New Nokia E70

I’ve had my Nokia E70 for about a month now.  Here are some thoughts on the phone …

  • It is slow.  Period.  This phone has now taught me that hardware vendors are trying to push far too much software and functionality at the limited processors in these devices.  I find myself constantly waiting for the phone … waiting for menus … waiting for the applications to load and be usable.  This phone is noticeably impacting my productivity in a negative way.
  • The phone is not reliable.  Right now, my key problem is around the bluetooth connection to my Jabra BT250v headset.  Once or twice a day now my headset connectivity stops working.  I go through the menus on my E70, turn off the bluetooth, then turn it back on, and re-connect my BT250v and it’s back working.  But this is like having to re-boot my phone once or twice a day.  C’mon Nokia … can’t you create a reliable product?
  • The task list is too limited.  I had bought the phone hoping that I could replace my Palm Tungsten E2 … and it’s close … but the Task/ToDo list application on the E70 is just too limited.  I use 15 different ToDo lists on my Palm to organize my life.  The E70 doesn’t include the ability to create multiple lists … it’s all dropped into one big list.  Bummer.
  • I do like the browser.  I have to admit that it has been fun just opening up my phone, and cruising the Internet every now and then.  The browser is small, but well designed, and very usable.  I’m able to read the news and do searches, etc.

These are just a few quick thoughts off the top of my head … I’m still glad I bought it … maybe I’ll have to keep checking for firmware updates to see if anything gets fixed.  I am impressed at where these devices have got to … I can only imagine what the next generation of phones will be like next year …

Can I collect Virtual Unemployment?

Ok … I love to see where this is going. Someone in government begins to see the “dollar” volumn of commerce within virtual worlds … and they soon think “Gosh … how can *we* get a cut of that?”

I had really thought that taxation was something done for a purpose … not just because it can be done.  If the government is going to tax in virtual worlds, then are they going to begin to spend that money in virtual worlds?  I can’t even wait to learn about the newest virtual pork-barrel projects that are going to show up on the scene.  Politicians are going to begin to cater to the special interests of “furries” or some other group within Second Life … just to get their real-world votes?

If government really gets involved in Second Life, for example, then I wonder if they’ll set up the various programs to assist the “needy” or “unemployed”?  Hmmm … maybe I’ll be able to create a new character in Second Life and have them left homeless … file to collect virtual-unemployment in Lindon dollars?  Convert those on the various markets to real dollars?  Wait … I’ll create 100 characters in Second Life and have them ALL file for unemployment!  At that point will the government create “virtual immigration”?  I won’t be able to create a character or enter a virtual world without a proper passport that will limit me to one virtual character at a time?

It is amazing the times that we live in where the government is considering that they tax the creation of virtual wealth … however this will begin to set some precedents on how virtual worlds are looked at by laws, and general definitions.

Congress to look into taxing virtual worlds. Blog: For at least the past couple of years, one of the biggest questions in virtual world circles has been whether or not the U.S…. [CNET]

Virtualization … a whole new level of abstraction

I love to think about the future, and how it is going be for my 4 year old son. As I consider the models of “how things are”, I keep wanting to explore the “edges” more and think about what things are going to be like 10 years from now … or 20!

Virtualization is one of those technologies that is just beginning to alter how we look at hardware and software.  The hardware that we are buying is now so powerful, that we can emulate whole PCs on our PCs.  On a daily basis I am running Linux on my laptop … in a window, on Windows, using Microsoft Virtual PC.  I am also running Windows XP and Windows 2000 in Virtual PC on my desktop at work for testing purposes.  What is fun is that I now have a library of “machines” that I have created in Virtual PC, and I carry these on my 80GB pocket USB hard disk.  Windows (various versions), Linux (numerous distros), OpenSolaris, OpenDarwin … even a CP/M hack.  When I set up my new desktop machine I simply copied my “test machines” onto the new hard disk, and immediately booted them in my free Virtual PC that I downloaded and installed.

What I found last week – and predicted years ago – is that “virtual hard disks” are now being distributed by Microsoft.  Do you want to check out Windows Server?  Exchange Server?  SQL Server?  Instead of installing all of that software, simply download the pre-configured Virtual Hard Disk and boot it in Virtual Server!  You are instantly up and running with a machine ready to go!

What is facinating to me, is that I start to see this as a whole new level of software distribution.  Instead of downloading ISOs images of CDs and DVDs … just download the vitual hard disk and boot it!  Why download the software to run on yor machine … when you can download the machine!?!?!  I can begin to see a future where people are running numerous virtual machines on their desktop or laptop … just as we run applications on our OS today.

