Lost my Bluetooth headset, shopping for a new one

I’ve lost my Plantronics 320 Bluetooth headset, for the final time. I’ve misplaced it before, but it’s always turned up. Heck, I even dropped in in the toilet, and it kept on kicking. But it’s gone for sure this time. How do I know? I was able to narrow down the time/place that it could have fallen off of my shirt, and it was while I was loading my bag and stuff in the back of the car, when my wife picked me up from work on Friday,  in front of Jones Farm 3. It’s probably been run over by cars and the shuttle bus a few dozen times already.

I was actually kind of waiting for it to kick the bucket, so I could buy a new one. I wasn’t very happy with the ear clip design, which was too uncomfortable to just leave in my ear, and the reception sucked unless I had line of sight between my phone and the headset. Which means I had to hold my phone in my hand when I was talking with the headset, defeating the purpose almost entirely.

So I’m in the market for a new headset. I want something along the lines of the behind the ear design of the Jabra BT250. That was my first and favorite Bluetooth headset. Comfortable and discreet enough to wear all the time, great reception, so I could leave my phone in the holster. I’d just pick up another BT250, but the first one I had started to fall apart after a while (buttons came off, etc.), and I’m always looking for something new.

I looked at the successor to the BT250, the BT500 from Jabra, but the design is not as attractive, I think, and the reviews I read said it got worse than average reception. Not encouraging. And no links to the Jabra website, because the Flash animations play music with no immediately obvious way to shut them up, which irritates the heck out of me.

So, after a bit of browsing around, I’m thinking of the Plantronics Voyager 510. Amazon’s got it for $47, less than half of the $99 MSRP, and about what I’m willing to pay for a headset. It s the basic behind the ear design that I want, and it gets good reviews. It has a cool-sounding feature called MultiPoint that lets it pair to two devices at once – say, a cell phone and a Mac. Not sure how it decides how to route the calls, but it sounds good on paper.

Not sure if I’m going to pull the trigger on the Plantronics just yet. Any other ideas or recommendations? Anything I should definitely check out? Anything I should avoid at all costs?


Mobile version of Google RSS Reader

Steve Rubel points out that Google has made a mobile version of their RSS Reader available.

I’ll have to check it out, because one of the big things that keeps me using Bloglines is the mobile version, and the fact that it stays in perfect sync with the desktop/web version.

I really didn’t like the full web version of Google Reader when I tried it, and I’d have to use it as my main reader to take full advantage of the mobile version, so I doubt I’ll be switching, but I’ll check it out.

It’s good to see more attention being paid to mobile versions of web apps – Google is doing a great job here, with search and Gmail working perfectly in their tiny mobile incarnations.


DualCor cPC is NOT a phone, but will ship with a CF 802.11g card

I’m a member of the DualCor Board of Expert Technical Advisors, and just got an update from DualCor‘s David Ciccone regarding the DualCor cPC’s wireless capabilities. There’s been a conversation happening in the blogosphere, kicked off by the revelation that the DualCor Windows XP/Windows Mobile device would not ship with any integrated wireless radios. That includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular wireless for phone and data. You will have to add your own peripherals for wireless connectivity.

DualCor says their market research indicates that their potential buyers favor choice – the ability to choose, say, CDMA/EVDO over GSM/EDGE. If the cellular radio were integrated, they would be limiting themselves to the market of people who already have (or are willing to switch to) that particular service.

I can see the logic in this, but it also puts the DualCor cPC device firmly in the “not a phone” category. Sure, you could track down and add a CompactFlash GSM/EDGE card (there are no CF EVDO cards, yet), and add it on. But that doesn’t make the device a phone any more than doing the same to a laptop or Tablet PC makes it a phone. It’s a computing device with some phone capabilities. I don’t see this as a negative thing, unless you had the expectation that the device would act as a phone. If you did, I can see how you might be disappointed or upset.

For local wireless connectivity, there’s some slightly better news. Dave tells me that all cPC devices will ship with a CompactFlash 802.11g WiFi card, so you’ll have some connectivity out of the box.  Like most CF WiFi cards on the market, it will protrude about a half inch from the CF slot. Want Bluetooth? You’ll have to get a CF or USB Bluetooth add-on.

Again, I can understand the logic of wanting to offer maximum choice and flexibility, but I really would have liked to see at least integrated WiFi, if not Bluetooth. When is the last time you heard of a super high end mobility device like this (the cPC will cost $1999 when it ships) that didn’t include WiFi? I’m guessing that I’m misunderstanding the market they’re aiming for with the cPC. Some customers (governments, etc.) might not purchase the devices if they included integrated wireless. At this price point, it’s clear that enthusiasts and geeks are not the target market. So hopefully, everything will work out well.

