There’s always an ink cartridge in my drawer

I use a variety of different printers. Some are ink jet based and therefore require ink cartridges. Nothing is more frustrating than to run out of ink in the middle of ย a job. Of course that’s exactly when you need to replace an ink cartridge. After all the printer is not likely to run out of ink just sitting there (unless it sits there for months). Usually I have a set of ink cartridges in the printer and another set ready to go for when I run out. A good rule is that when you replace a cartridge with a spare that you would then buy a replacement for the one you just put in. Unfortunately I’m a busy guy so I’m not going to remember to order or go buy a new cartridge right then and there. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Staples Ink Drop Service

I’ve been using the Staples Ink Drop Service for years now. ย Here’s how it works: You load your printer up with ink just like you do now. You buy an extra set (from wherever you like) so that you have one set of replacements on hand. Then when you run out of ink for a particular color or set of colors, you put those empties in a Staples Ink Drop postage paid envelope and drop it in the mail. Staples gets your empties and sends you a new replacement (of the exact same brand and model number), billing it to your credit card on file with FREE shipping. They then recycle your empties properly. When you get your replacement cartridge, they also include a couple extra envelopes for your next order. There are no signup fees or membership fees or any other fees of any kind. You just pay for the ink (plus applicable sales tax).


The Bottom Line

Could I find cheaper prices for my ink cartridges? Probably. Could I find a more convenient, painless, automatic service? Probably not. Learn more about Staples Ink Drop Service Here.

Comcast vs. DirecTV


After 11 years of DirecTV and 10 years of Comcast I’ve finally decided to cut DirecTV loose. Yes, I actually have had both services for the last 10 years. Why? Well it wasn’t the original plan, it just happened that way. Before I moved into the house I’m in now back in 1999, I had DirecTV in my old house for my TV service and life was good. Never had a problem, not a single outage or “snowy” day as the Comcast commercials would have you believe. When I moved here, of course I wanted high speed internet and the best and only option back then was “Media One.” Media One was the local cable company in the area. I got my cable modem from them and still had DirecTV for TV. As the years went by, Media One was eventually acquired by Comcast. Although I had a couple of TV’s hooked up to the Comcast line for basic cable, I wasn’t really interested in Comcast for TV because I was so happy with my Series one DirecTV TiVo units. I absolutely LOVE the TiVo UI (user interface). Although you can get DVR service from any company today, TiVo really gets it when it comes to the user experience. If you’ve never used one, you wouldn’t understand.

The move to HDTV

When HDTV came along, I had to make a decision. It was either go with DirecTV for HD and that would require a new dish and new DVRs that were NOT TiVo based or go with Comcast and just go with their DVRs. So I added a Comcast box to my first HDTV just to get the HDTV and have a DVR to record the shows in HD. The Comcast (Motorola) box sucked on a level you can’t imagine! These boxes, or more to the point their firmware were garbage. Constant crashes, reboots, and other problems. I swapped out my Comcast DVR more times than I care to remember, while the DirecTV TiVo hummed along right next to it with no problems.

Then there was TiVo HD – the deciding factor!


Once TiVo shipped the TiVo HD, it was a done deal for me! That was it. I would finally have everything I wanted. I would have HD and I would return back to the TiVo interface that I loved. I would also get the things I had been missing by not having a Series 2 box like transferring recording to my computer and to other TiVos in the house. So one by one I swapped out Comcast DVRs for TiVo HDs. They were all swapped out except for the one in my office (connected to my SlingBox) and since it was working fine and I don’t watch a lot of TV there, I figured I’d leave it.

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iPhone App of the Week – 6500+ Cool Facts


This one is for the trivia buffs (or to combat them ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Cool Facts is an iPhone (iPod touch) app that now boasts 6,500+ Cool Facts. I was actually surprised by some of the entries. Not that I think I know a lot about a lot of things, but some made me go “wow, I’d never heard that before!” This app is a great conversation starter (please resist the temptation to use it on a date. You know who you are).

fact1 fact2

The app displays the facts in a random order. You can swipe your finger to go to the next fact or shake your iPhone/iPod touch to go to the next one. It seems that shaking is actually a little more responsive than swiping.

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6500+ Cool Facts is a FREE download from the App Store. Get it here.

