Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Parrot Easy-Drive

The Parrot Easy-Drive.  

This is not a new product, but something new to me.  One of my business associates is a big believed in the hands free devices for your car, and having watched him use it countless times in his car convinced me I needed this more then I needed a stupid device sticking in my ear flashing blue every 2 seconds.

I didn't want to spend the big money on something that's permanently  installed as I wasn't sure how much I'd like it.  So i opted for the Parrot Easy-Drive as it's simple to install and can be somewhat permanently installed (or at least able to get things out of the way).  

You simply attach a small plastic holder to your dash (With the included 2 way tape) and plug the other end into your cigar lighter.  Once you plug it in the easy-drive will ask you to pair your phone, and within about 3 seconds it's ready for use.

The speaker is /VERY/ Loud and clear, and the microphone is also quite nice.  Only one person is unable to hear me on a regular basis unless I raise my voice and she works in a VERY loud office with people yelling all around her, everyone else has no problems and it's a total god send for me to just be able to leave my phone in my jacket while driving now as I am in and out of my car quite regular.  When I get back in my car after 3-6 seconds of starting the engine the easy-drive beeps at me to let me know it's re-paired with my phone.

I /highly/ recommend the Parrot easy-drive if you are looking for a very affordable yet high quality addon for your car.  (The plus side is I can also use it in my wife's minivan as the button part fits nice in a small "hole" in the dash.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

5 Days of Palm fun.

Yeah... So I had to pay off a friend of mine Sunday night, when I jumped to the HTC device he bet me I wouldn't make it 6 months with it.  That free phone just cost me another $50. ;)
So it's been 5 days since I've been back with a PalmOS device, and I have never been happier.  The 755p is just amazingly fast.   Quicknews is a pleasure, datebk6 is wonderful, the phone app works PERFECTLY, there is so much ram I have all my software installed adn still have 20mb free, and don't even have any external miniSD in there yet.

I am still disappointed in Palm fucking the Folio release, but if you've ever tried to use a Win mobile 5 or 6 device, you'll come running back BEGGING Palm for a device.

I love you Treo 755p.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Jump back!

A free phone cost me a fortune!

So here’s the thing, I briefly mentioned before that I received a free PDA from a friend of mine to take over his contract at Telus.  I was going to jump to Telus anyway based on the incredible customer support they have, so that’s not the problem, the problem is the device.

I was given a very expensive P4000 (HTC Mogul elsewhere) running Winmobile 6, sliding keyboard, huge amounts of ram, all the new and fancy features including Multi tasking etc.

Windows mobile SUCKS.

Okay that’s a broad statement, but some of the issues I had are:

Crashing when on phone

Bluetooth stack crashing constantly

Bluetooth headset would cause the device to lock so hard reset required.

Couldn’t use the device one handed

Dialing the phone required way too many steps

Third party software was very expensive

I could go on for days and days about all the problems I had with it.  I even had the device replaced under warranty thinking it had to be a hardware error, but no, Win mobile just doesn’t work.

So what did I do?

Went back to Telus and paid full price for a Palm 755p.

Sure PalmOS is old and outdated, doesn’t multi task, hasn’t been updated in

10 years, but it works and it works well!  the software is amazing, third party software is cheaper and works better too.

I’m happy with it, and will stick out the Treo 755p until Palm goes out of business and forces us all to buy crappy winmobile devices. ;)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Palm might as well close.

Normally I have something interesting to post here, but I just haven't been in the mood for a while, the whole experience with the Foleo has really made me think about Palm as a company and about their devices.

I keep looking at some of the new devices coming out of the HTC camp, they have mobile office machines, machines that boot both win mobile, and vista, phones with features, making advances in features, and looks. What has Palm done?

Let's think about this... the last /amazing/ palm PDA was the Lifedrive and they fucked it up! It was slow, it crashed, the screen was fucking beautiful, and teh wifi worked, but all in all it sucked.

The last smartphone Palm released was the Treo 650. Guess what!? Handspring designed it.

Palm has now lost my business, there has been just too many mistakes in recent years, and I honestly don't think it's worth supporting a platform that is quickly becoming a second class OS. Windows mobile has improved to the point that it is something that can be used by a non windows fan now, even a die hard Mac friend of mine has jumped ship away from his Palm to a HTC device and he says you can work around the bugs in windows now. :)

Going over my software list, there are one or two applications I can't find the equiv for under windows, but those are getting so few and far between that I am making the jump!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Foleo is canceled.

