Saturday, February 28, 2009

Double Fisting....Devices, of course!

After almost a month on the Blackberry Bold, I have been quite happy with almost every aspect of its performance. One thing that I can no longer deny is that my average weekday usage is asking a lot of a single device- spending my lunch hour watching movies is singlehandedly the biggest battery-burner. I've also been less than impressed with the codecs that the Bold can handle directly. And the podcasting app I found, PodTrapper, is a paid service and its still got more kinks than the free BeyondPod for Windows Mobile.

I've decided to hand over the multimedia requirements of my day over to my Fuze. I did a hard reset, installed Coreplayer and BeyondPod, and I'm going to use it to watch my shows and podcasts during the day. I really can't let go of my Fuze and Coreplayer has been a champ with playing just about anything that you can throw at it. And because BeyondPod can automatically turn on my WiFi to update my feeds on a schedule, I won't have to worry about not having a sim or service on it.

The added bonus of this is that my Blackberry can definitely last me an entire day without needing a top-off. Perfect.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Be Happy....

This is how everyone working should feel right now!


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HP Mini 1000 Webcam Fix

I cannot believe that the fix to the crappy webcam problem is something so simple! I wonder how many people returned their HP because the webcam quality was horrendous! I'll be doing this as soon as I get home tonight!

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via by Warner Crocker on 2/26/09

hp_mini_1000_webcam_fix-480x280 When I won the HP Mini 1000 at CntrStg during CES 2009 I was excited and knew my wife was going to claim this Netbook the minute I got home, which she did. While I've worked with it a bit, I haven't had my hands on it very much, so I never noticed this webcam problem. My wife doesn't use the webcam either, but I checked it out this morning after seeing this post on SlashGear and sure enough the webcam issue does exist.

The problem? Apparently HP shipped the Mini 1000's with a black film over the webcam (probably to protect it during the assembly process) without adding a step to remove it along the way. This results in any image from the webcam being, well, very dark and unusable. HP hasn't officially acknowledged the issue as a defect yet, but according to SlashGear an HP employee filmed a video showing how to pop open the case and remove the film. I guess that's a way of unofficially acknowledging the issue.

My bad for not checking this out sooner, but I guess I'll have to give this fix a try.

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BlackBerry Bullet Shows Apple Who's Boss!

While I love this ad and how its subtle, but not, all at the same time, I don't think the Storm is the one that can live up to the promise. :(

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shaq wants you to Tag him!

If you happen to be near the fashion square mall, find shaq, and say "You're Twit" and you'll win tickets to a basketball game! Sweet!
Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Microsoft retracts demand for payment of severance overage

First New Zealand, now Microsoft....the power of the internet is really being used to reverse poor judgment calls. Good!


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via Boy Genius Report by Marc Flores on 2/24/09

Word broke out over the weekend that Microsoft had sent letters to ex-employees asking for repayment of severance package overages. Apparently damage control was able to beat the Grinch out of HR because the company apparently decided to do the right thing. Microsoft human resources chief Lisa Brummel says the company is reversing its course of action and contacting those who received the notice to advise them that repayment is not necessary. About 25 ex-employees were overpaid and 20 were underpaid due to the error. We're also glad to hear the workers who were underpaid will be compensated for the amounts they were due. Lesson learned for Microsoft: There are some cases where accounting errors can't, or shouldn't be fixed and this is one of them. The former employees who spoke up can also give a nod to the media for spreading the news like wildfire and bringing it to Microsoft's (and everyone else's) attention.



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Memphis police purchase and deploy 12,000 REDFLY units

This is what I love to see: innovative uses for niche products!


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via MobileCrunch by Doug Aamoth on 2/24/09

The REDFLY Mobile Companion embiggens even the smallest of compatible Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs. In light of this, the Memphis police department just threw down for 12,000 of the devices and deployed them in their cruisers, saying, "The REDFLYs save hardware costs while increasing productivity and also improving the quality and accuracy of the officers' field reports."

Read the rest of this entry >>

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Gadget Widow(er)

Well, it's that time of year again. Football is over, Baseball hasn't (fully?) kicked off and my husband suddenly has tons of time on his hands. This is the time of year when he wants to spend a lot of time shooting the breeze and just generally hanging out. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with him, its just....I've become so attached to my gadgets its pretty hard to go cold turkey. Last week he had a mini "intervention" where he cited instances where I haven't been completely attentive to what's going around and have had my head buried in my new Blackberry (true). The irony is that I am no more engaged in tech than I am during the rest of the year, its just that without his favorite pastimes to occupy his time, he's more sensitive to it.

