Thursday, February 25, 2010

No Video, Please!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how mainstream video chat has become. Skype is probably the best example of how easy it is to use video chat across platforms and across skill levels. Every Saturday I have a Skype chat with my mother-in-law so she and Seth can have breakfast "together". She entertains him from hundreds of miles away and it gives me an opportunity to get the laundry started and also catch up with her on her week.



But imagine how invasive it would be if video chatting went mobile. Everywhere you went, you would be subjected to people holding up their phones in front of them in such a way that you couldn't tell if they were engaging in a mobile video chat or taking your picture without permission. You'd probably appear in people's chats randomly. To me, this kind of violation of my privacy might make me never want to leave the house!
I'm really hoping that video chat does not become the new trend. I've already heard far too much of people's private conversations as they bellow into their bluetooth headsets. I definitely don't want to get the visual!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Humpday Humor: There's an App for That!

This gem is the winner of the "Nobody Gonna Lay a Finger on my Butterfinger" contest. Great job, David M! This is funnier than any of the Superbowl ads I've seen lately!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Netbooking

They say the third time is the charm and when it comes to netbooks, that's certainly been the case for me. My first attempt with the Asus Eee PC was a bust. I remember taking it on our trip to New Jersey back in 2008 when my phone died, and it was a painful experience. It wasn't fun to use, and I really didn't enjoy it at all.
My second go round was with the HP Mini 1000 and it was a massive improvement. Running familiar windows put me in a much more comfortable space, and I was pretty content for a while. In the end, the low memory (8GB!) and short battery life (2 hours!) brought the honeymoon to an end. I loved the keyboard though, and it helped me decide that I definitely wanted to stay with the HP family.
I got my HP Mini 110 in November and was 99% content with it. I was only irritated by the limitations of Windows 7 Starter edition- not being able to change my background? Who's brilliant idea was that?? But, I've been making the best of it for the past few months until 3 weeks ago when I got into a conversation with my IT guy at work who graciously offered me an external drive and a CD for Windows 7 Home premium (thanks Greg!). I did the upgrade and was beyond thrilled with the result. The full version of Windows 7 is fun, fresh, and a joy to use, and my HP has become a device I'm thrilled to use. The battery lasts me all day, there's enough memory to run everything I want to and the OS keeps it all fresh. What more could I ask for?!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How I Manage What to Wear

Many months ago I posted about my use of the iPhone app Touchcloset. The premise was to mark what you wore each day so you could make sure your wardrobe is evenly worn. I used it for many many months until I realized that what I really need in the morning is a clear idea of what I'm *going* to wear. With this new mandate I identified the best device to manage this process is not my ipod (which spends its night in the study attached to my PC) but my Blackberry (which is right by my bedside on its dock).
I decided to follow the mantra of "keep it simple, stupid" and have now been creating a new note for each week over the weekend and jot what I plan to wear. Sure, its less glamorous than having glossy photos of my clothes, but its far more functional, and really cuts down on the amount of time I spend sleepily looking around my closet in a daze each morning!

Sent via BlackBerry Onyx

Friday, February 19, 2010

Farewell Daewoo

Its officially the end of an era. 2 days ago Dean took pics of the Daewoo and put it on Craigslist. Within 5 minutes he got an email and set an appointment for a guy to see it that evening. (When all was said and done he got 40+ inquiries! Not bad for a car without airconditioning in Texas!) The buyer came, saw, and promptly fell in love with the Daewoo and bought it right away.
I didn't think I'd get so emotional about a car, but 'woo and I have been together for a decade now and its gotten me through some major events. It was my first new car, the one with me when I moved into the city. The one I drove the day I met Dean, the fuel economist that saved me money while I wasn't working 2 years ago. I will always have memories of tooling around the beaches in Long Island, maneuvering around Queens and Manhattan, hitting the tri-state area (when I was a Radiology Regional manager).
Well, I hope my old 'woo has moved on to a good home and will be enjoyed as much as it was with me. Be good to her, new owners!

Sent via BlackBerry Onyx

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kindle for Blackberry

Its finally here! Amazon has released their long-awaited Kindle app for Blackberry. I gave it a test run this morning and was generally impressed with it. The Whispersync technology (which remembers across devices which page you read last) works flawlessly. I noticed that the syncing happens right when you open the app, so I tested it in offline mode, and you are able to read your books- just without the sync.
The one feature which I really hoped would be there is the ability to change the font and background color. Unfortunately, you can only change the size of the font. For that reason, I'll probably be sticking to my Mobipocket app for now, which is the only Blackberry app I've found so far that has said feature. But hey, its free, and it works with your Amazon kindle purchases.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Big Week in the Big Easy

Unless you were under a rock then you know that last Sunday the New Orleans Saints won the Superbowl....and I will admit to being totally clueless to the fact that there would be the most ridiculous parade on Tuesday! I had a business conference to attend on Wednesday and Thursday so I got into New Orleans on Tuesday right around 4pm. Roads were closed, crowds were in the open street and the 20 minute trip from the airport to my hotel took over 2 and a half hours!

