Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Garmin nuvi 265 wt - Review Garmin nuvi 265 wt reviewThis Christmas, Santa presented us with a TomTom XL 340s. One of Santa's Elves was able to purchase it from Target on Black Friday for the $99 door buster price. I haven't opened it yet. That's why this is a review about the Garmin nuvi 365 wt.

I decided to head to Costco to purchase the Garmin nuvi 365 wt for $169+ tax because I was really interested in having a GPS navigation device that supported Bluetooth handsfree calls since the city of Honolulu is a "handsfree driving city". Some of you may wonder, "Why do you even need a GPS having been born & raised in Honolulu & driving for almost 20 years???" Realisticly, the only time I do have the desire to use a GPS navigational device is when I'm looking for houses that are new listings. It's very helpful to find small streets in neighborhoods rarely visited. Garmin nuvi 265 wt reviewWell, to cut straight to the point, I'm heading back to Costco to return the Garmin nuvi 365 wt. (I really appreciate Costco's no-hassle return policies.) The reasons that I am returning it are because I am not satisfied with:

- The lifetime traffic service that it comes with does not seem to even be available in Honolulu, Hawaii (a city that just received the ranking of worst rush hour traffic beating LA!). *update* just received email reply from Garmin Support stating that Honolulu, Hawaii is covered. Doesn't matter since I can't get it to work!!! & for the reason below this.
- For the unit to receive traffic service the power cord/traffic receiver needs to be plugged into the unit and connected to power. This is annoying because the cord will be hanging down from your window or dash area to the cigarette lighter. It's very distracting.
- The GPS receiver appears to be rather weak. The unit needs to be mounted on the top of the dashboard with the permanent sticker thing or on the actual windshield with the suction cup mount to receive the GPS signal. These locations block the view of the road and I don't think it's safe. I wanted to have the unit lower on the center console. This could be resolved by an external antenna, but I don't think it should be necessary since a cheaper TomTom unit I've used was able to receive signal without problems sitting on the passenger seat.
- The Bluetooth handsfree works, but... when the Bluetooth makes the connection, there is some sort of glitch on the device that causes the volume of the unit to drop making the navigational direction too low to hear. You are able to correct this by going back to the volume setting where you will notice it already is at "100%" then exiting out. Doing this will bring the volume truly back to 100%. Honolulu being a handsfree city makes this process rather annoying to do evertime you get back into the car. *A side note, my phone is a Nokia N82 & is not on the official supported devices list.* Otherwise, the Bluetooth handfree works fine.
- This unit doesn't provide lane guidance. Using the unit for the past 3 days around town to see how it tells me to get to places that I know how to get to has made me decide that this would not be effective if I was in a city that I was unfamiliar with because it doesn't let me know what lane I should be in on multi-lane roads.
- The voice directions are too delayed. By the time it announces, eg: "turn left on Kuamoo Street", I would have already been turned onto Kuamoo Street. This is while at a full stop prior to turning left and not like I'm traveling at 50mph or something.
- The unit comes with a short usb connector to charge the unit or transfer data to your PC. It's a great way to charge the unit if you're not in the car, but while it's plugged into the usb, the unit is not functional. This prevents you from having it connected to your usb/PC and punching in your desires at the same time. This is rather silly.
- It also seems to recalculate the routes unnecessarily. This is probably because the GPS receiver has such poor reception.

