This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Gadgets I took to the hospital
The part of the childbirth process that I've always dreaded is the 24-48 hours you have to spend in the hospital after the baby is born.

This time, I decided to come prepared with electronics (what else?). Here is what I brought to make the 2 days in this tiny hospital room more pleasant:

1. Acer Aspire 9300 laptop -- using this to blog, check e-mail, upload photos, post twitter updates and watch our Slingboxes (since hospital TV choices are pretty limited).
2. Canon Powershot A540 digital camera and 1GB SD card -- have snapped over 150 photos so far. Figure that total will be closer to 400 by the time we leave the hospital. Uploading them as we go to avoid doing one giant upload this weekend (and to keep friends and family happy).
3. T-Mobile Dash & Audiovox SMT5600 -- keeping in touch with family, posting twitter updates and maybe a little SlingPlayer Mobile
4. 5G iPod and Altec Lansing speakers -- These were supposed to be for playing soothing music during labor; however, we forgot to set it up. Figure it will sit in my bag unused during the rest of our stay.
5. Two Nintendo DS Lites -- These are mainly for the boys. They played these quite a bit (Mario Kart DS, Elite Beat Agents and Tony Hawk's American Wasteland) while waiting for Maddox to arrive.
6. Sony DCR-TRV900 3CCD digital camcorder -- We bought this mini DV cam before Miles was born over 6 years ago. The image quality, due to having 3 CCDs, is great and we have no reason to replace it (until we move to an HD one in a year or so). Because our camera takes decent video, I have to remind myself to take video with the camcorder. I bought a Firewire PCMCIA card for my laptop so we can share these videos online.
7. Extra batteries and AC adapters -- The AC adapters have already come in handy charging up our phones, the DS Lites, and the laptop.

I was able to get all of these gadgets, my clothes and toiletries in my Targus laptop bag and a Timbuk2 messenger bag. Not too bad.
Meet Maddox Milo Morton
Maddox arrived this afternoon at 12:01PM EST after a 12-hour labor and a completely natural childbirth. He weighs 8 pounds and 1 ounce and is 22 inches long.

Maddox Milo Morton

Mom and baby are doing well. Expect lots more photos and twitter updates now that I have successfully guessed the passkey to the hospital's wifi network.

Me holding Maddox

[UPDATE: Shot a short video and posted it to Vimeo. Check it out here]
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Can't wait to try Surface
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Buy my pre-Vista RAM?
I finally got around to listing my pre-Vista laptop RAM on eBay. As I mentioned in my previous post about the upgrade process, 1GB just wasn't enough to run Vista. I got a 2GB kit from Newegg, so this one is no longer needed.

I actually tried to sell it locally before listing it on eBay because I have been burned twice selling computer or electronics and got crappy feedback as a result.

You can read more about those fun situations here and here.

So, if you need 1GB of PC4200 SODIMM 200-pin laptop RAM cheap ($40) and don't mind buying from a shady individual with negative feedback, then this listing is for you!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Contributing to new blog on TechRepublic
This announcement is probably a bit premature, but I wanted to let everyone know that I will be starting a new digital lifestyle blog for TechRepublic over the next few weeks.

As I've mentioned, I have written a couple of pieces (on Windows Home Server, XBOX 360, etc) for the site recently and was planning to contribute to the Geekend blog.

However, the decision was made that TR needed a separate blog offering for digital lifestyle content. So I'll be taking that on in the next few weeks.

I'll post a link and more info when it's available.

BTW, one thing we're still trying to figure out is the name for the blog. Any ideas?
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Talk to you in 3 weeks


[UPDATE: 1:58PM EST] Bungie and/or MSFT totally botched the launch for those trying to download the Halo 3 beta via Crackdown. I was online this morning at 8am when Bungie's countdown clock hit 0 and the download never showed up. And now, 6 hours later, there is still not ETA for a fix (although Bungie and MSFT have acknowledged the problem).

I'm glad I only rented the game. I can only imagine how pissed I'd be if I shelled out $60 to get access to the beta and then get locked out on launch day.

Interestingly, both of the free options for getting into the beta are apparently working.

[UPDATE: 11:12PM EST] All problems have been resolved. I am downloading the beta as I type this. Bungie has a report on the whole mess here. The really important part is that they've extended the beta period by a full 4 days. Sweet!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Upgraded to Vista
I finally got the free Vista Home Premium upgrade that came with the laptop I purchased back in October. Installation was about what I expected, having rebuilt a ton of Windows XP systems over the years. Here are a few interesting things that I learned:

1. You don't need to have a valid copy of Windows pre-installed to upgrade
My laptop has Media Center Edition 2005 installed; however, I wanted to do a clean build. So, I wiped the hard drive and reinstalled MCE 2005. I noticed that the "60 days left to activate" popup was visible as I inserted the Vista upgrade DVD.

Much to my surprise, I was able to upgrade to Vista without ever verifying that my copy of MCE 2005 was valid. I figured MSFT would check both versions (the original and the upgrade) for authenticity.

