Archive for March, 2008

Apple iPhone SDK Launch Party

The Mobile Mondays Boston chapter sponsored an Apple iPhone SDK launch party at the Apple Store in Cambridgeside Galleria tonight. I had fun!

There were probably at least 200 people crammed into the store for a keynote chat by , a prominent iPhone hacker from New Hampshire. Jonathan also just happened to write a book on programming for the iPhone called iPhone Open Application Development.

A handful of companies gave demos of products targeted for iPhones. Most were web-based, including a fantastic Urban Interactive social mobile adventuring demo. A gentleman from 1st Works demoed their Files2Phones product running on an iPhone as a web-based application.The F2P product works shockingly well!

Below are two pictures I captured with my Sony Ericsson w960i. Shhh! Fortunately, no one seemed to notice it wasn’t an iPhone! (Or, this being New England, they probably just politely ignored such an indiscretion…) 🙂

Jonathan Zdziarski Gives His Keynote at the Apple iPhone SDK Launch Party (March 24, 2008)

Jonathan Zdziarski Gives His Keynote at the Apple iPhone SDK Launch Party

Apple iPhone SDK Launch Party Crowd (March 24, 2008)

Apple iPhone SDK Launch Party Crowd (March 24, 2008)

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Obit: Pigboat Explosion Kills iPhone Love Child Off Baja California Coast

CrunchGear is running a contest to give away a piece of crap MP4 music player. Details here:

www.crunchgear.com/2008/03/20/contest-win-this-geekscom-2gb-hunk-of-garbage/

Fake iPod TouchWhat?? Did someone say “win a free geeky device”? Oh yes, my friend, they did! And of course, I just had to enter the contest!

To enter, you had to write a post on CrunchGear.com/bff saying what you’d do with it. Well, my post isn’t exactly about what to do with it, but since the key phrase “pigboat explosion” had to be in the subject line, it got the little wheels in my brain a-turning. So I wrote a fun little posting. Here’s an excerpt:

“McJobs, 2GB, lived a somewhat infamous lifestyle as he claimed to be the love child of the Apple iPhone and a Mexican prostitute, conceived during a drunken spring break excursion. The iPhone disavows any relationship to Mr. McJobs, but did admit to a weakness for cheap tequila. ”

[Read the full post…]

Now, I guess I have to be careful if I were to win the device. According to the unfortunate, underpaid blog writer at TechCrunch who reviewed the device, use of the device “may cause herpes, loose stool, and renal failure.” Yikes! But I’m willing to take that chance for a piece of exotic gadgetry. After all, I do use a UIQ-based phone!

Meanwhile, have I mentioned my cool new scuba gear and underwater GPS unit? (Read the full post…) 🙂

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Good Reads

I have several friends who are avid readers. While I may read a book or two a month (in between my gazillion magazine subscriptions), they tend to read many times more than that, it seems.

So my friend, JP, told me about this social networking site called Good Reads. The point of the site is to share reviews and ratings of the books you’ve read with your friends. Based on what you’ve read, the site will also recommend books that others who’ve read it have also read. (I think it uses Amazon’s recommendation engine for that. The site is an Amazon affiliate and makes some money off presenting links to Amazon for purchases.)

Now, I’m actually pretty tired of the social networking phenomenon in general. May I never join another MySpace/Facebook/Tribe/Bebo clone!!

That being said, I’m okay with joining websites which offer tightly focused communities where social networking isn’t the end all/be all of the offering, but rather enhances the offering. For example, there have been other websites before allowed you to enter the books you’ve read into virtual bookshelves. As a standalone offering, that’s kind of boring. But add the social networking effect where I can see the books my friend JP likes (we have a lot of overlap in the fantasy genre), and it becomes much more compelling.

It’s also fun that the web site offers a “gadget” which can be easily added to your blog so you can share the books you’ve been reading with the world. I just added my Good Reads gadget to this web site. (It’s on the right hand sidebar.) We’ll see how much I like having it there over time, but right now it’s okay.

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Waterbeds for Cows

Having a long day? Take 3 minutes out to read about one innovative farmer in the UK who is thinking outside the box. He installed waterbeds for his dairy cows!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU8_A_EIwAs

I grew up on a small farm in Michigan. Watching this, I couldn’t help but wonder whether our cows would’ve liked them, too. I bet they would have!