There are already tools like WinImage that can read and write the .vhd (virtual hard disk) file format, and Microsoft has opened up the specification for others to use this format.  What this means is that we are watching the first moves to create a “standard” format for passing virtual machines around on the Internet.

I’m curious when we’ll see the first Linux distros that realize that offering their installed solution as a .vhd might get them some real traction with Windows users who want to experiment with Linux?  I’m also watching to see what Internet web site becomes the defacto palce to download *any* .vhd that you might want?  Who will become the one-stop-shop for grabbing a VM?  I can see whole libraries of VMs being developed and made available … all in the not too distant future!

Oh yeah … and my son?  I can already see that he won’t be into “file sharing” on the Internet … he’ll probably be into “machine sharing” or “VM sharing” … or what ever comes after that.

Where is the Ultra Mobile PC?

With all of my disappointment with cell phones lately, I started to wonder where is the Microsoft Ultra Mobile PC?  I saw the one Samsung Q1 unit … but are there others that are shipping?  I see the Asus unit on the web site … but is it out there?

I still have to say that I was left slightly disappointed by the current generations of Tablet PCs … I really like the concept, but the hardware specs of the available Tablet PCs are just too far behind my current Dell Laptop.  The one key feature for me was the screen resolution … I must have more than 1024×768 pixels to view!

I’m now in the market for a new laptop … I’m having a hard time nailing down what I want to buy … a new Dell, a MacBook Pro, or a new Tablet PC.

Oh, and the Ultra Mobile PC?  I’m looking at that for my son.  He’s four years old now and I’m thinking that might be a good Christmas present for him …  🙂

Telcos and Cellcos continue to lag …

While down at the Adobe MAX conference in Las Vegas, I saw some very nice demos of Flash Lite v2.1 … a version of Flash for mobile devices and cell phones.  It was interesting to see that both Verizon and Qualcomm were on hand to talk about the immediate availability for developers.  As I just bought my new Nokia E70 phone (which I’m slowly getting used to!) I thought this would be great!  I’m doing some Flash development … and now I can write apps for my phone with it!

Well … then reality set in.  I went to the Adobe Flash Lite booth, where I was told that my phone ships with Flash Lite v1.1 … an archaic version with severe limitations.  Ok … so when can I get the upgrade?  Well, go ask the Nokia folks.  It was nice that Nokia had a booth at the show … I simply strolled across the room to ask!  When I got to the booth, one of the Nokia reps even had a E70 in his hand!  Woohoo!

As we discussed the wonders of Flash Lite v2.1, I finally asked “When will I get my update?”  Long silent pause.  “Well, at this time I don’t know if we’ll support Flash Lite v2.1 on our 3rd Edition Phones.” was the answer.  Uh … I just bought this thing … I asked “What is a 3rd Edition Phone?”  The response was something like “Everything on the market is 3rd Edition or less.  The 4th Edition Phones are already being developed.”  So the bottom line that I learned is that Nokia probably will never support Flash Lite v2.1 on any phone in the market.  Yes … there is a possibility asa a developer you can get your hands on a version that will work on your phone … but the end-user community will not get it.  What the heck are they thinking?  The answer seemed to be that they did not want to go back and test and recertify the phones in the market.  Bummer.  Strike One for the Telcos and Cellcos.

The next step was to ask Adobe for the latest development tool that would allow me to create Flash Lite v1.1 applications!  The answer was Flash Professional 8 … a $700 tool.  On top of this, the development paradigm used by this tool was completely foreign to me … although I had been warned about the “timeline” model.  When I got the developer demo, I quickly realized that this was not going to work for me.  Bummer.  Strike Two for the Telcos and Cellcos.

Before giving up completely, I then began to explore a conversation about some possible applications that I had thought of.  Things got even worse.  I really wanted to have some applications do some cool things with the camera, and SMS services.  It turns out that the Telcos and Cellcos have prevented the Flash Lite applications from directly working with the Camera or SMS capabilities of the phones.  So I can’t have my application take photos, or send photos, or send/receive SMS text messages.  Bummer.  Strike Three for the Telcos and Cellcos.

It was amazing to me that after years of waiting for the cell phone to catch up and be a real player in the Internet age, it’s still handcuffed and locked up by the Telcos and Cellcos.  Yes … I know that you can still do *some* things with these devices … but they are far from being free, and a truly open and mobile platform for applications.