chance I get.

Melissa was also kind enough to find books that relate to my interests but aren't purely technical. I am looking forward to reading Hackers & Painters and Joel On Software

She also found a fantastic new Camelback Rogue for all of our outdoor hydration needs. This replaces our 7-year old unit that has seen better days and has some very funny tasting water.

My parents picked me up some very fun gadgets. I have been doing more and more sales demos and my old wired mouse was giving me headaches. They gave me a Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter 8000 which not only natively supports bluetooth (read no stupid dongle) but flips over to have a set of buttons to control presentations and even a built in laser pointer. I love it! I have also started relying heavily on Skype and being tied to my desk isn't always good during those long calls. I tried to use my Motorola HS810 but it's hard to wear and dies pretty quickly. They set me up with the awesome Plantronics Discovery 655. Not only does it have fantastic sound and weighs nothing but also has a set of charging accessories to make sure you are never out of power. You can charge it in its innovative little tube using an AC outlet, AAA battery or even USB from your PC. Because I already have a mini-USB power adapter for my GPS in my car, I can even charge it there! I look forward to spending more time with this little gem.

I have been trying hard to become better in the kitchen. Every chef knows that a good set of knives can really make a difference. My folks got me a nice top of the line Chicago Cutlery Insignia Steel 18-Piece Cutlery Block Set. These are beautiful and razor sharp. I have only used them a few times but what a difference.

Melissa's parents located Red Steel for Nintendo Wii. I haven't had a chance to play yet but look forward to it. My brother-in-law Dave and his wife Amber recently returned from New Zeland and picked me up some fun stuff. A New Zeland Dog Whistle that fits in your mouth and is loud as all get out, this one is too much fun to play with but gets on everyones nerves so I haven't perfected using it. They also kindly got me an Insteon wall switch. These are the top of the line remote wall switches and I have been slow to convert from the old X10 due to cost. My sister-in-law Stephanie and her fiance Matt provided a welcome night of laughter with tickets to a local comedy club and babysitting so we can get away for an evening. Should be lots of fun.

Melissa is sick of scraping her shins on my bike and I can't get to my workbench anymore beacuse of hers. The bike storage lift kits promise to resolve the issue by suspending them from the ceiling. I will get to installing them in the garage when the temperature gets back over 25 degrees in there.

Jeff and Tara got us our most time-consuming present yet, World of Warcraft with 90-days of prepaid playing time. I have been an avid Everquest player for several years and play on a free emulated server called Shards of Dalaya. I have greatly enjoyed a new gaming addiction and will have to post a full blog entry on my comparisons. To say the least, I love it, I want to play it every minute of every day.

The stockings were alot of fun this year as well. I got some flexible cutting matts and a chefs hat which I look very suave in as well as an Eddie Bauer Analog Clip watch for my backpack or jacket. I fear if I add one more thing to my backpack that it will require its own FCC ID and I won't be able to take it on the plane. Dark chocolate, Almond Roca, Altoids and some good office supplies rounded out the stocking and are great to have.

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