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PalmSource Champions & User Stories Posted

PalmSourceWell, I'm a bit late to the party, but I'm now officially a PalmSource Champion! I had mentioned that I was accepted as a Champion in May, and late last week, my Writing, Text Editing & Word Processing Champion page was posted on the PalmSource website. Woo hoo! :-)

There are several other pages posted in the Applications section currently (check out the left-hand bar) and as I understand it, a second wave of Champion pages are due to go up sometime soon. Because the applicants signed up and were accepted in waves, new groups of Champion pages will be continually added.

If you have a particular interest in some area of Palm OS software or their use, I suggest you apply as a Champion. While there is a list of available topics, feel free to invent new ones and suggest them to PalmSource. As I understand it they want this thing to be wide open.

In return, PalmSource will be giving away $200 in gift certificates ($50 per quarter if you keep your page updated) and you'll get a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing you're helping people to find great Palm OS applications and ways to better use their Palm-powered handhelds.

Also, I read today at PDA Geek that PalmSource has chosen a winner (Craig Simpson) in the "How Has Palm OS Improved Your Life" story contest. You can also check out many of the runner-up story submissions which didn't win the prize.


Back to Blogging

Well, I'm finally back on track and ready to start blogging, after a very nice week long break in Western Pennsylvania. It was nice to step away from things here for a little while, though it does normally mean twice as much to catch up on, upon return to "Regular Life". But what else is new? :-)

Lance's 5th & Le Tour Thoughts
I was highly tempted to post some tidbits here last week when Lance Armstrong won his 5th Tour de France, but decided that many others would cover that event like a blanket. One of my favorite blog posts on Lance's 5th was at Matt Henderson's weblog and a great article on Lance himself was found over at Frank Steele's Tour de France 2003 Blog.

I was very pleased with this year's Tour, which was wilder and closer than any I've ever seen. It was great to be on pins and needles right down to the individual time trial in the 19th stage. While Lance wasn't in the same form as his previous 4 Tours, I was actually more impressed with this 5th win, because of his smart tactical moves, cool head, bike handling in clutch situations and tenacity in the face of many problems.

I admire Jan Ullrich for keeping things close and his sportsmanship, but it appeared to me he pushed a little too hard in the last time trial. His crash was due to his aggressive riding in bad conditions, combined with his watching a video of the day's course in his hotel, rather than doing a recon ride like Lance did that morning.

Finally my highest regard goes to Tyler Hamilton, who, with a fractured collarbone snagged 4th place overall. I was pleased that Lance got his 5th, but was blown away by Tyler's dedication and drive, especially in his stage win and 2nd place finish in the individual time trial. Lance had better look out for Tyler in 2004...

Palm Stuff
On the Palm front, I've recently received a Tungsten C to test out here on the Wi-Fi network and I'm very impressed with the device so far. Well, mostly anyway... reception here in my house is not the greatest on the Tungsten C, but my Netgear Wi-Fi router is in the basement and we have a 2.4 GHz phone system working here too. I need to do some fiddling with the setup. I also want to test the T|C at a friend's place and a coffee shop.

Anyway, I will be posting tidbits about the T|C here as I think of them now, which seems like a nice connection to all off my recent posts on the device a few months back. :-)

I'm reading a new book about Canada's and Alaska's Inside Passage, called Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings by Jonathan Raban. I'll get into a review once I've completed the book, but I can report that It's an excellent read, particularly if you enjoy sailing and travel writing.

Alright, time to get back to catching up...


A Short Blogging Holiday

With a week long vacation coming up later this week and all the required preparation for travel and other tasks to complete beforehand, I've decided to take a little blogging break.

My weblog will be idle starting Wednesday the 23rd and back in action somewhere around August 2nd, though I might be tempted to pop back in and comment on the Tour or any wild Palm handheld announcements that pop up. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I thought it might be nice to leave a list of tidbits you might want to check out while I'm on my little hiatus:

Palm Stuff:

ZDNet: David Nagel Unplugged: Can Palm re-connect?
Found this link through PDAGeek today and have yet to read it, but at first scan it looks pretty darn good.

Seattle Times: On Golden Palm: The battle of the handhelds
Jeff Carlson has been a Mac guy and Palm guy for a long time and writes very well. PDANews24 put me onto this story today.

Wired: Sony Breaks Ground With New PDA
An in-depth article about Sony's new Clie PEG-UX50.