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The Digital Transition is Today!


Wow! How time flies when you’re not paying attention. I just realized that I hadn’t done a single post regarding the Digital TV transition. Today television broadcasters will stop broadcasting analog TV signals over the air and only broadcast digital signals. So now that today is the day, let me give a couple of tips to those who are still in the dark on this whole thing. First off if you have a TV that is connected to either cable or satellite via a subscription/paid service, then chances are you can skip the rest of this and have a nice day. Nothing changes for you. However, if you have a TV that is getting its content over the air (OTA) and it’s an older analog set, you probably need a digital converter box.

My digital converter box experience

My dad is the only one in my close immediate family that isn’t using a paid TV service. He also has an older TV set. So I knew he’d need a converter box and I also knew that I’d be the one buying it and setting it up. So a couple of weeks ago I was going to visit him and decided to kill two birds with one stone and get his box setup too. I stopped in at a Radio Shack on the way and picked up a converter box (the only one they sell). I think the price was $59 and unfortunately I didn’t have a coupon due to lack of planning on my part. I wasn’t sure if he had a decent antenna or not, so I picked up their middle of the line antenna too. The cost was $19.99. I figured if I got there and he had a good one, I’d just return the one I bought.

I got to his house and disconnected his old antenna, which wasn’t much better than a coat hanger. I connected up the new box via the supplied cables and the new antenna to the box. The converter box comes with its own universal remote control. Basically you put your TV on channel 3 and control everything else from the box. He had lost his original TV remote, so this was a great opportunity for him to have a new one. The remote could be programmed to turn the TV on and off and control the volume as well. Perfect!

The initial setup performed a scan for channels and all of his favorite channels were there (he’s not big on TV, so the local channels are fine). I did had to move the antenna closer to the window to pick up one of the main channels, but that’s all it took. Not only did he have his favorite channels that he was used to, he even picked up a couple new ones. So I know that today can come and go and he’ll be all set.

The Bottom Line

If you have an older TV that has an analog tuner and you get your reception over the air, then you will need a Digital Converter box starting today! If you already have a good antenna, that antenna should connect to your converter box just fine. If you need an antenna, stay away from the “digital antenna” hype. It’s just a marketing ploy to get you to buy a more expensive antenna than what you need. If you have a newer TV with a digital tuner then you probably won’t need a converter box. Also if you get your TV from a cable or satellite or other paid provider, then you’re probably all set. Enjoy! If you happen to have more questions, here’s a great site.

Get a 1 minute promo video for your website


My buddy Bruce Mandel just launched his new service “MixnPixels“, which is aimed at businesses that want to create promo videos for their website. MixnPixels is a Michigan based company and will come out to your location, shoot, edit and produce the video for you to use on your company’s website. I’ve known Bruce for years and his video skills and attention to detail are top notch!

Be sure to check out the “Animated Photos” demo. Pretty cool!

Check out his new company here.

Check out Joe McNally’s New Website


Joe McNally is one of my favorite and most inspiring photographers. He just launched his newly updated website! Check it out here. The man is amazing and his creativity knows no limits.

You’re probably paying too much for cables


It would be kinda hard to exist in this tech world without needing an additional cable here and there. I recently did some upgrading around the house to my TV’s and needed a couple more HDMI cables. When I did some quick price checks the prices varied from around $15-$99 for a standard 6 foot HDMI cable. That’s when it hit me that the average person probably pays way too much for cables. Retail chains like Best Buy sell cables right there next to the consumer electronics and computers that you’re going to buy. Chances are those cables prices are NOT the “best buy.” Cables are a way for retail stores to recoup some of that money/profit margin that they used to discount the prices on those other big ticket items. Consumers are constantly comparing prices for the TV’s, computers, Blu-ray players, etc., but rarely bat and eye when the cables that are needed to run those gadgets are thrown on the bill for some ridiculous prices.

My buying advice

Think about the device you’re getting ready to go buy or order and how you’re going to connect it up. Most electronics these days rarely come with the cables you’re going to need. So since you’re going to need to buy some you might as well plan ahead. No matter how much the sales person tries to pressure you into buying cables in the store, DON’T! You’ll almost always pay more! Also don’t get suckered into buying the “premium” cables or the “gold” cables. Yes, you should buy quality cables, but studies have shown that these premium cables in most cases are no better than the cheaper “non-premium” cables that are sitting right next to them.

