Archive for October, 2007

Obsession: Nokia E65 (Red)

Nokia E65 (red)

Ever get these inexplicable obsessions?

I tend to get obsessed about gadgets. And for the past month or so, I’ve been totally obsessing over the Nokia E65 in red. Such a gorgeous device…

When I was working at Nokia, I was on a software project that was launching with the E65 and had some features that were optimized to work well on the device. So they also lent me a pre-launch device that I (most unfortunately) had to return when I moved on to iSkoot.

Now I want one again.

Now, my obsession isn’t just because it’s a gorgeous devices. It’s also because a.) it has WiFi; and b) it’s quad-band, so it will work well on American cellular networks.

Why is the WiFi a big deal? Because AT&T has crap cellular coverage in my neighborhood! I can only use cell phones if I stand on my back deck or sit on my bed. How inconvenient is that???

But with WiFi, I can load mobile VOIP software on the device like the Gizmo Project’s to make calls through the Internet — no AT&T at all! The quality isn’t quite as good as Skype’s (yet), and it’s also a hair more expensive than Skype. But otherwise, the Gizmo Project is a great alternative VOIP solution.

If AT&T isn’t going to improve its coverage in my neighborhood, then I’m more than happy to use the alternatives. Rather than installing a landline again (goodness, no!), I see a WiFi-based VOIP solution in my very near future…

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Apple Announces SDK for iPhone, iPod Touch

Well, what do you know?

Hot on the heels of Nokia’s announcing the N810 Internet Tablet, Apple tries to steel some thunder by announcing an SDK for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In normal people’s language, this means that Apple is going to let other companies make software for the devices, as well. Currently, those devices are locked to prevent installation of non-Apple software.

This is great news for the masses of software companies who are chomping at the bit to create cool software for these devices!

As you may have heard by now, some extremely clever people have already figured out how to unlock the iPhone and iPod Touch to install software from non-Apple sources. Apple hasn’t been happy about that, and they’ve been bricking unlocked devices with the latest software update in retaliation.

(I love the fact that the process of unlocking your iPhone or iPod Touch is called jailbreaking!)

Perhaps now this means that Apple will lighten up and stop bricking unlocked iPhones?

Anyway, the new Apple SDK will be released next February if all goes according to plan. Cool news!

(And yeah, even though I am lusting after a Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, I’m also lusting after an iPod Touch. What can I say? I love these gadgets…)

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New Nokia N810 Internet Tablet Announced Today!

When I left Nokia last January, I was one of the beta testers for the Nokia N800. I loved that device and was an enthusiastic beta tester. So it kind of broke my heart when I had to turn it back in on my last day…

Nokia N800 Internet Tablet
Nokia N800 Internet Tablet

Today, Nokia announced its successor, the Nokia 810 Internet Tablet. Yay!

A friend of mine joined the beta testing program for the N810 and finally showed it to me last weekend. It’s niiiiice….

The device’s UI has been spiffied up. The UI is much faster now. It has a slide out keyboard, which is cool. It has the new Flash 9 built in, which means that you can now finally watch YouTube! (Plus regular Flash-based web sites — which has been a real let-down with my 770.) It has built-in GPS, which is a fantastic feature. (And goodness knows we need it here in New England where towns inexplicably and purposefully don’t put street signs up. What the heck is up with that?!?!?) You can read more in the enthusiastic Engadget review:

Nokia N810 Gets Official on Engadget

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet

Nokia N810 Internet Tablet (announced today) 

So as much as I loved the N800, I’m glad I waited. Because now I’m thinking that I’ll just have to get my mitts on the 810 instead. After all, I’ve been intending on getting a GPS device for awhile now. Might as well get one that comes with it built in.

Now that the N810 comes with a full Mozilla browser, with Flash 9 and GPS built in, plus Skype and Gizmo (I have accounts on both and use them because AT&T has zero signal in my apartment, the bastards), it definitely becomes a compelling purchase for me. *drool…* 

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Official FloSpace Blog Launched!

