Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A Web surfer that slips in your pocket

It's not the fastest lil thing, but it sure is a cute way to surf the Web!;-) Posted by Hello (See item below for more details)

Moxi and Pocket Surfer: My two new toys

Coincidentally, two very interesting fun dealy-bobs just came into my life.

One is the latest and greatest (IMHO) way to "surf TV" as you do the Web. It's a two-tuner DVR that Bend Broadband is offering, from Paul Allen's company, digeo. It's called Moxi. (To see my article about it, click here.)

Then there's one I read about recently in Time and decided, for the price, I just had to try it. It's called the Pocket Surfer, from Datawind and it's a Web surfer that's about the size of a checkbook (and not much heavier). It costs just $200 and uses your cell phone to connect to the Web via Bluetooth (if your phone, like mine, isn't Bluetooth-enabled, you can get a little USB-connect Bluetooth dongle to make that wireless connection.)

I've drooled over similar form-factor "palmtop PCs" for years, but the $800-plus price tag always scared me off - what if I drop the thing or leave it somewhere by accident? (Or break it?) When I saw the price, I figured this was the Christmas toy for me.

The "cool factor" alone is worth a good chunk of the price - which is fortunate, because despite a couple positive reviews and the touting of it's speed, it's been a bit pokey for me. (Whether that has anything to do with Sprint not supporting using phones as modems and having to use it by the minute, rather than megabyte, I don't know.)

But the pages render accurately, and you can click through and use the thumb keyboard to enter info in forms, etc. I still dream of a faster lil device, about the same size, with file storage, word processing, etc., for a similar price point. But this is a door to the future, and like CompuServe in 1985 or America Online in 1990, you can see the promise coming down the pike to reality. I'm jazzed!;-) (This image is of the top of the Bend.com home page.)

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Oy, what I would give...

...for someone to at least tell me the kind of device I'm about to describe is possible. Within the rest of my lifetime. For less than a small fortune:

I'm a reporter. I skipped third grade, so I'm sure I missed some handwriting classes. Ever since, my handwriting has sucked, especially when someone is speaking fast and I'm trying to get down every interesting word. It's sort of a self-encryption - if I don't transcribe the notes within 12-24 hours, even I can't make out what it says. (It's why I love phone interviews - not out of sheer laziness - well, not just that - but I'm a real fast typist, so those notes are 1,000 times better.)

Sooo.... there's voice-recognition software out there, right? Getting better all the time? But apparently you still have to train the thing? I'd LOVE to tape interviews, rather than scribble them, then upload the audio file and have a program turn it into text! Heck, I'd settle for 30 percent accuracy, that'd be better than my stinkin' notes!

My friend/co-worker Jesse told me it'd take more processing power than anyone has at the moment. But "Utterly Boring" Jake agrees with me that'd it be so useful to so many folks.

So ... am I dreaming? Will it arrive in another 50 years, too late for me? Or ...

Oh and another invention idea, my wife Deb and I had - why not sell scrapbooking software IN a scrapbook? (And photo album software IN/with a photo album, for that matter?) With the pages and the software set for those pages? Clip art built in, the whole package together, "hardware" and software? I've thumbed through scrapbooking magazines and haven't seen that, have I missed it? (I should patent that one, yeah right;-)

It's what the world's been waiting for...

Wrapped around your Oregonian comics this morning, in case you had ANY appetite before ... a full-color, life-sized version of the latest breakthrough innovation from Carl's Jr. - you know, the ones with that witty "Don't bother me, I'm eating" ad campaign.

I'll admit it, when I haven't had breakfast OR lunch, I've been known to enjoy a Palmer's Cafe burger that actually has ham, egg and cheese on it - what do they call that, the Lumberjack Burger or somethin'?

But this one takes the cake - to me, it even tops the new XXL Pizza Hut monster or the "Why eat one pizza when you can have a double-decker with cheese between the crusts" carotid-artery special from Domino's.

It's ... the Pastrami Burger. But the fine print says it's only available for a limited time. So hurry! (Hey, add sauerkraut and it can be a Reuben Burger! And then make the bun out of rye bread and ... muwahahahahahah!);-)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

'National Treasure,' indeed

The missus and I just came from one of our favorite flicks of a year in which we've seen a whole lot more than normal: "National Treasure."

I'll skip the plot details and just say if you like a good yarn, a good mystery, a fun movie for the whole family (no swear words! Two kisses! Very little violence!) check it out.

And online, I found in the oddest of ways - by Googling the movie title and 'Masons' (see it, you'll see why), something new called a SmartTrailer - sort of like getting to see all the DVD extras way before the DVD comes out. It's at: http://www.compleatseanbean.com/nt-enhanced.html (you'll probably need broadband, which I'm not sure I could live without;-)

Best thing I can say about the latest Nicolas Cage/Jerry Bruckheimer teamwork is: You don't know exactly what's coming next. (At least, I didn't.) A clever mix of fact and fantasy and history and Indiana Jones? That is a "national treasure."