26 minute Palm Pre demo…I’m sold

I’ve been searching for the phone to replace my aging N95 and after watching this demo of the Palm Pre, I’m sold. I was a long-time Palm fan from the Palm Pilot days which my last Palm device being a T|X. I’m so happy they are back with something cool and quite frankly the Pre is head and shoulders ahead of anything out there. The only thing I think I’m going to miss is my N95’s 5MP camera, but 3MP should be sufficient I guess. Not too thrilled about getting a Sprint account, but I’m hoping to move back to GSM when a GSM version is released.

Scosche adapter fixes iPod dock charging problem

In my “Demystifying the charging problems with the new Apple iPods and iPhone 3G” blog entry I explained the reason and origins of the charging problem seen with new iPods (iPhone 3G, 2nd gen Touch, and 4th gen Nano)  and speaker docks. I even mentioned the Scosche PassPORT as a possible solution, though that product is really made for an inline connection in cars.

Well Scosche has released the $39.99 passPORT Home Dock adapter which is basically the same thing built into a dock adapter. Essentially, you can plug this dealie into the dock of an iPod speaker and it will charge the new iPods.

Looks pretty nice, but it should be only a matter of time until speaker manufacturers get off their duffs and wire their speakers to support the 5V charging spec. Still, I guess if you already have a speaker you like AND it will accomodate the added height from the adapter, this would be a good deal.

Mousing Lefty Style: Week 2

Not a whole lot of progress. It is becoming more comfortable and natural. However, it is still a little frustrating at times if I have to do a lot of mousing, like with graphics or web development. An unforeseen issue is now having to learn to drink coffee using my right hand…yes I drink liquids near my keyboard ;-P

All in all though, I see no reason not to stick with it. That’s a positive sign I guess.

Previous entries:
Mousing Lefty Style: Week 1

Mousing Lefty style

Tunecore music royalties. I’m rich!

I posted some songs from my old band, Mind Games, to iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody and eMusic using the Tunecore service and just got an email with the subject line “You Have Royalties From iTunes”. WOW! So I log in and low and behold, there’s a whopping $1.06 in my account! 40 cents is actually from Napster. Appears to be mostly from streaming, but maybe one actual purchase. Yeah, I don’t even know how I get paid HAHA. 66 cents is from UK iTunes.

Well, I don’t know where I’m gonna  spend it all. I think I’ll just let it sit there and grow =)

Tempted by Sony Reader, but it’s just too damn expensive!

I’ve been trying to talk myself out of a Kindle or Sony Reader for a long time. I know it doesn’t make any sense for me, but they are just cool. Well, I was on my annual walk-down-every-aisle-of-Fry’s trip (my birthday is Weds) and I came across the Sony in THREE different locations. IS SOMEONE TRYING TO DRIVE ME INSANE???

Well, by the end of my journey I was weak and decided to give in and drop the $399 necessary for the PRS-700 Sony Reader. But then I saw the Acer and HP netbooks. Beautiful tiny amazing devices; full Windows XP computers for just $249-$299. Is the Reader really good enough to justify $100-$150 extra cost??? Clearly, the answer is No.

Well, I wasn’t ready to jump on the netbook bandwagon, so I left with just a few non-tech odds and ends only about $30 lighter…what a disappointment…

Well, I still think the readers are cool, but the biggest thing I really can’t get my arms around is that the Sony is a better device, but Amazon’s got the better bookstore. I just know its eventually going to be one of those love-hate purchases. So far I’m holding out.

PC Mag vs MaximumPC digital subscription clients

MaximumPC uses Coverleaf and PC Magazine uses Zinio. Zinio appears to have the larger library, but Coverleaf does have recognizable magazine names. One big difference is that Zinio allows you to use an optional desktop client whose use is obviously directed at offline reading. That’s a nice feature. The desktop client also has annotation features missing from the bare-bones web client. However, the web client has a feature sorely missing from the desktop and that is the ability to save and share links to pages. You can even send the link to one of the various social networks like Delicious. I use Delicious to save links to articles that I might want to refer to in the future.

The reading experience is much better on my slate tabletPC using the Zinio desktop client. I can move from page to page by clicking corners of the pages. I’ve rigged up a similar thing on Coverleaf by using a mouse gesture extension that emulates pageup/down keystrokes. Note that this only works in Internet Explorer. Firefox for some reason does not move you from page to page with keystrokes.

If it matters to you, Zinio is a Flash-based web app and Coverleaf is Ajax. Both are pretty good, but clearly Zinio “feels” a little smoother. That said, Coverleaf actually has a couple features that Zinio doesn’t. In particular, I like the Pages function which displays a page of thumbnails of all the pages in the issue.

Now obviously you don’t really need to pick one over the other. You can use them both. At least the hardware you need is the same…ie a PC and a web browser. It’s not like trying to decided between a Kindle and Sony Reader.