Terry, where do you buy your cables from?

I knew you were gonna ask me that. My answer is, “it depends!” My primary source for cables is Cables-to-Go. However, I don’t deal with them exclusively, because depending on the kind of cable I’m looking for they may not have the best price. So here are the latest cable deals I have for you for the most common cables I’ve used recently:

6 foot HDMI Cable Only $14.99 from Octava, Inc. I discovered these guys when I bought my HDMI switcher. The Cables-To-Go price was $19.99. The Best Buy price was….wait for it….$35.99! More than twice the price I paid! I’ve used the Octava HDMI cables for YEARS and haven’t had a single issue yet. I usually keep a couple on hand for future upgrades/toys.

5 meter USB Cable – for shooting Tethered from my Camera into my Laptop. Only $26.99 from Cables To Go!

7 foot Cat5e Ethernet Cable – Cat5e cables will work in most situations over the more expensive Cat6 cables. Staples has this Belkin 7′ cable for only $5.99. The Cables To Go price is $9.99. Best Buy has them for $21.99 (Cat6 was all they carry in this length, but interestingly enough if you want a 50′ Cat5e cable, they (Best Buy) have one for only $19.99 – go figure.).

6 foot Firewire 800 Cable – lastly, I can’t forget about Amazon. Always check Amazon prices because they change all the time. This 6 foot Firewire 800 Cable is only $12.99. The Apple Store will gladly sell you this Belkin one for $39.95.

The Bottom Line

You may even find better deals than I did! Great! Keep in mind though that if it’s too cheap, it may not be worth the effort. For example, if you find a $3 Firewire cable and everyone else is selling it for $12 or more, then that $3 cable may not be worth it to intrust your valuable data to it. Also consider how much handling the cable will get. For example, if the cable is going to be plugged in and unplugged frequently (such as a drive cable), then you probably want a better one with better quality connectors. The main point I’m trying to make here is shop around and do your homework ahead of time. Buy your cables before you need them and you’ll save.

Apple WWDC Keynote Video posted and a few more things…


Apple has posted today’s Phil Schiller keynote from WWDC. See the video here.

A couple more interesting tidbits from today:

Upgrading to the iPhone 3GS may cost you more than you think. The $199 and $299 prices for the 16GB and 32GB models are the prices NEW customers or customers eligible for upgrades will pay. As you know, you signed a 2 year contract when you got your existing iPhone 3G (if you did it on AT&T). The policy for upgrading at a reduced rate is typically 18 months. So even if you bought your iPhone 3G on the day it was announced, that’s only 11 months ago. Most likely you won’t be able to upgrade for those prices. You can check your eligibility right on the Apple Store online or log onto your account to see your upgrade eligibility. Those on the original iPhone should be all set as your two year contract is almost at an end (provided you bought on day one in 2007). Prices could be as high as $599 and $699 for early upgraders. Which, by the way at that point you’d be better off signing a NEW contract, canceling it, and paying the early cancellation fee of $175.


MobileMe get’s some much needed love. Every year many customers ask themselves, “why am I paying for this?” Each customer has his or her own reasons as to why they deem the service worth the price. For me, I like the syncing of info between all my computers. I like the syncing of data (except Contacts, maybe I’ll try it again after 3.0) with my iPhone. I also like the hosted web stuff and email. However, with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 you get new benefits. First of all Apple showed off “Find my iPhone”. This feature allows MobileMe customers to locate a missing iPhone on a map. If that iPhone happens to be in your house, you can even send a command to it to ring even if the ringer is on silent! You can also remote wipe a lost or stolen phone so that your info is no longer on the device. Although I wish this feature would actually password lock the phone so that it couldn’t be used or randomly wipe it so that the thief couldn’t really use it. Yes, I know about serial number blocks that the carriers can do, but this is much more fun. It also seems like iPhone users will FINALLY be able to access their iDisks and the data stored on them, with an upcoming iDisk iPhone App. Also in case you missed it, MobileMe now syncs your notes from Mail and soon from your iPhone running the 3.0 update.

