Posted on December 31st, 2008 1 comment
As we wind down 2008 and wind up 2009, let me recap on the obsessions that have kept me coming back to the blog. In looking over the past 12 months, I’ll highlight the top seven obsessions that have swallowed up all my free time this past year. I’ll also take a look at what obsessions might be cropping up for 2009.
Here are the obsessions in order of importance to me.
Picture the ball dropping, and countdown on…
10, 9, 8…
7. Death of My Treo Obsession.
After four dedicated years to the Palm OS and the Treo lineup, and the blog formerly named My Treo Obsession, the obsession that started this blog has ended. I have handed my Treo to my 3 year old son as his new toy phone, and my Treo 700p to my 2 year old daughter for her new toy phone.
6. New Xbox Experience.
The Xbox 360 is my console of choice (though do use a Wii nearly as much) and the New Xbox Experience (NXE) was a fun obsession this year. We got to hear the rumors, leaks, and beta testing of a cool dashboard for the Xbox 360, which in November brought new life to the 3+ year old gaming system. I really haven’t played with NXE much since it came out, due to other obsessions taking up much of my time…also, my general rule when it comes to Xbox is, (1) turn it on (2) start Rock Band 2.
5. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy.
Well this is an obsession that has spanned a decade+, and finally came to fruition (well, sort of) in November 2008. Axl Rose, and an entirely new band, finally released Chinese Democracy. So, the hype was of course huge and the album…well, more of a let down to most. But, honestly, something that was hyped for about 14 years is guaranteed to never match expectations. I can say that I have only listened to the CD three times, which either means I don’t really love it, or maybe I just got old in the past 14 years. You decide. None the less, it was a very exciting past few months discussing GNR all over again. I felt like I was back in high school again.
4. Drumming Stuff.
You may know that I’m a long time drummer. If it weren’t for Rock Band and all the other rhythm games out this year, I probably would have not talked much about drumming on the blog. But, thanks to Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour, Rock Revolution, and others, drumming was a big part of the year. From the new kits with the games, to the ION Drum Rocker, to me building (and temporarily failing) a custom Roland/Yamaha kit to work with Rock Band, it was a great year for electronic drumming. I can anticipate that in 2009, this obsession will likely continue. As my Rock Band drum kit recently died (red pad is a goner), and I plan to continue my soldering challenges of building a custom Roland/Yamaha kit to work with Rock Band, 2009 will be a big year for my drumming obsession.
3. BlackBerry Storm.
Although the Storm has been on the top of my blog posts lately, it tops out at #3 this year. The hype leading up to RIM’s for touchscreen device was just awesome. The release date flops and “not ready for prime time” OS that it released on, made for great posts and quite an obsession. Now it’s stabilizing, and 3rd party apps are cropping up everywhere. For me, I have enjoyed the Storm since I got it, and continue to love it more every day. Since this blog was founded on gadget obsessions, I’m sure the Storm and BB in general will play a big role in 2009 obsessions.
2. Rock Band 2.
This has taken a big part of my life in 2008. What a game! What a soundtrack! What a fun way to listen to music! On and on. I just love this game and everything about it. Rock Band (and Rock Band 2) has brought me back to gaming, has brought me back to drumming and singing, has brought me closer to friends and family (though my wife would disagree), has given me a way to stay close to people who are geographically far away. I get excited every Friday to hear about the new downloadable content (DLC), and rush home Tuesday nights to play with friends. In 2009, I see this genre remaining big on my obsession list, possibly with focus on new DLC or possibly the rumors of a Rock Band 3.
1. You, the readers.
Corny, I know. You may not know this, since I only blog about it once or twice a year, but I spend a lot of time watching statistics of the site. I love seeing what the sites visitors are reading, where in the world they live, and what keeps you coming back for more. As much as I started this blog for myself, it’s built up a few occasional writers (I’m always looking for more writers) and thousands of visitors. In the six months I’ve been using Google Analytics to follow site statistics, I’m happy too see over 5,000 visitors a month and steadily growing. My current target is 9,000 visitors a month by Summer. I’m happy to see some people taking advantage of the Store offerings we added this year (sponsored by Amazon, Best Buy, and Google), and just glad to see that people enjoy reading and discussing the same things that I obsess about. Thank you!
