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This Week’s TinyPodcast is Coming!

Brian and I didn’t forget about you this week. Although we didn’t get it done on our usual Tuesday, we did record a great TinyPodcast this week on Friday. Problem is, I was in a rush to head out of town Friday night (we’re visiting family in Seattle), and didn’t get a chance to post the show.

I’ve got it with me, and we’ll be here in Seattle for a couple more days, so I’ll see if I can get a chance to FTP it up and post it for you.

Sorry for the erratic schedule for the show the last couple of weeks. Hopefully we’ll get regular soon (er, wait a minute…). :-)

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I Want a Mac

Every once in a while (OK, who am I kidding – all the time), I get the urge to play with something new. A new handheld device. A new smartphone. A new game console. I’m constantly trying out new software, etc.

Anyone who reads this blog and/or listens to TinyPodcast knows that I’ve been wanting a Tablet PC for a while, and that I’m considering pulling the trigger on a Toshiba M200. But in the last few days, I’ve been wondering more and more if what I really should get is a Mac.

What’s that, you say? A Windows geek wants a Mac? Am I going to “switch”? Let me explain.

I’ve always considered myself “platform agnostic”, meaning I don’t have a “religious” preference for or against Windows, Linux, or Mac. I use Windows in my work, and at home, I play with Linux when I get the chance. But the one platform that I’ve never really spent much time with is the Mac. I see so much cool stuff being done on the Mac in the podcasting world, and the geek world in general. A lot of the really smart /really geeky people I know use Macs. The UI and hardware is undeniably sexy and cool.

So, I’m thinking that rather than get a Tablet PC, which granted, is a new interface experience, but is still just Windows XP under the hood, I want to get a shiny little 12″ Powerbook G4. Besides the ability to play with all the cool stuff in the Mac world, I could still Remote Desktop into my XP system in my office when I need to, or when my wife wants to use the laptop (which is how she uses the Dell 700m 99% of the time now, anyway).

So, what do you think? Any good reason for me not to dip my toes into the Kool-Aid (to mix a metaphor)? Anything on the Mac that’s just so unbeatably cool as to drive me over the edge?

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Implementing AdSense for Feeds

What is AdSense for feeds?

I got approved to try out Google AdSense for Feeds, so I’ve replaced the ads I had at the bottom of each post with the new code for the feed ad unit. I’m not seeing anything yet, but Google says it may take 24-48 hours for ads to show up.

Hopefully these will make the ads that appear way more targeted to the content of each post. The reaction I got to the other recent ad tweaks I made was positive, so I hope this will make it even better.

If you read TinyScreenfuls in an aggregator, let me know if you are/aren’t seeing the ads.

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I think I want a Nintendo DS

I know I already have a PSP. It’s not because I don’t have anything to play with. But I’m a geek, and a collector of gaming systems and mobile gadgets. The Nintendo DS is both. Plus, it’s got several innovative and interesting games – Elektroplankton, Nintendogs, Wario Ware Twisted, Metroid Pinball, etc.

We should start a pool on how long it will be before I cave in and get one… :-)

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The Samsung i730 EVDO Pocket PC Phone is Tiny

Live shots of the Samsung i730 – Engadget – www.engadget.com.

I’ve mentally been writing this one off for a while, since I figured it would be quite large (like the current generation of slide-out keyboard Pocket PCs, e.g. the Siemens SX66). But the latest batch of shots to come out of Engadget show otherwise:


That’s a Motorola V710 next to it, your standard flip phone. Yikes, that Samsung suddenly got a lot more appealing.

And you can’t beat the feature set – EVDO (high speed wireless! woo hoo!), Bluetooth, WiFi, etc. This could be a seriously killer device when it comes out (supposed to happen in the next couple of months from Verizon).

If EVDO becomes available in the Portland area, this could very well by my next phone. Can’t wait for the release and real world reviews. Check out the Engadget article for some more candid photos, including a shot of the phone in someone’s hand. Unless they’re a giant, it reinforces the diminutive size of this device.