Those are my reasons why I'm not keeping the Garmin nuvi 365 wt. I'm going to open up the TomTom XL 340s and see how I like that one even though it doesn't have Bluetooth handsfree. For the price, it's a great bargain. Besides, I'm anxiously waiting for the Google Nexus One Phone to be released and that's expected to be next week! If I have that phone, I probably wouldn't even need a GPS unit and shouldn't need the GPS unit with Bluetooth either. =) I can't wait, I'm so excited!! Sorry Nokia N82, you take great photos and do very well for almost everything, but you are a little behind the times already. I just hope I'm satisfied with the Google Nexus One Phone's photos!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My PC set-up using 2 Hauppage WinTV HVR 2250 dual tuners. Hauppage  WinTV HVR 2250 Dual Tuner PC DVR Set upAs a Christmas present to our household, I decided to purchase and set up a multi-channel DVR system. I record so many tv shows and I'm behind about a year right now. I had 3 DVD recorders that I used to record up to 3 channels of tv shows at once. Back in the VHS days there was a time when I had 4 VHS VCRs set up to record. I converted to DVD-R about 3 years ago and now it's time to go DVR.

I was considering the Tivo route. I was ready to purchase 2 of the non-HD 2 channel Tivos until I discovered that the Tivo will not function at all if you do not subscribe to the Tivo service! I did not want to subscribe to the Tivo service. Absolutely not. It's a rip-off. This information lead me back to my original plans of using a PC to handle my digital recordings.

Anyway, I went to Best Buy to buy all the stuff because I'm from the instant gratification generation. I can't wait 2-3 business days for something to be delivered to me in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I spent about $1150 on a 8GB AMD Processor HP that has a 1TB Hard-drive, an HDMI Cable and 2 Hauppage WinTV HVR 2250 dual tuner cards w/ remotes. I looked for the 2250 on, but only found 2200 <-Link which seems to be similar or the same thing.

The installation of the cards was simple. Actually, this is just an assumption because my IT friend, Abe <-FB Link installed the cards. He was going to set up the whole thing, but realized he couldn't do much w/out having a cable tv signal. So I brought it home to finish setting up the WinTV software.

My main concern was how the software would "figure out" which tuner I wanted to use because I was installing 2 of the 2 channel tuner cards into 1 PC. After playing around with it for several hours, I was still trying to figure out how to tell the software which tuner I was trying to program. I finally figured out that I didn't need to tell it what tuner to use. The software automatically detects the multiple tuners and cards. The software also automatically assigns which tuner to use to record what ever program you set it to record. If tuner 1 is recording something, it just moves on to tuner 2, etc. Makes sense, but I thought I would have complications with it. Hahaha.

It also took me a while to figure out that I only needed 1 IR Receiver for the remote controls that come with the cards to work. I was concerned how to control each card w/ the remote w/out interfering with the other card. Obviously, this is resolved by that software explained above. What was tricky was that when I had the 2 IR Receivers pluged in (1 in each card), 1 push of the remote would then create 2 input signals to the software. This lead me to realize I should try taking 1 of them out. That resolved that issue.

I'm still trying to figure out how to use the remote control to the fullest. Right now all I seem to be able to do with it is change channels, control volume, pause, ff, rewind, record & stop. The power button also functions, but if I press it, it shuts down the whole PC system. That's not what I would like it to do. I can't seem to use the remote to do any programming or selections of recorded shows.

The PC has Windows 7 installed. This is also my 1st PC experience with Windows 7. It seems to be working fine. It also has Windows Media Center installed on it. I was going to try setting up the Windows Media Center software, but didn't know if it would create some issues with the WinTV programmed recordings. I'll probably test this out soon.

Another issue that took a couple nights (over night) to figure out was that I needed to disable the sleep mode and auto updates on Windows 7. I figured out the sleep mode after watching tv for about 10 minutes and the screen kept going blank. It took a night of leaving the PC running to find it in the morning on the Windows User Log In screen. This would probably prevent the WinTV from recording the programmed shows, but I'm not sure.

Well, I'm happy with the set up so far. For about the same cost as 2 Tivos with lifetime Tivo subscription I have a new PC that can record 4 channels at once while browsing the web or anything else a PC should be able to do. I think it's a better value. I don't mind having to manually set what I want to record because that's what I planned to do anyway.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy holidays! 1, 2, 3, say cheese!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope all the last minute shopping is complete... From the Gingerbread Factory.

via Nokia Mobile- Rick Nakama R GRI

Friday, December 18, 2009

@ Fendu Boulangerie: Blueberry Muffin $1.75, Fuji Apple Danish $2, Mango Scone 12/$7.

I think I'm addicted to this French bakery in Manoa! The Mango Scone is light & not crumbly like most scones. It has a hint of sweetness & kind of a buttermilk biscuit resemblance. The Fuji Apple Danish is nice! It's very flaky & light with the apples cubed small so it's easy to take bites from without having chunks of apples oozing & falling out. I really like blueberry muffins. I always seem to order a blueberry muffin from all the other selections available in cafes. This blueberry muffin is very moist & also has a light, fresh texture. It's a tad too sweet for my tastes, but good to pair with my black iced americano. What a great breakfast treat!

I know I haven't posted on my blog in a while... It's my time management kicking in with the wedding last month & now the holidays. I might be trying to keep my blog going with more simple mobile posts like this one.

I've also been updating more frequently & consistently on & so add me or follow me there too if you aren't! :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Toxic Food Syndrome" update - Reintroducing "Toxic" Foods. toxic food syndrom food allergy testI originally posted about the Immuno Labs Toxic Food test back in July when I started it. You can click <----- to read that post for more details about it.

So it's been about 3 months and it has come the time to begin reintroducing the foods that show up on my "reactive" list (in red). Under my Doctor's advisory, I have started with the items on the list with the lower reactive level numbers. That means I'm starting with the foods that have a +1 next to them.

The way it is reintroduced is by eating 1 of the +1 red items and waiting a couple days to monitor any effects. It is a time consuming process and can be very frustrating, but if you suffer from any illnesses that can't seem to be resolved by any other conventional western medicine techniques then you would most likely have the patience to do it.

I've been reintroducing for almost 3 weeks now. To be honest, I haven't made it very far down my list of +1 items. toxic food syndrome food allergy testI started by testing wheat. I used soba noodles as the source of wheat. Japanese soba noodles are buckwheat noodles, but if you read their ingredients you will see that almost every packaged soba noodle sold has wheat flour as it's dominant ingredient. I found this very interesting when I began the elimination diet process.

Since I was not able to eat wheat for about 4 months now, I thought of eating soba in my beginning days of the diet. Buckwheat is actually a yam and not wheat at all. This meant that I could eat buckwheat noodles (soba), the problem was I would have to find a 100% buckwheat noodle. I have only found 1 local source to purchase a 100% buckwheat noodle and it is at Whole Foods. Needless to say, I did not purchase it because of the ridiculous price!

Anyway, I love soba so I started my wheat reintroduction with commonly found packaged soba noodles served in a modified Kitchen Basics brand chicken stock which meets my dietary restrictions. I've been enjoying this at home and it is a wonderful change from eating potatoes and corn every meal. toxic food syndrome food allergy testI've also tested soybean in the form of tofu. Tofu or soybean has been questionable. I am not sure yet. I had some bad experiences due to eating at restaurants in the 1st couple weeks of my reintroductions and have basically compromised the controlled variables of my tofu experimentations. toxic food syndrome food allergy testI don't think I had any reaction to the tofu, but am not certain. I will re-test it over this weekend with the block of tofu I have sitting in the refrigerator right now. I wanted to verify my tolerance of wheat for certain prior to moving on. Matsugen Soba Waikiki BeachwalkYesterday was Kelli's Birthday. She's been living the past 4 months with my diet. Not necessarily eating only what I am eating, but living with the inconveniences of not being able to go out to restaurants for meals like most normal people.

I had a great idea as we were walking around in Waikiki to try eating lunch at Matsugen Soba on Beachwalk. I posted a blog about eating at Matsugen Soba back in 2007 and it is linked here. Amazingly, I even had a producer from the Martha Stewart Show contact me about using my photos that are in my blog post about Matsugen. This is when they did an episode on Matsugen Soba opening a restaurant in New York.

