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April 14, 2006

Goodies

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I've been getting lots of goodies lately, and I thought I'd break the mold of my blog and provide some product reviews. (Before the conspiracy and conflict-of-interest folks ask, I don't have a monetary interest in any of these companies.)

1. Yojimbo. This software enables you to create a free-form database of stuff. For examples, order confirmations, passwords--all the crap that you never know how or where to file and therefore where to find a few months later. Old-time Mac users may recall Quickdex--Yojimbo is similar. Now, I put any info on my computer that I'll need “someday” into Yojimbo. $39.

http://www.barebones.com/

2. Nikon D200. What a camera. The waiting list was months long until someone helped me at B & H Photo. The wait is worth it. I used to have a Digital EOS--the D200 just “feels” more solid. It's like the difference you hear when you close the door of a Porsche versus a Corvette. (I'll do a car review when I can convince a car company to loan me one! :-) )

A great review pitting the D200 against the Canon 5D is here:

http://snipurl.com/oaz7

3. Traffic Gauge. This is a little gizmo that updates traffic on the major freeways in fifteen or so cities. The one I got covers 900 square miles in Silicon Valley. Now, before I start going somewhere, I check my Traffic Gauge although I am tempted to go to the location that looks blocked in order to test the product. :-) $79.99 plus $6.99/month

http://www.trafficgauge.com/

4. Cingular 8125 cell phone. Cool phone: slide-out keyboard plus GPRS and WiFi support. Runs Windows; you know how I feel about Windows as a computer operating system, but it's a lot better than most phone operating systems. (Imagine if Apple ever made phone.) Two bummers: GPRS doesn't cut it compared to EVDO, and Cingular doesn't offer insurance for this model.

For one day, I had a Verizon XV6700 which has EVDO and WiFi and insurance. However, Verizon's coverage didn't work at my office, and if you're on EVDO or WiFi, the phone can't send or receive calls, so I returned it. “Can you hear me?” indeed.

And here's a humorous story: ActiveSync works very well with the 8125. However, this would mean maintaining my Tiny Vaio--which is too much trouble. So, I ordered a MacBook so I could dual boot in Windows and Mac. How's that for irony?

Ordering a MacBook has created a chain of other expenses including buying additional power supplies (since that changed), and now my PCMCIA EVDO card won't work. Oh, yeah, and my Empower adapter for use of the power outlet on United Airlines doesn't have a connector for the new magnetic power supply thing. Do you think Steve Jobs has these problems?

5. Eskyguide. I travel a lot, so I'm always looking up flights. The travel sites that sell tickets don't work for me because I need to know all the flights, not all the flights that the site is selling. I have a OAG Flightplanner membership, but an elementary school project team must have designed the site. And it's being improved at the same rate as Directv's software--if you know what I mean. I found a better site for my purpose and perhaps it will help you too:

http://www.eskyguide.com/search/

I wish that when you copy and paste the results (as I do to put it in my calendar and to tell people what flights I'll be on), it would yield a nicer result that this junk:

9:00am Depart San Francisco CA US (SFO)
Arrive Honolulu HI US (HNL) 11:31am United Airlines
5h31m Meal Codes: F 73
777

The problem is that it's hard to know that “73” is the flight number, so I have to cut junk away.

6. iClock. A massive improvement over the clock that comes with a Macintosh. It's great because it shows the time in multiple cities. It also shows day, date, and time in the menu bar.

http://snipurl.com/p81g

7. Hard Facts: Dangerous Half Truths and Total Nonsense. A most interesting book. It says that you shouldn't believe the bull shiitake of experts and gurus without solid, scientific evidence. This impugns my writing, speaking, and blogging, so I have mixed feelings about telling you to read it. :-)
2006Sp Feature Pfeffer Sutton
This is a short article about the topic by the authors of the book to give you a taste of what to expect. (Click on the picture to download)

As Len Posen pointed out in a comment, you can also listen to Moira Gunn interview Bob Sutton, the co-author, at:

http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail1021.html

Written at: Atherton, California

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Comments

I'll echo your comments on the D200. I just upgraded from the D70 and am blown away by all the improvements. It's fast, the color is great, and it truly "feels" better.

I also bought the 18-200mm VR lens that just came out and that is a great product too, a real compliment to the D200.

ah, i see you maybe were flying to honolulu?

Question for Guy and all you 8125 users out there...how do you carry it around it you're a guy (not the author;)? The thing is so big, you can't keep it in your pockets. I guess the only option is strapping it to your belt...and looking like an IT geek in the process...

