Technology, life, miscellany.






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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Two Nokia 3650 phones up for sale...

So my contract with T-Mobile has come to an end and we're in for an upgrade. I think the time has come to part with my 3650.

Some details - the Nokia 3650 is a Symbian Series60 smart phone. It's a tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz) GSM device, and has been unlocked by me, so it should work all over the world with any GSM carrier that supports one of those frequency bands.

I've really enjoyed using the phone, and being a Symbian-based device, it allows you to install a whole slew of third-party applications that can do a ton of great stuff. Want to connect to a FTP server and upload/download files? Not a problem. Read RSS feeds on the go? Possible. Surf the web with a full XHTML browser, including Opera Mini? Sure. Send/Receive POP3 and IMAP email? Of course. There's a huge community built around S60 devices.

The phones (we're selling two, one is my dad's) are in perfect working condition (see pictures below), with small scratches and dings on the replaceable faceplate due to normal use. You can always buy replacement faceplates on the web for less than $10 if you like.

Nokia 3650

Nokia 3650

The package includes:

* One Nokia 3650 Phone
* One Original Nokia Battery
* One Original Nokia AC wall charger
* One 16MB MMC Memory Card
* Original Product Manuals

The auctions start at $50 each with no reserves. These things kill the RAZRs when it comes to functionality, by the way. ;) Take a look at the Ebay pages for all the details and full phone specifications: Phone 1, Phone 2.

Feel free to leave a comment here if you're interested or have any questions. :)

posted at 3:06:00 PM
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Friday, March 24, 2006

Picture gallery gets a big update...

The Pictures section is the first part of the site to receive special treatment this week. I've replaced the gallery selector with a picture ticker that follows the same order as the list under it. Clicking either a picture in the ticker or one of the text links takes you to the gallery associated with it.

But the bigger change is in the galleries themselves. I have started replacing SimpleViewer with PostcardViewer, another very spiffy Flash-based image viewer from Airtight that I just fell in love with a couple of weeks ago. The NYC Ski Trip gallery is the only one I've changed so far; the rest will follow soon.


posted at 11:49:00 AM
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quarter's done; Spring break's here...

Had finals this week, which is why I haven't posted anything since Saturday. Just got done today, so expect to see some new content later tonight or tomorrow. Have a week off before the new quarter starts, so I've also planned to make some changes to certain sections of the site in the coming days.

posted at 12:20:00 PM
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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Phosphor: browser-based 3D FPS...

This is really cool - a 3D first-person shooter engine that runs entirely in your browser window! You'll need to have the Shockwave plugin installed for your browser.

[Hat tip to scarbone]

posted at 12:06:00 PM
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Friday, March 17, 2006

Holy crap! I just won a Xbox 360...

Xbox 360

Just received word that I've been awarded a Xbox 360 for winning an internal nationwide contest of sorts through the Microsoft Student Ambassador program! Not sure whether it's the Core or Premium system yet, or when I'm actually going to receive the kit, but I'm totally stoked! :)

posted at 9:17:00 PM
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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Labelr adds categories to Blogger blogs...

No jokes about the cliche vowel-dropping, please. :D

Labelr aims to overcome one significant shortcoming of Google's Blogger service - the lack of post categorization. Basically, Blogger gives you no way to categorize your posts, so Labelr allows you to do just that.

As most of you know, this blog is powered by Blogger behind the scenes. On one hand, not having the ability to categorize posts is nice - it gives me one less thing to worry about. On the other hand, categorizing posts allows visitors to find related posts quickly and easily. So, in the spirit of doing what's best for my dear readers (*grin*), I'm going to try incorporating this feature later this month, after finals are done...possibly just in time for e-piphany's third birthday. No promises though. :)

It's a closed beta at the moment, so I have to see if I can actually get in first. Let's see how it goes...

posted at 10:12:00 PM
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Saturday, March 11, 2006

How to build an Airbus A380 in 7 minutes...

Well, it's not quite what you expect, but I liked the catchy title. :)

Check out this 7 minute long timelapse video showing the production process involved in building an Airbus A380 aircraft. It's truly breathtaking.

posted at 3:27:00 PM
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Get a Windows Vista Tech Beta nomination...

I've noticed that several folks here have been eager to get official access to the Windows Vista beta builds. Well, it looks like they're expanding the tech beta pool, so here's your chance. I'm not sure how long it'll last, so act quickly if you want one.

You need to leave your full name and email address here. Anonymous commenting seems to have been disabled, so you'll need to register an account first.

Good luck. :)

posted at 4:29:00 PM
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Writely is now a part of Google...

There were rumours about it earlier this week, but it's now official. For those of you who haven't heard about Writely, it's a free, web-based, collaborative word processor.

Very smart acquisition. Combine this with Gmail, the upcoming Google Calendar (aka CL2), and Google's vision of GDrive, free unlimited online storage space, and things start to look pretty interesting. And since Writely allows you to post to a blog, the acquisition could also lead to some sort of integration with Blogger too.

posted at 12:20:00 PM
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Official Origami blog/community launches...

Well, "Week 3" has finally rolled along, and the details are officially starting to appear. A community site has just launched which houses the official team blog and forum. Channel9 has the Otto Berkes video up as well.

Origami devices currently run XP Tablet PC Edition, as expected, but there are some nifty new things that enhance their useability. Take for instance the customizable Program Launcher with a slick, MCE-like UI, optimized for touch-based input:

Origami Program Launcher

Or the thoughtful arrangement of the on-screen keypad (DialKeys) for quick typing with your thumbs.

Origami Dialkeys

Being a first-generation line of products, however, the Origami is aimed primarily at early-adopters and enthusiasts. The battery life of these early models is only about three hours, which is seriously inadequate, but it's expected to get much better in future revisions, with more power-efficient CPUs and hardware coming into the market. In the meantime, batteries are swappable, so it's possible to carry a spare. On the bright side, there's a good chance these devices will actually end up being pretty affordable this time around, especially as additional OEMs step into the arena. Here's an encouraging excerpt from the official press release:

"Pricing will be determined by our OEM partners. We anticipate pricing in the US$599-$999 price-range. Part of our objective in creating the original reference design for the UMPC category was to engineer a platform that’s both very compact and, through careful component choice, possible to sell for $500 MSRP."

A two pound, seven-inch wide, touch-enabled Origami running a full-fledged Windows OS, with a solid battery life, and a pricepoint of about $500 would make one hell of a device. These first gen devices may have not lived up to the hype that was created by the eager community during the last couple of weeks, but I think they really have some serious potential going forward.

Update: Marc Orchant shares a similar opinion and says it best in one sentence - "My interest, frankly, is less about the first generation devices announced this week and more about the implications this in-between form factor represents for anytime, anywhere computing." Right on!
Also included in Marc's post are a couple of choice quotes from Jupiter Research's Michael Gartenberg and ArsTechnica's Ken Fisher.

posted at 12:59:00 AM
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Keeping track of your list of things to do...

When you have everything from homeworks, projects and exams to rent and fee payment dates, registration deadlines, meetings, teleconferences and a mountain of other things to keep track of, it's almost impossible to remember everything unless you put it all down somewhere. Outlook has been my central hub for this purpose for several years now, but I've found that there are a couple of ways to complement it that can help to keep things more organized, easier to manage, and always readily available.

Outlook allows you to create calendar items and tasks, and it displays all of the information for the week on the main Outlook Today pane in a simple, at-a-glance format. But I tend to keep Outlook minimized and running in the background most of the time, so I found it was handy to use an app that could pull data from Outlook's store and display it right on my desktop. I was using Rainlendar for this purpose for a long time, and I recently switched to using a widget for Yahoo! Widget Engine, just because I like to change things around sometimes. DeskTask is another standalone app that performs the same function.

This setup works great when I'm around the desktop, but how do I keep track of all the new stuff that I need to add to my calendar or todo list when I'm on campus for most of the day? Pulling out the laptop and turning it on just to do that is not very practical, and synchronization of data is another issue that you have to keep in mind, but that's a topic for another post. Instead, I took the old-fashioned pen-and-paper route and recently started using the handy little PocketMod to jot down quick notes to myself. It's a single sheet of paper, cleverly folded to give you an eight-page notepad that's small and thin enough to fit in your wallet or pocket. At the end of the week, just discard it and fold up a new one. No need to worry about drained PDA batteries or anything of the sort, and it's definitely more starving-student-budget-friendly. :) Everything that goes into the PocketMod during the day goes into Outlook in the evenings. The process takes less than a minute each day.

