Cyberdog Biscuits

Musings and bruisings about Apple, Macs, iPods and everything we love and hate about thinking different.

Friday, August 11, 2006

As you can see from the side-by-side comparison of the hw6915 (far right), h6315 (center) and h4355, I'm somewhat of an iPAQ fan and have been for several years. I started with Newtons many years ago and tried a few Palm devices, but always preferred the iPAQ and the MS Mobile OSes. Being primarily a long-time Mac user, I have to admit that Microsoft does a good job as long as they stick to simple OSes. But, I digress.

Simply put, after using this device for a couple of weeks, this is my favorite handheld device I have ever owned or could wish to own and leaves me for want of nothing, but there are some caveats and a warning which I will get to later.

The 240X240 screen took me about a day to get used to, but it is sharp, briliant and bright and any reservations I had about moving from 240X320 are gone. The Intel PXA270 416 MHz CPU isn't the fastest out there, but it is plenty zippy for all my tasks and web pages, large pdf and Word files load in a snap. The backlit keyboard is amazingly bright and the keys feel great.

Warning: I always encase my iPAQs and have preferred the Piel Lama cases. However, when I ordered one, it looked like the description had the 69xx hastily added to the description of the 65xx/67xx series, but the joystick in the 69xx is slightly taller (and a joy to use, no pun intended) and the leather screen"frame" divider on the case nearly tore off my jostick sliding it in. Additionally, the leather cutout in the lower right corner of the case pressed on the "return" key and would constantly inadvertently insert a return. I promptly returned that case and am using the eNovo case which is just fine.

The integrated GPS is flawless using the pre-installed Tomtom and I had no problems and outstanding satellite through Los Angeles and suburbs with my iPAQ in a PDA cup-holder. I always had a minimum of 3 bars reception through valleys, mountains, passes and in congested urban areas. The Tomtom software itself wasn't as bad as I'd heard and was pretty smart in being able to correct itself even when I blatantly ignored directions or took shortcuts.

The phone component using Integrated quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE technolgies is the best I've used, bar none. I happen to be locked into T-mobile (not because of contracts, but because of the unique plan we must use in our family business) and at my home, reception has always been horrible until now. For the first time I can hear people clearly and distinctly on every call (unless there is a problem on their end, of course. I rely on the speaker phone for 90% of my calls and the nuilt-in speaker is loud and clear enough to be used in my car while driving or when the phone is on my desk with several noisy fans going on in the room.

The 2.5 main caveats include the switch to MiniSD storage which rendered my entire SD card collection useless, but on the upside, MiniSDs have come down in price considerably and I bought a couple of 2GB cards for less than USD 30 with mail-in rebate, under USD 40 before the rebates. The second one is the switch to the 2.5 mm audio jack, which necessitates an adapter to plug into my stereo speakers. The last "half" caveat is that since this unit is still UK-only (you can find the 69xx easily enough on ebay, but I went with mobileplanet and their service was impeccable, as usual), it ships with the giant 3-pronged European AC adapter. I have plenty of compatible iPAQ adapters on hand which is why it only gets half a caveat, but if you don't, be sure to order one if you buy this device.

WiFi, IR and BT work flawlessly and WM5's ability to finally export and send Mobile Word files in a variety of formats is a huge coup.

The 1.3 Mp camera is standard Photosmart fare, but the LED flash amd micro mirror on the back, while not new to PPCs in general, make things a little fun.

Warranty service in the US is standard, world-class HP support and registration over the phone was no problem to my US address.

If you are a Mac user, MissingSync *does* work, but the 69xx series is not officially supported. It took me a few attempts to load the MarkSpace ActiveSync components and a few tries to get all the plugins to work, but I finally did! I can now sync with my Mac!

Since extra expense and hassle is the cost of being an early adopter and I consider myself lucky to be among the first to own this wonderful device, I can't subtract stars for what I consider to be hassles. The pros of this PPC phone far outweigh the cons and it draws lustful stares, oohs and ahs wherever I go.

