Archive for January, 2007

US Airways Miles: Get ’em, Use ’em or Lose ’em Tonight!

January 31st, 2007, 8:33pm by Jake

This is more of a scam being pulled on us. Essentially, if you have US Airways or America West frequent flier miles,- Dividend Miles and your account has been inactive for 18 months or more, those miles will expire sometime tonight unless you have some activity on your account. Fortunately, you don’t have to by an airline ticket or get a free ticket for that activity. Instead, you can shop at one of their partners after being logged into US Airways. These partners are extensive and thankfully include such low-cost options as iTunes and Apparently, some folks have had problems with some of their partners, so make sure you keep a record. Personally, I last flew July 2005 and I have 16,666 miles, so I’ll definitely be making a purchase tonight. Don’t wait until the last minute!

Rocket explosion!

January 31st, 2007, 12:28pm by Jake

A Sea Launch rocket exploded upon launch yesterday in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, likely destroying the mobile, floating launch platform with it. That likely means that all Sea Launch missions will be canceled for at least the next year or two. This includes at least a few launches from DirecTV and Echostar. Likely, some of those missions will be flown by other launch vehicles instead, while for others it will mean indefinite delay. Check out the short & (not so) sweet video. No one was injured during the mishap.


January 30th, 2007, 1:35pm by Kelvin

Just checking out the new camera. Link to the A920’s for comparison.

Full-res image here.

Many Eyes

January 30th, 2007, 12:45am by Jake

So I followed Joanie’s advice and uploaded a better data set to Many Eyes. This set of data is better labeled, although my home version of Excel can’t calculate the week number so there’s less data. And, I discovered that anything that’s a label (such as the year) should be listed as a text column instead of as a number column. This is just a simple bubble chart I created, but you can create your own visualizations from dataset. It works fine on Mac Firefox, I think the earlier troubles had to do with my Java installation at work– for whatever reason, Firefox & Explorer only used the old version of Java even though the new one was installed. Maybe I’ll find another data set that I could upload & view.

Free Mobile Coupons

January 27th, 2007, 8:24pm by Kelvin

Not exactly CouPalm (more like CouPhone), but this company Cellfire is finally rolling out an idea whose time came a long time ago :). To be fair, the trouble with our idea when we had it was that no one had always-on internet connectivity to their PDAs, so we came up with a silly sync-and-go model. But hey, at least the bar code scanners worked with our 4-bit greyscale screens! These silly guys make you show your cell phone screen to the checkout clerk. That’s no better than what I was doing with eWallet back in the day.

Hollywood types

January 24th, 2007, 7:06pm by Jake

Hollywood types I’ve never seen such a concentration of Hollywood folk before. Sundance is going on in Park City, Utah this week, and lots are already flying back. Almost all the flights are sold out coming back from Salt Lake City tonight. Lots of yapping about deals. Gotta go.

A2DP-enabled iPod Emulator

January 23rd, 2007, 10:31pm by Kelvin

Now this is a pretty interesting take on the iPod-Bluetooth interface: Anycom has announced FIFO, an A2DP-receiver that takes the place of the iPod. You plug it into any accessory that is intended for an iPod (like the variety of cars that we have in our collective stables), and it can receive audio streams from any A2DP device. Basically, it opens up iPod accessories to any A2DP-enabled device. Lot’s of implications, I think.

Run over Palos Verdes

January 22nd, 2007, 4:12pm by Jake

Yesterday morning, my dad dropped me off in Palos Verdes right near the Trump National Golf Course. My plan was to run to the top of Palos Verdes & back down the other side, essentially following these directions from Google Maps. What Google Maps doesn’t tell you is that Crest dead ends (updated link– pan around to see what I mean) at a chain-linked fence topped with barbed wire! Apparently, some of the communities there are gated and they don’t want to let the ordinary millionaire residents of Palos Verdes just wander in at their convenience. A local biker had reached the top of the hill at the same time, and suggested I could climb down the (steep) hill, around the fence & back up. That worked, saving me an extra 5 miles of running. The rest of the run was nondescript; after the 1000+ foot climb, I flew down the other side averaging about 8:20/mile for the next 8 miles. In fact, at about 9:02/mile, that may have been my fastest run ever 18 miles or more. Check out more details from the run. Still not even half as tough as Catalina Marathon, but I’m getting there.
Run Over Palos Verdes


January 20th, 2007, 10:30am by Kelvin

So has anyone heard of Slam, a social networking project from Microsoft Research? Basically, it sounds like an sms group mailing list, with location awareness and photosharing thrown into the mix. Here’s a blurb:

It is a mobile device-based application that enables lightweight, group-centric real-time communication, location awareness and photo-sharing.
The core concept behind Slam is a ?Slam?, a group of people with whom you can exchange messages and photos. When you send a message in Slam, it is automatically sent to everyone in the group to which you sent it. For smartphone users that have the Slam client installed, their phone will buzz and they will have an indication on their phone?s home screen that there is a new message. For SMS users, they will receive the message as an SMS from the Slam server. Like smartphone users, SMS users can be members of multiple slam groups. SMS users will send / receive messages to a different phone number for each slam group they a member of.

Probably if you don’t have the native app (non-WinMo users), it’s of pretty limited utility (essentially a group IM chat). But it could be fun to use if we were trying to coordinate a get together (say, in San Diego). If you want to try it out, I could put it on my Q and invite you all as sms users…

Why I love my Treo — more than the iPhone

January 19th, 2007, 7:28am by Mike

There’s been a lot of talk — maybe too much talk — about Apple’s new iPhone. While I have no doubt it’ll be great device, and I’m sure I’ll want to get one, I probably won’t, as I’ve decided that my current Treo 650 has nearly everything that the iPhone has — with a couple of exceptions that would be nice extras, but not things I’d use most of the time anyway.
What do I love about my Treo?

  • I have it already. I’ve had it for a year and a half, as has everybody else. You know what they say about a bird in the hand. The iPhone bird won’t be sighted in the wild for another 6 months. Which brings us to…
  • Developers have it already. And they have for about 10 years. The basic Palm platform has spawned thousands of add-on apps. Most of those aren’t worth the bits they’re made out of, but some are quite good. There’s a small industry of Palm development companies out there, and some apps (like Documents To Go) go quite a long way toward expanding the functionality of the device. It’s not clear what the 3rd party development situation will be for the iPhone.
  • It syncs perfectly with my computer. Apple’s iSync doesn’t do that — but Mark/Space’s Missing Sync does. And this isn’t a phone issue, it’s an iSync issue. If Apple can’t do complete syncing (like multiple addreses, calendar categories, etc) correctly with their own built-in app to my phone, I have my doubts about the future, which will feature all syncing through iTunes (why?). I really hope I’m proven wrong about this. Also, I have 3rd party apps to sync other digital media from computer to phone (MS Office documents and text files) — the iPhone may not even read these, much less sync them.
  • It works on my carrier. Not just my personal carrier (T-Mobile), but my unlocked Treo works on nearly any carrier, around the world. And there are versions for almost all non-GSM carriers, too, some of which tout data speeds faster than the iPhone. And I like my carrier, at least for its pricing scheme for data, which is half of what I would likely pay on Cingular with the iPhone (though that hasn’t been announced yet). And the iPhone won’t come unlocked, and I’m betting Cingular won’t unlock it, either.
  • It has nearly every application that the iPhone has. Nearly every one, and for all intents and purposes, the ones it doesn’t have are gravy. I can make calls, organize contacts, take photos, browse the web, and send e-mail from multiple accounts with the built-in software on the Treo. With additional software, I could play MP3s and movies, too, and there’s a free Google Maps client built specifically for the Treo.
  • It has a QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth, and EDGE data. Yes, the physical, button-laden keyboard is a plus and a minus, but I like having it. This touchscreen thing will have to be seen to be believed — and nobody but the Pogues and Mossbergs of the world have seen it yet. Bluetooth and “high speed” data are necessities for any phone these days, and my phone has them.

So, there are lots of things that the iPhone has that might be interesting down the road (WiFi, 4-8GB of storage, big touchscreen, nice-looking interface), but since the announcement, I’ve realized that my phone does most of this, and basically all I want it to do. I just wish it were thinner. But, considering my current phone, which I would have thought would be completely outdated nearly two years after it was announced, the iPhone really doesn’t serve up any additional functionality that I need. That’s why I still love my Treo. At least until June.

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