Tuesday, November 30, 2004

another camcorder without tape...

I saw the Pentax OptioMX4 in real life for the first time, and it is much smaller and lighter than I thought it was, seeing just pictures of it before. Like the Sanyo C4 it has VGA quality movie recording in MPEG4 (hopefully real MPEG4, not just some .ASF stuff, that won't play back in Quicktime!), still image capture with 4 Megapixels and a reflective screen, that is visible in direct sunlight. And finally a 10 times zoom, even though it makes the Pentax bigger than the Sanyo C4, that just has the perfect form factor for me. Unfortunately the Pentax is not available in any stylish colors like the Sanyo C4. I will try to test the new Pentax and Sanyo ASAP. Hopefully they finally support charging the battery via USB, so I can leave one more charger at home...


Monday, November 29, 2004

an Apple iPhone/iPod as simple as possible?

What about an Apple mobile phone, as simple as possible? Read only! Only for voice telephony, music listening (iPod) and light reading (SMS, calendar, contacts, ToDos, ev. email, web, eBooks) a la iPod, size and look and UI identical to iPod mini. Usable as a wireless UMTS/GPRS modem via Bluetooth. All data entry except phone numbers and eventually SMS, which work through a slide out number keypad a la MDA3 goes through extra computer (PowerBook, iBook, iBook mini, PDA (Palm, PocketPC...) or real keyboard via Bluetooth...


Sunday, November 28, 2004

reason for low mobile phone penetration in the US

On my daily reading I stumbled upon a posting on Russell Beattie's weblog, where he thinks about the possibility of Apple developing a mobile phone with CDMA technology. That started me thinking. Will mobile usage in the US, even if it uses GSM technology, ever reach such high percentages of the population as in Asia or Europe? I don't think so and the main reason, why not everybody in the US will switch from landlines to mobiles is the following: in the US you have to pay, if somebody calls you. Mobile phones in the US have an area code just like normal landlines, so you normally don't even know you are calling a mobile number. It costs you the same, if you call a number in a certain area code, no matter if it is mobile or landline. In the rest of the world, if you call a mobile phone it normally costs you more than calling a landline, at least when the call originates on a landline. Mobile operators have special "area"-code blocks, so you normally know, where your call goes. But as mobile phone usage is overtaking landline calls nearly everywhere in the world, soon the cheapest calls will be, if you stay in the same network. So how could the US get higher mobile phone usage rates? Use special "area"-codes for mobiles and get rid of "called party pays" on mobile phones.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

highend PDA from Palm wanted

Why can't Palm bring a high end PDA to market? PalmOS6, WLAN (and Bluetooth!) and a VGA screen or better should be included. Possibly a slide out qwerty keyboard a la OQO would be nice, too. Actually what I want is something like the OQO with at least 16 hours battery life, so I get through a long day without recharging...


Friday, November 26, 2004

Avalon with vector based UI?

Seems that the graphics engine of the future Longhorn OS from Microsoft might support vector based UI elements. It's about time! Current bitmapped UIs work fine on screen with similar DPI, but the more we see really highres screens, especially on mobile devices, a resolution independent UI is a must. Apples MacOSX graphics engine called Quartz uses PDF and could be resoltution independent, but all the UI elements are still bitmapped and right now there is no official way to change the DPI in MacOSX.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

VGA PocketPC without VGA software support?

It seems, that the new VGA PocketPCs from Dell, HP, FujitsuSiemens, Casio... are not capable to fully use the 640*480 screen without third party software. And if you use any of these patches, you have to do a soft reset everytime you switch from VGA to QVGA. As there is no hardware alternative to the VGA PocketPCs right now, I guess I will have to use Linux to make them usable. If only Apple could build and sell an OS for these handheld devices...

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

someone has to pay for the content?

Maybe it's just me. As much as I like to have some money to spend it on necessary or just plain fun things, I see NO reason, why everything has to have a price. I don't object to the idea of making money through publishing content and as a matter of fact, even if there is somebody who likes to sell shit, if somebody wants to buy it, fine with me. What I don't understand is the famous saying "money is not everything, it's the only thing". I definitively know a lot of people, that think that way. I don't know one, who still liked the quote above a few hours before dying. Maybe there is more to life than getting more? As most of us won't live much longer than around 100 years, maybe its time to live now? Maybe I should end this post with another, in my opinion much better quote: "the best things in life are free".

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

IRda missing on Nokia's 6630!