So Palm makes yet another bone head move. If you read the long wordy article on palm's blog they say a lot without saying much at all. Those of us who actually thought about this device knew it could have been something good.

Oh well, maybe it is time to look at windows mobile devices again... palm really makes me insane sometimes, and the third party developers have been picking up the paces in the Mobile windows market anyway. Hrmmm.... Might be time to ebay something. ;)

Away time...

Sorry for the lack of updates, I was in the hospital on the 23'rd and after staying there a few days needed time to recover at home. First time under the knife and while I'm still in pain I'm feeling a lot better overall! (Damn cancer! Dr thinks I'm cured now though!)

I will get back into the swing of things "Real Soon now"(tm)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Is the BBS Dead?

Yeah I'm one of those crazy BBS guys. Been calling and running BBS's since around 1985 now. The community is not dead! Granted there might be better ways to get your discussion fix now, but a lot of the sysops who care have moved with the times. as an Example:

You can access Fidonet using your NNTP reader now! (Thunderbird, Outlook Express etc)

There are also great free Telnet clients like Mtel and Syncterm. There are also Java telnet programs built into web pages for people who want to quickly logon and play door games like Lord, The Pit, Etc etc. The link above to my BBS (Tiny's) offers everything mentioned above and over 40 online games from the past!

Those of you who want to get back into Fidonet can do so via NNTP or Telnet, even working on a web based forum for those of you who don't want to leave your web browser. ;)

Check it out! Tiny's BBS at telnet:// or via web by clicking here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Timothys World Coffee.

Timothy's world coffee.

You knew I'd eventually get to the coffee part of this blog didn't you?

Well I ordered a batch of fresh whole beans from Timothy's the other day and it arrived by courier the next day. The smell opening the box was heaven. I've ordered from them before and found the beans to be a little on the stale side, but this last time they must have been roasted the day before I ordered them as they are amazing.

I ordered a few flavours and so far enjoy the Mocha Parasiene and the Italian the most.

I would give a more in depth review, but I am too shaky from drinking waaaay too much coffee today and will try again soon. ;)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

U3 Vrs Portableapps.

About a ydar and a 1/2 ago I saw an online advert for the then new U3 USB flash memory devices and knew it was something I had to have. Drove out to Futureshop and picked up a Memorex Mini travel drive with U3 (512mb).

Installed all my software, synced my documents folder etc. etc. Was pretty darn happy with it even with the shortcomings. When I bought my iMac last December the flash drive no longer worked (U3 has 2 partitions, a emulated CDROM where the Launch pad is stored, and your data partition, unfortunately the iMac only sees the CDrom partition. so I downloaded a tool to remove the U# launchpad and convert it to a standard flash drive.

I then installed the "Portable apps" suite and that worked great on both the windows computers I use at work for my portable applications as well as carrying my data around. Things were fine and this is where I thought I'd stay. I then noticed an update on Memorex's web site that allowed it to work with Vista and I thought, WTH I'll see if it will turn the drive back into a U3 compatible device, guess what? It worked! ;)

Verdict with the iMac? I just plug it in and let XP pick it up from Parallels, and my documents folder is synced again with the U3 software. I'm going to stick with U3 for now, as I like the way the Migo software works for carrying my "Desktop" with me including auto syncing of my documents.

Portable Apps.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Treo 650!

The Treo 650 and why I love it!

I'll admit it; I'm one of the new generation of people who are too busy doing a thousand different things all at once. I can't remember if I've eaten some days, let along remember if I forgot my Anniversary or Wife's birthday.

I've been a palm used since 1999 when I purchased a Palm IIIe from Staples and promptly realized how amazing the thing was, at first I thought it was going to be a passing fad something I'd play with for a short while then go back to my paper based day planner. I haven't used paper since! ;)

I realized after only a week with the IIIe that the 2mb of ram wouldn't be enough so before I got too attached to it mailed it off for an Upgrade to 8mb, now we're talking! I used the IIIe until I decided I needed colour and picked up the IIIc, from there picked up a Tungsten T and used it for years, when I realized I had one too many devices to carry around I sold the T, and picked up a Treo 650.

One device, for everything!? Stores my memos, date book, contacts, MP3's, books, games, movies!?

This thing is the be all and end all of mobile computing! I've had the 650 for two years and counting now, and still don't need anything else, everything the iPhone can do I've been doing for a long time now. (Not that I don't want an iPhone for the whole ìwowî factor but that's another story...)

