Friday, May 26, 2006

Cingular 8125 (HTC Wizard) Revisit (Day 1 - Day 2)

I have been using the Cingular 8125 (aka HTC Wizard) for about a week. The overall experience is great. The following is a short journal of my 8125 usage within these 7 days:

Day 1:
I skip the procedure of charging the phone battery for 8 hrs before usage. Come on. The battery is Lithium Ion and it is no memory effect. I really don't believe the myth about the 8 hrs charging. I just want to use my phone!!!

I skip the details about all the basic setup procedure. I'm sure you can find million of articles by google on the web. For me, I ran into an issue as what the other Mac users experienced. How can I sync the Windows CE Windows Mobile Phone with my Mac? I goto the easiest way: Use a Windows XP machine to sync!!! Well, we have to use the right tool for the right thing sometimes, right?

However, how can I import/export my Mac address book to the other machine's Outlook? After fighting for hours by using all the available solutions from the web, I still have no success. In order to save time, I turned on my "old" Nokia 6680 without sim card (in flight mode) and turned on Bluetooth. Goto the phonebook, select all the contacts, and send via bluetooth. Wala!!! All my contacts sent to my newly Cingular 8125 (Note: I receive millions of pop up boxes to ask me I want to accept the incoming contacts or not. Why don't have the "Yes to all" button!?!?)

After imported my 400+ contacts to my 8125, I synced it with my XP box. Open Outlook, tweaked the Last name/First name format and synced all the contacts back to the phone. It's 2:30am. I have all the contacts in my phone. At least, I can use it just as a phone for now. Sleep... z z z Z Z Z Z

Day 2:
Woke up in the morning @ 7:30am and I have 100% charge on my 8125's battery. Took a shower, ate some breads for breakfast, got inside my car, turned on XM Radio Channel 222 (Los Angeles Traffic), and I was ready to start my 40 miles drive to go back to work. Picked up my 8125, WTF? The battery level dropped to 95% already. 5% of the charges were gone within 30 minutes? And I recalled why I hate PPC a lot, PPC likes to eat up battery. After a 2 hrs drive, I arrived my office. I pulled out my phone and the battery indicator showed it has 93% of battery left. Ok, I admit I live next to the hill side and I have very bad signal all the time. May be that's the reason why the battery drain so fast. However, IT IS UNACCEPTABLE for a mobile phone. It should be smart enough to turn on/off the radio in bad signal area. Nokia does a very good job about that. Man... I start missing my 6680.

Around 5:00pm, I checked with my 8125 again. The battery dropped to 55%. Oh yeah, I forget to mention that I have pushed email enabled (Cingular's Xpress Mail Personal Edition). Probably the GPRS/EDGE connection drained the battery. Luckily, 8125 uses mini-USB for sync and charge. I opened up my gadget bag and pull out a USB cable. One side I plugged to my Powerbook USB port and the other end I plugged to my 8125. What? Nothing happen? I got a bad cable? No way... I pulled out my Playstation Portable and plugged into the cable to the PSP's mini-USB port. Hey, the cable works!!! What is the problem? I recalled my Motorola RAZR (V3) had the similar problem before with that cable. So I pulled out my gadget bag again and found the "L" shape adaptor that comes with the V3. I plugged the adaptor to the cable and connect with my 8125 again. Now, everything works just fine.

After I back to home that night, I tried to remove the Xpress Mail client from my phone because I can't see the real benefit of pushing email technology. The phone needs to be online all the time by using push. I decided to use IMAP with my email server (Luckily, I have my personal email server in the data center). After fighting for more than an hour, I gave up.

According to some articles on the web, it is better to run the 8125 in clean version, which means no Cingular's customization. 8125 can do a hard rest by running "Clear Storage" under the System tab within Settings. Once the phone's memory is cleaned and it will automatically reboot. Now, I have the brand new phone again. After finished the initial setup, the customization screen appears. I simply do a soft reset and I skip that Cingular customization procedure. Now, I have a clean version of 8125. Wait, a 8125 without Cingular's customization. Can I call my phone HTC Wizard for now?

Without Cingular's customization, all the GPRS/EDGE settings are not exists. Some of the registry hacks are gone (e.g. There is no E icon with my GPRS/EDGE connection status icon). I spent like 3 hours to google the web and find out tons of useful information about how to setup the clean version 8125. I will go over that for my next post. However, if you are interested, you can goto Howards Forum. It is the biggest mobile phone forum in the internet.

