Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Power Compromise

I decided that I couldn't deal with the hump of the extended battery for my HP 910 so I went ahead and sent it back:

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But I still wanted a way to have more longer battery life. I have a neat set up with a spare battery and a charger for it so I can swap out with a fresh battery to get me through the evenings which is when my phone gets a flurry of action.

A search of eBay turned up a 2400mAh battery which may just be a touch more juice to get me through the day without the ugly hump.


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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Word of iPod: A Tale of Love

My Today Screen

I get asked a lot what plugins I'm running on my HP 910, so I'm going to run through them to help anyone interested in achieving a similar look.


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In order of appearance:
-PhoneAlarm, using the Clear Reflections w/o reflections skin
-WeatherPanel using the Stardock Animated Icons
-SpbInsight
-iLauncher using Expea2 icons
-SpbDiary

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Tabbed within SPB Diary I have:
-SPB Traveler
-SPB Backup

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Next SPB Diary tab contains:
-GPS Today
-Windows Live Search(builtin)

So that's how to get the look! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another WM users take on the E71

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We all know how my time with the E71 ended, so its nice to hear from others who have other experiences. Mickliq has been spotlighted on Mobigasmic before and he gives a nice well-rounded review of his impression of the Nokia E71. Here's what he had to say about it over on Howard Forums:

Nokia E71 thoughts (coming from a WM Pro device)

I just wanted to share with my WM Pro friends some thoughts about the Nokia E71. I just received it yesterday so this is somewhat preliminary but some things are unlikely to change.

I couldn't resist the E71 due to its form factor. There is simply no other functional QWERTY bar device on any platform that is this narrow and sexy, while still offering a full QWERTY that is very usable. While my i-mate 8502 is about the same width, the E71 is literally 1/2 the thickness...and the 8502 is no pig.

Overall thoughts:
- As others have noted, S60 v3 is no WM Pro in terms of customizations. However, I've found applications that do everything I need (more or less) without much effort. The "Today screen" (Active Standy in S60 speak) is the biggest weak point, though there is a beta app out there that tries to replicate the WM Today screen, that I've yet to install.

- The device is FAST. As I suspected, with a ~350mhz processor and a lean OS in S60 v3, this thing flies. It handles multitasking better than WM Pro (which isn't terrible itself, but does suffer slowdowns when a lot is going on)

- Battery life is incredible. The 1500mAh battery (almost exactly the same size as my 8502's) is on 3/5 bars after 14 hours. The 8502 would be at half that or less. This is pretty much apples to apples use.

- In-built browser is worlds better than IE. Yes, there's Opera Mobile and others on WM, but they somehow don't work exactly the way they should, and I always fall back to IE, even though it sucks. The Webkit-based browser in the S60 flies, and even Opera Mini feels right on the E71

- Keyboard is very good, but this will take time to get used to. The keys are very differently located than the 8502's. It took me a few days to get used to the 8502 when I first switched to it, but I'm 5x faster on it now than the E71. We'll see in a few weeks...in any case, the keyboard itself feels good and is very workable.

- The UI feels very old (I know it in fact is). Such is life...having used WM Standard (WM5 and WM6) for over a year, it's not that bad, but it's a step down from WM6.1 Pro, which in itself isn't perfect.

- I have very good experience with 3G reception/performance. There are some reported problems but it seems it was a single bad batch

- Haven't faced this yet, but the E71 is only dual-band 3G. This sucks when travelling to Europe. I really want an E71-3 but these don't exist yet, so I figured I'd try out the platform first and if I really love it, I can move up to the E71-3 (or E72 if it isn't crippled).

- BT and Wifi work great. My home network is WPA2 encrypted and had no issues. Have tested BT with headset, built-in BT in the car, and BT transfers with my PC. Haven't tethered yet but it's the same app that installs software and xfers files so I assume it will work as advertised. The PC suite app is a nice everything-in-one-place compared to WMDC synching and Windows Explorer for everything else.

- Mail for Exchange syncs perfectly with my Exchange server, but it falls way short of what Pocket Outlook can do. I knew this before buying it. I have to install Roadsync (a $50 app) to get he same functionality as POL, but I'm not there yet. For right now, I get my Inbox pushed, but no sub-folders. There are times I just need to dive into the sub-folders (not to mention that filing while on the road is a nice option).

- It also syncs calendar, contacts and tasks...same as Outlook. I like the month view in the calendar better on the E71 - it has sort of an Outlook 2007 look to it.

- Media player doesn't sync with WMP (at least not automatically, though maybe I can get the MicroSD card to sync inside WMP if I launch it manually)...I just copied the songs over through Explorer to the mem card and that worked fine.

