Those who are wondering where the July issue of m|ph is need not panic. It's that time of the year once again, when your young and feisty mobile magazine group gets together to plan out even more incremental improvements. And so what we have is a July|August double issue. And it's coming! Really! And when it does, you may want to relish it because it will be the last in the line of... of... Well, I'll keep my mouth shut for now. :) Let's just say that you'll be seeing some pretty significant changes come the September issue... :) But yes, July|August is coming up!
July 2005 Archives
While Sony Ericsson owners are blessed with well-made (and free) PC phone managers such as flOat's Mobile Agent, it amazes me no end how the millions of Nokia owners (as well as Symbian phone owners) seem shortchanged by comparison. Sure there's Nokia’s own PC Suite, but this has lately become a clunky battery of programs that has eaten system resources, worked quirkily, and generally behaved more as a liability rather than as an asset. There are also third-party suites such as MOBILedit, and even stalled freeware projects such as FiveTree’s frustrated attempt at creating a universal phone manager. I've tried them all, and they have proven wanting in many fronts, either from an utter lack of features or simply from utterly annoying interfaces. And then there's Oxygen Phone Manager II. And in my opinion, there's simply nothing quite like it at all. This Russian masterpiece does everything that I want a phone suite to do, such as: • Real-time SMS send and receive • PC archiving of SMS messages • Export of message archives to spreadsheet file formats • Infrared, cable and Bluetooth support • MMS management, including PC archiving of MMS messages and files • Phonebook management • Memory card management • Phone app management • Control over special phone features such as FM Stations lists and MP3 playlists Kitchen sync Oxygen probably has the biggest base of compatible phones in its roster, spanning practically all data-capable Nokia phones, as well as phones from Samsung and Symbian-based phones from Panasonic, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and even BenQ. If your phone has a data or infrared port, chances are good that Oxygen can cover it. It even managed to do the “impossible,
Chanced upon this site from renowned "blogvertising" guru Hugh MacLeod. Here's an interesting concept that involves compiling a community "list" that gets longer and more segregated as time passes. The objective? Well as explained in Hugh's words: This wiki is designed to give bloggers a place where they can centrally collate their links for whatever reason: Work, jobs, love, networking, friendship, apartments, furniture, cars, arranging geek dinners etc etc. Go ahead and build, design, improve and contribute to it as you see fit, in whatever manner works best for you. I'll pay for the bandwidth. The Hughpage wiki is up and at your disposal. Just blogged that you're looking for a job? Then go put the link in the jobs section. Just blogged that you're looking for a date? Then go put your link in the dating section. Just blogged about needing an apartment? The real estate section. Just blogged about something that doesn't have a section? Then create a new section by yourself. No need to ask first. Exactly. Check out The Hughpage.
I was wondering how much I was spending on my power bill by running a desktop PC on 24/7. So I used Meralco's Appliance Calculator (MAC) and figured that I was spending about 900 pesos a month(!) for one desktop PC alone. There are two things going against desktop PCs. First, they are space-hungry monsters, many with tower cases that demand their own share of your room real estate. And second, they wolf down energy like mad. But the desktop world is learning a thing or two from the mobile universe. Consider: o The growing niche for mini PC platforms that are about the size of a book o The trend towards desktop PCs that run on Pentium M processors o The move to make mobile hard drives standard equipment for desktops as well Mobile parts and peripherals are designed for both space and energy economy. You don't need a SuperTyphoon 2000 turbofan™ to cool a mobile processor. Parts that are designed for mobility demand less in terms of power and cooling technologies, as opposed to the latest desktops which seem to only get bigger and hotter and hungrier all the time. More important, the processing power of mobility technologies have become good enough to challenge any welterweight desktop PC anytime. And since most desktop habitues don't really need all that much firepower, desktop PCs based on mobile components are now becoming a viable, if not a more practical, option (Plus, couple that with an LCD screen and you have yourself a really power saving, space saving setup). (Either that, or you can just get yourself a desknote PC, which may be the best of both worlds for the desk-bound set.) If I ran my laptop 24/7, the MAC calculates my power bill to be just about a third of my desktop PC's. Hmmm...
For those of you who have been living with Graffiti, virtual keyboards or other pen-based word entry techniques, you'd know the pain and suffering that's involved just getting your thoughts into your PDAs. Well, IBM claims to have found a better way. The SHARK (Shorthand-Aided Rapid Keyboarding) is a pen-based shorthand system that uses an onscreen keyboard. What makes it different, however, is that instead of tapping on it letter by letter, you slide your pen from one character to the next. Is there a difference? Well, in theory, yes. Tracing from letter to letter makes it easier for you to remember how to "slide out" common words, as opposed to simply tapping (which requires an extensive visual search for every character). The transient digital ink also serves as a helpful visual cue to help you remember the patterns. Does it work? You be the judge. You can download IBM's alpha demo (for XP) here (requires registration). The virtual keyboard is available in regular QWERTY and in ATOMIK formats. The latter is supposed to be better for power sliding, but the new layout was simply way too much for my brain to handle right now. I can't give a verdict just yet, as using SHARK with a mouse was just... way too off-putting for me. I'll wait 'til I get hold of an alpha for PDAs. I have a hunch that it will indeed be much better than just tapping away.
