digging into the Palm Pre…

After being with my K800i for more than three years, indeed I wonder why actually get a new cell phone, why bother dealing with syncing contacts, configurations, … between two devices again? Well, while being a good, reliable, stable device, there are some things about the K800i that have come to bother me, recently, and subsequently are the features I’d like to see in a successor. Some of them, in no particular order:

  • The e-mail functionality that comes with the K800i is next to unusable. Most of the mails I tried to read didn’t get rendered correctly due to “unsupported character set” which seems a known problem / limitation of this device. To compensate for that, I’ve been using the open source, Java ME based mujmail for a while, which worked more or less stable but is in no whatsoever way integrated with the rest of the cell phone, so neither you can open embedded HTTP links in the K800i browser, nor you can dial any phone number right out of an e-mail rendered in mujmail. There are ways to compensate for that, but it’s sort of annoying.
  • More than just once or twice, the last couple of weeks, I felt the ability to open PDF e-mail attachments a feature rather useful even for a mobile device. Been searching for some tool to fill this gap for quite a while, but failed to find a feasible Java ME / native K800i PDF renderer…
  • While being decently fast, the K800i embedded browser is pretty limited in terms of functionality, especially when it comes to displaying some sites I regularly use (java.dzone.com). There, too, aren’t really any options how to improve this situation.
  • The K800i doesn’t know about WLAN, which is painful as once in a while I end up being in a situation in which there’s no cell link and some sort of wireless LAN is the only way to connect with any piece of the world, and be that textual / for the purpose of sending and reading mails.
  • Using my Internet Pack M, I then and now used Google Maps for navigation purposes, which however proved difficult as the K800i is not capable of recieving GPS signals, so you basically have no location-based services at hand.
  • Doing remote access to our servers, so far I used K800i + dial-up + netbook, mostly for small operations (restarting a service, looking at some log file, …). Though this works rather well, it always requires you to have two devices at hand, two devices sufficiently charged, and you need a, though fairly small, place to operate the both of these devices. For most operations, simply having an SSH client installed on the cell phone will perfectly do, so I was looking for a phone to allow for doing right this, as well.

After comparing a few devices, also (of course) taking monetary aspects into consideration, I ended up ordering a Palm Pre, which is distributed by o2 in Germany exclusively it seems, recieved it the very next day (wow, that’s fast…), and by now already spent a few days with the device, learnt a couple of things, played around a lot, did come to some preliminary conclusions…

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Botany Bay: summer dreams, music noir, trippy ambiance…

Once in a while you tend to stumble across music accidentially, music which seems way out of the genres you usually deal with… and yet, it works. Something like this happened to me when discovering Botany Bay on jamendo.com, a platform I have been frequently using the last couple of years for various reasons. Reading tags like “pop”, “triphop”, “postrock” or “folk” weren’t really what I was looking for, but I decided to listen to it nevertheless, and, after listening to “inhale” and “moon child”, I knew I wouldn’t be likely to get this music out of my player anytime soon. Ordered both albums (as I didn’t want them to be in my collection “just” as mp3 files burned to disc), enjoyed the cover artwork, enjoyed the music, even though, as my musical tastes tend to differ, I can’t listen to the same stuff all the time…

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“Python For Informatics”: programming tutorials for software developers and beyond

Ever wondered how to get your computer to do more than just clicking on an icon, leaving you to enter some data into some application window (browser, mail client, …) and be more or less pleased at its overall outcome? Ever wondered how on earth to get your computer actually processing your data, solving your problems in a way more suitable for your every-day work? Maybe even tried to, careful as could be, get closer to the idea of “writing programs” for your machine but so far hesitated, scared by the overall complexity and skills set required to get this done?

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UI tooling and beyond in NetBeans and Eclipse(4)

Whoever is reading this weblog more or less regularly will have noticed that I am an enthusiastic user of NetBeans for most of my development needs, and this holds true even now that, given a current project of ours, I have to switch IDE at least once daily, as we do a project based on Eclipse Rich Ajax Platform and NetBeans, as comes as no surprise, is not too good a tool for building applications which are more or less built atop the Eclipse RCP core (well, getting deeper into things and especially talking about RAP application deployment, you’ll figure out that Eclipse itself also leaves a lot to be desired here, but that eventually is another story).

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“Programming Collective Intelligence”: Python, data mining, machine learning and a little more…

Simply put: “Programming Collective Intelligence” is one of the most outstanding publications related to IT and software development I’ve been reading in a while. Given some of our business use case, at the moment I am a little deeper into dealing with analyzing (and, subsequently) making decisions and suggestions out of data somehow linked to users in our environment (for the obvious reason of both making our work a little easier and making our users overall experience a little better), and browsing the table of content of this book made it seem worth a closer look. And, overally, after having a closer look, I was about to find out that this book indeed offers profound information on the issue I am dealing with – and way more beyond this scope…

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