Friday, June 26, 2009

Adjusting to new technology

Had to buy gas this morning. When I'd filled the tank, I wanted to note the miles on the odometer & trip meter before resetting. But no stylus pen! My Treo was at home. So I called my wife and had her make a notte for me.

While driving home, I smacked my forehead and thought"Why didnlt I just make a note in the Pre?" As pennance, I'm osting this frpm the Pre, unedited. 

It's hard to adjustvto new technology and change 4-year old habits!

Take me out to the ballgame

We to a Lugnuts baseball game Thursday night, and naturally had to test out the Pre (& the 3GS). First trial was at about 6:30 pm to fire up the AccuWeather apps and check for "game time" temperature and a look at the radar, since showers were threatened.

The Pre popped up in about 5 seconds. The 3GS spun it's wheels and stalled out. Even though both were showing 5 bars and 3G status, the AT&T network was apparently overloaded in downtown Lansing just after work hours.

A later trial between innings (around 8:30 pm) found the 3GS back to life and responding in 5 or 6 seconds, too. 3G speed is great -- but only if you have it when you need it.

Cell phones -- the call-droppers! or Why we still have a land line

One of the most annoying things about cell phones are calls that get dropped in the middle. This seems to plague me at home in front of my computer most of all (actually not surprising when you consider how much radio noise is emitted by electronics). But that's where I make many calls, responding to voice-mail or e-mail, when a conversation is needed, or following up on bills or service requests.

So, I was pleased that the Pre seemed to suffer less from this plague than my Treo 700p, even though they are both on Sprint. During a couple weeks of use, I think I've only had one dropped call. But, I did miss a few incoming calls which showed up a voice mail a few minutes later.

The iPhone on AT&T also suffered a dropped call. Ironically, it was when I was using it to call Palm about a wierd e-mail glitch on the Pre. The Palm support service was pretty good, until I realized I was talking to a dead line.

Maybe we'll have to get one of those "pico-cells" to boost reception in the house.

So that is why I generally make important support service calls or inquiries using our land line. It's basic local service that costs around $20 a month (including all taxes, surcharges, and fees!!). Long distance is four cents a minute (I think), but I haven't made a toll call for over 5 years.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Speaker volume of the Pre

The external speaker on the Pre is located in the top back, a good place for shirt-pocket listening. The strength however, is, while not weak, at the limit. I usually keep the volume control at 8 of 10. Sometimes, in anoisy environment, I have to turn it all the way up to 10. It seems like 5 of 10 would be more appropriate for normal listening. On the iPhone 3GS, by comparison, it's continuous slider delivers good volume at about 60%, leaving room to boom, so to say.

Podcasts on the Pre

One of the features of the Pre is it's ability to sync with iTunes, which is handy for loading up with podcasts to listen to on the go.

The Pre's playback management is nice (especially when compared to the iPhone 3GS*), in that is has both a time elapsed and time remaining display, and when fast-forwarding, it speeds up after 10 minutes of elasped time on the meter, so positioning, or re-positioning in an hour-long show is possible. Unfortunately, if you accidentally hit the stop button, or overshoot and reach the end, it reverts to the beginning.

One other minor annoyance: the podcasts seem to get cut off just at the end during playback, that is they stop a few seconds before they should.

*The iPhone has no time display at all, just total time of posdcast. Also, it's fast-forward is audio-cued and pretty slow. For long podcasts, it was impractical to reposition to the 2nd half of the show.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Standing in Line" at AT&T

Out here in the middle, things are pretty quiet for Apple & Palm hysteria. Maybe it was the overnight rain or maybe it's "these troubled times" (especially here in Michigan).

On Friday morning, June 19th (iPhone 3G S Day!), I went to the the local AT&T store at 8:30am, expecting to stand in line. There was NO LINE! I strolled in and was greeted by 6(!) salespeople. One escorted me to the counter where one of 4 cashiers signed me up for an iPhone 3G S. I was out the door by 8:45, BEFORE the stated "open to the public" hour of 9 am. Pre-order customers were served starting at 7 am, but the sales folk admitted it had been pretty quiet. There were only three or four other customers browsing in the store when I left.

Quite a contrast to the big cities on the coasts, and to a year ago, and especially two years ago.

Mall Walking Intelligence

Took a rare trip to the local mall on Saturday looking for a replacement shower radio and a dual alarm clock (odd how electroninc things all fail at once!). As I spent a couple hours making the circuit, I took the opportunity to inquire and observe at the cell phone kiosks and stores.

Radio Shack still has no Palm Pres amd no idea when they'll get them. The AT&T store sold out of iPhone 3G S late on Friday and isn't expecting more for "a week or two". But you can direct order. There was only one other person looking at the two display models. They are pushing the 3G model at $99: "the best deal in smartphones with the 3.0 software". The Sprint kiosk had no Pre or expectation of getting one, and only a couple of customers. The Verizon kiosk, though lacking any cool smartphones, had over a dozen customers!

The mass market cares most about the network for phone calls and texting, not cool, expensive smartphone devices and data plans. Around here Verizon is by far the #1 network, with Sprint #2, and AT&T a #3 (with a bullet). T-Mobile and others are not even in the game.