Recently I added a data to my monthly cell phone bill and now the Treo is also an Internet device, Sure Blazer isn't as nice as Safari, but for the most part it displays pages nice (Especially after I run them through Squeezer or Google for formatting.) Let's not forget Quicknews, as an RSS reader it's flawless, heck I like it more then NetNewsWire on my iMac!

Accessing email using Agendus Mail SSL is easy; also jump between DateBk6 and Agendus 12 depending on my mood. :) The datebook is my most used feature, with Ereader coming in a close second. I've read more ebooks on my Palm devices over the years, and then some people read in a lifetime. They are PERFECT for reading in bed with as they are lightweight and easy to hold. Docs to Go is another must have, I donít' bother with conduits anymore just use Silver Keeper to keep my Documents folders on my iMac and my 2GB SDCard in sync with each other. Currently sync to Google using Goosync as I've had some issues with Missing Sync lately, and can't stand Palm desktop for MacOS.

My entire life lives in my Treo, and if it beep and flash at me a thousand times a day I don't know what Iíd do.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More Foleo...

I'm sorry, this blog seems to be turning into a Palm Foleo propaganda machine. I can't help it this is going to be a great device!

I was thinking about all the hype HTC is getting on the HTC Advantage X7501 Mobile Office, people are insane for this device. What is it!? It's the foleo running Windows Mobile, it's more expensive then the Foleo. Granted the HTC has it's own phone built in, but what a large ass phone that is!

Think of the foleo as Palm's version of the HTC Mobile office. The difference being the Foleo needs a smartphone for access to the internet where there is no Wifi available. Is this a disadvantage? I don't think so, again imagine carrying something as big as the HTC everywhere all the time and having to use it as your phone. Granted with a BT headset there's no real difference but as I'm sure you know bluetooth headsets run out of juice when you don't want them too, with a seperate smartphone I can pull over and finish my conversation!

Man I can't wait! ;)

Friday, August 10, 2007

PC World doesn't get it.

Here is a link to a hands on review of the Palm Foleo by PCWorld.

I don't have a problem with the review until the last paragraph where the author says:

But for $600 ($500 with a $100 mail-in-rebate), I'd hunt around for a used laptop, especially if I already had anywhere-access with my Treo. I settle for a limited selection of limited-function apps on a smartphone as a trade-off for it fitting in my pocket. If I'm going to have to carry something around, it may as well be a laptop.

But why? I'm not sure where he's getting this whole limited function apps nonsense, sure there are not a whole lot of applications available NOW, but the developers are not going to be sitting around /NOT/ developing for the Foleo. The small guys may not be able to get their hands on the pre-release, or be able to afford the trip to the big conference etc.

Documents to go isn't a limited function application, heck the version on my Treo650 does everything I've ever asked of it. Opera browser is limited? Because it doesn't support tabs?
How much you want to bet it will support tabs by Christmas? or failing that a third party web browser will be available.

This is a whole new market, and it's NOT a laptop, but why do you need to carry a laptop around with you? You want to carry something that takes minutes to boot, is prone to getting spyware, runs for a limited amount of time without being plugged into a wall. Heck If I'm going to carry anything around I'd rather the Foleo, but again please remember I only carry it for WORK. I play on my iMac, I work on my Treo.

Email Solutions.

If your anything like me you have way to many email accounts, and can’t seem to cut them down either.

I have a total of 6 email addresses I’ve had for many years, they are for various companys I have worked for or started or even work supplied accounts for getting spam. ;)
To keep track of all my emails I use a combination of Google’s Gmail, and IMAP folders.

POP Accounts: gmail, yahoo, work2, rogers. Rogers is the address I received from my ISP and I use it for receiving bills, and spam from Rogers, the work2 account is another one that was setup by the company who writes the software we use at work, it’s mainly there for them to send spam. Yahoo is my email address I give out to all web forms, and web forums and is basically a spam trap. Gmail is my personal email address that friends and family use to contact me.

Imap accounts: Personal, work1. The personal account is my previous main email address for personal and business use from the last company I ran. The server is running Exchange, but I connect to it via IMAP for something more “standard”. Currently this email address mainly gets spam from old wholesalers, and I receive enough personal email that it’s worth keeping online, I also have 8 gigs of stored messages in IMAP folders for this account! Work1 is my main work email address for my existing job, again all messages are saved in IMAP folders on this account.

