Friday, May 30, 2008

TunIt Lets me Listen to Any US Radio Station Anywhere!

One feature that I've noticed in a lot of phones lately is the FM Radio. For me, its never been on my must-have list because I've been able to listen to the radio in the car, on my Zune and in the house. However, that changed for me somewhat last year when we moved to Texas from New York. One of my favorite radio guilty pleasures, the Wendy Williams show, isn't available on my local radio. In order to listen to it, I had to use my PC and visit the website. As a result, I haven't been able to dedicate time to listen to it at all for the past few months. 

Yesterday I decided to hunt for a solution. There are a number of radio stations that I wouldn't mind listening to, and I just knew there had to be a way to do it...and there was. TunIt.org Radio uses a data connection to allow me to listen to a large selection of radio stations from across the US. This makes it better than having an FM tuner in my phone- now I can listen to radio stations in states outside of the one I'm in! 
I purchased it yesterday, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. The layout is simple and easy to figure out. The navigation could use some work, as you need to peck at the screen to get  anything done. To keep it simple, you can set your favorites as the home screen for easy accessibility upon launch:


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You can search by state or genre to find the radio station you wish. Thats quite handy:




Once you select a radio station it opens using Windows Media Player and you can even close the application and the playback will continue. My only gripe with it is that it isnt optimized for landscape layout. I have to do a fair amount of scrolling while using it, or rotate my screen (which I did for the screenshots above). Other than that, it does what it does very well...giving me not just local radio but any radio I want. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yahoo!Go 3- could this be The One?

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Earlier this month I listed the top apps I'd like to see for Windows Mobile. Among them I had entered Facebook, FriendFeed, eBay, Flickr to name a few. Well, the latest version of Yahoo!Go seems to be the answer to a lot of those questions. I'm still in the process of testing it out, but so far I've had a look at the neat FriendFeed widget:


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And a pretty comprehensive Facebook widget:


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Even with what groups you are in:


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There are a few minor irritations so far, especially the 'flicker' of the screen as the application connects to the internet. And the load time can be a bit annoying. However, the application has a lot of what I had on my wishlist so you can be sure I'm going to give it a thorough shake!

$3000 BlackBerry Bold?

People have officially lost their minds. The Blackberry Bold is due to be released on AT&T in July, but apparently that is way to long a wait. eBay bidding has been going on for all types of Bold-related items(domain names, etc) and now there's an auction for a unit that is now at $3440! And the fact that the seller has a reputation of 1(one) for an item he purchased over 2 years ago is not even phasing these bidders. Cra-zy!



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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First look at the Treoo 800W

Everyone's abuzz over this video of the Treo 800W....watch it to see what all the fuss is about. Spoiler alert- pretty darn awesome!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nokia E71 also bringing sexy back....

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If 2007 was the year of the iPhone, then 2008 is the year of the front facing QWERTY devices. The HP914, Velocity Mobile 111, Imate Ultimate 8502, Blackberry Bold, and now the Nokia E71. BoyGenius report has a review of this contender, and they seem pretty impressed with it. I don't know much about Nokias, but this one is enough to get me to do some serious homework! 

Friday, May 23, 2008

ceTwit- A Windows Mobile Twitter Heavy Hitter

I've given ceTwit a couple of runs in the past, but its never 'stuck' as my main Twitter client for my Ubiquio. However, the latest version (1.4) has totally changed all that. I'm officially in love.


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First of all, ceTwit has a feature that allows you to size the window for each Tweet to whatever you desire.  So, you can chose to hide avatars and only show one line per tweet, or expand and show only one tweet per screen if you so desire. My personal preference lies somewhere between the 2 extremes, and have it configured to show 4 tweets with avatars which is very comfortable for my landscape device.
(Hiding avatars is also a good way to save on data costs, if you do not have an unlimited plan)

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ceTwit allows you to view your friends' timeline, but also the public timeline, replies, direct messages and direct messages sent. This makes it a very robust client, pretty much matching what you see on the website.  Switching to each of the views takes a couple of seconds which can be annoying. The developer has noted that there are some steps he can take to cut down the load time for each view. 

