3 Weeks with iPhone 3G

I slept overnight outside the Palo Alto Apple Store to get this White 16GB iPhone on the first day. I immediately fell in love with the new physical design – the new iPhone feels so much nicer in my hands than the original iPhone. In fact, I’ve been using this new iPhone mostly without a case, leaving it naked in my otherwise empty left jeans pocket. I am using a screen protection film though.

GPS is really nice to have. It’s made the Google Maps application much more useful already, and I hear rumors of advanced navigation features in an upcoming iPhone update.

3G coverage is spotty, so it hasn’t been quite the revolution I was hoping for, but nonetheless an improvement, and quite speedy in some places.

The App Store is an interesting development too. I wish I had still, but there are a lot of decent apps coming out for free in the App Store, including one from WordPress which I’m using right now to write this post.

Anyway, I heartily recommend the new iPhone to almost everyone… You should get one today!

Mobile Productivity

Listen to RSS Feeds by Phone with Jott

Jott just released a new feature, allowing you to subscribe to RSS feeds with their service, and then listen to them by calling a toll-free number. If you’re not familiar with Jott already, they provide a speech-recognition service to save text notes for yourself, and also integrates with other sites, like allowing you to post converted text to Twitter for example. So, this text-to-speech feature is an interesting addition that somehow makes the service seem more complete.

I haven’t really figured out what RSS feeds I would prefer to listen to a robot reading… however I’m sure I’ll find a use for it. Now if only Jott Feeds would integrate with Google Reader and you could listen to your Google Reader news, and then Jott would mark those items as read. That could be really awesome in the car.


Mobile Personal

One Week With A Nokia N95

I’ve been using a Nokia N95 8GB (N95-2) for the past week. And I just took the SIM card out and put it back in my iPhone. Here’s why:

  1. The user interface feels outdated after getting used to the iPhone. It feels more like Windows than Mac if you know what I mean.
  2. It doesn’t have a full keyboard… only the normal 1-9 number keys. I didn’t know how much I would miss this.
  3. This version doesn’t actually have 3G data speeds, like I had thought. So, it’s still really slow on EDGE.

However, there were some things I really liked about the N95:

  1. The camera is really great. It has a macro mode which is great for snapping notes or text. It will also record pretty high quality video. There’s also a second camera on the front, so you can video chat… or record yourself.
  2. Qik. Broadcasting live video from Qik was fun. I hope I can do that on the iPhone soon. (you can see what I broadcasted at
  3. I finally found an application that lets me broadcast my GPS location to a website. Eventually I want to have a log of everywhere I go, created automatically, and of course private. (but that I could create scripts to send me notifications related to where I am, etc..)
  4. The wealth of available applications. This was my first experience with the Symbian mobile OS, and there’s a ton of stuff for S60 phones. Good looking 3D games, and other goodies.
  5. Also bluetooth syncing. I want my iPhone to do that. I don’t like having to plug my iPhone in all the time.

The 3G iPhone rumors abound, and predict all sorts of things. Like the launch date is mid-June supposedly. And that the 3G iPhone may support video recording, and even include a secondary camera, for video conferencing. Also maybe even GPS. Now, I don’t know how much of that is true, but you can just see for youself over at MacRumors. Anyway, I guess I’ll just suffer with my first-gen iPhone until this summer, when I’ll either get a 3G iPhone or a Google Android phone… or both. =D

Mobile Personal Productivity

Seeking Better Mobile Solution

So, I love my iPhone. There are some things that it can’t do that I really really want.

  1. 3G Data Speeds… EDGE is too damn slow.
  2. Video Broadcasting … no app exists, and it would be too slow anyway.
  3. GPS. Location-based notifications among other things, also broadcasting my location. Also, tracking my whereabouts for posterity.
  4. Ability to act as WiFi hotspot. I want to share that 3G speed to my laptop… or to yours, wherever we go.

These things -might- get updated this summer with the next iPhone, but I doubt we’ll see video broadcasting or real GPS. And frankly, I don’t really want to buy another iPhone. And I also don’t want to wait that long.

So I’m thinking about getting a Nokia N95, or something comparable. There are applications to do all of the aforementioned things. And, I could still use my iPhone to browse the web over the WiFi connection the Nokia creates. One cool thing is that I can just pop the SIM card out of my iPhone and into the Nokia, keeping the same phone number… and my unlimited data plan from AT&T includes 3G already so it won’t cost me any more per month.

The only thing is, I don’t know if it will work the way I want, or if I’ll be happy with the phone itself. Know of a better solution?


Getting Connected, Staying Connected

So, I’ve been using a Sprint Mobile Broadband card (it’s actually through a reseller: Millenicom – great deal btw), for awhile now. I use it in the car, by the beach, in my hotel room, and actually quite often in class – because unfortunately CruzNet (the UCSC WiFi network) is definitely not ubiquitous on campus, even in Engineering classrooms and other lecture halls. Now, this might be intentional (to "help" students focus), but frankly I find it quite frustrating… because I’m much less likely to go to class at all if I’m going to be sitting there, fidgeting, trying to force myself to pay attention. It’s not all the time, but I guess you could say I’m addicted.