- As a phone, it's superior. It just works better. Earpiece volume is very high, unlike a lot of WM Pro devices.

- No USB charging without a (simple) workaround. For some reason this thing has both a USB port (for data sync) and the proprietary 2mm Nokia charging port. The simple work-around is to purchase a USB to 2mm cable so you can still charge from PC. I hate lugging extra AC adapters around (if I have a laptop) so this workable. I found a USB cable that does this for $7.99.

- Haven't used the cam yet. Most users have complained about it being "purple". Time will tell.

- Screen is a bit small, and the stupid large fonts (even in "small" mode) don't help, but that's not my biggest problem. The layout of the Inbox, for example, shows plenty of emails, so at least it's functional. Web browsing is a nice experience.

- Touch screen. I like the QWERTY-WM Pro combination so that I can actually use it one-handed, without much need for stylus or touching the screen. There are times when touching is faster (rather than d-pad 6 times), but I usually use WM like that anyway, so the loss of the touchscreen isn`t a big deal for me.

Bottom line...definitely worth it (especially at the price I paid since it was LNIB) for the form factor, sex, speed, stability, etc. I suspect over time, Symbian is going to become a real force as it moves open source. I assume the UI will eventually become competitive, with the underpinning being a very stable, mature OS. It's a fight right now between WM, Symbian, RIM and Android. Apple and RIM are on their own islands and will only work with their hardware, so not much debate there.

I am keeping my 8502, depending on the outcome of my Roadsync experience, we'll see what happens. The 8502 is still a very good device, some 8 or 9 months later, and very competitive with the E71 short of the sex appeal and form factor. This probably won't change much over the coming months, with the possible exception of the Treo 850, which has a f-upped screen rez.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Simple Portable Speaker solution

Since I got my new Zune in December, I've been avidly rediscovering my music and listening to tunes and podcasts every chance I get. I was able to get hold of a high end speaker dock for a steal on eBay, which I use in the kitchen but I still wanted a solution to use in our bathroom and also for Seth's bathroom while I give him his bath.
I had a setup with my old Zune that worked well, but those speakers required new batteries pretty regularly and I got tired of having to constantly replace the batteries and found them on the bulky side.
I did a search on eBay and found the perfect solution for under $10. I don't know when Cingular released these mini speakers but they are exactly what I needed:

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Not only are these foldable spekers small and portable, they are also rechargeable! The sound quality is excellent and they're small enough to fit in a pocket. They include both 2.5 and 3.5mm cables so they work not only with my Zune but also with most cell phones (except mine, as its usb-boohoo). Perfect!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finger-Free, Please!

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I remember years ago when I first got the Treo 180, my first QWERTY device. I was so happy not to be pecking at the screen! And even though I spent years perfecting my graffiti skills I was willing to give it all up to get that physical keyboard.
It now is a mystery to me why people want to go back to touching their screens- I mean, I truly do not understand why you would favor that over pressing a button. All the hoopla over the interface of the iphone, Instinct, HTC Touch devices has me really confused. Here are some of the cons I see from a heavy touch interface:

-Dirty hands dirty the screen. I can throw a paper towel over my keyboard and still navigate without doing any damage to my phone.
-Gloved hands. Not a huge issue for me anymore in Texas but in New York I spent a healthy amount of time on a cold train platform reading on my phone. Wild horses couldn't get me to take my gloves off so I could 'flick' my screen.
-Faster typing. I don't care what anyone says- typing on a physical keyboard will always be faster than typing on a virtual one. That's one of the reasons why laser keyboards have failed to dominate the market.
-Tired fingers. Yes, maybe I am lazy, but I cannot imagine using the kind of energy needed to flick up and down rather than just a simple press of the up or down nav pad. I predict it won't be long before iPhone users have their own version of Blackberry thumb.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Joining the No Reboot Challenge

As everything has gotten steadier over the past couple of weeks with my HP 910 I've found myself installing almost no new apps, and also experiencing no weird behavior (knock wood!). I even adjusted my SPBbackups to only happen once a week. Out of curiousity today I took a look at my wireless details and was surprised to see I had gone over 3 days without having to do a reset (something I have NEVER ever achieved on any phone or OS).
I think that definitely qualifies me to keep an eye on the no-reboot challenge! I'm going to try to keep my streak going until my spare battery charger gets here. It will be good to know that I can go as long as I like without having to involuntarily reset!

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Sent from my HP iPAQ 910

Saturday, September 20, 2008

HP 910 Spare Battery Charger Available!

Ask and ye shall receive!