I wish I had more insight on this matter. I've read many articles on the reverse of our issue, but I really don't know how to "fix" the issue. For now, I try to have some sort of a routine at night where I catch up on my gadget-ness for about an hour after Seth goes to bed, then spend the rest of the night giving Dean my full attention before we turn in for the night. How do you feed your tech-addiction and keep the peace with your spouse at the same time?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fast App Launching

For the first few days of using the Blackberry Bold I was convinced that I wasn't properly shutting down apps. I just couldn't, and still can't, get over how quickly apps launch when invoked. Even the 'largest' of databases seem to just pop open! Again, I really wish Windows Mobile could do this- some apps just seem to take an inordinately long time to launch.
Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Friday, February 20, 2009

Making time for Me

It seems like lately there's never enough time to do all the things that I want to do. The weeks go by at warp speed and I can barely keep up. One of the things that constantly get put on the back burner is my TV habit. There are a number of shows that I watch that my husband isn't that crazy about (most of them are on MTV!) and I just can't find the time to catch them on my TiVo before they need to get deleted to make room for other shows.
Since I started my new job in November one of my vows to myself was to actually take a lunch break every day. With my evenings dedicated to the family, its the only time of the day that's truly mine to do whatever I want. I've taken to spending my lunch break in my car listening to podcasts or music, readin a book, taking a nap, whatever.
I suddenly remembered that I have Tivo Desktop to Go and decided to make the most out of our Tivo 2 in the bedroom. I've set up auto-transfer and convert for all the shows I never have time to watch, then throw them on my Memory card using the Bold's mass media function. The quality is fantastic, and its great to be able to watch a show without constant interruptions. Yes, even such fine high-brow shows as The City.

Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Windows Mobile to Blackberry: Applications

I had such a sense of deja-vu as I prepared to write this entry and finally figured out why. On March 22, 2006 I wrote the exact same entry but detailing my transition from Palm to Windows Mobile. So far I've only moved a few of my most critical apps, and I am in the trial period of most of them for now:

- (Lists) ListPro -->For now I am using SplashShopper, but it is far from ideal. Any recommendations are welcome!

-(Passwords) eWallet --> eWallet is available for Blackberry. Seamless syncing from the desktop version

- (Medical Dictionary) PocketLingo --> Mobile Systems MSDict is available for Blackberry

- (Banking) SpbFinance --> SplashMoney :Worked great importing my QIF files from SpbFinance.

-(TV Guide) Handmark TVGuide--> Handmark TV Guide

-(eBooks) MobiPocket--> Mobipocket: as an added bonus, when I switched my microSD card into the Bold, I could read all my created non-licensed books directly from the card without needing to make any adjustments. Purchased books I just re-downloaded OTA from the Mobipocket ebook store.

-(Lady Calendar) Beiks Woman Calendar--> MobiSystems Woman Mobile . Be aware that the trial is only 3 days long so you'll need to make a decision pretty quick!

-(RSS Reader) Egress --> FreeRange RSS . After years of lugging around my entire catalogue of RSS feeds and never-ending updates, I've happily selected my most read top 10 and read the rest via Google reader on my PC or in the mobile browser is necessary.

-(Podcasts) BeyondPod --> Podtrapper. I'm still in the trial of this one. Its hard to part with the $10 for something you've been getting for free *sob*

-(Instant Messaging) Palringo --> Instango. Palringo had me based on 2 features: the ability to see in real time the visitors to my page (via AIM Wimzi) and Facebook chat. However, I love Instango for its flexibility and happily sacrifice those two features.

TodayScreen HTC Fuze

Homescreen bold

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

iMate's Project Centurion- World's Smallest Smartphone

No sooner had I declared how underwhelmed I've been with MWC than does this gem from iMate come out. According to Modaco, its set to be the world's smallest Smartphone and it doesn't look too bad at all. It does bear an undeniable resemblance to the Nokia e71, but at least they aren't attempting to slap a touchscreen on it! Its not up my alley as its WM Standard, but it looks great all the same!

Slabby Mc-Slab

If you're wondering why I'm so quiet during MWC its because there really hasn't been anything worth the excitement so far. I can't remember the last time I saw so many 'slabs' in one place! *Yawn*. Wake me when there's a QWERTYbar of interest.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Power Bold Battery

Today I used my Bold in the typical way that I use my phones:
Connected to Instango IM all day
SMS about 50- 60 messages
4 accounts pushing email
Tiny Twitter running in the background
Freerange RSS updating 10 feeds every 2 hours
40-50 minutes of video watching at lunch
One+ hour of phonecalls
Browsing for about an hour in the evening
And my battery has lasted 12 full hours! I'm quite excited, I can't remember the last time a battery has lasted me that long!

Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Amazing PomegranatePhone!

You don't have to wait until MWC to see the very best of the year (maybe even decade!). Take a look at the new PomegranatePhone! It has everything you could ever want in a phone and so much more- I can't reveal the release date but be sure to click on the 'Release Date' on the site for the full details.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Newbie Tips & Tweaks for the Bold

Over the past few days I've had tons of really great info on getting the most out of my Bold:
- Go into the phone, use the menu to access settings. Disable dial from today screen. Doing that allows you to use many key shortcuts (e.g. Pressing 'm' opens messages, 't' opens tasks). To dial a contact you just need to press the phone key once and then begin typing a name.
-Use a theme that has a calendar view on the homescreen. And, if you plan on using a weather icon, be sure to pick one that shows you the name of the app you have highlighted.
-create subfolders to keep things tidy on the launcher. Click on the icon and toggle left or right to see various icons you can use on your folder.
-whenever possible keep the icons that show message indicators in the first few positions so you don't have to hunt around for them ( this is easier done when you do it conjunction with the key shortcuts)
-use TinyTwitter instead of Twitterberry. Navigation is much better, it uses shortcuts, and no random notifications (technically, no notifications at all)
-Map one of the side convenience keys to the clock. Not ideal, but at least you can pop the clock over anything you're doing to see the time.
-While in the browser, type 'U' to toggle fullscreen mode and get more screen realestate.
-Use status messages on BB messenger to give your contacts an idea of good and bad times to message you.

Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bold OS Updates

Here's the thing with updating the OS on the Blackberry Bold- its so darned easy! I started out planning a simple update from to (which I did yesterday) and ended up going to a leaked ROM today. So far it seems very stable and even has the visual voicemail icon installed, although I use YouMail and therefore have no need for that.

This time around with the Bold seems to be going infinitely better. I got a lot of great tips during my first round, and they have really helped me get a much better experience. Small things like disabling dialing from the homescreen (which makes almost every letter a shortcut by default), to changing to a plazmic theme which allows calendar items to show up in the homescreen are huge!

My next project is to find corresponding Blackberry apps for my invaluable Windows Mobile ones. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bold New Ground

I'm going to attempt to update my Bold's OS today. Several people have said that I will have a much better experience using the latest OS from the site so I figure I'll give it a shot.
I really need to know why Blackberry is so able to conserve power where Windows Mobile doesn't? Does anyone have any technical insight to this? Yesterday I made it through the day with juice to spare under extremely heavy usage.
I'm not going to give up hope that there will be a Windows Mobile phone released with all the specs I want in the near future;
-8+ hours of battery life under heavy use
-Fast processor (did you say Snapdragon?)
-3.5mm headset jack
-a navigation mechanism that is the exact opposite of the Fuze's.

Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Monday, February 9, 2009

Back on the Berry

On Saturday I noticed that I had to swap the battery on my Fuze out 3 times. Yes, you heard that right- 3 times. And each time I put in a fresh battery I had to soft reset once or twice because it would take a very long time to restart, convincing me that it wouldn't reload on its own. Long story short- I had had it.
I pulled out the Bold again and determined that I would really make an effort to try and make it work for me. First thing I did was to find a theme that would let me see my calendar entries right on the homescreen. Next was to swap out Twitterberry (whose navigation I really didn't enjoy) and replace it with TinyTwitter (I didn't even know they had a blackberry app!).
I mapped one of my convenience keys to the clock so that I could pop a clock over whatever I am doing pretty easily. I also ordered a black replacement bezel to replace the chrome border of the bold.
Let's see how round 2 goes!
Sent via BlackBerry Bold

Friday, February 6, 2009

Battery Status 11pm

Sent from my HTC FUZE™

Battery Status Update 8:42

So it's 8:42 and this is where we are. So far this evening I've watched a few minutes of YouTube, surfed the web for about half an hour, done some texting and email, taken a few pictures and played a game of UNO.
I'm curious to see if this battery will also spiral after it hits 50%. Unlike the earlier one, this is the stock battery.

Sent from my HTC FUZE™

Battery Status

Battery Watch- HTC Fuze Edition (Part 5)

4pm Second battery is now at 86%. Haven't really done anything with the phone in this time, although it is still connected to OctroTalk and push email. 2 bars of HSDPA coverage.

