Saturday, November 8, 2008


On the Treo's I've always been a huge fan of Quicknews.  Since moving back to Windows mobile I needed to find a RSS reader that didn't throw ads at me, slow my phone down, or make me crazy insane with slow download speeds.

The program I ended up with (and registered) was News Break by Iliumsoft.

As you can see it looks a lot like Quicknews for the Palm platform, and supports auto updating, and is able to download the channels at a speed you hardly notice!  The closest other RSS reader was slow as molasses and didn't support auto updating.

If your on a Windows Mobile device and want a great RSS reader at a reasonable price you can't go wrong with News Break!  Check them out with the link above!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Personal Finance Manager

So I've been looking for a number of years for a software package to take care of my personal finances.  My personal fiances are very simple, and a spread sheet has done the job for a number of years, though I found I had a hard time keeping up with the spread sheet.

I found something called "Ace Money" (Link above) and I was able to download QIX files from my bank, and import them into this program in a matter of minutes.  I then spent 1/2 hour this evening setting all the categories I use and modifying a years worth of entrees / balancing them etc.  (Yes you read that right, a YEARS worth in 1/2 an hour!!!!)

This program is great!  I registered it for only $30, and the $20 Pocket PC version for my HTC Touch (They both use the same file format  as well!!!!).   Cheaper then Quicken, easier to use, the reports it generates are much better looking then the NOTHING I got from a spread-sheet.  
I only run Windows on my "Server" at the house,  but because I can do all my entry on my smartphone, and just sync the file to the "server" I don't even miss not having a native mac application. 

Something else I recently started doing, was scanning receipts.  Now I scan them and add them as "Attachments" into ace money and I can always cross reference items.

If you need something to manage your personal finances I recommend this one HIGHLY.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HTC Touch

Yeah yeah yeah I know.

The Treo755p is now sitting on my desk.  I picked up a HTC touch on ebay and after playing with it for about 10 mins, paid telus the $10 rip off charge to "upgrade" my handset on their website.
(That charge is another story)

I know I hated windows the last two times I tried it, but this time it seems different... I don't know if it's the 6.1 version, or the fact that the hardware is much better then the last junk box I had.

Installed Agendus Pro again, and it's almost good enough to use.   The email application SPANKS versamail!!  Pushing all happens in the cloud, evernote, etc etc etc.  Software is much fresher and quite pretty.

I'll post more on this after I've had the device for about a week!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Safari and Bookmark syncing.

Having been a mac user for about two years now, I have come to really love Safari as my web browser, unfortunialy it has a missing feature. In Firefox there was an add on called “Foxmarks” that totally rocks if you use multiple computers as often as I do and need to keep your bookmarks up to date.

My friend Brad-x and I were bitching about this and Brad came up with an idea about using symbolic links and dropbox.

Guess what? It works!

On the First computer (The one with your bookmarks)

1) Backup your settings. (tar cvf ~/Desktop/Safari.tar ~/Library/Safari)
2) Move the settings to dropbox (mv ~/Library/Safari ~/Dropbox/Safari)
3) Create the link (ln –s ~/Dropbox/Safari ~/Library/Safari)

On the Second (and third etc Computers)

1) Backup (mv ~/Library/Safari ~/Library/Safari-backup)
2) Link (ln –s ~/Dropbox/Safari ~/Library/Safari)

This is all there is to it! One thing I have noticed is if you update a bookmark on computer 1 while computer 2 has safari open it won’t show the new bookmark until you restart safari.

Be sure to check out!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Funny how we now live in a time when cellphones are more reliable then our home phones isn't it?  All my services at home are provided by Rogers cable.  My Internet, TWO phone lines, and television.  

They are all down.

I called and begged them to manually forward my work like to my cell, and thankfully they were able to do that, but now with no services except for my Telus cellphone.... (Which is providing internet access as well)....  

Maybe the whole concept of bundling really doesn't make sense.  If Bell had my phone lines, at least I'd still have those... Maybe it's time to un-bundle and go back to paying four different bills.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New old laptop.

So I got my new (old) laptop. I decided since I was going to have to spend at least $500 I might as well get something I wanted. So I popped down to the fancy authorized apple dealer downtown and found a nice 12" iBook waiting for me.

This is my first non intel computer (Since the Commodore days) and while I am used to the operating system as my main machien is an Intel iMac there were no surprises for me. Everything works as I would expect it too. All software works, printing, etc etc. No more squinting at 3 lines of text in the work software.