I ordered the Kinoko Sansai Soba and Kelli had the Tenpura and Hiyashi Udon. She requested no shrimp, all vegetable tenpura. We both enjoyed our noodles. I made it 24 hours now and no signs of intolerance. On the other hand, one of the vegetable tenpura that Kelli bit into was avocado! She is allergic to avocado and had to spit it out. She had a little stomach ache which may have been due to that avocado. Anyway, she is not part of this toxic food test but it was just a coincidence. It was a delicious meal! Matsugen Soba Waikiki Beachwalk toxic food syndromeAn example of what Kelli has to deal with is not being able to go out to Hy's Steak House or Ruth's Chris for her usual Birthday dinner. Since I wasn't able to take her to a steak restaurant for dinner (safe dinner), I made us steak dinners last night. It filled us up, tasted great and wasn't prepared with any ingredient that could have left me in pain the rest of the weekend. toxic food syndromeWe even had a delicious dessert! Strawberry & Lemon Sorbet! All for under $30! Hahaha. What a bargain!

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Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Contest Photos.

Yesterday, Kelli had a furlough day because she work for the state of Hawaii as an HGEA member. It was also her Birthday. Anyway, we took a walk through Waikiki for her furlough/Birthday.

The Outrigger Reef Hotel & the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel had Halloween Pumpkin displays. Here are some photos of the pumpkins that we saw. Halloween Pumpkin Jack-o-lanterns

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Study: Keep mobile technology on sidelines at holiday gatherings Study: Keep mobile technology on sidelines at holiday gatherings Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

This "study" was just published on the Pacific Business News website today. I thought I would share it because I absolutely cannot stand it when the person(s) accompanying me uses their electronic device while in a meeting, having a meal or at a special engagement of some sort.

I have to admit that there are exceptions.

I obviously use my phone as a camera to photograph my food quite a bit. The thing is I would normally only do this while at personal dining functions. I don't bust out my camera phone if I'm having a meeting with someone that is meeting me regarding business and photograph my meal. With this being stated, I would think it is acceptable for the guests at a special engagement or holiday party to use their mobile devices to take photographs or videos if the event normally would be something to be photographed or captured on video.

I think it becomes acceptable to use my (or your) mobile device as usual if the congregation is very casual or informal, for example just hanging out at a cafe or out shopping in a group and things like that.

The point at which I believe the results of this study should begin to apply is when the person(s) you are meeting with has had to set aside a specific time slot in their schedule that coincided with your schedule to conduct a certain task of importance. Holiday gatherings should fall under this even though it may not be business related. Holiday gatherings are usually time set aside to spend with one's family and/or close friends. I find it difficult to justify answering a call, making a call or checking email/texts or internet during such an event's formal schedule. There will always be those additional exceptions like a guest or group of guests have not arrived yet and may have lost their way so might call another member of the party for directions or to explain their tardiness.

There are all these justifications on the proper etiquette to follow these days because "times have changed". Since most of you who are actually reading this would probably be current with today's technology etiquette, what are your thoughts? After all, you are a blog reader, most likely a blogger (couple things that are still considered out of the norm for many people), probably take photos at gatherings, meals or other events for your blog, probably tweet and I know you must have a mobile phone that makes phone calls as well as transmit and receives data of some sort. What is acceptable to you?

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Moris's visit to Edomura Wonderland in Nikko... Moris & Emi at Edo Mura NikkoI read on my friend's blog, Moris's Aloha Style Blog, that he visited "Edo Wonderland Nikko" as part of 1st year anniversary celebrations. Check out that website! It's quite graphic intensive and takes quite a while to load the initial page. Lots of maps and information about the place that takes you back to the samurai era of Edo, the Edo Period.

I'd like to visit this place the next time I visit Japan. I've been the the Eigamura studio in Kyoto, but I think it was late in the day or a holiday of some sort so there weren't any performers at that time.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam AFB Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluThere's not much to say about it... it's one of those "you had to have been there..." things. Even photos or videos would not bring nearly the level of excitement one would receive standing there (in the the baking hot sun).

