Thursday, May 8, 2014

He who Geeketh, Findeth. A warm welcome to www.Pungentees.com


To paraphrase a wise man, "Let's Do It!".

Ladies and Gentleman. Boys and Girls. 

After much hard work over the past few months, I invite you all to peruse the product of that effort. Pungentees.com is my little piece of the Geekisphere to sell some original designs of apparel intended to entertain and otherwise liven the spirits of the wearer and the viewer alike.




It's my hope that you browse our offerings, enjoy the commentary and perhaps, make a purchase or two. You may even see some Ads on Facebook and other social media networks in the coming days further highlighting new designs as they come into productions.

Thank you all for the continued support and warm wishes as I've been dropping teasers over the past few weeks. Your words, "likes", "plus one's", private messages and emails have not gone unappreciated. Please feel free to leave me comments of suggestion or feedback here on this blog post.  In addition, I welcome suggestions for new designs which can be forwarded directly to Pungentees@Gmail.com. Any person's suggestion that comes to fruition will be rewarded with a free T-Shirt of that design (within North America only, unfortunately). 


I will be posting updates on each design currently in our inventory and new products as they come to fruition. For a limited time, enjoy a special discount of 15% (Discount Code M1H7Q3N94Y63) as we celebrate new beginnings and hopefully future success!

Once again... Welcome to www.Pungentees.com









Monday, May 5, 2014

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He who Geeketh, Findeth....



It's been a long road and we are not quite to the end of it yet.  Designing, building, prototyping, testing...illustrating; It's been an arduous process.  Wrought with turmoil and indecision.  Am I doing the right thing?  Is it worth putting this effort into an process that may not bear fruit?  Will people even like the creations you're putting forth?

Those are the questions that run through my head.

... but it's a road worth traveling.  For I do not know the answer to my questions, but I do know the answer to the urge that has pushed me towards this endeavor.

One does not simply walk into Mordor.  One stops for Breakfast, then Second Breakfast, then Elevenses... etc.  I hope you understand my meaning.  If I did not follow through...how would I know?  ..but I MUST honor the process and so, in anticipation of the almost ready for prime time Pungentees.com.....


TEASERS!!:







Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Monday, April 7, 2014

Time is of the essence..




..or so I'm told.  However, as is with anyone else with a day job, I find there is very little of it to devote to side projects.  While I dare not call myself an "entrepreneur," it has been slow going as the owner of a fledgling small business which has yet to open it virtual doors .  I have had little time to do the designing, research and development that I had wished to accomplish by this point, however recently I did spend some time further streamlining the execution of my "master plan."

Part of that plan is the strategic melding of this blog with Pungentees.com, the outlet for my wares.  You may have taken note of the new blog layout, including the new logo and background imagery.  While these elements of the website's design are NEVER final, I am quite pleased with the appearance that we now wield. 

Pungentees.com will follow a similar line and, universe withstanding, should be opening for "beta testing" within the next few weeks.  Please leave some comments regarding this blog's design and content in the mean time because it will help me to further fine tune both it and my writing style.  I will post further detail regarding all developments both here and Google+.

Alester


Monday, March 17, 2014

Albo's Doohikey of the Month: The Google Chromecast


Google Chromecast Review

I spend a great deal of time in front a computer screen.  Eight hours during my day job and perhaps another two to three hours per evening after I get home.  The day job precludes me from doing much more than listening to some streamed music at low volume, but at home while I work on other endeavors, I prefer to have some ambient noise surround me as I "focus".  I could just add a DirecTV receiver to the 32" Samsung Plasma that I have hanging in our home office, but for the sake of convenience I've experimented with a number of Streaming Media Devices to route some goodies from my Windows Home Server, Netflix and Hulu.  While dalliances with Western Digital and Roku streaming devices proved entertaining, neither provided the simplicity or intuitiveness that I want in an everyday use device.  

The Google Chromecast, though.....now OogleyGoogley may just be on to something:




















There are many Android devices providing various levels of Android-on-TV, but none are this inexpensive ($35) or come with the "street-cred" of being an official Google product.  While it is still burgeoning in it's usefulness, this Wifi enabled dongle lets you utilize the technology you already possess (Android, iOS, Windows or MAC) to view an expanding universe of internet delivered material.  Netflix, Youtube, HBOGo, Hulu+, Pandora and Google Play are all there.  An expanding roster of services is promised in the near future, and if you have Google Chrome installed on your computer....the world is your oyster. 

....we'll get to that.

Opening the packaging provides introduction to the Chromecast and virtually all of the instruction you will need to start streaming new entertainment to the television of your choice:









Specifications (quite robust for what seems to be a simple little device):

Output: HDMI (CEC compatible)
Max. Output Video Resolution: 1080p
Dimensions:72(L) x 35(W) x 12(H) mm
Weight: 34g
Wireless:2.4 GHz WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Power:USB (Power adapter included)
Supported Operating Systems:Android 2.3 and higher, iOS® 6 and higher, Windows® 7 and higher, Mac OS® 10.7 and higher,
Chrome OS.

