Pandigital Novel – iPad Lite?

…And this just in from the “imitation is the high form of flattery department” (which is right next to the “I’m hoping for a lawsuit department”)…

Pandigital (a company best known for their digital photo frames) has announced a new color eReader.  But is more than just a simple eReader.  This does it all!  The Pandigital Novel 7″ Color Multimedia eReader handles apps, music, video, web surfing, email, calendar and more.  And this all comes with a user friendly 7” touch screen.  Sound familiar?

pandigital-novel-reader-300x300apple_ipad_2Look familiar?

It comes with a paltry 1 GB internal memory but can be expanded to a respectable 32 GB with a SD card.  With built in Wi-Fi and rechargeable battery (for up to 6 hours of reading time), it operates on the Android platform and has a 600X800 pixel resolution screen, which may turn some people off, but should be okay for an entry-level device.  The screen on the Novel is a matte finish, which some will appreciate as the glossy screen of the iPad was a huge turn-off to some users for reading at length.

Apps and programs are loaded via USB cable.  It comes stock with the B&N eReader and is available in Black or white.  The best part, IMHO, is the price.  I found if available for about $169.99 to $179.99 (via Google search) and oddly enough (since it doesn’t have the Kindle reader on it) on

I think this would make a great middle of the road option for people who just don’t want to plunk $500 on a iPad they aren’t sure they are going to use or just don’t like Apple.

While obviously not as fully functional as the iPad, nor having the breadth of application the iPad does, I think with the right marketing the Pandigital Novel may find a niche.

Five tips for beginning meditation

I have been mediating for a few months now.  I have done some research and have Feng_Shuideveloped this list of what I think are the top five most important things about learning to mediate.  Of course I am still new to this, but at this stage in my journey, these are what I have found to be the most helpful.  Your mileage may vary.

  1. 1.  Focus on the Breathing.  Breathing is a great focus point when meditating.  It’s natural and it’s always with you.  As your mind drifts as you meditate, gently return your focus to the breathing.  One technique I like is to count breathing; inhale – one, exhale – two, inhale –three, exhale – four, ect. (Watch how your mind drifts as you count.)
  2. Posture is important.  Like the developing the habit of mediation itself, correct posture is also a habit.  Enforcing good posture now will become habit.  Be mindful of keeping your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  3. Don’t worry about time.  When beginning to mediate, the goal is to get into the habit of mediating, now how long you can do it.  The goal at the beginning to make meditate; over time you can increase the amount of time you sit.
  4. Be aware of your monkey mind, but don’t try to tame it.  Trying not to force your mind to do something is very frustrating.  Don’t fight it.  When you notice the monkey mind, be patient with yourself and gently return to focusing on the breathing.  Perhaps later there will be a time to tame it, but for now, just be aware of it.
  5. Come with no expectations.  If you come expecting something mystical to happen, or to experience sudden enlightenment, or to be more relaxed, or less angry, you’re going to be disappointed.  I don’t mean to say these things cannot (or will not) happen, but to expect them only will lead to disappointment and frustrations and, in all likelihood, leading you to quit meditation.  Come only to sit.  And breathe.

Others are Enlightened.

813 on the Network+ exam.  Woot woot! I would have been fairly disappointed if I would have not passed after working in the IT field for the last 20 years.

Some I am buckling down and learning to program the iPhone.  My plan right now center around the book “iPhone for Programmers: An App-Driven Approach” by Paul and Harvey Deitel.  The basic premise of the book it to give the source code to 14 different apps and explain how each one works.  I think I will appreciate this approach because I enjoy reverse-engineering things to discover how they work.

I have downloaded the code and started looking at it a bit, but that is as far as I have gotten.  Still, a journey of a thousand miles…

In the Zen realm, today I will be practicing behaving that all those around me are enlightened and are hear to teach me something.   I wish I could have started practicing this earlier today as I tried getting my eight-old out the door.  Definitely not my most Zen moment.

