December 27, 2007 spout

Christmas Delight

Not all was gloom and blackness this XMas. Among the new things in our lives, several of them rocked*:

  • Our new HP MediaServer running Windows Home Server is awesome. As a Microsoft employee, I got a killer deal on this server appliance, but knowing what I now know, I’d have paid full price — a whopping $550. In fact, I recently sunk another $200 into it for a memory upgrade and a 750GB HD, bringing it up to 1.25TB.

    WHS keeps all the computers in my house automatically backed up, keeps shared folders duplicated across multiple HDs which can be added via the slide-out drawers in the front of the unit (no muss, no fuss) and serves it all up over the web securely. Plus, it’s platform for add-ins, so, for example, if I want offsite storage of everything on the WHS box in case of catastrophe, I can get KeepValue for a flat $100 year.

  • My youngest’s new Zune 2 is the best MP3 player I’ve ever touched. We got the 4GB version, which is tiny, but still comes with amazing video playback, an FM radio and very intuitive controls. (I know I’m unusual in this regard, but when I first touched the iPod, I had no idea how to make it work and the manual didn’t help.)

    The client software is also a joy to use. The look and feel is unique and simple. Both the client and Zune UIs make me hope that those guys actually are building a phone. I want it.

    Plus, we got a pair of the Altec-Lansing Zune speaker dock from for $40 and they sound great, worked instantly and come with the cutest remote control. Very nice package.

  • I can’t wait to put my new portable Bosch 10″ Table Saw with Gravity Rise Stand to use (thanks, Babe!). I’ve been remodeling my homes for years, doing as much of it myself as I have time for, but was missing a saw to do straight rips. I’m all set now!

  • My brother-in-law got Rock Band for his family and it *rocks*, especially the tone feedback on the microphone. (I love to sing, which you’ll know if you’re ever trapped in a car with me and Bohemian Rhapsody comes on the radio : )

  • My youngest also got a pair of the Killer Rabbit Slippers, which Chris picked up for me when he and his wife went to Spamalot. I’d covet my son’s new slippers except I love the Goofy loafer Slippers I stole from him years ago. : )

What did Santa bring you this year? Anything you’d recommend or want to steer folks away from?

*Yes, I know I’m a Microsoft employee and biased. Feel free to take what I say with as much salt as your heart can take. : )