Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Palm’s new smartphone

January 12, 2009

The Pre, designed to compete with the iPhone and Android based phones. Details over at Urbin Technology.

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A quick review of Digital picture frames.

December 17, 2008

One of the hot items this Christmas is digital picture frames. I’ve been looking at various models, bought several and returned a couple.

First, what not to buy. Omnitech digital picture frames. Omnitech is a Staples brand name. Don’t let the low price suck you in like it did me. The quality is absolute dreck! Very low resolution pictures. Here is a tip, if the resolution of the screen isn’t printed on the box somewhere, it’s probably safe to assume that it sucks.

I found two models that I’m happy with. The first is an HP 10.4″ model. The resolution is 800×600, it has a remote, support for music files, movies, CF/SD cards…all the usual stuff. A bit pricy, Amazon has it for $165, but then you are paying for the brand name and the perceived level of quality. It will show your digital photographs off quite nicely though. It also has different colored mats that can be swapped out to match your room’s color scheme.

The other model I like is the Smartparts OptiPix Pro 10.4″ digital picture frame, which Amazon has for $99.99. According to data on the box, the resolution is 640×480. I’ve got it set next to the 800×600 HP, loaded with same pictures, and I can’t see $65 worth of difference between them.

Bottom line, if you want a decent digital picture frame, be prepared to spend at least $100, and while it’s probably safe going with a well know brand name like HP, it may not be the best buy available.

Flaming Rocket Balls!

November 13, 2008

A new, way cool, weapon for taking out hardened WMD bunkers.

The Pentagon has a new secret weapon to neutralize sites containing chemical or biological weapons: rocket balls. These are hollow spheres, made of rubberized rocket fuel; when ignited, they propel themselves around at random at high speed, bouncing off the walls and breaking through doors, turning the entire building into an inferno. The makers call them “kinetic fireball incendiaries.” The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them, but published documents show that the fireballs have undergone tests on underground bunkers.
…Smaller fireball payloads have been suggested for shoulder-fired rockets and grenades for tactical use. The DTRA is known to be interested in a payload for the 84mm SMAW rocket launcher for agent defeat; at present, ground forces have no tactical options for dealing with a suspected chemical/biological lab operated by terrorists or others.

HT to AoSHQ

New posts

November 7, 2008

There are new posts at Urbin Technology and the Slices of Life Photo Blog.

Green Crude

September 25, 2008

High octane gasoline produced from algae, saltwater, carbon dioxide and sunlight.
No food crops or dead dinosaurs involved.

Details at Urbin Technology.

New posts at Urbin Technology

September 9, 2008

New posts over at Urbin Technology.

Rev1 iPhones go up in value.

Google buys rights to new high res satellite photos.

Is Google planning a Navy?

A Good etext reader for the iPhone

August 17, 2008

It’s called Bookshelf, and yes, it costs money. I found it worth the $10

It supports a wide range of formats including ASCII text, HTML, AportisDoc, unencrypted Mobipocket, rft & Word Docs (not docx).

I can access my Baen webscription account from it and download books directly as well as tapping their free etext library.

There is also a Java app that you can load on your computer in order to load books you already have from other sources.

So far, I’m really pleased. A good move by Baen to support this, since Mobipocket has been very quiet about exactly when they were going to produce an iPhone app.

First posted at Urbin Technology.

Other posts

August 12, 2008

A Linux based smart phone, photography books and the Third Law of Kempo.

About those iPhone apps

July 16, 2008

I have a post about iPhone apps over at Urbin Technology.

PDAs, Smart phones and the ubiquitous Internet

July 7, 2008

I started out as a Day Planner user. I went digital with my first PDA, a HP 200LX palm top. I switched to Palm OS devices when I started working at 3Com. That was just after 3Com purchased Palm’s parent company and all the geeks there had one.

For a straight PDA, you can’t beat a Palm OS device, IMNSHO, of course. The interface is clean, easy to use, and has a large pool of third party apps to support it. I never liked all the overhead of the various revs of the Windows CE OS. I don’t want to send time figuring out out how to use my PDA, I just want to use it.

I’m currently using a Palm LifeDrive, which is a spectacular PDA. It has a big crisp screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD support, a three Gig microdrive and it can handle MS Office files. I also have a folding keyboard that uses the IR interface. A good road warrior feature, since it makes it usable on a plane. The keyboard is larger than an Acer EEE PC sports, so I can do some serious writing on it if need be. On the downside, Palm has discontinued the LifeDrive and is focusing on their Smart Phone line instead of dedicated PDA devices.

One of the best features of Palm OS devices is the PC interface. The Palm desktop app is much, much better than Outlook for contact management (again, IMNSHO), Calendar management, Task Management, and…well you get the idea. It it also very easy to load files onto the LifeDrive (including word docs, PDF files, and photos). I added another Gig of storage to it by adding a one Gig SD card. Given that the prices for larger SD cards is dropping, that is an easy way to add storage.

The Palm LifeDrive is also an excellent ebook platform. The screen is easy to read and the 3 Gig internal drive holds a lot of books. I currently have about 40 loaded. I use the Mobipocket reader most of the time. The Mobipocket format is what Amazon uses on the Kindle, with their encryption. If you have an Amazon Kindle, it reads unencrypted Mobipocket formated files just fine.

A few months ago I broke down and bought an Apple iPhone. I wanted the ubiquitous Internet access, and I liked the big screen and sharp graphics. As a web browser and light email client, it really performs well. As a phone, not so well. For a straight up phone, I prefer the Motorola Razr it replaced. The one key feature I really miss. Voice dialing. In particular, voice dialing from a Bluetooth headset.

Another thing the iPhone is not, is a PDA. No categories for the contact list, no desktop support for the notes feature, no external keyboard support (not even an Apple Bluetooth keyboard), and no external memory support (the SD slot on the LifeDrive for example).

Yes, there will be the new Palm OS and third party app support in late July 08, but even the new hardware lacks one one key feature, external memory support. It seems Apple is dead set against putting a SD slot in their phone. I can see why. A quick search on Amazon shows an eight Gig SD memory card selling for $25. That is a bit less than the $100 difference between an 8 Gig and a 16Gig iPhone. It also allows a way to move data, and perhaps applications, on and off the phone that isn’t controlled by Apple.

Which brings us to the G-Phone, which is any phone running Google’s Android OS. Those won’t be available until Q408, and won’t be as slick as an Apple iPhone. It will, however, not be a locked down platform like the Apple phone. My prediction is by Q409, with a year of an active and enthusiastic developer base, the competition between the Google G-Phone and the Apple iPhone will be much more pronounced.

Also posted to Urbin Technology