April 11, 2008

After a few days with the MOTOROKR T505

I have to say I love it ... for $80. I wouldn't love it for $120 but I'd still like it a lot.

OK, details. My Motorola MOTOROKR T505 arrived this past Wednesday. $80, about, at this Newegg page.

I guess I should start with a short description. It's a Bluetooth speakphone with a built-in speaker. But the cool thing is it's got an FM transmitter, too, so it can send audio to the radio in your car. Why is that cool, you ask? Because it also does A2DP which means you can stream audio (read: music) to it and it'll forward that to your radio. And that's the main reason I was after something like it. I looked at other items like it, too. The Parrot PMK5800 is nice and powered (you plug it into your cigaratte lighter or whatever they call the power outlet in your car nowadays). There's got to be a problem with that, though, because that puts the microphone waaayyyyy below eye-level and, in my case, below the air conditioning outlets which would probably mean voice pickup wouldn't be as good. I also think that modern cars have their FM antenna in the window or the roof and that means reception's more difficult, too. The Venturi Mini has more features, including the ability to broadcast callerid to the radio using RDS, but, again, it plugs into a power outlet which puts it below my air conditioning vents.

So, I went with the Motorola unit. Call quality is excellent! I've got a Jabra BT8010 headset which also does A2DP and friends have told me that the Motorola speakerphone is clearer and rejects spurious sounds much better. Of course when I have calls piped through the stereo, I have no trouble hearing them, either.

The real question is how's the music? The volume's a little low and it's a little heavy on the bass for me but the separation is good and the fidelity is great. And I like the sound better than my BT8010. YMMV -- your ears may be better than mine, your car may be quieter or, well, who knows. But I like it. And I'm keeping it.

If you want more technical detail, download the Quick Start Guide from here. I've tried all the features except factory reset and they all work as advertised. But email or tweet me if you want more details.

Posted by tony at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Twitter's had it!

An update to my own weblog entry from a few days ago. Comcast has an official presence on Twitter now. @ComcastCares is there and he's listening. More than that, he's helping!

So, now that the suits know we're here, where do we go next?

Posted by tony at 12:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buddy has left the premises

Zoombak sells 2 devices in the US, both based on GPS and both incredibly simple: they keep track of things. Right now they're a tad expensive so you probably won't be tracking your keys with them but that day is coming! For the time being, you can attach one to your dog's collar to keep track of his location and the other you can put in your car for, well, the same reasons. Yes, there's a monthly charge but if you want it, you'll pay.

Why am I telling you about this? Well, for one, it's an interesting application of the technology but mainly it's because I think we're on the cusp of something big. We haven't seen a game-changer yet but one is coming, trust me. I don't know if it's technology (e.g. a new chip) or a new application of an existing technology but between Bluetooth-enabled devices, GPS and cellular technology, all the ingredients are there for a phenomenal location-aware service. We've already got LimeJuice (see this TechCrunch artcle) and they're not the first entry to that market.

So, heads-up!

Posted by tony at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

Convert an PDF to a DOC? An MP3 to an AAC?

Zamzar is an onine service that converts files from one format to another. PDF to DOC or HTML, MP3 to WMA or AAC, BMP to JPG or TIFF, VOB to MOV or MPG, RAR to CAB or ZIP. Free version comes in two forms: registered user or not. Not registered users upload files and get a link back in email (that you provide when you upload the file) to download the converted file. Registered users can maintain multiple files on the site. Then there's the paid accounts. But try out the free, unregistered service first.

Posted by tony at 01:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

Device naming with the 2.6.20 kernel

Well, really, it's the result of updates to LibATA. Man, I really haven't been keeping up my Linux knowledge. Anyway, I happened across this post about it and it's worth reading if you have any confusion about how disks are named. A hint: all SCSI and ATA (PATA and SATA) are now /dev/sd* and ATAPI devices like CD and DVD drives are /dev/sr*

Posted by tony at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comcast issues? Tweet about it!

Who woulda guessed that there's Comcast guy monitoring twitter? Sure enough, @wscottw3 is there. How'd I find out about it? Well, it turns out that @techcrunch was having problems with his connection. He tweeted about it and @chrispirillo replied that he should ping the guy. Go on, take a look at the tweets (here, here and here, for instance) as well as this Techcrunch blog post, I'll wait ...

And, to top it off, @wscottw's got some good posts in his weblog like this one which talks about getting started on Twitter including a short list of who to start following.

One more thing: if you are having problems with Comcast, either tweet @wscottw3 or use this form to send an email to Rick Germano, SVP of Customer Operations at Comcast. And, yes, I got that link from several of @wscottw's tweets.

And, in case you're too shy to ask, I'm tsum over on twitter.

Posted by tony at 08:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack