Wireless Devices

I’ve been using a Palm-powered device for years. I started with a Palm III.

It was a cute little Palm, monochrome screen and I bought it at Fry’s in Palo Alto, CA on my first business trip of my life.

It’s predecessor was a Sharp Wizard that I’d been using all throughout law school.

It was filled with calendar and contact information. I thus taught myself Graffiti by manually entering the data into the Palm III in the hotel room and while riding in the car.

The III lasted from about 1998 until almost 2000, when I got a Palm V.
When I saw the Palm TungstenT in 2002, though, all bets were off. The T was so cool, with a sliding mechanism that allowed the screen to become larger when needed.

I finally upgraded to the Tungsten T3, a slimmer, more powerful version of the same concept.

But I’ve been lusting after the Handspring (now Palm again) Treo for a long time. The Treo was one of the first “converged” devices, one that combined the Palm organizer with the benefits of a cell phone. EVERYTHING was finally on one device. But the original Treo was a bit bulky. I had the chance to play with one early on in their release, so I knew that this would eventually be great… it just wasn’t quite what I wanted (besides, it had a monochrome screen again).

The Treo kept a pretty brisk release schedule.
First the 180,

then the 270

(and in keeping with a “degrees” theme, they released a 90 that didn’t have the phone capabilities).

And when they released the 600, I KNEW it was ready. By the time of that release, however, the Blackberry had taken the world by storm, and I had already owned two Blackberries by the time Nextel and Cingular both combined the Blackberry wireless e-mail system with phone features. Now there’s the 650.

So now anyone that wants a converged device has a dilemma… Treo or Blackberry. Of course, in the last 2 years, Microsoft has added their $.02 worth, too – with a slew of Windows Mobile (remember its predecessor, WindowsCE?) powered devices by Sanyo, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, etc. So the dilemma is compounded by these Windows-based devices, too.

But I’ve been using the Palm for a long time and like that OS. It’s been completely designed as an organizer – which is exactly what I use it for. Easy to use, cleanly defined… almost simplistic. Perfect for me. Thus, even the addition of all these extra players really didn’t cloud my judgement.

What IS a problem, though, is the wireless CARRIER differences. And all of this has been setup to talk about these differences. THIS is where the real decisions need to be made – THIS is where you can make a deal or go broke – THIS is where you need to pay attention. So let’s look at the carriers for the Treo devices (there are 2, almost 3, now available: the 650, the 700 and now the 680 – not yet quite released). Know in advance that the 700 has about 4x the memory of the 650, a faster data transmission capability (EVDO rather than 1XRTT) and a little bit better camera. Everything else is about the same, but you can read a lot of reviews elsewhere. The 680 will be out soon, but it’s not yet available, so we’ll not really talk about it here.

There are 4 carriers in my market that supply the Treo. In alpha order: Alltel, Cingular, Sprint/Nextel and Verizon. First, forget who your current carrier is (mine’s Alltel) and look just at device costs and wireless plans.

Alltel is selling the 650 for $249 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan. You then can pick any of their national freedom plans for voice, and you pay $29.99/mo for unlimited data. The limiting factor here is slower data speed (the 1XRTT standard rather than EVDO), but as a CDMA phone, it’s good almost everywhere.

Cingular is selling the 650 for $299 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan. You then can pick any of their voice plans and you pay $39.99/mo for unlimited data. Cingular offers XPress Mail (similar to the Good Technology product) to connect you with your office e-mail system. Cingular has a decent network, but their data network isn’t as robust as others.

Sprint/Nextel has the 700 for $399 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan. You pick any of their voice plans and pay $39.99/mo for unlimited data. The trouble here is that you’re limited to Sprint/Nextel’s network. If you walk off their network, you lose connection.

Verizon also has the 700 for $399 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan and you pick a voice and data bundle. Verizon’s data network isn’t super, either… and they aren’t able to do anything with data separately from voice (although the bundles are a good idea).

All in all, given the fact that I’m with Alltel, I decided to take the slower device and stay with Alltel. Got one for Tina, too.

God I love my Treo. The lust was worth the wait.

I’m trapped in my house. It’s been snowing (with a coating of freezing rain for good measure) for the last two days. So I can’t go anywhere.

Lucky for me, I’ve got friends nearby. And of course, there’s Allie.

First, she needed a bath today. I’ve been avoiding this because I don’t like having to clean her, then clean the tub and then clean myself – all because SHE needed a bath. I really wish she’d grow out that dew paw and make it an opposable thumb. Perhaps she could bathe herself. Then again, she could just become a cat. Either way, I could stop trying to cajole her into the bathtub for something NEITHER of us likes to deal with.

Anyways, for those of you who KNOW Allie, she’s very fond of the outdoors. This is evidenced by the fact that every time it even appears that I’m going to go outside, she runs to the door nearest myself (even if it’s an interior door), sits as close to the door as possible… and waits. But it’s not just any wait, it’s a sit and a scoot closer to the door. A pant and then another scoot closer to the door.

I think she believes that the closer she IS to the door, the closer she is to getting THROUGH the door. Unfortunately for her, she’s pretty opaque and isn’t able to go through the door. But I’m a reasonable guy (and I’ve got a fenced-in backyard), so I’ll let her go out there whenever she really wants to go.

Today was no different and when she asked to go out, I let her (yes, AFTER she was dried off from her bath). But not before turning on the outside light so I could watch her slip-slide her way across the yard to do her business. Hehehe… she loves to play in the snow and she can’t tell that it’s got an ice coating. It just looks white to her, I suppose.

So she falls on her ass several times and I’m laughing at her. Of course, with her super-hearing, she can tell, so she comes running back to the glass door because of the noises she hears me making. Not having any traction, she slides into the door. Hehehehe!

OK, I’ll move away from the door so she can go potty (that’s her code word for “go-ing” and if you ever meet her and tell her to “go potty”, she will almost immediately – so use this doggie kryptonite sparingly and remember that she’s probably at your house and not mine). She still enjoyed running around the yard, breaking the ice with her paws. I love my dog.

Since I’m in the house all day, there are a limited amount of things I can do inside (especially now that I took my train down). I can hunt for jobs, surf the web/send e-mail, play with Allie, clean the house (yeah, right) or eat. Care to guess what I did the most of today? Let’s just say that I’m not going to be using the new body-fat calculator this week.

So I’m blending into my couch, chomping on potato chips, watching TV and surfing the web. But did you know the mail was actually delivered today? Those folks are nuts. I did get my Duke-Valpo basketball tickets in the mail (anyone looking for men’s BB tix?). Woo hoo! I’m going to get to watch MY almamater get their collective butts handed to them as a tolken scrub team to keep Duke warm between real games. Tina, as a Duke alum, thinks it’s fun. She can’t wait to go to the game – just so I can be humiliated and she gets to sit in a real seat in Cameron (for those in the know, Duke students almost NEVER actually get a seat – they STAND for the entire game).

Anyways, the TV weatherpeople say that the weather tomorrow isn’t going to be much better than today. So my guess is that I’ll be stuck indoors for another day. Such is my life. But I’m running out of potato chips. If you have some of the new lower-fat Ruffles (have rrrrrrridges), please mail them to me. With the mailman coming by even in this crap, I have a reasonable chance of getting them sooner than me actually getting to a grocery store.

Oh, and just a quick advertisement. Kathy C got me hooked on a game called Bejeweled for the PalmOS. If you have a Palm device, I highly recommend this game. Totally addictive and cheaper than crack.

Good night!