Battery Watch- HTC Fuze Edition (Part 4)

Its 2:35 and my battery totally died. I've put in a fresh battery and we'll see if that one will get me through the rest of the day.

Battery Watch- HTC Fuze Edition (Part 3)

2:27pm battery is now at 5%. Something very odd is going on.

Battery Watch- HTC Fuze Edition (Part 2)

Well, something odd is certainly going on. Its 2:18pm and my battery has suddenly plummeted to 10%.

Battery Watch- HTC Fuze Edition

It occurred to me that I should keep track of how my phone makes it through the day using the standard battery to be able to identify how much added juice I get from the extended battery once I receive it.

For the past 2 days I've switched back to an old-time favorite IM client; OctroTalk. For now it seems to be having very minimum impact on my battery life compared to Palringo and Beejive. I have it configured to auto turn on at 8am, off at 10pm and autorun on startup.

ADDED: I have push email turned on.

This morning I took my phone off the charger at 7am fully charged. Its a work day, but I haven't docked to my computer so that I can keep an eye on the battery.I traced my trip to work using GoogleMaps and my GPS this morning. I downloaded a 60Mb podcast file using BeyondPod and my 3G connection, Watched about a half hour of video during lunch, talked on the phone for about 15 minutes all while connected to OctroTalk. I also did some light browsing using Opera Mini. The time is now 1pm and my battery is at 52%.

I'll keep you posted as the day goes on.

Sent from my HTC FUZE™

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Candidate for World's Dumbest Criminal...


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AP - Police in Cleveland say a man called 911 because he felt he was in danger — then asked the dispatcher to hold on while he made a drug deal. Police Lt. Thomas Stacho said Tuesday that Alejandro Melendez was arrested after the call and was charged with possessing cocaine.


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Battery Blues

Now that I've returned to my Fuze, I'm forced to face the one thing that drives me nuts- poor battery life. It goes beyond just poor; my battery shut down on my after a mere 6 hours of pretty moderate use. Sure I was running Beejive, ceTwit and Push email while periodically actively using the phone, but that is pretty horrendous. I have a total of 3 batteries but I finally broke down and bought an extended one off eBay. At 2500mAh its definitely going to have that hump, but at nearly double the capacity of the stock battery I'm hoping to get at least through the day on a single charge. This is when I miss the Blackberry Bold- that battery meter barely budged after hours of use!
Some have suggested that perhaps buying batteries from questionable retailers in China may be the cause of the less than stellar results I'm experiencing. I doubt it- remember, I spent a pretty penny on an extended battery from HP when I had the iPaq 910 and even that could barely get me through the day!
I'll keep you posted on the power situation when the new battery arrives.

Sent from my HTC FUZE™

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

6 Reasons Toddlers are kind of A*Holes

This is a pretty hilarious article over at MomLogic! If you've always thought your kid was a bit of a jerk at times, here is someone who isn't afraid to put it in words!

She's extremely self-absorbed.You know the type, they never ask questions in
conversation. Instead it's all about them. All day long it's: "I like pink!,"
"Watch me bounce on the bed", "I went poo in my diaper!" Just once I'd
like to hear her ask me what's MY favorite color or inquire if, perhaps, I went
poo in MY diaper.

Podcast! Mobigasmic 003

Podcast 003

Today's Podcast Highlights:

-A Windows Mobile view of the Blackberry Bold

Related Articles:
-A Bold Excursion
-Blackberry Bold in Hand
-Day one with the Blackberry Bold
-Blackberry Bold Annoyances
-Bold Keyboard

Monday, February 2, 2009

One of RIM’s BlackBerry data servers is down, causing sporadic outages

And suddenly this applies to me. *sigh*


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via MobileCrunch by Greg Kumparak on 2/2/09

No matter who you are, which carrier you're on, or which hardware you carry: network outages can find you. More at 11.

Sorry - us cellphone bloggers don't often get the chance to fearmonger, so I had to pounce on the opportunity. Word on the street is that RIM's having a bit of an issue with one of their servers. If you're one of the lucky bunch that happens to have their data routed through this box, things might be a bit off until they give the box a swift kick and get things chuggin' along again. As the problem appears to be on RIM's end, issues are not limited to any specific carrier or hardware - it's all luck of the draw today, folks.

