Monday, July 16, 2007

Palm's Foleo - "mobile companion" or simply a laptop?

Palm has advertised the Foleo as a "mobile companion" for itinerant workers needing only email, document prep, and PowerPoint capabilities.

The company says it is a "revolutionary product category". When Palm released Foleo last month, it breathlessly billed the Foleo as the first of a "new class" of products likely to go down in history as Palm's best-selling ever -- more popular than the Treo smartphone, and more popular than the original "Palm Pilot."

Foleo is running Linux-based appliance-like operating system. The Foleo weighs at just over 2 pounds, but it doesn't feel all that heavy, much easier to carry around than an average laptop. The customized, Linux-based interface is very simple and very responsive. There's actually no application launcher or "home screen," just an application menu that you pop down by using a dedicated "Apps" key; you navigate around using a little eraser-head-like touchpoint device in the middle of the keyboard. Click near the top of the screen, and application menus appear. It's all the laptop experience you like, with none of the annoying slowdowns you hate. If Palm plays their cards right, yes, they could replace laptops in a lot of situations.

Palm Foleo and Palm Treo, notice the difference?

That is what I've learned so far:
  • Battery life "according to Q/A, not marketing," under constant use with WiFi on and the screen set to the default (65 percent) brightness is an honest five hours.
  • It has a real bash shell, because bash's built-ins reduce process loading (forking) at boot time, for faster start-up.
  • The magnetically latched case is grippy rubber with undulations -- very easy to carry.
  • The keyboard conforms to the smaller ISO standard, with 18mm pitch.
  • All apps run all the time, and only run maximized to full-screen. Switching between them (via a hardware key) is instantaneous.
  • Optional "phone in range" authentication accepts the presence of user's phone within Bluetooth range as the password.
  • The Opera browser looks pretty good on the 10.2-inch, 1024 x 600 display (external VGA resolution is normal XGA (1024 x 768)
  • Fonts (on the prototype we saw) were okay, but could do with some sub-pixel rendering and something like Red Hat's outstanding (and free) Liberation fonts
  • Video out (for PowerPoints) is mini-VGA -- don't lose that dongle.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ipod shuffle wrapped in baby blanket

June 12th is my daughter second birthday. I always say that one's birthday is mother's holiday in the first place and only then comes birthday girl or boy. So, I needed two presents for both of my ladies.
A gift for daughter was easy to choose. She loves blankets to play with, but what to give to my

When it comes to give presents to my wife I'm always in trouble to decide on. Being The Gadget Guy it is always some sort of gadget on my mind. Yes, flowers and jewelery are the easiest choices, but what else? How can one marry beauty, surprise and
elegance with a cool gadget in one nice package?

That was an easy task for me thanks to Internet in general and Apple, Inc with The Blankee Store in particular. I would not waste your time on telling how slick and light and pink and easy and sounds great Ipod shuffle is. Even it's box looks like a toy.

But when I wrapped the pink Ipod shuffle in Leaf Blue Blanket... the combination of two was just absolutely irresistible.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Using iPod as a portable storage device

It may seem obvious for some of you, but I have decided to provide here a quick and simple tip: how to use your iPod as a portable hard drive.

Usually we interact with iPod using iTunes. That is all related to sound and video. But, if you check My Computer folder, you can see that the iPod is recognized by Windows as a USB storage device. Double click on this icon and open it. Depending on version of your iPod, you will see different folders. DO NOT TOUCH them! Instead create another new folder, I call mine "Transfer". And that is all. Now you can save anything you want in this special folder: documents, applications, zipped files etc.

Of course, this storage folder will consume some space from the total capacity of you iPod. Don't be surprised if all of a sudden there is no place to put music or video. Just check the special folder and clean it up.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to listen to mp3 player in a car

I could explain it in one sentence. But for those who are still in need of help here is my short story. And, of course, you CANNOT use headphones in a car. It's forbidden and dangerous.

I own a relatively old iPod mini, one of those first color cool looking iPods. They are not for sale anymore, some sort of rarity. But for the purpose of this discussion it doesn't matter the type of of your mp3 player. It has to have a headphone jack output which all of them have.

Now, there are many different devices that allow you to connect between your mp3 player and a car stereo. Basically they fall into two categories: wired and wireless. Some new cars have built-in interface for iPod, but I'm not familiar with that. My car is old.

So, I've tried two wireless devices from Belkin and RCA. You need to connect a transmitter to the iPod, or what you have. Then you find on the car radio on specified frequency your music or whatever you're listening to. By the way, I'm not listening to the music. I prefer spoken word, such as podcasts or audio books. For example, recently I was enjoying listening to Stephen King's Green Mile. You can download it from, they have a huge selection of audio books.

But, back to our transmitter. I did not like the quality of the sound in both of them. Maybe it's just my car, I don't know. Instead, I've tried a cheap Phillips cassette adapter kit. You just need to play the cassette, and the sound is "magically" appearing in your stereo. Quality is much better, then in radio adapters. And, also important, it is much cheaper. The only thing that you have to have a cassette player in the car.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Right Configuration For Your New Computer

Part 3

There are two major things regarding your new computer I want you to know. First, eventually it will run Windows Vista. Even if you buy it now with Windows XP on it, at some point next this year you will want to switch to Vista. Second thing is that Windows Vista is very demanding on memory and video card. Not a processor type or speed but amount of memory in both motherboard and video card and video card itself.
So, if you see a very attractive PC shopping deal, check, first of all, those two thing. The general rule is, of course, the more the better. But the least is 1GB of motherboard memory and 256MB of video card memory. There are lots of powerful PC system out there for sale with huge hard drives, memory slots, latest and greatest CPUs, but that is not what you need firstly. I'm not trying to say that storage or CPU frequency are not important. They are less important for Windows Vista. Or if you got them first, but your PC memory is 512MB only, and configuration has integrated video solution sharing memory with motherboard, you're not gonna enjoy Windows Vista.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Right Configuration For Your New Computer

Part 2

There is a very important thing that every computer shopper should know about. I'm talking about a new operating system from Microsoft - Windows Vista. It'll be released for ordinary people earlier next year ( about February time), but many current PC buyers will be eligible to a free upgrade. Windows Vista has several versions for business and home owners. I recommend to aim not lower than Vista Home Premium Edition. It has very cool Aero desktop interface , don't miss it. To make long story short I recommended to my parents to buy a PC with Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition operating system. Only this ensures a free upgrade to the Vista Home Premium Edition. If you buy a computer with just Windows XP Home Edition, the free upgrade is only to Vista Basic. It'll be without the Aero and other very cool things. Don't do it, or it'll cost you about $90 to get Vista Home Premium Edition.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Right Configuration For Your New Computer

Part 1

Recently my parents have asked me to help me with buying a new computer. We live in different parts of the US, so I just cannot go with them to the store and pick up a right configuration for them.

By the way, it is the most important part of the game, that comes after price, of course. I am talking about computer configuration that fits to the particular needs. Experts divide PCs into different types, such as a gaming computer, a budget one or multimedia PC. But often a cheep version has a creepy monitor in it ( even flat LCDs are all different). So, I am against a traditional division into categories. The better way is to build a very custom PC configuration using online retailers. I'm gonna use Dell, but others are out there. To find them just use Google ;-) .