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Archive for the ‘PDA’ Category

Not For Me, No

I held back from publishing my thoughts about Apple’s brand-new iPad last night, because I was very disappointed. But thinking it over made no difference, so here’s my official point of view: the iPad is just a blown-up iPhone. It looks great, is probably well constructed, but it’s missing features that I find essential, like a memory card slot, a (fast) USB connector, a Flash player, multi-tasking, and massive amounts of memory. What’s worse, all those missing items are ways of opening up the machine to the rest of the world, which is what I want: I want to choose where I go find movies and books and pictures and applications, and not be dependent on the whims of a single company that controls the hard- and software in my hands. So that means: no iPad for me, no – I’ll wait for the competition to do better (can you say Android?). If you want  more views on the iPad, start with “Insanely great? Ars reacts to the Apple iPad” over at Ars Technica.

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Last year (of course ;-) I tried to install an unsigned Symbian application on my Nokia E63. Since that system requires signed applications only, I went over to the SymbianSigned website and followed the instructions for the personal online signing process. But several attempts later I did not get any further than an error message saying that there was something wrong with the certificate… End of the story, I thought. Just by accident, a few days later, I read in some forum post that it might be necessary to wait at least one day before trying to install a self-signed application. No real explanation was given, but since I still had the mail message containing the required link I had noting to lose but the the few seconds needed to click to the URL on the E63. And lo and behold: the application installed cleanly and without complaints from S60! It would be nice to see that required delay mentioned on the SymbianSigned website, but in the meantime I’ll write it down here (and hope that I remember to check this blog if I’m ever stuck again)…

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The last few days I have been spending many hours playing with my new cell phone, a Nokia E63. Most of it was fun, because Symbian S60 (3rd Ed.) is a powerful platform, but at moments it is frustrating to see that practice and theory do not match. For example: I have everything to transfer my password file to the phone – but to transfer the data file a simple “Send to…” from the Mac over Bluetooth to the phone doesn’t seem to work for me: the file sent ends up in my e-mail inbox, and I can’t find a way to save it to the filing system. Lacking a micro-USB cable I have to juggle micro-SD cards and card readers during my experiments: doable, but not much fun. Another example: both the standard web browser and Opera Mini are quite good, considering the limitations (screen resolution, CPU, etc.) – but being used to the Safari’s and Firefox’es of the desktop world there’s a lot of functionality missing when a site doesn’t behave as expected (when trying to download files, when trying to download an image, etc.). Usually, there’s some way around the obstacle and I get what I want – but it takes much fumbling, swearing and time. Guess I’ll have to build my own apps for this baby, now that I have a Python shell running on it!

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Fine

I saw a fine movie on television tonight: Don’t Come Knocking, made by Wim Wenders. The acting is excellent, the photography even more so. I guess I’ll have to buy the DVD if I want to see it again; sadly these movies stand little chance in the commercial theatre circuit.

By the way: Sunrise is doing great stuff for my offline Internet reading on the Palm <smile />

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OK, so I should have noticed earlier that AvantGo had disppeared. Actually, I did notice problems while syncing my Palm, but I thought I had too much data in my Channels, or some other local technical hitch. It never occurred to me to check that AvantGo was still up and running. After all, there’s that little thing called ’email’ that allows a company to warn its ‘customers’ of impending closure of their services, no?

So I quickly configured a replacement: Plucker. I had a few books in Plucker format on my Palm, so I knew it worked for me (or at least it did a few years ago). Adding a few RSS feeds should have been simple… but it wasn’t. Python 2.5 (as running on this Mac OS X 10.5.7 machine) refuses to execute a few of the Python script that parse and convert documents, halting execution with a nasty “SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character 'xb4' in file /Applications/Plucker.app/Contents/Resources/parser/python/PyPlucker/TextParser.py on line 2055” message. It took me quite some time to find a reference to this problem, read it through, check the CVS version of Plucker source code (I hate CVS, btw!), and apply a few corrections to the application’s resource fork and resolve at least enough similar messages to get a patched Plucker to work… At least, I hope it works – Plucker is still busy converting Wired’s RSS feed, although I started it before writing down this rant. Oh well, tomorrows another day; perhaps I’ll be happier then ;-) But anyway, I am worried about Plucker future. The problem I encountered isn’t new, to say the least, and nobody apparently took the time to rebuild the downloads on the official Plucker site… Or is it simply a sign of the times, as if even Plucker is saying: ‘Throw away that prehistoric Palm and get an iPhone‘?

[Update] I’m following the instructions about the use of a tool called Sunrise to convert feeds and documents for the Plucker viewer on Palm – seems to work.

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My Palm Is Not Dead

How about yours? Check out the PDAmill Game Studios to see if they are still giving away their complete collection of Palm games. And “giving away” means “for free”, as in “gratis”. Thanks! I’m trying the Asian gamebox at this very moment…

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Yes, I wouldn’t mind being able to combine my Palm and my iPod and my mobile phone into a single machine. So when a Palm emulation for iPhone/iPod touch [is] demonstrated, my lust for the iPhone grows yet again! Luckily – for my wallet – I’m a patient man. And besides: my iPhone would need more RAM than is currently for sale – even the bump to 16GB isn’t enough for my CD collection plus Palm stuff plus photos…

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