AT&T is the weakest Link

I’m typically not one of those users who likes to bash the carrier. All of the carriers have issues! However, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by AT&T’s apparent inability to keep up with their growth. The iPhone has been missing some key features like MMS messaging and data tethering since day one. These features are probably not hard to implement. As a matter of fact we’re getting them in iPhone OS 3.0 next week. The problem is that AT&T says that MMS messaging won’t be available until “summer” and tethering, well, um it will come to0 at some point, with additional fees. No wonder other countries laugh at us when it comes to our data networks. Oh and don’t get me started about the crippling of the SlingPlayer app to only work over Wi-Fi! If the iPhone was available on multiple US carriers, AT&T would be forced to compete for our business. However, with this exclusive multi-year deal, AT&T gets another free pass. AT&T do me a favor: stop advertising your network if you can’t actually do anything on it!

Updated MacBooks, iPhone OS 3.0, iPhone 3Gs and more


I thought I’d give a quick recap on today’s announcements since my friends are already ringing my phone off the hook anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚ There certainly was no shortage of announcements from this morning’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. Of course you can go to and get all the details of each and every item. This post is just serve as a quick recap for those that just want to know “what’s new?”

Updated MacBooks/MacBook Pros

Apple updated the specs on the 15″ MacBook Pro, 13″ MacBook (now Pro) and MacBook Air while at the same time reducing the prices!

The 15″ MacBook Pro now gets the same built-in battery as it’s 17″ sibling, boasting 7 hours of battery life. It can be configured with up to 8GB of RAM as well as a 500GB hard drive. Probably the most controversial move here is that they removed the ExpressCard Slot and replaced it with an SD card slot instead and they replaced the removable battery with one that’s built-in. The new prices are $1,599, $1,899 and $2,099.

The New 13″ MacBook Pro. The MacBook has been upgraded to MacBook Pro status. It now features an SD slot as well, configurable up to 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, and it now has a FIREWIRE port! Apple has seen the error of its ways in this regard. Probably the most exciting feature of the 13″ MacBook Pro is the price. The 7 hour battery is also built-in on this model. They start at $1,199 which is cheaper than the older model which had less features.

Lastly the MacBook Air gets a price reduction as well. Now the MacBook Air starts at $1,499.

See the new MacBook Pros here.

Safari 4.0 Now Available

The Safari web browser had been in beta for the past couple of months and now it’s officially available in its release form. It was already available via the Software Updates when I ran it a few minutes ago. I’ll have to see if they fixed a couple of the bugs I was having in the beta. Namely, posting links on WordPress on this very blog. Apple bills it as the fastest web browser on any platform.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

As you might expect, the spotlight was on Snow Leopard today. Apple showed off a miriad of enhancements and the one that got me most excited was the Microsoft Exchange support which means that I’ll finally be able to say goodbye to Microsoft Entourage for work email. There were all kinds of other neat UI enhancements to the Finder and the OS in general. The big focus was on 64bit as well it should be. Lastly, Snow Leopard will be available in September for only $29 for existing Leopard users. That has to be the lowest OS price that Apple has ever charged since they’ve been charging for OS upgrades. Snow Leopard is only for Intel Macs!

iPhone OS 3.0 Update

No surprises that Apple also showed more about the iPhone 3.0 update, which had already been previewed. It’s going to fill many of the gaps that the iPhone has had to date including MMS support, Tethering, Cut, Copy & Paste, background notification for 3rd party apps, Turn-by-Turn directions, peer-to-peer gaming, etc. This update will be FREE to existing iPhone users ($9.99 for iPod touch users) and available next week on June 17th! Yes, you know where I’ll be that day. ๐Ÿ™‚

New iPhone 3GS

The most anticipated news of course was the new iPhone hardware. Today Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS. The main points are:

  • Faster processor
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA
  • 3MP Camera with better low light, auto focus and macro modes
  • Video Capture, trimming on the iPhone, share via email, MMS, YouTube, or MobileMe
  • Voice Control
  • Compass App
  • Nike+ support built-in
  • Hardware Data Encryption
  • Better battery life

Available Friday, June 19th – 16GB model (black or white) $199, 32GB model (black or white) $299

8GB iPhone 3G now only $99 and available today!

WWDC ’09 Live Feed

These guys are attempting a live video feed of the WWDC News. Kudos to them and very cool if they are able to pull it off!

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