New HTC “Shift” UMPC looks hot

I’ve been looking and waiting for a well thought-out UMPC that does full Windows and the HTC Shift might just be the one. Can’t wait to read some hands-on reviews. It was just announced so it will probably be a while. My Nokia N800 is awesome, but seems like I’m always waiting for this or that to come out, when it already exists in the Windows world.

The OXO Model 2 is shipping now and looks pretty good as well.�

Rhapsody on the Nokia N800…way cool

Well until Nokia updates the Flash plug-in on the N800 and I can play songs on Napster, this will do quite nicely. They are giving a free 30-trial and my initial experience is quite good. I actually like the playlist saving better than Napster, particularly the ability to save the album in one action. It also allows you to view your library as individual albums or artists, something you can’t do on Napster.

Performance over my wifi network was excellent. A few stutters, but nothing annoying. The interface is snappy and songs play with little hesitation. �

Not sure what the monthly fee will be, but I’m guessing $10/mo. Right now, I’m pretty sure I’ll do it�

My app is cracked by hackers and I’m happy about it!

I suppose I should be pissed, but actually I’m quite excited to have stumbled across some serial numbers posted for one of my apps at http://www.coreserials.com/serials/pc/52799/spamevader-1.0.0.html It was a web-based spam filter called Spamevader which I no longer distribute. Never sold one copy =) It’s kinda of a weird validation. Having my app cracked makes me feel like i made it. ;-)

DLO TransDock Micro car FM transmitter rocks

I have been struggling trying to determine if the Bose sound system in my new ’07 350Z would work with the aux input module for the ’06 models. No one, including the dealer and sellers, know. Why the input isn’t standard on this car is beyond me, but it isn’t so that’s that. Anyways, I tried using my old iRock with decent, but not great, results which gave me a little hope that a FM transmitter would work if I got a good one. After a little googling, i came across this FM Transmitter Roundup, which rated the DLO TransDock Micro as the hands-down winner.

Well, I was at the CompUSA clearance over the weekend and low and behold, they had some in stock. Very pricey at $69, but after 30% off and a $15 gift card that I’d been carrying around, I got it for around 30 bucks and that suited me fine.�

This little gadget work great! L.A. is packed full of FM stations and your transmitter needs to stomp all over at least one station and the TransDock Micro does just that. I’ve been all over from LA to the OC and down to the ports with great results. I had just a little static in one area, but very minor. It plugs nicely right into the cigarette lighter jack with no ugly cords or AC adapters. The aux input is at the bottom and works great with my Palm TX. If you have an iPod you can plug it into the top and charge as you play.

UPDATE: OK, I drove up over some steel bridges and through very industrial areas and for whatever reason I got LOTS of static. Disappointing kinda, but I don’t drive there much. I prolly could have found a different station, but too much hassle at that point.�

UPDATE #2: Changed to a different station and it seems to work much better. The unit supports up to 4 presets and the manual indicates that you may need to change stations depending on where you are driving. I can live with that. This site, radio-locator.com, is a great way to find good stations if you live in a crowded area, like LA.�

HD-DVD/Blu-ray format war similar to quad-stereo in the 70s

There is a precedent
where a major technology push died and no format won: quadraphonic stereo. This
was introduced in the 70’s I think. Basically, it was four-channel stereo, but
there were at least three different formats. You had to buy incompatible discs
for each, plus special amps, tuner and of course extra speakers–sound familiar? Well, it never took
off and died because, IMHO:

  1. Consumers didn’t see a real
    need for it. Stereo was good enough.
  2. Multiple formats made it
    difficult to pick a winner to invest in.
  3. You had to buy all new
    equipment to listen to it.
     

This
parallels today’s hi-def movie wars. It’s not just picking a format and buying
new media, it’s having to buy all new equipment. Sure, hi-def looks incredible,
but is it really that much better than watching a standard DVD? Probably not.
The adoption hurdles are huge and the true benefits are debatable. The US is going to
have a hard enough time migrating to HD. I don’t think either hi-def movie
format will win.

