Off the Top: PDA Entries

June 30, 2007

A Love Ruined - Good Bye Palm

It used to be all love. It started in 1998 just after Christmas. It was a gift under the tree and it brought me wonderful joy. It was the Palm III by Palm. It allowed me to sync all of my address book info, my to do lists, and other "essentials" of a digital portable life. It was relatively easy to write applications for it and extend its usefulness. I learn the graffiti writing in three early mornings of waking-up on the West Coast on East Coast time.

That Palm lasted a few years and I then moved to the HandSpring Visor Deluxe, which had more internal memory, still based on the Palm operating system, and it had four times the memory. The device did most everything I needed. Just like my Palm III the HandSpring was reliable and always ready, it never failed me. I added a camera and some other tools for the plug-in slot and everything always worked.

Mobile Internet & Mobile E-mail

My big advancement was getting a Sidekick (Hiptop) that gave me web, chat, and e-mail all live and all in my pocket. I still kept the Visor as it still served a purpose (address book, notes, e-books). The Sidekick was not a great phone so I kept my Motorola 270C (a really great phone - did not much else). This was a stack of too many devices, particularly when an iPod came into my life.

Treo Moves In

Somewhere in the Spring of 2002 I got a Treo 600, which seemed like a great solution. I replaced my Sidekick, my Motorola, my Visor, and my watch (this was happenstance more than anything else). Things were good for the first 6 to 9 months, but the phone began to crash regularly after that. I had some hardware malfunctions and got a replacement. All was good again for 6 to 9 months then it started crashing when pulling e-mail and the phone rang. The hardware did not last that long on this either. By Fall (18 months after the first 600) the phone was in really poor state and I woke up one morning picked it up and it split (the day before traveling to the Bay Area). By this time the Treo 650 was out and I convinced my mobile provider to let me switch with out penalty. But the same story repeated at 6 to 9 months. After 10 months the keyboard stopped working and I got a replacement. I am 12 months into that replacement and life with this Treo is hell.

Treo Is Toiletware

The relationship with my Treo is so bad I constantly swear I am going to throw it in the toilet, but that would leave me with out a primary phone (I have an old Nokia I enjoy for international service and back-up but don't have many minutes with that carrier). The odd thing is I know quite a few people who used to work at Palm and none of them use a Palm device. All of them have had horrible problems with the Treo and it was their last device with a Palm operating system.

Palm seemed to have lost their love when they added the phone. The Treo is a really poor phone (horrible voice capability), but it also is short on memory and most useful applications were removed from the device as they needed more memory than was available or they crashed the device. Now my Treo is less useful than my Sidekick. It is a slow unreliable device. Palm went from being a company I utterly loved to one I hope dies a quick painful death. Everybody I know that has new devices say they are no better.

What is the Next Step

While I have interest in Blackberry devices, I like the open platform of Nokia and Nokia gets the phone part of the phone really well. The iPhone is interesting, but is missing the open platform, 3G, and proven platfor that Nokia has. I am still making up my mind, but I think the Nokia E61i is what I really want to replaced the horrible state the Treo has left me in.

I want a phone with decent camera, with e-mail, web, WiFi, touch keyboard, and ability to read e-books and docs easily. I want to be able to build and get solid applications that serve the purposes I need and do not crash the device.

Good bye Palm, I loved you deeply for a long time, but you betrayed me with your crap phones and lack of caring. It was not that I fell for another product, you did it to yourself.

May 24, 2005

Wade Roush and 10,000 Brianiacs

I have been following Wade Roush' continuousblog since its inception a few weeks ago. Continuousblog is focussing on the convergence that is finally taking place in the information technology realm. I had a wonderful conversation with Wade last week and have been enjoying watching his 10,000 Brainiacs evolve in 10,000 Brianiacs, Part 1; 10,000 Brainiacs, Part 2; 10,000 Brainiacs, Part 3; and soon to be 10,000 Brianiacs, Part 4.

Wade's concept of "continuous computing" fits quite nicely in line with the Personal InfoCloud as we have access to many different devices throughout our lives (various operating systems, desktops, laptops, PDA, mobile phone, television/dvr, as well as nearly continuous connectivity, etc.). The Personal InfoCloud focusses on designing and developing with the focus on the person and their use of the information as well as the reuse of the information. It is good to see we have one more in the camp that actually sees the future as what is happening to day and sending the wake-up call out that we need to be addressing this now as it is only going become more prevalent.