But them I used this tool to address and issue I have with a person at work. Initially I was frustrated and angry because it seems this person has more than their share of problems and tends to create their own problems where none exist. 

So I asked myself “What are they trying to teach me?  What can I learn from this person?”  

I think, for this person at least,  the answer is patience and to not pre-judge situations.  So I am approaching this person’s issue in a methodical manner and not attaching any judgments I may already have formed to this situation.

I can’t say if it will resolve this person’s issue or not, but I know I am more calm and relaxed about it.

Fun week

This week I am taking a Network+ class to get my Network+ certification.  In many ways it’s kind of pointless as I have been doing network administration for almost 20 years now.  But still I want to get to have it on my resume and to say that I have it.


I have take the class twice now.  The last time I took the class (in 2002) I never got around to actually taking the test.  In the past eight years much has changed with the curriculum, so I am retaking the class.  This time, however, I made sure the exam was given at the end of the class.

One item of interest this week is the announcement of Facebook Places.  And the talking heads are all going crazy about this, mostly because of the negative reputation Facebook has for personal privacy.  Some of this is deserved, but for the most part I have always stood on two points on this issue: 1) if you don’t want people to know something, don’t put it on the internet and 2) don’t join a social networking site and then be surprised when the site tries to promote, you know, social networking.

As it stands, Facebook has made it pretty clear, without saying as much, they have learned something (at least in the short term) from past mistakes and are taking people’s privacy pretty seriously for now.

But still it is pretty evident that location based services are not without risk or problems.  As noted here and at it kind of highlights the issue and problems with services like Fourspace and Facebook Places.  While I’m not suggesting rampant paranoia is in order, a healthy dose care can go a long way.

That said, while I don’t know if I personally will ever use Facebook Places, but I think much of the reaction to this announcement has been fairly reactionary given how easy it is to disable.

I am considering changing over from Tae Kwon Do to Aikido.  The main reason is the spiritual aspect of Aikido which is rooted in the Shinto tradition (although a particular variation of Shintoism that focuses more on non-violence.)  I think it would help me with my mediatation.

Practicing Patience and the Fence.

I am not a patient person at all. I like to think that I am, but clearly I am not. This is evidenced by how quickly I get angry. I am reminded of a Jerky Boys bit with one of their main characters, Frank Rizzo.

In the skit, Frank is calling a Substance Abuse hotline because his family and friends say he needs help. Frank insists it isn’t the bottle and a half of whiskey he drinks (chased by a six pack of beer or two) but his temper that is the issue. He says “I’m nutty, I’m a crazy kinda guy. I’m always swinging at the fences. You know? You get in my way I’ll run right over ya. I’m sick.”

In many ways, his statement rings all too true for me. The question becomes how can I change this habit in myself?

There is a old story about a man who is teaching his son about anger.  He tells him every time he is angry to pound a nail into a fence until he is no longer angry.  After a while of doing this, the son tells the father he has succeeded in controlling his anger.  The father tells him that is good, but now he wants him to pull out a nail every time he has succeeded in controlling his anger.  When he is finished pulling all the nails he returns to his father to tell him of his success.  The father takes the son over to the fence and shows him the holes.  He explains to the son that when you say or do things things in anger, even if you offer a thousand apologies, they leave a mark that can never be completely healed.

In my mediation I have tried not to get frustrated with myself as my mind wanders.  I think this is how I will cultivate patience.  Also I have mentally begun imagining pounding nails of my own into fences. 

I am hoping that between cultivating patience with myself and the mental image of pounding nails into a fence that I may control my anger better (or at least how I express that anger) and become a more patient person.



One thing that has been holding me back from working on developing for the iPad is lack of inspiration.  I just haven’t had any good ideas about what to create.  Finally this weekend it occured to me an app I would like to see.  So it is time to begin.

Just found an app that does most of what I was considering. The additional features  I had planned on adding apparantly has been nixed by Apple in the past.

In the words of Snidely Whiplash, “Curses!  Foiled again!!!”

Back to the drawing board….