Open the box and you'll find:

·      (1) Google Chromecast Dongle
·      (1) HDMI Extender
·      (1) USB Power Cable
·      (1) Power Adapter
·      (1) Product Information Booklet

Setup is simple (here, I'm setting up a Chromecast in our Master Bedroom), though you should be mindful of your TV's ability to supply an adequate amount of power through it's HDMI ports (anything less than HDMI 1.4 will purportedly not work). The included USB cable is meant to supply just that extra oomph, with one end plugging into a hopefully available USB port on your TV or into the supplied power adapter with an equally hopefully placed power outlet in the vicinity of your TV. 

Once that's accomplished, download the Chromecast app on your smart device of choice (for illustrative purposes I'll be using my Moto X, however I also have utilized a first generation Nexus 7 and an iPad 4).  Keep in mind that the source device and the Chromecast need to be on the same Wifi network in order to function.  I repeat...Wifi.  An Ethernet connected device cannot connect to the Chromecast.  That's not a negative, per se, since the device itself does not stream content to the Chromecast. It simply provides instructions for the Chromecast to pull said content from the Internet (especially helpful when you want to multitask with your tablet or smartphone).

Setup on the Android app is as follows:







































































Once connected to your Wifi network, the Chromecast will contact Google's servers to download an update and then restart:




















After the connection is complete, the Chromecast and your connected device will be able to communicate.  I fired up the Netflix app on the Moto X and was able to connect to the newly minted "Master Bedroom" Chromecast with no trouble.   Video on my now old Sony Plasma is still fine at 720p and sound comes in perfectly synced.  It doesn't hurt that the wireless router that is providing the signal is only 12 or 13 feet away, but I've had good results throughout the house (I now have three Chromecast dongles set up).

I started out earlier talking about additional functionality that the Chromecast has when used in conjunction with the Google Chrome browser.  The addition of the official Google Cast extension allows just about any Chrome browser tab to be "Cast" to your Chromecast connected TV.  I also mentioned that the Chromecast works only over a Wifi connection, so it is imperative that the computer you are casting from also be connected to the same Wifi network.  The PC in my office is hard-wired via Ethernet to my home network, but I was able to simultaneously add an old USB network adapter to it to connect to my Wifi network.  This allowed me to pull up my Netflix account in my browser and cast it to the TV in my office.  



For those looking for a more utilitarian use for the Chromecast, you can also mirror whatever website you have open in your Chrome browser:



















It sports great functionality now, but the Chromecast started from humble beginnings.  When first introduced, this amazing little doohickey had more limited functionality.  It allowed streaming from just a few partnered services and no approved third party apps.  Google has since seen fit to release the SDK to allow for third party app development and an ever-increasing list of compatible services.  One limitation that had many users and critics alike bothered, was the lack of ability to cast locally (or network) stored video files.  The initial workaround was to convert said video files into an acceptable format (ie. .mp4) and drag and drop them into an open Chrome browser tab.  The browser's native ability to play video files allowed the user cast that specific tab to the Chromecast, therefore allowing expanded usage.

As always, the future holds new wonders. Among others, Plex Media Server (an application that I've used for some time to curate my own media library) has recently been upgraded to allow users to cast video libraries saved locally or on network attached storage.  As more developers adopt similar functionality the usability and desirability of the Chromecast should grow into a far greater piece of the market that is dominated by the Apple TV and the Roku brand of devices.  The fact that Google provides their device at a fraction of the price of both manufacturers leaves the Chromecast on top of my Media Streaming world.

Here's my rundown of the Chromecast's virtues and vices:

Pros:
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple setup
  • Smooth user interface and functionality
  • Multitask friendly (start your cast and forget it)
  • An expanding set of partners and services

Cons:
  • Lack of Windows Mobile support
  • Limited to Google's own Chrome browser (If you prefer Firefox or Opera, your out of luck for now)
  • An expanding, but still limited number of supported apps. Apple and Roku win the day in that regard.

...and yet...

My final verdict is still a positive one.  The price of entry, and the user-friendliness leave the Chromecast as my chosen media streaming device.  Personal experience (and difficulties) with devices from Western Digital, Roku (and Apple) leave much to be desired, with Google's offering bringing nothing but easy access to entertainment.  Here's to hoping that the "magic smoke" doesn't escape from my fiber-optic modem!

It's available from most local electronics retailers (Including Best Buy, Google Play and Amazon) for $35.00, though it often goes on sale for less.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

...to Infinity and Beyond!!



Hello fellow Bloggies!!  Long time no speak!  Sorry for the lack of updates recently...as most of you have likely experienced, life often times gets in the way of the chronicling that we like to do in our favorite internet forums.

...but today, I have a good one.  My wife and I had a great science filled weekend along with a visit to Jet Propulsion Laboratory yesterday (always fun to create a long weekend).  I can't say enough about the great tour guides and amazing facilities.  It was awe inspiring to be in the vicinity of the great minds that push the boundaries of human exploration and seek unfathomable knowledge.  I've always thought that there is more than what meets the eye regarding our space programs, but to even see the tip of the iceberg is very compelling.  If I had seen this place when I was a child....well, let's just say I already like rockets and aviation, but this experience would have put it into high gear.

They start you off with a twenty minute long video presentation describing our solar system and the efforts we've put forth to study each unique planet (thus far).  From there we went on to one of the three giant assembly rooms where all of the deep space exploration vehicles are assembled.  It really put into perspective how large some of these things are!   Next came our favorite part, Mission Control.  This was the same room that was featured in the television program highlighting the arrival the Curiosity Rover on Mars. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Enjoy JPL in Pasadena, California: