Saturday, March 15, 2008

Truly Mobile Blogging

In March 2006 I conducted an experiment with the help of Alan. I had recently bought a Dell Axim X51v, a very neat little device which had both Bluetooth and WiFi and ran Windows Mobile 5.0, and I wanted to test the mobile abilities. I spent a week blogging from different cafes around Wellington to test the WiFi coverage and conduct some coffee reviews.

What I found was that MoJo was the best coffee (which validated what Alan and I already knew) and that the CafeNet connection at Rise on the Terrace was the fastest by far. So that was exactly 2 years ago.

Now I have an iPhone; bought from "man on street" in Auckland with a handover of folding stuff in exchange for a tiny black box with a shiny new iPhone inside, all ready for a Vodafone Sim. I plugged it in and bam, everything works. No set-up, no mucking around, it just works; "Man on Street" did the breaking and this baby is truly revolutionary.

I have spent a week now and I cannot put it down; I'm on a massive data plan, thanks to my employer who (quite recently and finally) recognises the value of keeping on top of this stuff, and have been installing (and uninstalling), oodles of apps across the Vodafone network and any convenient WiFi spots.

What I find most incredible is the amount of apps available. It strikes me that we have entered a new era of collaboration where individuals with a desire to develop cool stuff and share it with the world have found a common place to do this.

On my Dell I bought a lot of extra stuff to make it more useful; one of these was a HP 12C emulator which is something I used to use pretty much every minute of every day, less so in my life in NZ, but old habits die hard. I just downloaded a HP12C for the iPhone and, as you can see below, both the Dell and the iPhone are exact replicas. The only difference is that one cost me dosh and had to be installed and one is obtained by magic with no fuss.

HP 12C emulators

My Dell had my calendar. My iPhone has my calendar. Syncing Outlook through iTunes is easy; using ActiveSync was fine and gave a bit more control between my work laptop and home PC but I don't miss it. I do miss the Bluetooth sync as I'll have to buy another docking station but whatever.

The other big use of my Dell was the eReader for a vast library of eBooks that I had been ploughing through. I travel a lot and it was very convenient to sit on a plane and read in down time. With the iPhone I found Readdle where I can upload my books and retrieve them online from anywhere; I can even just e-mail the files to my Readdle account and store my library in the cloud; how cool is that.

The best advantage of course is that I now have live e-mail from GMail and my Pop mail server with iHug and can respond to anything. I'm working on how to tie this into my work exchange server and I have heard that there is a man over the ditch who is doing just that. I have abandoned Telecom (who are the major provider of services to my employer), ported my 027 to Vodafone and will be roaming in Australia on Tuesday; Telecom offer a loan phone for those travelling overseas and that sucks when you want everything in one device.

All in all, the iPhone is a quantum leap in integration of technology. The changes in two years are simply staggering and a good comparison is my two daughters who are about 2 years apart; a lot changes in two years, don't you think?

Miss and Little Miss R

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bookhabit Launches

Saw a post on Rod Drurys blog last week about Bookhabit, a neat new way to get published if you are an author wanting to get your book out there. Through a new relationship at work, I managed to get an invite to the launch party from Stafan of WebFund and got to see what it is all about first hand.

The idea is brilliant and just to get you interested, the lovely Clare, who is the smarts behind the concept, is running a competition with a prize of US$5,000 (yep, real dollars). Go see. Go write and good luck.