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February, 2005:

Touch Typing Update & More Clie Woes

Well I have officially achieved the intermediate level of Mavis Beacon Teaches You Typing
and I seriously think she taunts you. I am now doing running the tutor program on both the desktop as well as the laptop, so I have to repeat the lessons on both machines. I am hoping this will allow me to improve my typing on both machines.

I am officially addicted to Adam Curry’s Podcast. I don’t own an iPod but I do like to listen to podcasts at work on the old headphones or take them with me in the car on the old Clie (well the ones that are 44Hz and constant but rate – Clie’s AudioPlayer limitations [see below]) . There are only certain types of music than I can listen while working on databases, but for some reason I can handle “talk radio” if it’s intelligent and well produced. Adam’s Daily Source Code is one of those shows that is immediately addictive, the production is actually decent, it’s not great but the package of the show is so well put together that you instantly forgive his little quirks like pausing to light spliffs as he goes on, not getting the levels quite right, the mobile phone going off and general stuff like that. But all this just serves to remind you that you are not listening to broadcast radio which is the whole point of Podcasting to begin with.

Unfortunately there are not to many other podcasts that offer the same amount of relaxed professionalism, the majority of the feeds I’ve subscribed to have simply been either self loving monologues that either don’t go anywhere or dredge the trenches of smut that you could never put on the “air”. Some it is very funny though, and some of it simply to distracting to listen to at work; like the guy who forecast stuff using his scrotum, Madge Weinstein’s whole Yeast Festival, and the Daily Download. So it’s still really hit and miss. Thankfully Adam is around to go through all the trite for us.

The Clie is really starting to become indispensable to my daily life. Agendus 9.0
is really one of the only thinghas saved this thing from e-Bay right now. The fact that it now does it all including, email folders, memos, tasks, calendar, contacts and the all to valuable Today screen. AvantGo has been a staple app as well, I actually prefer to read the papers on the Clie, no ink and exactly what I want. I find the paper just too messy now and not just the ink. But over all the most disappointing feature above all is the restricted AudioPlayer. It basically only plays MP3′s that have a constant bit rate and that are recording at 44Hz. This is not too bad as anything that I really want to listen to can be normalized in Adobe Audition and them dumped onto the Memory Stick.

The Memory Stick is where the Clie has really let me down. First of all there are just far to many formats of this damn thing that is still two to three times more expensive than it’s counter parts. But the Clie SJ-33 that I own can only use the “blue” Memory Stick sticks, not Pro and not Pro Duo. Sony basically released a hard cased self proclaimed “personal Entertainment organizer” that can only use 128Mb at a time, ok it can also handle 256Mb (128×2) if you can put up with stopping the AudioPlayer to run and app or read data that is other side of the A<->B Stick.

Still Sony could have redeemed itself by providing a driver to handle the bigger PRO sticks, but they didn’t. In fact this particular Clie was doomed form the beginning as it uses the Palm OS4 platform, which should have been called 3.5 because it really did not do much more than 3. In fact the Sony’s AudioPlayer is proprietary and resides outside of the OS so to speak so you can’t download a replacement like RealPlayer or Pocket Tunes and no one can write a player either as Sony certainly is not known for releasing API’s and providing any type of support.

Basically I’m stuck with the Clie and 128Mb Stick as the quality of the player is quite remarkable when all the settings are in your favor. Buying a iPod would be cool, but then I’m stuck without a proper organizer, the Nokia 6585 will never cut it for data entry and the screen is far too small to be used for anything other that quick lookups and SMS text messaging. I though about getting a Palm Treo 600 but then I lose the 320 x 320 screen for a very basic 160 x 160. The other drawback about the Treo is that you need a special adapter to use it with a normal pair of 3.5mm headsets and the fact that it is a phone means the battery life sucks. The problem is that I really like the Palm OS, I like the Apps and I have certainly bought a few great ones over the years. So that leaves me with the Tungsten C or the Tungsten T5. Well the “C” is a fantastic palm as it has a huge memory, great wifi, qwerty keyboard, big screen, and like all Palm’s handles 1Gb SD cards, however Palm shot themselves in the foot by only making it a mono audio output!!! WTF! Who in there right hand purposefully builds anything in 2005 in MONO only! As for the T5, it is too expensive and has weird memory management that forced Palm to give owners a memory card to compensate for the flaw.

Honestly after writing this I’m depressed about my life a Palm Owner. I have no idea what I’m going to do. I am certainly not putting a third device on my belt. The Pocket PC’s are starting to look although they do have their own problems as well… I just have to stick it out a bit longer until either someone get’s it right or Bell Mobility starts selling the Treo 650… like that is going to happen!