Maybe then they would have let us ride them more often. They never let me on them, but they were okay with my brother getting on their backs a few times. My brother, the “cow whisperer”…

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Smartphone Recommendations for Sprint

Let’s say that you’re tethered to Sprint — a CDMA network. Which means that you can’t buy any of the cool unlocked European smartphones from Nokia or Sony-Ericsson (which all run on GSM).

Despite such a tough situation, all hope is not lost if you’d like all of the benefits of buying a smartphone. True, you won’t be able to use an Apple iPhone, but there are other very good devices out there that will help you stay connected to your emai and calendar, plus let you do fun stuff like browse the web, play music and videos, open & edit Microsoft Office documents, and install great third party games and software. Such are the benefits of paying a few bucks more for a “smartphone” rather than one of the cheap-o — and limited — mass market phones.

So a buddy of mine called me today to ask for recommendations on a smartphone and he’s tied to Sprint for another year or two. He currently owns an old Palm Treo device which is definitely past its prime. Here is what I wrote to him in an email.

—————–

Okay, here’s the good news. If you decide to go with any of the devices listed here, I’m sure you’d be happy. So don’t sweat over the decision too much. What you should do is find a device whose style you like, and which you find “easy to use”, however you define that for yourself. Definitely check out some reviews online, as well, before visiting the store.

PALM OS
If you go with a PalmOS device, then I might recommend the new Centro. I was chatting with a guy at the bar the other day who had one and he loves it. It’s stylish, compact, and lightweight. It runs PalmOS, so if you have invested in any software, those products will be able to work on this device, as well. It’s also pretty inexpensive.

WINDOWS MOBILE

  • Moto Q 9c: It’s stylish and runs Windows Mobile 6. By connecting your Exchange account to the device, you’ll keep your contacts, calendar, and email seamlessly sync’ed on the device, just like a BlackBerry. The web browser is reasonably ok. It has GPS (yay!). You can also add an SD card to add more memory (think your favorite music & video on the phone!). This is my current favorite Windows Mobile device (though I don’t own one) and I find it to be suitably responsive. (Don’t confuse it with the original Motorola Q, which is uglier, older, and not as cool.) Not a touch screen.
  • Samsung ACE: I’ve never used this one, but I suspect that it is essentially the same thing as the BlackJack, which was very popular and which I thought was okay. Though I did find the keys to kind of hurt after awhile of using. It also runs Windows Mobile 6 and is expandable with a memory card. And like all of Windows Mobile-powered devices, ought to sync with Exchange over the air. Not a touch screen.
  • HTC Mogul: A buddy of mine has an older version of this device an loves it. I find them annoying, but that may be just me. The cool thing is it runs WM6 Professional (aka PocketPC), so it’s a touch screen, and it has a slide out qwerty keyboard. Oh, and it supports memory cards and has built-in WiFi, which I find to be useful for updating email or browsing the web at home or the office.
  • HTC Touch: It’s a little gimmicky, but HTC put a nice “skin” over WM6 Pro to make it work better with fingers and which is prettier and much cooler than regular Windows Mobile. It was released before the iPhone and has quite a following, especially in Europe. It has all of the benefits of being a WM6 device (like integration with Exchange; multi-media) and it supports memory cards, but I don’t think it supports WiFi. Still, it’s a slim, sexy phone and a lot of fun. There’s no qwerty (or even regular) keypad, so entering long email or text messages would be a pain, but for shorter messages, I’m sure it would be fine. You can find lots of reviews on the web for more information.

I don’t think I could recommend the Treo 700wx because it runs the older Windows Mobile 5 PocketPC, which feels very dated. I’ve used that device before and wasn’t blown away by it at all. Plus, Windows Mobile 6 fixed many of the worst problems that afflicted WM5.

– Anthony

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“Virtually” Push Email on UIQ Phones!

Steve Litchfield, over at All About Symbian, wrote a great article yesterday on how to put Gmail on your Nokia Symbian-based S60 phone. In addition, he noted that you can set the phone to automatically check for new messages every few minutes (the duration is configurable). By setting it to, say, every 5 minutes, you effectively get “push” email just like a BlackBerry! That’s pretty nice, especially for “prosumers” who rely on email but may be often away from the office, such as real estate agents or people who work in small offices without formal IT departments.

(And besides, the BlackBerry user interface is boring boring boring. And it’s too hard to set the damn things up for PIM sync. And who wants to pay extra for the “BlackBerry Bolt-On” like some carriers charge, along with any extra fees that your email provider may tack on!)

