As the weather warms and the snow recedes, there is a bit of a mess revealed in my yard from the dogs, the snow plow and a winter’s blanket of snow. We’ll start picking away at that, but it is still a bit squishy out there.
Welcome to our new subscribers to Kibbles & Bytes. It has been over 12 years of Kibbles and I am glad to see some new readers. I had one long-time friend subscribe and he wondered how long I have been writing this newsletter; he then went on to correct me about my horse. It turns out it was not a Belgian, but a Percheron. It was a very large horse and in addition to sugaring with her, she cleared my entire lot, pulling huge loads of logs that I cut down. She was a bit cantankerous and when I would ride her, she would immediately head for the nearest low hanging branch.
Thanks for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes!
Your Kibbles & Bytes Team,
_Don, Kali (& Ed)_

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*Currently on the road at SXSW!*
For a limited time, get free shipping on the TruePower iV Battery and Portable Charger for iPhone 2G/3G and iPod touch.
* Extended Battery adds up to 24 hours of talk time
* Allows Charging using the Dock Connector
* Adds a flash to your iPhone’s camera
* Will feel just like your old cell phone from the ’90s or your cordless phone!

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For the past few days, I’ve been attending both the Interactive and Film Festivals at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. It’s been an inspiring, educational, and amazingly fun experience. This is the first extended trip I’ve taken with an iPhone 3G. It’s proven to be far more useful than I ever expected, in almost every way.
From getting around town, to keeping up to date with SXSW’s complicated and ever-evolving schedule, to getting locations and reviews of restaurants, to staying on top of business at home, to taking notes, to updating and reading Twitter feeds, the iPhone has hardly left my hand. That became especially true when my digital camera inexplicably stopped working, leaving me with only the iPhone’s built-in (and admittedly mediocre) camera.
In a hyper-connected setting like SXSW, the iPhone (or iPod touch or other brand of powerful smartphone) is practically essential. For example, Twitter has usurped the role of business cards here. Don’t get me wrong, cards are still exchanged at lightning speed and face-to-face time is as important as ever. Yet the ability to use your iPhone-Twitter-application-of-choice to instantly connect and follow other people and businesses has proved (to me) to be extremely useful.
After this intense period of dedicated, on-the-spot use, I only have two complaints about the iPhone (and neither has to do with the lack of cut and paste). One is that the battery could be a lot better. At home it’s easy to keep it charged up, and there have been plenty of open outlets and opportunities for charging here. However, there were two times when the battery was finally exhausted at the end of my day.
We’ll post a top ten tips for maximizing your iPhone’s battery next week.
In the meantime, before my next long trip I am definitely buying the “TruePower iV Extended Battery and Portable Charger for iPhone 2G/3G and iPod touch”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/73133 It claims to offer up to 24 hours of talk time, is compact, and is very nicely built (in the USA no less).
Second, I wish the iPhone had a better camera. The iPhone’s camera is mostly “good enough,” but it would be a revelation to have a three (or why not, five or seven) megapixel camera built in. A flash and the ability to capture video would be even better. Imagine being able to truly leave your digital camera at home! I did end up taking many iPhone photos since that was my only option. I enjoyed the option to instantly upload these to my Flickr page. I have to admit, there were a couple late-night instant uploads I deleted first thing the morning after.
Another nice feature of the “TruePower iV Extended Battery for iPhone”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/73133 is that it actually has a built in flash. I’m definitely getting one before my next trip!

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While at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Don came across a booth with an assortment of officially licensed mice in the shape of popular automobiles. Upon returning to our world headquarters, the RoadMice flyer he grabbed was tossed on my desk with orders to bring them in.
Seeing the Concept Camaros, Dodge Chargers, Ford Mustangs, and Corvettes online didn’t do this neat input device justice. These mice are very close in look and scale as the real life autos they mimic. We have chosen a few colors for each of the cars, including a Highway Patrol badged Chevy Concept Camaro.
While the real thing may be a gas guzzler, the RoadMice are not battery guzzlers! The RoadMice Mouse automatically goes into battery save mode when left idle for a few minutes.
Each mouse has its own VIN number, and when you register online, one is granted access to an official Certificate of Title as if you had just been to the DMV. I printed mine out and am planning on signing it over to the next owner someday. 😉
Using Radio Frequency wireless (it comes with a USB dongle), the mouse is easy to connect once you install the two AAA batteries and find the little switch on the bottom to turn it on. After syncing the mouse to the dongle, I was mousing wirelessly within minutes of opening the package. These are fully Mac/PC compatible.
The two-button RoadMice also have working headlights. Click the left side button and the left headlight comes on, etc. The scroll wheel also lights up when used. The smooth functionality of this 800 DPI optical wireless mouse is much appreciated thus far, and most people who’ve seen these agree that they will be a hot seller.
My new Atomic Orange Corvette has really souped up my computer, and I’ve already gotten used to cursor movements after just a day or two of use. There’s always a slight delay in response compared to a wired equivalent, but as I say, it just takes a little getting used to, and is comparable with Apple’s own wireless mice with regard to functionality. I made one adjustment to my iMac’s System Preferences to allow the mouse to track a little more slowly to assure precise control.
Although owning a new car may seem out of reach, I assure that you will not be disappointed with the milage you’ll get if you obtain one of these great wireless mice from Small Dog Electronics. Most of us love cars, and what a great way to express who you are by getting your favorite model, and in such a great, functional replica!
“See the full list of 4 Door Media RoadMice on our website here.”:http://www.smalldog.com/search/?find=road+mice
*Kibbles-only special: “Save $5 on the Highway Patrol Camaro Wireless Mouse – $32.99”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag18906/at_kb*
__Offer valid until next Friday, 3/27, or while supplies last!__