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Not only can you update your Twitter status, but you can also upload photos to TwitPic directly- pretty cool! The TwitPic function is quite sharp, and my only quibble with it at the moment is that you have to tap the screen to highlight the storage card to begin the navigation to where the photo is located. Again, this is something that can easily be fixed. 


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Notice you get a neat preview of what you are about to upload. Its a nice touch, since you dont see thumbnails as you select the photo.


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Access this menu by a tap and hold, or by using the right dpad button on your device.
Other notable features that ceTwit has incorporated are the ability to open a link, or open the link with Skweezer (a mobile friendly version), the ability to follow someone, and, the most underrated of all: Quotably support! This means that you can highlight a tweet and then view the entire chain of that conversation in a threaded view. 
I cannot get the auto update feature to work consistently, but I think that the only way to make that happen is by using the 'prevent sleep' function, which will kill my battery faster. But ceTwit shows the time of its last update in the titlebar which I totally love! 
Its free, its elegant and its got everything you can get on the website, and then some. There are a few minor tweaks that ceTwit needs to make and the developer is well aware and working hard to improve those items. So, give ceTwit a run and see for yourself. And be sure to add @vkoser so you can keep track of the updates and give him your feedback.

Instinct vs iPhone Showdown!

Here's a pretty hilarious group of videos of a showdown between the Samsung Instinct and the Apple iPhone. 

Internet Speed:

Live TV:

GPS:

Shooting video:

Music Download:


Now, in all fairness, remember that the iPhone is on AT&T's Edge (for now) while the Instinct is operating on Sprint EVDO with broadband speeds. But its still pretty funny.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Life and Death in Photos

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MentalFloss has got an amazing story about an artist, Jamie Livingston, who took a polaroid photo every day for 18 years from 1979 to 1997 when he died of cancer. Looking at the photos will make you smile and cry, as you see his life unfold before your eyes one polaroid at a time. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Snap2Face - Facebook for Windows Mobile

If you're like me, then you've been wondering when Windows Mobile was going to get its very own Facebook app. Well, the first one is here- Snap2Face. S2F is a photo-centric application that lets you view your friends Facebook Albums, as well as upload your own photos to your albums. 

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You can see the list of friends and then the list of albums that each friend has.

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 Bear in mind, you won't be able to see status info, pokes, or anything else with this application.

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There's a nice thumbnails view, then clicking the photo gives you a fullscreen view. In my opinion, this application is a good start. It gives you a nice way to view photos, which is something that you can't do very well from the mobile website (the photos are waaaay too small). 
Its a good indication of what I hope to see forthcoming- which is more Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn applications for Windows Mobile.

Blackberry Bold Compared to the iPhone


How's My UBi?

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Well, its been a few days since I've given an update on my Ubi and frankly that's because there isn't a whole lot to moan about. Its been quite rock solid.  The 'underground' ROM that I got my hands on seems to have been the night and day difference...if Ubiquio had released the device as it is now with this ROM, it would have been a huge hit. Alas, they did not.
As you can see, I've gradually added most of my staples, but by adding them slowly I've been able to pinpoint where some of my problems where coming from. I don't use WeatherPanel anymore, or for that matter any Today plugins that are heavy or call from the SD card.  I've also restricted Egress from auto-updates, because when it enounters a network or site problem it locks up the whole device. This is probably one of the biggest sources of lockups on my device because when you reset the device, Egress starts up again in the background and re-freezes it. This goes on until Egress finally reports an error and releases its processes.
The additional memory that I gained from the new ROM also means that I can keep more programs running for easy access by default. I use Opera Mini now, and keep it open in the background to be able to quickly summon it. I also keep OctroTalk (my no-fuss IM client of choice now) and TinyTwitter open most of the time. 
I did a few tweaks, including changing the system font, and using AE ButtonPlus to be able to maximize the buttons on it. The font gave it a fresh feel, and I like it so far. I'm happy with it, and at this point I can't see myself switching to any other device...including the Velocity Mobile! My only irritation is the 2 key presses required to get a period. In fact, one of my projects today is to find if there is an app for Windows Mobile that allows for a long press of the key to get to its secondary function. 
No lockups, no resets, and I've run down the battery to 5% twice to recalibrate the battery. It seems to have worked- with a constant connection to the internet (via OctroTalk), and email retrieval every half hour, I am getting about 9 hours with pretty heavy use now. I can live with that. 
And just in case the hardware is thinking of any funny business, I went ahead and purchased insurance. If this UBi packs it in, there is no way I am getting a third one. 