Changing daylight savings was a bone-head move

I just gotta get this off my chest. How stoopid and shortsighted is our government? I can’t believe they didn’t thoroughly think through the implications of changing daylight savings time. It’s like adding a 13th month! It just shows how far behind the people are that run our country are. 20 years ago, maybe, its wouldn’t have mattered. Everyone manually change their clocks. Today, we have many devices that automagically adjust for DST. Many are hard-coded and won’t be able to adjust to the new dates. So not only do you have to adjust them this Sunday, but you’ll need to adjust them back when the device thinks DST started. AND…you’ll need to do the same thing when it ends. Stoopid. Stoopid. Stoopid.

FINALLY some positive news out of the Palm camp!

PalmAddicts has a very nice interview with Palm Founder, Jeff Hawkins. It is very timely for me–and prolly others–in that lately I’ve felt sort of abandoned by Palm and wondered if the TX was the end of the line. Was it time to move to a M$ pocket PC? I had very similar feelings prior to Palms introduction of the Tungsten line. I nearly jumped ship, but am glad I didn’t…I love my TX. Anyways, Jeff has calmed my nerves quite a bit. My highlights:

Something that will get Palm fans excited is going to be announced in May:

We’re going to be announcing something…but I won’t tell you what it
is…we will be launching this year, not in the distant future. I’ll give
you a much bigger hint: I’m going to be speaking at Walt Mossberg’s D
Conference in May. It’s a high-end industry conference. Anyway, I’m
going to be giving a talk there, and that would be something for the
Palm fans to keep a close watch on
.

Now note that he says “Palm fans” not “Treo fans.” I am hoping that means something more for the Palm PDA loyalists and not the Treo people.

Jeff downplays the current takeover rumors saying, “I wouldn’t pay attention to that. 90% of the time, there isn’t a shred of fact to those rumors.” (I hope we aren’t in the 10% of the time here…)

Jeff also feels that we are in the best shape ever:

We have our name back. We just bought the rights back to Palm OS from
ACCESS; so we now have control of the Operating System again. One of
the main reasons we did a Windows-based product is because we were
worried we wouldn’t have access to the Palm OS
. Palm is in complete
control of its destiny again.

Hmmm I didn’t realize the whole Access thing meant Palm re-acquired rights to the Palm OS, but there it is from the horses mouth. It’s also very interesting that the Windows Treo was a result of not knowing if they would have access to the Palm OS. Does this mean no more future Windows Treos?… I think not.

Now, it takes a little but of time to turn that into products. It takes
2 years to design new products
, and so you don’t see this control
reflected immediately in the product line. In my view, this is a good
time at Palm. In terms of viability, we have lots of cash, we’re
profitable, and we’re in control of our own destiny. We haven’t been in
this kind of shape in a long, long time.

It looks like it might be a few years before I have my hands on the follow up to the TX, but I don’t mind as long as its coming. 

 

Transfer files via Bluetooth to/from Palm TX

I often use SmbMate, a freeware app, to copy files from/to network shares via WiFi. This of course requires the proper Windows file shares and wireless network access. If I’m at work I connect my TX with the USB cable and use Softick’s Card Export II which makes my TX act like a USB flash drive.

I always thought it was possible, but didn’t know how to transfer files via Bluetooth…well other than hotsyncing which is painfully slow. Well, I stumbled upon another Softick product called Commander which lets you transfer files using Bluetooth FTP. With it, I can not only transfer files between my TX and work PC, but also my phone! Crazy cool.

There are no docs, but if your Bluetooth device is paired with your Palm you are in good shape. It took me a while to figure out how to add new devices to the list of Bluetooth devices in the Bluetooth Files folder. You just have to click the recycle button at the top (two swirling arrows) to detect new “discoverable” devices. (You’ll need to pair new devices through the normal Palm procedures.)�

Just remember that the files are copied to/from your PC’s “Bluetooth Exchange Folder” which is in your My Documents folder.

It’s pretty darn fast. You can also do basic copy/paste of files
between the PDA and SD card in addition to between Bluetooth devices.
Good work Softick!