Monday, March 31, 2008

Another QWERTY WinMo Device...Not for the US

Yes, its true. Intomobile.com has information on the Asus m536 which looks to be the sexy half-sister of the Treo devices. It has a 320x320 touchscreen (which makes me wonder if there won't be problems running a number of applications on it for now).  Its significantly thinner and has a fingerprint touchwheel which looks uber -cool. But, as is often the case, just when something is starting to look really good-there's a gut punch...Its not available for the US frequency. 

 
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Welcome!


Its been a long time coming, but Live Spaces finally teed me off enough to jarr me out of complacency and forced me to take my blog elsewhere. The move wasn't too bad, and was made easier by some tricks of Blogger. As you can see from the right lower sidebar I've even been able to include archives from the old site relatively seamlessly.
What finally drove me over the edge was Live Spaces' dodgy email posting capabilities. I rely on being able to maintain Mobigasmic primarily via my PDA Phone- if I can't rely on that to work properly then I have trouble on my hands. Some of my emailed posts were hitting the blog up to 25 hours after being sent, while some weren't getting on at all. I've needed a change for a long time now, and I'm glad I finally did it. 

Thank you for making the switch with me, and please remember to update your favorite RSS feed reader (including your mobile one!) to the new feed address. In addition, you can now conveniently chat with me via the Plugoo box to the right. My Tweets (from Twitter) are now prominently displayed to the right as well, so you can keep track of what I'm up to even when I don't have time to make a full post. 
To my new readers, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your day! Mobigasmic has been live for almost 3 years now and is an outlet for anything that comes into my head. Admitedly, most of my thoughts do tend to be about mobile devices in some form or other, although I have been known to post about other things as well!

BB Curve vs UBiQUiO 503G

Last week I had family to visit and my cousin brought her Blackberry curve with her. I was curious to see its capabilities...she's been going on about it since she picked it up 2 months ago. So, the first thing I did was to take some side-by-side shots of it against my UBi:

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Its definitely smaller, although I felt it had the same kind of plastic-y feel that I haven't felt since the Treo 600. The screen is bright, but seems washed out-even my cousin had to admit that. I didn't enjoy the navigation on the device, but I can see how one would eventually get used to pressing the Blackberry button to get things done.

I asked her what she thought was the killer feature that would blow me away and she immediately launched her Facebook application. I was suitably impressed, even though I have since left Facebook. It gives instant notifications of messages received, and a few other selectable events. Since there isn't anything remotely as powerful for the Windows Mobile, I had to concede that it was definitely a power app.

The first thing she fell in love with (amongst many) was the Today screen on my UBi. The Blackberry main screen reminds me of the Palm launcher screen, except that it gives email notification/count and some other useful info. But as far as configuration is concerned, there is not a lot of leeway:


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Next we discussed IM solutions. It seems that she hasn't found one that comes close to filling her needs. In addition, she is apprehensive about testing because she once had a mishap where the Curve ran out of space and deleted all her data. Huh?

Our browsers went head-to-head and I was pretty suprised that the BB Browser didn't seem that much faster than PIE. I'm talking about the rendering aspect here. The Curve did use the screen real-estate more efficiently:

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One of the big mysteries of the Blackberry that I was able to solve is regarding the font. I have always hated the font of both the Blackberry and the Palm. Changing the font on Palm involves installing a third party app, which can cause problems in the system. The Blackberry does provide some nice builtin fonts and a simple way to switch.

While our testing was by no means extensive, I will tell you that there was a verrry interesting conclusion. As I typed this entry I got a text message from her- now back at home, she just made a purchase off eBay: her very own Windows Mobile Jasjar! Score- Another convert!


JasJar

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Palringo-How did I miss this?

Ever since I left Fring, I've been searching for that elusive perfect IM client for my phone. I don't want anything too flashy, just an always-on, multi-platform client that would also allow me to chat with my readers via a widget.
Enter Palringo, which does all of that and then some!

Palringo is a nice, neat little powerhouse which runs using less than 200kb of Program memory- and that's saying a lot! Its got a minimal shell-tab plugin which flashes a yellow envelope if you have a new message


Notice the envelope notificattion also shows at the top of the screen, which is handy if you happen to be in another application!

It also lets you sign on with multiple names to each IM protocol. For me, this alone is a killer feature which very few IM clients offer. It means I can stay available on my blog widget, but still be able to chat with my personal and professional contacts! and there's the group functionality which lets you join groups within Palringo. so far I've joined Modaco, but I haven't had a chance to join a group chat yet.

And if all that still hasn't convinced you, Palringo even has a desktop version which mirrors the WinMo version and allows you to setup from your PC- invaluable if you don't have a device with a QWERTY keyboard!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PDA Nirvana

As annoyed as I am by Ubiquio/MWG's total abandonment and nonexistent customer service the truth of the matter is that I love my Ubiquio 503G. In fact, my husband recently commented that he hasn't seen me this content with a device since I had my Treo 650. And believe me, that's saying a whole lot.I think back to my Treo 650 days and wonder why they seem so idyllic, and if its ever possible to go back to that frame of mind. The answer, unfortunately, is that ignorance is bliss. I didn't really know any other operating system beside Palm, so everything I read about devices seemed foreign and far-removed from me. I also realize that the canndybar QWERTY form factor is a necessity for me. From November of 2006 to November of 2007 I used a Samsung Blackjack almost exclusively. In fact, if it hadn't been for the limitations of Windows Mobile Standard I probably would have been happy with it for longer. Its been about 4 months with my Ubiquio 503G now and I must admit- I'm pretty content. I seem to have found the perfect balance of software which works well on it. I've grown accustomed to the quirks, especially the double-press needed to get a period. I've looked at other devices (most recently, the HP 910c) and with the exception of the promise of company support, I can't really see what other pressing features it would bring me. In other words, I just may have found that elusive PDA peace I've been looking for.
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Beauty or Brains?

Would you pick a device based on sleek looks if it didn't pack a wollop? My cousin seems to have done just that. She spent the morning drooling over the features of my Ubiquio, but insists that her Blackberry Curve is so much prettier that she would never switch. I agree that the form factor of the Ubiquio is not for everyone- personally, I have loved this shape since I saw a scientific calculator for the first time. But the idea that she would sacrifice the seemingly simple pleasures of being able to handle Word documents natively, have a vast array of applications just to have a cute gadget in her pocket is unthinkable to me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Farewell to Facebook

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To understand why I left Facebook, you have to know why I joined i the first place. Those of you who know me, are aware that I had spent the last 20 odd years trying to find my brother- and my Facebook profile was a last ditch effort to make it easy for him to find me and vice versa. Well, it worked and we did find each other thanks to the site. However, as an unexpected side effect, a LOT of people also got in contact with me- mostly people who I went to high school with back in Africa, even an Australian penpal I had in elementary school. At first, it was exciting to pore through everyone's photos, seeing their kids, families and what they had generally been up to in the last 15 years.

Once I had caught up, however, I became more aware of how many emails, requests and notifications I was getting every day. It felt like every moment I was getting something forwarded to my Superwall, superpoked, sent hotness, or being added as a friend by people I didn't know-and frankly, didn't want to know. There were fewer and fewer people with actual things to say.

It just became too much. My days are already so filled between IM'ing and Skype chatting with friends, Twitter-ing, not to mention my real life stuff going on that I barely have time to dedicate to people who want to have a conversation. So yesterday I deleted my photo albums and deactivated my Facebook account. I may go back in the future, who knows, but for now I'm enjoying the sweet silence of a sheep-free day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Next Phone?

While I've been happy with my Ubiquio for the most part, I've been disgusted with the lack of support from TechFaithWireless/MWG. To date I am still waiting on a Rom upgrade to fix the following issues:

-Occasional freezing of the D-Pad
-Jumpy scroll wheel
-ROM and RAM increase
-Name search as default, not numbers
-LED for emails.

The support team has been MIA for over 4 months now, and it seems they've totally abandoned the device. So, it seems that the Rom version 3.06 may never see the light of day. I don't know if I can stay faithful to a device that has reached the end of its potential.

The HP iPaq 910C seems like it may be a worthy successor. In addition to everything that the UBiQUiO has as well as GPS. Hey, maybe I'll take up Geocaching!


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

N800 What Have You Done for me Lately?


It was only a matter of time before I'd be forced to ask myself the question. I haven't felt such a sense of gadget unfulfilment in a long time, and I don't like the feeling. The N800 was supposed to change everything and open up my mind to a new OS, but instead I am left cold by the lack of wow-factor.See, the idea was never to have the Archos replace my N800-as I clearly stated, these 2 devices are in totally separate classes-yet, as I see my functional Archos 605 sitting in its dock day in and day out providing all kinds of treats throughout the day it doesn't seem like a fair fight. My N800 doesn't bring the fire to multimedia, yet the browsing isn't as uber-fast as I'd expect from a wifi device. In fact, the browsing experience isn't *that* much better than it is on my Ubiquio using PIE!So, its with a slightly heavy heart, but very clear head that I realize that the time has come for me to do the right thing and send my N800 to a home where it can be truly appreciated via eBay. Oh, Noki. Goodbye dear friend.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blackberry Curve Question

As everyone who reads Mobigasmic knows, I do not do Blackberry. I don't know, it's just not my style- they can Curve it, Pearl it- I'm not fooled. However, my cousin is, and she insists on dragging me into her Black(berry) hole with her. First she wanted me to help her track down an IM client. Today she called to lament that she couldn't open Word documents, and apparently the only solution is to buy a 3rd party program which costs a hefty sum.
Anyone out there know if there is a workaround to view and/or edit Word and Excel documents on the Blackberry Curve or am I going to have to drag her kicking and screaming over to Windows Mobile, or at the very least Palm?

Blackberry Curve

How Using Vista is like Motherhood






1. I knew Vista was on its way, but I was still surprised the first time I saw it.
2. Preparing for Vista was time-consuming and somewhat expensive.
3. Programs that worked before, no longer worked properly once Vista arrived.
4. In spite of all the reading I had done, I still found myself unprepared for Vista when it got here.
5. Sometimes Vista would 'forget' things I had already taught it.
6. Everyone who saw Vista when it came out thought it was adorable. But no one wanted to have to live with it.
7. Vista kept me up some nights trying to get it all together.
8. Once I had Vista, there was no sending it back.
9. Every now and again Vista makes a big old mess that I have to clean up.
10. Still, I love my Vista and wouldn't trade it in for anything else.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Archos 605 vs Nokia N800

One of the first things I did when I got my Archos was to compare it to my Nokia N800. Even though their focuses are different, I put them in the same usage category as secondary gadgets (i.e. you would have a phone/pda as a primary device). Size-wise, here are some shots of the two side-by-side.
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From a size perspective, they are not too far apart. Each of them comes with a nice functional case which is enough to protect the device.
Here are some of the first glance differences between them:
1. The Archos does not have a built-in holder for the stylus. It seems like an odd omission.
2. The Archos' default onscreen keyboard has keys that are easily used without a stylus. This is a welcome change from my Nokia N800 which sports a tiny initial keyboard which can be made larger by pressing the 'enter' key.
3. Where the N800 is designed to stay connected to the Wifi if you let it, the Archos will disconnect after a period of idleness.
After playing with them both side-by-side I've come to the same conclusion that most others have arrived at which is simply that the Archos 605 is an media-centric device, while the Nokia N800 is an internet-leaning device.
To wit, the Archos has been able to play every movie and music format that I've thrown at it. Even the streaming media incorporates seamlessly into the video, photos and music folders. The built-in media players work nicely, even if the navigation is not the most intuitive. And, as a nice extra feature, you can clip a scene from a movie or video and make a picture or wallpaper from it. If you've purchased the optional DVR station (and believe me, you will want to pick it up) you can also record shows from your satellite or cable and watch them on your Archos. I have a TiVo, so this isn't the most used feature for me, but it also works the other way around, letting me watch movies from my Archos on my TV. As advertised, I can also surf the internet from the TV using the remote control:

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The Archos also has a really neat way to handle YouTube videos. When you select a movie to play, it opens up in full-screen mode. Although, to be fair, yesterday I discovered the mYTube, which is a YouTube player specfically for the Nokia N800:

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So far, my decision is to keep both of these devices. We'll see what happens as time goes on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Archos WiFi Owners...Did you know?