Treo 850?

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Hot on the heels of some of the fugly images of the Treo 800, the Boy Genius Report has some images of what could be the Treo 850.  It looks pretty much like the Centro except its running Windows Mobile....Professional! Waiting to hear more specs but I can tell you that this needs to be running at least 320x320 and WiFi to please the critics.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

DirecTV now has Scheduler...and a Mobile version!!!

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We've had this function for a long time on our TiVo, but now its come to our DirecTV DVR! From the web, you can now schedule shows to record when you are away from home. And from the mobile version, you can use your phone or PDA to sign into the service and search for shows to record. This is perfect if you happen to hear about a show while out and about and want to record it. Perfect!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Baby Fight!

Thanks to MomLogic for sharing this one, it is hilarious! 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Size Correction-Blackberry Bold

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I must have entered some incorrrect data the first time but no, the Blackberry Bold is not larger than the Ubiquio. It is slightly wider but its shorter and thinner. Here is a size comparison of the Ubiquio 503G, Velocity Mobile 111, Blackberry Bold, Blackberry Curve and Treo 750. 

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Things *Not* to do with Your Baby...Please

Monday, May 12, 2008

Onscreen Keyboard Woes

I'm not sure if its a WM6 issue, or if there is something about my configuration that causes this issue but I cannot get the onscreen keyboard to not pop-up in data fields. Its a minor nuisance, but even when I start typing using my Ubi's keyboard, the onscreen one still shows up. 

NullKeyboard came to the rescue! This little gem is...well, its a null keyboard! Its a blank entry in the SIP so that when you select it as the default it doesnt cover your screen with the keyboard. 

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I highly recommend it if you can't get your onscreen keyboard to stop covering up your screen when you have a physical keyboard on your device. 


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

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Today is my very first Mother's Day as a mom, and I'd like to send a special wish to all the other new moms out there! To those of you who have reached out to me and provided guidance, answers and hope I thank you. This is not an easy journey, but walking the road together, we can make it. I look into my son's happy face and know that I am truly the best mom I could ever aspire to be.



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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Blackberry Bold...Larger than Life?

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I find that lately I've been getting swept up in the Blackberry fever....not that I want one, but I'm excited at the UI rehaul its undergoing. Crackberry has released some information on the new Blackberry Bold:

BlackBerry Bold Smartphone Features & Specs

  • Size - Length: 144mm, Width: 66mm, Thickness: 14mm
  • Weight (with battery) - 133g (same as the 88xx series. I can attest to it!)
  • Memory - 1GB on-board plus 128 MB Flash (WOOOHOOO!!!!!!!)
  • Battery - 1500mAhr lithium cell
  • Est. Battery Life - Standby: 13 days, Talk Time: 5 hours
  • Network Support - UMTS: 2100 / 1900 / 850MHz, GSM: 1900 / 1800 / 900 / 850 MHz, GPRS, EDGE and HDSPA networks
  • Wi-Fi - 803.11a/b/g enabled
  • Display - HVGA, 480 x 320 pixels, Transmissive TFT LCD, supports over 65k colors
  • Media Player, Video Support - DivX 4, Div X 5 & 6 are partially supported, XviD is partially supported, H.263, H.264 and WMV3
  • Media Player, Audio Support - .3gp, MP3, WMA9 (.wma/.asf), WMA9 Pro/WMA 10, MIDI, AMR-NB, Professional AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
  • Media Player, Audio - BlackBerry Media Sync allows you to transfer your desktop iTunes music to your BlackBerry!!!
  • Camera - 2.0MP, 5 x digital zoom (with flash of course)
  • GPS - internal GPS with extended ephemeris, BB Maps is standard
  • Bluetooth - Bluetooth v2.0, all the normal stuff and Bluetooth Stereo Audio via A2DP and AVCRP
  • USB Port - Enables charging and high-speed data synchronizations via USB "A" to mini-USB "B" cable (I can personally say moving files back and forth is now lightning quick!)
  • Browser - HTML browsing, View Movies/Clips from websites built for mobile streaming, RSS feed support