The cool thing is that this same capability is built into UIQ phones! So I updated my blog posting from January with the step-by-step instructions for folks like me who are enjoying UIQ devices.

My Blog Post: Putting Gmail on Your UIQ3 Phone 

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Avenue Q Comes to Boston!

Avenue Q has finally come to Boston, and what a great production it is!

Last night, my boyfriend, Bruce, and I caught the Boston show at the Colonial Theatre. He was blown away by it. I thought the Broadway product was still slightly better (and the stage was larger), but nonetheless, the Boston show was brilliant. We both laughed all the way through. And exchanged plenty of glances each time the Boston Blue Hair and suburbanite sets broke out in laughter and/or applause for such risque numbers like “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet Is For Porn.” Needless to say, the cast did a fantastic job and earned that standing ovation. Plus the show is just brilliant to start with!

I was fortunate enough to have caught it last month on Broadway in New York City. It was truly an amazing performance. (And if they’re going to charge an arm & a leg for admission, it had better be!) This show is now one of my favorite musicals of all time.

I bought the CD last night on the way out. I’d have bought the DVD, too — except that they don’t have a DVD of the show yet! Now that Avenue Q has just started its national tour, I bet they’re holding off on a DVD until afterwards. 🙁

But the good news is — at least they have lots of freebies on their web site, including a screensaver, desktop wallpaper, and banners for your web site.

www.avenueq.com/downloads.html

And since I bought the CD, I ripped it with iTunes already. And will be putting the entire album on my Walkman phone in a few minutes. I’m still trying to decide which track I should use for the ringtone…

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Why is honey often packaged in bear-shaped containers?

Recently, I rediscovered my love of honey and I consume it almost daily on my oatmeal and yogurt. I much prefer the taste of plain yogurt sweetened with honey to “lite” versions of yogurt and most other flavored yogurts.

Anyway, it’s been driving me crazy lately wondering where the “honey bear” package came from! Although I typically buy honey in glass jars and have been experimenting with lots of uncommon varieties (desert honey, melon, lavendar, etc.), there’s still that honey bear staring me in the face every time I visit Trader Joe’s.

So finally this morning, I got off my butt to do a bit of investigation on the Internet. And found it on like the third hit!

In short: the honey bear package was invented by the founders of Dutch Gold Honey empire in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1957. The founder and his wife were at a friend’s house eating dinner and discussing the recent death of A.A. Milne, creator of the Winnie the Pooh cartoons, when they thought of the idea. Naturally, sales soared after introducing the container. A new iconic package for an old product was born.

Read more about the founding of the Dutch Gold Honey company, including this story, by downloading the following PDF:

www.dutchgoldhoney.com/store/press/pr_A10.pdf

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Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me! Today is my 39th birthday.

A handful of friends joined me for brunch at the Ashmont Grill in the Ashmont neighborhood of Dorchester.  Amazingly, the 7 of us were able to be seated immediately. The food was great, service was pretty good, and the coffee was surprisingly tasty.

After brunch, we went across the street to check out the open houses at the Carruth, a fabulous new condo development going up right at the Ashmont T station. Well, it’s a pretty cool development. I qualify that because many of the units are oddly shaped, have inconveniently placed ventilation columns, and/or the fuse box hasn’t been hidden in a closet but is located in plain site. I liked most of the units I saw despite the weird layouts, but hated the cheap plastic material used for the surface of the bathroom sink vanities. For a higher end development, one would have expected them to try a little harder on some of these small details.

Oh well. I’d love to buy a property, but this still seems like a bad time and property values, especially in Boston, still seem too high.

And for the rest of the afternoon, I’m hanging at Bruce’s place. Relaxing, doing some web surfing, and catching up on some reading. Oh, and looking forward to some Ben and Jerry’s after dinner… Yum!

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A Night With Jacqueline

I visited my former office yesterday, iSkoot, and snapped a few last pics with my former co-worker, Jacqueline. Then last night, my friend, Dave, and I went out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. After dinner, we went to Atwoods and met up with Jacqueline and a few of her friends.

Isn’t Jacqueline a cutie? And now she’s moving off to San Fran next month! I’m going to miss that girl… 🙁

(Click on a thumbnail to view it full size) 

Jacqueline kissing Anthony’s cheek

Anthony kissing Jacqueline’s cheek

Jacqueline and Anthony at Atwood’s

Dave, Jacqueline and Anthony

Dave and Anthony at Atwood’s

Anthony enjoying a beer at Atwood’s

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