November 12, 2004

That Syncing Feeling (text)

My presentation of That Syncing Feeling is available. Currently the text format is available, but a PDF will be available at some point in the future (when more bandwidth is available). This was delivered at Design Engaged in Amsterdam this morning. More to follow...

July 9, 2004

Tantek Mulls Contact Info Updating

Tantek mulls a means to keep contact info upto date. This should be much easier than Tantek has made out. This could be as easy as publishing one's own vcard that is pointed to with RSS. When the vcard changes the RSS feed notifies the contact info repositories and they grab the vcard and update the repository's content. This is essentially pulling content information into the user's Personal InfoCloud. (Contact info updating and applications are a favorite subject of mine to mull over.)

Why vcard? It is a standard sharing structure that all contact information applications (repositories understand). Most of us have more than one contact repository: Outlook at work; Lotus Organizer on the workstation at home; Apple Address Book and Entourage on the laptop; Palm on the Cellphone PDA; and Addresses in iPod. All of these applications should synch and perfectly update each other (deleting and updating when needed), but they do not. Keeping vcard field names and order constant should permit the info to have corrective properties. The vCard RDF W3C specifications seem to layout existing standards that should be adopted for a centralized endeavor.

What not Plaxo? Plaxo is limited to applications I do not run everywhere (for their download version) and its Web version is impractical as when I need contact information I am most often not in front of a terminal, I am using a Treo or pulling the information out of my iPod.

While Tantek's solution is good and somewhat usable it is not universal as a vCard RDF would be with an application that pinged the XML file to check for an update daily or every few days.

April 11, 2004

Stitching our Lives Together

Not long ago Jeffrey Veen posted about Will you be my friend, which brought up some needs to better stitch together our own disperse information. An excellent example is:

For example, when I plan a trip, I try to find out who else will be around so I have people to hang out with. So my calendar should ask, "Hey, Jeff says he's friends with Tim. Will he be in New York for GEL?"

This example would allow up to interact with our shared information in a manner that keeps it within our extended Personal InfoCloud (the Personal InfoCloud is the information we keep with us, is self-organized, and we have easy access to). Too many of the Web's resources where we store our information and that information's correlation to ourselves (, LinkedIn, etc.) do not allow interactivity between online services. Some, like Upcoming and Hilton Hotels do provide standard calendaring downloads of the events and reservations you would like to track.

Some of this could be done with Web Services, were their standards for the interaction. Others require a common API, like a weblogging interface such as Flickr seems to use. The advent of wide usage of RSS feeds and RSS aggregators is really putting the user back in control of the information they would like to track. Too many sites have moved toward the portal model and failed (there are large volumes of accounts of failed portal attempts, where the sites should provide a feed of their information as it is a limited quantity). When users get asked about their lack of interest in a company's new portal they nearly always state, "I already have a portal where I aggregate my information". Most often these portals are ones like My Yahoo, MSN, or AOL. Many users state they have tried keeping more than one portal, but find they loose information very quickly and they can not remember, which portal holds what information.

It seems the companies that sell portal tools should rather focus on integration with existing portals. Currently Yahoo offers the an RSS feed aggregator. Yahoo is moving toward a one stop shopping for information for individuals. Yahoo also synchs with PDA, which is how many people keep their needed information close to themselves.

There are also those of us that prefer to be our own aggregators to information. We choose to structure our large volumes of information and the means to access that information. The down side of the person controlling the information is the lack of common APIs and accessible Web Services to permit the connecting of Upcoming to our calendar (it can already do this), with lists of known or stated friends and their interests.

This has been the dream of many of us for many years, but it always seems just around the corner. Now seems to be a good time to just make it happen. Now is good because there is growing adoption of standards and information that can be personally aggregated. Now is good because there are more and more services allowing us to categorize various bits of information about our lives. Now is good because we have the technology. Now is good because we are smart enough to make it happen.

March 14, 2004

iPod still missing music

I have been loving my iPod for some months now. But, I am continually amazed that in the 4,000 songs I currently have stored I don't always have what I want to hear. Not only do I not have the one or two songs, but I do not have anything by that artist or composer and I own four or five CDs by that person. I just realized that I did not have any Eric Clapton, but that was only when I was grabbing the Holy Cole Trio to rip. Eric Clapton August lived in my Walkman for years at the end of the 80s. It was part of what framed living in Oxford and traveling into London on Thursdays or Fridays.

