Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Archives-March 2006

March 31

New Cradle

Last night my first accessory for my 8125 arrived- a beautiful new cradle. I ordered a cradle for the KJam to sell together and can officialy report that the upright cradle for the kjam will not fit the 8125 because the body is too boxy. So I went ahead and ordered one for the 8125 which as you can see from the picture cradles the device in a horizontal manner. This allows you to slide the screen off to use the keyboard if desired.
As I unpackaged it I noticed they included a clear stylus with the cradle which I found strange at first. Then, once I plugged the cradle into my usb I noticed a blue light which comes from the hole where you insert the stylus. Once inserted you have a surreal looking blue glow coming out of your cradle which also makes reaching for the stylus easier. I was able to snag this off ebay brandnew for about $30. Which is not bad when you consider it is a sync and charge cradle!

March 30
At the end of the day, after getting your basic functionality, what are the other things that we look for in a device? Well, for me, integration is key. It has to be one unit that does it all because I am not a fan of carrying multiple devices.
Next is integrated WiFi. I never thought I would become a WiFi snob but once you have it there is simply no going back. Even my hi-speed via Bluetooth to PC on my Treo simply does not compare.
A keyboard is also a must... I never fully enjoyed my Axim because typing was always a dread. You can only hold a stylus for so long before getting a cramp. Obviously a backlight for the keyboard is also crucial.
One handed use is important but mainly for key things. Phone, email reading and RSS reading are all things I like to be able to do one-handed (and can on my 8125!). A game or 2 one-handed is also nice.
I love the Bluetooth function because is allows one to transfer data at a much quicker rate. Again this is one of those technologies which, once experienced can no longer be left out.
March 29

What We Want in a PDA

As I continue my transition to my 8125 (today was my first day leaving my Treo at home and going commando...!) I've been thinking about what makes one device so different from the other. For me, I think I tend to seek the same core functionalities and the little extras are what generally sway me.
In the course of the day, here are the basic things I want and need my device to do for me:
-Music Player
-News/RSS feeds
-Appointments
-Contact Information
-Dictionaries/Translation
-Internet access and email

And the rest are extras.

K-Jam Essentials

Today marks day 4 with my new KJam and I am gradually getting used to several things. The keyboard is different enough from the Treo's that some time is needed to fully aclimate to the difference. I am also one of those people who had KeyCaps650 installed on my Treo so I have to fight the urge to long press a key for caps.
A thorough scouring of the web has turned up these freeware gems for my:
SmartKey- this key allows your 2 softkey buttons (the ones for Calendar and Contacts to play double duty when pressed and held to work as the Start Menu and the Ok/Close button. It also allows you to scroll with the volume know on the side
MortSaver-The first hard lesson I learned is that Windows Media does not play when the unit is turned off (unlike the Palm PocketTunes). Instead you need MortSaver to turn off the screen.
March 28

8125 Today Screen

Image hosting by Photobucket
Each time I think I have reached sheer happiness with my new 8125, I discover something new to make me coo!
So far, I am over the moon with my WiFi and documents. Today I sync'd with my work pc and installed all my documents to my memory card. I was amazed at how its able to open every single file I added! And seamlessly without the tedious Documents to Go sync process.  Here's my current Today screen- I swapped to Wisbar light because I am getting kind of used to the WM5 GUI.

Message Limit on WM5

For reasons I am not entirely sure of yet, it seems I cannot send emails over 3kb. I have tried every adjustment I can think of to my 8125 but I can't figure it out. So. I suppose I will just need to break up my entries to ensure that they don't get cut off. (I can, however, send pictures without their abbreviation)

March 27

Monday Morning with My K-Jam! (Actually Cingular 8125!)

