Saturday, September 30, 2006

Maybe a good idea

I came across the following site while going through one of my fairly frequent periods of dislike (to put it mildly) for the Motorola RAZR V3c. Even on a cloudy day I was unable to read the screen outside. Why bother getting VZ Navigator if you cannot see the maps on the freaking stupid cellphone screen! Looking for a cheap way to replace the V3c, I found this site: "Cheap No Contract". Basically they sell used cellphones at fairly decent prices. This is ideal for people who have either lost their cellphones or had them stolen, and are still under a contract.

This is a good idea if the used phones are in good condition.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Verizon RAZR bug

The Motorola RAZR V3c from Verizon has a security bug.

There is a way to bypass the automatic lock option which asks for a password when the phone is powered up. Normally, after powering up the cellphone, it asks for a password if you have set the "Automatic Lock" option on. However if you turn on the cell and immediately close it for a few minutes (I haven't timed how long) it appears to bypass the security lock and doesn't ask for a password. A weird side-effect of this is that the phone seems to work as normal except you cannot receive calls - they go straight to voicemail. You can make calls though.

I've only tested this with version .3 of Verizon's firmware, and don't know if it affects the original Motorola firmware.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cellphone Vending Machine

According to an AP article on MyWay News, Motorola is planning to Sell Cell Phones via Vending Machine. The Instantmoto machine is on a pilot program in Chicago. (If the vending machine was female it could be "She sells cellphones by the sea shore...")

I wonder if the machines accept Credit Cards?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Audio and Video Podcats?

Actually, that should be Podcasts.

I've only recently got into podcasts, first just audio podcasts on my iPod Mini, then video podcasts. For the uninitiated, podcasts are basically like recorded radio shows. The ones I've heard so far are either like music radio without advertisements or news type discussions on particular subjects. See the Wikipedia article about Podcasting here.

My two favorite audio podcasts at the moment are both CNET podcasts, "MP3 Insider" - about MP3 Players and related topics, and "Buzz Out Loud" - about new technology - mainly Consumer Electronics. Both are done by two or three professional journalists, and are quite entertaining. Obviously they cover subjects I'm very interested in, so if you want to try podcasts, choose one covering topics you find interesting. Of course Apple iTunes makes subscribing to the podcasts very easy, but there is other free software out there like Juice (previously known as iPodder) which does the same thing. It is also possible to use iTunes podcasts with non-iPod MP3 Players, since audio podcasts seem to be mainly in MP3 format.

Video Podcasts are a bit more tricky. Since I don't have an iPod video, I need to use other software to subscribe to and convert the video Podcasts. The Sony Media Manager software (not free) works for audio Podcasts for the Sony PSP, but I'm not sure about video Podcasts. The Creative Zen Vision:M comes with "Zencast Manager", which handles subscribing and converting audio and video pod Podcasts. Not all of the video podcasts need conversion. My favorite is the short and wacky video blog "RocketBoom".

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Borland's answer to Microsoft's Express

Okay, for the uninitiated, first some clarification (those who understood the blog title can skip to the next paragraph). Firstly, Microsoft's Express refers to the set of free development products Microsoft has released called Visual Studio Express - which includes Visual Basic Express - and SQL Server 2005 Express. These free products are stripped-down entry level versions of their Visual Studio (.Net) 2005 Windows and Web Development suites, as well as a stripped down version of Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 database. Borland, previously known as Inprise before changing its name back to Borland, makes world-class development tools, very popular in Europe. Delphi is a Development tool which was first released after Visual Basic, but was always ahead with innovative features which appeared in later Visual Basic versions.

Borland has announced the availability of the "Turbo Explorer" family of products (see this review in PC Magazine), which includes Turbo Delphi, Turbo C++ and Turbo C# among others. According to Borland's press release, the "Turbo Explorer editions, available as a free download, are fixed, all-in-one solutions that let programmers learn and develop in a single language and platform environment.". The development tools are available here. I can't wait to start "playing" with Delphi Turbo, it will be interesting to compare it to Visual Basic Express.

Borland first released a free version of Delphi, called "Delphi 6 Personal Edition", way back in 2001, and also released an open source version of their Interbase database server.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Battery Malfunction

After all the news about the exploding notebook batteries, I remembered that I had a similar experience with a Dell. It was a Dell Axim Pocket PC, and the battery was not from Sony. I had bought an extended battery for my Dell Axim from a highly rated seller on eBay. When I tried to put the fully charged battery into the Pocket PC it ignited. Fortunately the handheld wasn't damaged. After sending the photos below to the seller I got a full refund (for the battery):

First Picture

Second Picture