With that, we’ve come to the end…
Happy New Year!
Please share your top obsessions in comments below.
Posted on September 25th, 2008 1 comment
OK, CrackBerry addicts probably already know about the announcement since it dropped at CTIA 10 days ago. I’m here to clear up things, and answer questions (as well as jump up and down like a giddy school girl).
First, BlackBerry has never been known as a media powerhouse (until now). Full disclosure, I have yet to spend more than 5 minutes with a BlackBerry in my hands. The world renowned media powerhouse of course is the iPod and iPhone, that’s not going to change. For me, I’m all about convergence: phone, PDA, media, etc all in one device. This is why I’m writing this.
I am a Slacker user, and have been since the day Slacker opened it’s doors. “What is it?” you ask. Slacker is a few things. First, it’s a web site with online free customizable radio stations, been rocking since early 2007. Slacker is also a desktop client that does the same thing, plus also can manage your personal music (MP3, WMA, AAC, etc). Third, Slacker (what they have strived for) is a personal media player. Yes, an iPod competitor…with a big-ass twist. The personal player stores online radio stations via WiFi on the player that you can take with you (disconnected from the internet) wherever you go. So, it competes with not only iPods, but also internet radio and satellite radio. The player also has storage for your personal media files too (MP3, WMA, etc). If it wasn’t for lack of Bluetooth audio (A2DP) support, I’d have one of the personal players right now.
For some history on Slacker the company: The people at Slacker are the same people that made the very popular desktop media player MusicMatch Jukebox popular in the late 90’s / early 2000’s. They sold it off to Yahoo and Yahoo killed it off with some bad builds and rebranding. The Slacker people have some solid history on the online / PC music player business.
NOTE: I’m not affiliated with BB or Slacker in any way. I’m just a Slacker fanboy.
Now, the announcement has come out that BlackBerry will be getting a Slacker client. I’m psyched! I had been asking the Slacker guys to build a client for Palm OS (since that’s how I’ve rolled for the past 4 years). They never officially announced players other than their desktop, web, and personal player devices, until now.
In the coming months, you BlackBerry owners (and soon me) will have the ultimate converged device. I can tell you from almost two years of use, the Slacker apps are great, and the music (selection & quality) is top notch. To have this app on a BlackBerry is going to be killer! To have it on the upcoming BlackBerry Storm (if marketed correctly) could be an iPhone killer. (I doubt it will really make an iPhone dent, but it is possible).
Slacker for BB, will allow you to download radio stations via WiFi or data plan connection, then play those stations back when you are out of coverage. Means, it downloads the music compressed to your BB’s internal (or memory card) memory. So, FREE music (or subscription for unlimited skips / ad free) just like Pandora, with album art / bios / details etc.
BlackBerry Software Advertisement: Pintones Ringtone Loader For Blackberry.
I can’t contain my excitement for the Storm and Slacker combination coming in November. Great move RIM, and I look forward to becoming a customer soon. And thank you Slacker for teaming up with them. NOTE: I’m under the impression that not many people have known about Slacker, and this partnership is a desperation attempt on Slacker’s part for more market share. As a Slacker user, music aficionado, and converged device junky, this is an incredibly good announcement.
For those of you unfamiliar with Slacker (but are music lovers), I’m telling you, get excited! For those of you who are familiar with Slacker, leave some comments on your opinion of it.
Posted on September 2nd, 2008 No comments
Ok folks, it’s time to shift gears and talk phones. For my long time readers (all two of you), you know that I have been a Palm OS and Palm hardware fanboy since 2004 (long before My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession ever existed). In fact, look at my archives, you will see this blog started as “My Treo Obsession” and was solely dedicated to the Treo 650 and his brethren.
Well, it’s 2008 (for a few more months at least), and I’m in a different place (literally and figuratively). I’m still rocking both a Treo 650 and a Treo 700p (more on the dual device thing later), but that will all end before all the leaves turn red and fall to their annual demise (at least here in Massachusetts).