 
Well, in addition to everything else this morning marks my first mobile post from a device other than my Treo! This is live from my new Cingular 8125! Now you may be wondering what became of my Imate Kjam and I will fill you in on the long and extremely tedious tale.
First of all. I was up at 6am on Saturday eagerly anticipating the arrival of my new beloved. I kept my eye on the window and the UPS website tracking the every move of my package when all of a sudden UPS marked the package as attempted with a rescheduled delivery date of Monday! I was furious because the UPS truck had not been anywhere near the vicinity of our neighborhood yet. I immediately got on the phone and after 20 minutes of fighting and arguing they sent someone to deliver the package claiming a minor error on their part.
The package finally arrived and I opened it and immediately felt a sense of deflation... I mean, what is it about ebay now that people think its okay to just misrepresent items? I noticed an auction last night where the seller indicated that a phone came with no `extras` such as the battery, battery door, stylus...excuse me, when did these items become extras?!? The box had just the phone and the power cord. It had no usb cord to connect it to my computer. Well, I figured I would purchase a cradle from ebay since I still wanted the phone. Then I examined the body and could tell that the kjam had been used without a case... It was actually in worse shape than my Treo 650 that I've been using for over a year! This did not make me happy at all.
Then I turned on the kjam and went through the usual calibration process after which a message popped up telling me that the rom was about to update (or something like that). I waited patiently as it updated then rebooted and then noticed that the today screen had portions of the data in Arabic! This was the final straw! I mean, to have the Rom in Arabic and no conceivable way to even try to modify it (due to no power cord!) and then I slid the keyboard open and saw that the keyboard also had Arabic characters on it! Are you kidding me? Well by this time Dean took one look at my face and grabbed our jackets. He knew we were getting me a kjam one way or another! We headed out to about 3 Cingular stores and the last one happened to have the 8125 in stock so we bought it and came home where I had received an email from Jim (the seller) indicating that the phone way okay and that he had not misrepresented it in any way. Now i'll have to honestly relist and sell it and eat the difference (at least I now can sell it with a cradle at least!) So far I've been enjoying my new lovely and could not be more happy. Also there is satisfaction from knowing that at least cingular stands behind their product!
I'll give you the scoop,impressions and tricks later. Did I mention I love this keyboard!
Image hosting by Photobucket
March 23

I-mate

In the last couple of weeks I've been taunted by the Club i-mate page. I
mean, all that WM goodness with built in WiFi, BT, GPRS and GSM... So I
have been a steady fixture over there but I admit that the prices of the
devices give even me pause. Having said all that I've still been keeping an
eye on the page. Well, today I finally succumbed to my weakness and began
the task of price stalking the i-mate K-Jam. At first I thought of getting
Cingular's 8125, but without the new activation discount, what would really
be the point?
My search took my to eBay where, to my shock and utmost joy, I was able to
find an unlocked K-Jam for a price much less than the MSRP of about $800!
And I do mean much (less than 50% even!). I placed my bid and held my
breath... and WON!
I am so excited to finally be scratching this itch! In fact I hounded the
seller until he finally agreed to ship it overnight to ensure I get it by
Saturday! (I also referred him here so he could have proof that I wasn't
just a harrassing buyer but a certified pda loon..Hi Jim! :) )
I have decided that if this device lives up to my expectation, it will be
time to say a sad goodbye to my Treo 650 as well as the Axim x51v and
condense everything to one device. I'll hang on to my Tapwave Zodiac (I
can't bear the thought of losing him!) and will be able to continue using
my multitude of Palm app.
Now for the part I hate the most...the waiting!!!!!



 
March 22

Palm OS to Windows Mobile

I've gradually been getting used to the idea that WM is going to be a fixture in my mobile life. Treo has not seen fit to incorporate WiFi into its devices (including the 700p based on widespread rumors) so I will continue to use my Axim as my WiFi device.
One of the difficulties that I've encountered is finding WM apps comparable to the ones I've gotten comfortable with on Palm. I'm lucky- at least I don't have to factor in a 240x240 screen into my search ( the Treo 650->Treo 700w folks know what I mean). But it can be a daunting task to tackle PocketGear instead of PalmGear.
So far, here's what I've come up with. Hopefully, in the future, all developers will strive to make their applications on multiple platforms including the DESKTOP! I can't stress how invaluable it is to have the desktop portion as a port for the 2.

~
Bonsai/Smartlist- on my Treo I pretty much used these for the same function (I discovered Bonsai after using SLTG for years). Listpro is the WM equiv for me and the desktop will import CSV files. Now I installed ListPro for palm also and I can sync across all 3 platforms.
Image hosting by Photobucket




~
TurboPasswords- this is a tricky one. The feature I love the most in Turbo is the ability to store passwords from websites I go to on the desktop. For this reason, I really wanted a program to work in conjuction with Turbo and not instead of. I chose eWallet because it also has a nifty import function created especially for Turbo (Cloak) files.
PocketLingo- hurray! All the palm dictionaries are available for Pocket PC.
Image hosting by Photobucket



Pocket TV Guide- hurray! Again, comes in both palm and ppc flavors.Image hosting by Photobucket

~
VideoHound-sadly, one of my MVPs is not yet ppc ready. I am currently on a trial of Leonard Maltin Movie Guide...will see if its worth the purchase. (If I sound blassé about Leonard, its because I don't particularly care for their tactic of annual upgrade fees)


~
iSilo- although there is a ppc version of isilo available I opted to experiment with the now free MobiPocket and so far its working out.
Image hosting by Photobucket



~
Woman Calendar (Beiks)- now I've been lucky with finding both palm and ppc versions in this, but I am still working on trying to get the information to sync to both. Currently I am manually copying my data into my Axim. Not a suitable option as far as I'm concerned.
Image hosting by Photobucket