[Via BGR]

Crunch Network: TechCrunch obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies


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Bold Keyboard

The Bold's keyboard is phenomenal, but for a messaging device how could they make the period a secondary key but make the dollar sign a primary one?
(Just as I typed that I found an easter egg. Use the spacebar twice and a period appears. Pretty nifty!)
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Blackberry Bold Annoyances

More things have started to crop up that are making me realize why it is that I like Windows Mobile in general, and my Fuze in particular so much.

First of all, the memory on the Bold is killing me, and there's no way (that I can see) to easily keep tabs on the memory.

Then there's the camera, which is beyond horrible:

Taken with the Bold:
Blackberry Bold Camera Test

Taken with the Fuze:
HTC Fuze Camera Test

I kind of liked the trackball at first, but now I just find it annoying. The incessant scrolling is just not fun. And I tried using it to do some reading in bed last night and the scrolling sound started to sound like nails on a chalkboard.

Even though I was impressed with the applications I found, those were *all* the worthwhile applications I could find.

Navigation is not easy. There are 2 convenience keys, and the most logical use I could find for them was camera and task switcher. The ones you place on the homescreen are limited to 6, but only one is truly a "click" away- you must roll over the others to get to the one you want. At least with Windows Mobile you can tap what you need to get at.

Notifications- First of all that flashing LED is slowly driving me insane. Every moment it seems like something or the other is triggering it- and there's no way to know what except by turning it on. And once I wake the phone up, I have to find out which program has set it off: with Email, Facebook and SMS its straightforward enough, but if its Twitterberry, Beejive or any other thirdparty app, there's no end to the hunting. It seems odd to me that I can't roll my trackball onto the notification and open whichever app has placed it there:

I should be able to roll right onto that Beejive icon, but I've got to hunt down the app to open it and read the message.
Notifications on blackberry bold

No total silence? Why can't I select a profile that completely silences the Bold? I selected the 'Quiet' profile last night and was suprised to hear (loud) intro music when I opened up Word Mole. Any program that produced a sound continued to seemingly without any regard to my chosen profile.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day One with the Blackberry Bold

Let me start by saying "Wow". This Bold is really giving my Fuze a run for the money- and I say that as one of the biggest Windows Mobile fangirls you will probably ever meet. I came into this with an overwhelming curiosity about this device that I've heard so much about for the past 8 months, and for the most part it has definitely lived up to the hype.

Likes and Loves
In no particular order, here are the things that I've been really enjoying on the Bold;

1. The screen is stunning.
2. Battery life is fantastic-first Nokia, now Blackberry. Please, please Windows Mobile, ask these people how they are making their operating system not chew through the battery!
3. Keyboard- typing is really great on the Bold.
4. Notifications- So far I've been impressed with how just about every installed registers itself to allow you to configure the notifications of your choice.
5. 3.5mm headset jack
6. Unified mailbox- I really thought I'd hate this but there's something very simplistic about getting all your messages in one box.
7. Bedside mode- brilliant idea
8. Applications- remember when I was looking for Flickr, Facebook etc apps? Well, I guess this is where they are. I'm really suprised at the apps that are available- I've always had the impression that 3rd party apps for Blackberry were pretty non-existent. Here are some of the things I have installed so far:

MobiPocket (Free eBook Reader)
Mobipocket on Blackberry Bold

TwitterBerry (Free Twitter Client)
TwitterBerry on Blackberry

Slacker Radio (Free Streaming Radio)
Slacker Radio on Blackberry

Blackberry Cool/ Viigo (RSS reader)
Viigo RSS Reader on Blackberry Bold

9. The trackball- although scrolling on a really long page can get annoying, I just like the level of control the trackball allows.
10. Workarounds- So there's no plugin to show weather on the Homescreen? No worries, weatherbug will show an icon with the current weather condition and the temp when rolled over. Beejive doesn't have a plugin, but there is an indicator on the icon to show that its connected. Neat!

Homescreen on Blackberry Bold

1. Memory- the application memory (which is the equivalent of the program memory on Windows Mobile) drops pretty consistently to single digits and I can only seem to reclaim the memory by pulling out the battery.
2. Blackberry Desktop- mainly because the Roxio media manager keeps freezing on me.
3. Turn off- this is more of a mystery than a dislike- every time I try to power off the Bold it seems to just go into a snooze mode. Beejive is still connected.
4. Blackberry Messenger- there's something a little 'stalkerish' about this to me. I don't like the fact that the sender of the message knows the exact moment I read it and how long it takes me to reply. Its also yet another walled garden- most of my friends don't use Blackberry so there's a limit to how useful this is to me.

Tomorrow will be my second full day on it, and we'll see how I feel with it in the office.