I had been thinking that the iPod would be much like having a Walkman again, but it is much more than that. A Walkman took pre-cognitive measures before heading out to ensure that the music you wanted was loaded or in another pocket. I always traveled with three or four tapes, usually mix tapes to get my space worth. Now I always have something I am not tired of or would like to hear (albeit not always exactly what I wanted, yet).

I am really enjoying the iPod on the train rides as it blocks out the chatter of non-regular riders who know the rules of the Metro are not to talk, but if necessary to have a conversation quietly. I really enjoy the music while waiting on the platform watching others. One night a man stepped to the edge of the platform and was practicing ballet positions in street shoes and slacks. His tapping, pointing, and placing the his feet was in perfect time to what I was listening to, which I believe was Lamb.

I do not wear the telltale white headphones as I am not a fan of the look, but also greatly prefer the sounds produced by my Sony Fontopia, which tend to block a lot of external noise.

The biggest downside of this arrangement is missing out on the sounds around me. I also am not finding the concentration reading or when knocking out ideas on my graphpad. These are things I did not notice when I was younger and had my Walkman, but I may not have felt free time so rare.

February 22, 2004

Treo 600 is Better than I Dreamed

My new phone has given me a lot of adventures, nearly all of them positive. The Treo 600 has been everything I had hoped and a lot more. I had thought there would be some sacrifice having all that the Treo offers in one device. I have collapsed my cellphone, mobile Internet, and Palm device all in one nice package. The phone is as good as my Motorola 270c ever was and that was my best phone up until the Treo. The mobile Internet is better than the Hiptop, mostly because my Sprint service has much better coverage than T-Moble (I am a fan of GSM as it provides me not only US coverage, but the rest of the Western world, although I have not needed that much coverage, yet). I do need to get a better e-mail application than what comes with the Sprint Treo, but that can be worked out. The Palm works very well and I have all my favorite applications functioning just as they always have, some were a little buggy at first, but downloading the updates to the applications to run under Palm v5(x) rather than v3 made the difference.

One thing I was not ready for was the constant attention the phone gets. It, in and of it self, is a conversation piece. I read news on it when on the Metro and I get stopped there and asked questions about it. I have been asked at the Apple Genius Bar, elevators at work, the street, in the bookstore (I use mobile Internet to check my Amazon Wishlist when in bookstores and compare prices as well as add new books to the list while in the store), at sporting events (checking live stats and news), in meetings (checking calendar and adding events as well as checking Google for updated information on new subjects that pop-up in the meeting - many conversations have been with CIOs who have Hiptop, Blackberry, or Pocket PC devices and are not perfectly happy and want smaller better functioning devices), and many other locations as it is also my watch for the time being. The attention much more than my TiBook received a couple years ago, mostly on flights as the screen was brighter and the battery lasted longer than anything else on the cross country flight.

I now think I have a fantastic troika of devices (Treo, TiBook, and iPod). I have been happier with my TiBook than any other computer I have ever owned. It has been more stable, secure, reliable, and friendly to letting me do my work without getting in the way than any other computer I have used since 1982, when I first started using computers. Any other laptop or computer is a waste of money.

February 14, 2004

Rael on Tech

Tech Review interviews Rael about rising tech trends and discusses alpha geeks. This interview touches on RSS, mobile devices, social networks, and much more.

February 7, 2004

Mobile Phone Area Code Oddity

My recent transition to my Treo 600, was rather smooth. Which was good since I not only collapsed three, if not four, devices into one. I had to switch cellular providers as well as my phone, but I kept my phone number. I really have been attached to my number, far more than I ever realized before. The transfer of the number from one carrier to another was very seamless and took less than 10 hours.

The number is big for me as it is the second longest phone number I have had in my life, the first being my landline phone number in Virginia, which I had for seven years plus. My cell phone number will be approaching the same and passing it later this year. I not only make it easy on myself and others by having one number that I really use for most everything (the phone at home is rarely ever for me, except for the calls from my parents on the usual night). Truthfully I am rather addicted to the pattern in the phone number, which is not as catchy as my number in college (another story for another time). The number makes it relatively to remember, so I keep it.