Devices are expected to ship within 90 days, and I’ll be sure to pass along any more info that I can, as it becomes available.


Princess Peach is Bowser Jr.’s Mother?!

Read this unexpected and disturbing tidbit on page 10 of the (U.S.) New Super Mario Bros manual.

I guess now we know why Bowser Sr. was always kidnapping the Princess… πŸ˜‰


Google Notebook is like an online version of OneNote

My friend Naveed made a comment that got me thinking about Google Notebook’s place in the world, and specifically, how it compares to social bookmarks.

I don’t see Google Notebook as a competitor. They have Google Bookmarks for that, and in that comparison, is the clear winner.

Where I see Google Notebook being useful is an online, cross-platform, always available version of Microsoft OneNote. Instead of clipping things and saving them to OneNote, you clip them and send them to Google Notebook. Store interesting bits, images, and (hey!) notes, and always have them available when you’re online (attractive to people like me who live in Firefox, but work from several different computers).

Anyone who uses OneNote for this kind of thing probably already knows what I’m talking about – if you don’t, give Google Notebook a try. They’re very similar in their behavior and features (with obvious differences, too). There’s also some wiki DNA in there somewhere.

Now, how about getting ink support for Tablet PCs enabled in Google Notebook (and Firefox in general)? Then we’ll be talking about a OneNote killer. πŸ™‚


Glossy MacBook screen seems to be the same as my Dell 700m

There’s been some concern in the blogosphere today about the new “glossy” screen on the MacBook (and now available as an option on the MacBook Pro).

I’d have to do some hands on checking, but I’m guessing that the MacBook screen is pretty similar (if not exactly the same as) to the 13.3″, 1200×800 pixel, “glossy” LCD screen on my Dell Inspiron 700m laptop.

If that’s the case, I’d say the glossy worriers have nothing to worry about. I love the screen on my 700m. It is extra reflective, but the colors on it are awesome. If you use it outside in sunshine, or in some other environment with lots of strong light, then yeah, there will be some glare, but in my use of the 700m, I’ve never had an instance where the screen was unusable.


Google Notebook Firefox Extension

Google Notebook Firefox Extension, originally uploaded by JoshB.

A view of the Firefox extension that Google Notebook installs. It add the “open/close notebook” item to the status bar, and that popup window is what you see when it’s open.

You can copy or drag text or images to the notebook window, and the “Actions” drop down gives you shortcuts to the full page view, common actions, etc.


Google Notebook

Google Notebook, originally uploaded by JoshB.

It seems that Google Notebook launched this morning. This is a shot from the brief moment I spent playing with it.

I was kind of surprised to see that it installed a Firefox extension, but that adds a lot of functionality (right click context menus for adding a note, a little popup view of the notebook that you can drag text and images to, etc.).

You can make a notebook public, so others can view it. You can see my Test Public Notebook here.

No RSS or Atom feeds that I could find, or that Bloglines/Firefox could autodetect. It looks like it could be used as an alternate type of blogging tool, but the lack of feeds will hinder that.

All in all, a pretty cool addition, and one more thing that I can do across any computer via the web, instead of relying on client applications and local files. I’m all for that. πŸ™‚


Flickr updates Organizr, loses ability to Send photos to a Group

I was playing around with the recently updated Flickr Organizr (a really cool Flash way of dragging your photos around to edit them as a batch, etc.). Very slick interface – hard to believe this is a web app. Top notch UI, which I expect from Flickr.

But I noticed one feature that I used a lot has been completely removed – there’s no longer any interface for sending any of your photos to a Group.

I used this feature a lot – I often upload photos in batches of 10 or 20, and when I was done, I’d go to the old Organizr, select the “Groups” view, and drag the photos to the appropriate group that I wanted to share with.

It looks to me like the Groups functionality has been completely removed. Bummer. That means we’re reduced to clicking on “Send to Group” for each individual photo, one at a time. Slow, painful, and inconvenient.

Here’s hoping they put this feature back soon! Stewart and Caterina, can you hear me? πŸ™‚

EDIT: Score -1 for reading comprehension. I was just re-reading the Flickr blog post announcing the change, and saw this little tidbit:

By the way, we’ve snipped “Your Groups” out of the Organizr temporarily. It will return!

So, I guess we won’t have to wait too long, or make a fuss to get this feature back. πŸ™‚