A boondoggle?

Aaron Adams, star of one of Apple's "switcher" ads thinks the Mac Mini "doesn't make much sense," for switchers (those switching from Windows PC's to Macintosh). Maybe he is right, maybe not. My experience is very different. Of the two people I've talked to about it, both PC users, one is ordering a Mini and another is contemplating.

Task master

Recently I back to a tool I haven't used for a while. Alex King's Tasks Pro webserver application is one of the best out there. The user interface, via a web page, is better than many applications made for the desktop. It surpasses many desktop applications in terms of interface, works well with PHP iCalendar and therefore is simple to integrate with calendar programs.

One thing I didn't see made terribly clear in the documentation is you don't need to run cron on the same machine as the web server. Certainly there are advantages in not having problems caused by network communications, but there is no need to do so, an advantage if you don't control cron on the webserver but do on a remote machine.

Next I plan to add a service module to allow clients to submit their tickets through a web interface directly into my task manager.

Apple is going to laugh all the way to the bank has an article quoting Dan Torres, vice-president for product marketing at Rio, "Apple shipped a somewhat neutered product." He was speaking of the iPod Shuffle. In the interest of full disclosure I ordered one today.

It is amazing that these companies are either so disconnected or just don't get it. Perhaps they have been drinking too much of the podcasting Flavor-aid lately but most users don't want all the junk they're putting on them. Take a look at CD players. How well did CD players combined with FM radios do? Not well.

So as the argument from these companies the iPod Shuffle will fail because it doesn't have a display. They fail to see or understand that if a person wants a display they will spend the extra $100 dollars and get the iPod Mini with a display and four times the capacity. The other companies all sell larger units, some with more features and all with higher price tags. How well does the iRiver hook into the front of your stereo in the car? What about how many batteries you need to pack to keep your power hungry Rio Forge alive for a day.

The amazing thing is that the Rio Forge, for only 10 dollars more have a quarter of the capacity of the iPod Shuffle. Nevermind that to use it in more than one place you'll need your extra cable kits.

At the end of the day Apple will be getting the last laugh... all the way to the bank.

Treo650 Update

It has been about six weeks since I got the Treo650 cell phone. I've been quite happy with it and thought I'd share a little bit about how it has worked so far. To start with here, in order, are the applications I use the most:

  • Business Connect (Lotus Notes)
  • Solitare
  • VersaMail
  • Phone
  • Web Browser
  • Camera Phone
  • others....

The email function has worked much better than I expected. It is a little frustrating because the Lotus Notes client, by marking the messages as read, prevents the POP client from downloading them until they are marked as unread again. I've also had problems with VersaMail, one corespondent of mine sends mail to a group of people including me. When this happens and I attempt to read the email the Treo does a reset and reboots. It has something to do with his long "To:" list I suspect since emails only to me don't cause the same reaction.

Web browsing has been pretty good. The main use I've had is directions and lookup of how to get places. It is not fast, but it does work pretty well as long as you have time to devote to it, and don't think about doing it while driving.

This is big

The new Mac mini is going to be huge. You heard it here first, but it will be simply quite huge. For years auto customizers have been finding ways to put small computers in their cars and do cool things with them. It is a matter of time (weeks or months) until a good shock mount comes out for mounting this sub-7-inch wonder in all kinds of places. Then a small touch screen and you're almost set. Have your iTunes download overnight. Think your Audi A8's sound system is great. Wait till you have this baby driving your in-car entertainment.

But it will do so much more. Are you a business person traveling a lot on the road? Pull up to your local Mc Donald drive-up and upload your sales reports while you're waiting for your Big Mac. Maybe the name of podcasting will have to change to MiniCasting, think about it these things are going to be in your car, download your latest hits (or latest podcasts) and be ready to hit the road for the commute in the morning. Hook up your GPS and your bluetooth phone and you've got the trip log for the IRS built every day as you go down the road. Best of all when you get to Grandma's house you can pull it out and use it in the guest bedroom.

This little thing is going to be big.

1980's Podcasting

An article on suggests the origins of podcasting may date back to the 1980's. The article describes a TIVO-like cassette device for time-shifting NPR using special audio queues. Last evening while waiting for a show on NPR to end, while sitting at the gas pump, this would have been greatly appreciated. What will happen to podcasting if you can get a TIVO deck for your car. Not for TV but radio. Imagine if you could easily skip ahead through commercials as you can on your iPod. It is possible today but way too much work to be common. Put a 2.5" drive in the head unit of the car and it becomes a whole new ballgame.


Subscribe to Computing