My mobile number is tied to a state, er make that Commonwealth, in which I no longer live and have not for nearly four years. I no longer really associate myself with that pre-fix and neither do my friends. This causes confusion when they see the number and try to think who they know in that area code. Oddly I have filled out four forms in the past few weeks that have asked for just the area code of my phone, which I consider to be my cell phone and in a couple cases the request was these digits for my cell phone.

I know New Yorkers who have kept their 202 mobile phone numbers even when they move away, just for the status. But, I am not my area code. How much longer will it be before all area codes are irrelevant?

February 6, 2004

Eastern Standard Tribe Released

Earlier this week Cory's Eastern Standard Tribe was released. I have been waiting for this for some time. Not only have I downloaded the version for Palm (then went and updated by reader), but I have beamed it to a co-worker (as well as the updated reader). Cory asks that you let him know how you acquired the book electronically and how you read it.

I have been excited about this because I loved Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which the only way I got around to reading it was on my Palm on the train. I now have a new device to read from and I am hoping Cory shares how his book changes hands.

January 18, 2004

Portable Personal Information Repository

MIT's Technology Review discusses Randolph Wang's wireless PDA for personal information storage (registration for TR may be required). This brief description (I could find no longer nor explicit description at Wang's Princeton pages nor searching CiteSeer) is very interesting to me.

One PC at work, another at home, a laptop on the plane, and a personal digital assistant in the taxicab: keeping all that data current and accessible can be a major headache. Randolph Wang, a Princeton University computer scientist, hopes to relieve the pain with one mobile device. Designed to provide anytime, anywhere access to all your files, the device stores some data, but its main job is to wirelessly retrieve files from Internet-connected computers and deliver them to any computer you have access to. WangĂ­s prototype is a PDA with both cellular and Wi-Fi connections, but the key is his software, which grabs and displays the most current data stored on multiple computers. Wang has tested his prototype with more than 40 university and home computers on and around the Princeton campus. He eventually wants to shrink the device down to the size of a wristwatch to make carrying it a snap.

This is really getting to a personal information cloud that follows the user. This really is getting to the ideal. Imagine having everything of interest always with you and always available to use. Wang's solution seems to solve one of the ultimate problems, synching. The synching portion of this seems to stem from PersonalRAID: Mobile Storage for Distributed and Disconnected Computers, which was presented at a USENIX conference. I really look forward to finding out more about this product.

January 17, 2004

Quick list of Treo Resources

A handful of Treo resources: Treo Central (info & store); Treo 600 World (news & store); Handango - Palm Software (software review and purchase); MobileWhack Palm (reviews and links); and TreoMB (news, reviews, & message boards).

Ah Treo 600 Arrives

I took the plunge and ordered a Treo 600 with Sprint PCS service. Since adding a solid portable music player to my menagerie of gadgets, I was having to attend to four devices each morning. Yes, four. My normal cell phone with very good connectivity, but horrible customer service (a the customer is always wrong mentality). My HipTop, which got me hooked on mobile e-mail, Web, and IM, but did not have great connectivity and the PIM applications did not synch (only import and overwrite). My Palm which was my true PDA/mobile PIM and all information on it truly synched, but it did not have mobile connectivity. Lastly my iPod, which has been a great addition to the daily workweek commute and will soon be nice on longer drives and with great expanse of mobile memory.

The only things that may bug me are the smaller screen and the lack of bluetooth. The bluetooth may bug me the most as I have also had it with wires running every where. I chose Sprint for two reasons, great rebates when purchasing from Amazon and the faster connectivity.

One device will now replace three (Palm, cellphone, and HipTop) devices. I have already added the AOL IM (using the UK version as it is free, thanks to Real's tip on MobileWhack). I am feeling lighter already. I will be keeping this topic running for a while, I do believe.

The customer service from Sprint has been a little slow, but insanely courteous and helpful when you do get somebody on the phone (even "Kevin" who had a hint of an Indian accent).

January 11, 2004

AvantGo Synch for Mac OS X

I am now able to synch my Palm with AvantGo from my Mac. AvantGo USB Sync for Mac OS X is the key to getting this working. AvantGo has not supplied a Mac OS X interface. This worked exceptionally well. This was one of my last tethers to my PC. The PC has been very flakey with Palm hot synchs the past month or two, which is bad as one leaves for work with out of date info. Yes, in one day things can be horribly out of date.