Thank you to the fabulous men and women who link to our site. Found it by accident, really. I was searching for relevant news about how Palm, Inc changed their name once again. But I got the usual "press releases cum corporate Garfield grins" from the web saying how the name change is supposed to streamline corporate hulabahoo and make the world a safer, better place. What next? The Company Formerly Known As PalmOne? Anyway I digress. This is supposed to be a post to plug Technorati. Go there now and search for the blog of your crush.
The ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is the big cheese that regulates the world of domain names, has just approved .mobi as a new suffix for websites. The .mobi suffix will be used for websites that are designed especially for access by mobile devices, which means that such sites would have stripped down pages that require less memory, less bandwidth, and are friendlier for smaller screens. Hmmm. I suppose that the difference between .mobi and regular .wap sites is that a .mobi uses regular HTML formatting... except that .mobi-makers have to remember to keep the pages small and trim. Coming soon: blog.m-ph.mobi :)
Does the world need another video format? Well, if it's portable... The Universal Media Disc (UMD), a tiny optical disc cartridge of about 65W x 64L x 4.2H mm., is the bullet that you chamber into Sony's popular PlayStation Portable. It holds 1.8 gigabytes of data, which is plenty of juice for games. Or for movies. Apparently, Sony is quietly planning to eventually saturate the market with enough UMD movies to turn this into a de facto standard for portable videos. Aside from Spiderman, which was bundled with PSPs in the United States, Sony has just released a slew of movies for video rental in Japan: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Charlie's Angels, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hellboy, Kung-Fu Hustle, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Spider-Man 2, SWAT, The Punisher, Thirteen Ghosts, and You Got Served. Which shouldn't be surprising. Sony does, after all, own Sony Pictures. But Universal Studios is also releasing UMD titles this month, including Assault on Precinct 13, The Rundown, Van Helsing, Dawn of the Dead: Unrated Director's Cut, The Chronicles of Riddick: Unrated Director's Cut and The Fast and the Furious. And, not to be left behind, Fox is also releasing five titles, including I, Robot, Napoleon Dynamite, and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. So what does all of this mean? Well, Sony is on the verge of successfully dominating a new optical medium, something that cannot yet be said about its precariously perched Blueray technology for DVD Part II. And all thanks to the popularity of the Playstation Portable. Next question: Will Nintendo launch movies on their popular Nintendo DS devices? Rumor says so. But this will happen only if the market will bear with movies that have been compressed enough to fit a measly 128MB memory card. More likely, the DS can be used to play back MPEG-4 home video recordings (an adapter is already available in Japan). Other than that, looks like if you want to play legitimate, palm-sized movies on the go, then you'll have to go PSP. Or just wait for DS 2. Note: Word last month is that the UMD format has been cracked, allowing hackers to make ISO copies of UMD contents, which can then be stored on regular CD or DVD blanks. This news may give many studios second thoughts about releasing more movies on this supposedly secure format.
You have Apple on one end, that relies on its "democratizing technology" competitiveness plan to win sales: White looks good on almost anything. Let's make our computers easier to use through graphics. Let's stop naming new products after the periodic table of elements. On the other end you have the open source dudes who rely on idealism, cooperation and creativity to come up with beautiful products like Linux, Mozilla Firefox, Open Office and a lot of other doodads that promote the creative commons project. The third end, which completes the trinity, consists of Microsoft that has been selling Windows as if it invented the GUI. Of course, everyone know that the GUI came from Apple but why isn't it very apparent? Aside from external factors such as Steve Jobs getting fired from own his company several years ago, and the Mac fact that Apple's 189 Theses versus Microsoft did not do get much mileage in court, what happened? What did Microsoft do that Apple didn't? Surprisingly enough, they had a better marketing strategy. While Apple was telling everyone to Think Different, Microsoft was showing people "how to wash those Windows." Check this guy out. Though you might disagree with him, he still makes so much sense to those programmers who speak in code and want to sell their product -- also in code. No marketing, no life. No money. Thus my thesis - that Microsoft is a software company that happens to have a strong marketing arm to highlight their strengths, mitigate their weaknesses, and ghost their competition. Case in point: when your Mac portable breaks, don't you feel some sense of empathy because it "tried its best?" When your PC breaks, it feels like its blaming you for breaking - "Are you sure? - Click Yes or No" is more like a premonition saying "I told you so." That's marketing! Of course, things are a lot different now. Those iPods and iThings are oh so cool. They market themselves so well because they look nice. For consumers, we all win: Everything gets cheaper with the marketing war turning into a price war.