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Hands-on With the Palm LifeDrive

The other night I spent a few minutes in CompUSA evaluating the new Palm LifeDrive. I have to say that even though I am not really a huge Palm fan, that the device was quite nice. I spent some time playing around a little with Josh’s Treo 650 and this device seems right on par with this very popular PDA.

Size-wise, the device is quite similar to the Treo. From the pictures I have seen, I thought the LifeDrive was much thicker than it is in reality. It is actually slimmer than the Treo and weighs in about the same. It’s taller and wider than the Treo, but only marginally. It is comfortable to hold and Palm’s one-handed operation implementation is quite nice.

I have read that the screen on the LifeDrive is a little disappointing, but I thought it was completely adequate. The sample photos that come on the stock system were impressive and fonts were very easy to read. I think that the screen on the Dell Axim X50v is a bit nicer, but fairly comparable.

The other fault I have read about for the device is that it is a little sluggish. I thought the unit I handled was adequate at most tasks and if I hadn’t read anything about performance, I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed. As a matter of fact, the web browser I played with rendered pages much faster than Pocket IE on my Pocket PC (I know that’s not saying much). I am sure that you could get real scientific and benchmark the device to prove that it’s slower, but I don’t think this aspect is a deal-breaker.

Having said all of that, I didn’t feel compelled to buy one. Maybe if I was in the market for a new PDA, I would give it more thought, but right now, my Axim is doing everything I need it to quite nicely. I am sure that this device is going to make a lot of media-centric people very happy though.

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MSN Virtual Earth – A Shot Across Google Maps’ Bow

Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

Scoble has posted a video of MSN Virtual Earth over at Channel 9. This is the mapping/aerial photo app that Bill Gates was showing off yesterday at the secretive “D” conference.


That’s apparently a real 45 degree image from MSN Virtual Earth. Can you imagine that kind of view of your city or neighborhood, with street names, directions, and points of interest overlaid?

Very cool. Can’t wait for the wraps to come off of this one.

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Some Site Layout, AdSense Tweaks

I made some changes to the layout/content of the sidebar. I’m trying out Google’s Link Units, over on the right. It uses the AdSense algorithm to pick out some key words that match the page, and when you click on the work, you see some ads targeted at that keyword. The ads you see are guaranteed to be what you’re looking for, since you clicked on the keyword. Pretty clever, I think.

The other change was to insert an ad after each post. I hope that this will make the ad algorithm target what’s in each post, rather than try to figure out what ads it should display for all of the posts on the front page, which usually cover a broad range of specific topics (all geeky, of course).

The one thing I’ve always liked about AdSense ads is that they’re usually so relevant that they’re like extra related content, rather than ads. At the same time, I’m not trying to make a ton of money with this site – just enough to pay for hosting, and maybe pick up a new gadget every once in a while, to keep the geekiness flowing.

That being said, I don’t want to cross the line into being one of those “ad-infested” sites, so please feel free to let me know what you think about the tweaks I’ve made. Hopefully they’re not too annoying. If they’re driving people away from the site, I’ll dump them, but I’m hoping that you don’t mind, and that the ads are relevant enough that you’ll even click on them when you come to visit. :-)

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Skype Does Get It, Offers Full Text RSS Feeds

Phil Taylor of Skype posted a comment to my post about Skype “missing the boat” by not offering full text RSS feeds:

I am the bloke who designed those rss feeds, and subject to approval of skype staff we can change them as requested. How’s that for feedback?

Phil, I think that’s awesome feedback, and I think it would be great if you were able to make share.skype.com‘s RSS feed full text.

EDIT: The feeds are now full text! Thanks, Phil! :-)

This is a great example about blogs as a medium for conversation between companies and users. I love it when things like this come together! :-)

Phil, say Hi to Lenn for me if you see him!

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