I've been to quite a few air shows in my lifetime, but they were all shows that were in Hawaii. I last watched the Thunderbirds perform for the Waikiki area in 2007 and I've watched the Blue Angels perform several times. No matter how hot, dehydrating, humid, crowded, dusty and secured the events may be I still manage to go and enjoy the display. Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluWhen anything is held on an air strip or air force base, you need to expect that there will be a lack of shade.

<--Here is Solomish standing "solo" in the middle of baking hot pavement. Check out Solomish's photo blog Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu

Here I am -->trying to keep cool under the shelter of a helicopter.

This is what a whole bunch of other people need to do if they want to find some shade. v*Below*v Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluThis is 1 day that I'm glad I need to bring my own things to eat with me (due to my diet). It was worth lugging around this hand carry bag full of water, a banana & some Fritos. I had it in my backpack, but hesitated bringing the backpack in because a "large backpack" would not be allowed into the show area. I didn't know what a large backpack's size actually was so I abandoned my backpack in my car and lugged this lovely bag around the whole afternoon. Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu
This man & his family obviously knew what size of a backpack would be acceptable... Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force HonoluluWhat ever the type of bag you were carrying your refreshments in, it was worth it to avoid the crowds at the refreshment tents.
Check out some of my video clips below.

This is a slideshow of some of the photos I took. Since I only take photos & video with my Nokia N82 mobile phone, I doubt they will be as good as any of these guys' photos (below), but at least I can slip my camera back in my pocket, send some emails, check out Facebook, Tweet or even make a phone call. Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Thunderbirds Air Show at Hickam Air Force Honolulu

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Friday, September 18, 2009

A few Interesting Things I read in some blogs that I follow...

I came across these neat pears that are grown in the shape of a Buddah on Jaden's Steamy Kitchen. Check them out! <--.
Kat blogged about tandoori chicken and couscous. Makes me want to check if I can eat couscous for one of my starch replacements since I can't eat wheat or rice. Kat's Blog<--.
Affairs of Living Gluten Free... posted a tomato free red sauce this week that I'm anxious to try. It's based on beets & complies with my diet restrictions.
Photos by Jalna posted a bunch of old photos of Hawaii that she received from a friend. Those photos are amazing! <--
Solomish has been posting his hiking adventures. So have a few other friends on Facebook. I can't link their page Facebook posts because Facebook doesn't work that way. Anyway, it's been making me want to go on an adventurous hiking trip!
about to watch a movie @ the Movie Museum in Kaimuki. My 1st ... on TwitpicLast Friday I watched my 1st movie at the Movie Museum in Kaimuki. Neat little place there. The movie we watched is Kamome Shokudo, an excellent movie from 2006. It's a Japanese film that is filmed in Finland. I highly recommend watching it. Thunderbirds in HawaiiFinally, the Thunderbirds will be performing for Honolulu this weekend! I'm looking forward to watching the show tomorrow. This links to my blog about them in 2007.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Lunch at Fresh Cafe Fresh Cafe Honolulu Queen StreetOn Sunday after the Honolulu Academy of Arts, we were starved! We thought we would eat at the cafe in the Honolulu Academy of Arts, but they aren't open on Sunday. We decided to drive down Ward Avenue and visit "Fresh Cafe".

Fresh Cafe is a new cafe located in Kakaako at 831 Queen Street. It's nestled between dozens of industrial shops as Kakaako's businesses comprise moslty of businesses like auto body shops, auto mechanic shops, car dealerships, machine shops, etc. It's a nice oasis in the midst of all these shops.

