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HTC Touch Pro

I’ve admired HTC cellular (PDA) phones for a very long time… their cost, though, has always made me choose an alternate.

With the release of the very popular Touch Diamond and Touch Pro (Windows Mobile 6.1) phones has come the opportunity to buy one at an aggressive price ($200 with no contract if you shop wisely on Craigslist).

Most all of the HTC phones are hackable, and there’s a large community preparing custom ROM sets for them.

You’ve never seen a HTC phone?  Well, you may not have seen HTC’s phones, but you’ve probably seen a derivative of their Touch Flow 3D interface… whether they’d like to admit it on not a company in Cupertino popularized that type of interface on a phone they sell in the US through AT&T.

You can check out HTC’s site (URL below) for a list of all the various handsets they make (and not all of them are Windows Mobile — you might notice they also make the Android based G1).

I purchased the Touch Pro because it has both a touch screen and a keyboard… it’s a little thicker than the Diamond Touch, but I’m just not willing to give up on the keyboard yet — but I wanted a touch screen to make browsing the web a little less tedious.  And with Windows Mobile 6.1 you can internet connection sharing built in (so you can tether you notebook very easily without paying any additional fees).

One of the first things you’ll want to do (even if you’re not changing phone carries on the handset you get) is unlock your phone… primarily so that you can flash a custom ROM in that matches your own tastes (you can even customize many of the ROMs yourself).

Touch Flow 3D is wizzy and cool… and will amaze your friends, but let’s face it — isn’t battery life and functionality more important?  And simplicity goes a long way in making the phone more practical for everyday use (after all, you’re probably going to use it as a phone most of the time… or not).

At the moment I’ve got Mighty ROM loaded in my handset; it’s fairly clean, fairly light-weight; and works… I’ll consider upgrading to a Mobile 6.5 versions once those are more stable, and I might consider customizing my own ROM to remove a lot of the apps I don’t every intend to use.

By-the-way, one of the things you may find you no longer need if you go to this phone is a GPS… you can run Google Maps on it, but that requires you have an active internet connection (and that doesn’t always happen in many places), I also loaded Garmin XT on my handset, so I basically have a Garmin GPS with access to Garmin Live (weather and gas prices, I think you can pay a monthly fee for traffic, but there’s no traffic in my area).

All I can say is it’s a GREAT phone, and a wonderful PDA… and my feeling is HTC has gone a long way towards providing us with a convergent device.  Microsoft is rumored to be working on their own handset; let’s hope they’ve studies HTC and will leverage off their design.

The only negatives are battery life (always an issue with a PDA phone, but far less of an issue when you can Touchflow 3D), and radio quality (I suspect that has to do with the way they designed the radio — it’s certainly adequate when cell coverage is reasonable, but you might not get good reception in fringe areas).

http://www.htc.com/us/

Originally posted 2009-06-10 11:00:22.

Re-Usable Shopping Bags

Rather than throw away bags that stores provide to you, why not consider purchasing some re-usable shopping bags?

Reduce, reuse, recycle…

You’re reducing the number of plastic (or paper) bags that need to be produced and recycled (or otherwise disposed of).

You’re reusing the same bag over and over.

You’re recycling, since almost every reusable shopping bag is made from 100% post consumer recycled material.

I know most vendors seem to want to charge around $1 each for these (and that’s ridiculous — and unconscionable to try and gouge a profit on people who are trying to do the right thing), but watch the sales at Walgreen’s, they put regularly advertise their smaller bag (which is perfect for most shopping) at 3 for $1 (with coupon in their advertising circular — look NOW).

Originally posted 2010-04-23 02:00:46.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a real problem, and credit bureaus make it all to easy for individuals who get a little bit of information about you to get your entire life’s story — and use your name (and credit) to make their life better and your life a living hell.

While there’s been improvements in legal recourse for identity theft, your best bet is to guard against it.