Consolidation: I’ve thought long and hard over this, and came up with a solution that seems to work great! I’ve configured Gmail to get all email for my POP accounts. It grabs, work2, yahoo, rogers and does it’s google magic to them. Gmail’s spam filter is amazing so that cuts down on a lot of issues there, not to mention the fact that when I use my email clients to grab POP mail from Gmail it is all auto archived for searching. I have also added my
Configuring email clients: I use a total of 2 email clients, Agendus SSL on my Treo 650, and on my imac. (I also have Thunderbird configured on my USB key for accessing mail from my laptop). Now you just need to configure 2 addresses, your IMAP work address, and the Gmail address.

If you check mail on your handheld and want to respond later from a full size keyboard, it no longer matters if your email client is configured to remove them from the server as Gmail archives everything!

Works for me!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

More Foleo news from Brighthand!

Just read this on Brighthand and thought I'd better comment on it before the dweebs convince you it's evil. ;)

>The first device on Palm's new Mobile Companion category of products will be built around a >416 MHz Intel/Marvell PXA27x processor.

This is fine! 416Mhz is not slow. You have to remember this unit is not going to run Windows, and all the bloat that goes along with it. heck it's not even going to run a standard bloaty Linux install. Trust me this is fast.

> this model will have a CompactFlash slot located behind its battery.

Compact flash slot behind the battery! So what if the internal storage is only going to be aprox 128mb. You can cram a 4GB CF card in there for under $20 now. Plus the Foleo takes SDCard, and has a USB port that allows any USB key to operate. We have storage coming out the wazoo now! Imagine, just store all your work documents on a USB key and cram that in all your computers (Most people probably do this now!, or you have a file on your SDCard you downloaded on your treo on the train? Plug it in and copy it to your foleo.

I predict a lot of Linux software packages like VLC will be able to port without a whole lot of work, so expect a full featured video player in no time.

This is a device I'm going to want! ;)

Palm Foleo.

The Palm foleo. This device has created such an uproar in the geek hand held computing circle that entire wars have been fought both online and offline, people have DIED over Jeff Hawkings vision! (Okay I might be exaggerating a bit there).

People are convinced this is the end for Palm since it's a "Useless" device and you can do more with a keyboard for your Treo. Heck Shawn, you can buy a Acer laptop that has way more features for the same price now!

Yes, but can that laptop computer boot instantly? Can that laptop computer fit into your briefcase? Can that laptop computer edit Office documents out of the box?

No, No, and I suppose if you downloaded Openoffice. Here's the thing, Palm is marketing this as a second device to help you make your Treo (Or other smartphone) your /MAIN/ computer. The average business user (Who this is targeted for, this is /NOT/ a gaming computer or a computer for your average Geek who needs horsepower for Linux hacking) uses their computer for a few tasks.

1) Email. The Foleo will do this perfectly. Palm knows what they are doing when it comes to email, Versamail on the treo works great.

2) Web browsing. The foleo will include a version of the Opera browser! Opera knows how to make a browser!

3) Editing office documents. The Foleo includes a version of Dataviz's Documents to go which has for many years been keeping Palm users in Office files. Heck I prefer it to Openoffice now as every single document or spreadsheat I've thrown at it looks great on my Treo and since it stores files in their native formats now the email attachment theory is solved.

There are other programs you may need to run that the Foleo won't have support for, as an example my company uses a program that's older then dirt for all our business, until we are forced to upgrade to the new web based software I need a way to access that program. Well guess what? Logmein has been added to the list of developers who are coding for the Foleo!
This will give you access to your desktop computer where you can run your software remotely!

I'm sure the opensource people will port a version of VNC to the Foleo platform as well which would do the same thing for free, and since there is a version of VNC for the Treo I don't see an issue with that! (BTW, while the screen on the treo is small, I've used it with VNC to look up information in the old as dirt program mentioned above!)

In my next post I'll be discussing ways to keep multi email address in sync when your on the road!


Some of the things I will be writing about here, are mobile computing, various geek things, my love affair for fine coffee and general rants about any subject that pops into my mind.

I work out of my home, my co worker is an orange cat named Mike, and my better half's name is Andrea, all of whom will make appearances here from time to time.

I can't spell worth a damn, so if my iMac's spell checker doesn't catch it good luck figuring it out. ;) I also don't write worth a damn either so you will be expected to deal with someone who has the vocabulary of a 14 year old.

Talk to you soon!