Recently I upgraded phones again, this time the blackjackII. The quick review on this is that the battery life is more than acceptable for the type of phone that it is.. listening to an online radio station for 40min did show a bit on my battery meter, but a lot less than expected. Additionally, so far this has not felt sluggish in doing any task.
My “real” objectives with the phone are:
* Make/receive phone calls without hassle - so far so good
* Sync with my google calendar and be my PDA/scheduler
* Check mail for work and home
* Read blogs when waiting around at appointments
* General media player - share funny video clips & songs
* GPS (now that this phone has it) - see what’s around, especially when not in a car
My “want” list:
* GPS phone tracking so others can see my location (when I want them to)
The nice thing about where these phones are today is that software is inexpensive to add, and usually works quite well. Here’s what I’ve found so far.
Software for everyday use:
Facade - home screen with better scheduler view
PocketWeather - Weather for various cities.. works with Facade to display it all on 1 page
Phone Alarm - program to automatically go into quiet mode at night, also makes the alarms repeat
OggSync - Syncs to my google calendars
Opera Browser - Better than IE (nothing is as good as browsing on a PC)
Slingplayer Mobile - Watch my TV/cable from anywhere (must own slingbox for this to work)
Sprite Backup - Backs up your phone to a .exe on your storage card.. a MUST HAVE
zaTunnel - tunnel outgoing mail back to my server so it can send correctly
Google Maps - show where I am and where everything is near me, traffic, etc too
MS Live Search - Similar to google maps type of functionality
IMOV messenger - AIM/ICQ/Yahoo/etc, slightly better than the built-in versions
Fizz Bill Now - Split bills and figure out tips
Occasional use software:
GPS Test - Utility to show how well GPS is working, how many sats it can see, etc
GPSID Settings - Utility to make the GPS show on COM4
Keep Recordin’ - Utility to make recordings of any length (large wav files)
Minimo - Firefox for smartphones, sorry - IE and opera both work better on non-touchscreen models
PHM Registry editor - For those of us who like to change things we shouldn’t be playing with
PocketTV - Media player
There are people that I’ve encountered that have a mental block when anything with “technology” comes up. This block has nothing to do with people’s financial class or exposure to technology. I’ve seen this in people who are near genius level and in the “average joe”.
Most of the time I encounter these blocks when working on people’s computers with them. Telling someone with a technology block to point at a square on a screen results in a blank stare. Any computer or technology related discussion needs to be repeated a number of times using different explanations each time before the person with the block can understand, regardless of how simple the concept is. To continue with the previous example, ask one of these people with the technology block to point at a square on a piece of paper and they might even be insulted by being asked to do a trivial task. The same task when on a computer screen becomes an incredibly difficult task.
I would love to know if there’s a term for this problem. I’ve encountered it for a long time and I think this may only get worse as technology gets forced into more and more areas of people’s lives.
Recent events reminded me about this because of an issue where someone in a position of authority was not flexible or willing to take advice when making decisions of a technical nature even though they had no information from which to base a decision. To make items worse, they also have the technology block, so they found it frustrating to listen and digest any information given to them.
So, after our cable box finished receiving a firmware update, I went surfing to see what was on and found a Dr Phil show about Cyber Bullies. I have a few things to say.
The coverage of the Megan myspace case from Missouri I don’t really have much to add to.
For the coverage of the “bad joke” I think they left one thing out that I’d have liked to know.. was the joke posted as the person (personal e-mail) or using their work account.. that would be a valid point they left out.
The rest of this post was inspired by the gamer in the show, but not a direct “response”. The situation was that an online gamer was getting upset by the threats against him and his family by other players. He was also unable to get the manufacturer and host of the online game to handle the complaints. Sadly, nobody has made a good reference that has been adopted worldwide about online scenarios and how to react to situations like these and how to protect yourself online that have made it to the mainstream. I’m sure a few references exist.. and if you know of one, feel free to post it in the comments here for others to know about.
To protect your anonymous identity online and be “safe” while playing X-box or other games, one of the important things to remember is to not give people identifying information. Don’t use a name that you use for AIM and every other service if you don’t want people tracking you. Don’t post any personal information or give out anything you don’t need to, especially to other players. This little bit of protection in itself make the other players’ threats empty ones. If someone doesn’t know who you are, their threats are nothing more than words.
The online gamer also was concerned about letting his kids online.. both in case the people who made threats against him and the people who will be talking to his children. Firstly, if precautions are made with some basic limiting of information, using different names, etc as listed above, nobody will know who the dad is, so we can assume that threat is limited. The issues with children online range from harassment, introduction to sexually explicit situations and other adult content exposure to stalking. A few precautions will solve most of these problems:
- Don’t let kids play adult games (or any really) without supervision
- Explain to your kids that similar to real life, you CAN (and should) ignore people who harass you. Don’t engage them and if it gets to be too much.. TURN IT OFF
- Don’t (you or your kids) give out personal information
- Don’t join location-based chat (ie: #sandiego-kids on IRC would be a bad choice)
One other very important thing about being online is to realize how fast friendships can be created and dissolve. Giving out your home phone number to someone you’ve known for 2 hours wouldn’t make much sense in real life.. and likewise you shouldn’t do it online either. Rather than retyping a previous post, I’d recommend a read of this.
After noticing some friends have their resolutions online, I feel compelled to do the same..
This year.. NONE.
I like the way I do most things. I like the attempts I make to continue improving myself on a personal, work and other levels. I have nothing that I feel needs to be tracked with a final “goal” at this point, nor do I want to.
Yes, there are things I can do better, ways I can improve, things I could do differently.. and yes, I am working on them.. I will continue to work on these things until the end of time. . but I do see that I am always improving, and I can live with this and sleep comfortably at night.
With the speed of the Internet, a change in how people relate has occurred. For some unknown reason, I feel the need to post about this. Before going into the online/off-line worlds and the relations, I need to define “friend”. For the purpose of this post, a friend is not someone who sends you an online message and says “lets be friends” or someone you added as a friend on myspace. A friend in this post is someone who would understand that a difference of opinion is acceptable, someone who you can talk to if you’re having a problem and would not make fun of the situation or tell everyone who doesn’t need to know. So, now that we’ve covered that, here we go..
It used to be that a “friend” was someone who you got to know over time.. may see every few days or was a friend of a friend who you got to know better over time. Recently, thanks to online chat networks, gaming and other online activities relationships live and die faster than ever before. There’s both good and bad to this, but I think that the “average user” really never takes the time to consider the difference in how relationships are established online.
One on one relationships in real life take a while usually.. you meet regularly, may be involved in a project and work side by side for a while.. and over time a friendship (or hate) is developed. In the online world, you can do projects with someone for a short time while typing back and forth and think you’ve met your soul mate after 3 hours of chatting. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly in virtual worlds.. someone wanders up to someone offers help to a new player and lends a hand.. lets say the new player needs a house.. so they build together and talk.. and are “friends” after 1 night. This friendship is no less “real” than a friendship built over weeks off-line, however it is so sudden that there will be things the 2 people don’t know about each other which could make or break the relationship over time. The ability to be semi-anonymous may also play a part in this depending on the mindset of the individuals involved.. but that’s for another post ..the relationships are more fragile due to the speed they happen at - often they escalate to hardcore relationships or immediately fall apart.
Group relationships are probably the most difficult to maintain long-term online. The first part of the problem is the one on one relationship being more volatile thanks an off-line relationship already. Groups are also more difficult due to people in groups not always agreeing and getting along.. plus with online communities, many people belong to a number of groups that they try to be involved with at the same time which either takes time away from the other groups or they attempt to combine the different groups into 1 larger community.. and there is more conflict than they expected. The community part gets more complicated when “friends of friends” are involved and the community attempts to set a direction.
I realize that this post sounds negative towards online relationships, but it’s not meant to - just wanted to point out that these relationships are more difficult usually than off-line ones. I’ve had the pleasure of being in positive versions of both personal and group relationships online. My wife is the best example of the personal version. We are two people who met and had a shared interest who eventually fell in love (over years). I have a few groups of friends online too.. most are unorganized groups at this point who stay in contact as a group yet have separate interests and groups they spend the majority of their time with.