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First of all, that is hands down the quickest wish fulfillment I have ever seen (my next wish is to get offered my dream job I interviewed for on Wednesday!). Boxwave now has a neat cradle that also charges a spare battery. Enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Nokia Devices

Here's a sneak peek at the Nokia E72 and E75 devices. Look pretty sweet!

Nokia E72 & E75 E-Series
by Blinkthinks

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Battery Update

I was reading this great article about ways to improve battery life and realized that I had my backlight all the way up to 80% whereas I normally use my devices at about 40%! Made the change which still keeps it very readable, and will post my findings in a few days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MY iPaQ 910 WishList

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Generally, when you don't hear me talking about a device it means that its working great and I have no gripes. And such is the case with my HP 910. Its working fantastically, and the only niggling issue is that it occasionally loses my SD card for a few moments.
Memory is fantastic and performance has been stellar. I really can't complain about anything. However, one thing I'd love to see is a standalone charger for a spare battery. I've made my peace with not getting much more than 6 hours of heavy and consistent use, and have found a spare standard battery that I can swap in the evening. But HP- please, please make a standalone battery charger! How amazing would it be for me to just pop the depleted battery into a charger!

UPDATE 9/20/08: Solved! See this post for details!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Battery Life

Here's an interesting tidbit- talking on the phone is actually the activity I do the least on my smartphones. I'm not a big yakker, and I have such a short attention span that I can't keep up with a long conversation. So the specs that constantly refer to how many 'talk hours' a battery/device has is of no real value to me.
But I do use my pda extremely heavily in the course of the day. In fact, my iPaq is lucky if it gets to stay off for a full hour! It tells me every single task I need to do for the day, plays my internet radio, gives me my news, my ebooks, streams my video podcasts, gives me my Twitters, and has my IMs and texts going all day.
The truth is I don't know how many hours of use I ought to be getting from my devices. Ideally I would love to be able to get a full day, but I realize that's asking for a lot. Even when I was working, my pda spent most of its downtime in a charging cradle.
I recently purchased an extended battery for my iPaq, but I'm having a hard time aesthetically with the hump. I scored a spare standard battery on eBay for under $20 shipped, which I plan on using for the second part of the day as needed. (I'm trying to decide whether or not to get rid of the extended one.)
In the future I would like to see not only longer lasting batteries, but also more measurement units that reflect the way that I typically use my smartphone devices.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Man and My Ubi

For almost 2 years now my husband has been using the unlocked T-Mobile SDA that I was using way back when. He's been happy with it, and relies only on calling and texting. But in the past few weeks he's had an issue where occasionally when he makes a call, he can't hear anything- even though the person he's calling can hear him. It works when he tries the call the second time, but as you can imagine its very annoying.
Two nights ago he needed to make a call and his phone was charging. I offered him my Ubiquio which I decided to keep as a backup phone. He popped his sim card into it and made his call and declared that he liked the phone. After we established an emergency backup situation (he goes back to the SDA, I take the Ubiquio) we transfered his data to his new Ubiquio and I showed him how to perform his basic functions.
He's been enjoying it tremendously and likes being able to touch the screen. Its also interesting to see that he only loses one battery bar in the whole day, where I go through almost a charge and a half in a single day!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Your TV Shows in RSS



With the advent of TiVo, I have lost the ability to mentally keep track of which shows come on which night, and when new episodes air. However, I've found a great little gem called MyTVRSS which gives you a nice feed of the shows you select and the next episode title. Throw it in your favorite feedreader and be alerted of the next airing of your favorite shows!

Friday, September 12, 2008

LG Lotus is stylish and functional

Its interesting that it takes a fashion designer to create such a functional phone design! I love the look of this phone!

 
 

Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:

 
 

via PHONE Magazine by Brenda Stokes on 9/12/08

Okay, so the LG Lotus might come off as a bit pretentious but it seems to have some legitimate function under its boxy exterior. This phone is squared off, wide and slim, but it fits in the hand comfortably and actually looks pretty cool to boot.
 

This flip phone was designed by Christian Siriano and will be debuted at the New York Fashion Week. However, consumers won't be able to get their hands on the device until October when Sprint releases the Lotus to the public in both purple and black.

An XPERIA X1 inspired home screen may be included. However, a few specs we know for sure include a 2 megapixel camera, video recording, Rev. A Internet, a 12 GB storage capacity by means of microSD and more. Not too shabby, really. Especially for a phone that's trying to play itself off as the be all and end all of style.

Be sure to view our hands-on coverage of the LG Lotus.

[via Boing Boing Gadgets]


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yahoo OneConnect for iPhone but Not for WM??

I am so sick of this whole iPhone app-mania! We have been waiting for months to see this program, but now it pops up exclusively for the iPhone!

