Archive for January, 2011

Graffiti Pro for Android

January 26th, 2011, 6:11am by Kelvin

I noticed that Access has released a Premium version of their highly acclaimed Graffiti app for Android, clocking in at $2.99. Seems kind of pricey, but if they can somehow sell 87 million copies, they’ll break even on their purchase of Palm Source.

Porting Number to Google

January 25th, 2011, 6:28am by Mike

With my new job, I’m getting a new iPhone, and I’m thinking about porting my current number to Google (they just announced porting last week).

In my vision, I won’t have to change anything with most people — they can just continue to call my old number and it’ll ring my new phone, while I can give the actual iPhone number out as my work number. Seems like it should work fine, right? The end result is that I’ll switch off our family plan and onto a plan that work pays for, saving us around $70/month. The only downside I see is that I’ll be giving up my grandfathered unlimited data plan, but it seems worth it for a $0 phone bill. I’m still under contract until June, but from what I can tell, the $175 ETF is prorated $5/month, so I should owe about $90 — less than 2 months of service, making it worthwhile to terminate now.

And unlike some other peoples’ work phones, I’ll be able to install whatever I want on it. It’s not clear that I could use a jailbroken phone (don’t think I want to risk that), but I’m OK with other apps.

A couple of things, and questions for anyone who knows about GVoice (that’d be you, Lance):

— I’ll have to call out with the Google Voice app if I want people to think I’m calling from my “personal” number. No problem, I don’t think. What’s the current best app — the official one, or one of the several others out there?

— Work and GV numbers will have separate voicemails, which could be fine.

— I know you can have multiple Exchange accounts, but can I have Exchange and Google Calendars living in harmony side-by-side? What about my contacts — can I have Exchange sync OTA, while syncing my personal contacts via USB (so I don’t have to put them all into Exchange?). Is there “one contact list to rule them all” yet? I’ve heard Google Contacts isn’t that great for doing this.

Facetime supposedly works even with a GV incoming number, from what I’ve read — you just can’t both have GV, and Facetime has to be initiated from the GV number. Either way, Skype will work fine for video.

Any thoughts or warnings?

GPS Writing on the Beach

January 22nd, 2011, 5:16pm by Jake


JAKEROME, originally uploaded by jakerome.

Saw a local runner had done this the week before and I figured, hey, why not me! I planned to include a signature underline flourish, but miscalculated on the return. Totaled 20 miles on the soft sand, a few new blisters and one minor cut (I think). Endurance needs some work (2:01/ 2:11 splits), but a run or two over Palos Verdes and another couple 20 milers on the sand, and I’ll be surprisingly ready for Catalina. Bring it on!

The Last Heel Strike I’ll Ever Make

January 17th, 2011, 12:24am by Jake

Jake finishes-then off to get donuts

It was just 3 weeks ago that I ran the Operation Jack Half Marathon, and my photographer friend snagged a couple good photos of me running. Like the one above. And looking at the snap, it became apparent to me that I had to face the truth– I’m a heel striker. Sure, I might have kidded myself and claimed I was a midfoot runner, but no way… the photo doesn’t lie. I’m overstriding, too, which goes hand-in-hand with heel striking. I saw that photo and said, “this far, no further!” A couple days off, a dune workout and an elliptical workout and fast-forward to Friday December 31. Last day of the year.

I nimbly laced up my shoes, and off I went. My heel wouldn’t touch the ground for 3 miles. That first run from Kelvin’s front steps may have been overdoing it, as I was landing on my toes and overcompensating in keeping my feet off the ground. Man, were my calves beat! The next day, I decided to try again. Didn’t know how it would work, but felt natural enough and I slowly struggled though another 4 miles. Now, while I was slow, my heart rate was pretty low & I didn’t get fatigued. Another day. Five miles, and Kelvin can attest that I kept my form for at least the first 2. But man, were my calves wrecked! Trying to even hop while playing Kinect was nearly impossible.

A day off, more dune & elliptical. A visit to the shoe store and it was time to leave behind the Nike’s that I’d worn for 12+ years. Something lighter, smaller heel, less cushion. Boom, Brooks something or other. Advice from Guinness World Record sand running guru Christian Burke suggested running barefoot in the sand, just a few miles at a time to help me improve my form. Decided to skip the planned 18 mile run, and instead climbed the dune 16 times (that’s like 5.6 miles) and ran 10 full miles on the soft sand wearing only sand socks. So much for easing into it! Another day on the dune, and time to take take the new kicks for a run. Six miles on the woodchip trail, landing mostly on the ball of my foot and a bit on the midfoot. A little more natural, and now my heel would naturally impact after the forefoot. A few more days, 3 on the treadmill, more elliptical time. Then Friday I pounded 5 miles on the treadmill, running 8:30-9/mile for the last 3 instead of the lazy 10:30/mile that I had been going. Tough, but I finished strong if tired. My plan for Saturday was dune & soft sand. I was a wreck on the dune, so that was shortened and I called it a day.

Now today, it was time for the next level. No surf socks this time, ambled to the beach and kicked off the Tevas again. Headed north, along the Operation Jack Marathon route. 5 miles, all the way to Marina del Rey entrance near Ballona Creek. Back again, another 5. But I developed a nasty blister on the right big toe, and raw skin was causing a bit ‘o pain. So intelligence briefly kicked in, and I climbed the hill full of energy but with a bum toe. Well, I needed to get back. So I bandaged the foot, put the surf socks back on and back down the hill. Heading south, I reached to the edge of Redondo Beach. And turned, and back. Another 6.5. Total for the day, 16.75, which is worth at least 20 on solid ground. A meandering 12:45 pace, tailing off substantially during the second act. But man, I like this barefoot running thing, at least on the forgiving soft sand of the beach.