I suppose that while I’m at it, I should mention my other favorite electronic subscription service and that’s NewsStand.com. Here you’ll find lots of newspapers, like LA Times, NY Times and USA Today.

Slate tabletPC kicks Kindle’s rear

I’ve been seriously trying to decide between the Kindle and the Sony Reader, but I’ve just discovered that you can’t beat a slate-style tabletPC-I’ve got the Motion Computing LE1700.  Digital media consumers, like me, have long moved way beyond the one-dimensional black and white mediums and onto color-intensive things like magazines,  websites, etc. Even newspapers have embraced color. What would USA Today be without color.

This is why I see single-purpose devices like the Kindle and Sony Reader as great devices, but unnecessary in the grander/long-term scheme of things. Plus, they are relatively expensive. How much more use can you get out of a 32GB iPod Touch or netbook compared to a Kindle or Sony Reader?

More and more traditionally print publications are being offered in electronic versions, although you’d be often hard pressed to find them. I recently discovered the (well hidden) digital subscription to Maximum PC and LA Times, but PC Mag, being only offered in digital format, was not surprisingly easier to get. A digital version of PC World is also available, but at $19.97/yr, it’s a bit pricey. MaxPC and PC Mag are under $10/yr. PC Mag has a special 2-year subscriptions for $15!

Digital subscriptions are by no means limited to tech magazines either. Check out Zinio.com, the engine used by PC Mag, and you’ll probably be surprised at the strong catalog of offerings. Newsstand.com is also good. That’s where you’ll find a lot of the newspapers like the LA Times, NY Times, USA Today, etc.

I will fully admit that I envy the awesome ebook reader battery life and the crisp eInk display, but giving up a full PC experience is too much to ask. I was just relaxing reading an issue of PC Mag and decided to start blogging my experience. Try THAT on an eBook reader.

The big downside to electronic publications, as with any copyrighted electronic medium, is DRM. Zinio and Newsstand both rely on proprietary file formats. Sure you can download and archive them, but who knows when they will become obsolete.

In my opinion, however, do publications have that much value after a year or two? Maybe books do, but who really re-reads their books? Yeah, I now people like to save and collect their magazines and books into their own personal library, but how often do they look at them? How much is relegated to dusty cardboard boxes in the garage taking up valuable storage space? Now hopefully, electronic publishers will embrace and standardize on the ePub format, but I’m not holding my breath. For the most part, I think the usefulness of individual magazine and newspaper copies are transitory. Just re-buy them in the future if the desire arises.

For portability, I’ll rely on my iPod Touch and N95. Both support eReader ebooks. Guess I could even stoop to a good old fashion paperback. The battery lasts forever, but no built-in backlight…oh the Kindle doesn’t have that either  ;-)

T9 Nav is an awesome S60 shortcut/app launcher for N95

I absolutely love little utilities that make life a little easier and Nuance’s T9 Nav is exactly that. It basically puts nearly everything on your N95 just a few keypresses away. No more hunting through menus to find the application, contact, appointment, etc. you are looking for.

When you first start T9 Nav up, it goes through your phone and creates an index of media, music, calendar, messages, bookmarks, and applications. (I turn off media, music and messages in the options because they tend to clutter the results, but that’s just my preference.)

Once the indexing is done all you do is type what you are looking for T9 style at the Standby screen. So, let’s say you were looking for a plummer. You would type 7582 (aka p, l, u, m) A list would pop up with anything on your phone that has something corresponding to the T9 7852. You can type more numbers to further narrow the results.

A small icon appears on the left to let you know if the entry is a contact, application, bookmark, etc. You can also cycle through tabs where each type of item is grouped together on one tab.

It’s sound like a really crazy way to get at things, but it is very effective and fast. If I’m trying to remember when my haircut appointment is I start typing 4247 and up it pops. If I want the Podcast app, I type 763 and, boom, it’s there. You get the picture. Often, it only takes about 3 characters to narrow it down to where what you want is near the top of the list.

T9 Nav is highly recommended. The cost is 17 euros or about US$22 and is available through the Nokia Software Marketplace. Somehow I got a 15% discount for registering on the site, so I got a slight discount.

UPDATE:
Apparently, T9 Nav can cause your battery to drain more rapidly. According to the techsupport:

We’ve found that sometimes T9 Nav interacts badly with applications that make frequent changes such as RSS readers or mail sync programs. They cause T9 Nav to re-index because of the updates they make to the file system. If this is applicable, then you may consider disabling another applications and seeing if it continues to happen. Depending on what the interaction problem is and which application combination is causing the issue, we may be able to suggest a work-around.

I can’t really figure out what app I’m running that would be causing this. Hopefully, they can figure out some type of workaround. My suggestion was to have a maximum update interval, like don’t update more then once a hour.