 
 

Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:

 
 

via MobileCrunch by Brian Krepshaw on 9/10/08

Today at CTIA Yahoo announced oneConnect for the Apple iPhone. The stand-alone app aims to aggregate all your social networks into one place. Naturally, all your favorites are included: Facebook, YouTube, Dopplr, Twitter, Flickr, even Friendster. Of course Yahoo being Yahoo, others are included too.

You can communicate with friends' either via SMS or YIM with Messages, get real-time information about what your network is up to with Pulse, all while keeping your fave friends handy with Favorites. The information is presented in an at-a-glance view, so you can see pictures updated right alongside what your friend is doing.

Since the app is open, other IM's can join, although right now, only YIM is supported. The app is available for free starting today in the App Store, or from Yahoo's mobile site. Free. The hands-on ran pretty sweet, so it might be worth checking out.


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Velocity Mobile....Meh

I don't know when VM had the time to put together this piece of patheticness that doesnt even have 3G but somewhere between dragging their feet on the VGA screen 103 and the QWERTY-bar 111 they decided to do this.
Specs are:
* Windows Mobile 6.1 Pro
* GPS, WiFi
* Quad-Band Edge (but no 3G)
* 2mp Camera
* 400MHz Processor
* 240x320 screen
* 64mb Rom / 128 RAM

Sorry, VM but this sounds like the final nail in your coffin.. RIP!

HTC Touch HD- Next Generationn of the HTC Touch

Modaco has a great tip about this gorgeous gem, known for now as the Touch HD. It looks stunning,and I guess these oversized screen resolutions are catching on! Details so far:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Qualcomm 7201A processor @ 528MHz
  • 512MB ROM / 256MB RAM (+32MB on processor)
  • WVGA!!



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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

An Idea for the Microsoft Ads

Maybe this sounds too simple, but instead of all the 'stuff' in the new MS commercial, maybe they should have just had the shot of Bill and Jerry walking along and Jerry asks him about the future of computing. And the whole series would be Bill walking or hanging out with his various celebrity friends as they ask him far-fetched questions about the future of computers.
What do you think? Granted, not as zingy as churros and tight shoes, but it could be a neat running theme!

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Sent from my HP iPAQ 910

Wasteful, wasteful HP

While everyone else is trying to reduce, reuse and recycle, HP showed me today that they have other priorities. I ordered the extended battery for my HP 910 and had quite a surprise when FedEx rang my bell and handed me a huge box. Thinking there must be some mistake, I opened the box and found my tiny package deep inside. Palm could have packaged about 10 Treo Pros in that packaging! Tut-tut HP!

Our Natural Resource

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ironic, because I actually do have laryngtitis today!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Can't Do Without: My HP910 and SPB Time

A few weeks ago I decided to ditch my bedside clock and use my HP instead. Since its always on my table anyway, I decided that I would take advantage of the side-mounted charging port and use an inexpensive business card holder as a cradle. With this setup I can easily use my iPaq without needing to disconnect and reconnect the charger.
Coupled with SPBTime which I use as a sort of screensaver, and I've got an invaluable alarm clock! And if you have poor vision like I do, then you'll love the high contrast white text on black background which makes it easy enough for me to see the screen without grabbing my glasses first.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Phone is better than Your Phone...

Let's face it, everyone wants to feel like they have the best phone that their money can buy. Its one of the main reason that people go trolling in blogs and forums, to pick fights to be able to get in all the jabs. Symptoms of this type of behaviour is to constantly downplay the negatives aspects of their phones and over-hype the good. My cousin is an excellent example of this- her two 'killer' features that touts on her Blackberry Curve are the size and the Blackberry Chat. Even after her last visit caused her to purchase a Jasjar. But if you remind her of her Curve's inability to open word attachments natively, or her constant memory woes, its like a glaze comes over her eyes as she chants 'that's not really important to me'. 

To me, I always feel that the best way to feel happy about your mobile purchase is easy:

1. Make a list of your minimum requirements ( for me, that usually includes 3G, a physical QWERTY keyboard, WiFi)

2. Make a list of third party applications you can't do without (for me, that's Twitter, Facebook, IM, Weather)

3. Name your single killer feature (for me, its a customizable homescreen- the ability to take in a LOT of information in one glance is important).

And then purchase accordingly. I tend to see my devices as a pda with a phone builtin, as opposed to a phone with PDA functionality. This distinction is very important! 

In my opinion, I think the breakdown of users is something like this:

-PDA with Phone functions= Windows Mobile Pro

-Email with PDA functions= Blackberry

-Phone with PDA functions= Symbian/WM Standard

-MultiMedia with PDA functions= iPhone

So, plan accordingly and you won't get pwned like the poor guy in this story!