So here I am, 3 weeks post that form, and I haven’t had a heel strike since. Will see if I can keep this up, there’s enough beach I suppose. One strategically placed kayak and I could run clear to Malibu, 15 miles one way. Still have to run long in the new shoes, at least 10 before jumping to 20. But at least I’m building my endurance while fixing my form. Catalina might not be so far away after all.

My Anti-TiVo Rant

January 15th, 2011, 10:39pm by Jake

Posted this to their support contact address. Doubt I’ll ever hear a thing. Color me stupid for buying a half-baked product expecting that they’d actually fix it.

For the 3rd time in a month, I’ve had to painstakingly re-enter my Amazon account info. Email address, username & passwords. Total disaster, takes 10 minutes each time. Ditto YouTube. Not to mention the quality on YouTube is beyond horrendous, playlists are non functional and features are arbitrary. The way video podcasts are handled makes them all but useless, since I need to actively delete older entries to actually see new stuff. There is no real ability to browse Netflix titles.

I’ve been a TiVo user for 10 years. But I really don’t know why at this point. The much touted “One Box” turned out to be just so much marketing nonsense, and nearly every aspect of internet video on the TiVo is terrible in some way. It’s neither simple nor powerful. I just don’t get it.

I used to encourage my friends to buy TiVos, and some did. Now, I regret that decision and in the future I will steer them to other solutions as the platform is stale. No new feature rolled out in the last 10 years has been fully baked, and obvious candidates for integration such as Flickr are ignored. I’m a lifetime sub on 2 devices, but I’m almost ready to sell ’em both and find a better solution.

Fix your online video functions. Video podcasts, Netflix, YouTube & Amazon are all riddled with obvious flaws that should have been fixed before launch, not still causing issues years later. I give up. As one of my friends just tweeted, “@jakerome wow, @TiVo really had to work hard to lose you. You used to love it. That’s not the kind of hard work that’s good for biz.”

Firesheep Testing

January 14th, 2011, 3:59am by Kelvin

Just installed Firesheep to see what we’re up against. I couldn’t get it to work on my Windows 7 laptop (something about not having compatible drivers for the wireless adapters). Works on our Macbook though. Using that, I tried it out in the safety of our WEP-enabled home network. This is some scary stuff.

Main findings:

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HP to announce webOS roadmap

January 4th, 2011, 5:19pm by Kelvin

The last time Palm went nearly a year without any real signs of life was when they were working on Nova and kept the lights on with color refreshes of the Centro. As we know, they held a press conference and hit one out of the park in January 2009 when they surpassed everyone’s expectations by not only showing a working OS, but also unveiling a breakthrough handset design AND announcing a carrier partner. It was clear that Palm had not been sitting on their hands the whole time.

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CES Watch 2011

January 4th, 2011, 2:15pm by Jake

So another CES is upon, and while no big announcements are expected from Apple, Google or HPalm, there are still bound to be thousands of items introduced, and a few big hits. First one that caught my eye is this Samsung WiFi P&S camera, with the novel feature being that you can use your Android phone as a viewfinder! Kelvin also spotted a camera item, the Eye-Fi Direct mode, which lets your phone talk direct with your camera as well. Let’s keep updating the best of C.E.S. here so we can look back in a few years and laugh at our prognosticating skills.

Not Much Room to Grow

January 2nd, 2011, 1:08pm by Kelvin

I’ve been thinking that even though smartphones represent only 20% of the smartphone market, their revenue share doesn’t actually leave that much room to grow. I just ran across this year end cell phone stat sheet for 2010.  The relevant data:

Average price of smartphones 332 US dollars, average price of dumbphones 61 dollars. The full price pyramid of phones is:

over 450 dollars – 5%
from 250-449 dollars – 9%
from 100-249 dollars – 17%
from 50-99 dollars – 24%
under 50 dollars – 45%

Interesting notes:
• Apple has a virtual monopoly on the highest tier market (only 50-60 million handsets are >$450, and Apple reports an ASP of $600).
• The top 22.5% of the market (virtually all smartphones) currently accounts for 62% of handset revenue.

Bottom line is even though you can still sell the other 80% a smartphone, it will need to appeal to that demographic. That probably means sub-$150 ASPs and no data plans.

Gadgets and Parents

January 2nd, 2011, 9:44am by Mike

Usually we talk about how we’re so into gadgets, and occasionally we stray into the territory of our parents and the ways they dip their toes into the technology waters. Over the years, we’ve introduced our folks to all sorts of tech — helped with cell phones, set up wireless networks, and advised on computer purchases.

And this is where it has led us. Here’s a photo of my mom (taken on my Dad’s new G2), sitting in her living room. On her lap is a Kindle (the original — she’s an early adopter!), on top of which is my Dad’s netbook. My mom is using her Android phone (a Cliq) to take a picture of a QR code on my Dad’s netbook. (No room on her lap for the iPad she got for Christmas!)

gadgetmom-small.jpg

Incredible! Even the outlet behind her is full of chargers! I’m so proud.


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