Job this weekend is update the RAM from 512 to 1.5Gb! I installed Leopard yesterday and it needs the new ram as Tiger was very snappy on this box, but I really missed the quicklook preview. ;)

Saturday, September 6, 2008


A while back I watched the video for dropbox on their website and totally wanted in. ;)  It took a number of months and I finally got invited to join.   Since that time I have had a friend of mine give me a webdav account which I've been using, here are my thoughts on the two:

WD - Unlimited space
DB -  Couple gigs.

WD - Manually syncing / copying of files.
DB - Syncs automagicaly to all computers or the web interface.

WD - No web interface, so if I don't have access to the add network places I'm boned.
DB - Web interface.

WD - Fast as hell.
DB - Fast as hell.

Basically at this time (Keeping in mind it's not been long) the winner is Dropbox for the simple fact that I am able to work on the documents on my local hard drive and not have to worry about anything else, they just magically appear on the other computers.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

eeePC again.

You can read my glowing review for the eeePC from a while back.  Unfortunately the whole netbook idea just bit me in the butt.  Over the last little while I've been getting everything configured over here so I can compute in the cloud for pretty much everything, (Online storage, webmail, push mail to the treo etc. etc. etc.)  Everything works PERFECTLY!

So what's the problem?

The package I use for work used to be windows based, around June they changed to a web based package which worked great, (again in the cloud) until the most recent update.  The recent update splits your browser into 4 frames.  the last frame is the one to enter your clients information etc.  It is 3 lines long on the eeepc's screen.  Yes 3 lines.  The info screen is 16.

My netbook is no longer useful to me.  I enjoyed the fact I could work anywhere, and now I'm heading to Dell's website for a loaded up Inspiron.  (Or I'll bite the bullet and get a Macbook, as I love my mac!) ;)

 IT was a nice couple of months carrying something so small around.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Versamail update.

For those of you with the Treo 755p, this update works perfectly on my device.  It also has an important fix that stops Versamail from "loosing" the fact its supposed to be receiving push mail from an Exchange server.

Obviously use at your own risk, but I upgraded this morning, and have been receiving email and appointments all day without a hitch.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Ebookwise 1150

I've been a HUGE fan of ebooks since 1999 when I bought my first Palm IIIe and found the website. (Now owned by Fictionwise and called Ereader secure). Over the years I have bought over 300 books from various web stores, and converted a heck of a lot of fan fiction and been from Project Gutenberg.

I've always read on my PDA starting with the iiie, iiic, Tungsten T, Lifedrive, Treo 650, and Treo 755p.

If you look those models up you'll notice the screen has gotten smaller as time went
on, my eyes have also gotten older. Last week I started the hunt for a dedicated ebook

My first stop was amazon to have a look at the Kindle since that's the one getting
all the press right now. Unfortunately for Amazon I live in Canada and they only sell their
device in the US so I moved on.

Sonystyle. Now this was a reader that had some features and the price wasn't that
bad at all. I had pretty much decided to go with this one since the other e-ink readers
all had price tags that I just didn't want to deal with right now.

I then read the reviews of E-Ink and while most people love it, the one thing that bothered
me was the lack of a backlight (Or the lack of a free light for the reader, the backlight from
Sony is another $70.

Since I don't sleep my wife spoke up and told me I would need to find something that wouldn't
require a bedside lamp.

I started hunting for a LCD reader with a backlight, and stumbled across the site which is owned by Fictionwise. I read the specs, and checked out the reviews online and even though this is seriously old tech people still LOVE them. I hauled out the old plastic and ordered one up.

The device got here in 3 business days, and was packaged very nice, the case it comes with
is functional and I can chuck my ebook in my briefcase with everything else and feel it won't
be damaged.

I promptly set everything up and registered the device and had access to my online bookshelf.
It asked me if I wanted to import all my previous fictionwise purchases (Multi format only) to
the new bookshelf and I let it.

I also picked up the librarian software from their website which allows one to use the USB cable
and "Online Bookshelf" to connect to your local computer where you can place your own created
books. With a bit of work I was able to remove the DRM and convert some of my previous .LIT and Mobipocket books into HTML and from HTML it was a breeze to convert to the IMP format.

The fonts are very easy to read and the brightness / contrast controls allow you to tweak it
to be viewable in almost any light. I went outside and in everything but DIRECT sunlight the
ebookwise is very readable.

The big buttons for changing pages are GREAT, and so is the touch screen for entering some
search terms. I also really appreciate the dictionary that comes with the device, as it is very
easy to highlight a work and look up the meaning. The device also lets you take notes on the
book directly on the page itself, if you need more room you can add a blank page and write or
draw until your hearts content. This will come in very handy!

While it's not been a long time yet, I think I will be happy with this device for a while to come. for more info.

PDA Reach

PDA Reach by June Fabrics is another application that I have owned for quite a while now and have recently started using again.

The talk about the Redfly winmo device got me thinking again how much I really wanted a Palm Foleo instead of the eeepc I ended up with.

One of the things about PDA Reach is that with the limited space on the EEEPC (Once windows XP is in there) is the fact that I wanted a quick and easy way to use my email clients / contacts without installing a lot of crap.

This works amazing. Just like the redfly I am using the programs directly on my palm, but with the keyboard on my eeepc. You can also just connect to the internet on your phone and use the Blazer web app etc on the eeepc where wifi isn't available without breaking any contracts.

June Fabrics does have another program called PDA Net that allows you to use your Treo as a modem for connecting to the internet on any windows computer. I have tested it out and it does work, but it wasn't one I stuck with due to the current license with Telus mobility. (I now have unlimited data for $30 a month on the phone, and don't want to loose that!)

More Treo 755p Goodness.

Couple of cool things I've done with the Treo the last week and a bit. The main thing is switching launchers from Launcher-X, to Initiate. This is a really sweet launcher that allows you to just type what your looking for and voila. Including contacts, apps, files, etc. Check out the website for the full deets.

He also has a number of other software that I use and love. The genious! program makes searching for things very easy as it can search online or locally etc.

The other one I love is Power hero. My favorite parts of PH are simple, the scheduling of the phone on and off, and the bluetooth auto connecting when in my car. Yes the treo takes a few seconds to connect but I just answer by picking up the phone and in no time at all the speaker in my car kicks in.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Treo 755p

So in the last two weeks I have been using my Treo 755p more and more, I have come to the conclusion that it really is a great device.  My friend recently started running a Kerio mail server and now I can sync everything "in the cloud" using my Telus connection or when I'm at home I connect to the home network via Bluetooth so I can save some money on my data plan.

The biggest issue I have with the Treo is not with the treo, but is with my cellphone provider (Telus) the Data plan is still WAAAAAAAAy to expensive.  $25 a month for 4mb.  You can burn through 4mb in about 5 minutes of being connected to a IM server.

Some of the features I'm using that are new (to me anyway) are Facebook with the new client from Palm, and let me tell you, it's great, the client is fast the pictures download and upload quickly and it's easy to blast a couple pictures from the camera there.  Another new (to me) feature is the wireless syncing discussed above, and the new version of Mundo messenger works great on the 755p!

Friday, May 9, 2008


I started looking for a way to keep everything organized, and I've found it!  The beta version of Evernote is amazing.  Everything you throw at it gets indexed and is quick to find again.  If you take a picture of a notepad evernote will sometimes be able to read that handwriting and allow it to be searchable.  (I say sometimes. as my handwriting is AWFUL and it can't even begin to guess at what I'm writing)

All in all it's a good one.  Check out the demo and if you want an invite I have 15 here to give away.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Asus EEEPC 701


The other day I went to the local Geek toy store, and picked up an Asus EEEPC, the model I have is the Perl white 4gb 701. I also picked up a 4GB SDHC card while I was there for $30.

I brought the wee beastie home, unpacked it and turned it on for the first time and was amazed at just how quickly it booted to its default Linux OS. I am an experienced Linux user and was sure the dummied down GUI was going to make me insane, but in truth I like it.

The other concern I had was the CPU power was a lot less then the laptop I was coming from, as well as the small 7” screen was a worry. I took a chance anyway.

I'm going to try to break this down into a few sections just so I can (I hope) get my thoughts out before they leave my head forever.

Keyboard: The keyboard is very small, I tested it quickly at the store on a demo model and thought I would be able to learn it fairly quickly, and I didn't disappoint myself. The spacing is very close together, but I used to use an old external keyboard for my Palm (Gotype) that was about the same size so my fingers got used to not traveling very far quickly. I'm writing this review while listening to “Internet Radio” and talking on MSN to my wife.