December 21, 2003

Treo 600 Bluetooth answer

I found, not only a great article on the Treo 600, but the answer to the bluetooth question. I have been wondering if the Treo 600 will work with the current Palm SD Bluetooth card. It seems:

The Treo 600 family also adds an SD/SDIO/MMC slot. This slot, located on the top of the device was also found on the Treo 90, and on all current Palm models. It enables the use of SD and MMC media for storage of more programs and MP3 audio or video and SD content cards like dictionaries, or game packs. More importantly it also is SDIO enabled, meaning that it will work with hardware accessory cards like Veo's SD photo card, Margi's SD presenter-to-go, or Sandisk's upcoming Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards.

Handspring did not include Bluetooth into this device, but because of the SDIO slot it is an option in the future. Handspring told us that they are working with 3rd party companies to extend all the powers of the Treo to the Bluetooth card. This includes not only data synchronization like most cards, but the ability to use Bluetooth headsets, or act as a Bluetooth modem for a PC or Mac. Adding a Bluetooth SD card to the Treo 600 family will cost around $100 to $150. The current Palm branded card does not work with OS 5. gives this interesting quote though: "Speaking of Bluetooth, the Handspring engineers specifically left room on the Treo 600 circuit board for a Bluetooth module. It won't be included in initial releases, but Handspring spokesperson Brian Jaquet said there was very strong possibility that an updated version would be released with Bluetooth."

Now the question is do I get one now or wait?

I did find that my current phone, Motorola Timeport 270c does have an optional Bluetooth battery cover, but it (like other Motorola products) does not support Mac, fools.

December 1, 2003

Solving the mobile smartphone issues with Treo 600

I found another very good review of the Treo 600. After using my Dad's Nokia 3650 I think the Treo 600 could be a good next phone for me.

I have tried the Treo in the stores and the keyboard size is not difficult for me to work with, actually it is very usable. The screen size is a little small, but it would work well and it is not that much smaller than my Hiptop. I have had a Palm OS device for four or five years now and I really like the interface and the breadth of applications available is great also.

Using my Dad's Nokia I was very frustrated with the interface. It could really use a scroll wheel like my Hiptop has to ease the navigating menu options (there are many). Moving between applications is rather clumsy as the phone rang when I was setting bluetooth settings to his AIBook and we could not easily jump to the incoming call. That should never happen. The Web browsing was very slow on AT&T Mmode. I could get around more quickly on my GMS Hiptop. I really like the bluetooth capabilities on that phone and the camera on the Nokia is great also.

I have always expected more out of my Hiptop than it delivered. I have only used it as a phone two or three times and I still carry my Motorola 270c as my main phone. I have really become attached to having mobile Web, AIM, and e-mail. The interface it very usable on the Hiptop and one can easily move between applications to get to incoming e-mail or a chat while in a very different set of tools. I really want to see how the Treo handles this task switching. I also would like to read a long article or two on the Treo 600 as I use my Palm for reading news, articles, and books on the train commuting.

My last option would be to get a bluetooth phone (still thinking Nokia but in the back of my mind) like a Sony Ericsson 610 and get a bluetooth enabled Palm Tungsten series PDA. At this point time will tell. But, I am narrowing down the choices.

November 19, 2003

Werbach reviews Handspring Treo 600

Kevin Werbach reviews the Handspring Treo 600 in The Triumph of Good Enough

November 2, 2003

Udell presents the Personal Service-Oriented Architecture

Jon Udell discusses Your Personal Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), which lays out the elements of the futuristic Apple Knowledge Navigator are actually available today, but with out the voice interaction. Jon points out that we already use search much like the navigator, but we are missing the ability to keep track of what we found valuable or not valuable from those searches that are related to similar searches the use ran in the past.

I really like this idea one's own Web browser will show you links you have followed before (within a limited amount of time), but these visited links and the metadata we add to this information does not easily transcend machines. I work on three or four machines through out a normal day as well as a few mobile devices. Each machine has bits and pieces of information strewn across them, but with only a little bit of it synched. This I would love to have worked out in the not so distant future. It takes some effort to get the information synching between the machines and devices (part of the Personal Info Cloud).

