Given that Twitter has become more and more important to me and probably you, too, I think its current spate of downtime problems has become a bit of a pain for all of us. I’ve found a little Web application that works well with the iPhone/Touch, as well as PCs and Macs, and which allows me to quickly determine whether Twitter is up or down. It’s also a lot faster to use than just waiting for a Twitter client to time out. It’s called IsTwitterNotReallyDownDownJustAllF****dUpDown and it displays a text-based “happy face” or “sad face” to report Twitter status. The picture above shows what you’ll see when Twitter is up, and which is hopefully what we’ll all see most of the time!
Brightkite is an interesting new social media network. It has a great iPhone/Touch interface and integrates with Twitter. It is very location-centric (even integrating with the iPhone/Touch Maps application) and handles messaging, text posting, and photo uploads from a variety of devices. I’m testing it out right now and will have to see if I stick with it or not. It has definitely caught my interest, though.
Thanks to an invite from Matt Miller, I’ve been able to experiment with the new Evernote beta for the past couple of days.
Now I’ve been a user and fan of Evernote for quite a few years, and prefer it to OneNote for note taking, and information capture and storage. However, the new Evernote beta brings this product up to a whole new level and well beyond OneNote in many ways. This is because the information created and stored in Evernote is now available across multiple devices: computers, cell phones, PDAs, and even my iPod Touch. Evernote data can now be synced between the local computer application and the Web. The Web version of the data can then be accessed through another computer or mobile browser interfaces. This means that data can now be created, searched, and accessed from any where at any time from just about any device. Wow, what an experience!
So I suggest you find a friend with some available invitations to the beta or stop by the Evernote beta site and sign yourself up for an invitation.
It seems as though everyone in the blogsphere is buying a Kindle. I’m not, at least until someone can tell me why I’d want to spend $400 on an additional device I’ll have to carry to read eBooks.
Now, first of all I’m a big eBook reader and have been for many years. Today, I read eBooks on my Kohjinsha SH6 UMPC or my Treo. In fact, I actually read most eBooks on my Treo because I always have it with me. It’s always in my pocket and whenever I have time to kill I can pull it out and get some reading done.
My eBook reading is done using eReader on both Treo and UMPC. Even eReader DRM’ed books can be read on both devices. When I used my N800, I used the freeware FBReader on it. It’s worked great and supported a ton of formats. Now that I’ve retired the N800, I’m quite happy with eReader. I even have the eReader Studio program for creating nicely formatted eReader books from a wide variety of other formats, including Word.
My first problem with the Kindle – unlike freeware eBook readers like FBReader, the Kindle can only read Kindle DRM’ed books, text, non-DRM’ed Mobipocket, and non-DRM’ed Palm OS .prc files. Kindle format files are locked to the device. You can’t even transfer files from one Kindle to another, even if you delete them from the original Kindle. If it’s going to cost me $400 it better do more than that!
It’s big enough so that to carry it I’d really need a shoulder bag. If I’m going to carry a shoulder bag, then I’m going to be carrying my Kohjinsha SH6 in it, not another device. I just retired my N800 because I don’t want to have to carry extra devices with me. The Treo is my bread and butter, with me all the time, pocketable computer. Any time I require more heavy lifting in the computing arena, the SH6 and it’s mega-external battery gets packed up into the Walmart DVD player shoulder bag I use to carry it. I’d have to buy a bigger bag to carry a Kindle as well!
The one big benefit I see in Amazon’s Kindle initiative is that they have brought down the price of eBooks. This new pricing can only benefit everyone as their eBook competitors will be forced to match them.
This posting was inspired by: jkOnTheRun- a typical day with all my gear.
The alarm rings at 5:00 AM this morning, because I’m flying out on the 7:15 AM flight to Philadelphia. This will get me to my pharmaceutical client’s research headquarters by 10:15 AM, even allowing time to pick up my rental car and drive there from the Philadelphia airport.
I just have time to shower and dress and do a quick check of email using my Treo 700p, as well as check the status of my flight. I’ll also check the weather forecasts for both home and Philadelphia. The Treo is great for email and light Web surfing.