Screen: Okay the resolution is only 800x480 (Or 800x600 scrolling), I am used to using a 15” laptop at work, and a 20” iMac at home. So I was a little worried about dealing with the small screen size. Truthfully it's not really a problem. I am able to surf the web, read and write email easily (After some quick changed in Thunderbird) and after 9 hours straight of working with it today (3 more to go...) my eyes are still not bugging out of my head and I'm still feeling good.

Sound: Ohhh WOW!! The on-board sound with the internal speakers are very VERY impressive for their size, I'm listening to music and it's just a very beautiful sound coming out of the speakers and they are aimed correctly so that the 3D sound wraps around you.

Wifi: The wifi works perfectly, it's connected to the office lan, the public one down in the coffee shop, and my home lan without worries.

USB Ports: Wow.. 3 USB ports on something this small is PERFECT! I hate all touchpad’s, even this one so one of the first things I do is disable the touchpad and plug in my portable mouse. I also store all documents for work on a USB flash drive so I can access them from any computer I use. /AND/ I can still plug the printer in. :)

Printer Support: Just plugged in the multi function HP to the USB port and Linux automatically detected it correctly and installed the right drivers. I have not tried my insane Lexmark printer at home yet, but will do so soon.

Operating System(s): One of the first things I did was follow a howto for installing Windows XP to a SDHC card for a type of “Dual Boot” on the eeepc. This works perfectly for that one darn program I need for work. Thankfully most of the time I can work out of Linux, but about a couple hours a day I need the actual work software and when I boot windows (in under 30 seconds) I can be in Mortgagebase in a couple of minutes. WinXP gets an A++ for working on this machine as quickly as it does! I also tried installing Windows XP to the internal drive and it is very VERY fast that way. I wanted to dual boot as the Linux tools are just a bit quicker IMO and do the job for me.

The version of Linux is a customized version of xandros linux, and it works perfectly. I tried enabling the “Advanced Desktop” which runs KDE, but remembered how much I don't like KDE so quickly came back to the “Easy Desktop” which works quite well and is so user friendly you forget its Linux.

The software that comes with the Linux version is exactly what you need. Openoffice, Thunderbird, Firefox, and a variety of other tools, and games. I can tell you FF and TB both work stable and even with flash / java sites.

VGA Output: Yes it outputs to a standard VGA monitor, if you need the bigger screen. This works very well under both Windows and Linux.

Battery Life: This is something I really like about the unit; the battery in the wee beastie seems to last forever. I was running it full tilt with USB devices, web cam, wifi, the works for a number of hours ad the battery still had 40% left. I can find nothing bad about the battery.

Conclusion: Well as you can probably tell from this review I really like the unit. You must keep in mind if you are going to use it as a replacement for a laptop (Like I am) you need to think long and hard about the screen size and size of the storage space. Neither of these things bothers me as I've explained above.

Days later: It’s been about a week since I start writing the above review, and I’ll let you know where I am with the operating system thing. I switched to WindowsXP full time for a week, and realized I hated it. So I’m back to xandros with the full desktop enabled. I also hate Openoffice, so I had to purchase Crossover office so I could use MS Office.

Well… That’s all I’m going to say about the EEEPC for now, but basically I still love the wee little thing.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I had a hard drive crash yesterday on my Old BBS computer.  The operating system I choose for that box is ECS 2.0 RC4 (I keep it updated), I also backup the main BBS parts to my iMac every week or so, and am able to re-install OS/2 and all my apps in about an hour if something happens.

Well needless to say the drive conked out when I didn't want it too, and I found a 10GB "Lawsuit" drive from FUjitsu laying around not doing anything, so proceeded to install it into the computer and get ECS running.

The Fuji is very old, slow and small.  so I kept digging and found a 40GB WD laying on a bench that came out of my daughters machine, so I installed that as a slave and googled to see if there was any utilities out there like "Partition Magic" but that could handle the JFS file system.

I found DFSee.

It was able to clone the JFS disk to another drive keeping the LVM information and everything.  The system booted! 

I registered it right after that.   Currently using it to create backup images of my laptop and
BBS machine and storing them on my 120GB USB drive.  Will make for quick restores!

The interface is very complex, but I recommend checking it out anyway, as if you need a tool like this you will not mind reading some docs / playing with a test computer etc.