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When I finally arrived in the neighborhood of the Convention Center, the shuttle bus had to drop me off down by the Riverwalk with my suitcase where I had to manouver through the celebrating masses for another half an hour! Here's the view from my room of the crowds in the street:

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Once I checked in, I picked up a burger from Dino's Bar and Grill and then holed up in my room getting ready for the next day. All day Wednesday I attended conferences and workshops- I won't bore you with the details!

At the end of the day, a group of us decided to take the trolley and head over to the French Quarter.

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We had dinner at Embers which had some really delicious Cajun dishes. I split the Cajun platter with a friend which was good- it was way too big for one person! The Margaritas, however, are the perfect size! And, if you're lucky like we were, Elvis might even drop by!

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Across the street from Embers is the Cat's Meow...a perfect way to burn calories while making a total fool of yourself. We had a blast belting out the hits:

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We ended up walking all the way back to the hotel, since we couldn't figure out where to get the trolley, but not before a quick stop at Harrah's for penny slots.

Thursday morning's news and newspapers had tons of stories about the weather. My American Airlines flight was scheduled at around 7 in the evening, so I figured I would be safe. Wrong: just as I was checking out of the hotel to finish the last day of the conference I got a text alert that my flight had been canceled. I immediately sprung into action trying to get another flight. I had to miss the rest of the conference and dash to the airport to check-in for my new Southwest flight. After a 2 hour delay we finally got to board the plane....at which point they announced the plane was too heavy and they needed to remove some passengers. When they started calling names, I was praying so hard not be removed! Fortunately, it wasn't done based on weight (haha!) but by the last be checked in. So, getting to the airport nice and early paid off! I made it home and was thrilled to see my wonderful husband and son had braved the record-breaking snow amounts to pick me up from the airport.

So, you'll be wondering how my tech went during this trip- I'm glad to report, perfectly. Before my trip I loaded up my iPod with a bunch of movies which I watched during my time in the airports and on the flight. My Blackberry Onyx had battery life to spare each day and I was glad to have the improved camera to use CardScan to take shots of business cards. In the evening I was able to use my HP Mini to do some surfing and make some Skype calls.
The one thing I was really happy about during this trip was having 2 separate mobile devices. I didn't have to worry about running out of battery life as I was watching movies on my iPod, as I still had my Blackberry to make calls on.
Its great to be home, but it felt really good to be in a city during such a time of celebration. Here's a memorial of Hurricane Katrina that was outside my hotel:

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hump Day Humor- Ridiculous Cell Phone Edition

 
 

Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:

 
 

via MobileCrunch by Doug Aamoth on 2/4/10

Straight out of China comes "The Machismo!" – billed as "the world's hottest cigarette lighter mobile phone." Does that mean there's more than one? Like, are there other, lesser, not-as-hot cell phones with built-in cigarette lighters? Nothing would surprise me after seeing this.


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Share and Share Alike

One of the things I love the most about my Blackberry is how easy it is to share information. With the press of a key, I can send a link to the website I'm viewing to my husband, or share the article I'm reading on Viigo with all my friends on Twitter:

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And with apps like ZonaSnap, I can even send a screenshot via email or to my Photobucket account:

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Its not that this is all unique to the Blackberry OS, but its the ease with which a single shortcut key (hit "P" while browser to get the send options) invokes the command that makes it something that I find myself doing all the time

Monday, February 1, 2010

Apple's New iPad

Here it is- Apple's latest creation: the iPad. It's pretty much exactly what we all expected it would be- an oversized iPod Touch. People have expressed a range of opinions from disappointment to glee...to be honest, I don't think this device requires either spectrum. It just is.

In the same way that I don't think that someone who owns an iPhone is necessarily a candidate for the iPod Touch, I also don't think that the iPad would be a companion to the iPod Touch.

I think it makes sense that Apple is offering the iPhone experience in a range of devices- with a phone radio, without a phone radio, and in a larger size. But revolutionary? I'd have to say no.

At $500 for the base model, I won't fully rule it out for me personally- although I think it will mean ditching my iPhone-as-iPod setup, moving my audio podcasts to my Blackberry....