Yes that’s right, I’m done with both Palm OS and Palm hardware. First, Palm OS….dude, it’s been four years since any real updates have come out. You are still producing more products on that old-old-old school OS (i.e. the Centro). Move on, get the new OS shipping for gosh sakes. Second, Palm hardware. I love Palm hardware. The Treo 800w and Treo Pro are making me drool. I could own one of them immediately if it were not for my employer.
You see, I’m now working in the corporate world, and my employer has a love affiar with RIM and Blackberry. So, unless I want to cough up $250+ for my own device, and $120 per month for voice/data, I need to comply. And with those numbers, comply I will. Why, you ask? I’m cheap and I love gadgets. Put those two together, what do you get? Me saying “later Treo, hello Blackberry”. Just like that. Call me fair weather, but that’s how I roll.
The Blackberry 9350 Storm is supposed to drop on Verizon (my current carrier) sometime this Fall. I hear it’s looking to be in October. It’s going to be CDMA and GSM, which is huge for my argument to my boss. “Look boss, it can be used by our preferred vendor, Verizon, and it’s a world phone for when you need me to travel to San Paulo.” NOTE: I’ve never actually been to Brazil, but you never know.
And for the gadget geek in me. This is the first touchscreen Blackberry… …ever. Can you say “bleeding edge”? That’s where I like to live, except, I’m personally not so fond of the actual bleeding. I’m going to get just about all the things I need in my next device. Let’s list ’em for fun:
- Touch screen
- A2DP (bluetooth stereo audio)
- Media player
- Lot’s o’ storage space
- snappy fast interface (we’ll see about this one)
- high-speed data (i.e. 3G)
- Wireless sync (mail, calendar, etc).
Granted, I no longer will have a physical keyboard (no slider, nor front-facing qwerty). It’s all on-screen (i.e. iPhone). No keyboard will be hard for me to swallow, but what the hell….let’s see if I can handle it. So, I will get to start some iPhone wars, which will be fun.
I have to thank a few folks for this happening. First and foremost, my employer for requiring only Blackberry devices to be allowed network access. Second, AT&T for begin so dumb and losing my potential business by delaying the Bold month-after-month. Third, Palm for not innovating….you know what Palm, my employer used to supply Palm’s and Treo’s to employees, but gave up when they just couldn’t complete with the Blackberry capabilities. Now, my employer restricts Palm’s on the corporate network. Fourth, Verizon. If the rumor is really true, Verizon is stepping up for the first time in history (as far as I know) and being innovative with their devices. It is a first time that I’m truly excited to be on Verizon.
So, what say you users of Palm, Windows Mobile, iPhone, and BlackBerry? Any excitement over this, or is it just me? Are you looking forward to me and our Associate Writer, Pabel, to go head-to-head with the iPhone vs. Storm battles?
Posted on August 25th, 2008 No comments
So, some of you may have heard the name Kinoma before….but I suspect only Palm OS folks. Well, Kinoma Play is a new mobile app for Windows Mobile, which looks to be a solid iPod Touch/iPhone media player competitor. Kinoma Play is for use with music, video, photos, online services, RSS feeds, internet radio, podcats, Flickr, and on and on.
I am a Kinoma user on Palm OS, and it’s a decent app for video. I use it for online video, YouTube, Google Video on my Treo 700p all the time. Though, this time around, it looks like the guys at Kinoma have really made a solid complete media player for Windows Mobile. With really nice animation, background playing, this looks to be quite nice for $30.
Deiter Bohn of WMExperts does a good review.
I think it will easily replace the default Windows Media Player and going to make Pocket Tunes shake in it’s shoes.
Check it out for yourself at http://kinoma.com/play/
Posted on August 12th, 2008 No comments
Just when I thought my days as a Treo user/reporter were dead and gone, I get smacked upside the head with some relevant and shocking news. The folks at TreoCenral have got the scoop on an update to the 700 series, both Palm Garnet OS and Windows Mobile.
I’m truly in shock. Since the BlackBerry Bold hasn’t yet been released on AT&T, I’m still rocking the 700p on Verizon. Read the deets below, and check back later this week for my review, as I will be bricking updating my 700p later this week with the new ROM.