There are many gems in Jon's short article, including sharing information and searches with friends or "buddies".

November 1, 2003

iPIM and Chandler have a chair at the Personal Info Cloud

There are two articles that are direct hits on managing information for the individual and allowing the individual to use the information when they needed it and share it as needed. Yes, this is in line with the Personal Information Cloud.

The first article, The inter-personal information manager (iPim) by Mark Sigal about the problem with users finding information and how the can or should be able to then manage that information. There are many problems with applications (as well as the information format itself) that inhibit users reuse of information. In the comments of the article there is a link to products that are moving forward with information clients, which also fit into the Personal Information Cloud or iPIM concept. (The Personal Information Cloud tools should be easily portable or mobile device enabled or have the ability to be retrieved from anywhere sent to any device.

The second article is from the MIT Technology Review (registration required) titled Trash Your Desktop about Mitch Kapor (of founding Lotus Development fame) and his Open Source project to build Chandler. Chandler is not only a personal information manager (PIM), but the tool is a general information manager that is contextually aware. The article not only focusses on Mitch and the product (due late 2004), but the open and honest development practices of those that are building Chandler at the Open Source Application Foundation for Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. distribution.

October 19, 2003

RSS on PDAs and information reuse

Three times the past week I have run across folks mentioning Hand/RSS for Palm. This seems to fill the hole that AvantGo does not completely fill. Many of the information resources I find to be helpful/insightful have RSS feeds, but do not have a "mobile" version (more importantly the content is not made with standard (X)HTML validating markup with a malleable page layout that will work for desktop/laptop web browsers and smaller mobile screens).

I currently pull to scan then read content from 125 RSS feeds. Having these some of these feeds pulled and stored in my PDA would be a great help.

Another idea I have been playing with is to pull and convert RSS feeds for mobile browser access and use. This can be readily done with PHP. It seems that MobileRSS already does something like this.

Content, make that information in general, stored and presented in a format that is only usable in one device type or application is very short sighted. Information should be reusable to be more useful. Users copy and paste information into documents, todo lists, calendars, PDAs, e-mail, weblogs, text searchable data stores (databases, XML respositories, etc.), etc. Digital information from the early creation was about reusing the information. Putting text only in a graphic is foolish (AIGA websites need to learn this lesson) as is locking the information in a proprietary application or proprietary format.

The whole of the Personal Information Cloud, the rough cloud of information that the user has chosen to follow them so that it is available when they need that information is only usable if information is in an open format.

September 16, 2003

New Hiptop functionality

Cory points to the new Hiptop applications some of this functionality is long over due. The one missing item is true synching of the address book and calendar. The cut and paste is one item that will help me keep it until about the new year.

September 9, 2003

OS X to AvantGo to Palm with AppleScript

MacOSXHints offers AvantGo-Palm sync using a basic AppleScript, which actually uses malsynch. This has been one last gem I have struggled to get working. This could be a project for later in the week.

July 17, 2003

Sony CLIE looks sharp

A possible wishlist item could be Sony CLIE PEG-UX50, which has most of what I am looking for in a PDA and more, with one exception a lack of a phone for data when out of WiFi range. I have been eyeing the HandSpring Treo 600, which comes out in the Fall.

June 7, 2003

Gadget dreams

Danger announces a color Hiptop. Many are very excited about this, but some of the usability has me thinking I will go in another direction when my year is up with my black and white Hiptop.

Don't get me wrong I greatly enjoy my Hiptop and the functionality it has given me that no other device has done so far. But, I am now tied to three devices (and I do not have an iPod yet -- you are more than welcome to correct this malady buying it for me from my Amazon wishlist) my regular cellphone (nearly ubiquitous connectivity in area, vibrate function is strong enough to get my attention, speakerphone is outstanding, and clear auditory capabilities), Hiptop (for mobile e-mail, Internet, photos), and my Palm powered Handspring Platnium (synched calendar, addressbook, Strip, JungleSoft (city maps), and document readers (for books like Cory's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.

No this is not optimal. I am seeking a Palm-based device that can pull pop e-mail and Internet using the phone, possibly through Bluetooth connection, while giving me the Palm apps that can be synched with my laptop and desktop address books and calendar. It would be nice to have the phone synch the addresses and calendar too.