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*START SOAPBOX*
There is a lot of talking going on about reforming the way health care is delivered in this country and how solving this dilemma is an essential part of our economic recovery. Unfortunately, the one solution that will do the most to reform health care is not on the table. This is single-payer health care. In a single payer system, one entity–usually the government–acts as the “payer” for health care. This is medicare for all–the most efficient government run health care system in the world. That may come as a surprise, but the administrative burden in medicare is a few orders of magnitude lower than the burden of our private system.
Similar to most of the industrialized world, each American would be entitled to comprehensive health care. All hospitals, doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. Care would be based upon need, not upon the ability to pay, what kind of job you have or if you have insurance.
Hospital billing would be eliminated. Instead, hospitals would have an annual lump sum global budget. Medical providers would either receive a fee-for-service, salary or negotiated fee. Where we now have gigantic billing departments at hospitals, at doctor’s offices and at insurance companies who sent out those difficult to understand EOBs. Under a single payer program, much of this overhead and administrative burden would be eliminated.
We are already using public financing to pay for over 50% of the cost of health care via medicare, medicaid, government employees and local government taxes (i.e. school taxes). A single payer plan would save over $150 billion in administrative costs according to a GAO report in 2002. Further, a report by the Congressional Budget Office projected that single payer would reduce the total health care cost by $225 Billion by 2004–despite the expansion of comprehensive coverage to everyone.
There simply is no other plan that provides this type of savings and this type of universal coverage. The notion of mandates on individuals or companies does not save this money and the loopholes will be abundant. The Band-Aids that are being considered maintain a huge dispersed bureaucracy to handle collections and payment and will not provide the savings, much less the universal care that everyone professes to desire.
How does this relate to economic recovery? The single most uncontrollable element of overhead is health insurance. The automakers are saddled with health care costs that represent a great cost in the value of a car than the steel it is made from. The cost to cover an employee and family exceeds the minimum wage in many states. When I started in business, I was able to cover an employee and their family for $1500 a year. Now, that same coverage (actually, inferior coverage) costs over $14,000!
The most common source of labor strife is health care costs as employers try to push more of this cost burden onto their employees through higher deductibles, co-pays and premiums. Worse yet, the system is voluntary and an employer can simply drop coverage or reduce benefits without recourse. In fact, it might be a competitive advantage in seeking business. If your overhead is lower because a company does not offer its employees health insurance, it can bid lower for business.
Economic recovery will be significantly hampered and slowed if we do not address health care reform and I applaud President Obama for recognizing this fact. I find, however, his reluctance to even give single-payer consideration to be short-sighted and dooming health care reform to ‘fiddling around the edges.’
It is time to join the rest of the industrialized world and adopt universal health care with a single-payer health care system. Of the 27 industrialized nations in the world, only one does not guarantee its citizens universal access to comprehensive health care. That one is the USA and resolving that is one of the first steps to full economic recovery.
*END SOAPBOX*

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At Tuesday’s iPhone 3.0 event in Cupertino, CA, Apple announced changes to the iPhone software and a new version of the Apple Developer Kit. Here’s a rundown of what we can expect:
*For End-Users*
* *Cut and Paste capabilities.* To copy and select, users will double-tap (or tap and drag to select longer parts of text) and then paste. It will work between applications.
* Spotlight searching.* Big news! Now you can search your Mail: To, From, Subject and Entire Message, just like in Apple Mail. Calendar, Notes and even iPod will support the search feature as well.
* *Landscape Orientation.* All main applications will be able to support landscape orientation. Safari already features this, as well as many other third-party apps. (My husband will definitely appreciate this since he hates the small typepad!)
* *MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) support.* Users will be able to send and receive photos, audio files and contact info. Plus, the new Messages application will be able to forward and delete messages (either individually or multiples) in addition to its MMS support.
* *Shake-to-Shuffle.* Now, shaking your iPhone or iPod touch will shuffle your music–a key feature in the iPod nano and iPod shuffle.
Other features include automatic updating, networking/sharing between iPhones/iPod touches (see below), Parental Controls, YouTube enhancements and more. It’s also been reported that the iPhone also will be able to support new accessories, such as FM transmitters.
“See Apple’s iPhone OS page
here.”:http://www.apple.com/iphone/preview-iphone-os/
“Read Apple’s press release here.”:http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2009/03/17iphone.html
* *Available this summer* (no further details at this time)
* *Free for iPhone users; $10 for iPod touch users*
*For Developers*
* *More than 1,000 programming interfaces for the iPhone.* That way, they’ll have more ways to create feature-rich applications for the App Store.
* *Peer to Peer Connectivity,* This new framework allows any application to communicate between devices using Bluetooth. Gamers will be able to add a multi-player experience and others will be able to share data between devices.
* *Apple Push Notification service.* Apple is now allowing third-party apps to utilize their “push” service–users will be alerted to new information even when the application isn’t running.
* “See the full list of features in the iPhone SDK here.”:http://developer.apple.com/iphone/program/sdk.html
We’ll update with more info as soon as we hear it!

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Ever wonder where those pesky specials characters that aren’t written on your keyboard (e.g. ¢, ©, ®, ™) are when you’re writing? They’re all listed in Character Palette–part of OS X.
Easy access can be found either as a part of your other Apple Apps (such as Mail, TextEdit, Stickies, etc.) or in the International panel of System Preferences. (System Preferences > International > Input Menu)
If you find that you use these symbols a fair amount and would like to see them quickly, check the Character Palette checkbox and “Show input menu in menu bar.” The latter will display a little flag icon in the top righthand corner of your menu bar (how patriotic!).
Another tip for finding some symbols that you use more than others is to remember the keyboard shortcuts. Here’s a cheatsheet for my most popular ones:
* Accent Acute (´): Option-E
* Bullet (•): Option-8
* Cent (¢): Option-4
* Copyright (©): Option-G
* Degree (˚): Option-K
* Registered (®): Option-R
* Trade Mark (™): Option-2
And, for Mac users, one we’ve mentioned before and use a lot of: the Apple symbol (): Shift-Option-K
Note that fonts may handle characters differently!

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_Dear Friends,_
Well it is official, it became spring at 7:44AM today. There is still snow in the yard and the roads are muddy but winter is over. The signs of spring are evident from the Robin I spotted in my yard this morning to the crocus buds pushing through the snow. The river is high but the gradual warming has limited the ice jams and we have not had any serious flooding yet (knocking heavily on my wood desk).
With spring comes some heightened activity on our annual Earth Day eWaste recycling day, which will be April 18th this year. We have moved the event to the local high school because last year we pretty much shut down the whole area with traffic as cars were backed up in both directions with people waiting patiently to drop off their ewaste. This year we have support from Apple, Ben & Jerry’s, Green Mountain Coffee, SymQuest, 7th Generation, Chittenden Bank, Canon, Chroma Technology, the Chittenden Solid Waste District and our new recycling partner WeRecycle.
WeRecycle is one of only a handful of eWaste recyclers that has signed the “Basel Action Network’s”:http://ban.org/ e-Stewards Recycler’s Pledge of True Stewardship and has met the strict BAN criteria for ewaste recycling. (e-Stewards website: “www.e-stewards.org”:http://www.e-stewards.org/) We collected over 130 tons of eWaste last year in our 4-hour event, making it the largest one-day event in the USA. This volume also allowed us to be the first and only electronics retailer to be able to claim that we recycle more ewaste than we sell each year.
I am proud to report that the Vermont Retail Association gave us the Greentailer of the Year award yesterday at a ceremony and lunch in Burlington. We are very proud to be recognized for our commitment to one of our bottom lines–planet!
Apple announced the iPhone 3.0 software on Tuesday and the new features include much-desired options such as tethering (using your iPhone as a modem for your Mac), cut and paste, open core location (permitting turn-by-turn GPS) and MMS support. With over 100 new features and 1000 new APIs for developers, this is a major advancement in the iPhone and iPod touch platform that will make it even more compelling and will open the door for additional devices to take advantage of the power and versatility of the software, App Store and Apple’s hardware (more below).
And just in case you were wondering, nope, we still are not allowed to sell the iPhone. It is a constant source of customer inquiry and frustration. It is somewhat unbelievable that Apple feels that a customer would have a better experience at Walmart or Best Buy than at Small Dog Electronics or the other Apple Specialists. We will keep asking, pleading and cajoling Apple and perhaps one of these days, they will see the light.

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