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Entries in Technology (77)


iPod Touch: My New PDA

03_large20070905.jpgI've been Palm PDA-less for about a year and a half now, successfully switching to a hacked Moleskine Planner system for my personal calendar, tasks and notes.

In fact, the Moleskine has worked well in combination with my iPod nano, which provided access to my contacts in nearly unreadable 4pt text.

When the iPhone launched, I was quite interested, even though an iPhone doesn't suit my needs or budget. I was more interested in the iPhone as a mobile data device, with Safari, Mail and other features it offers.

Enter iPod touch
When Steve Jobs announced the iPod touch, my ears perked up. Now here was a device I could make use of, without a 2 year contract. It had the features I'd actually use: music and podcasts, contact info in a font I could actually read, WiFi and a mobile version of Safari, video play, and access to iCal calendars on the go.

So, this week, for my birthday I got an iPod touch, and so far I'm very impressed.

First Observations
Here are my first observations after having the touch a bit over 24 hours:

  • The size and thinness are amazing, compared to the Palm devices I used to carry round. it's a little disconcerting carrying a $400 iPod with a full glass screen in my pocket, so I'm working on a case and clear screen/body protectors.
  • Mobile Safari and WiFi are quite nice. I'm investigating mobile-specific sites for the iPhone and iPod touch, like PocketTweets and Mobile NY Times, picked up from Janet Tokerud's update on her iPhone. If you have sites to share, please share the links.
  • I've already been able to play audio at IT Conversations, and video from Google Video, so the browser is pretty handy and flexible for my needs.
  • I love the Contacts app, with super-readable text. I like that it syncs from my Address Book on the Mac. I like that I can add new contacts on the go. This was one of the most-missed feature of my Palm PDA.
  • It's handy to have my work and family calendars synced from the Mac as well. We've just setup a common family calendar with iCal on our Macs, Google Calendar on the web and SpanningSync to connect everything together. Having a mobile view of our shared calendars adds a nice access point. I wish I could add events, and hope this feature is added in a future software update.
  • Widescreen video is wonderful. I've moved a few videos over with iSquint and have been pleased with the results. Since my nano had no video capabilities, this is an interesting new option to explore. Now I can watch The IT Crowd wherever I want! :-)
  • Audio is great, though I'm having to re-orient myself a little to to the touch way of navigating through my music and podcasts. I think it's more a matter of me adapting to the new features the touch offers.
  • One thing I miss from the nano is the scroll wheel. I listen to podcasts and music when I drive, so having a physical wheel there for jumping tracks or adjusting or pausing the sound has been useful. Now I need to eyeball the iPod touch to make these changes. I've heard from friends there may be headphones or docks with this feature, so I need to do some research. If you have tips on this, let me know.
  • I'm trying to secure some things to review for the iPod touch in coming months. As I get hold of those and try them, look for reviews, to help out other touch owners.
  • Battery life seems OK, not extensive as my nano though. But hey, this device has a huge screen and WiFi, so I have to be realistic about my expectations coming from an iPod nano.
  • It's nowhere near as featured as a Palm PDA, and doesn't have near the tools that are available on the Palm OS, However, it has the items I need it to have. Over the years I've found that the right features in a tool or device are better for me than every possible feature, especially if I never use 80% of the features offered.

After 24 hours I'm impressed. We'll see what quirks arise after a few weeks. I'l be sure to post again after a month or so and let you all know how things are going in iPod touch land. :-)


Related Links

Apple iPod touch 8 GB (1st Generation)

Apple iPod touch 16 GB (1st Generation)

Apple iPod touch 32 GB (1st Generation)

Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation)

Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation)

Apple iPod touch 32 GB (2nd Generation)

Forget the iPhone — The iPod Touch is Good Enough (LifeHacker)

iPhone/iPod Touch Application List

iPod Touch Tricks

Apple iPod Touch (Official Page)


BarCamp Milwaukee 2 T-Shirt Mockup

BarCamp MKE 2 Shirt Mockup: Side ViewYesterday I visited MJM Ventures, the company who is printing our BarCamp Milwaukee 2 T-Shirts. They kindly got a sample of a Gildan Sand colored shirt, so I could see the color and create a mockup.

Wow! What a perfect color! It's neutral with a hint of warmth and light enough to work with out dark gold and navy blue colors.

Today I created a quick ink-jet iron-on mockup of the BarCamp shirt, to figure out the correct size of the imprint and to make sure the colors would look good on the shirt's surface. I'e done many ink-jet iron ons before and they are a great way to envision shirt designs or make custom shirts.

I think the emblem is going to be enlarged a tad, and then I need to find a good Pantone gold that's not too greenish. For whatever reason, the dark gold we had been using has a tendency to go toward the green, when I want it to stay warm and rich.

Next week, the art gets finalized along with the sponsor list.