Palm Infocenter is reporting that Palm has released ROM updates for the Verizon version of the 700p and the Alltel 700wx. Most of the folks reported in our forums of success with the last ROM update, 1.10, which was a Re-Release. Remember how the ROM update had been removed because of “Error 3000” (Data network is not available)?
Unfortunately, many Sprint 700p owners bricked their Treos when they updated their devices last year. And whew, that was one heck of a saga. The Sprint ROM update only came about in the first place after TreoCentral forum member Bob-C organized a campaign and wrote an open letter to Palm asking for answers about the crap load of bugs on the 700p.
Palm’s latest ROM update for the Verizon 700p is ROM version 1.11. This is a Radio Patch “for a phone reset issue that occurs under certain specific and rare conditions.” LOL, I’d like to know what those “certain specific and rare conditions” are.
Do you need this update?
To see if you need the update, on your Treo, press Phone and then press Menu. From the Options menu, select Phone Info. Look for the Software Version. If you see:
- Treo700p-1.06-VZW: Before performing this update, you must update your device to version 1.10. This required device update is available here.
- Treo700p-1.10-VZW: An update is necessary and will take approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Treo700p_-1.10-VZW: An update is necessary and will take approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Treo700p-1.11-VZW: No update is necessary.
For more about the update, and for the download, go to Palm’s support site.
Palm also released a Radio Patch for the Alltel Treo 700wx, version 1.12. This upate is also for a phone reset issue that occurs under “certain specific and rare conditions.”
To see if you need this update, tap the Start tab, tap Settings, tap System tab, and then tap the Phone tab. Look for the Software Version. If you see:
- Treo700wx-1.11-ROWEN An update is necessary and will take approximately 15-25 minutes.
- Treo700wx-1.12-ROWEN No update is necessary.
You install the 1.12 ROM update with an expansion card and reader. You can download the update at Palm’s support site.
Posted on August 6th, 2008 No comments
C’mon, the Blackberry Bold has now been deployed in Chile (Movistar) and now Austria & Germany (T-Mobile). What the heck? When is AT&T going to make this happen in the U.S.? Geesh, I’m currently on Verizon, running an old Palm Treo 700p. I’m am going to make a big leap from Palm and Verizon over to AT&T and RIM….but no, I’m still here waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
If it wasn’t for my employer defining that we use Blackberry to connect to our corporate email, I would already be on a Treo 800w on Sprint. So, c’mon AT&T, let’s release this thing….you are going to make lot’s of money on me, my colleagues, and basically all of the current AT&T Blackberry users.
Ok, my rant is over. Just bring us the Bold!
Posted on July 30th, 2008 No comments
Ok, harsh title, I know…. Also, very harsh since I want to get this phone. I’m talking the NEW Palm Treo 800w…that’s right, Palm has something new. It’s been out a couple weeks, so it’s a bit of old news, but the folks are Palm Marketing as not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree. They decided to release this INCREDIBLE smartphone (albeit not the coolest looking gadget) the same weekend that the iPhone dropped. I digress.
Ok, why is this the “greatest smartphone”, and why do I call it “ugly”? Let’s get into it.
Here are the specs and my opinions:
Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Personal preference. I’m not currently a WinMo user, so can’t tell you if this is the best mobile OS or not, but as everyone will tell you, OS is a personal preference.
EV-DO Rev. A CDMA network support
Hands down, fastest “out-of-the-box” internet speeds of any phone on any carrier. Period.
128MB RAM and 256MB flash ROM (about 170MB available to the user)
Pretty common, no complaints.
TI OMAP 2430 333 MHz processor
Small processor, but what’s not advertised is the Palm “special sauce” that was put in to tweak the OS. EVERY review is saying that this phone is smoking fast, faster than iPhone 2, Tilt, etc etc….everything.
110MB internal dynamic memory
1.74 inch square 320×320 high resolution display
Wonderful. I love high resolution. That’s a big reason why I’ve stuck with Palm OS. Now WinMo has caught up.
Integrated 802.11 b/g WiFi radio
In a word, SWEET!!
Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 radio with A2DP
In a word, SWEET!! Wired stereo headsets, buh-bye.