To make yourself a harder target, try some simple things like:

  • Elect on-line delivery of banking and credit card statements; utility bills; and anything else you can.  It’s safe, it’s good for the environment, and it reduces the likelihood of mail theft.
  • Use on-line bill payment or pay bills with your credit card; it’s safe, convenient, and it reduces the likelihood of mail theft.  Using your credit card may give you additional rights, and cash back.
  • Destroy paper items that have any personal information on them; cross-cut or confettie shreaders are the best, a fire place, or just mark it over and tear it by hand.
  • Destroy old credit cards, drivers licenses, passports, etc — make sure nothing with personal and confidential information on it goes in the trash.
  • Don’t give out your name or address to any one or on any site or on any phone call unless you know who you’re dealing with and there’s some advantage for you to do so.
  • Remove your name from mailing lists, refuse delivery of mail you didn’t request (that will cost the sender money generally and is more likely to get your name expunged from the list they use).
  • Put a “freeze” on your credit report.  Click here for info
  • Report scammers, spammers, and phishers to law enforcement. Click here for info

 

There are lots of great sites online that are free (free of advertising), and full of information… here’s one of them:

          http://www.consumersunion.org/

Originally posted 2008-11-08 08:00:50.

Critial Microsoft Patch — DO IT NOW

Microsoft has released an out of cycle patch (they only release patches on Tuesdays), this was released today (Thursday), which means it’s an important patch for you to install now.  Get details below and use the Microsoft Update facility to download and install — don’t be part of the problem, take pre-emptive action.

Remember, in general it’s a good idea to check for updates often and install them unless you have a good reason not to.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-067.mspx

Originally posted 2008-10-23 08:00:56.

conglomeration

con·glom·er·a·tion (kn-glm-rshn)
n.

    1. The act or process of conglomerating.
    2. The state of being conglomerated.
  1. An accumulation of miscellaneous things.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


conglomeration [kənˌglɒməˈreɪʃən] n

  1. a conglomerate mass
  2. a mass of miscellaneous things
  3. the act of conglomerating or the state of being conglomerated

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


conglomeration a cluster; things joined into a compact body, coil, or ball.

Examples: conglomeration of buildings, 1858; of chances; of Christian names, 1842; of men, 1866; of sounds, 1626; of threads of silk worms, 1659; of vessels, 1697; of words.

Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The SCO infringement lawsuit over the Unix trademark is over… the Supreme Court has ruled that Novell owns the Unix trademark and copyright, and SCO has no grounds for it’s litigation against.  Just as Microsoft owned and retained the Xenix copyright while SCO distributed that operating system, so Novell retained the Unix copyright while SCO distributed that operating system.

While means, Novell now has a prime asset — and could be ripe for harvesting (that’s a poetic way to say merger, take-over, buy-out).

Which will likely be bad for Linux.

WHAT?

Yep, take a look at what happened when Oracle purchased Sun (one of the largest companies supporting Open Source innovation in Linux, virtualization, etc) there’s definitely movement in Oracle to retract from the Open Source and free (free – like free beer) software efforts that Sun was firmly behind.

Consider what happens if a company acquires Novell and uses the SystemV license from Novell to market a closed source operating system, and discontinues work on Suse; or at minimum decides it doesn’t distributed Suse for free (free – like free beer).

“Live free or die” might become a fading memory.

Originally posted 2010-06-05 02:00:18.

Bush-bashing

Generally I feel it’s bad form to pick low hanging fruit… that’s a clever way of saying you shouldn’t take easy shots… but when it comes to taking shots at George W Bush — I’m all for it.

Mainly that’s because so few criticized him during his eight year Reich.

And current President Barrack Obama is taking every opportunity he can to remind US voters that the current Republican ideas don’t substantially differ from those of the Bush administration — the administration who’s credited with sinking the American economy to the lowest level since the Great Depression.

While my feeling is that it’s a Democratic administration (Clinton) who laid the ground work for the economic blight, certainly the Bush administration did nothing to mitigate it, and likely fueled it with the irresponsible polices, and massive military spending.

But mainly the reason I think George W Bush is fair game for any and all criticism is the way in which he apparently had a free reign to lie to the Congress and American people.

I only hope that I live long enough to see how history reflects on George W Bush…

My feeling is that professional politician have no place in America — vote them all out, and keep voting them all out.

INCUMBENTS

Originally posted 2010-08-09 02:00:06.

The Sky Is Falling!

Don’t you love all the horrendous predictions of cataclysmic apotheosis marking the end of the world?

It seems the general public is always ready for a good scare; and no one seems to remember the big nothing that was Y2K.

