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The Real Deal 179: Gadget road test

Rafe and Tom talk about the long-term use of gadgets like TiVo, the MiFi, and more.

Rafe and Tom talk about the long-term use of gadgets like TiVo, the MiFi, and more. We even get a road test report on FreeNAS from Dave the psychologist!

Now playing: Watch this: Ep. 179: Gadget road test


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Episode 179

Tom- Updates on using
Roadee – Open-source nav application. Maps were great! Nav was too laggy.

Seagate 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive – Installed this despite sporadic reports of clicking and unreliability. One week of operation, so far so good. Ishow you for video capture works much better with the faster HD. Warcraft oddly showed some weirdness after I first installed it. Weird lagginess that wasn’t related to Internet. Fan does seem to run more often now.

Verizon MiFi – Weird issues with remembering the connection. Have finally found a few nooks and crannies where recption is slow. Didn’t work to carry to Skype connectios from Dragon*Con. Mostly still wonderful.


* Tivo hard drive fail (My DVR expander)
o and Using Twitter for customer support
* T42 fail — spill. How not to react
o and should I get another?
* Dlink 655 router – great! except with 802.11b. Had to get a PCCArd N wifi card for the laptop.



Hey guys

I have been using FreeNas, a free, open source NAS. I have it boot from the
CD and it saves the config to a USB key. I have a 30 GB drive that was in
the old computer I use as the NAS and a 1 TB USB drive.

Pros, it is really stable, and there are a tonne of features. Freenas has a
built in bittorrent service for umm, linux ISOs (ahem) a built in UPnP
service so I can stream media to either of our two xbox 360s, an iTunes
server so all of our music is on there. Oh yeah, and of course SMB and AFP
shares (it does a number of other types of shares too, but these two allow
both our Macs, PCs and our son’s linux box to share files).

Cons, umm, well, I have been using unix since 1988, so for me it is fun to
play with config stuff using SSH rather than using the web interface for
freenas, for some others this may be a bit of a problem.

Love the show

Dave (the psychologist)


Hey Tom and Rafe,

I am a software developer in Wisconsin and I have gone through several headphones and I finally found two I like. I use one set for walking my dog, jogging, and other sport activates and I use another set for work, mowing the yard, snow blowing the driveway, and for home use.

The set I really like for sport activities is the Sennheiser MX85 Sport Series II Twist. These are great! They never fallout, the sound is acceptable, and the design is great. The wire goes behind your neck so it never gets in the way. I was using the Apple iPod ear buds but when I would sweat they would never stay in my ears.

The set I like for work and around the house are the Bose TriPort Around-Ear Headphones. They sound great, are comfortable to wear, and they block out background noises.

I love the podcast! Keep up the great work.



Hey Tom & Rafe,

A few months ago I dropped my Ipod nano 1st gen for a Sansa Fuze 4GB. I heard about DoubleTwist, the application that lets other MP3 players sync with Itunes, and it works amazingly well. I can plug my Fuze into my computer and it automatically syncs copy-protected & non copy-protected music! I enjoy the Fuze’s better audio quality and its ability to play Slotradio which allows me to find new music from a type of music I love without needing an Internet connection.

PS: Don’t use DoubleTwist on the Mac it crashes often on Snow Leopard but DoubleTwist says that they are working an a fix.

Love the show,



This is Chip the Mech. Engineer and I am looking for something that will convert the tv shows I have in iTunes to another format that I can watch on something else. I am currently on a PC running Vista (can’t wait to upgrade to Windows 7).

Thanks for all the great information.


Answer: TuneBite Platinum for $40. OR try QTFairUse and an old version of iTunes. 7 or before. Remember that these programs are questionably legal and should only be used for personal fair use copies.

5. ***********************

[leftover from 177]

Hey Tom & Rafe,

I have an 8 GB iPhone 3G. The availible capacity before I put anything on it, as you probably know, is around 7 GB. I’ve attached a screen shot of what I have. My problem is the almost 700 MB of “Other” on my iPhone. I’ve searched around to try to find what is contained in this “Other” portion and I haven’t found anything that would take up 700 MB of space. One thought I had was that this is data from my apps, but I took all of my apps off my phone only to see “Other” go up to over 800 MB! I’d appreciate any help as this is becoming a nuisance as I approach full capacity.

Love the show,
Dan in Massachusetts

From the Apple forums:
“Other” is contacts, calendar events, notes, cached emails, and some 3rd party apps write data to Other (some write the data to their own ‘container’). Normally, Other runs around 220-300 MB in size. It can become bloated due to a failed or interrupted sync, running to several GB if music/videos are miscategorized – in that case, sometimes repeating the sync corrects it, else a Restore is needed to correct it.


Another solution for deleted Mac partition

Hey Real Deal. I had a situation very similar to the one your user wrote in about, and I was able to get through it. I used an the Live CD functionality on an Ubuntu CD. The later version do have read-only HFS/HFS+ built in, so try to get Ubuntu 09.04. Even though it will look like nothing to any partition editor, we know the data is still there.

You can run GParted (sudo gparted) to see which partition it is. You can most likely tell based on size and order. And it will be labeled as unknown format. Then simply mount it from the command line. Just google it, it’s easy. This is the only way, since the computer can’t “know” it’s an HFS+ partition. Then, you can mount any other partition on the same drive or any other drive, and transfer the files.

- AnonyousTony


One feature I really really like that both Windows Vista and Windows 7 have is that when you do a fresh install of the OS to a hard drive that already has a previous version of Windows on it, it creates a folder called "Windows.old" that keeps your old Windows folder, program files, user data, and your documents/libraries from the other version of windows.
This worked when I installed Vista on my XP MCE laptops, and when I installed the Windows 7 RC on both of my notebooks.
I never hear anyone mentioning this feature, and as someone who has been building his own computers since Windows 3.1 was around, I think this is one of the most useful features I've seen in an OS installation.
That having been said, I still back everything up that's entirely irreplaceable. Better to have two of something than none.

–Patrick Casey
Gwangju, South Korea


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