My Tivo is dying

My poor little DirecTv HR10-250 is dying. It’s been making some weird noises for awhile now, which is never a good sign for hard drive health. Today though, it’s already frozen twice. The only fix has been to pull the plug and force a reboot. We’ve had this box for over 5 years now and it’s been working great up to this point. The HD tivos had a rep as being a bit delicate.

Apparently DirecTv and Tivo have made up after some earlier issues and are planning on releasing a new receiver in 2010, but who knows when that will be. Might have to start scrambling for an alternate content source fast since you can’t watch the first two episodes of Big Love and then just stop. Withdrawal like that can have serious health issues.

Kindle syncing

I’ve had a kindle since they first came out, I’ve loved it since day one and use it pretty much every night to read for hours on end. In the past I would leave the wireless off though. With the 1st Gen kindle you could get a lot longer battery life if you didn’t turn the wireless on. Once you were reading a book, you could read for several days without needing to connect to Amazon’s servers. Only once you had finished a book and needed to add more did you need to turn it on to sync.

A few months ago, I downloaded Amazon’s kindle app for the iPhone, more out of curiosity than anything else. Initially I just couldn’t see myself reading books on such a small screen, especially one that was backlit and would cause eye-strain. However, in the last couple weeks I’ve discovered how seamlessly Amazon has made syncing devices and reading locations. Since during the day, I pretty much always have the iPhone with me, I can just pull it out and start reading. The iPhone is perfect for the situation where you might only have a few minutes and might need to put it away very quickly. I was getting my van washed yesterday and was able to read for 5 min at the car wash. The magic happens though when you get back home, turn on your kindle and it knows to sync your reading location up to where you left off on the iPhone and vice-versa.

I’m now finding that I’m able to get even more reading done during the day. Filling in small breaks instead of waiting for a single block of reading before bed.

Things task management

Now that I’m spending a good percentage of my day chasing around a 1yr old, my brain has gone to mush. I’m finding that if there are things that I need to do and I don’t jot them down, then they don’t get done.

I was on the lookout for a really great notes/task management tool that would sync back and forth between my laptop and iPhone. I tried out several of the web based ones and Evernote(which has a desktop and iPhone app), but they never quite did exactly what I needed.

Then I found Things. It’s a bit expensive, but it got great reviews, so I thought I’d try it out. You have to purchase the desktop app and the iPhone app separately, but they work great together. Syncing whenever you have wifi turned on on the iPhone. You can quickly create notes, set them as scheduled, inbox, or whatever you want. Update them and move them around easily. The desktop app even integrates in with iCal’s todo list.

If you need a fast way to keep track of a mix of small and large things and the ability to sync back and forth from phone to laptop, I would highly recommend checking out Things.