I find that this works well for me, but I always enjoy hearing people's ideas, especially from fellow-students. So how do you go about keeping track of the multitude of things that you need to do?

posted at 11:29:00 PM
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Comodo Backup - freeware backup/sync tool...

Sometime early last year, I put up a post about SyncBack, a really nice backup and synchronization tool. SyncBack comes in two flavors - a free version, and a paid one with additional features. I still use the free version, and I think it's a great product. It also seems to have become quite popular among several folks who read that post last year and decided to give it a try.

Comodo Backup is another similar, free app that I found out about recently. It has a simple, easy-to-use UI, and comes with some interesting features. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but it's definitely on my list of things to look into soon.

posted at 2:06:00 PM
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Windows Live gets a refresh...

Check out the latest redesign of the Live.com homepage.
Now use the search box on top to look for something. Then try clicking the Images tab. Wow! Kick-ass UI!

posted at 11:07:00 AM
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On10 - the Nine Guys are at work again...

Looks like the people behind Channel9 are busy working towards the launch of on10.net, their latest project. The details are scarce, and Scoble's been dropping hints since the end of last month. The only clues we have at the moment are the short, cryptic video clips (Quicktime on a Microsoft site?!) that appear on the site at 10:00AM every morning, this post from Jeff Sandquist, and this one from Adam Kinney, both of whom are on the team. Chris Pirillo says this is going to be "huge."

What the heck is it? :)
Looks like we'll be finding out next week.

First the Origami project. Now this. Microsoft's sure learning how to create quite a buzz.

posted at 12:23:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

CNBC's Origami exclusive video...

CNBC's Jim Goldman gives the world a first look at Intel's version of the Origami from the Intel Developers Forum in San Fransisco.

Apparently, Origami is not a single device, as people had originally assumed. Instead, it seems to be a name given to a class of these new ultra-mobile, TabletPC-like devices that Microsoft and its partners are developing. Channel9 will have an hour-long video on Thursday morning, featuring Otto Berkes, Origami's architect and one of the original members of the Xbox team. The Origami device that'll be featured in the video is also supposed to be different from the Intel one in CNBC's video.

posted at 4:57:00 PM
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Friday, March 03, 2006

ABC plans to offer hit TV shows for free on the net...

Speaking of Lost, here's an interesting piece of news. According to a report on ArsTechnica today, ABC plans to offer free (ad-supported) downloads of popular TV shows in the coming months.

Since I don't have a cable connection or a TV here in my room, I tend to record most of what I want to watch during the week (which is actually very little) on the DVR at home, and watch it on the weekend instead. That's fine, except I don't have a way to transfer these to my computer if I want to. Buying low-quality, DRM'd episodes at two dollars a piece from the iTunes Music Store is simply out of the question. And the other option is...well, not so legal.

So this may end up becoming a nice alternative, but it's too early to say just yet. What kind of advertising is involved exactly? Are there any other restrictions? What's the picture quality like? Is the show available the same day as it airs on TV? The success of such a venture really depends on how it all comes together in the end. I'll be watching out for this.

posted at 1:41:00 PM
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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Finally caught up with Lost...

I started watching Lost towards the end of January after reading about it online, and hearing about it from friends. Looks like it took me almost exactly a month to catch up, especially because of all the midterms and assigments this month, but I'm finally here. Still haven't watched tonight's episode though; it's waiting for me on the DVR at home, for the weekend.

This seriously has to be one of the most addictive shows I've watched, even though I admittedly watch very little TV. The nice thing is until now, I had a constant stream of pre-recorded episodes at my disposal, so if there was a really intense cliff-hanger moment, I could just continue watching subsequent episodes, time permitting. Now that I've finally caught up, I'm going to be playing the weekly waiting game, just like everyone else. Damn! I knew I should have slowed myself down. Then again, would I have really been able to control myself? :D

posted at 11:27:00 PM
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