And Now, Over to You, Wordpress

It just wouldn't be my blog if I didn't move it. Come on, don't get angry - you never read this anyway.

Here's the new home - in the free Wordpress fold.


The Replacement Treo 700p...

... is working. When I push the on button, it turns on. It hasn't locked up, requiring a reboot. I'm not missing calls anymore, whereas it used to lock up while in the standby position; I would assume it was working, wonder why I hadn't received the expected call, try to turn the phone on, and discover it needed a reboot. Following the reboot, I'd find the voicemail from the missed call.

Reboots? No more. I was accustomed to up to nine of them a day, so the new reality is much preferred. Did I mention that I haven't been able to sync my Treo successfully since December? Until now.

Do I think my Palm Treo is the best thing yet? No. Am I glad to finally get regular, daily use out of it? You bet!


Saturday Morning: Not Among the Snowbound

11am: Sunny 18 degrees

Chilly and windy, but a pleasant day, otherwise. It's so odd to think that just to the west of the city, Interstate 80 is still closed because of snow. Interstate 35 north of the city is closed, too.

The latest.

It's odd because we got off so lightly here - somewhere around 3 inches. An hour north, 10 inches. Drive an hour and a half to the northwest and west, 17 inches of snow. To call this blizzard a minor inconvenience to us is overstating it by a long shot, but just over the horizon, this feels like the storm of the decade.


I Hate My Phone

There are two kinds of phone hate
  • I hate my phone call making device because it doesn't work
  • I hate my phone call making device because it works
I'm a victim of both. Why #1? Because my Treo 700P is driving me up the wall. It locks up constantly, and many days, I find myself rebooting it 7, 8, 9 times. I'm about to make demands that involve getting a new Treo, so that takes care (we hope) of that.

Why#2? Partly because I've never enjoyed phone conversations. Oh, I have my chatty moments, but most of the time, the phone is an intrusion that can't be controlled except in two rather unsubtle ways - ignoring calls or turning the phone off. (My unreliable Treo offers a third way, completely out of my control.)

Is it good for messages? Voicemail is at the chimp level of message transmission. It can't be scanned or organized. The new iPhone will display a list of voicemail messages and that will be a giant leap for humankind. In my last job, I was able to configure the system to email me my voicemail messages - an email with a tiny wav file. That was great because I could get around the archaic commands of voicemail that I could never remember. At my new job, we're back to the world of *6, etc.

With the exception of perhaps three uses, the phone - for me - is an outdated, unhelpful tool. It's good for meetings, and this was something I didn't discover until about 3 years ago when I started participating in lots of conference calls. I don't know what it is about a conference call - maybe it's the voice pumped directly into my ears - but I often concentrate better during a call, and remember more afterward, than during a face-to-face meeting. There are also those times when email and IM simply can't cut it - the wider bandwidth of a phone call saves about a dozen back-and-forth emails. Phone calls are good for interview situations - the high volume Q&A is more efficient over phone.

I'm a big fan of IM and I've used it for 10 years, at times intermittently, at times constantly. I think if there's one drawback to it, it's that it's harder to control the intrusion. But when I'm in thinking or writing mode, I've learned to set the "away" to hold off the intrusion. To that end, the "leave a message" function in both GTalk and AIM is a nice thing.

Yes, so what have we learned? I'm a control freak. I do like to have a measure of control over the interruptions to my workflow. But I'm not so crazy as to assume I can hermetically seal myself off. What I have been reasonably successful at doing is getting people to email me rather than call. And I try to reward the email sender by being as prompt with my reply as I can be.

After the Snow

It won't upload properly to my Tumblog... so here it is: home, post-blizzard, at 11:10 am this morning. We got less snow than expected. Officially, the city got 5 inches, but it's hard to judge because of the high winds. When you're out and about, it looks more like we got an inch or two of new snow.


Can You Hear Me.... Hello?

The past week in Boston has been great for all the reasons I've enumerated elsewhere, but one continuing annoyance has been the troubles I've experienced with cellular reception - both for the phone and for my broadband card.

FYI: I'm a Sprint customer, and perhaps I should do some research on user comments about Sprint reception downtown and Back Bay. (Probably won't get to that soon.) I had trouble all week with dropped calls, and a broadband card that wouldn't ramp up to EVDO. This is on the 33rd floor of a hotel, so I wasn't exactly buried in the weeds, even though it felt like it. The conference floors had somewhat stronger reception but it was still fringe reception - dropping in and out of EVDO continually.

It makes me flinch because I spend $60 a month to access Sprint Wireless Broadband, and most of the time it's fast, reliable, and it saves me lots of connection charges at places like airports, Starbucks, hotels, etc. I tried my cell card for a day in the Powerbook, then gave up and spent $10 a day to get Marriott's ethernet connection. Kind of defeats the purpose to pay the equivalent of one month's access to Sprint broadband to get 6 days of hotel internet, especially when the Sprint card is in my bag.

Well, that's as close as I've come to a rant on a blog since 2001. I'll go no closer.

But let me give a shout-out to the DLink personal wireless router I bought a couple years ago for $60 or thereabouts. No more dragging along a 25 foot ethernet cable so you can sit on your bed and surf the web. Even with cellular wireless and wireless in hotel rooms more common, I still get great value out of this.

You know I never think to take that kit with me to meetings and stuff... it would be an excellent wireless solution for everyone. hmmm.... now what should I charge for that? :)


CBC Google Maps Tuna: It ain't pretty

via Amber Mac: CBC has used the Google Maps API in this interactive map showing high concentrations of mercury in canned tuna.