Anyway, so I’m sitting in this lecture hall right now, and I keep getting disconnected from WiFi, and my Sprint card won’t stay connected either. It’s such a PITA. I can’t wait for WiMax, or whatever. Obviously, I’m not holding my breath, but it feels like I’m treading water, waiting for the WiMax rescue boat.

When’s it gonna happen?

Found Hacks Media Mobile Personal Web

Blogging from the iPhone

I’ve been looking for a way to blog from my iPhone, especially because I wasn’t having much luck with the WP-mail plugin that allows you to post by email.

Anyway, I’m writing right now on my iPhone using a plugin called WPhone, which you can find here:

You can now expect a lot more posts from me here!

Mobile Web

Facebook for iPhone… Still Incomplete

I just saw a post by Robert Scoble, where he mentions the iPhone interface for Facebook that Joe Hewitt created. Facebook for iPhone looks pretty slick, I’ll admit that. But it is also missing a ton of essential features.My top wishlist / feature requests:

  • Commenting on photos
  • Edit Profile info
  • Message people from their profile
  • Groups

These are all things that don’t work on the current iPhone interface, but seem like a serious missing feature. Now, I’m not sure who to point my finger at, but I’m disappointed that there’s been no apparent improvement to the iPhone interface since it was released about 6 months ago.

Found Media Mobile

Sprint XOHM Will Soft Launch “In A Few Days”

I spent a lot of time searching for a mobile broadband card that I could get without a contract (I found Millenicom, a Sprint reseller charging $50/mo). Anyway, the reason I wanted a card without the normal 2 year contract is because of the upcoming XOHM service from Sprint. This will be a nationwide WiMax network… and it’s set to launch in early 2008. Just read the below article at Techmeme, and it looks like XOHM is coming sooner than we thought. Seems like a perfect network for the Google Phones.

Sprint Nextel will soft launch its XOHM WiMax network in the next few days according to Bin Shen, VP of Product Management and Partnership Development. Chicago, Washington DC and Baltimore will all go live at soft launch, and though Shen did not discuss what devices would be available, a number of data cards have been tested on the network. XOHM will officially launch in the second quarter of 2008 as will several laptops with WiMax embedded in them. Later in the year a number of special purpose devices will launch, as will dual-mode CDMA / WiMax handsets.

from: Sprint XOHM Will Soft Launch “In A Few Days” (Phone Scoop)

Mobile Personal

My iPhone Won’t Turn On

So my battery got low yesterday afternoon. I was away from home and didn’t get to charge it until after dinner. It wouldn’t turn on, so I plugged it in. It still wouldn’t turn on, even after 10 minutes. I tried doing a reset unplugged, plugged into my MacBook Pro, and plugged into the wall adapter… all to no avail. I left it plugged into my Mac all night and it’s still dead. I googled “iphone won’t charge”, “iphone won’t turn on”, but it looks like no one else is having this problem.

I decided to call Apple iPhone support (1-800-MY-IPHONE) this morning, and talked with a nice woman named Christina. She had me try a couple resets again, and was surprised that didn’t work. I’m back at school in Santa Cruz without my car now, and it would take a bus and a train to get to the nearest Apple store, so I opted for repair by mail. She offered a temporary service phone for a $29 fee which I agreed to because it “may take up to 10 days” to get my phone shipped back. Oh, and the ’service phone’ is an 8GB iPhone… =D

Anyway, although I’m not too excited to not have a phone for a day or two, this repair service so far sounds pretty convenient.

Update: Apparently they couldn’t fix my phone (?!) so I got a brand new one. Maybe they couldn’t tell that I had installed AppTapp and a bunch of other apps and messed around a bit (I didnt ever unlock it though). Anyway, they send me a brand new phone, and it was all very easy. What other phone makes you want to plug it in to your computer all the time so you have a complete backup? Seriously… All I had to do was swap out the SIM and it was like I had my phone back again! Thanks Apple!

Mobile Productivity

Productivity On My Phone

I use a Treo 700w. It runs Windows Mobile 5. It’s not as powerful as I would like (I can only run 3-4 things at once), but I can still do a whole lot with it.

More and more sites are getting Mobile interfaces. For example, I can use Gmail, Facebook, Google Reader, Flickr and soon YouTube from Pocket Internet Explorer on my phone (many more sites too). And the phone can do mobile web browsing well.

Here are some of my other Mobile Web Favorites: (iGoogle, my startpage. Access to gmail, google reader, search), (Electronic internet radio stations), (Can message all your friends, see their pics… etc.) (For twittering…)

I also use a few applications on my phone:
Google Maps! (Amazing. Even works with that Bluetooth GPS thing I bought recently.)
Skype (Sound comes out the wrong speaker, but works great for speakerphone)
USB Modem (lets me connect to the internet with my mac laptop)
KeyLight (saves a lot of battery power by toggling off keyboard backlight LEDs)
Shozu (GeoTag your pics! neat new app that interfaces with many personal media sites YouTube, Flickr etc to upload your pics/videos etc. and can attach GPS location to your pics)

There are a lot of fun things to play with on my phone, but it can really feel productive when you’re responding to emails and reading your news subscriptions. I’m excited about the future of mobile phones, especially with that cool new iPhone from Apple. In the meantime, I know there’s lots more to do with my phone… what have I missed?

Update: I have an iPhone now. =D