Google Picasa for Linux

Google just releases Picasa for Linux. It supports most of the modern Linux distributions. Grab a copy for your Linux desktop from the Google Lab now!!!

Wait, where is Picasa for OS X!?!?!?! Come on, Google, please release a Mac version of Picasa. I'm dying to it.

Wait... why do I need that? I have iPhoto. Silly me...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

iWeb Problem Solved

Apple finally posted a way to solve the problem of working on the same site with multiple machines with iWeb. The trick is very easy:
  1. Upgrade to iWeb 1.1
  2. Locate the file domain.sites or domain and move it to a shared location online (e.g. .Mac or other network shared location)
  3. Double click the file in the shared location
  4. Done!!!
The original link is right here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cingular 8125 (HTC Wizard)

Finally, I bought a Cingular 8125 as my next PDA phone. My previous Nokia 6680's memory card is seriously corrupted. I will ship the 6680 to update new firmware next week. See if the problem can be fixed or not. The 6680 is such a good phone, so I don't really want to put it into my gadgets junkyard that soon.

My first PDA is US Robotics Palm 500 almost 10 years ago. So I consider myself as a power PDA user. I previously owned 2 Windows CE based PDA: Philips Velo 500 and Toshiba e500. However, the experience was not very good so I always avoid use any Windows CE based PDA. I really like the new Nokia E61 (Symbrian 9.1 v3), but it doesn't come with any camera (a VGA quality camera is fine with me!!!)

The first software I have installed is the unlock software. You can find the instruction at this link. After following the procedure, I plugged in a Hong Kong wireless carrier "3" sim card and wala... it just works. Next, I installed CE-Star so my North America version of HTC Wizard can view/input Traditional/Simplified Chinese. After that, I plugged my phone to the charger and went to sleep.

Today morning, I unplugged the 8125 from the charger. Setup some (Gmail, .Mac, and 2 IMAP4 accounts for work) email accounts (Finally I decided not to use Cingular's XpressMail Personal edition. I still cannot find out the advantage using Push Email over IMAP4). Basically, my 8125 was on either 802.11b network or GPRS/EDGE for nearly 7 hours. I have turned on the bluetooth for about 30 minutes to transfer some ringtones and setup bluetooth modem with my Powerbook. The battery still has about 70% left. Impressive!!!

I will keep use this phone during the weekend and post more personal experience of this phone. Also, of course, any tips and tricks I have ever found.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

Google just released the beta version of the Google Web Toolkit (GWT) yesterday. The GWT is Google's response to Microsoft's Atlas. Both of them are AJAX framework.

I have downloaded a copy of it and tried to play with it a little bit. Good thing is I don't need to touch the markup & scripting to write web application. Bad thing is it doesn't come with Mac OS X version of the compiler and runtime binaries (Darn!!!)

Anyway, it is very simular to Echo2 framework. Hopefully, Google's GWT can clean up the big mess in AJAX framework in the opensource community.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sony's Data Tiles

These data tiles can interact each other. In the video, the "Time Machine" tile can communicate with the other tiles and control the time frame or even animate the other tiles. My favorite is the "Shipping Basket" tile and using the cellular phone to pay for the item.

Yahoo's New Look

Yahoo has released a preview of it's new portal site. The new site is AJAX enabled. Good news is the new portal responses very quick (compare to the slow Yahoo! Mail). Bad news is the new portal only supports IE6 and Firefox 1.5.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The greatest magician - David Chesterfield

His magic is amazing. You have to check it out. Here is the video:

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The other 宇宙最簿

The Korean makes it happened again. The other thinnest notebook computer in the world. It's only 21mm thickness and packaged with Intel Core Duo Processor, DVD burner, Wifi, and Bluetooth. The Apple Powerbook MacBook Pro all of the sudden not cool anymore. I want to get one of this.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Automatic Mah Jong Table

Man... this is no fun. No need the shuffle the Mah Jong after the game.





The new .Mac iDisk public folder path

Apple just simplify the .Mac iDisk public folder path. The new URL to the .Mac user public folder is http://idisk.mac.com/-Public

You can come to my iDisk public folder. Of course, you need to have my password. ^^

Korean's Humanoid

Hey, Chinese back in mainland. Please check out Korean's latest humanoid. Although she looks like a sex doll to me, she is very high tech. Korean is really catching up Japanese now.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

User Manual

How many times you lost your 3 months old applicance user manual? You try to goto the manufacturer web site but find nothing? No need to panic. UsersManualGuide.com archieves thousands of user manuals for you and it's free. Now, you know where you should go next time.