Wait...did I read those specs correctly? That would make its size taller and wider than theUbiquio? Can that be?:

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Digsby Puts Everything in One Place...Including Facebook Chat!

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I just found out about a reasonably new program called Digsby. Its an all-in-one IM solution, but also incorporates Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Its a neat way to have everything in one place in a neat page. Its free, which is always great and its pretty simple to get started with! Digsby also has one big wow factor which is that it seamlessly integrates the new Facebook chat!
Now, all I need is a mobile version of this and I will be in seventh heaven!

Another Use for eGrips

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I started using Egrips when I had a Treo 650, and since then its been a staple on most of my devices- especially when I cannot settle on a case. I bought a 12-piece universal pack of eGrips cutouts and after protecting my device I decided to apply a cirle to the d-pad. The result is a nice, wonderfully cushy navigation pad. I wish I had thought of doing that while I was using the Treo 750 for the oast few weeks. Ouch! That d-pad was sharp!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Them's Fighting Words on Twitter

I debated for a few weeks on whether or not to write this, and finally decided that I simply had to. The problem with a service with Twitter is that in such short bursts, people sometimes make really dubious comments without taking the time to censor-or at least examine what they are saying. Someone who I considered to be a pretty well-rounded, respectable Twitter-er suddenly went on a rampage about Africans- granted, I'm not quite sure where the whole conversation started but I turned on my phone, fired up TinyTwitter and saw a litany of 'observations' made about African people in the US as well as in parts of Africa. In a nutshell, it was a highly generalized comment about self-hatred and how much Africans hate themselves, as evidenced by habits such as bleaching of the skin, perming of the hair, etc.
Okay, I don't even have the time or energy to do the kind of massive re-education needed to deal with such stereotypes. And I suppose that as a black South African woman married to a caucasian American man, I am a 'prime example' of what this individual was referring to. The reality is, I am not the African ambassador to the United States. I am one person who loves herself completely and totally and accept her entire heritage from the Edo Kingdom of Benin to the Zulu of South Africa. I choose to relax my hair because frankly, there is not enough time in the day for me to nurture an afro. I don't bleach my skin, but I do know that a number of women do in parts of Africa. I've asked why, and they feel they need to counteract the harsh darkening effects of the sun. Well, doesn't seem like the brightest idea to me, but hey, neither does smoking cigarettes and people still do that. I married a man that I happened to fall madly in love with. He proposed, and the color of his skin didn't seem like a compelling enough reason to say no.
My point is, chose a place to have a discussion that is appropriate. And sometimes, for some issues, Twitter with its brevity just isn't it. I am pretty disappointed in you, and I am really saddened that what seemed like the beginning of an interesting and enriching friendship came to a screeching halt in 140 characters.

Woopra- Real Time, InDepth Monitoring of your Site

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Woopra has been around for a bit so this certainly isn't breaking news, but I always like to have experienced these things first hand before penning my opinion about them. I first heard about Woopra a number of weeks (months?) ago while watching the Geekbrief podcast. You can watch the video clip below which show exactly what its all about. I signed up for the beta and got an invitation today and it is amazing! I even got to try the cool 'live chat' feature which lets you communicate with someone viewing your page in real time (although I've already got this in my Plugoo bar to the right). I can't see being glued to this 24/7 as I'm not really a stats-hound, but it is cool to see who's reading and other cool info about them!