Recent sales figures show that the palmOne Treo 600 and 650 are still currently the best-selling smartphones in the market today. So let's see how well the Treo would hold up to a device that is now being nicknamed the "Treo-killer." The Samsung SCH-i730 is a full-featured Windows Mobile 2003 SE smartphone. This unit has a crisp 240x320 65K TFT screen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and even a mini QWERTY keyboard that slides out, making this unit look much like Samsung's popular SGH-D500 phone (albeit larger and twice as heavy). It also comes with 128MB of memory, infrared, 3D stereo sound, and an SDIO slot. The i730 has just been made available over the Verizon (CDMA) network in the US. Is a GSM version in the works? Let's see. But for now, it's gaining the monicker of "Treo-killer" thanks to its brilliant screen, full smartphone features and stunningly good looks. Whether or not it "kills" the Treo remains to be seen, but competition is always a good thing.
Really neat deals here. You can download their excel document for the complete list of stuff for sale. There's a lot of neat things available from iPods to their accessories, Powerbooks to their software, and even PalmOne units with bundled stuff! Some items to take note of would be: Mac OS X Tiger Bundle (P15,000.00 / save P4,500) Mac OS X Tiger, iWork, iLife Powerbook 12 inch with free iPod shuffle (P105,500 / save P6,990) iPod 20GB Clickwheel (P16,000 / 20% discount) ... and much more! You can visit the store at the 3/F Glorietta 3 Ayala Center in Makati. Give them a call at 752-8382 to check whether some lucky bastard bought that Powerbook you wanted. I for one, have spent my limit on stuff so boo-hoo for me! :(
Another public service from your jolly editors: Our very local Ynzal is having a mid-year sale for pre-owned Apple hardware. Included here are some old gen Mac portables below P15,000.00. The great thing about Macs is that like wine, they age well. You can very well install Mac OS X Tiger on one of these 400MHz babies. One of our friends relates his experience when he called and visited Ynzal to inspect one of the units. If you're interested, you can dial their hotline at (632) 413-7574 to 75 or (632) 413-7578 to 79. If you were saving some money for a rainy day or to buy that spanking new PDA, then maybe you could delay that purchase; because a Mac will make your day very bright, cheery, and gay. Here's the link! Oh, they're also having a clearance sale(!!!) for miscellaneous software like Macromedia Flash and the old MS Office 2001 Education package.
I've been hooked on Google's Desktop Search app. Launched in October of 2004, Desktop Search is a tool that runs in the background, keeping tab of your files. Its claim to fame? Use it like the web-based Google to search your computer for files, pictures, and anything else. It indexes not just file names, but their contents as well (for supported file types). The result? If you, like me, have a tendency to be a packrat with your files and keep years and years of data, then Googling your desktop can be a pretty fun experience. Type the name of a close friend and see what files, pictures, and what-nots pop up. I am often pleasantly surprised with the stuff that I have buried in my hard drive. Your results are all hyperlinked, making it really convenient to open these discoveries. You can open the file or the folder that the file is located in. Warning though: If you're the type who has lots of skeletons in your closet, then don't install this app. Or at least don't have your friends huddling around your monitor, lest your past life shows up! (Note: even Google web searches would display a summary of results from your desktop). But if you've got nothing to hide, then you packrats will get a real kick out of this app.
SMART has launched a new service, simply called SMART WiFi. It's a high speed broadband service that provides wireless Internet access for your desktop PC. There's just one problem. It's not really WiFi. At least not according to the definitions set by The Wi-Fi Alliance. Smart's "WiFi" involves linking your desktop PC to the Internet via a directional antenna that points to the nearest Smart cell site. It certainly doesn't use "hot spots," so the brand is bound to annoy people looking for the kind of WiFi that we are now familiar with. More to the point, WiFi is a registered trademark of The Wi-Fi Alliance, which means that it has a right to protect this trademark against unfair use. On the other hand, the word has now entered common usage. But then, most companies that use "WiFi" in their brands and press releases use it in the context as approved by the non-profit Alliance. Smart doesn't. So let's see if the Alliance will issue some form of cease and desist order against Smart in order to protect what "WiFi" should stand for, and whether Smart will claim to its defense that "WiFi" is now a generic term. Abangan.
I'm here at the Glorietta Activity Center for the all-out launch of Globe Wi-Fi, courtesy of GlobeWIZ. I don't want to go into much detail of what the service offers - so you can check out the website here. Basically, all its trying to say is that the whole Ayala Center is now Wi-Fi enabled! That's all I needed to know. Besides, I was really hungry and the garlic mushroom platter with roast beef sandwiches looked really good. I strolled, food in mouth, plate in hands to visit the local Palm OS group through MaPalad (with a lovely tarpouline), the local Mac community represented by PhilMUG, and the other showcase booths of Nokia and Intel. The Globe WIZ service is definitely faster than Airborne Access, one of the more spread out wireless Internet providers in the country. It's also slightly more expensive, yet also has flexible plans (you can do a whole day P400.00 pass with unlimited air time). I guess the main difference is that if you're in any place that has "Ayala" stamped on the real estate deed, be prepared to buy Globe WIZ cards if you're a SMART subscriber. I guess now with all mall coffee shops having WiFi, it all boils down to your favorite blend of coffee. Which is really how it's supposed to be.