SimonHey, y’all! Simon here! So… this is it, huh? The hour is almost upon us: SUPER BOWL XLVIII! Hard to believe the season is over so quickly… Time flies when you’re almost 8 years old! I finished the season (and playoffs) at 166-99… let’s see if I can keep the losses in double-digits this weekend! I love y’all and hope you have a GREAT off-season!


SUPER BOWL XLVIII – Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos: Well, this should be a heck of a battle, huh? This is the first time that a #1 offense has net a #1 defense in the Super Bowl. Ever! Denver is averaging an amazing 37.9 points per game (PPG), almost 15 points higher than the league average. On the other hand, Seattle is allowing only 14.4 points per game, which is 9 points lower than the league average. The difference – 23.4 PPG – is the largest for any Super Bowl… by far. But enough with all the numbers higgeldy-giggledy… who’s going to actually win this thing?

Simon’s money is on the Broncos. Yes, the Seahawks have a great defense that’ll keep the game fairly close. If it were a shootout, the Broncos would have the definite edge, and I think Denver’s defense is “just good enough” to keep Seattle in check. Don’t get me wrong – Seattle’s offense is pretty good – and that Russell Wilson is ABOUT HANDSOME, am I right ladies? – but when it comes to Super Bowls, age and experience matter, and Pey Pey has that in spades. Like, a LOT (in case you missed it, Peyton is almost 13 years older than Russell Wilson). And now that Simon’s close to the 8 year mark, he’ll go with experience over raw beauty (although WHAT BEAUTY it is!). Also, daddy sez I have to pull for Denver because Demaryius Thomas went to Georgia Tech. Hey, he’s also handsome! WHY DON’T YOU COME SAY HEY TO SIMON, DEMARYIUS?

I hope y’all had fun reading the picks this year! The Simon is going to bone up – wink! wink! – on some football during the offseason, and promises to do EVEN BETTER next year!

Love y’all!


– The Simon!

NIFTY GADGET: Mountek Universal CD Slot Mount

A couple years back, my girlfriend bought a 2002 PT Cruiser from her brother. It’s the car I usually drive when I’m by myself. Despite all the guff the car gets in pop culture (“PT Loser!”), it’s actually a fun little car to drive.

But there are a couple of issues when it comes to using a GPS with the Cruiser.

The first is a design issue: the windshield is so far way from the driver’s seat that if I use Garmin’s windshield mount I almost have to squint to read the GPS, and if I want to interact with it, I have to lean all the way forward in my seat and fully extend my arm.

The second problem is a defect in the plastic used in the PT Cruiser’s dash. There’s a vent at the bottom of the dash, near the windshield, for the defroster. The plastic used to make the dash becomes extremely brittle with age, and can crack; when it does, it’s usually around that vent. And, like a crack in a windshield, the crack can grow over time. We have a crack in our dash, and it goes all the way from the vent to the front of the dash by the passenger seat, effectively splitting the dash into two pieces (here’s a Google Image search for “PT Cruiser dash crack”; here’s just one company that offers various plastic and carpet covers to hide the cracks). Anyway, the point is, because of the crack I don’t want to use a dash mount, for fear of making the crack worse.

So… how to mount a GPS or smartphone in the Cruiser that doesn’t involve a windshield or dash mount? Mountek has you covered! Ladies and gentlemen, here is the “nGroove Universal CD Slot Mount for Cell Phones and GPS Devices”:

(click to embiggen)

As the name suggests, the mount fits in to the CD slot of your car stereo. There’s a screw you turn on the underside of the unit which expands the mount in the CD slot, locking it in place. You then put your phone or GPS into the unit and squeeze the two sides to close it. The device mount swivels, so you can use your phone\GPS in portrait or landscape position (and, if you look closely, you can see that the side on the “bottom” of the unit is open, allowing you to charge your phone\GPS if that’s where the charging port is). To free your device, just press the rounded button on the top of the base and the sides pop open.

It’s a good solution to the problem of where to mount a device in my car, and it’s especially cool because it works really well with my Samsung Galaxy phone. We have a dedicated GPS unit (a Garmin Nuvi), but Google Maps on my phone gives much better directions 9 times out of 10, so I’ve come to prefer using my phone over the Garmin.

Of course, this mount makes it impossible to listen to CDs in the car; this isn’t a problem for me: thanks to iPods and smartphones and tablets, I haven’t listened to a CD in a car in at least 5 years. In fact, I’m almost certain that I’ve never even tried playing a CD in the Cruiser!

One minor annoyance is that the mount covers up the clock. Of course, if I have my phone in the mount then it’s not a problem, since I can see the time on my phone. But if I’m running a routine errand – like going to the grocery store – then I normally don’t mount my phone. And while taking the mount down isn’t a big hassle, it is too much work just to see what time it is. So I have to get out my phone and check there [note to self: take watches to get the batteries replaced!]

I also wish the mount was able to tilt “up” more. In the picture, the mount is titled upwards as much as it will go. It’s not a “bad” angle, but it is a bit more “straight out” than “up towards me” than I’d like.

Still these are minor quibbles. The mount is really pretty cool, and easily solves the problem of where (and how) to mount a device in my car. The mount is around $24.95 and is available from Amazon.

Georgia Tech 2014 Football Schedule for Outlook!

The ACC released the 2014 football schedule today, and I’ve created downloadable versions of Georgia Tech’s schedule that work with either Microsoft Outlook or Gmail and Apple devices.

As you probably know, game times and TV coverage aren’t sometimes known in college football until a few days before the game. So, unlike my Steelers schedules (which include the kickoff time and TV network), this schedule has the games starting at 8AM the day of and lists the game location instead of the network, as in “Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA”, instead of “ESPN2″. A reminder is scheduled for 13:00 (1:00PM ET) the day before each game.

The schedule is available in two formats: the traditional CSV format (Microsoft Outlook and Yahoo! Calendar) and the iCalendar format (used by Google Calendar and Apple devices). The CSV version of the schedule is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 98 or later. It might also work other calendar apps that can import events from CSV files; it has only been tested with Outlook 2010, however. The iCal version of the schedule has not been tested at all. I used this handy online tool to convert the CSV to iCal format. If you experience any problems with it, please take it up with the converter’s author and not me!

Like last year, I put the CSV and iCal files into the same download package. Be sure to import the right one after downloading!

Georgia Tech 2014 Football Schedule

*     *     *

Outlook users may follow these simple instructions to import the schedule. Make sure to read the all the directions below before you begin, as there are some options you may wish to change before importing the calendar:

  1. Download the file to your desktop and unzip.
  2. For OUTLOOK 2007 and earlier: select “File” > “Import and Export” > “Import from another program or file”, then click “Next”. For OUTLOOK 2010: Select “File” > “Open” > “Import” > “Import from another program or file”, then click “Next”.
  3. Choose “Comma Separated Values (Windows)”, then click “Next”.
  4. Use the “Browse” button to select the CSV file you unzipped in step 1.
  5. On the next screen make sure to select “Calendar” as the destination then click “Next” and “Finish”.

DISABLING REMINDERS: If you wish to disable the reminders, open the CSV file and change the value of “reminder on/off” (column G) to FALSE for each game before you import the Calendar into Outlook.

CHANGING “SHOW TIME AS”: By default, the entries will display their time as “Free” on your calendar. If you wish to change this to something else, change the value of each entry in Column V (“Show Time As”) from FREE to “1? (Tentative), “2? (Busy), “3? (Free) or “4? (Out of the Office) – without the quotes.

TROUBLESHOOTING: If you try to import the schedule but don’t see any of the games listed in your calendar, shut Outlook down (open Task Manager to make sure that OUTLOOK.EXE is not running) and re-open Outlook and try the import again. If you’re still having problems, leave a comment below and I’ll try to help!

VERSION INFORMATION: These files were tested on January 22, 2014 on a computer running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and 32-bit Microsoft Office 2010. It was scanned with Avira Free Antivirus and found to be virus-free. It’s the exact same file I’ve used for a decade now, so it should work for just about everyone.

NIFTY GADGET: Braun M90 Mobile Shaver

I’ve worn glasses since the 4th grade, and so I’m intimately familiar with all the minor annoyances that come with wearing them. There’s falling asleep in them and waking with a mess of twisted metal on your face. There’s playing sports and the fear of a baseball destroying your glasses. There’s rain: I could never work on one of those Deadliest Catch boats, ‘cos I’d have to stop and clean my glasses every 14 seconds. There’s even being careful what you order at a restaurant, ‘cos you don’t want to accidentally get spaghetti sauce or fried chicken grease on your glasses (even though I usually carry glass wipes, you can be sure that the day I forget it is the day I get kung pao sauce all over my glasses!)

One of the biggest annoyances for glasses wearers is shaving. My vision’s so bad that I can’t shave at a sink without glasses. But if I do wear glasses, there’s a good chance they’ll get covered in shaving cream. I could shave in the shower, but I’d need one of those anti-fog mirrors with magnification. This also takes extra time, something I don’t normally have in the morning. That’s why I became such a fan of electric shavers. No shaving cream is required, so I can shave with glasses on and not make a mess. And if I’m running late… hell, I can shave in the car!

But electric shavers have their own set of problems. The “block and foil” (the bit that actually cuts your beard, and the thin piece of metal that covers it, respectively) need to be replaced every 12-18 months or so. Replacements usually cost $25-$30. It’s not a huge expense, but it’s an annoying one. But the big kick in the ass is the battery: most electric shavers use a very uncommon Ni-Cad battery that must be soldered into the unit. It’s not a matter of just popping in a fresh set of AA batteries. You have to: a) order the battery online, take the shaver apart, take the old battery out, solder the replacement in and then put it all back together again; or b) send the shaver somewhere to have someone else do it.

Most repair shops charge $30-$40 to replace a battery. And since hardly anyone actually repairs things locally these days, you’ll most likely have to ship it somewhere, which is probably another $10. And should you need to replace the block and foil at around the same time the battery dies (a common thing), you’re looking at something like $65 to $80 to replace consumable parts on a shaver that probably only cost $79.95 to begin with. It’s kind of like how you can buy an inkjet printer for $39.99 these days, but replacing the ink cartridges costs $65.

I got a Braun shaver a couple Christmases ago. It works fine… except for the battery. I can get two shaves (barely) before the “low battery” light comes on. I used to be able to use it for a whole week before needing to charge it. Irritated at this, I decided to look for a new shaver, one with user-replaceable batteries. And believe it or not, there don’t appear to be any… except for “mobile shavers” or “travel shavers” – tiny units designed to fit in a glove box or weekend bag with ease. Since I’m a big fan of Braun (except their batteries), I went with the Braun M90:

Photo by Amazon

The shaver takes two AA batteries, which you install by twisting the bottom of the unit and pulling the cover out. A built-in cover swings open to reveal the shaver; the cover also locks the ON\OFF button in place, preventing you from turning it on accidentally. The M90 also features a hair trimmer, seen on the left in the picture (it doesn’t normally stick out like that; Amazon slid it out for the photo). There’s even a nifty brush tucked in to the bottom of the shaver!

Continue reading “NIFTY GADGET: Braun M90 Mobile Shaver”

Is it just me, or…

Am I the only person driven to the brink of insanity by this?

This week’s episode of Intelligence (a new CBS series featuring Josh Holloway from Lost, aptly described by some as “Chuck without the humor”) opens in London:


The very next scene – the first actual scene after the opening shot of London – is of a guy walking through a door:


What’s wrong with this picture? I’ll give you a hint:


OK, the screencap is a little dark, and maybe you can’t see the detail. So let me use the old CSI tactic of zooming in and enhancing it:


Yep… even though we’re supposed to be London, the set has North American electrical outlets. It might seem nitpicky to some, but it’s the FIRST SCENE of the episode, and the outlets are RIGHT THERE!

This little “flub” also struck the season premiere of Psych a couple weeks ago: leads Shawn and Gus went to England so the show could do a Guy Ritchie parody. And here’s what happened:




And Psych took it further by showing the “English countryside”… which apparently looks a lot like British Columbia:



Samsung Galaxy Duplicate Calendar Entries

If you own a Samsung Galaxy device, you might have noticed an annoying “bug”: duplicate entries in your calendar, especially for recurring events like birthdays and anniversaries. You might also have noticed that these duplicate entries seem to exist only on your phone and not your Outlook calendar (if using Google Calendar Sync) or the Google Calendar itself.

What’s happening is that the calendar app Samsung includes with their phones has a local calendar (“My Calendar”), but the app also syncs to other calendars, like Google Calendar, Facebook Calendar, etc. I’m not exactly sure what happens, but I think when you sync a third-party calendar, like Google Calendar, to your phone, “My Calendar” sees these recurring events and copies them to your phone. Which would be one thing, except the app doesn’t hide those same recurring events from your other calendars, so you get duplicate entries.

If you’re the inquisitive type, you might go to the calendar’s settings. There you’d find checkboxes for each calendar which allow you to toggle each one on or off. One of those checkboxes is for “My Calendar”, so you’d think it’d just be a matter of unchecking the box and going on about your day. But no: although you can uncheck the “My Calendar” box, it will always automatically “re-check” itself. It would appear that you cannot disable “My Calendar”, but Samsung has put a non-working “disable” checkbox in the settings panel, which is always a great UI design.

So… is there a way to fix this? There is if you: a) use Google Calendar; b) have Android 4.0.3 or higher; and c) don’t have any other data in “My Calendar”:

1) Go to Settings > Application Manager > All.

2) Scroll down to “Calendar” and touch it to select. Once at the app’s property page, click “Disable”, then choose “OK” to any warning messages you may see. This step disables Samsung’s crappy calendar.

3) Back at the Application Manager > All page, scroll down and choose “Calendar Storage”. Click “Clear Data” and “Clear Cache” (if your cache is listed as anything other than 0.00B). This step deletes all your existing calendar data.

4) Go to the Play Store and install Google Calendar.

5) You can then go to Settings > Accounts > Google > [Google User Name] and force your phone to re-sync your Google Calendar. Or you can just wait and let it happen automatically in the background.

6) Reboot your phone. This step removes the icon for the old Calendar app from your Apps screen (“Start menu”).

Of course, if you’re a heavy user of the calendar app on your phone, you might want to double-check that there’s nothing on the “My Calendar” app before you clear the data (step 3). You can do that by going to the Calendar’s settings and unchecking all third-party calendars and seeing what data remains. In my case, “My Calendar” contained nothing but duplicated recurring events.