Thursday, April 28, 2005

CNET Admits PDA not Dead!

CNET finally admitted that "The PDA is not dead" in their On-the-Go Weekly newsletter of April 14, 2005 (okay, I know this is old news, but I only got to that piece of email now)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Wireless phone for my land line

Okay, so it's a cordless phone for my land line, not a wireless phone ;)

I've been looking for the ideal cordless phone. This has really turned out to be a challenge.

My requirements were simple:
- It must have an answering machine
- must support multiple handsets
- should not interfere with my home wireless network.

The solution to last point would appear to be a no-brainer - just get a 5.8Ghz phone, since wireless networks run at 2.4Ghz - right? Well, an number of so-called 5.8Ghz phones also run at 2.4GHz. To quote an excerpt from the owner's manual for the AT&T E5865 5.8 GHz Cordless Speakerphone/Answering System:

"RF Frequency Band (Handset to Base) - 2400 MHz ? 2483.5 MHz
RF Frequency Band (Base to Handset) - 5725 MHz ? 5850 MHz"

Um, why do I see 2.4GHz there? I must confess that I would not have picked this up if it wasn't for the excellent Consumer Reports magazine and website.
To quote from Consumer Reports "Cordless phones: Sound distinctions" dated October 2004:
"Some phones are dual-band, which means they transmit between base and handset in one band and receive in another. You can't switch the frequencies. One of those bands might cause an interference problem"

One of the true 5.8GHz phones I came across was the Uniden TRU 8885-2. The only problem with this combo is that it does not have a battery backup. A newer model, the Uniden CLX485, does have battery backup, but is a lot more expensive, and - as yet - unproven.

Cordless phones also seem to be getting closer to cellphones with features like:
- downloadable ringtones
- picture caller id (in color!)
- synchronize phonebook (yes, they have phonebooks!) with Outlook
- handset-to-handset talk
- lighted keypad
- multilingual menus

Other resources which proved useful during my research were:

CNET Product Reviews and the websites of stores like Circuit City, both of which have customer reviews. Manufacturer websites like AT&T and Panasonic are wonderful places where you can download owner's manuals.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Couldn't resist...

Okay, so I wasn't going to review Desktop Search engines, but since I'm trying another one I'll give my views on it...
After uninstalling the Yahoo Desktop beta in disgust, I looked around at the other ones out there. I decided to try Copernic Desktop Search, even though it doesn't index ZIP files. Version 1.5 had just come out of beta, so I installed that one. The machine that I intended to use it on wasn't a fast one (a 500MHz AMD K6), so I was interested to see what it would do. For comparison, I also tried it on a 1.7GHz Pentium 4. Of course the indexing went much faster on the newer machine.
Copernic Desktop Search indexs in the background, just like it's competitors. There are settings to make it pause when you are using the machine and resume when the machine is idle (default is 30 seconds). There are also settings for when to scan folders, contacts, emails, etc. It is easy to pause the indexing, or to see the indexing status.

I must say that I'm impressed with the search engine's user interface. It clean and well thought out. Under the Search box are dropdowns to refine search by file type, size, date and even folder. Okay, so even Windows 2000 and XP have this. It's the options that Copernic gives you for building the search index which are so powerful. There are options to include or exclude folders and file types from the index: C:\Program Files was excluded by default - which makes sense - but you can remove this exclusion. You can add folders to be searched for documents, pictures or music. In the advanced options is where it really gets fun - you can add new file types to index (as text).

The search results features a preview pane, something that Google Desktop Search is missing.

Copernic Desktop Search is staying on my machines (for the moment anyway).

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tungsten E - the sequel

PalmOne has just released the Palm Tungsten E2
Here is the PC Magazine review

Thursday, April 07, 2005

So long YDS

Well, after running Yahoo Desktop Search on my new machine for almost a week, I decided to install the latest beta of Yahoo Desktop Search. The support forum for YDS has no search facility (it makes the Yahoo newsgroups look good) so I emailed support to find out if I should uninstall the previous beta first.
No reply, what a surprise!
So I installed the new beta over the old one. It asked for my Yahoo signon so it could index my Yahoo IMs - I don't have any, but the program insisted it wanted a Yahoo userid and password. So I gave it but blocked YDS from connecting to the internet with Norton Firewall when it tried. It came back with an "Invalid userid or password" type message and then it began rebuilding the search index. This was a marathon process - much longer than the first one. When the re-building was finally over I started up the Desktop Search and discovered that they had tweaked the interface for a larger search results pane, so a button had to pressed to show the "Refine Results" section.
All of this aggravated me so much I uninstalled Yahoo Desktop Search completely. Maybe I'll try it again when it's out of beta...

Monday, April 04, 2005

Naked Launch

I decided to uninstall ZLauncher and use the Default Palm Launcher on my Sony NX60.
The default (Standard View) Launcher screen definitely looks naked after ZLauncher.
I also really miss ZLauncher's File Manager.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Google Mail 2Gb!

According to
My Way News: "Google Doubles E-Mail Space"