Yay!

It took awhile, but I finally launched an official blog on the FloSpace.com web site:

www.flospace.com/blog/

Nowadays, I think it’s really important for companies to have blogs, especially small companies like FloSpace. It’s a great channel for communicating directly with customers — something that the main part of the web site isn’t great for, since web sites tend to be more like catalogs.

As a result, I won’t post much about FloSpace FloPrompter in this blog any more. Well, maybe just to let any InfoTart readers know that there’s a new posting on the FloPrompter blog… 🙂

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FloSpace FloPrompter 2.3.1 Released!

Yes, folks, it’s barely been a week, and already we’ve released a new version!

A customer contacted us to request a continuous loop feature in the teleprompter, which I wrote about a few days ago. It’s a great idea and I think that a lot of other customers could benefit from it, as well.

FloPrompter Teleprompter Window Close-Up :: Continuous Loop

  • Continuous Loop: Press the Loop button (grouped with the playback buttons like Play and Next, circled in red above) to loop the content. When pressed, the player will loop through all of the segments automatically. The player will pause at the bottom of the current segment for the number of second set for the loop delay in the Options Dialog, then switch to the next segment. It will also pause at the top of the next segment for the same amount of time before continuing with the auto-scroll.
  • Stored File Settings: If you elect to save and use file-specific teleprompter settings (see the Options Dialog), then the continuous loop setting will be saved and applied, as well.

Upgrade Recommendation: If you wish. This is a “soft recommendation” to upgrade. The loop enhancements made to version 2.3.1 were fairly minor, so most folks won’t notice the difference. If you decide to upgrade, this is, of course, a free upgrade for all FloPrompter customers! FloPrompter customers are always requested to download the latest version on the FloSpace Downloads page.

NOTE: Anyone who has NOT upgraded to version 2.3 yet should definitely upgrade today! Version 2.3 introduced many enhancements to the word processor, including find & replace, spellchecking, a thesaurus; direct import and export with Microsoft Word, HTML and (for export only) PDF; and an automatic software update checking utility.

Many thanks to the customers who requested these feature enhancements. As you can see, your comments are heard and result in direct improvements to the software!

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FloPrompter Helps Elementary School Kids Announce the News

A media specialist at an elementary school in Michigan called me to today to make arrangements for a purchase order for FloPrompter. We got to talking and she told me how the students at her school are using FloPrompter.

Every morning, a couple of students make the announcements over the school’s PA system. They also tell the weather, maybe a brief news report. That sort of thing.

The media specialist acts as director and producer, helping the students set things up and deliver the announcements successfully every day. She color codes the text for each student so that one reads text in one color, the other reads text in the other color. She said that FloPrompter helps the kids a lot. When they read from sheets of paper, their heads are facing the desk and it’s hard to hear them. Now that they’re using FloPrompter, they’re keeping their heads up, they’re speaking more clearly, and they’re having a lot of fun. “They really enjoy it,” she said.

That’s fantastic! I love hearing stories about how our customers are using FloPrompter in innovative ways. Public speaking skills are incredibly important in life and the kids at this elementary school in Michigan are getting a head start.

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FloPrompter Helps Courthouse Stay on Schedule

Mr. D., an IT director for a district courthouse in a Southwestern state, sent me an email today to request a new feature for FloPrompter: continuous loop in the teleprompter player window. I couldn’t image what a courthouse would use FloPrompter for, let alone why they’d want a continuous loop feature, so I gave the IT director a call.