No, I do not like the Hiptop apps for calendar and addressbook. One, they do not synch only have bulk over write capabilities, or at least that I have found. Two, I personally find the Hiptop calandar to be almost completely unusable. I can not move about the calendar easily, nor change and drill into the events from various views. When sitting in meetings and trying to assess my availability for follow-up meetings or deliverables the Hiptop calendar does is not easily usable for that purpose. I am also bugged by the lack of copy and paste. I do like the keyboard and the form factor for typing and surfing, much more than any other handheld I have tried.

I am thinking Sony Clie and a Sony Ericsson phone may be part of the solution. I have read many reports on the location services tied to cellphones, which use triangulation from cell phone towers and their extreme inaccuracy, I may be interested in having GPS on the one of the devices to better use location based services.

May 22, 2003

Pocket PC only for Solitare

It dawned on me this morning on the train into work that I don't remember seeing anybody not playing solitare on their color Pocket PCs. I see one or two Pocket PCs each day and everyone is playing solitare. I realize it has been a couple of months since I have seen any other application used on one. I see many other PDAs on my trips to and from work and on travels. Many others PDAs have text that is being read, calendars updated, lists being prepared, or e-mail prepared and sent. Me on my Hiptop I am sending e-mail or playing one of the arcade games. On my Palm OS device I play DopeWars, backgammon, working on outlines, reading news through AvantGo, or looking up reviews in Vindigo.

Has is the Pocket PC the sign of Agent Smith? A narrowly pedestrian agent with narrow interests?

April 1, 2003

iSociety - Mobile Phones and Everyday Life

iSociety Mobile Phones and Everyday Life, is a report looks at the impact of mobile devices as they impact everyday life. Looking at how we work with mobile devices today will help us set a framework for the future.

March 18, 2003

Unfortunately Hiptop does not think like Palm

Cory discusses the problem with the Danger Hiptop development plan, which is a controlled development society. I liked the sound of the Hiptop because it not only had much of the mobile functionality I was desiring, but also it had an open development environment. Well, that is not exactly the case. One of the fantastic things about Palm OS is it was made wide open and any schmo could scratch their own itch and create software that worked for them selves and then offer it to others. The Palm platform has a gazillion software apps that will work for anybody. This is too bad the Hiptop folks do not understand this. I really hope they will change their mind. I would happily dig back into Java to knock out some of the apps I need and add functionality to the Hiptop. I really like the Hiptop device, but I would love it if it had certain features and apps, which come from open development.

February 3, 2003

Hiptop helps show extending the model of attraction

I am already enjoying my Hiptop for much of the reason that I picked it up. I wanted access to information. More importantly I wanted information to be able to follow me. I found information or thought of information I really have been wanting to have access to that information from where ever I am. I wanted the ability to share the information from where I was and have others be able to use that information to better their understanding.

Yes, I have had cellphones and have called others, but the information is not that useable in voice form. The information needed to be convered to data elements that could easily be used and reused. Voice only (at the current time) allows us to hear then act upon the information and not store that information in a searchable repository or to easily share that information back out.

Yes, I have PDAs (Palm-based handhelds), but they need to synch with other devices to share information and the e-mail capabilities were not the best around. The 3rd party applications on the Palm and the fantastic operating system that is fast and small are great features that will be hard to beat by anybody.

I have been looking for a solution to have the information I wanted when I want or need it in my hands. The Hiptop gets me much closer to that goal. I tend to use e-mail to share ideas with myself and others. This weblog is another method of doing the same. Being able to search for an address and get a map is a solid tool to have at all times.

This is a personal quest to have the Model of Attraction (MoA) extend back to myself. The MoA not only helps us think about the attration between the user and information during the finding tasks, to help improve findability, but in phase where the user wants information to stay attracted to them. My Hiptop is my information attraction device. I can push an e-mail to myself that has the name, address, time, and phone number needed to do to a party with friends that have come in from out of town. I can access my Amazon Wishlist when I am in a store to help remember the author or title of a book, CD, or DVD I have been seeking. This bookstore amnesia (or musicstore amnesia) can be a thing of the past. The Hiptop provides me the information in my hand and gives me the access to the information I do not have at hand wirelessly.

