Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Put my Treo aside

Today I left my Treo 650 at home. It is still working, and I haven't replaced it. It is just that I'm swamped with too many cellphones. My boss went on vacation, and left his Blackberry 7130e and LG VX-5200 with me (Tag, you're it!). I used to want a Blackberry, but I much prefer the Treo, even though the Blackberry is almost 2 oz (about 50g) lighter than the Treo.
Anyway, I figured carrying 3 cellphones, including a BlackBerry and a Treo was just too much. Since I couldn't leave the Blackberry at home (as much as I wanted to), I had to leave the Treo...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Motorola Q2? Nein

Well, first some feedback about the Treo 650.

On my favorite podcast, Buzz Out Loud, it was mentioned in passing a week or so back that Treos are no longer the cool phones which everybody carries. I must agree that the latest sleek smartphones are much better looking. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the sleek smartphones run the lighter version of Windows Mobile, which is also lighter on features. They also do not have touch screens - not in itself a problem, as most things can be done on the Treo 650 without using the touch-screen and stylus. It is just the occasional third party app which relies on touchscreen input.

Third party apps and the Palm OS are what makes me not mind the extra bulk of the Treo 650. After going from a plain PDA to a Treo and back to a (not so plain) PDA, this time I decided not to try to use the Treo as my main handheld computer. Instead, the Tungsten T3 remains my primary handheld for now, with its superior screen, and I transfer the information I want to have at my fingertips to the Treo, which I mainly use as a cellphone, and to look up information copied from the T3 with a simple restore from a SecureDigital Card. Okay, the first draft of this blog entry was written on the Treo, but it was pretty easy to get it from the Treo onto the Tungsten T3 and up to the PC and onto the Internet.
Admittedly that is a multi-step process and I could post this Blog Entry directly to the Internet from the Treo 650 - if I was willing to pay Verizon's exorbitant data plan rates. Frankly it would be cheaper to write the blog on my Palm TX and post it via Wi-Fi on my home broadband connection. It would take the equivalent of 3 months or so of Verizon's "unlimited" data plan to pay for a bluetooth keyboard to use with the Palm TX - a keyboard being a lot faster for me than Graffiti handwriting recognition.

Oh, and Motorola's follow up to the Motorola Q, inexplicably called the Q9? The specs sound good, but it is only likely to get to Verizon at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Maybe by then I may have tired of the Treo...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Running on Automatic

No, I'm not referring to the Roomba (I still have some video to edit for that blog entry). This is something more serious.

I was researching scripting languages and started looking at Basic compilers and interpreters. The main reason I was looking at Basic is because the Basic programming language is the one I know best. Among many other trial and demo versions I downloaded was one called IBasic Professional. I ruled it out as it wasn't what I was looking for at that stage - a professional Basic compiler costing $75.

During my research I was surprised just how many Basic compilers and interpreters are available. See this List of Basic-like language compilers for Windows at mindteq. Some are free (thinBasic and XBLite), while others cost up to $400 or more (the multi-platform RealBasic)
For the difference between compilers and interpreters see compilers at Wikipedia). There is also an article on the Indiana University Knowledge Base.

Among the Basic compilers and interpreters, some products are actively supported and others are either abandoned or just no longer supported.

This brings me back to IBasic Professional. One way of checking if a development tool (or in fact, a wide range of software) is any good is to have a look at the User Forums. The IBasic Pro User Forum was not available but had the following cryptic message "Closed until further Notice. Read the message on to see why":

Read the message on to see why

My curiosity piqued, I just had to look at, which turns out to be a user forum for an assortment of programming languages from Java to Delphi. I could not find out much information without first registering for the CodingMonkeys forums - something I would not normally bother with (you want me to register on your forums just to be able to read them without restrictions?), but I was curious.

After a few searches on the CodingMonkeys forums I found out two things:
1. The IBasic Pro forums had been hacked over six months ago
2. "IBasic is a dead product. The site is automated and will probably continue to run, as a ghost, for a long time come" (from the developer of IBasic Pro)

Whether IBasic Pro could still be purchased on the website I don't know - but I had been able to download the 15 day trial version.

If you go through the purchase process, it says:

Free updates (from who?), free priority technical support (from who?)

Free updates (from who?), free priority technical support (from who?) and maybe they mean CodingMonkeys as their "active programming community"

I wouldn't recommend buying IBasic Pro from their website, since no-one is home. I have also seen some online software vendors selling IBasic Pro for around $45, but who wants an unsupported, abandoned compiler?

Friday, May 04, 2007


i bought a Robot. Not quite a tech "gadget", but an iRobot Roomba Vacuuming Robot 2.1. I'll give some feedback once I've actually used it.

Domestic Technology=Domestech?