21 December 2012, or is that 23 December 2012 — at least Y2K had a consistent date to fear.

Across the world people are making movies, writing news stories, blogging, praying, partying, and generally believing that the Mayans have fore told the end of the world.

Couldn’t it be they just ran out of ink and or paper (OK — chisels and stone) and took a break from filing out the calendar, and then got wiped off the face of the Earth by a Spanish conquistador they didn’t fore tell?

Here’s the translation of the text at Mayan ruins in Mexico called the “Tortuguero Site” that’s being used as “evidence” to support this claim:

The Thirteenth [b’ak’tun] will end (on) 4 Ajaw, the 3rd of Uniiw [3 K’ank’in]. Black … will occur. (It will be) the descent(?) of Bolon Yookte’ K’uh to the great (or red?)

Seems like the experts haven’t quit figured out exactly what the inscription means yet; partially due to the lack of Mayans around to help with the translation, no doubt.

Besides, the end of the world is kind of a Judeo-Christian belief (gotta love religions steeped in drama); there’s no references to any such world ending event in any other Mayan text, and there are plenty of references to events wells beyond this alleged end of the world.

Doubtful that the Mayan calendar fore tells the end of the world; galactic alignment isn’t going to happen in 2012 (besides it’s already happened many times); planet Nibiru (aka planet X) would probably be in sight if it were bearing down on Earth (whoops, that’s a Sumerian prediction — a contributor to drama in many modern religions); major solar activity (actually predicted for 2012-2014) probably won’t destroy the Earth; the sun isn’t scheduled to explode for several million more years; an asteroid could hit the Earth (if it were coming from an oblique angle it might not be noticed quite yet), but unlikely the Mayan’s would have had insight into that; green house gases probably won’t accumulate enough by then; tectonic activity probably won’t increase enough in two years to destroy the Earth…

OK, I’m out of possibilities… other than people just needing something to believe in (read that as fear) I just don’t see anything “real” about any of these predictions… I suspect in the end it will be just like poor hysterical Chicken Little (Chicken Licken / Henny Penny if you prefer the non-Disney version [which doesn’t rhyme]– or just go all the way back to Aesop’s Fables or the Daddabha Jataka).

Originally posted 2010-04-01 02:00:15.

gOS – Nothing but ‘Net

Strike two — another candidate falls by the way side.  Don’t worry, this isn’t baseball so I’m not feeling the pressure of striking out (just yet).

gOS is a descent Linux distribution, and it works — in fact it works nicely.

The applications that come bundles are heavily dependent on Google; and it really doesn’t follow the Mac look and feel very completely (you would have to scab on a better theme and my feeling is that way too advanced for the target audience). 

gOS is also missing most every multimedia capability that an average user would want.  That’s allegedly to avoid legal issues in many countries, but the fact of the matter is if you can’t play a DVD or most video and audio streams a person is likely to find it’s just not an acceptable OS for the general public.

If you want something fairly basic that works when you install it and doesn’t require much fussing, but you’re not interested in multimedia this might be a reasonable choice; but you’re probably better off to stick with a distribution that doesn’t carry the weight of Ubuntu (something derived directly from Debian or built from scratch).

gOS

Originally posted 2010-01-05 01:00:48.

Protecting Your Rewards

Many financial institutions that issue “cash back” or “rewards” debit cards and credit cards are in poor financial shape at the moment.

As a precaution you may want to cash in your points now in order to insure that the institutions don’t make a change to the program that greatly diminishes your value.  In addition you might want to find another financial institution that isn’t in precarious financial condition with a rewards program to use in the interim until your current institution stabilizes.

The two largest banking institutions that have liberal rewards programs that are in financial trouble are Citi Group and Bank of America.

The largest banking institution that has a liberal rewards program that isn’t in financial trouble is Chase.

Originally posted 2009-01-29 01:00:04.

Time To Move On…

For the moment I’m going to hold off making any changes to my BLOG or web site… including moving to a new hosting server.

While I may think the customer service at 1and1 SUCKS, I don’t really need to interface with them very often, so I’m deciding to leave things as they are until after I get moved and settled.

I will be changing my BLOG time zone to Central Standard Time — that may effect some of you; but hopefully your RSS readers adjust the time properly for your time zone and you won’t see anything change (except the time of day my posts get published will now be 1:00 am CST rather than 1:00 am PST).

Originally posted 2009-03-02 01:00:04.