Archive for September, 2008

Google Android T-Mobile G1 launch event

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I had the chance to attend this. You can hear me ask a question (“how really locked is sim-locked?”) here at 36:30

My question stems from the big obvious drawback to “open” here: that as with the iPhone, this product is stuck to one carrier. However, once the platform actually goes open source, we could look forward to seeing entire new devices that work on other networks. Engadget talks a bit more about this: they expanded upon my question in private afterwards, and got a more encouraging answer. I’m still dubious as to how other carriers may take to this or fight it, but this is a big start.

Also to note: The word “iPhone” must be taboo amongst the companies involved. In the response to my question, where I mention iPhone by name, he says “the device you mention”. :)

Re the device itself, I don’t have much more than what’s already been said. I’m definitely impressed that for something that came out so relatively quickly, and it being just the 1.0 version, it’s a very slick-looking and -feeling gadget. Not quite as sexy as iPhone’s screen and pinch functions, but it’s close and adds a real keyboard.

Also, re core PIM apps and messaging: At the moment, I love Windows Mobile, mostly because since I’m already bought into the Microsoft vertical (Exchange), it’s a seamless experience. Similarly, the G1 launches really optimized around gmail, gCal, etc, and for now your experience will likely be dictated by how tied your life is tied to the Google vertical. But give it a chance to launch and attract some developers (Good Technology-type outfits, and indy developers) to write Exchange clients etc, and this platform could be promising long-term.

Genius is no Einstein

I’ve long held that while I’ve loved the iPod since first launch, the major piece missing has been the DJ’ing functionality– I often times would rather “outsource the DJ” (have a smart program control my library) rather than do it myself. I have 40GBs of music and often can’t think of what to play.

Finally to the rescue: Apple’s new Genius feature, which I put to the test. The functionality centers on basically being Pandora for iTunes (this concept agreed to by Apple people I spoke to during the launch).

When you first activate Genius in iTunes, it takes a while for your entire library to communicate with the server. I imagine this is because your songs now get some sort of dna-type tag so iTunes can identify them by genre, feel, etc.

You can then ‘Start Genius’ based on any song in your library you choose. I chose “Us & Them” by Pink Floyd, assuming I’d then have a solid stream of dreamy yet strong tunes for when I’m motorcycle cruising around in the mountains.

Well, the list was interesting and entertaining. But oddly curious. Not really sure how the list it generated was really “songs that go great together”, and whether simply hitting the ‘random’ function would fare much better. Smart list? It didn’t suggest any real oddballs, but I’d hesitate to call it ‘genius’. Still, an interesting feature, fun to use, and I was entertained on this weekend’s Pocono Mountains ride.

One thing to note, the way I used it was to open iTunes, generate the Genius playlist and copy the list to the iPod. It is killer to have this on the go, but that is only available on the new Nano and 1 or 2 other brand new models. The 1-year-old Classic can NOT be upgraded for this. And the richness of the list is certainly affected by the depth of your collection, so small hard-drived iPods like the Nano will be challenged.

Steve Jobs evoking the ol’ death rumors line

I snapped this phonecam shot at Apple’s “Let’s Rock” event in SF today. The onscreen caption says it all. Although he sure looked thin.

Motorcycle/scooter to JFK Airport!

What a travel gift I discovered today: JFK airport in New York City has a row of free motorcycle spaces.

This takes care of two issues I have as a NYC frequent traveller:
1. Far and away the fastest, most flexible, cheapest way to get to and from the airport.
2. Solves where to keep my scooter when I’m gone, since I normally park on the street.

I checked it out today and it’s legit.

View Larger Map

To get there, get to Lefferts Blvd from Nassau Expressway/S. Conduit. As you approach, you won’t miss signs that say “Kiss & Fly” (cute too) and “long-term parking”. You’ll then see clear signs that add “motorcycle parking” to Kiss & Fly, leading to the small lot (as pictured in the embed above). There’s about 15 spaces. No time limits. The AirTrain to all terminals is directly above and is free too. A variety of bikes made it seem safe: some hi-end sportbikes, some covered, some locked, but some just sitting exposed. There’s also a 24-hour security booth right there, though of course parking is at your own risk.

From now on, as long as it’s not snowing and I only need 1 carry-on or large backpack, this is the way I’m gonna fly.

PS: tomorrow’s trip will be largely 2-wheeled for me. Once I arrive in downtown San Francisco, I’m renting a bike to get around town to conferences and meetings in the City.