Just when I thought, that the new Nokia 6630 might be the perfect phone for me, I stumbled across some rotten eggs, so to speak... The ReducedSize MMC did't bother me that much, as you can use a normal sized MMC, when you don't mind, that it sticks out of the side of the 6630 like a small antenna, that breaks off easily. But at least you can exchange data with other MMC capable devices that way. What really angers me a lot is the missing IRda. Nearly every portable device in the world, from old Palms to some of the cheapest mobile phones, they all can exchange data via IRda. The only devices, I can think of without IRda are the original Palms, when they were still called Pilots and the Sony Z5 GSM phone, which need bulky and expensive cables to communicate. It is just so convenient to exchange vCards with somebody you just met. As my mobile phone is the only thing besides creditcard and key, that I take with me whereever I go, I think I will have to stick with SonyEricsson, as long, as they don't eliminate features, that some marketing things deam "unnecessary"...

Monday, November 22, 2004

switching from Palm to PocketPC?

I have been using Palms on a daily basis since I bought the first three Handspring Visor Deluxe, that were sold retail in the US at MacWorld Expo 2000 through ClubMac . After some time with the ice white Visor and an 8MB Flash expansion (ran apps directly from there!) I switched to a Sony CLIE PEG300. Unfortunately you couldn't run apps directly from the MemoryStick. A major breakthrough for me came with the Palm Tungsten W in May 2003 , which I still use to type this posting here. Built in triband GSM/GPRS, a wonderful reflective LCD with 320*320 pixels resolution, that is perfectly visible in direct sunlight with switched off backlight, SDIO and a built in keyboard made it my preferred communication device. Then a year later came the Treo600, which I still use a lot, but despite new features like built in camera, MP3 player, mic, speaker and speakerphone, a lot of features from the Tungsten W were missing, namely the great screen and the battery life. So I eagerly expected the arrival of the Treo650. When it finally was announced, it included all the features, that should have been in the Treo600, only more than a year too late. EDGE support is nice and would have been great a year ago. Unfortunately it is now the end of 2004, nearly 2005. And if I switch from my trusty Tungsten W to a new communication device, it has to include UMTS and WLAN. There are countries in Europe, e.g. Austria, where you can get WLAN/UMTS/GPRS data coverage for less than 40$ per month. Even if there would be a PalmOS device with WLAN support, it wouldn't matter, as there are no VoIP clients for the PalmOS. Both Skype and SIP clients are available for PocketPCs right now. Another deal breaker for me: you can not buy any PalmOS device with VGA resolution or better. Using a VGA PockerPC (HP, Dell, FujitsuSiemens, Casio...) with a VNC client allows me to remotely control my MacOSX server at home, effectively running MacOSX on a handheld client anywhere in the world, where I have IP connectivity, no matter if it is 30kbps GPRS, 300 kbps UMTS or 3Mbps WLAN. So what will I do? I will get myself a PocketPC with VGA resolution for VNC to MacOSX and decent web browsing, Bluetooth for connectivity via mobile phone with GPRS and UMTS, and WLAN for VoIP and data connectivity from all those WLAN hotspots in the world. Right now I can use the new Nokia 6630 as a voice phone and as a wireless Bluetooth modem for GPRS/EDGE and UMTS. I guess within a few months, maybe mid 2005 I will be able to get a VGA PocketPC with built in GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/WLAN and slide out keyboard, that has a batterylife of at least one long business day... Any comments or recommendations?

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Sunday, November 21, 2004

missing pieces

At MacWorld Expo San Francisco in January 1989 I stumbled across a paper based Macintosh newsletter called "Missing Pieces". Contrary to all the other information bloat that listed all useful and sometimes useless crap, this one concentrated only on the useful, but unavailable things. Years went by, the "Missing Pieces" newsletter ended pretty soon, but the idea somehow stuck in my head. A few months ago I found out, that the former "Missing Pieces" publisher, a guy called Robert A. Morgan, is the same that runs one of the best websites for Macintosh benchmarks and speedfreaks, called Barefeats, where there is just one last lonely remnant from the past, lamenting about missing features in Apple's current products. So from now on, I will invariably publish less about what is there, and more about what is not, no matter if it is electronic gadgets, politics or life in general. It saves a lot of time typing and precious bandwidth, especially on tiny and wireless devices. No matter if you call these information snippets "deal breakers" or anything else, they are dedicated to Robert A. Morgan, who had the right idea more than 15 years ago...

Saturday, November 20, 2004

photo posting from Treo600

photo posting from Treo600

another test before my daily blogging starts...

Friday, November 19, 2004

first photo posting via email

first photo posting via email

I wonder how this will look like...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Mac OSX Power Hound from Oreilly

Mac OSX Power Hound from Oreilly Highly suggested reading!


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

travel in silence

If you travel via plane a lot, one annoyance, namely noise, can easily be avoided. Just use earplugs (e.g. 3M) or noice cancelling earphones, available among others from Sony and Etymotic. The Sony ones are less than 50$ and reduce the surrounding noise quite well, but if you want to have the ultimate in noise reduction AND sound quality, then try the Etymotic. They cost 150$ and up, but if you heard your music through them once, you won't want to settle for anything less.