Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2009

It’s Christmas Day and I hope everybody got what they were hoping for. It’s the best time for getting electronic gadgets, even for those who already have everything! 🙂

My wife got me an LCD Monitor and a Nikon Digital Camera as my Christmas gift, both of which I’m very happy to have. The LCD Monitor is identical to the Sceptre 20.1″ that I already have, so this will give me two monitors connected to my Desktop PC system (woohoo!). So I’ll have monitors spanning almost two-thirds the width of my physical desktop, so I’m stoked. The only thing I need now is a video card that can drive both monitors and an extra video cable.

I’ve ordered a Zotac GeForce 9500 GT video card from which has dual DVI output, so I should be in business sometime mid next week. Hopefully, Santa was generous to all of you as well.

My old Moto-Q phone feels like a rock…

December 18, 2009

I’ve been using my new Palm Pixi smartphone for the last few weeks, and I really love it. Its thin, compact, had a touch screen and runs the Palm WebOS operating system. Yesterday I picked up my old Motorola-Q phone to check for possible text messages, and I noticed that it felt really heavy…. like a rock! I’m getting so use to my lightweight Palm Pixi other smartphones are now just paperweights in comparison. The Moto-Q now feels like a militarized version of a smartphone — heavy and hardened to take an EMP blast. But, I know from experience that dropping it can cause the glass screen to crack very easily. It’s a good thing the back cover of my Pixi has a rubber surface, since that makes it easier to hang on to it and less prone to dropping it.

Boeing’s has has their new lightweight composite 787 plane, and I’ve got my lightweight Palm Pixi!

Free WiFi Courtesy of Google

December 10, 2009

I was pleasantly surprised to find free WiFi access at the Seattle Airport courtesy of Google. I read about Google providing free WiFi access at various airports for the holiday season, but it was nice to see that this will be a permanent feature in Seattle’s airport.

I also noticed a similar advertisement at the Phoenix Arizona airport, however, they’ve had free WiFi at most of their gates for the last few years. It’s nice to see free WiFi spreading out more and more.

Business Traveling with my new companion: The Palm Pixi Smartphone

December 10, 2009

This week was my first business trip with my new smartphone, the Palm Pixi, and I had high hopes that it would be a better companion than my old Motorola-Q (Windows Mobile 5 OS) smartphone. I’m happy to report the Pixi has been a fantastic replacement for the Moto-Q phone for my travel needs. So let me start from the beginning…

While I was waiting in the Seattle airport for my plane to arrive, I used my Pixi to quickly check all my various email accounts as well as the weather conditions for my destination (Phoenix, Arizona) using the Weather Channel App. I then reviewed my upcoming schedule for the next two days, mentally planning out when and where I might have breaks between customer visits and meetings.

Once on the plane, I switch my Pixi to “Airplane Mode” and used the Notes App to jot down a few reminders so I wouldn’t forget to do them after I arrived in Phoenix. Once I landed, I quickly checked my emails again (responding to the critical ones) before catching the rental car bus for the quick ride to the rental car center.

After getting my rental car and settling in, I plugged in my Pixi car charger connecting it to a Touchstone charger that I brought with me. I then started up the Sprint Navigation App and entered the address for my first destination, allowing the program to figure the best route and guide me with turn-by-turn audio directions. If you’ve never used the Sprint Navigation, it’s a wonder application that essentially replaced my Garmin GPS unit. Also, because the WebOS is multi-tasking, I was able to put the Sprint Nav app in the background while I looked up the address of my first visit on my customer’s contact card. Once I got the address, I simply closed down the Contact App and switched back to the Sprint Nav App to enter the destination.

I continued to use the Sprint Nav App for all my various visits, and it seemed to work very well with the GPS being spot-on for my current location. There was only one time when I had to turn the GPS off and then back on so that the Sprint Nav would reconnect with the orbiting GPS satellites.

In addition to driving directions, I used the Google Maps App on my Pixi to help find nearby restaurants and Starbucks coffeeshops during my travels. A much better solution than just driving around and hoping to run into something!

The Web Browser App was useful when I wanted to check my outbound flight on the airline’s web site.  In fact, I could have checked in for the flight using the web browser, however, I usually like to check in live at the airline kiosk.

And, because the Pixi is a Smart-Phone, I did in use it for phone calls as well. 🙂

The one big quirk with my Pixi was the changing of my scheduled appointment times when I switch time zones. In MS-Outlook I set my appointment to use local times, and these times were modified when I went from the Pacific Standard timezone to Mountain Standard. Luckily I noticed it, otherwise I would have been 1-hour late for all my meetings.Next time, I’ll have to remember to set the timezone for out-of-town appointments so this won’t happen again.

Although Microsoft Outlook has a provision for specifying the timezone for an appointment, I didn’t see any options to set the timezone when editing appointments on the Pixi.

So as you can tell from my trip review, the Palm Pixi was a valuable asset on my business trip. The only disappointing thing was when I check the weather back in Seattle and it was below freezing… ugh. 😦