Infrared port (Hmm, another device like the Nokia E71 with IR)
Does nothing for me anymore, not gonna use it.
Integrated A-GPS receiver
In a word, SWEET!!
1150 mAh Lithium ion battery with reported 4 hours of talk time
I’ll be buying an extended battery that’s fo’ darn sure. BTW, try buying an extended battery for the iPhone.
microSD card slot with microSDHC support
Great, now I can get 8GB or 16GB of storage.
2 megapixel camera
micro USB port for syncing/charging/wired headset
Nice and simple, and standardized.
Weight of 5 ounces
Size of 4.41 x 2.28 x 0.73 inches
Ok, WiFi, Bluetooh 2.0 with A2DP, and aGPS all on a device thinner than the Centro…..DUDE, Awesome. Plain and simple, the specs are freakin’ excellent. Yes, it’s touchscreen too….forgot to post that up top.
Now, the “ugly” part. Not sure why, but Palm didn’t put in much of the pretty on this one. It looks like an updated Treo, as a Treo user would expect. What it doesn’t have is the “cool” look of the BB Bold, the iPhone, or the HTC Diamond series. The screen isn’t flush, it’s recessed, the color is blah-blue, the casing is typical Treo. Honestly, no complaints…..it just doesn’t say, “hey, I’m hot, check out my backside to see if the word JUICY is printed there.”
I have been carrying around a Treo 700p brick with extended gigantic battery for over a year. So, I’m not so worried about the cool looking exterior. I need specs, and this baby has it. I really want it, and it’s super cheap (relatively) at $250 for new Sprint customers….which I would be a new Sprint customer (leaving Verizon). The only reason I don’t yet have it is work wants me to be a BlackBerry user, and I’m trying to convince them otherwise. Stay tuned for that saga…
So, what about you? Are you down with the Treo 800w in all it’s spec’d out red-headed step-child glory, or are you moving on?
Posted on December 16th, 2007 No comments
I’ve been slow to posting my Palm editorials and handheld news lately, but here’s something to talk about for a bit. Remember my original posting on this topic (http://MyGGGO.com/?p=53) from April 2007? Well, I have to say that the Treo 700p will be the last Palm Garnet OS product that I ever buy. I’ve put a stake in the ground and can say that it is just too outdated for the stuff I want to do.
Now, there aren’t many better OS options for what I want to do, but as of right now Windows Mobile 6 is going to take my money the next time around. Let’s see, what do I need on my next device: Bluetooth stereo (A2DP), 3G, WiFi, 320×320 resolution (or better), expandable memory, qwerty keyboard.
That said, the iPhone is out (no keyboard, no 3G, no A2Dp). Nearly every other device is out because lack of WiFi support. To my knowledge, the only OS’s that support A2DP (with or without 3rd party support) is Palm Garnet and Windows Mobile.
I still love the Treo form factor, and even like the Centro. But, I won’t spend another dime on a device that doesn’t have WiFi and that needs tons of 3rd party apps to make it look like it’s a product from the 21st century.
So, as of now there is only one device that meets my criteria (HTC Kaiser [aka AT&T Tilt]) and one rumored (Treo 800w) to meet it.
So, I’m now out of contract and not in a rush to get back into a contract. But, as is looks, the 755p and the Centro are really just a waste of my money at this point, and it’s time to join the masses of Palm OS exodus’.
I’ll miss you Palm OS…you are going to lose. Palm OS II is now rumored to be available in 2009. I won’t be waiting that long, and will likely have jumped ship way before you ever arrive. Palm, who are you going to sell this new OS too?
Posted on June 28th, 2007 No comments
Well, I am rounding the final turn for my 2-year contract with Verizon…well, actually it’s only the “new every two” part of the contract. Of course, good ol’ Verizon hooked me into a contract till late 2008 because I made a change to my phone plan a while back.
Anyway, with that said…I am spending my free time (~7 minutes per week), looking for my next device. I know your shocked, since it is so unlike me to waste my free time cell phone shopping.
If I were to buy anything right now…..I would get nothing and stick with my Treo 650. Yup, you heard it right. Here’s why.
