A long sip of technology tea


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The gadgetology blog

I love gadgets. Portable gadgets that do things I cannot do without the gadget. Gadgets that consolidate other gadgets also sometimes catch my eye (universal remotes). I have over the years had a number of universal remotes. The first one I really loved was the Miracle that ran windows CE. It remains the most interesting (great potential to be more than simply a television and did remote). Currently I have the Logitech and have tired two different versions of theirs.

The miracle remains the best – but sadly it is no longer made.

There are newer programs that leverage the Ipad/Ipod/Iphone world, but they are limited by the screen real-estate. There are computer based and some systems even have newer web interfaces but like anything else, that is limiting as well.  The universal remote needs to have its own view of the world. So, that means some changes, which I am proposing now.

One remote to rule them all and work in the darkness as well please.

Must have

  • Learning – I simply point it at my device and the device (which has a simple RFID chip embedded) responds telling me what it is and what it can do.
  • Programing – simply say hey dude, noticed you have a stereo, HD TV and TV recover, do you want me to create a program called watch TV (or watch dvd, etc)
  • fits in my hand (it can be bigger – but that should plug into the wall and not ever be touched again)
  • adjust to its surroundings (light up screen when it is dark)
  • connect with my DVR and remind me when shows are on that I like (if they aren’t being recorded)

Nice to have

  • small
  • blue (color wise)
  • USB charging
  • actually no – I would like a table top charging system
  • works with computer, phone and all devices

 

The ultimate remote – it is possible and it wouldn’t cost 6 million dollars.

.doc

A sad lament for gadgets that are no more


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Upcoming:

  • New Fred and Ed on my podcast later this month.
  • The Poetry of Sandler Boggs Volume II on the Amazon Kindle later this month

 

The Death of FLOTV

So I have carried a FLOTV device for nearly a year. I loved having television with me for my personal use. However with the new T-Mobile TV I don’t really need the FLO anymore, and the service is now dead. So, I cashed in on the rebate and moved on. The Rebate actually pays for T-Mobile for a year so that works out nicely (and I think TMo is using Flo for their interface and service anyway). I will add the FLO Device to my pile of devices that seemed like a good idea at the time (including the Polaroid POGO printer, three or four different phone headsets that are really quite useless and my collection of 8 track tapes.)

 

Cleaning out my traveling bag

For most of the past 10 years I have traveled (a lot). Recently in my new role I don’t travel as much so I decided after all those years of simply moving my “travel gear” from the basement to my suitcase (and now amassing a whopping 69 pounds of crap each trip thank you oh great inventor of rolling suitcases) it was actually time to clean out the travel bag.

  • How many different cables does one person need? I found 10 cables to devices I haven’t carried in more than two years.
  • How many different car chargers does one person need? I have 20 if anyone needs one (most are USB style – plug it in and go).
  • If you can’t find the device do you need the charger?
  • If you can’t find the charger and it was a cheap device do you need the device?
  • How long are batteries good for?

 

I need a good traveling cable management system (and a few less devices – check out my ebay collection of gadgets for sale!!!!)…

 

.doc

5 tools, one job and a Thursday afternoon (windows phone 7)


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Sometime in the mid 1970’s my father attended an NSTA conference somewhere in the US. He brought me back a circular slide rule, that was my go to device for nearly 5 years. I have sought a replacement for that device for more than 30 years. I still haven’t found it (it had an insert with a star chart, periodic table of the elements on the back and a slide rule on the front. The insert had all sorts of interesting additions and it acted as both a ruler and a protractor. Somewhere or sometime after I moved out of my parents house I lost it.

Yes I know there are devices that do so much more than that device did. I also realize that as a human I was the input, energy and battery solution for that device which in reality was more of a tool than a device. But it is that device that created my love of gadgets. It seems funny now that a tool has drive my desire to have a single device that gets me what I need.

Which brings up the device that most intrigues me right now. Windows phone 7 which launches here in the US in about 12 days. Shortly after the launch of Kinect (which is the other technology I am watching right now). It seems to me that technology is catching up with the vision we all had more than 30 years ago (personal productivity tools) from the phone to the game system. I have a laptop (netbook) that is small enough to carry with me pretty much everywhere and it allows me (affords me) the luxury of long battery life, tablet computer and touch screen device. But the phone remains the device that most will drive change.

I watched the iPhone folks scurry to their devices (and heard them complain about horrible phone service) talking about everything you could do on an iPhone (or for that matter the newer entity the Android phone. I wanted to tell each and every one of them about my circular slide rule and what that meant, but they wouldn’t listen. They had the shiny new rock that would change the world. They had poor service and dropped calls, but they changed the world. Ask AT&T about the Iphone (and now Ipad) impact on their network. It increased the traffic (data) on their cellular network a lot!

Windows mobile 6.5 was a step in the right direction. It gave me a lot of the things I was looking for.

Windows phone 7 will be the game changer. Out of the box I will be able to connect to my Zune Pass and use the phone for streaming music. I will be able to use the phone to play on Xbox live and will have access to all the games on a real gaming platform (Xbox). I will be able to being the process of integrating my life with my internet life (see my blog here, for thoughts on syncing everything). It (the Windows Phone 7) gets me close to one device that will keep me synced between where I am and the virtual me that lives on the internet.

5 killer Windows phone 7 features

  • Mix and match calendars (works and Hotmail) so you can always have family and work events side by side
  • Facebook integration
  • Voicemail visible on launch screen if you have one
  • emails visible on launch screen if you have some
  • tiles

I have the launch countdown timer on my desktop (I haven’t had that since the countdown timer for Windows XP). The world is about to change, and I am excited to be in the mix!

.doc