GBTV #337 | Introducing Woopra from Neal Campbell on Vimeo.

BareBones Report: Day 3

Photobucket So, its been 3 days of running my Ubiquio in lite-mode, and I have to admit, I did re-define what barebones means to me. I decided that it would exclude any applications that are Today Screen Plugins, or that run in the background(exceptions are OctroTalk and TinyTwitter, but they have to be running to function, so technically doesn't count. Right?) I've slowly added a few more programs (Egress, CorePlayer, Skype and YahooGo) and have been extremely happy with its performance. I haven't had any lockups, haven't had to perform any resets and its still stayed very very fast. I will admit, it has been a bit tedious navigating into the settings to adjust the backlight as needed and remembering to turn the volume on and off, but thats a small price to pay. I am debating allowing myself to install one app that has a plugin to let me manually control all that right from the Today screen- I can deal with not having profiles switch automatically, but I just dont like the added work to get to each function.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

TryPhone Lets you Try before you Buy...Virtually

Here's a neat idea! Now you can 'get your hands' on all kinds of phones without having to actually get your hands on them. TryPhone is a cool site that gives you a virtual interface of phones. Its a great way to try before you buy...plus, you can buy from the site, too.



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An Interface to Drool Over


I've been a bit preoccupied the past few days so I missed the full hoopla of the HTC Touch Diamond. I got a chance to check out this video of it, and let me say- 2 things impressed the heck out of me. First, the commercial itself is so well crafted and shows so much in a small window of time. Next, the interface. Wow. It is beyond sexy- its just sooo unbelievable. The only thing that concerns me is how laggy it will get over time. Then again, with an interface like this, would I really need to ever add any other applications?

A Tale of 4 Gadgets

Before the Treo 750 gets sent to its new home, I thought it would be nice to have some comparison shots of my main gadgets with it:


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This is the Treo 750 with the UBiQUiO 503G, Archos 605 WiFi and Zune 8GB. Here are some width shots:
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The Treo sure is chubby. I guess I lean more towards straight lines and symmetry over curves.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Keep It Simple, Real Simple

I've got a really bad habit- every time I get a new PDA or hard reset any of my devices I immediately install a handful of applications to alter certain elements on the device. PhoneAlarm, AEButtonPlus, Tweaks2K, Memmaid, SpbDiary are just a few of the staples on my devices for the past few years. But I've noticed that I run into a number of issues with every WM device I've had. Coincidence? Well, I'm about to find out. I did a hard reset of my Ubiquio and have only installed WM5NewMenu, QuickMenu and MobiPocket reader. I'm going to try to use just these applications for the rest of the week and see how my Ubi runs. So far I've noticed it seems much snappier and responsive!

Update- LED for Emails

Uninstalled PhoneAlarm and now the LED is flashing for new emails on the Ubiquio. Hurray!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A New ROM, A New Attitude

Well, its finally here. My new Ubiquio arrived yesterday and I gleefully found that I haven't lost any of my naïve love of this device. Yes, Mickliq may scoff and call me a sucker but I can't help myself. I love my Ubi. And to add to that love is a special gift that I received from a source- a rom upgrade! The ROM is 3.10 and that's a huge leap from 3.05 and solves a huge host of the issues that were in the previous one. The camera, scroll wheel are all hugely improved. I still can't get the LED to flash for incoming mail but I have to try and remove PhoneAlarm to see if that helps.
So, order has been restored for now. I am happy. And you can be sure that I am purchasing a SquareTrade warranty for this phone. Its like having a really hot girlfriend- I love it to bits, but I don't trust it as far as I can throw it.


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Monday, May 5, 2008

Big Boy making Big strides


Well, its hard to believe its been 6 months already. My little wonder is rolling over in both directions, eating semi-solids and has cut his first tooth! He's even mastered the expression of 'Give me a break already' which you can see showcased here.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Top WM Programs I'd Love to See

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Lately I've found myself wishing for more when it comes to the Windows mobile platform- the devices are getting flashier and better, but how about a broader range of useable applications? I'm not talking about 'applications' which simply look like skinned versions of PIE but actual robust solutions.
Here are some that I'd like to see developed:

1. A Facebook client- a nice interface, maybe even with a today plugin to show number of pokes, messages, online friends. 

2. An eBay program- similar to the abandonware 'Abidia'

3. A Friendfeed client- if it incorporated Del.icio.us and Digg that would be even better.

4. A Photobucket program- that would allow me to browse my pics, but also 'blog this' to post 
to my blog using a selected photo.

5. A Flickr program- same as number 4. 

6. An updateable database of the data in PDAdb.net- just being able to use the PDA master or comparer feature on the go would be huge.

7. A Meetup.com client- I'd even take a mobile version of the website

8. Banking programs- just something to be able to see balances on multiple accounts. 

9. A GReader program- that syncs with the desktop version to show only unread stories.

10. A SecondLife program- hopefully Vollee will deliver this one soon.

What are some that you would like to see?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Gimme my Ubi!

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Well, the saga of my Ubiquio continues to grow. I bought it in November, and the seller nicely handled the whole business of sending it back to Expansys for repair and they in turn sent it to Ubiquio. However, in the meantime, the seller is going to India for a month, so there's no apparent way I'll be getting it back before June. 
I couldn't take it anymore. I found a new one on Ebay and jumped in again- I know, I know, I must be a sucker but seriously, I can't even deal with the Treo 750 anymore. To add to my suspense, I managed to get my hands on a super-secret ROM for the Ubiquio 503G which supposedly will resolve a lot of the issues that I was previously having with it. 
What is irking me so much about the Treo?
- The 240x240 screen is just such a hindrance. I never noticed how many applications do not adjust to that resolution.
-The right softkey on the Today screen cannot be re-mapped. I had grown in love with the ease of NewMenu and now I can't use it anymore.
-The left softkey is hard to re-map. I use a program I got from PPCGeeks, but it doesnt seem to stick after a reset. Nuisance
-Battery life suuuuuuucks! I woke up at  5:30 this morning, read a Mobipocket book for about 15 minutes while feeding the baby and then went back to sleep without plugging it in the charger. By 9am the battery was down to 27%. 
-The D-pad is really sharp. I had to stick a soft piece of fabric to stop it from digging into my finger.
-The keys are really hard. I can't seem to find a comfortable way to type for extended periods.
-I miss having a scroll wheel. 
-I cannot stand the separate SMS app from the Email app. Even the threaded SMS is not worth that hassle.
-I miss WiFi. My Slingplayer's remote play function is not working so Wifi is the only way I can use it. With the new SlingPlayer 1.6 I want to try it out, but can't
-I dunno if its the video chip or what, but its video playback is just disappointing after my Ubi's.
-Only one programmable button. Even using AEButton Plus I can only work with the confines of the one side button pressed multiple times. Not good. 
-Maybe my hand has just morphed into the shape of the Ubi but I cannot find a comfortable way to hold the Treo. 

And this extended absence from the UBi, I've realized that I'm not that willing to jump into the Velocity Mobile pool as a guinea pig. I am perfectly content to wait possibly till next year before making that switch. For now, I'm eagerly awaiting my new Ubi so that I can put this Treo and all its baggage on Ebay. I'll also just go ahead and sell the other Ubi when that eventually makes its way back to me. 

Sony Xperia...gone till September

Photobucket Well folks, hate to be the bearer of solemn news but it seems that the document we got a sneak at a few months ago was right. The Sony Xperia is not due to be released until mid-September. Over on the Modaco forums, some are speculating that this delay will allow software manufacturers to adapt their products for the screen size (something which I've wondered about myself). 

That's it. This is officially the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I don't want to hear about any product in such tangible detail when its release is so very far away! Seriously! One could have conceived and had a baby in the time between the first we saw of this and when it will be in hand. No more! Don't show me any device unless I can have it in my hands in a month or less. 