Smartphones Comparsion

I have visited this web site that contains a comparison chart of the current most popular smartphones. It seems Nokia's upcoming E61 is a big winner. Check it out if you are still thinking which smartphone to get. Too bad, the chart doesn't include Nokia N80 and Sony Ericsson P990i.

Microsoft iPod

Recently, I came across this funny video. The background music is perfect with the visual presentation of the Microsoft iPod packaging. Enjoy.

Tea Time...

Do you like drink tea? Black tea? Green tea? Red tea? or even White tea (I still have no idea what that is...) ? The TeaMap helps you to locate the closest tea room for you in North America.

Monday, May 08, 2006

宇宙最簿?


Japanese likes to use this slogan to express how thin the gadget is. Toshiba's Portege series used this slogan before. Korean manufacturer Samsung just releases SGH-X820, the latest model cellular phone. It is only 6.9mm thick and 2.3oz (66g) in weight. It is several mm thinner than Motorola's sucky V3.

R.I.P. - SGI

After suffering for several years, Silicon Graphis (SGI) finlly filed Chapter 11 on May 8, 2006. Who killed SGI? Well, low price Linux servers/clusters, Windows, and Mac OS X did. Anyway, for more details about SGI, click here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

模型神童三四郎

About 20 years ago, there is an anime called "模型神童三四郎". The story talks about the one feet size tall humanoids, which are controlled by a group of teenagers, fighting each other. 20 years later, Japanese really has league about small humanoid fighting. Check out the following video:



Here is the link to the home page about all the japanese robots.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Google Earth Mobile

You can download the beta version of this software for your smartphone right here.

Death Notes Trailer

It's coming out soon!!! Here is the trailer... (In case you don't know what's Death Notes, it's a very popular Japanese Anime. The story is about Shinigami, a devil, owns a couple notebooks called “Death Notes” which are used as killing devices. Whoever’s name they write down in a death note will die within 40 seconds. Shinigami Ryuku accidentally dropped his Death Note in the human world where it’s found by honor high school student Raito. With the death note actually having directions in it for its use, Raito discovers he now has the power to discreetly kill people, and with this new power he plans to change the world in his ideal world by killing off criminals. Eventually the governments of the countries around the world notice the unusual amounts of deaths of their criminals, and figure out someone is behind them, but they have no way of discovering it themselves. That’s when they hire L, a master detective, to find out who is behind the murders.)

Future Combat? C&C? Red Alert? Rainbox Six?

Check this out. New technology to kill more people. Sigh... but it's so cool!

Ugly Chinese Robots

Why Chinese robot is so ugly? It looks like the US robot back in the 60's. What's wrong with them? Take a look at Korean!!! They are catching up with Japan and do better. What a shame!!!

Cingular 8125 (HTC Wizard) vs SE P990i vs Nokia N80 vs Blackberry 8700c vs Treo 650

My 1 year old Nokia 6680 starts having the aging sign. It does have TONS of problems when the first day I bought it: Corrupt memory card, Slow menu, Camera white balance not correct. I know I can update the firmware to fix the above problem, but I'm living in the North America and the Nokia service center does not have firmware for N6680. I can bring/mail it to local/Internet dealer and ask them to flash for me, but I just don't trust them all. Basically, I'm screwed.

Now, I'm in the phone hunting again. I need a smartphone (PDA phone). I need a full feature PDA phone, wifi, EDGE, decent camera with bright flash (I only use it occasionally for fast note taking or remember where did I park), QWERT and regular phone keypad.












I have many choices. To begin with, my co-worker just bought a Cingular 8125. It's a nice little phone and a pretty solid feeling. The phone basically is a HTC Wizard and Cingular rebranded it as Cingular 8125. The does have a HUGE screen and a very nice QWERT keypad. However, it just have the QWERT keypad so I have to use 2 hands to type. It is very convenient to type in 2 hands especially you want to send a quick text message when driving (I know I know... don't use your phone when driving). In addition, I just don't have good experience with Windows CE (or Windows Mobile or Pocket PC or Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition). I owned a couple Windows CE based PDA before and I never have good experience with them. Plus, I'm a Mac/Linux user. Although there are 3rd party iSync add-on, I just don't like them. They always give me problems. Last, one more problem, Cingular 8125 is North American phone so it does not have Chinese!!! I can install CE-Star, but again, I don't like that way.

