Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

You are currently browsing the Virtuous cycle weblog archives in 'Gadgets' category.

Return to 'Virtuous cycle' home page

Backup your Gmail before it’s too late

At last I got concerned about possibility of losing access to my primary Gmail account – and with it to all my mail – sufficient enough that I decided to make an effort and learn how to make an offline copy of my mailbox.

First I found this tutorial on how to setup a daily backup routine from the command line.

The solution is fancy enough, but I thought, why not simply use Apple’s Mail app to get all the mail on the desktop?

Here we go.

I was following instructions from here and here.

Synchronization seems to work all right, so aside from backup, now I can use Mail app to work on email offline.




Got a fixed phone number… from skype

I wanted to renew credit for skype calling, but in the process I discovered that I can set up a fixed phone number as well.

This is really cool, and just in time when I thought that it would be nice to have some kind of a fixed line number. But a fixed number without having to get actual fixed line is even better.

Unlimited local calls don’t hurt either.

If I figure how to set up a fax on this number, then it would really satisfy all my phone related needs.

Update: unfortunately it seems faxing is not really something you can do on voip.




Orange to bring iPhone to Poland?

See here:

PARIS (Thomson Financial) – France Telecom’s Orange is “in discussions” with
Apple Inc. to sell the iPhone outside France, where it has distributed it since
November.

CFO Gervais Pellissier said the company is in talks with Apple on the
subject, in particular with regard to Spain and Poland “among others”.

Let’s hope so, I don’t like the idea to buy a hacked phone.

But meanwhile, I’m busy enough not to have time for anything. Hence no posting. I even worked on May long weekend, can you believe it.

The only exception is playing with my new mac. I’m typing on it right now. Hopefully I will have time to post about first impressions & issues.

I want an Internet phone and all that Nokia can offer is this brick (N95)

Yup I need a phone that can connect to wifi and allow convenient browsing while I don’t have laptop with me. Doesn’t need to replace my ipod, but it wouldn’t hurt, one less gadget to carry around.

After trying to learn differences between gazillion Nokia models I ended up with conclusion that this is supposed to be the best that Nokia can offer – N95:

20080208 Nokia N95.jpg

It looks like a brick, with especially awful cheap shiny buttons on a side (one I held was plum, not black, and it looked far worse than picture). It seems to have a separate, tiny button for each function, with priority given to the functions that I never expect to use (e.g. conferencing).

It is trying to be also a music player, but I don’t see giving up a handy 8gb ipod for this mess (and besides the one I saw was just 2gb). On a plus, the camera seems advanced (but then again, why need a good camera in a phone).

I’m seriously considering simply buying an unlocked iPhone.

Ironically, I recall article in NYTimes which I read not long ago, about Nokia stance against iPhone. Nokia Pushes to Regain U.S. Sales in Spite of Apple and Google:

Nokia’s executives describe their own reactions to it in flat, unemotional terms that would seem scripted, if the speakers were not Nordic.

“The user interface was what one would expect from Apple,” said Kai Oistamo, the executive vice president for mobile phones. (…)

For now, though, Nokia is counting on its broad portfolio of products, rather than a single iPhone-killer, to fend off the competition. “We’re not a one-product, two-product company,” Mr. Kallasvuo said.

Yes, Nokia, fortunately you are not a company of one elegant, pleasant-to-use product. You are a gazillion substandard products company. Way to go.

Technical progress

Nothing to write home about, but I made some technical improvements which make me really happy.

I added 1gb of ram to my laptop, getting at the total of 1.5gb. It’s hard to believe how much difference it makes. Everything is snappy, there is no delay when switching to window which was unused for some time, and files open momentarily.

I have also moved this site to a better host, on which it is possible to install stuff without debugging it for a whole night. It will allow some long overdue updates.

Why sounds glitches in Vista

Nick White explains why users encounter sound problems in MS latest and greatest OS.

Thoughts…

1) It’s nice thing that such communication occurs at all and MS should be credited for it

2) However, nothing can explain why people who bought new expensive hardware and new operating system from MS get worse experience than what they had 5 years ago… and, as people comment, other OSes deliver better experience on the same hardware

3) I wonder how MS images anyone buying into “PC as entertainment hub” if they can’t even get the simple audio playback right

4) All this makes it scary to think about need to buy a new computer in the nearest future. But new computers should fare better than old ones upgraded to Vista, and hopefully some of these problems will be solved by then.

The only time when I can listed new stuff on my ipod

Is when my hands are not free and I cannot skip tracks.

Sad, this inertia.

Nokia 6230i: good phone, awkward mp3 player

It?s been almost a week since I have a new toy, Nokia 6230i, which replaced my old mobile. The latter was Nokia 3210, which got into so desperate shape that my colleagues started to hint that it became a shame of a phone. So I got myself a new one.

I?m not a gadget maniac, but when I eventually get my hands on a new gadget, I tend to play with it a lot. And so far I like my new Nokia:

Nokia 6230i

At the very start I took a look at Motorola’s RAZR, but then decided to stick with Nokia; clamshells don’t look durable.

Then, having set on the brand, I was considering buying the cheapest model – looks the same for me, and I don’t care much about phone anyway – but then I thought that I could find the phone to be used as an audio player as well, in order to economize on number of devices I have to carry around. That was the reasoning behind choosing 6230i. (read more…)

Origami: story behind the buzz

Dustin Hubbard, Microsoft’s Mobile PC team Group Manager, gives some background for the buzz generated around “Origami” project:

http://origamiproject.com/blogs/team_blog/archive/2006/03/09/19.aspx

The buzz started when the “leaked” video featuring device was discovered, however, Microsoft claims this was not staged:

Myth #2, we leaked the Origami video to create more hype. I can guarantee you that the discovery of the Origami video created by Digital Kitchen was completely unexpected. No one at Microsoft even knew that video was publicly available until someone posted it after finding it by doing an Internet search.

Anyway, the story makes an interesting case study of the viral marketing.

When the device was finally unveiled at Cebit, it turned out to be a smaller version of Tablet PC:

UMPC Origami

In the meantime, quite interesting “Origami” turned into a dull, but not unexpected given Microsoft’s record in (un)inspiring naming, “UMPC” for “Ultra Mobile PC”.

Not that the product itself is much more exciting than the name – it is reported to have a battery life up to 3 hours and cost around 1000$; why it would be better than the smartphones, PDAs and portable game consoles already on the market is anyone’s guess.

100$ “laptop”

Nicholas Negroponte is a mastermind behind “100$ laptop” initiative; after Wikipedia:

In November 2005, at the World Summit on the Information Society held in Tunis, Negroponte unveiled a $100 laptop computer designed for students in the developing world. The project is part of a broader program by One Laptop Per Child, a non-profit started by Negroponte and other Media Lab faculty, to extend Internet access in developing countries.

The homepage of the “One Laptop per Child” association provides the following illustrative on how the Linux-powered device would look like:

Nicholas Negroponte 100$ laptop OLPC

Reactions of the computer industry players are quite mixed. (read more…)