Friday, May 2, 2008

Amazing Yappa Mobile Interface

I just stumbled onto this amazing video (fast forward to the middle) which shows a really neat 3D mobile interface which shows how we should be interacting with our mobile devices already!

ceTwit- The New WM Twitter Leader!

A few months ago I tried ceTwit and found it frankly to be buggy and not quite ready for primetime. Today I decided to try the latest version and I have been completely blown away by it. Even on the square screen of the Treo 750 the program works like a champ.


As you can see, ceTwit gives you access not only to your friends' timeline but also to the public timeline, replies and direct messages.



Using a tap and hold will allow you to reply to a tweet, open a link with skweezer (for a mobile- formatted page) or view in Quotably (a Twitter-related service) to view the trail of the conversation).



Each tweet is fitted into a fixed amount of space so you can click on the entry to view it in a full window.

ceTwit is the perfect example of a program taking its time to get it right. Every detail seems logically thought out and its a joy to use. This one's just landed a permanent spot on my device!

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Imate 8502- Mickliq's First Impressions

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One of my favorite 'techies', Mickliq, has had the good fortune to pick up an Imate 8502. The 8502 is one of the three QWERTY Touchscreen devices that the USA hopes to get its hands on this year (the others being the HP910 and the Velocity Mobile 111). Mick has used a Blackjack, Ubiquio 503G and Treo 750 so his usage experience is very much on par with mine. Here's what he had to say about the Imate 8502 over at HowardForums:

Update after 3 days with my 8502:

Overall - great device. Form factor is
really amazing. Speed coming from a Blackjack and Treo is very good.

Keyboard - I have to hand it to i-mate. Their unqieu keyboard
implementation allows for a device that is as narrow as a Blackberry Pearl but
with a full QWERTY. I have no issues typing at the same speed as my Blackjack.
The only issue is the placement of the Caps, Fn, comma, period, etc...they are
all very different than what I am used to and therefore it slows me down. Over
time I will get used to it and it won't be an issue. On thing which is a bit
bothersome are the rounded edges...it makes typing a long message a bit
uncomfortable if you are holdign the device with two hands.

Joystick -
generally not an issue, especially for scrolling up and down. Where I find it a
bit harder to use than a D-pad is left/right scrolling. I was worried it would
protrude more than it does. By locking the device with the Power key there are
no issues with it in a pocket/jacket and it doesn't "catch" your clothing.

Softkeys - they are definitely oddly implemented. The Windows, OK and
Left/Right softkeys are not well implemented. I will get used to them, but they
could clearly fit a D-pad by changing the whole layout in that area

Profile Controller - nice free addition, a little buggy.

Battery
- I averaged 10hrs/day with full 3G/BT/Push email on all the time. I did a full
night charge last night for the first time and it feels like it will last longer
today.

GPS - couldn't get it to work so far with Google Maps and Yahoo
Go! I tried COM4 and COM9. I'm no GPS expert and don't really need it.

Volume - no issues for me. The phone volume is fine even in a noisy
place (Starbucks). Not loud, but loud enough. With my Moto H12 BT headset, the
volume is VERY LOUD and absolutely no issue. The BT headset paired immediately.

BT with PC - paired with my laptop (SZ 650 running Vista) immediately
and able to Activesync, File Exchange. Haven't tried tethering but based on how
it paired I am sure it will work.

Camera - pictures are "ok". I find
opening the camera app VERY SLOW.

Bugs - profile controller sometimes
screws up the alerts (eg LED doesn't flash for new email all the time). The fact
that you get a flashing LED for mail/texts etc out of the box is nice vs. the
Treo...

Device is generally very stable as long as you don't load too
much crap onto it (I don't ...just some homescreen plug ins

Bottom line
- incredible device, form factor, usability. Happy I didn't wait for the HP.
Also I love the portrait orientation for the Today screen, Inbox, emails, etc.
The only place you need landscape is web browing and you can easily rotate the
screen with an included homescreen plug in.