iPad Outdoors

June 5, 2010

This is my second weekend with my new iPad. The iPad was released internationally (I live in Canada) on may 28th. The device is pretty much what I expected but there have been a few notable surprises.

By far the happiest for me is that it works pretty well outdoors even in direct sunlight. It is on par with the first generation iPod Touch I own. The finger prints standout more in direct sunlight but a little bit of elbow grease resolves that. Mind you it is no Kindle. The e-ink screen on the Kindle and other eReaders is gorgeous in direct sunlight.

My second test outdoors with the iPad was a disappointment. Outdoors is one thing but outdoors with sunglasses is another. I wear polarized sunglasses and many screens washout through a polarizer. The Kindle is not impacted at all. The iPod Touch is fine in portrait mode but suffers a bit in landscape mode. Through my polarized sunglasses the iPad is nothing but black in portrait mode. So sad.

This weekend as I sit outside overlooking the lake, I decided to try it again. Notta in portrait mode but to my surprise it’s fine outdoors with polarized sunglasses in landscape mode. WooHoo!!!

Maybe outdoor posts is the only way to get me to blog in the summer.

Odd Watches

February 13, 2010

The Daily Shoot assignment #90

Odd or even: Compose an image with an odd or even number of subjects today, and make a photo.

Odd Watches


January 17, 2010

T9 is dying and being replaced by touch screen keyboards and thumb QWERTY. I think i will miss it.

iPod Touch Applications

July 23, 2008

I have been playing with some new applications for my iPod Touch including a WordPress application.



In response to an audience question during Mix 2008, Steve Ballmer downplayed Apple’s aspirations for the iPhone in the enterprise.

We’ve licensed ActiveSync for a while. That’s been an option that’s been available to Apple. It was certainly an option we knew Apple might take advantage of.

The Microsoft Exchange Protocol License is the key to Apple’s announcement and is a major enterprise coup for Apple. There is no way that Apple could have made any kind of headway in the enterprise space without it. This will hurt microsoft’s enterprise business as much, if not more, than RIM’s. Microsoft Exchange push e-mail/calendar is the only viable competitor to the Blackberry Enterprise Server (an adapter/plug-in for Exchange, Lotus Notes, and Groupwise).

The iPhone is a very different device than the Blackberry. With its thumb keyboard the Blackberry is the device of choice for writing e-mail. The iPhone, with its built-in WiFi and very functional mobile browser makes an ideal platform for any kind of enterprise application that does not require a great deal of free form text entry.

I’m not sure I.T. will embrace the iPhone but I don’t think this is required for it to be successful in the enterprise. The iPhone will be brought into the enterprise by employees who have purchased the device themselves. WiFi access is an effortless first step. Access to existing enterprise web applications is the next step. Exchange push is a natural third step, especially if Microsoft Windows Mobile devices are already supported.

I love stories like these… strategic decisions that have unintended consequences that reach far beyond the original scope. Microsoft has enabled a new competitor in the mobile enterprise space when their only intent was to knock RIM down a notch or two.

Google has announced Android and the Open Handset Alliance. The Android platform will be based on Linux and offer a custom Java “virtual machine that has been designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in a mobile environment.”

The SDK for Android will be made available Monday Nov 12. I’m curious to see if they are going with plain jane J2ME or will they be creating their own User Interface abstraction like the Blackberry. Will there be a C/C++ API in addition to Java? What CPU architectures will they support (Arm vs. x86)? Will they have pre-defined form factors for screen resolution, device orientation, UI navigation (directional keys vs. roller vs. touch screen), and text input (T9, thumb QWERTY, screen keyboard). Will they expose voice/media codecs for 3rd party apps (i.e. can a 3rd party VoIP application take advantage of the DSP codecs rather than including their own running on a general CPU).

The possibilities are endless and that may be the problem with this effort. It is unbounded.

Palm Foleo Mothballed

September 5, 2007

Palm CEO Ed Colligan announced that he has mothballed the Palm Foleo.

Jeff Hawkins and I still believe that the market category defined by Foleo has enormous potential. When we do Foleo II it will be based on our new platform, and we think it will deliver on the promise of this new category. We’re not going to speculate now on timing for a next Foleo, we just know we need to get our core platform and smartphones done first.

In a previous post I mentioned that the Foleo reminds me of the HP Jornada 820 circa 1999. It still does.
Does this market category have “enormous potential” as claimed?

Well, the Foleo seems to target two types of people: 1) people on the go that currently only carry their Treo, and 2) people on the go that carry a laptop and a Treo. So the question in my mind is what added value does the Foleo provide over a “companion laptop” for the Treo? What customer pain point does the Foleo address?

In its day, the Jornada 820 had the nice keyboard, it was lightweight, and it was instant on. The stand-by feature on modern laptops is actually quite good so “instant on” isn’t a big issue anymore. Single spindle (i.e. no DVD drive) laptops can be very lightweight. Solid state drives are coming down in price but for the amount of storage required for Windows or Mac OS X the solid state drive is very expensive compared to a limited OS like Windows CE. The key to keeping the price of the Foleo down is keeping the amount of persistent storage to a minimum.

Ultimately, the Foleo tries to fill the gap when connectivity is limited. The Foleo has WiFi and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth is used as a two-way sync for e-mail/calendar/contacts between the Foleo and the Treo. You use the two devices tethered together where you have a table top (for the Foleo) and no WiFi. The Treo acts as a wireless modem while the Foleo gives you a laptop-like screen and keyboard.

So why not just write the optimized e-mail/calendar/contacts application for Windows with two-way sync to a Treo via Bluetooth? Real Windows running on a laptop?

If this market category has enormous potential for a specialized hardware + software solution then why is there no potential for the same kind of software solution running on a normal laptop that tethers with a Treo?

Would you pay for Palm SuperDesktop for Windows? Then why Palm SuperDesktop for a revamped Jornada 820 clone. I dunno.