One Of These Days I Will See This

January 19, 2007

This is by far one of the best films of 2006, and one of the best Sci-Fi films ever.

The excellent and eclectic site Scribez reviews Children Of Men – Alphonso Cuaron (2006).


LifeDrive Notes: Why A LifeDrive?

January 19, 2007

Two words: It’s bloody gorgeous!

OK, sue me for sneaking in a third.

There’s more to it than that, of course.

First, I need to upgrade from my Sony S320. It’s PalmOS 4 and monochrome. I don’t mind the OS 4 (it lets me have my wonderful productivity-enhancing Hacks!), but the screen is sandpapering my eyes these days. I need more contrast. For about a year (maybe less), I did have a Tungsten E courtesy of Ryan of Palm Infocenter. But it had abysmal build quality and after developing many maladies (bad digitizer, then one channel of stereo disappeared, then both), it died of a digital stroke.

Second, I want massive storage. OK, so with the passage of time, the LifeDrive’s 4GB seems rather quaint, what with 8GB iPod nanos and 80GB 5.5-gen iPods. Still, I can get more use of out 4GB than the 128MB max (256MB if I use a banked Memory Stick) of the S320. I can have more pictures; I can have video; I can even have sound (it might replace the jWin SD-based MP3 player I’ve been using).

Third, I can have WiFi. I don’t expect it to be anything like on The Biggest Piece Of Shit Known To Man — there are fewer screen pixels — but at least I will be able to get RSS again. I’ve become a mild (I hope!) RSS addict.

Fourth, I can have Bluetooth. OK, so I don’t really know what I can do with it. My rotten Tracfone cellphone lacks Bluetooth. But I do have a compact Bluetooth keyboard imported from China that I’ve been using with The Biggest Piece Of Shit Known To Man. I’d like to see if I can coax it to work with the LifeDrive. If it doesn’t work (and I really don’t expect it to), I can always fall back to the Palm Universal Keyboard, which uses IR. I’ve had that since the TE and used it with that. Yes, I could also splurge on that new ThinkOutside Sierra Bluetooth keyboard, but I’m not a fan of the feel of that keyboard.

Fifth, I can finally retrieve all the data the TE used to carry. It’s been stuck on my desktop PC all this time. With PalmOS 5, Palm changed the database structure of the four main apps, making them backward-incompatible with OS 4. There’s just no way of getting that stuff back onto the S320.

Sixth, I don’t want a Treo. No. I want Grafitti. I don’t want a teeny-weeny keyboard.

Seventh, I don’t want a TX. I know it has several advantages over the original LifeDrive — better WiFi, for one thing. But it’s just… ugly. Palm, again being lazy, just stretched the TE and gave it the nauseating color of a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome victim.

Eighth, I didn’t really want the original LifeDrive. That is, I did want a hard drive-based PalmOS unit; I predicted its appearance. But Palm, being cheap as well as lazy, placed the OS on the hard disk itself, instead of where it should have sensibly been: on a separate chip. I don’t have to recount the horrors that resulted from that decision.

Ninth, I already have LifeDrive accessories. Shortly after the LifeDrive’s appearance, I was able to pick up on ebay both the Cradle Kit and the Travel Kit each for less than the cost of shipping them!

Tenth, I could get a LifeDrive cheap now. How little it cost me I’ll reveal later on; it’s shocking! Its original $500 price was just ridiculous. And today’s price of ~$350 is still too high given its legion of problems. (The Zire should be $50; the TE2 $100; the TX $150; the LifeDrive $200. Note to Palm: your days of Apple-like pricing are over!)

Eleventh: It’s now possible to alleviate Palm’s foolish hard disk scheme by replacing the Microdrive with a 4GB Compact Flash card. This is what I hope to do. Whether I will succeed or fail is still an open question.


Fear The Future

January 19, 2007

When Being a Verb is Not Enough: Google wants to be YOUR Internet.

Seeing Google as their only alternative to bankruptcy, the ISPs will all sign on, and in doing so will transfer most of their subscriber value to Google, which will act as a huge proxy server for the Internet. We won’t know if we’re accessing the Internet or Google and for all practical purposes it won’t matter. Google will become our phone company, our cable company, our stereo system and our digital video recorder. Soon we won’t be able to live without Google, which will have marginalized the ISPs and assumed most of the market capitalization of all the service providers it has undermined — about $1 trillion in all — which places today’s $500 Google share price about eight times too low.

It’s a grand plan, but can Google pull it off? Yes they can.


LifeDrive Notes: Microdrive Removal

January 19, 2007

LD MD F

LifeDrive Microdrive front

LD MD B

LifeDrive Microdrive back

LD autopsy

Total LifeDrive autopsy, guest-starring the boing-boing stylus!

All for today. Sunday is dd day!


Cancel That Trip To Fantasy Island

January 19, 2007

Sealand Won’t be Sold to Pirates

Previously on this blog: Fantasy Island


Apple’s Future Anti-Competitive Court Date Looms…

January 19, 2007

You could call iPhone perfect

I asked point-blank if third parties would be able to write and distribute iPhone apps and was told, point-blank, no.

However, it appears that there’ll be some third-party opportunities. I’m going to take a guess that iPhone software will be distributed the same way as iPod games: no “unsigned” apps will install, but apps will start appearing on the iTunes Store after successfully passing through a mysterious process of Apple certification — one that ensures that they meet a certain standard of quality and won’t, you know, secretly send your credit-card info to Nigeria.

The lockdown on software is an area of ongoing suspicious interest. I noticed that the iPhone’s pre-release browser was missing some plug-ins. I asked if Real and Macromedia et al. would be writing media plug-ins for the iPhone’s Web browser, and was told that no, the browser would ship with plug-ins, but Apple would be writing them all in-house. Odd, that.

Author of this?

Andy Ihnatko writes on technical and computer issues for the Sun-Times.

Ihnatko is a long-time Mac columnist.

Yeesh.