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Pocket PC Today plugin syncs with Google Calendar

My post on “Whoever Gets Google Calendar syncing with Outlook First, Wins” has been one of the most popular posts I’ve made this year, according to my logs. There have been a couple of solutions come out since then, but frankly, I haven’t had time to try them out yet.

But I just read about a new Pocket PC Today Screen plugin from SnoopSoft (creator of the ever-popular Dashboard) that syncs directly with Google Calendar via the web.

WebCalendar

I’m not sure if it syncs both ways, or only shows your Google Calendar on the Today screen, but pretty cool. I’m going to have to try this one out as soon as a trial becomes available (Pocket PC Thoughts says a trial version is coming soon).

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Can someone “steal” free wifi?

This has been all over the internet today, but it’s relatively close to home for me, and I’m always getting irritated at the local news media for inaccurate reporting In this case, though, it’s not the reporting but the news itself that’s absurd.

It seems the manager of a coffee shop in Vancouver, Washington (just across the river from Portland) called 911 because someone was repeatedly sitting in their parking lot using their free wifi without buying any coffee. This has allegedly been going on for three months, and it turns out that the guy is a registered sex offender (not sure what that has to do with his “crime”). He’s being charged with “theft of services”. This is outrageous for so many reasons. Allow me elaborate.

First of all, how can someone “steal” something that is being given away for free? I’m assuming there are no Terms of Use, contract, or obligation that states you can only use the coffee shop’s free wifi if you have bought something for them. Sure, it’s rude to leech wifi. But illegal? No! How can you steal something that’s being given away for free? That’s like saying I’m stealing local TV broadcasts because my TV is using their signal, but I’m not buying anything from the TV stations.

Second, the manager of “Brewed Awakenings”, Emily Pranger, is wasting the time, resources and money of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department by calling 911 for something that’s “borderline creepy” (as she calls it). She’s done it more than once – the KATU story linked above states that deputies have talked to him before. I’d be glad that I don’t pay taxes in Clark County Washington, but there’s plenty of stupid stuff that happens in my own county, so I know I’m not getting a better value for my tax dollar or anything.

Third, the reporter goes out of his way to state that the accused man is a Level One Sex Offender (after giving his full name). How does that have anything to do with the supposed crime committed here? Even if he was guilty of stealing something material, like sugar packets, from the coffee shop (is that a real crime?), it has nothing to do with him being a sex offender. Could he have been looking at porn or something? Probably. Is that a crime? Depends on what he was looking at, but it does NOT depend on whose wifi he was using when he did it. I think it’s irresponsible of the reporter to bring up his status as a sex offender. Then again, I’ve felt for a long time that the local TV media are more about sensationalism than responsibility (like their favorite person, “Convicted Underwear Thief Sung Koo Kim”, who they mention at least once a week – his reputation is pretty much ruined in this area, even after he serves his time).

Lastly, I predict that this is going to lead to people freaking out about wifi theft. If this guy is guilty of “Theft of Services”, then so is the KATU reporter that wrote “On a random neighborhood street in Vancouver, a KATU News laptopdetected 11 networks, five of which were unsecured, meaning anyone could log on to them for free.” Anyone who ever connected to an open wifi access point (advertised or unintetionally left open) would be a thief. Charge this guy with trespassing, or loitering, or something, but “Theft of Services”? Come on…

Sorry for the rant – I just had to get that off my chest.

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2 Bluetooth EVDO phones as modems, no waiting

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but today I finally broke down and got everything set up to use both my Verizon Samsung i730 and my Sprint Ambassador program SCH-A920 phones as EVDO modems over Bluetooth.

There’s a hack to enable the Bluetooth DUN profile/service on the i730, since Verizon disables this functionality on every phone it sells. Sprint, on the other hand, not only enables Bluetooth DUN, but provides instructions in the manual for how to set it up, and even has a nice little software wizard you can download to configure everything automagically.

So now, I have two devices on my person at any given time that can act as Bluetooth EVDO modems. No more being at the mercy of WiFi availability at the airport or wherever.

Hmm. I wonder if I can link the two phones together in a “shotgun” configuration (Remember the old Supra 28.8 modems that did that?) for twice the bandwidth and speed? πŸ˜‰

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Blog of a great photographer

We have a family friend, Courtney White, that is a great photographer. She did some photos of Emma when she was 2, and they are absolutely awesome.

She is very internet savvy (here’s her photography site), but didn’t have a blog yet. At my encouragement, she remedied that –  courtneyblog.wordpress.com.