2. You need a ton of RAM
This shouldn't be much of a suprise; however, I was still disappointed to see how poorly Vista ran with 1GB of RAM. Overall performance was just sluggish. Programs would hang and end up "Not responding." Very frustrating.

I now have 2GB of PC5300 DDR RAM installed and system is running great. 30% memory usage versus 85% (yes, 85%) before.

3. ReadyBoost is pretty cool
While trying to figure out the RAM issue, I remembered that Vista supported ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost allows the system to use a USB thumb drive as memory. I had a 1GB drive that was empty, so I popped it in and turned on ReadyBoost.

The performance of my system improved to the point that I could easily run Aero Glass and Vista became much more responsive. Not quite perfect, but it was acceptable until I got more RAM (which came yesterday from Newegg).

4. iTunes and Vista hate each other
It took several attempts to get iTunes to install on Vista. On my final attempt, I decided to uncheck the "Make iTunes the default player for music files" box and, voila, iTunes installed. Hmm.

5. Aero Glass is nice, but not worth the trouble
If I wanted windows to morph and fade, I would get an Apple (and you know that will *never* happen). I prefer to have my RAM available for more important things like running apps.

6. The new security features are annoying
Maybe it is because I had to reinstall a lot of things all at once; however, the new security features that require you to authorize apps before they install is super annoying.

I've never had a virus. I've never had malware take over my machine. I don't want to be bothered every time I want to install something.

Overall, I think Vista is working OK. I definitely don't regret the upgrade. But it is too early to say whether it is as stable as SP2 of Windows XP. If things change for better or worse, I'll post an update.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
My best blog comment ever!
Back in December 2005, I posted about a website that would take your photo and match it to celebrities that it thinks you look like.

Of course, I used a goofy picture I had taken of myself with an ultra-suave mustache just to see what it would give me. Interestingly, it said I was 43% like Johnny Depp. I figured anyone looking at both photos would get how off the mark it was.

Well, apparently, not Johnny Depp fans. They seem to think that I am seriously comparing myself to their favorite pirate from 21 Jump Street.

Today, I got what is, without a doubt, the best blog comment I've ever gotten:

"Hey- NO AFFENCE but Johnny Is Sooooo much better looking. Im his biggest fan in the world. Never go at day without seeing his face. And thoughts of him go round my head all day long. Im his number 1 fan and i hate to say but its insulting to think that im someones number 1 fan that looks like you.. because your nothing like johnny AND I LOVE HIM! xx"


Nice!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Gadget lust: Netgear EVA8000
I was just checking out Jeremy Toeman's blog and he has a video demo of Netgear's Digital Entertainer HD (EVA8000). I have read several reviews, but this was the first time I saw it in action.



I want one of these so bad! It does everything you could need in terms of distributing media throughout your home, including support for streaming 1080p, YouTube videos, BitTorrent files and protected iTunes content.

You can find out more info at Netgear's site or check out reviews from CNET, Engadget and LiveDigitally.
Monday, May 7, 2007
I'm a digital omnivore. You?
The Pew Internet & American Life Project just released the results of a study on the Digital Divide in America as a PDF.


Image from TechCrunch article on the study

As you can see, the US is split down middle between those who use digital media and those that don't.

The TechCrunch interpretation of this data says the numbers are "disturbing" and they think "there can be no market saturation until such time the 31% blows out to something closer to 100%."

First of all, it is ridiculous to think that we'll ever get anywhere close to 100% in the elite category. In fact, I think that number is probably a bit inflated right now due to the buzz around Web 2.0.

The key over the long-term is to get more of the 49% with few tech assets to participate. Considering that most of that 49% are older (median of 64) and grew up with TV as their equivalent to the web, I think the shift will happen slowly, but it will happen. I don't think we'll see the same media consumption patterns when today's 30-somethings hit their 60s.

I'm a digital omnivore now. And while I'm sure my consumption will diminish a bit with age, I can't ever see myself sitting in front of the TV for more than an hour or two a day.

My wife is probably in the "Light but satisfied" group (She loves her e-mail and her TiVo). I don't expect that to change too much over time.

What category are you in and how do you see your media consumption changing as you get older?
Sunday, May 6, 2007
How did I miss this video?!
Anyone who knows me knows that Glengarry Glen Ross is one of my favorite movies. And, in that movie, the Alec Baldwin scene is my absolute favorite scene. Somehow, I had missed this clip when it was originally broadcast back in 2005. Fortunately, I saw it this afternoon on Jason Calacanis' blog.



Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that many in the audience get the reference to the original.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Who wants a Joost invite?
Joost™ the best of tv and the internetI've been beta testing Joost for the past few months. This week, they have given us unlimited (well, it is limited to 999) invites to hand out.

If you wanna check Joost out, send me an e-mail (smorty71 at gmail dot com) with your name and e-mail address and I'll hook you up.

[UPDATE: 05/02/2007 @ 8:51PM] Have given out over 25 invites since posting this this afternoon. Way more than I expected.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.