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.

Well it looks like Google has been partially successful in influencing the FCC rules for the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction.

The agency approved rules for an auction of broadcast spectrum that its chairman, Kevin J. Martin, said would promote new consumer services. The rules will let customers use any phone and software they want on networks using about one-third of the spectrum to be auctioned.

The F.C.C. did not approve a provision that would have required the winner of the auction to sell access to its network on a wholesale basis to other companies. Google favored the rule as a way to hasten competition and innovation in the cellphone industry, a market it is considering.

I wonder if the “open phones” idea would have taken off if Microsoft had proposed it.

Google Plays 700 UP

July 12, 2007

There is a new game being played that I call 700 UP. The move to digital television in the U.S. has freed up wireless spectrum in the 700 MHz range that will be auctioned off this year. The major wireless carriers will be bidding as expected but what is interesting is that Google is lobbying to influence the rules of the auction. On the Google Public Policy blog they have a post promoting a set of open platform rules. Read the rest of this entry »

Ontario Opossum

July 7, 2007

Wow. I have just seen my first opossum. Apparently they are in southern Ontario now. This one was dead, bloated, and floating by in a lake. I guess first encounters are not always memorable.

Squigee Standards

June 25, 2007

Washing windows makes me happy. Actually washing my OWN windows makes me happy so please do not send me window washing party invites. The key is the squigee along with a rag for drying off the rubber side after each clearing stroke and multiple length handles. Broom handles work great for long or high windows and an extension handle for really high windows. I am sure there is a story behind it but the standard broom handle thread is a wonderful thing. Long live seemingly spontaneous standards.

Canadian Disputes

June 25, 2007

There has been alot of angry talk recently in the canadian media about how the provinces are angry at the federal government. The issue seems to be about broken promises over equalization payments. The root of the problem is how revenue from shared resources is distributed and we see this issue over and over in all kinds of conflicts all over the world. When you find oil or natural gas or precious metals or diamonds or fish or any other valuable shared resource who is the owner? In canada it seems that the answer is government and the question is which level of government. In venezuela hugo chavez’ power comes from oil revenues. Same problem in russia. The conflict in Aceh, Indonesia started with the discovery of natural gas. One of the problems is that we allow governments to gather revenue from sources other than tax. If oil revenue in venezuela was first distributed as a dividend to the population and the only revenue the government received was from taxing those dividends how different would policy be?

Slum Revitalization

June 25, 2007

The Globe and Mail has an article about a plan to revitalize one of the slums in Mumbai, India (sorry, i am mobile linkless). The article has quotes from an architect who believes his plan can revitalize slums all over the world. The plan calls for tearing down the shanty towns and create new development with guaranteed housing for the existing slum residents mixed in with high end housing. In my mind there is one key issue, how do you distribute the land ownership rights among the slum residents? It is the key problem. Ok, maybe only i think of it in terms of a land ownership problem. The key problem is how to define who a rightful resident is. How many single level shacks will suddenly sprout multiple levels depending on the rules? How many non-residents will move into the slum just before the census? How many angry and potentially violent people will there be after they find out that they do not qualify. It is a hard problem to solve. Really hard.