I didn’t do much of anything to get her going, other than point her at wordpress.com. She dived in, got it set up, and figured everything out on her own. And now she’s sharing some of her great photography. Check it out! πŸ™‚

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My brother sponsored the largest bass drum in the world

My brother owns and runs Wright-Way Moving and Storage up in Seattle. He’s been partnering with the Seattle Seahawks NFL team on some promotional efforts, and just sent me a link to this:

The Seahawks Introduce RUMBLE

The Seattle Seahawks have partnered with Wright Way Moving and Storage, Inc, agents for Mayflower Transit, to introduce RUMBLE, the world’s largest bass drum. The 100” diameter drum weighs 350 pounds and stands more than 10 feet tall on its cart. RUMBLE will become part of Seahawks Blue Thunder, the high-energy drumline that entertains fans before, during, and after games.

Pretty cool, huh? πŸ™‚ There are some photos of the drum at the link. Pretty massive! Now I’ll have to go out to a Seahawks game and hear it in action.

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Sacramento Airport

I’m waiting for my flight home in the Sacramento Airport. It’s much nicer than San Jose, where I was last week, and the WiFi here is free. Just grabbed a bite to eat, and I’ve been passing the time in the terminal by playing Tetris DS against people all over the world via WiFi. What a blast!

I’m a little sunburned from driving around in the Mustang Convertible I rented. It was my first time driving a convertible, and it was a pretty hot day here (I think I saw the local news say the high was 97F). It was a load of fun – cruising on the California freeways with the top down, Sirius satellite radio blasting on the nice Shaker 500 stereo in the Mustang. I seriously needed some sunglasses, though. It was bright, and I was squinting the whole time. I don’t think I’d ever buy a convertible (I don’t really like the Daystar, and prefer to be air conditioned when I drive), but it was definitely fun for a short trip.

I stopped by Fry’s on the way to the airport, just as a tradition (same as grabbing a burger at In-n-Out). It was a gigantic one like Portland, compared to the small and crowded one in L.A. I wandered around in the game section, to see if there were any good deals. Almost picked up Big Brain Academy for the Nintendo DS, but decided not to. I’m way behind in the games I already own. I also spent some time in the digital camera section, since mine died, and I haven’t decided what to replace it with. I put my hands on the Canon SD700 IS for the first time, and it’s everything I hoped it would be. The display model didn’t have a battery, though, so I couldn’t take any test shots to see how well the Image Stabilization works. Fry’s had it for $474, but I’ve seen it for as low as $385 (new) on eBay, so I’m not sure which way I’m going to go. As soon as I have the funds, I think this is my next camera.

Anyway, off to play some more Tetris (and maybe some Mario Kart) before my flight. I don’t get into Portland until 11:00 PM, so I’ve got a while to wait, and not enough battery in my X41 tablet to blog the time away. Good thing I carry so many gadgets with me – there’s always something to keep me entertained! πŸ™‚

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NEC Tablet PC – Thinnest and Lightest I’ve ever seen

Even though it’s a couple of years old, I was completely blown away by how small this NEC slate-only Tablet PC. It’s about as thin as a magazine, and about as heavy. Incredible.

Of all the Tablet PC and UMPC hardware I’ve seen, this is hands down the most desireable. And NEC never released it in North America (Japan only). I palyed with this one that’s on display at the Intel IT Innovation Center in Folsom today.

The screen is huge and gorgeous. It felt about a third as thick and a third as light as the Motion LE1600, and made the HP TC1100 tablet PC they had on display next to it look and feel like an absolute brick.

I’m going to have to scrounge around on eBay or Dynamism to see if I can get my hands on one of these. THIS is what a Tablet PC is supposed to be! πŸ™‚

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6 Displays on One PC



6 Displays on One PC, originally uploaded by JoshB.

Another cool demo at the Intel IT Innovation Center in Folsom.

One GPU, three video cards, six displays. I didn’t get a clear shot of what the total resolution is, but can you imagine having this setup on your desk? πŸ™‚

Those are 18″ NEC LCDs, and if they’re like the one I used to have, 1280×1024 native resolution. Let’s see, that would make it…

3840 x 2048 pixels (7.8 megapixels). Impressive!

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Intel Digital Home


Intel Digital Home, originally uploaded by JoshB.

This demo room at the Intel IT Innovation Center in Folsom was simply amazing. This giant TV was hooked up to a Windows Media Center PC, and besides the basic entertainment stuff, they had all kinds of home automation demos hooked up to it.

For example, when someone rang the “doorbell”, the PC spoke, paused what you were doing, told you that someone was at the door, and switched to the surveilance camera so you could see who it was. It was running “OneVoice” voice control software, so you could speak commands to it, like “OneVoice, start slideshow International”.

It was very cool – I wish I had my video camera with me! Next time I will. Thanks to Phil to showing me around the place, and letting me hang out for the afternoon after my meetings. πŸ™‚

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Lucky Me



Lucky Me, originally uploaded by JoshB.

In Folsom for the day. Scored a nice rental car.

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