My Kohjinsha SH6 is already packed up in my Booq Boa XS bag, along with all of the other gadgets I normally take with me to a client site. The Kohjinsha is powered off, and it’s one of the few times during the week when it will be. Most of the time it is in a sleep state when I’m not using it. I typically shut it down and boot it up just twice a week – for the outbound flight and the return flight.
Upon arriving at the airport I’ll check my RSS feeds using Google Reader on my Treo while waiting for my flight to board. After boarding my flight I have a choice of entertainment devices to use when the OK is given by the flight attendant: my 60GB iPod or my Kohjinsha SH6. On this flight I feel like napping, so I put on my Bose Q2 Noise Cancelling Headset and plug it into my iPod. This time I’ll listen to some relaxing music and drift gently off to sleep for most of the flight. Other times when I’m feeling more alert I’ll watch a video on the SH6 (see more on that below).
Upon arrival at the Philly airport I make a quick call home to my wife on my Treo 700p to let her know I’ve arrived safely. I use my Blue Parrot Bluetooth B100 headset with my Treo. I know – it’s huge! – but it’s simply the best Bluetooth headset I’ve ever used and I’ve tried a whole bunch of them. It’s the only headset I’ve found that enables me to always be clearly heard regardless of background noise, even when I’m speaking softly.
After picking up my rental car (a Chevy Tahoe SUV this week) I’m off to my client. Upon arrival I pull out my SH6 from my Booq bag and the BatteryGeek BG 15-21-130 External Laptop Battery that will power it. I leave the SH6′s power adapter home during my business trips as the BatteryGeek unit provides all the juice I’ll need for my SH6. It will enable my SH6 to run all day at the client site and I just need to recharge this external battery at my hotel room in the evening.
Next I plug in a Belkin 4-port USB hub that in turn has a Belkin USB Dual/PS2 adapter cable plugged into it. Connected to the adapter cable are the PS/2 mouse and keyboard cables from a D-Link KVM-121 switch. I also plug in the VGA connector from the KVM switch into my SH6. The KVM switch allows me to share the LCD monitor, keyboard, and mouse between my SH6 and the HP Compaq Core 2 Duo desktop that my client has provided me. I next plug my Treo sync cable into the Belkin USB hub. CradleCare software on the Treo automatically kicks off regular syncs between my Treo and the SH6, making sure everything is up to date on both systems. I finish up by connecting an Ethernet cable to the SH6 that connects it to my client’s network and boot up the SH6.
After the SH6 finishes booting up Vista Home Premium, I hit the FN-F3 keys to redirect the screen output to the KVM switch, and from there onto the HP 17″ LCD panel. The SH6 can drive this screen at up to 1600 X 1200 resolution, but my tired old eyes prefer a resolution of 1280 X 1024.
At that point I type in my “startup” ActiveWord. I’m a huge fan of the ActiveWords program as it helps me automate countless tasks on my SH6. The startup ActiveWord loads up all the normal software I have running on my SH6 during my work day, which includes:
- Outlook 2007
- Firefox with iGoogle, Google Reader, and my company’s Outlook Web Access email web pages open in three tabs
- PINs (a password management utility program)
- Evernote (which I prefer to OneNote)
- Life Balance (my favorite PIM, and which has a Palm OS version on my Treo that syncs with the SH6′s version)
Some of the additional programs I’ll run during the course of the day include Word 2007, Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Project 2007 and Visio 2003. With 2 GB of memory on my SH6 I have no problem running all my “startup” programs along with one or more of these Office programs all at the same time without any noticeable performance degradation.
At lunch I head for the cafeteria with other team members. During our lunchtime conversation a couple of tasks come up that I need to perform, so I enter them into Life Balance on my Treo 700p. They will be automatically synced into my SH6′s version of Life Balance as soon as I return from lunch and connect my Treo to the sync cable.
In the afternoon I need to attend a one hour meeting. So, I uncable the SH6 from all its cables, disconnect it from the BatteryGeek external battery, close the screen, and take off for the meeting. Since the meeting is only an hour I don’t need to bring the external battery along with me. The 2+ hour battery life of the SH6 will be more than enough to last through the meeting. However, I do occasionally need to go through the ordeal of the “all-day meeting” where we meet through the entire work day and have lunch brought into the meeting room. Then the BatteryGeek external battery comes along with me, freeing me from the mad dash to find the few open electrical outlets in the meeting room. Today I won’t need it with me for this short meeting.
At the meeting I take detailed notes using a meeting template I created in Evernote. During a lull in the meeting I tether to my Treo using Bluetooth and the PDANet program. These allow me to get onto the Internet through the Sprint EV-DO network. I’ll then do a quick check of my email. There are never enough Ethernet cables in the meeting rooms at my client but with PDANet and my Treo I don’t need them.
After the meeting I return to my office and wrap up another day’s work. Then it’s time to leave and check into the hotel.
Many of the hotels I stay in still have Ethernet connectivity through cables rather than WiFi. That’s the case in my current hotel, but I bring along an ASUS Portable WiFi access point and plug that into the room’s Ethernet cable. This frees me from having to work at the desk in the hotel room and allows me to access the Internet on my little SH6 even from the bed! After logging onto the hotel network with my SH6 I’ll check personal and business email one more time and access my RSS feeds using Google Reader. I’ll also plug my BatteryGeek external battery pack into an outlet on the desk in the room to charge it up for the next day. The BatteryGeek battery can also continue to power my SH6 if need be, even when it’s being recharged.
As the evening winds down I consider my entertainment options. I can use SlingPlayer on my SH6 to access any of the zillion DirecTV channels we have at home. These are fed into a SlingBox connected to the satellite tuner in our family room. Alternatively I can watch a movie or TV episode that I have on my SH6. Right now, I have five Seinfeld episodes from the final season, two entire seasons of the BBC drama Upstairs/Downstairs, two episodes of Ken Burns’ War documentary, and full-length versions of the movies Forrest Gump, Office Space (today’s picture is from this movie!), and The Prestige on my SH6′s commodious 100GB hard drive. I choose to watch a couple of Seinfeld episodes. These were ripped onto my SH6 using Pocket DVD Studio. Some of the movies were captured from DirecTV using my Neuros Video Recorder 2.
Since this is a Tuesday, tonight I’ll do my weekly image backup of the SH6 onto the Western Digital 160GB USB external disk drive I carry in my Booq bag. I use the Acronis True Image program, which was provided to me by Dynamism when I purchased my SH6. They use Acronis to create their restore CDs.
The backup will take about 2 hours, during which time I’ll read a book (maybe even a non-digital one!) and listen to music from my iPod over my iHome iH5 that goes with me in my suitcase whenever I travel. It has wonderful speakers for such a small unit and its sleep feature allows me to listen to music while drifting off to sleep at night.
Speaking of which, the backup is done so it’s time to disconnect and put away the external drive and put both SH6 and myself to sleep!
Warner Crocker of GottaBeMobile has been evaluating the Vye S37 and has some very interesting comments on it.
I’ve had SlingPlayer installed on my SH6 since I’ve owned it, but really hadn’t used it until last night. That’s when I noticed that the ESPN channel was out at my hotel. Since I very much enjoy watching Monday night football I decided to give SlingPlayer a try and attempt to get ESPN flowing from my SlingBox at home onto my SH6. I was extremely pleased to find that it works great even in full screen mode, as the above picture shows. I got to watch Pittsburgh thrash Baltimore with very good quality video and sound. Hooray for SlingBox!
Close observers will notice a change in the heading of this blog: no longer does it mention the Nokia N800. That’s right, I’ve retired this little computer from active service and am looking for a good home for it right now. Over two months experience with my Kohjinsha SH6 has shown me that this UMPC has made the Nokia N800 completely superfluous to my computing needs. The N800 is a great little computer – I just don’t need it anymore!
Kevin Tofel has a review of the Vye S37 focusing on the inking experience with this device. I’ve used inking on my SH6 less than half a dozen times in the more than two months that I’ve owned it now. It’s pretty much a laptop replacement for me.
UMPC Portal has a very thorough review of the Vye S37, a device viritually identical to the Kohjinsha SH8.