Treo 680, Blackjack, Pandora, Time Conversion

Treo 680

There’s a new Treo in town! It’s the Treo 680 I mentioned a few weeks ago. One of the coolest things is that it comes in 4 colors. It is $199 from Cingular. The reviews so far our a bit mixed. It’s better then the Treo 650, but doesn’t come up to par with the Treo 700p (which I now own). The major drawbacks I see with this new phone are that it doesn’t include a 1 mega-pixel camera (it’s a VGA one) and that it doesn’t support broadband-like speeds. It looks like the target market for this phone is people who want a more comfortable and lighter phone and can text/email. The best part about this phone is the price-point – at $199 (or some Cingular dealers are giving these away) – it’s a huge improvement over the $499 list for the Treo 700p.

Samsung Blackjack

(the Motorola Q killer?)

Found this great review on the new Cingular Blackjack (Samsung’s SGH-i607). It’s amazing how all these companies are coming up with phones that look and act just like my Treo 700p. I like all the features I’ve read about. The Motorola Q is thin, but this is now the thinnest phone with a QWERTY keyboard. Unlike the Treo 680, this does run on Cingular’s broadband network. Like the Q, this phone doesn’t have a touch screen which is something I like very much. When I’m stopped at a stoplight, I like the “one touch” ease of the Palm OS and the touch screen. Being on the Cingular network and being a quad-band phone, this phone is supported in 180 countries.

I agree with the author of the review, I like the Palm OS better then Windows Mobile. It’s easier to use, it’s faster and you can do a lot more operations with just one touch. But….for $199 (+ broadband speed+1.3 mp camera+being superthin), I might think of changing when I upgrade to my next phone.

Music Listening – Web Radio

Pandora is such a cool way to listen to music! You create your own radio stations by type in an artist or a song. You can create up to 100 radio stations. As each new song plays, you tell the program if you like it or not. It learns your listening habits. Once you get a bunch of stations build up, you can shuffle the playing of the songs with all your favorite radio stations. You can also email your favorite stations to your friends. The whole program is web-based, so you need to be on the web for it to work. Once you minimize window, it shuts off. It’s a 100% free site. It has very innocuous ads. You pay $3/month to avoid them. Happy Listening!

Time Conversion

Do you ever have a time when you’re in England and you need to call someone in Thailand? This happens all the time to me. I have a little app called Iridium, but it doesn’t always cut it. I’d rather have a place where I can type in my location and local time and it would figure out the time where I am calling. Now you have it. Enjoy!

Buy Nothing Day – Black Friday – The choice is yours

Before I jump into the orgy of spending, what about not spending anything?? The official site is fun-filled. Here’s some more ways not to spend money. How ’bout surfing the web all day and do Internet Window Shopping – try using a Mac – that would be an interesting twist!

It’s always been a crowd favorite, the Black Friday issue…time to start spending!! Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year – the day after Thanksgiving. Name comes from being a very profitable (black) day – not being in the red (losing money) Have fun!!

One shopping guide from MSN

A more fun one with tons of ads – in PDF and HTML forms you can download to your desktop.

Great, Great Reason to Boycott Wal-mart – they’re Homophobes! You should be able to get stuff at Target, which actually has a great community supportive program, helpful people and they have inventory in stock. Besides, they don’t lock their cleaning people in over night like Wal-mart does. Some more on Wal-marts shenanigans.

Black Friday stuff you can order now – Ships on Black Friday

A great site – very easy to navigate. Another one – unbelievable deals!

Me, I’m leaning toward the “Buy Nothing Day.”

Happy Shopping!!! (or not)

Vegetarian Lifestyle, Roboform Sale, Great tech stuff!

Vegetarian Lifestyle

Vegetarian Lifestyle has more options, says author Anahita Kalianivala. My favorite line of this article is “According to the Surgeon General, nearly 70 percent of all disease in the United States is diet-related.” Another great fact is that a vegetarian saves about 83 farm yard animals/year by not eating them.


Roboform is definitely the greatest password keeper there is on the Internet. If you haven’t tried it or purchased it, now’s the time. There’s a Great sale on it – through end of November – $6 off – only $23. It’s an invaluable resource.

A Bunch of Fun sites
(mostly from geeks at www.everytingtechnology.com)

They made the wonderful Epson Portable Photo printer (Picturemate Flash- PM280) even better – it now has a CD burner built in!

Tired of the free Zone Alarm firewall? You now have Blink, give it a shot! Btw, speaking of free security software, AVG is now upgraded to version 7.5. It’s great for both Windows and Linux. Try it today!!

Dang, there’s just so much to buy on Ebay!! How ’bout starting with the most expensive stuff and working your way downward?

World statistics in realtime. Wow! You get to see how many people there are in the world (

Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, authors a book, God’s Debris, and gives it away! A brief synopsis:

Imagine that you meet a very old man who—you eventually realize—knows literally everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life—quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light, psychic phenomenon, and probability—in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense. What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? God’s Debris isn’t the final answer to the Big Questions. But it might be the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what’s wrong with the old man’s explanation of reality.

Super Nerdy Clock. Enough Said.

Paralells for the Mac Desktop – run Windows within your PC – without the slowness of Virtual PC or the hassle of having to reboot your system to go from the Mac to the PC in bootcamp!

Impeach Bush, Picture Book, Google Mail on Phones

Impeach Bush

There are almost 1 million signatures out there to Impeach Bush. Of course, it’s an unofficial, crazy Interent poll, but it does make the point.

