Man, I love technology!

Karen and I gave each other new T-Mobile G1 wireless phones for Christmas this week. My old (2002) ATT Nokia accidentally drowned when I dropped it in the sink a few days ago. Since I was fed up with ATT’s relentless price gouging and had planned to fire them as my wireless provider anyway it was off to Costco to seal the deal with T-Mobile and this cool phone I’d been reading about.

For those who don’t read the techie consumer fan sites like the G1 is sorta like T-Mobile’s answer to the iPhone but with a major twist. Its Android operating system “engine” was built by Google which means that there’s a terrific bundling of Google’s suite of killer apps on the phone. This isn’t intended as a review of the G1. There are tons of those on the web, including an excellent overview here.

This is about one of the many unique features on this phone which only the crazy kids at Google could have built, Shop Savvy, and which could save you a bundle with your home improvement purchasing. Shop Savvy lets you do real time price comparison shopping while you’re on the road.

Here’s how it works. The G1’s camera is also a bar code reader. Point the camera at the product’s bar code, align it somewhat perpendicular to the superimposed red focus line and the G1 scans the bar code. Here’s where the mojo starts.

The G1 forwards the code to Google’s site which contains millions of products and prices scraped from retailer web sites. Within a couple of seconds it returns a list of the lowest prices found for that item in both web and traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Want a practical demonstration? I went to Lowes to buy another rechargeable 18v XPS battery for my Dewalt drill. Lowes was selling it for $89.97. Yikes! I scanned its bar code into the G1 and Shop Savvy reported that the same battery, brand new, was available on Real Deal Tools for $52 — 40% off. I don’t need the battery that bad now so I went home and bought it online.

Wait, here’s where it gets really space age. Because the G1 also has GPS it can tell you the closest brick-and-mortar stores which have lower prices for the item. It will even give you directions to them superimposed over a Google Map!

Case in point: Karen and I were Christmas shopping in a Long Island mall today and I found the Pedi Paws pet nail trimmer I’ve been wanting to get for the dogs. Maybe it might help my punished wood floors The high-end gadget store’s price was $24.95, which I thought was reasonable but I decided to “Savvy” it anyway. Shop Savvy told me that Pedi Paws was available in another store in the mall about 300 yards away for $10 less. And, sure enough, it was!

I love this stuff.


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Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

This is the third iteration of, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.