If you're on the fence about this one and can swing the USD 760 (I saw a new one go for that one ebay recently) to USD 918 (mobile planet's latest price- they seem to have jacked it 20 bucks since I bought mine), I say you won't be disappointed. I'm sure as heck not.

Any questions or comments are encouraged in case (I'm sure I did) I forgot any key points. Here are a few more pics:


Sunday, April 09, 2006

The REAL reason Apple does Windows

The real reason Steve Jobs "allowed" Windows booting? Well, he didn't just allow it, but probably ordered it a couple of years ago, if not much earlier. OS X, iPod cross-platform integration, the move to Intel chips- all of it was part of a long-term plan to have Windows run on Macs. But for what reason, really?

Steve Jobs, regardless of what you think of his personality, is indisputably a visionary. I think it's safe to say that the majority of what he does and has accomplished has not been by accident. Additionally, his style, the whole "RDF" thing, the "one more thing" thing, etc., the very things that endear him to his legions of fans (and seems to irritate non- believers and critics), is precisely what makes this look to be just another of his impeccable planned and executed strategies.

We have heard official dictums by Apple that WIndows would not be supported on Macs. There was the contest and bounty to see who could hack a Mac to boot Windows. Then, a couple of weeks later, Apple releases Boot Camp. Some Mac users were aghast, some overjoyed.

Did Steve do it out of philanthropy- was he finally yielding to the wishes of some users? Was he admitting that because there are certain "proggies" that users needed that couldn't be found on Macs that Macs were inferior? Was he trying to increase the Macs' market share by giving in to the masses' will which made them follow the heard? Was he attempting to penetrate Dell's inroads into the educational and commercial markets by making them replicate what Dells could offer? Was he trying to crack the all-important "gamers" market to increase hardware sales?


I won't go into each reason why these reasons are improbable, but suffice it to say that Apple has never been marginal regardless of its overall market share of PCs. Apple has made a lot of money just fine, thank you, with its 3 or 5%, or whatever. Apple, as sometimes is said, has been "proudly going out of business for 30 years!" And, Steve was never one to particularly give much weight to what the vocal masses whims were. He always just kind of did what he thought was right and, so far, he's been kind of right more often than not. So, what reason was there to move the immovable Steve Jobs?

He did it to finally castrate Redmond's last stranglehold on Apple; to wit, "Office:mac." (sic) No longer would Apple be subject to the MBU's whims, threats, foot-draggings and feigned indifference to gain leverage and force Apple to do its bidding. The impetuous, jealous and child-like Bill Gates made truck-loads of cash peddling the horrendous (but vital to millions because, as Chef Joanna says "it's what everyone else uses") Office to Mac users, but it's not like he needed the money. No, it did something much more entertaining for Bill- it gave him power over Steve. Now, if Microsoft folds up the MBU tents (takes its ball and goes home), who cares? Windows can be run on a Mac, along with Office or any other crappy-but-necessary Windows "proggie."

Beginning with storied interactions between the two men and their companies, Bill has always enjoyed toying with Steve; like a cat toys with an injured mouse before devouring it. Humiliating it, prolonging its suffering for its own perverse amusement. Unfortunately, this "toying" has also affected we Mac users. When Microsoft bailed out Apple with an investment, part of the conditions were that Apple cease its own web browser development and other coercions- the whole "knife the baby" deal. For a decade we had to suffer with either Internet Exploder or Navigator and what outsiders felt like porting to the Mac. That is why Mail, then Safari, when the terms of the agreement expired, were so important to those of us who remember. Now, the last vestige of bullying by Redmond is gone. With an Intel Mac and a copy of Windows XP home, we can go out and pay extortion prices for crapware just like 95% of the world does minus the bullying and hassling courtesy of Bill Gates.

Gates and the Evil Empire are finally slain (as far as their sway over Apple and Mac users.)

Thank you, Steve, for being such a brilliant visionary and strategist.