The location is quite nostalgic for me as I spent several of my automotive racing industry years working on another corner lot in Kakaako. The shop was called Speedtek and it was in a blue building on the corner of Halekauwila and Keawe Streets. This was back in the early-mid 90's. Quite some time ago. Anyway, I recall having such limited options for lunch those days. It was either Queen's BBQ, Tsukenjo's, Kakaako Kitchen, Kiawe Cafe or that other Korean BBQ place. Almost daily I remember opting for the barbecue chicken plate from Queen's BBQ because almost everything is sold out at Tsukenjo's by the time we had lunch and the only thing left is roast pork. Tsukenjo's roast pork plate is fine, but I can't be eating that every day!

Now the community has a new option! Fresh Cafe has opened up and provides a unique setting for the area. I can sit there, relax and have an iced coffee out on the deck area without realizing I'm in the middle of one of Honolulu's most industrious neighborhoods. It also happens to be operated by friends of my friends that have a little automotive garage space next door! What a convenient place to visit and catch up with the car tuning world. Fresh Cafe Honolulu Queen StreetUnfortunately for me, my current diet restrictions limit my meals that I eat from restaurants to very plain salads without any dressings. Because of that, I can't really say much for the great food options now. I was able to order a spinach salad with bacon and garlic. I requested no dressing (normally comes with a homemade creamy house dressing) and got a little olive oil on the side. I'm already used to eating my salads plain so it was great for me.

Kelli ordered the turkey pesto melt sandwich on a spinach bagel. She paired it with a tomato soup. It was too filling for her to finish, but she enjoyed it. She also had an iced tea to go with lunch. It has fresh blueberries and a cube of watermelon in the tea for some visual appeal and a slight essence of flavor.

Fresh Cafe was also featured on KHON2's Morning Show. Here is a link to that.

The set up of this cafe is ironically very similar to what I've wanted to set up for the past 10 years. It's the goal I'm working towards and the reason why I actually became a Realtor. It continues to be a goal of mine and some day it will become a reality. One spot with all my passions (or few of the top) combined.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Honolulu Academy of Arts & The Pavillion Cafe... Honolulu Academy of Arts art museum Over the Labor Day Weekend, we visited the Honolulu Academy of Arts. I estimate that I haven't been there for perhaps 20 years! I used to go there a lot for elementary school field trips and that's the last I remember of it prior to this last weekend. I have been to the Contemporary Museum of Art several times in recent years, but just never made it to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. I think it must be due to the difficult parking options, but Sunday afternoon is a great option for free street parking directly in front!

It is very nice now. I don't even remember the museum having that many things to see back then. I think when we visited for school fielt trips, the tours are cut short to keep elementary school students interested. I definitely know that the galleries were not so well air-conditioned back then and also did not have automatic sensory lighting that would adjust slightly brighter when you entered the gallery. Very impressive renovations done to the Honolulu Academy of Arts since the last time I've been there! =P Honolulu Academy of Arts art museumI don't have many photos of the great displays of art because photography isn't allowed in the galleries. Although, photography is allowed in the open courtyard areas.

There are some special collections on display right now.

There was a collection of drawings titled "Goya's Disasters of War" by Francisco Goya. They are a very detailed collection of drawings that appears to be done in pencil. Read the museum's description of this collection here. Honolulu Academy of Arts art Honolulu Academy of Arts art museum
The Honolulu Academy of Arts is on the web at and they are located at 900 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814 <--Google Map. General admission is $10 and they do have other discounted admission rates. Their normal hours are Tuesday - Saturday: 10a-430p and Sunday 1p-5p. They are closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas according to their guide sheet. The first Wednesday of every month is supposed to be FREE and you are able to visit the shop, The Pavillion Cafe and the library for free too. Honolulu Academy of Arts art museum the pavillion cafeWe actually went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts to check out The Pavillion Cafe, but it's not open on Sundays. We're considering the location as a potential spot for an upcoming party. Looks good so far, but I haven't asked if they can accomodate our event yet.

We'll try to check out The Pavillion Cafe another time, but they are only open Tuesday - Saturday during lunch (1130a-2p) so it might be difficult!

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