Cycling: Frankie Andreu's Tour de France 2003 Diaries: Stage 15
Frankie has some great insider diary entries about the tour, since he has access to the riders (and specifically Lance Armstrong). The site's navigation is a little lacking as for showing archive entries, but you can manually load up the stage diary entry you want by changing the last 4 digits of the page name to the date you desire (03tdf_fa_0721.htm).

Frank Steele: Tour de France 2003 Weblog
Frank is doing an excellent job tracking down the most interesting stories on the net related to the Tour. This is the place to go for the last few stages of the Tour this week. Keep rollin' Frank!

Oskar van Rijswijk: LOGos Tour Blog
Oskar is also doing a superb job tracking down stories and video clips -- his was the place I found the clip of Armstrong going off-road in stage 9. Greetz Oskar!

Have a great week and a half... I know I will.:-)


Le Tour Tidbits: Wild Action, Crashes & Sportsmanship

Incredible! Today's tour stage 15 was another wild one, with Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and Alexander Vinokourov all within mere seconds of each other at the start of the race. Well, it didn't stay that way very long. Ullrich attacked on the climb up Col du Tourmalet, which was much earlier than expected. But it would seem Jan played his hand a bit too soon, and was caught by a cool, calm Armstrong.

On the last climb up Luz-Ardiden, the leaders made another break, separating from Vinokourov who struggled to keep up. By the end of the day, Vino's 18 second gap would widen to over 2 minutes. I was surprised to see Vino fall so far behind in one stage, but these are the killer mountains that separate the champions from everyone else.

In the midst of the climb up Luz-Ardiden, Armstrong was involved in an accident with a fan and his bag, which wrapped onto Lance's handlebar and threw him to the ground, along with Iban Mayo. Ullrich managed to avoid the spill but amazingly stopped and waited with the group of riders, while Armstrong and Mayo got back up.

Lance was pumped with adrenaline after the spill and once the small lead group started out again, he attacked and separated from Ullrich on the climb. Wow!

"After the crash, I had a big rush of adrenaline. I told myself 'Come on Lance, you must win the Tour today,"'

The gap widened as Lance passed the lone breakaway rider and finished the stage with a win, while Jan pounded the pedals to keep the gap as slim as possible. All told, Ullrich's 15 second gap behind Armstrong has now been lengthened to 1:07.

For a detailed account of the stage, I recommend the live blog coverage of stage 15 by Locutus over at Daily Peleton... you can really can feel the excitement just reading his breathless, moment-by-moment account!

I was amazed me at todays stage not only for the wild racing action, but because of Ullrich's sportsmanship. Lance had extended the same courtesy to Ullrich in a previous Tour, where Ullrich had gone off the side of the road and Armstrong waited to make sure he was OK and safely back on the road with him before continuing the race.

I love Ullrich's quote about the incident today:

"I have never in my life attacked someone who had crashed. That's not the way I race,"

Very classy. It's not hard to see that these two respect each other very highly and can separate fierce competition from real life. It's not often you see this kind of respect and sportsmanship in modern sports. I'm glad it's still alive and well in cycling.

I'm pulling for Lance to win his 5th Tour and I think he may just pull it off, but my respect for Ullrich is very high. Besides I wouldn't count him out until the last seconds of the last individual time trial stage of this wonderful Tour de France.

Hang on tight, it's gonna be a wild ride! :-)


La Grande WEBlock Boucle Bar

On Friday I finally got around to trying the La Grande WEBlock Boucle Bar which was mentioned in a comment on a previous Le Tour post. Hey this thing is quite nice! Essentially it's a webpage that combines Danish live TV coverage of the Tour (in Windows Media), official minute-by-minute coverage from the official Le Tour website and now, buttons to launch audio coverage in English, German, French, Spanish and Dutch (which load in external audio players).

Here are the site's instructions for English visitors:

The WEBlock presents 'La Grande WEBlock Boucle Bar' - a sidebar for your browser. This sidebar provides you with a minute-by-minute report of the race AND a live TV stream of the Tour de France! To use 'La Grande WEBlock Boucle Bar' you can follow this link or drag the La Grande WEBlock Boucle Bar link to the linksbar in your browser. A version for Netscape and Mozilla is available here.

If you use Internet Explorer on Windows, you can get the Boucle Bar to load into a sidebar, or if you prefer Netscape browsers, you can use an alternate link to just load the Boucle bar into a regular page (maybe in a separate tab you can check regularly).

Pretty slick! I'm especially glad to see that the audio feed feature was added this week, since this is the part I'm enjoying the most. :-)

Have a great weekend!