There will be some experiments to see if I can improve on the information attraction to keep the information closer to me. Am I getting rid of my Palm? No, as there is information in it that I prefer in the format it is in. I will be keeping my cell phone as it has great reception and is CDMA (I found having a non-dominant cell phone technology is an advantage during emergency times, like being in San Francisco during September 11, 2001, which is a TDMA and GSM dominant city. I was one of a few that had no problem getting a signal to call out). It is rather awkward having three devices with through out the day. We will see how it goes.

February 1, 2003

Posting from Hiptop

This is a test post from my Hiptop. This post was done from my regular management page.

August 19, 2002

iPhone possible

The NY Times discusses the possibility of an Apple iPhone. The signs are in Apples upgrage to their OS X (10.2) that indicate a PDA/phone could be in the works. If this is so I really would like it combined with much of what is in the iPod. Many Gigs of music or other data, great usability, but with a better screen with color and I an there. Getting the sucker to synch with AvantGo, Vindigo, etc. would get me on board in a heart beat. I love my Palm/HandSpring, but from the sounds of the NYTimes article that does not seem to likely, bummer. I am enjoying my mobile phone with Internet access and text messaging, which I use on a regular basis (reading on a tiny phone screen is not the greatest experience, but it is better than not having great resources at your finder tips. [hat tip Damien]

February 12, 2002

Palm's Mac OS X Beta is seemed very bug free so far. I synched my HandSpring Platinum using the USB port quite easily. Now I am just waiting to have Microsoft's Entourage get the ability to synch. This will make going on the road and keeping everything up to date quite easy.

January 23, 2002

How to shoot your users in the foot, a guide from HandSpring. In the technology world the continually seems to be a lack of marketing understanding. Handspring has had a strong loyal user base, many made up from Palm users that upgraded when Palm stalled its progress. Palm has since come back on track. I have been thinking that Palm would be my next handheld again. At the core of the HandSpring old and new is the Palm OS, but is why I bought the HandSpring a while back and there was more memory and modules that could extend memory and provide a solid backup on the road.

November 12, 2001

Including the Synch

MIT's Technology Review provides Simpson Garfinkel's article The Net Effect: Super Sync", which gets to the core of the Internet... information usage and cross contextual usage. Garfinkel's idea revolves around synching, as one would do with their Palm Pilot to their computer so to have the same version of information with them while the person is mobile and not at their desk. Having this information at easy access whether we are connected to a network (large or small) or not is central to how people work with and use information. On a simple level prior to home computers and PDA's many of people kept a large address book at home and carried a smaller version and calendar with them as they went about their daily routine.

The Palm HotSynch software is used as the center piece to explain the idea of synching and keeping versions running at work, home, and on your Palm. Garfinkel discusses the Concurrent Version Systems that are used to keep versions intact as different people work on the same document or software code.

This synching of information is one area that still needs a lot of work, in my view. I keep and carry separate devices, because that is my choice. But getting information from my Palm to my cell phone is not a viable option at this point. I like each of the tools on their own merits, but having them synch or share information would be very helpful. Even using the Palm to read AvantGo is problematic because it does not allow me to use the information in a manner that works in the way I do. I often read an article from AvantGo and want to e-mail it to others to read or want to post comments about it in this space so I can find it and reuse it at later date as well as share this information. I can't with out going through the work of digging the information out off the Web. It does not need to be that many steps and should not be. After all I can click on an ad that is above the article I am reading in AvantGo and it will send me more information to the e-mail address stored for this purpose the next time I sync. Now just go that extra step and e-mail me the link to the article.

This is just a peak at what is around the corner as we get information applications in our dashboard that help us with direction routing, location based services, and other information. Keeping restaurant information we like synched from out car, our cell phone, to our handheld, to our computer at home is the next step. If we are driving around and have been stuck in traffic and get off the highway in a somewhat unfamiliar area, we can ask to find local restaurant located based on criteria we prefer. The location based service (LBS) may provide options and read you the review, we select which one we want and the LBS provides directions. The LBS if it is connected to our hands-free mobile phone could pass the number of the restaurant to the phone so to call to verify it is open and make a reservation, or could use a service like Open Table to do the same. Once we have had our meal and we liked the restaurant we can mark our review so it can be stored as a place we like, which would pass to our PDA to store and add to our favorites list on our central computer. Sound like George Jetson? It may not be too far away. Each of the applications to make this happen are available and the remaining component is synchronization and sharing of the information.

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