To secure one of the t-shirts, you must register to attend BarCamp Milwaukee 2 before Wednesday the 26th, when the art goes to the printer!


iPhone in Europe!

iphone.jpgSaul Hansell suggests that the iPhone is headed to Europe. If true, that's good news for my European friends who have been waiting to get their hands on an iPhone.

Carrier choice is unconfirmed, though reports suggest O2 in the UK, T-Mobile in Germany and Orange in France.

When I saw this quote from the Guardian article, I had to chuckle:

Throughout discussions over marketing the iPhone in Europe, Apple has played off the UK’s four main networks - O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone - against each other. All of them, at one stage, believed they had an exclusive deal for the British market.

As a result, many mobile phone company executives are unimpressed with the way the Californian computer group has conducted businesses this side of the Atlantic, although similar tactics were used in the US.

I find it hard to believe that the network execs would be surprised by a "play them against each other" tactic, especially since the same approach was used in the US — before the iPhone's launch and wild success.

Isn't this negotiation strategy 101?

And what does "believed" mean here? Are they suggesting Apple tricked them? Or some operators "believed" they had the deal locked up and didn't count on a more aggressive operator like O2 going even farther to win the deal?

I'm curious to see how the iPhone is received in Europe, where SMS and texting are more common. Will the touch screen be a liability, or will Europeans adapt to it?

Should be very interesting to watch! :-)

Update 2007-09-18
It's official: Apple chooses O2 for exclusive carrier in the UK:

iPhone is scheduled to go on sale on November 9 and will be sold exclusively in the UK through Apple’s retail and online stores, O2 and The Carphone Warehouse's retail and online stores.

iPhone will be available in an 8GB model for £269 (inc VAT) and will work with either a PC or Mac. Three new great value iPhone tariffs will be available from O2 starting at £35, which all include unlimited anytime, anywhere mobile data usage and, in a market first, free unlimited use of the UK’s largest single public Wi-Fi network, covering over 7,500 cafes, restaurants, airport lounges, pubs and other locations across the UK.

Nice touch to offer the WiFi coverage. Wonder how long until the software developers manage to unlock the phone for other UK carriers?

(via Daring Fireball)


BarCamp Milwaukee 2

BarCamp Milwaukee 2 LogoIt's coming! BarCamp Milwaukee was so much fun in 2006, we're doing it again!

BarCamp Milwaukee 2 is set to happen on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday the 14th, 2007, at Schlitz Park Center. BarCamp is an "unconference" in that the people who attend are also the presenters who share expertise and passion with others.

BarCamps usually focus on technology, though at the Milwaukee event we want to encourage the discussion of creative culture and how to integrate new technologies to foster further growth.

We plan to have discussions on Creative Commons, which so often can seem hard to grasp. I look forward to hearing about this, so I can be better about applying CC licenses appropriately, and share my work with others who are interested.

I'm also giving a talk on Iterative Design at BarCamp, sharing some examples and getting a discussion going on how to practically apply principles of iteration to various forms of work, whether creative or otherwise.

So, come on down and read the Get Started page, so you can sign up and donate! Check out the Sessions, and Participants pages. If you're a press person or blogger, the Press Kit is a good place to get concise info on BarCamp Milwaukee.

If you sign up before September 26th, you get this cool T-Shirt, with beautiful illustration work by Jen Anne and design work by myself:

BarCampMKE2 Shirt Design v3

Get in on the fun and join us at BarCamp Milwaukee 2! :-)


Palm Foleo is Dead

foleo.jpgMy buddy Michael Ashby shared the news with me that the Foleo is dead:

In the course of the past several months, it has become clear that the right path for Palm is to offer a single, consistent user experience around this new platform design and a single focus for our platform development efforts.

To that end, and after careful deliberation, I have decided to cancel the Foleo mobile companion product in its current configuration and focus all of our energies on delivering out next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market.

Maybe the iPhone launch and success had an impact? Maybe the adrenaline rush from an impending death has imparted a wonderful focus?

I was worried about Palm and the Foleo when it launched, so I'm happy to hear this news. But apparently not everyone is happy about the decision:

I know there will be disappointed folks who were looking forward to carrying a Foleo for all their mobile computing needs. I am certainly one of them.

Dissapointment for the few people who would actually purchase an oddball sorta-kinda-laptop-handheld-thingamabob, running an odd operating system, that is.

But never fear faithful few! The Foleo is not completely dead, just sleeping! There are already dreams to revive the Foleo, running the new platform from Palm:

Jeff Hawkins and I still believe that the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category.

I'm glad to see Palm has regained some much needed focus on their rapidly shrinking smartphone business. I hope they can shed excess distractions and come up with something new to delight their customers.

I really hope they can do it before Apple releases iPhone v2, v3, v4, v5...

Related Links
Foleo, we hardly knew ye (Michael Mace)

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