The IT director loves FloPrompter’s smooth scrolling. They had been using a PDF scrolling program before, but it tended to be jerky sometimes and had a few other issues. He said that the courthouse would like to use FloPrompter to share the judges’ daily schedules with the public. They could put the schedules for judges A – G on one segment (or tab page), H – M on another, and so on. If FloPrompter just had a continuous loop feature, he said, then he could simply enter all of the judges’ schedules into a file in the morning, set it on “loop”, and forget it for the rest of the day. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable request — and like it could be really helpful to other folks, as well!
I did some research into what it would take to put this feature into FloPrompter, and I think it would be pretty quick to implement. So even though we just published version 2.3 a few days ago, I’ve decided to schedule version 2.3.1 with the continuous loop feature for this weekend.

Thanks for the great idea, Mr. D., and for helping to make FloPrompter not only the most innovative PC-based teleprompter, but also the most responsive to customer requests! (Well, we would like to think we are, anyways! 🙂 ) Check back next Monday to download version 2.3.1 of FloPrompter with the continuous loop feature.

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FloSpace FloPrompter 2.3 Released!

We’re pleased to announce the release of FloPrompter 2.3!

FloPrompter version 2.3 has so many new features, we probably could have called it “3.0” — but we decided to just increment the number instead. This also means that it’s a free upgrade for all current FloPrompter customers!
The development emphasis for this release was on improving the word processing capabilities of the authoring window, adding a automatic software check capability, and improving integration with Microsoft Word. Check out this list of impressive new features:

  • Spellchecking: New for 2.3! FloPrompter supports both live spellchecking (look for little red squiggly underlines under mis-spelled words) and on-demand spellchecking for the entire document. Right-click on a mis-spelled word to see a list of suggestions!
  • User Dictionaries: New for 2.3! Along with spellchecking, we’ve implemented user-specific dictionaries so that you can build up a list of words unique to your world. Right-click on a “mis-spelled” word to add it to your personal dictionary.
  • Find & Replace: New for 2.3! Now you can look for specific words or phrases. You can replace a single occurrence of a word, and also do global (document-wide) replacements!
  • Thesaurus: New for 2.3! Looking for an alternative way to say what you mean? Check the thesaurus for ideas! Right-click on any word to see a list of synonyms.
  • Import Microsoft Word: New for 2.3! Now you can import Microsoft Word documents! You can also import HTML files.
  • New Export Formats: New for 2.3! What’s better than importing from Word? Being able to export FloPrompter documents into Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, HTML, and more!
  • Automatic Update Checks: New for 2.3! Never lose track of whether a new version is available for FloPrompter. Periodically, FloPrompter will check for updates, or you can click a button to check at any time. And of course, you can turn this feature off, if you prefer, in the Options Dialog.
  • Word Processing Improvements: We made major improvements in the word processing abilities of the Authoring Window. Copy and paste are much more robust. Changing text styles (like bold, bullets, or italics) is much faster and stable.
  • Minor Tweaks: We also made a few minor tweaks, like suppressing tooltips in the teleprompter player window while it’s automatically scrolling (thanks to a certain minister in West Virginia for that tip!).

In addition to all of the new enhancements, we finally figured out how to fix a very perplexing licensing error that seemed to only occur at schools and government agencies.  In short, when someone went to enter a valid license key, the licensing system would say something about the user’s not having sufficient administrator privileges. It drove us all pretty crazy.
Well, thanks to the help of a school in Michigan, we figured out what the issue was. We also learned that this issue affected anyone in a managed information technology environment (for example, where your IT manager gives regular users limited rights to install new software). The solution was to store the FloPrompter license key in a different part of the user’s hard drive than we had been doing before. Current FloPrompter customers don’t have to worry — FloPrompter will automatically move the license key information to the new location so you will not have to re-enter the key.

Upgrade Recommendation: Critical Release. Because this is such a major upgrade in features, including the new automatic upgrade checking capability, we strongly recommend upgrading. If you decide to upgrade, this is, of course, a free upgrade for all FloPrompter customers! FloPrompter customers are always requested to download the latest version on the FloSpace Downloads page.

Many thanks to the customers (and potential customers) who requested these feature enhancements. As you can see, your comments are heard and result in direct improvements to the software!

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