The next one is Sony Ericcon P990i (Go here for a very GOOD review of the phone). SE keeps delaying this baby so the hardware feature is not basically out of date. 802.11b? What the Fxxk!?!?!?! No EDGE? No way.... It does have the best form factor and software feature, but SE uses to have funny RF capability. I live next to a small hill side and I have very weak signal at home. I am sure I will have problem with this phone. However, it comes with the regular phone keypad, QWERT keypad, the latest Symbian OS 9.1 and UIQ 3.0, Auto focus camera, and it's touch screen. I'm sure P990i is an Euroean/Asian phone so Chinese is build-in. One last touch, you can update P-series firmware very easy without going to the dealer/service center. I'm sure when it comes out, it will cost > US$1,000!!! Man... way to expensive.

OK. Nokia N80. It does have 99% of what I want except it does not have QWERT keypad!!! Damn, what's going on with Nokia!?!?! Ebay is selling it for around US$800-$1000, but no QWERT keypad!?!?!?!? It runs on Symbian 9.1 and S60 3rd Edition. Nice nice little phone but no QWERT keypad. I am sick of using T9 to reply emails. Plus, it's selling for US$800-$1000. Way too expensive.

Next one is Blackberry 8700c. I never use Blackberry device. With the latest lawsuit with RIM, I'm wondering I should go for this phone or not. The phone has full feature as what I like but no touch screen. You have to use the scroll button to go through that huge list of software on the screen. I reallly have no idea how it works. However, I'm keeping my eyes on it at this moment. One thing, it does not have 802.11b/g feature. I can live with that. One mystery, can I use it as my wireless internet modem thru bluetooth with my Powerbook G4 1.6GHz???

Last one, Treo 650. I use PalmOS since the first one form US Robotics so I'm an experience Palm user. The UI for sure is not as nice as Symbian and WM, but it is simple. Tons of 3rd party software out there so for sure I can find what I need. The Cingular version blocks the Bluetooth DUN so I cannot use it as my wireless internet modem. Plus, what the fuck with that UGLY attenna? I know they will have a new Treo comes out without the attenna so I will keep my eyes on it too.

In conclusion, I don't think I will get any new phone until end of this year. I'm screwed. Come on!!! Give me a good PDA phone with the features I want!!! I'm willing to drop US$1k for any phone that can fit into my requirements!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Google Blogger Widget

The Google Blogger widget is buggy.  Probably it is written by a Google engineer using his 20% free time each week to finish it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nokia 6680 and Cingular EDGE

Stupid me. I was using Nokia 6680 since last year May. I was unable to get > 36kbps download speed with Cingular's Media Works unlimited plan. Today, I planned to shop for Verizon's PC card for my 15" Powerbook so I can online everywhere with high speed wireless internet connection. I ran into Howard Forums and found out I don't need to pay extra to get Cingular's EDGE connection!!!

After playing my Nokia 6680 for a couple minutes, I found out I switched my phone's network mode to GSM only. Once I switched to Dual Mode, I can get about 100kbps wireless internet download speed. Wow...

Jackrabbit

My team and myself have worked on our own content repository engine, Valkyrie DBVFS, for years. Recently, I found out there is a reference implementation of JSR170 in the Apache site. The project is called Jackrabbit. Although the functionality is very similar with our design, it is still lacking of the highly secure model we are using.

Apache just released Jackrabbit 1.0 last month. I think it worth to take a quick look on what those opensource guys doing with the JSR.

Nerdy Mr. PC

Someone translated the Japanese lady's last conversation with Mr. Mac as "Hey, don't you think he looks nerdy?" in the Apple's "Networking" TV commercial. Interesting...

CNet Apple Blog

WebOS is back!?!?!

Back in the mid 90's around the .com bloom, there was a company called WebOS.com (I hope remember correctly since www.webos.com is pointing to www.hyperoffice.com now). Based on IE and ActiveX control technology, they recreated a web based desktop environment and bundle with a set of office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, email, and instant messenger).

Now, we are talking about Microsoft Live Office, Google Office, ThinkFree Office, etc. Everyone is trying to do the same thing again: putting business applications online and charge customers with micro-payment. Does it gonna be work again?

6 New Apple TV Commercials

Apple just released 6 new "Get a Mac" TV commercials. You can view all of them at Apple's web site. Or you can view them here.


Virus


Restart


Better


iLife


Networking


WSJ

Personally, I like "Restart" and "Networking".