~
QuickNews-easily replaced by Egress. Egress also has support for pictures. Image hosting by Photobucket

~ComicGuru- Palm to PPC. Still good, same converter!
Image hosting by Photobucket

~Tube2 NYC Pro- again, an excellent map program, available for Palm and PPC.
 Image hosting by Photobucket
March 21

SpbAirIslands

So the last couple of days were filled with relaxation and doing absolutely
nothing. To be honest, I've been exhausted lately with all the things I
need to get done. But I did spend more time playing with my Axim and the more time I spend with it the more convinced I am that I might have to say farewell to Palm eventually... I don't know. But I do know that if I could select a VGA WM5 device with a built in keyboard it would certainly give me pause. I know there are a few such devices but I'm still in love with my Axim and not quite ready to part with it.


 Image hosting by Photobucket

Lately I've been addicted to spbAirIslands. If you're into WM then you're
probably aware of this awesome game.... The goal is to build a community on the island by erecting houses, sheds, trees and other valuable pieces of real estate. Like the Sims, each construction increases certain elements which improve the quality of life (such as economy) while affecting certain other negative elements (such as pollution). Its a delicate balance that must be preserved and it is intriguing to see how all the elements interact. Image hosting by Photobucket


The true genius of AirIslands is how they have included three mini-games as a way to earn supplies for building. To earn water, you'll need to play a mini game of Bubbles. For bricks its Arkaball and for wood its Xonix. The
scores you receive while playing those games becomes the amount of supplies you receive when you return to the island.

 Image hosting by Photobucket

Its a great game that ensures that there are enough things going on that
you never get bored.

March 15

Slipped Him the ol' Bluetooth

Lately Dean decided that he wanted to get a new cell phone, and since I've been really happy with my Cingular service in the year that I've had it
(switched from TMobile to get the discount on my Treo 650) I proposed that he join me on Cingular. As neither of us are huge phone talkers we opted to convert my plan to a family share plan, add a line for him and share 500 minutes for the month. If you didn't already know Cingular calls to any Cingular customer are free and do not use up your minutes.
While Dean had more practical wants in a phone (small size, clamshell
design) I was already dreaming of the other features I would try to 'slip
in'. I called and ordered him the Motorola V557 . This is a neat phone which is ideal for any spouse of a tech geek because it has a nice beginners camera and video recorder as well as bluetooth.
If you've been following my tech story you'll remember that when I got my Treo 650 last March I turned our entire home office bluetooth including mice and keyboards. Well, Dean was only marginally impressed at the time...he was a bit more wowed when I set up my Treo to Wi-Fi via bluetooth, but that's been about it. Now with his new phone he was able to download games onto his computer and then send them via bluetooth! This is one feature he really liked, especially once he found a website that offers tons of free java games. He's also been able to send over pictures to and from his phone which is another thing he likes to do.
I must say there is nothing more gratifying than slipping into bed with my
Axim and finding Dean in the gentle glow of his new phone exploring all the new things he can do.


Image hosting by Photobucket
March 14

Compare Backgrounds

I'm going to need your feedback on this... Which background do you prefer?

Can't Get Enough...

Modding my today screen has become my new obsession. Here is Battery pro, a neat plugin that shows the time left on your battery.

Let's Get SiriuCE!

 
Last night I got a chance to download Sirius for PocketPC and what a delight it is! There's nothing like getting someone a Christmas gift of Sirius radio then finding out that you can listen in too!
While SiriuCE does not get all the channels that the satellite receiver radio has, it does have decent enough variety that you'll probably find a channel you'll like. I was thrilled to see my favorite "Raw Dog" in the lineup but I couldn't get audio on that channel last night. All you need is to be connected to the internet and voila!
 Image hosting by PhotobucketImage hosting by Photobucket
If you happen to have a Treo 700 you'll be happy to hear that this wondeful freeware will also work for you! Although, I can't vouch for how the sound/buffering will hold up as I have only used it with Wifi.
March 13

The Cases are coming! The Cases are coming!

Well, actually the cases are here. Here is my lovely trio of Sena cases:
 
 
Image hosting by Photobucket


Image hosting by Photobucket

They are the blue and black models and look stunning. I love how my pdas now all look like they are part of the same collection!

Getting Axim-ated!

 

Image hosting by Photobucket
I have been having a lot of fun building up my Axim. This weekend I scoured aximsite.com and found all kinds of invaluable information that I couldn't have done without. In my opinion its a great place for anyone new to the WM platform!

