January 06, 2009

Access your USB drives via Ethernet

This is a little dated but Addonics has introduced a NAS adapter. It has an Ethernet port and a single USB 1.1/2.0 port into which you can plug, presumably, any USB drive or printer and access it over the network. It can supposedly be accessed from any Windows, Mac or Linux platform, although their site says Linux 2.6 and above and also can be an FTP target.

$55 from ShopAddonics.com, presumably cheaper elsewhere. I may have to pick one up just to play with it.

Posted by tony at 08:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Phoenix HyperSpace (re)launched

Engadget reports (here) that Phoenix Technologies is relaunching their instant-on OS as a downloadable subscription ($60 for 1 year, $150 for 3, in its most flexible form). I haven't played with it at all but I'm not sure I'd buy it.

HyperSpace is a mini-OS that supposedly boots almost instantly and lets you surf the web and connect to WiFi hotspots (for use by HyperSpace). So, it's a mini-OS that essentially give you only the web. Since the web is one of the main things I use my computer for it should be a slam-dunk but an awful lot depends on the browser and how flexible it is -- what engine it's based on, what plug-ins it has and so on. Plus, it could provide a nice layer of insulation between my "real" computer (files, apps, etc) andthe web-at-large. The expensive version lets you toggle between HyperSpace and your base operating system (XP, Vista, Linux, I suppose), and that may be the best way to run it, although I can't see myself always using HyperSpace to surf.

So, again, I dunno. Is Woody a visionary?

Posted by tony at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2009

Catch up

Lots has happened since my last entry. Back in the middle of 2008, my company was bought by a rather large company and we are all employed by them. We made out well, financially, but some of the terms are a bit onerous. However, we have jobs and we can mostly continue doing the things we enjoy for a living.

On the technology front, I've all but abandoned Windows Mobile. Yeah, just when it's starting to stabilize and get some really good apps, this early adopter is jumping ship. I bought a Nokia N95 and T-Mobile's G1 (aka HTC Dream). The Nokia is an absolutely amazing convergence device, containing 2 cameras, a back 5 megapixel camera with excellent optics and a front 640x480 camera capable of video conferencing and live video streaming. Python is available for it and can run its own web server, serving content over the web-at-large. It's a mature platform, running the Symbian operating system (which is in the process of being Open Sourced).

The G1 runs Android, a Linux-based operating system and is an amazing feat. The camera is nothing special but the rest of the features and capabilities are very good, if you're an early adopter and a Linux fan. There are quite a few apps available for it, from a simple bubble level to a web server to barcode/price comparison apps, to Shazam (hold the microphone up to a playing song and it tries to identify it). There are RSS readers, social networking clients, GPS apps, weather apps, stock tickers, pretty much the expected complement of apps. And there are even a few Exchange clients available for it, too -- while GMail is nice, I miss the rest of the features of an Exchange server. Maybe I just need to get used to Google's features but, I have to say, I use a LOT of the features of my Outlook Calendar, Contacts and Tasks and I haven't been able to adjust my usage to accomodate Google's shortfalls/differences. Some of this may be due to the lack of a full-features import client -- I use categories extensively which are brought over as notes, not labels andmany of my contacts' details include birthday, anniversary and assistant information which I've come to rely on (reminders for these popping up on my phone and my Exchange client). While I've looked for other import clients, I haven't yet mounted an exhaustive search but that's on my to-do list -- something that Google doesn't yet support, either :)

I'm also all but abandoning Microsoft products on anything but my personal laptop. I've searched around and all of the services I provide on my home computers/servers can be done with Linux servers. I also intend to migrate from Microsoft Office to either Open Office -- I don't generally demand a lot of my word processor, spreadsheet nor presentation program and have found that Open Office handles my modest needs quite well. I have only just started my migration and it may take the better part of a year to get completely converted but it's underway.

That's a brief rundown on what I've been up to. Now that things have settled down in my "real life", I hope to be able to post more frequently -- I've got LOTS of new toys and experiences to share!

Posted by tony at 07:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack