Thursday, May 22, 2008

Buttons and Lights

If you know me at all, you know I love gadgets. There has always been something about "buttons and lights" that has attracted me. I still fondly remember the satisfaction of my first cellular phone. I know you will remember it, it looked just like a brick,... but heavier!

I remember the Sharp Zaurus. I loved that thing. I remember the thrill of using my optional 300/1200 modem to log on and surf Compuserve (back when it was all text based, before the internet!) The Zaurus had a nice full sized keyboard. My old boss STILL uses and loves his Zaurus.

I replaced the Zaurus with my Sony Clie NR-70V. Now that was an amazing device! I kept that puppy running for a long time, and it looked like it. I invested deeply into the Palm OS and never regretted it. I was watching videos and TV shows on my PDA long before most people knew anyone could do that. I still have that thing too, not yet willing to give it up. It sits in a dusty corner, on it's battery charger life-support. If it looses power, its memory will be cleared and it will revert back to factory-fresh mode. I just can't bring myself to pull the plug on it just yet.

The only big drawback was it's low memory and the fact I had to carry a separate cellphone. Soon I was getting comments about my "bat-belt", with the Clie, the cellphone, the digital camera and my Leatherman. I wanted to have one of those nifty LED flashlights, but I couldn't find a place to put it!

So, in the interest of consolidation, I picked up my beautiful Palm Treo 650. The Treo could use all my Palm programs, had expandable memory and combined my phone and PDA into one device. I liked that.

I have definitely gotten my money out of the Treo. It has been a hard-working tireless partner with me for quite some time. Ruggedly built, it was innovative enough to keep me "caught-up" for many years. Slowly the upgrades got nicer and nicer but never really tempted me to the point of abandoning the Treo. When I buy a device like this, I'm in it for the long haul. The Treo's screen remains un-scratched, despite every corner of the darned thing having the paint worn off AND being dropped more times than I can remember. It is still branded with "Cingular" when that was a brand new company! Seems the phone has outlasted the corporation! Who would have imagined that?! I still like my Treo. It still has a ton of usefulness in it, and it is hard to beat that real QWERTY keyboard, but the winds of change are blowing.

I've been watching and waiting and I think I'll be upgrading again soon.

I am a big Apple fan. I love their designs. Their gear seems to work the way I think. I say to myself "I think it should work this way" and then I try it, and more often than not it DOES work that way. INTUITIVE, at least for me. That's why, when Apple came out with the iPhone, it was hard not to jump ship then. Everyone I knew was getting an iPhone, and everyone loved it. I even got one for Emily for her birthday, and she loved it. But I waited.

I've been waiting for an iPhone with GPS. I am into GPS. I love Geocaching, hiking and sailing. I'm into GPS tracking with Ham radio (APRS), I've been waiting for the convergence of GPS into the mainstream consumer product lines. I want all my photos geotagged. I want to set up reminder alarms based on location instead of time. I want to see every Twitter from anyone within a 2km radius. I want driving directions, restaurant recommendations and searches for the cheapest gas based on where I am at the moment.

To do these things, we need a revolution. Everything needs to know "where it is". In the past, with PDAs, we've been able to organize ourselves in relation to time: schedules, calendars, world-clocks, to-do lists with deadlines. Now I want to organize information in relation to space.

Well, the Apple rumor mill has been chugging away and rumors are abounding about "The New 3G iPhone". It will have 3G internet connectivity (fast), it might have GPS, it might have a great camera, it might be subsidized somewhat by AT&T (with a 2 year contract), it might be announced at the developers conference June 9th. Time will tell. One thing for sure. An iPhone, with GPS will signal to me the end of the wonderful Treo era, and the beginning of something new and very exciting.

Peace, Love and Innovation,


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