Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2005-03-05
 
So its off on another adventure. Starting off with the usual airline jinxes. The airplane for the 5:20pm flight has just shown up at 6:43pm. Luckily I originally had a 2+ hour layover. Now, depending on fueling delays; I either have a 15 minute sprint of desperation, or I'm stuck until the later flight and will get into SJ sometime around midnight.

I'm all set for travelling, having done a dry run with my new gear last week in the form of a mini vacation down to Phoenix with the family. Originally my wife was going to take the kids down for the weekend and leave me to work, but I figured what-the-hey, and decided to tag along.

The phone continued to work brilliantly, both standalone, and linked up with pdanet. I probably put 100MB of transfers on the phone in the four days, but hopefully Sprint won't catch on. Linking through the phone does have a few drawbacks ... Sprint has this bad habit of degrading all the images by recompressing them to quality level zero (or worse), and the server will kill idle connections (so I was frequently restarting ssh clients); but I was able to get work done, and tested in several tournaments; which is important as we're getting ready to launch.

The unit we stayed in was byzantine in its layout, and slightly more spacious than the personal quarters of a submarine; but the kids loved it anyways, because it was an adventure. The highlight was a kid's wading pool which was about twenty feet across and about a foot and a half deep. Max jumped right in and started playing, while Zak was a little more cautious. Zak would get in, as long as I was around for him to hold on to, and we would putter around together making circles or chasing after Max. Altogether, we probably spent 8 or 9 hours in the pool out of three days.

I finally got a 'skin' for my phone and it works pretty good. It could use a little more sculpting around the sides of the keys on the left and right; and the overlay for the Nav buttons doesn't work that great because its built up so thick (without any relief underneath to fit the buttons it sits on), but I can live with the occasional mispress, and I don't need to see the labels anymore after using my phone for several months. The positive grip of the material is great, though dirt and stuff stick to it like mad. Besides staying in my hand when I'm using it, the material helps keep the phone from slipping out of various shirt and jacket pockets, which is how the phone has ended up on the floor before (which always brings on a moment of panic as you hope it doesn't land badly and destroy something critical like the screen).

The only unsatisfying issue with the case is doing phone resets. Under ideal conditions, you're never supposed to need to reset your phone; but nobody that reads the treo forums believes that. To get at the reset button, you have to open the battery door, and there's no way to do that without totally removing the skin. I suppose if I had multiple batteries, this issue would be a show stopper, but with my usage pattern I get 2-3 days off one charge and am pretty good about charging when I'm running low, so I personally don't see much use in a spare.

Another addition was a self-powering USB link cable. This worked marvelously, charging the device while also providing the data link. The button is also in a different location than the connector, which I prefer, as I was always pushing the button on the old one when I went to unplug it.

Extra credit goes to June Fabrics who's pdanet already had my highest regards. I mentioned to them that in my clumsiness I had on a couple occasions pressed the hotsync button while linked, which had cut the connection as well as confusing everything. I suggested that disabling the button while linked would be useful for oafs like me. In a show of superior customer service, they pointed out that the button could be remapped to something more benign, like bringing up the apps menu, which i have now done (and find quite handy). So I have now increased my rating on pdanet to 5.1 stars (out of 5) a must buy for the road warrior .

 
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Life in the middle of nowhere, remote programming to try and support it, startups, children, and some tinkering when I get a chance.

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Paul Graham's Essays
You may not want to write in Lisp, but his advise on software, life and business is always worth listening to.
How to save the world
Dave Pollard working on changing the world .. one partially baked idea at a time.
SnowDeal
Eric Snowdeal IV - born 15 weeks too soon, now living a normal baby life.
Land and Hold Short
The life of a pilot.

The best of?
Jan '04
The second best villain of all times.

Feb '04
Oops I dropped by satellite.
New Jets create excitement in the air.
The audience is not listening.

Mar '04
Neat chemicals you don't want to mess with.
The Lack of Practise Effect

Apr '04
Scramjets take to the air
Doing dangerous things in the fire.
The Real Way to get a job

May '04
Checking out cool tools (with the kids)
A master geek (Ink Tank flashback)
How to play with your kids

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