1) I like the Treo 700p, because it uses all the same accessories as the 650. I wouldn’t have to buy new memory cards, batteries, cases, etc. It has Bluetooth 1.2 and EVDO. The two things the 650 are lacking. BUT, the Verizon version of the 700p is a dog and a year after it’s release, Palm STILL hasn’t release a ROM update for it. Leaving this device useless for us A2DP and multi-application users. They have released the ROM update for the Sprint version of the 700p, but then I’d have to pay a contract break fee to switch carriers.
2) The Treo 755p…well, there is nothing exciting about this phone. It has the ever-aging Palm Garnet OS, which I still like. It has the newer cooler antenna-less form factor, which is nice…but no big deal to me. The bummer is that it takes miniSD (or microSD with a converter) and has a new battery. So, immediately I’d have to drop about $150 to get the 755p comparable to my 650 in battery life and data storage. PLUS, it’s currently only on Sprint…so, I have to wait until July for this on Verizon.
3) iPhone or HTC Touch….sorry, I need a keyboard. Nuff said.
4) Treo 750 (and 700wx) with Windows Mobile 5….240 x 240 screen resolution. No thanks.
So, that leaves me forward looking at the Summer and Fall months….hoping something will be worthy of replacing the classic Treo 650.
If Verizon and Palm release the ROM update for the 700p, I will buy one on eBay in minutes! But I’m not budging until they “fix the glitch”.
I could always pay the fee and switch to Sprint…that might be a good idea since Sprint’s data plans are WAY cheaper and less restrictive…..hmmm, I sorta like that idea.
Now, let’s talk about the rumor mill. The new Palm Gandolf. Supposedly there’s a Garnet OS and Windows Mobile version of this new smartphone. But, I will keep this short…..no touch screen. No way! Moving on.
Here’s where I get a boner (did I say that out loud). The rumor of a Windows Mobile 6 Treo 800w on Verizon. 320 x 320 resolution. Native A2DP. Native WiFi. Native GPS. All in the great form factor of the newer Treo’s. To me, this is the ultimate device. Now, if it does come out in September (doubt it), I will jump all over this.
If I can stay patient and wait until Labor Day, I think the 800w will be my next device…yup, I will leave the beloved Garnet OS but only because Palm has proven that they are no longer innovating this OS, and really haven’t shown us what’s the deal on the future Palm OS. So, Windows Mobile may be where I head too….if I can wait.
Posted on April 27th, 2007 5 comments
Why do I want to stick with Garnet (aka Palm OS)? Why do YOU want to stick with it?
Do you just love the Treo form factor? If so, doesn’t Windows Mobile 6 BLOW Garnet OS out of the water?
Let’s compare the upcoming Treo 755 series.
755p – Garnet OS 5.x.
- 320 x 320
- HUGE 8GB SDHC card support
- No WiFi, not an option
- Gotta spend $ to get a nice UI
- Gotta spend $ to get a nice media player
- Gotta spend $ to get A2DP (stereo Bluetooth)
- Default browser is blah
- 320 x 320
- SD or mini SD support, what size?
- WiFi with added card
- Decent UI, nice phone app
- Decent media player included
- A2DP included
- Deepfish browser…looks real nice
755w – Windows Mobile 6
I only see two reasons to stick with Garnet OS:
- expansion card capabilities on Garnet is WAY bigger, I think.
- lot’s of time, money, and love spent on Garnet/Palm OS over the years.
Let’s rule out #2 right away. Palm is definitely not dedicated to staying on top with it’s OS, as proven by the 3 year old dull Garnet OS. Once Windows Mobile can support big expansion cards, then there will be no more reasons to stick with Garnet models.
So, the 755p comes out for Sprint on May 14, and Verizon soon after. There is no rumored date for the 755w yet, but we know that we are just waiting for Palm and the mobile carriers to finish testing. Give it a month or two.
Time is really running out for the good ol’ Garnet OS and Palm isn’t moving fast enough on it’s new Linux based OS to keep us all around. To be honest, I think the only dedicated Garnet OS users that will still be around when the new Palm OS comes out, will be the people still stuck in a two year contract with their mobile carrier. Everyone else….will have moved on to Windows Mobile or iPhone.