Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Treo 650 Mini Review

I picked up a new Sprint Treo 650 yesterday; it's a keeper. It is in all the ways I can find superior to my Sprint Treo 600.


* The keys are bigger, flatter and easier to push; it is much easier to type on the 650.
* The screen is SO much nicer; photos look great!
* The camera is totally useable, even in low light. The camera on the 600 was useless, IMHO.
* The screen resolution allows other apps to work better; for instance, PalmVNC looks much nicer and is much more useful as the higher resolution doubles the size of your control window. Also, pssh will allow unix apps that require minimum terminal sizes (such as "w") to funtion properly. You've never seen terminal text so small, however.
* Bluetooth is very cool. Setting up Bluetooth syncing is terribly easy with a Mac, and the syncing is very handy, if not faster than USB sync.


* Versamail 3.0 (only available on the 650) seems to have problems with my SSL IMAP server; I have been unable to use it so far. Sprint support is contacting Palmone about this problem; in the meantime the Snappermail Demo works fine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Wife Gives a Big Thumbs up for the DVR

As soon as Comcast put the DVR in (a Tivo-like device, but which can record HDTV as well) the wife totally took it over. Within hours it was recording "Road Rules" and Alton Brown's "Good Eats" (the only cooking show I can bear to watch). This from the lady who didn't want HDTV, didn't want Tivo, etc.

Pat Robertson a Liar or Deluded by the Devil?


"I think George Bush is going to win in a walk," Robertson said on his 700 Club program on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded. "I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blowout election in 2004. It's shaping up that way."

So, either he's a liar or he's deluded (by Satan, maybe)? Bush won by a tiny majority.

I guess people will stop listening to him now.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The New Steven R. Donaldson book

I just started reading the new Steven R. Donaldson book, "The Runes of Earth (the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)".

Of all the Tolkien-influenced fantasy books, the Thomas Covenant series made the largest impression on my teenaged self. Rape, despair, murder, being a leper and a pariah in the community, it was heady stuff. (All right, I had a lot of angst as a teenager. Sue me) Looking back and remembering it now it seems overwrought, although I have occasionally gone back and read parts of the final volumes of each series.

I'm only a few chapters into the new book, and it certainly begins with a bang. I won't give away the plot except that it stars Linden Avery, the despairing doctor who fell in love with and was eventually redeemed by Thomas Covenant, and takes place 10 years after the events of the last series.

The one comment I wanted to make is that, beyond the surface Tolkienisms, one main underlying theme is the same in both series, which is the evil of despair. If you've ever read Tom Shippey's two books of Tolkien analysis, "The Road to Middle Earth" and "J.R.R. Tolkien, Author of the Century", you will know that that was one of the most important themes of the Trilogy and of the Hobbit. Donaldson uses more "modern" idioms to get this point across, but it's interesting that they have such a similar theme.

I recommend it for those who enjoy epic fantasy.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Comcast HD with DVR

Just got my new HDTV DVR installed. This is the second attempt by Comcast; the first attempt on Monday this week failed when we found that the cable box would reboot itself every time I went to a menu. This time (Saturday) the installer was one and half hours late, but was very knowledgeable and this time the device worked. It's a dual tuner DVR with a 120 gigabyte hard drive; evidently this means up to 15 hours of HDTV recording.

It's cool; you can record one channel while watching another, and you can pause and rewind live TV. Besides the outputs I'm using (audio over fiber, component video) it also has fireware, usb and ethernet connectors. It'll be interesting to see if these become useful.

Apple's developer software comes with a simple firewire recorder; I understand I could record HDTV streams to my Mac but I won't be able to play them back from there. Not much point to that.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Warren Ellis digs one of my improvs!

Quote: 'Plasmabat's 'Sweet Dirge With Choir Patch" is a gorgeous buzzy piece of guitar-ambient. I love it.'

This is Lynda's favorite from Compost as well.

Sometimes I'm almost embarassed to publish these improvs; isn't it a bit like wanking? But it's a beautiful world where I can wank for your enjoyment.