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I have a more in-depth entry coming soon, but I just discovered something that I thought I'd share. If you own one of the Gen 5 WiFi devices, did you know that you can get most of the Opera Widgets? That feature alone takes a big sting out of the additional $30 you need to pay to get Opera 9.
To get a widget working on your device, switch it to PC Hard Drive mode and connect to your PC. Next, find the widget you want to download and click on it. When prompted for a save location, browse to A605/Widgets and give your widget a name and append the '.zip' tag to the end.
Once you disconnect your device, and click on the Widgets shortcut, you'll see the widgets that you just added!

mYTube- YouTube for the Nokia Internet Tablet

March 12
mYTube- YouTube for the Nokia Internet Tablet
Perhaps after being taunted (repeatedly!) by iPhone/iPod Touch owners, some innovative developers have created a YouTube application for the Nokia Internet Tablet. The mYTube (Maemo YouTube) is a sleek little gem that gives you a nice finger-friendly interface:
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and shows the selected option with neat thumbnails:

shot-2008-03-12-17-48-17It also plays the video clips smoothly- a feat not possible when watching directly from the YouTube page!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

iPhone 'Jail'

So, here's the problem; The iPhone SDK has been released but one of the major limitations is that it will not allow third party apps to run in the background. So, no always-on IM client, or I imagine, refreshing Twitter client either. That really sucks. And I have to say, it just adds to my previous conclusion that the iPhone is really not geared at my demographic- techies with an eye to customize.

CommonCraft-Explanations in Plain English

Here's a good one I discovered on Geekbrief- it's called CommonCraft and it explains tech phenomenons in terms that even Granny can understand. Here's their video explaining what Twitter is.


Monday, March 10, 2008

A Suprise Gadget!

On Saturday night I spent almost an hour fighting with my Slingbox. Since we moved to Texas and onto AT&T, I've been unable to get the remote viewing feature working on. But I don't even know why I'm fighting about it- the Slingplayer barely works on my Ubiquio anyway. So, I was looking online to see what other things were out there and was intrigued by the Archos TV+. Then I remember a comment that had been left by Mickliq which brought up the Archos 605. I hadn't paid too much attention to it at the time, but on closer inspection, I noticed a feature that was interesting to me. With the optional DVR Station, you can also stream video to the television and record movies from the satellite box. It would also let me surf the internet on my living room TV's screen.
Okay, I can already hear the collective, virtual sighs of irritation as I flit from one device to another, but here's the thing: I need to clearly define what I expect each gadget to do for me. My life as it stands now has me spending a huge chunk of time in my den with Seth and all his playthings. I've got a pretty neat setup with comfy theatre-type recliners, my laptop on one side and my phone on the other. Since I got my N800 I haven't really had a niche for it- its main home has been in the guest room and I use it to read my rss feeds in the middle of the night while I nurse Seth.
But what I'd love to be able to do is to watch the hundreds of shows and movies that are on my PC on my large TV screen downstairs.And it looked like the Archos with the DVR station could make that happen. I was so excited by the idea and when I told Dean about it, a weird thing happened- he got pretty psyched as well. In fact, he got so psyched that on Sunday morning he told me he was going to take us to the store and get it for me as a gift! Dean knows I'm not a flowers, candy and diamonds girl- the way to get me all aflutter is with tech. We dashed to the store and after accidentally picking up the wrong DVR station and having to exchange it we were good to go.
First of all, here's the Archos being displayed on the TV:

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Its a thing of beauty, and also means that I have my entire movie collection at my disposal. I can watch YouTube, DailyMotion and other online videos on TV. And while I'm sitting in the den, I can dock my Archos and have it being useful to me, unlike my Nokia N800 which hasn't been able to be more than an 'alarm clock 2.0'.
So, next step is a pretty in-depth comparison of the two. Stay tuned- and if you want a sneak peek you can peek into my Twitter box to the right, or directly on Twitter.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Computer "Desktop"


This cool animation demonstrates where we might be if the 'computer' hadn't been invented! Nerd
Reality Desktop - video powered by Metacafe

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Corporate Humor

In celebration of my first completed interview today, here is a little corporate memo. Its a *joke*, people! Enjoy!

Memo From Human Resources: Swearing at Work

Dear Employees:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their co-workers.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated. We do however, realize the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with co-workers. Therefore, a list of 18 New and Innovative "TRY SAYING" phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.

1) TRY SAYING: I think you could use more training.

INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the f___ you're doing.

2) TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter.

INSTEAD OF: She's a ball-busting b__ch.

3) TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late.

INSTEAD OF: And when the f___ do you expect me to do this?

4) TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible.

INSTEAD OF: No f______ way.

5) TRY SAYING: Really?

INSTEAD OF: You've got to be sh__ing me!

6) TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with...

INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a sh__.

7) TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project.

INSTEAD OF: It's not my f______ problem.

8) TRY SAYING: That's interesting.