Funny, I was driving down the coast listening to my latest batch of podcasts this weekend when I heard Bob Sutton (Half-truths) being interviewed by Moira Gunn of Tech Nation, here:

http://www.itconversations.com/series/technation.html

I have missing sync working beautifully but I have to use Entourage on my Mac. The problem is that the iCal sync is only one way (yeah Microsoft).
I also use the Canon Digital Rebel, this is one great Camera for web work.

Thanks for the heads up about iclock, been waiting to upgrade...

Since The Missing Sync has already been mentioned, this isn't a shameless plug. :-)

Just thought I'd mention that Windows Mobile 5 support is coming soon to The Missing Sync. (It's in public Alpha right now. http://www.markspace.com/testing/)

With regard to point #4, I have noticed that whatever device I have experimented with, when the unit is in data mode (i.e. email, web, etc.) phone calls went right to voice mail. This was the case with my son’s former Verizon Treo 700w, my tMobile 7105t Blackberry and my neighbors’ Cingular Treo 650. This is why I still carry two devices (VZW for voice and TMO for data) to this day.

As for the power supply conundrum, my conspiracy theory on this is that it is method to boost sales. While I am sure that Apple, or any manufacturer can give a list of reasons why the new adapters are better, they also know that most of us own at least 2 or 3 of them besides the one that came with the unit.

BTW, as to registry hacks on any cell phone, please just be forewarned that it does void the warranty and it is easy to make mistakes with these edits.

Guy,
Yahoo now lets you search for a flight with departure and destination and it will give you all the flights available with pricing. I haven't tried it yet (there's a NYTimes piece on it this AM) but it sounds pretty cool.

Yojimbo sounds interesting, but I only have a PC. Is there similar software out for us Windows users?

Instead of paying money for something like TrafficGauge, you can also just go to the web site http://www.sigalert.com/ for CA & AZ (I'm sure there's online sites for the other states) and see the original data.

I had to scroll a little, but the image fit ok in the window on my Treo.

Good call on the 8125. I've had mine for just over a month now, and it has been great so far. The downsides including not syncing with my powerbook, no ability to use it as a modem with the powerbook and horrid battery life (it's replacing a Nokia 9500 - 3 days of usable life).

A couple of good places to go for info on the 8125:

http://cingular.howardforums.com

http://forum.xda-developers.com

There are a bunch of registry hacks that make the phone much faster, and links to some good software updates on both the sites.

The Dashboard can show as many clock widgets as you want, and you can set their time zones individually. I have colleages in DC and Dallas, so I have two dashboard clocks.

-jcr

Guy, I thought I would say thanks for writing such a great blog! I hope you are enjoying your experience. I read this page regularly, you do a great job.

Stay passionate.

Interesting you would mention Yojimbo. They don't follow your advice re "The Art of Creating Community"
http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/02/the_art_of_crea.html
I'd also suggest it's lack of depth (one level) leaves very little room for organizing data.

And how do you backup that giant junk drawer?

I'll throw in another vote for the Nikon D200. We use them for our photography company and think they are excellent cameras. Comparing them across the board to other "same class" models, the price, performance, and quality is excellent.

Charles,

I honestly don't think that Guy, or any of his readers would think that he would review a book and use his amazon affiliate page for the purpose of making money off of it.

The iClock looks useful, but I'm not sure if it's quite $20 useful

Traffic Gauge sounds cool... I hate sitting in 3 hour traffic from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire.

Why are people always dogging you for making money? And if they are so concerned, why do they continue to read your blog. Keep doing what you do, kicking butt and making a buck while you're at it.

I think Charles wins this week's Omazing Orifice Oward.

Aloha

RE: Take a look at missing sync (http://www.markspace.com/). I have the T-Mobile equivalent and it's a very usefull tool while on the go.

Omer,

Thanks! I checked it out. The Cingular 8125 will be supported, but it isn't yet. I'll still get the MacBook! :-)

Guy

Take a look at missing sync (http://www.markspace.com/). I have the T-Mobile equivalent and it's a very usefull tool while on the go.

I always assumed the reason Mac power connectors change so often is that when Steve Jobs loses his power supply he asks the hardware guys to make him a new one.

I also find your point no. 7 to be very interesting. I have not read the book but I think that the writer has a point. Actually, following anything blindly is bad and science is changing all the time.

Charles,

You're kidding me, right? You think I Sniped it in order to conceal it?

Okay, I'll not use my affiliate link.

Guy

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