Monday, October 30, 2006

Asus R2H UMPC seems realy really cool

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In my Gmail today, they pushed a webLink to me that just jumped out at me. I was looking at this on Friday and Saturday when I was writing my previous article on what kind of a tablet based PC I need for what I do.

It seems everyone
loves the Asus UMPC. The only 2 complaints we hear are: 1) All the preloaded stuff bogs things down quite a bit... (so remove it!) And 2) The battery life is 2h12m, or 3h20m with it in powersaving.

I am very fascinated by this model, and I think I will probably take the plunge this week. I will figure out how to tweak it and use better battery powered chargers etc..,

Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pulling Origami - Searching for the right UMPC

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I have been vary fascinated by Tablet technology over the last 5 years. So much so that I was an early adopter 4 years ago with Acer's Travelmate C100 tablet. It was very small, very portable, but very slow. "Tabby" went everywhere with me, and I loved the fact it was portable. Between Tabby, Microsoft OneNote and Frankin-Covey's TabletPlanner, I was in Organized Guy's Heaven. Then I lost my contracts, needed to feed my family, so I sold Tabby to some guy off the internet.

A year later I decided to go with Acer's Travelmate C310 Tablet. It was fast, powerful, upgradeable, but big. It was a good laptop, and it had tablet functionality. So "Tabitha" let me do some powerfhouse programming, detailed schematic modeling, and kept my schedule in check. But I had to sell her when I lost my job. It was pay mortgage, or keep Tabitha. Again, my family won out.

Not enter 2005. I had several big contracts on the go, and again I was struggling with needing to be mobile, and keep all my notes in sync. So my wife and I agreed. It is time to get a Tablet again. So I did a lot of research. I needed a really good laptop and a really good tablet. I need to be able to demonstrate enterprise server software, develop .Net applications as well as number crunch spreadsheets. I needed lots of diskpace and good video. I needed a tablet that I could take notes when I was in meetings with customers. And I did not want to spend an arm a leg, and my first born son. So I chose after great deliberation, the Toshiba R10. I love it. It is a wonderful laptop and a great tablet. And so "T-3" was born. I am using it currently to write this entry.

But after all this time, I have discovered something. These Tablet/laptop hybrids are very big and bulky. You have to turn them on fully to get to write your quick scribly notes. Checking your calendar is awkward unless you have the laptop on. I still have my Cellphones (I use only Microsoft Windows Mobile Technology phones - I could write a whole other article on my Smartphone/PDAPhone experiences) but they are only good for taking quick short notes, reading emails on the go, and making phone calls. Cellphones are not computers, even though they have some features.

So I need something else. I look at what I have turned to just recently. I now have 2 books I carry with me wherever I go: A writing pad to stire all my notes, thoughts, todos, and I have a Week-at-a Glance Agenda that has all my appointments and this weeks todos. Why do I have them? Well they are small (8" x 5") and fit in any thing I need to take with me. They are quick to turn on, and they let me write anything anywhere I want. But I am still using yet another thing that is not c`onnected to the wired/wireless world I live in. I use GMail, Google Calendar, spreadsheets and docs and Notebook for flagging, collaborating all my thinkstuff. So I have to replicate this on paper. Or vice versa. (I have the same complaint about the Microsoft based PDAPhones.... Their broswers suck so Google's neat AJAX features nver work properly. I still to this day cannot sync my Gcal to my UTStarcomm 6700)

So what do I need? I need something that meets the following criteria:
  • Small enough to fit in my hands (8"x 5")
  • Needs to be powerful enough to be a real computer - 1Ghz
  • Needs to have enough hard drive space to hold a reasonable set of documents
  • needs to be a portable multimedia device - MP3's etc...
  • Needs to be quick to turn on and get to
  • Needs to have really great Wireless networking so that I can get all my Google based knowledgeware
  • Needs to be expandable to meet the needs of other technologies as they come down the road.
So we come up to the Ultra-Mobile PC's (UMPC). These devices have been talked about for over a year. I remmber the whole lead up to the origami launch... But a year has gone by, and there has been little more than a fair whisper of the manufactures delivering these things.
Especially in Canada. It is hard to find sources for Tablet PC's forget UMPC's!

But now I hear word that Asus is finally delivering on their R2H and it will be available in Canada for under $1000. It does everything I want, although battery life isn't that great. It even has a camera built in, GPS built in. Will I be able to upgrade it? Put more memory, larger harddrive etc? The release annoucnement and many of the reviews are making me salivate. But can I justify it?

We'll see. And if I do get it, you will see a review for it here soon.

Neat Tool: The Mobile Secretary

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Windows Mobile Team Blog : The Mobile Secretary
This seems to be an interesting idea to allow people to get more details about why you cannot answer them than a voicemail message.

It makes the missed call interactive.
I plan to install it and write a review on it in the next few days.