I’m on an on-device iPhone publishing roll here. The following is a ScreenShot of the WordPress App for the iPhone which is used to publish posts. Somewhat recursive I know.

WordPress on iPhone

December 14, 2009

By the way, when using mobile Safari for the iPhone to view a WordPress blog hosted on wordpress.com as RADThoughts is, an iPhone specific theme is used which is quite nice.

Amazon has now released the Kindle iPhone app in the Canadian AppStore.
It looks good. After installing, the app requests your Amazon login information on first launch at which point your existing books appear in the Archived folder.
Clicking on an Archived book downloads it to your iPhone or iPod Touch. The book then appears on the home screen.
The app has a clean interface that allows page turns via swipes or clicking on the left portion of the screen (previous page) or right portion (next page). Clicking in the bottom margin brings up the extra controls allowing bookmarking, returning to the Home screen, and the same canonical progress bar showing reading location. The killer feature, of course, is synchronizing reading location across devices.

I don't know if its just me but I have absolutely no luck reporting what seem like clear and reproducible bugs.

I sent a bug report to Amazon regarding the PDF conversion problem after the 2.3 upgrade. I received a response in e-mail that looks autogenerated or perhaps my report was confusing. Anyway, the e-mail has a very customer focused section asking whether the e-mail resolves my problem and includes a “If not, click here:” Feedback link which I clicked through. I filled out my information in the form and started typing in the Comments text area but I couldn’t type beyond a sentence or two. Looking at the source I found:

<textarea name=”comments” rows=”10″ cols=”23″ maxlength=”50″>

Nice. I have 50 characters to provide feedback. I like succinct as much as the next guy but sheesh.

My original bug report was the following:

Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon has released updated software for the 2nd generation Kindle including the Canadian Kindle.

I received an e-mail from Amazon describing the update but the update had not yet been pushed out wirelessly. The update binary file can be installed manually. The updated User’s Guide is also available.

In addition to better battery life with Wireless On, the new version brings native PDF file viewing and screen rotation to the 6″ Kindle.

Screen Rotation is available from the Text Size menu (key to the right of the spacebar on the keyboard). PDF files in portrait mode display the entire page. The text is unreadable at this magnification. In landscape mode the full width of the page is displayed making it a little easier to read. Multi-column text is a pain.

@FREE.KINDLE.COM Conversions Broken

Unfortunately the update has broken the user_name@free.kindle.com conversion service. The PDF file is returned in its original format. The documentation states:

Tip: You can choose to convert PDF file(s) that are sent to your device by adding the word “convert” in the email subject line.

This does not seem to be the case with the @free.kindle.com service, at least with my testing.

Canadian Kindle Review

November 22, 2009

The international version of the Amazon Kindle eBook reader is now available in Canada.

I ordered one and have been using it for four days now so I thought I’d write up some my initial thoughts. Ordering the Kindle is accomplished through the U.S. Amazon site (amazon.com vs. amazon.ca). The Kindle Store where you can order books online via a web browser is also accessed via the .com site. The Kindle Store is also available directly on the device. It allows you to search for books, read reviews, and even write reviews.

Text input is via a Blackberry-esque thumb QWERTY keyboard. While reading a book you can start typing at any time. A small search box appears at the bottom of the screen which allows you to search the current book, a dictionary, Google, and others. The keys are round and flush at the edge but raised slightly in the middle of each key. Most of a user’s time on the Kindle is spent reading so the keys are designed to be unobtrusive during normal reading which makes them less than ideal for typing compared to a input heavy device such as a Blackberry. I think this is a good compromise considering the screen is fundamentally different than the computer screens we are used to. Read the rest of this entry »

Bunny Power

April 3, 2009

WiFi Bunny

WiFi Bunny: 3 Watts

Bunny + one rotating ear: 4 Watts

Bunny + two rotating ears: 5 Watts

Kill A Watt: Priceless


Kill A Watt

Garbage Bags and Spandrels

February 19, 2008

I love outdoor black garbage bags with the quick tie feature. Instead of a straight cut, the top of the garbage bag is cut in a curved shape so that you end up with two longer edges that are easy to grab.

Now I’m sure that quick tie was a wonderful feature on its own. Many garbage bag executives probably struggled with the idea of re-engineering their manufacturing processes to add this functionality. For me, I couldn’t care less about the extra handle-like feature. So why do I love them?

Well, having the curved cut has a positive side-effect. A spandrel in evolutionary biology terms.  The curved cut allows me to easily tell the “open” edge from the sealed edge. No more pulling back and forth between the two edges unsure of which side is supposed to open.

Now I’m sure there are other ways to distinguish edge that opens from the sealed edge but it makes me happy that this minor irritation was fixed inadvertently by a feature designed with a whole different purpose in mind.

RADBags with New Opening Detection Technology.  What a wonderful discovery :-)


Jeff Hawkins announced the Palm Foleo which is described as a new device category, the Mobile Companion. The device reminds me of the HP Jornada 820 which is a Windows CE device that was released in 1999 and looks like this. Read the rest of this entry »

Tesla Death Beam

April 9, 2007


Tesla Motors makes a high performance electric car, the Tesla Roadster. I think they should rename it the Tesla Death Beam after Nikola Tesla’s ummmmmmmm….. peace ray.


March 28, 2007

Who is it for?

Nerds – Being nerds ourselves, we know that having a geiger counter is just cool! Particularly when you show your friends all the radioactive items around the house.

Apple announced their highly anticipated iPhone earlier this month. If you want to see it in action you should check out the video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone. The iPhone has a PDA form factor but rather than use a stylus for text input and navigation it uses a “multi-touch” user interface. It looks like Apple nailed the stylus-less touch screen navigation. The scrolling, a kind of thumb/finger flick, looks awesome.

What confuses me, though, is the overall package and what need the iPhone addresses. Does that wonderful touch-screen navigation compliment its other features to create a unique user experience? It is relatively thin (0.46″) but it has a very Pocket PC-like 2.4″ x 4.5″ face which is largely filled by its 320 x 480 pixel screen. This is the form factor everyone expects from a pure video iPod but the iPhone will carry 4 or 8 GB of flash based storage which is Nano-like rather than the 30 or 80 GB disk based iPod. It has WiFi so browsing when near a 802.11 b/g hotspot should be fast but I’m not convinced that browsing on a 320×480 screen will be such a wonderful experience. Have I missed an important software breakthrough on the iPhone that will make 320×480 viewing wonderful? I have used a WiFi enabled Dell Axim with a 480 x 640 pixel screen to browse and it just doesn’t cut it.

I really like the iPhone’s Visual VoiceMail interface but its seems like the hard part is implemented by Cingular on the back end. The phone navigation looks good but is 2.4″ x 4.5″ too big to hold up to your ear comfortably? A Blackberry user pointed out to me recently that “nobody puts their phone up to their ear anymore”. Maybe.

Speaking of Blackberry, is the iPhone a threat to RIM’s dominant position in e-mail centric smart phones? It may take some of the shine off the Blackberry Pearl in the consumer space but anyone that values e-mail or Instant Messaging or any application that requires decent text input will stick with the Pearl.

I’d certainly love to play with one though :-)

Whadya think?