INSTEAD OF: What the f___?

9) TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented.

INSTEAD OF: This sh__ won't work.

10) TRY SAYING: I'll try to schedule that.

INSTEAD OF: Why the f____ didn't you tell me sooner?

11) TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues.

INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his a__.

12) TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir?

INSTEAD OF: Eat sh__ and die.

13) TRY SAYING: So you weren't happy with it?

INSTEAD OF: Kiss my a__.

14) TRY SAYING: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.

INSTEAD OF: F___ it, I'm on salary.

15) TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand.

INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your a__.

16) TRY SAYING: I love a challenge.

INSTEAD OF: This job sucks.

17) TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that?

INSTEAD OF: Who the h___ died and made you boss?

18 ) TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive.

INSTEAD OF: He's a pr_ck.

Thank You,

Human Resources

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

NetVibes-the best homepage...EVER!

Lately, I've been trying to find a homepage solution that could work for me on multiple platforms. Ideally, I wanted one to work on my desktop, the laptop and internet tablet- and hopefully I could use it to share data across all my devices in some kind of fashion. I settled one issue using Mail2Web as a way to share my calendar without having to install Outlook on my laptop, or any other application on my NIT. But I still wasn't happy using generic MSN homescreen. What's a girl to do?
After I had all but given up, I noticed from a Twitter buddy mentioning something about Netvibes. After checking it out, I found out it was just what I needed- but so much more!
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Netvibes is a customizable page that acts as a kind of all-encompassing dashboard. You can put information from most of your social networking sites, Update your Twitter status, check your email headers, read your RSS feeds and much more. But here's the killer feature- build your page and not only can you use it on various devices, but there is also a mobile version that I can access easily from my Ubi! So, if you're like me and have accumulated an arsenal of devices, Netvibes can help bring them all together.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What I've been up to

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Lately it just seems like the days have been flying by. Our little guy is getting bigger at warp speed, and keeping him entertained and sharpening his mind is a full time job! He has finally settled into some kind of a sleeping pattern (bedtime at 10pm, awake at 8am with a quick feeding at around 4am), which is just great for me.
Next month Seth will be starting daycare and I will (hopefully) be starting a new job. I can't stay at home any longer- seriously. It's been 15 months at home and in that time I have-
-Vacationed in Mexico
-Moved across the country
-Bought a new home
-Furnished and decorated said house
-Turned 30
-Given birth
-Given 24/7 care to Seth for 4 months
So, it hasn't been really idle time per se. But, I realized that I just am not a stay home kind of person- I can only do lunch with the girls so many times a week. Not to mention, my little tech habit is not going away any time soon and even though it hasn't posed any major trauma to my bank account yet, it won't be long now. My tech related purchases over the past year have been:
-Magnavox 42 inch plasma flat panel tv
-Cingular 8525 Pocket PC*
-Ubiquio 503G PPC Phone
-Sanyo Xacti HD700 Camcorder*
-Nokia 770 Internet Tablet*
-Nokia N800 Internet Tablet
-Microsoft Zune Gen1*
-Microsoft Zune Gen2 4GB
-Altec Lansing Zune Dock speakers
-HP Desktop PC with 22 inch monitor
-HP Pavilion Laptop
Wow. When I see it in a list, it does look kind of like a lot. Although, to be fair, there has been a lot of wheeling and dealing and I sold the items marked by an asterisk. Not to mention all the expenses of the baby which have also been substantial.
So, I'll be making the interview rounds and hoping to start working in a month or so.
But there's another contributing factor to why my blog frequency. Previously, I would wake up in the middle of the night to feed Seth I'd grab my Ubiquio and read my rss feeds and, using Egress would pull stories of interest into Mobigasmic. However, my Internet Tablet has changed all that. It now has a permanent home in the guest room, where it is plugged in and propped on the bedside table as a 'clock 2.0'. My late night/early morning routine is to get Seth from his room and take him into the guest room where I nurse him while lying down. I then grab the NIT (nokia internet tablet) from the table and read my feeds using the built in reader, enjoying it on a nice large screen. But the feedreader on the NIT is not conducive to feed sharing in the way that Egress is. Now, my blog entries have to come when I have time during my busy days to make an entry. However, as my regular readers know, Mobigasmic has continued to beat the odds and this May will be FOUR YEARS of this blog!! So, I'm not giving up that easily!