Image hosting by Photobucket
Of all the software I looked at I think I am most impressed with the Opera browser. As you can see in the picture below, it does an excellent job of resizing pages while still keeping their integrity. In addition, the images are crystal clear and take advantage of the VGA screen. (The images in PIE always seem to have a washed-out look)

Image hosting by Photobucket
Having so much memory is also a joy to behold. My Axim rests at about 25MB of program space with 3 3rd party today plug-ins, making the Treo 700w a complete dud for me. I checked out a few screenshots of people's 700 today screen and saw some running at 5-7MB free! I also think that one needs the full screen size of 480x320 to fully enjoy the today screen and other apps.

This weekend I also ordered the cutest matching blue and black sena cases for all my pdas.
Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket
Image hosting by Photobucket

These aren't the actual cases, just pictures I got from the web...once I get the shipment I'll do some live shots. But I did get the blue for all of them. Hope I love them!
March 08

Axim-maniac!

That's right, you heard me... I'm an Axim-maniac now. Okay maybe not
completely but I'm definitely getting there.
I went back to my beloved Wisbar Advance and started from scratch. I also
got Tweaks2k2 to try to get my X51V to display in true VGA...well, I've had
better luck in some applications than others. Overall I would say it made
most things to small for me to read them. But it was cool to see what the
end result is.
I also ditched iLauncher in favor of the Today plug-in for Resco Explorer.
Seems a logical trade to me.
One thing I am trying to create and get used to is a data heavy device
without always having access to a wireless connection. I guess this is much
easier for people who are used to a pda only, rather than a smartphone.

Study Warns Women About Spring Break

"Sent from Express News
CHICAGO - The American Medical Association is warning girls not to go wild
during spring break. All but confirming what goes on in those "Girls Gone
Wild" videos, 83 percent of college women and graduates surveyed by the AMA
said spring break involves heavier-than-usual drinking, and 74 percent said
the break results in increased sexual activity.

The women's answers were based both on firsthand experience and the
experiences of friends and acquaintances.
By LINDSEY TANNER - AP Medical Writer"

This tidbit was also on the news this morning. Can't see why this would be
breaking news...
March 07

Axim X51V

Yeah! Last night my much anticipated Axim X51v showed up in my mailbox and it definitely lives up to expectation!
One of the first things I intend to delve into is how to enable true VGA...
I mean, what is the point of having the lovely VGA screen if it doesn't
enhance all apps?
I did install Wisbar Advance but I ended up removing it this morning after
suffering from chronic slowdowns because of it. So far, asides from my
basic PIM info, I installed iLauncher, SPBWeather and Resco Explorer. I
also have (on SD card) Newsbreak, iSilo and of course TCPMP. I have noticed some of the significant benefits of WM5 already... Installation of apps is much more straightforward and the general layout reminds me of the Treo 700w I got my hands on yesterday.
Image hosting by Photobucket
March 06

Windows Mobile vs Palm

I will probably be speaking more about this after my Dell Axim X51V arrives
(hopefully today!) but my brief time with my Axim X3i has given me at least
some basis for comparison of the windows mobile platform against my
familiar terrain of Palm os.
I should preface this by stating that early in 2004 I had a T-Mobile Pocket
PC Phone Edition device before I got my Treo 600 for a few months. In a
word, it was a miserable time. I knew precious little about Windows Mobile
and there were very few free apps to get my feet wet with.
Fast forward to current day- I have become deeply curious about Windows
Mobile and am interested in what draws so many people to it. I compare my
Axim not to my Treo directly, but to the sum of my Treo (wireless) and my
Tapwave Zodiac (screen size and navigation).

The Today Screen
I really do enjoy the today screen of the Axim and how configurable it is.
I now understand what Agendus and Today in the palm world aspire to.

Appearance
Overall, I wish there was a native way to modify the screen gui. The large
windows logo at the top (you tap it for the drop down quick menu) uses a
lot of valuable screen real estate. Compare that to the palm that has a
small tab to notify you of which application you are in and the difference
really shows. I have installed Wisbar advance desktop to try and make this
look a bit better.

Multi-Tasking
Hands down windows has palm beat on this. Even with third party palm apps
that allow 'switching', the applications are not consistently how you left
them (especially internet, games, etc).

Navigation
I think that Palm devices on the whole are more easily navigated without
the use of a stylus. Earlier today I had a chance to explore a Treo 700w. I
was suprised at how many times I had to poke at the screen for 'OK' instead
of just being able to navigate to it and press the center button.

Overall I would say that these 2 OSs are best used in conjuction for best
effect. The ideal unit would allow the user to quickly switch between OSs
depending on the desired action. I would not mind switching my Treo to
'Windows Mode' to do some multitasking, then switching back to 'Palm Mode'
to play a one-handed game.