Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year! Welcome 2009

Welcome to 2009. Here's hoping health, prosperity and happiness in the New Years for you and yours. After a long 2008, its great to welcome a new year and open up to new opportunities. Best wishes for the new year!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why mobile phone manufacturers need to copy the iPhone!

An interesting experiment tonight drove home the point that Steve Jobs made with the introduction of the iPhone which was that the existing manufacturers of mobile phones need to wake up and improve their products.

I decided that I wanted to transfer a couple of files off my Blackberry Curve 8310 to my MacbookPro. Unfortunately, Macs and Blackberry's have never played terribly well together if you looks at the discussion forums at you'll see numerous posts to this effect. To RIM's credit they have struck a deal with PocketMac to enable users to get a free copy of their software for synching Blackberry's with Mac's. Unfortunately this leaves Mac users behind in the software upgrade cycle since RIM's own desktop applications only run on Windows machines (obviously now with Bootcamp, Parrallels and VMWare we at least have the option of running the app. on an Intel Mac with a Windows install). However, personally I prefer to stick to OSX and would like to see RIM stepup to the plate and more aggressively support the Mac platform.

Regardless I opted to utilize the Bluetooth connectivity on my Curve to transfer files from my Mac. I was able to get the devices to pair and recognize each other. However the one thing that wasn't intuitively clear was how the Blackberry was to receive the file once I initiated the transfer on my Mac. To Steve Jobs' point most of the mobile handset operating systems out in the wild today aren't particularly user friendly or intuitive. Eventually, I was successful and must say that the file transfer was easy once you knew that you have to set the Curve to receive or send via Bluetooth. Maybe there was another option to enable it to automatically accept connections and files from my Mac but it wasn't exactly evident.

In comparing my use of the iPod Touch things operate very much the way you'd expect on a Mac and a user with a little exploring can easily maximize their use of the device. The iPhone has ushered in a new era along with the Touch not only in terms of a touch driven interface but in terms of a highly usable operating system. As we saw by the scrambling this year at the mobile industry tradeshow 3GSM the mobile handset vendors are in catch-up mode. It's interesting that in a 1.0 device Apple has been able to put all of these vendors on the defensive and forced them to face up to the fact that most of the user experiences on mobile devices pre-iPhone were plain awful. Let's hope that this intensified competition will kick-start vendors into actually spending on getting improved user experience for mobile users.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"The Jugger" by Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake)

Yet another in the Parker series of novels written by Donald Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. The Jugger follows the story of former safe cracker ("a jugger") Joe Scheer is retired and living in a small mid-west town and remains the main conduit through which to reach Parker to setup a job. When Parker arrives he finds his friend Joe already deceased and Parker needs to dig into a mystery in order to save his cover life as Charles Wills. If you've read some of my previous posts on other Parker novels (see here, here and here) then you'll know that I find this series one of the more inventive concepts for a mystery series with an intriguing and unlikely hero in career criminal Parker. As the novel develops, Parker's concerns move from finding Joe's killer to finding out how much about his cover has leaked out and trying to perform damage control.

Bottom line - like other novels in the Parker series at 175 pages this is a short easy to read novel that provides a couple of interesting twists that will keep you on your toes as Parker hunts for the killer and to save himself.

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