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    RPi logo

I’ve been playing with my RaspberryPi for the past few months, and one of my favorite projects has been running XBMC (via Openelec) on it. I was skeptical about the performance of the low-powered RPi, but it has been running really well for me. My (very old) Panasonic plasma only does 720p and the RPi has been able to play every 720p video I’ve been able to throw at it. It hasn’t had any problem playing music off my RAID server and displaying photos as well. I had some stuttering problems playing music via Airplay off my MacBook Pro, but haven’t tried it since I upgraded to the latest test release, so more info on that coming up shortly. Try it today!

Bolse 3.1A 15W Dual USB Charger

I have a Nook Color tablet. Yes, I’m using 4 year old technology – shocking! I keep thinking about buying a Nexus 7, but the good folks over at XDA-Developers keep coming out with great new ROMs for the Nook. Anyway, more on that later. The Nook (as with many tablets) charges much faster with a high-powered USB port (typically 2A or more works best). I wanted a charger to use at work, so I picked this up. It has a 2A port and a 1A port, so I can charge the Nook as well as the multitude of other battery-powered electronics I own (bluetooth headset, iPhone, 4g modem, bluetooth music adapter, headphone amp, various portable chargers). Does it work as advertised? The answer is a resounding “maybe.” The Nook also uses a special micro USB cable with extra pins to accommodate the faster charging. I bought one of these cables on eBay (from China, of course) that claims to have the extra pins, but I’m not so sure they’re really there. My Nook charges just fine, but it doesn’t seem as fast as my OEM charger at home. I’ll do a more controlled test in the near future and report back my findings.

For you Pulp Fiction loving, Republican hating folks out there, here’s a great parody that answers the question of what really happened with Dick Cheney and Harry Whittington and that infamous shooting incident.

OK, why do I think I’m qualified to even suggest what to buy and where to buy it? Well, for one, I’m really cheap. Which, of course, means that I have a natural urge to try to get the best deal. That sometimes bites back, though, as it’s occasionally necessary to pay a premium either to buy quality product or buy it from a reputable source. My garage is a testament to bad purchasing attempts – all kinds of random electronics and computer gear that either don’t live up to their promise or just plain stopped working. I’ll make sure I document all those experiences, too, so you can learn from my mistakes.

I also love gadgets. I admit it. My name is Jeff and I’m a gadgetaholic. Let’s see…Treo, portable video player, MP3 player, plasma TV, noise-cancelling headphones, those goofy glasses that are supposed to project your computer screen, point-and-shoot digital camera, digital SLR, 4 computers (in actual use, about 4 more in parts), DSL, wireless network, firewall, Linux server – you get the idea.

Ok, so everyone always asks me advice on purchasing all sorts of electronic gadgets – computers, home theater stuff, cameras, you name it. I guess it’s because I tend to research the hell out of things – always looking for the best bang for the buck. So instead of having to repeat myself a million times, I figured I’d just record my purchasing experiences here. Enjoy!

P.S. Give me some time – I’ve got lots of catching up to do!