Gonna rise up. Find my direction magnetically.

Month: October 2010

Why is Apple so damn good?

Seriously, every product I have purchased from Apple has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. Needless to say, this is horrible for my psuedo obsession with technology and gizmos.

Since we have moved into our house, 7 years ago, I have had dreams of a whole house audio system. I have spent hours dreaming about what the setup might be, and how it would all work. I would browse Amazon and Crutchfield to pretend-build my perfect system. Lots and lots of decisions to be made when considering how to do this. Should there be a central amp for the whole house? Amp for each room? How would you control it all… separate controls on the wall in each room? Some mega-remote? I’d probably need a couple remotes if I went that route… At the end of it all, I would have run hundreds of feet of cable through the house, torn up some walls, run new electric and spent around $2,000.

Then I would shutdown my browser and let the dream fade away for another 6 months until I heard about someone else getting a setup or read an article about it.

So when I first heard about a friend using an Apple Airport Express to distribute music to a remote location over wifi, I was a bit skeptical. I figured it probably would skip, be intermittent at best and you still had to have powered speakers or feed it into an amp since the Airport Extreme has an audio jack on it but no amplification. After digging around a bit, and reading a lot about how Airplay (what Apple calls the protocol used to setup the remote speakers) works, I was convinced.

Here is the setup I have now, and I love it. As a bonus, I setup the Airport Extreme/Expresses as part of a WDS network so now I have total wifi coverage everywhere in the house. No dead zones. Totally awesome and totally unexpected.


  • 1 Airport Extreme (Thanks to some stranger that dropped it in the electronics recycling bin that Julie helps with at the kids school. Total score!)
  • 1 Airport Express (N) – $62 Ebay
  • 1 Airport Express (G) – $50 Ebay
  • M-Audio Studiophile AV30 Professional Reference Speakers – $89
  • 1 set of old computer speakers w/subwoofer

With this setup, Julie and I can use the Apple Remote app for our iPhones to control iTunes on our main computer. This app allows us to turn on/off each set of speakers (computer, kitchen and bedroom) independently and control the volume. It provides us access to our entire iTunes collection, streaming radio and podcasts. I listened to Car Talk while having my coffee last Saturday while sitting in the dining room. I know, I know… I could have done that before with just a radio, but this was being streamed over the net and controlled via my phone. The inner geek is content and very happy.

I can feel the pull of Apple and I have a feeling our next computer purchase will be either an iMac (that 27″ display is just out of this world) or a MacBook. Damn you Steve Jobs for making so many products that I love. If only they didn’t cost so much money. Deal of the century anyone?

Chicago Marathon Summary

Chicago Marathon – 10/10/10

Man, there was seriously high anxiety in the Dobson house last week and especially on Saturday. Everything from who we are going to meet up with at the race, see during the race, when we are going to see the kids, Julie’s Dad and Sue, parking before the race, traffic after the race, preparing our gear, getting downtown for the packet pickup, etc. It was a crazy house around here. By the time we were standing at the start line, waiting for everyone to get moving, I thought we had certainly had enough. It took us almost half an hour to cross the start after the official start of the race, but all of that anxiety seemed to go away, at least for me, when we crossed the start. It’s amazing how running 26.2 miles will focus your mind.

We finished in 5:27. A respectable time considering the weather and Julie’s previous injuries. It got really hot in the last three miles and runners were just wilting in the heat. The medical tents were all filled as we passed the aid stations… casualties of the day. By the end of it, Julie and I both were ready for some medical attention, but we could walk and still had our senses about us. Thankfully Julie’s dad was there and was able to drive us home. I would have been capable, but it would not have been an enjoyable trip back.

Two days post race and Julie and are on the road to recovery. I biked a little this morning and she is at the gym as I type this. Talk has already started about getting Julie a pair of shoes (goodbye Vibrams!) and what races might be next. I’m glad to see that Julie may have been bitten by the running bug because it is one of my true joys and I am happy to have company. Bring on the winter runs!!

Marathon Training

Worst training run: Wednesday, Aug 4th. I started my run at 6:05 am. My iPhone died at 6:37:07 and never came back due to me getting caught in a torrential downpour that I had to run in for 3 miles. You can witness this tragic event because the RunKeeper app I use on my phone was running right until the very end. http://runkeeper.com/user/rdobson/activity/13973939

Best training run: Friday, Sept 17th. This was the 20 miler. I ran the first half with Julie and the second 10 on my own. I felt stronger at the end of the 20 than I have ever felt at the end of any long run I have ever done. My times reflect it too. The last three miles where the fastest out of the 20. 8:58, 8:59 and the last mile was an 8:34. These are the runs that make you want to just keep running. http://runkeeper.com/user/rdobson/activity/16625574

Best song to finish a run to: Fighter – Christina Aguilera. Start this song approx 3 min, 45 seconds from the end of your run, you will not regret it. Damn that woman can sing.


You’d think the 62k calories would have allowed me to drop some weight… in the end, I lost a total of 2 or 3 pounds.

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