Digital Thingamajigs
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Catch a glimpse of history

AP photo

I admit it. The space shuttle on a gadget blog is pretty big stretch. The shuttle may not be the typical gadget you read about on this blog, still it’s no less interesting. But if you have a love of things electronic, digital or science-related, then this should be right up your alley.

For a very limited time, NASA is giving science buffs of all ages the opportunity to purchase shuttle launch tickets for the final voyage of the Atlantis — or any shuttle — from Kennedy Space Center. The launch of shuttle mission STS-135 is planned for Friday, July 8 at 11:40 a.m., barring any bad weather or unforeseen problems. This will be the last time in history to witness the launch of any NASA space shuttle.

AP photo
The registration process will be from May 30 at 9 a.m. through June 5, 2011 at 5 p.m., and a random drawing will be conducted to pick the lucky space cadets who will then be notified via email of the opportunity to buy the launch viewing tickets. The winner then will have one day to buy the tickets, which are $61 for adults and $51 for children between ages 3-11. And according to the Kennedy Space Center website, if you do not buy the tickets in a day, "your opportunity will be forfeited.” Each person can buy up to six tickets per household.

To find out how to participate in the ticket lottery, visit the ticket website at or visit the Kennedy Space Center website for more information at

And for those who can’t afford to buy the tickets or have bad luck with lotteries, there is a website with information on the best places along the Florida coast to see the launch “off-site.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love cable TV? There's an app (or two) for that

If you’re a cable TV fan like me and have an iPad and/or iPhone 4, there are some pretty awesome apps out there waiting for you to download them.

As a Time Warner Cable subscriber, I recently downloaded the TWCable TV app, which allows you to stream (view) your cable TV channels in high definition on your iPad. The app has around 50 channels now, which may vary depending on where you live, but is being upgraded constantly with new channels being added nearly every week.

The app is very simple. Once you start it up, a small listing of your available channels appears on the left side of the screen and allows you to scroll through until you find the channel you like. A small “recent channels” listing in the upper-right hand corner of the screen allows you easy access to often-viewed channels.

There is a catch, however. You must (obviously) be a Time Warner subscriber, but you also must subscribe to Time Warner’s cable Internet service. Finally, the app only works while you are within range of your home. If you have a home network, the app will give you up to a few hundred feet of access if you have a good WiFi router. So you can sit on your porch, in the backyard, by the pool or in the bathroom. Hey, I won’t judge.

And if you’re a Comcast subscriber, there’s an app for you. Xfinity Mobile for the iPad and iPhone now provides video streaming for paying subscribers and gives users the ability to manage their DVR recordings from anywhere. The app also provides access to Comcast email and customer service links.

And finally, Home Box Office has just added its HBO Go app for the iPhone and iPad. The app allows subscribers to access HBO’s original series, movies, sports, comedies and more. The app is free to HBO subscribers, but as with the TWC app, there’s a catch.

Not only must you subscribe to HBO, but you must also have one of the following approved cable or satellite providers to get the app to work: AT&T, Charter, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Suddenlink, Verizon, and Xfinity. Unfortunately for me, Time Warner currently isn’t one of the providers so I’m unable to use the app right now, which means Tony Soprano and Kenny Powers must be confined to my living room — for now anyway.