Additionally, Berkeley voters have the wonderful opportunity with proposition H to send a message to this country that it’s time to pull out the current leadership and replaced them with someone who will actually look after our interests – not using some paranoid group that has the notion that continuing to get US soldiers killed and fund a terrorist training ground with my (and our) US taxpayer’s money is healthy for us. As it’s been in wars passed all this spending is propping up the US economy but at what cost? Bush and friends have used up our money, our children’s money, our grandchildren’s money and our great-grandchildren’s money for this war. When will it end? Hopefully, the American people will wake up and get new leadership in DC with a Democratically lead Congress.

Picture Book

Now, take all thouse photos and make a hard bound book!! Apple has had a way to do this for years through iPohoto, but at a much higher cost – $29.99 for 20 pages. It’s even more as you go higher in page count. Whereas Blurb – which can be configured and purchased – for both Mac and PC is $29.95 for 40 pages. Since Apple has made a conscious decision not to offer their wonderful iLife suite for the PC – Blurb is definitely the best option for Windows users. Get your orders in early!! They recommend to get them in by Nov 15th for guaranteed delivery by the holidays.

Gmail on Phones

Google. Need I say more. As I predicted earlier this year, they continue to move forward in capturing the phone and the desktop. I’m sure by the end of next year, we’ll see Google Computers (for free) and Google Phones. Google has revamped their Mobile Gmail Program – the best web-based email program out there bar none – cutting the steps down from 10 to 2 to read Gmail on your phone/PDA. If you need a Gmail account, drop me an email or go to your mobile phone and sign up.

Austin Farewell – The Great Escape, more Yummy Food

(Goodbye for now)

It was about 10 am, Faune was in the other room reading a book and she heard the famous battle cry “No, Come Back!” Yes, it had happened. Both Chauncey and Murphy (the 2 cute dogs to the left – Chauncey the black lab and Murphy, the pug/chihuahua mix) escaped my watchful eye. As Chauncey is a bit skittish around me and tended to pee whenever I tried to grab him, I thought I’d let him out the door “a little” before I put his leash on. Little did I know that he and his brother had put together a master plan to run for the hills as soon as I opened the door! They ran down those 3 flights of stairs faster then I could say “Austin, Texas!” So off I ran, too!!

I caught up with the two cute dogs prancing and running around the complex. Sniffing at the ground and generally teasing me. As soon as I was within 10 feet of either dog they’d either run in circles or run away. After about 10 minutes of this, Faune came to the rescue. She knew upon hearing the battle cry, that I needed some help. We started with Murphy the smaller dog. After about 5 minutes of taunting us, he slowly ran toward the complex. I ran after him and ran up the stairs. There he stood at the front door with a “Let me in , please, I’ve been waiting for you look.” Geesh!

Next, Chauncey proved a bit harder to round up. We surrounded the poor pooch several times, but he kept escaping our net. Finally, we got him closer and closer to the stairwell. He slowly started ascending, peeing all the way up. At the final level, as I was following Chaunce toward the door, he made a dash out the back end of the stairwell (I hate those double-exiting stairwells!) and was met by a welcoming (menacing to him) Faune. He then dashed away from her into my arms and into his home. Whew! Was that fun, or what?

After the dog adventure, we got cleaned up and drove our PT on over to my friend Lorie’s house. She gave us the grand tour and we headed off for Mother’s Cafe. It’s billed as the oldest and most famous vegetarian restaurant in all of Austin. I wish we had more time to try a couple of more items there, as my main dish. Lorie’s Jubilee scramble looked scrumptious!

After a satisfying meal, we were off to Town Lake. It was a gorgeous day for a walk, since we it had rained heavily the day before we wanted to enjoy the sunshine. Upon walking, I noticed a few people out in the lake in Kayaks. Upon coming up to the boat rental place, we decided, despite the developing white caps on Town Lake, it was time to go Kayaking, something Faune had never done before. We headed off in the Kayak with Faune at the bow (front) and Clyde at the stern (back). Faune with her incredible upper body strength, unbeknownst to her, did a little more than her share of the paddling, while Clyde, in addition to his experienced paddling, steered the rough waters of Town Lake. Normally, it’s a quiet lake, but we had mini white caps to deal with!!

After about 25 minutes paddling out (if you squint and use your imagination, that will look like Clyde and Faune in a kayak on the left), we decided it was time to turn around. We began closing in on the dock and we spotted it. Faune yelled out, “I see it. The promised land!” Gee, hard to tell my girlfriend is a seminary student 😉

We made it back to the dock in one piece and felt a little hungry. We decided to get a little bite to eat some french fries at the Hyde Park Bar and Grill. We had yummy friend artichoke hearts and salad and french fries. Sadly, Faune was too full for Clam Chowder. Maybe next time.

A few final restaurant reviews…

Amy Ice Cream, a staple of Texas. You can’t go anywhere without people talking about how good this ice cream was. The Pumpkin ice cream was tasty!! Each location has its own style and flavors.

Veggie Heaven,we ate here 3 times. By ourselves, our second night in Austin; with our friend Debbie; then with Ann, Katie and Jonathon. I really loved it here!! The 2000 Tofu was incredible and the Berry pearl drink was wonderful. I wish I had one of these about 3 blocks from my home.

Taco Xpress, was the dinner of choice for our last night in Austin and in Texas. I wasn’t so hungry, but we did manage to munch a bunch of food. The Nachos were great and cheap. We met a few of Katie’s teacher friends there. It’s incredible what teachers go through these days. Sure not anything like it was when I was a lad, a few years ago 😉 Definitely check out this website, as it’s one of the best website of all the Austin eateries reviewed!

On Saturday, we returned the PT (with little sadness) and hopped on the Geek Express via Southwest back to San Jose. We had a fun trip – just wish it was a little longer.