Monday, June 14, 2010

The Good Guys—A Pleasant Summer Surprise

"I've got enough to worry about! I've got strip clubs. I've got champagne rooms and free buffets and an economy where clients are cutting back and they're sleeping with their wives again. Their wives!"
The ring leader from the latest episode of The Good Guys.
The Good Guys isn't the best show ever but it is a fun diversion at a time when network television is clogged with reruns, reality shows, and unwatchable garbage shows. An enjoyable mix of low-brow humor and 70s style buddy cop action, The Good Guys is as flat out fun.

The main appeal of the show is its villains which exude quirky desperation rather than the usual vaguely bland menace we've come to expect from more serious shows. With procedural cop shows, the bad guys tend to melt into the background in order help the show milk the mystery and keep the audience guessing until the very end. The Good Guys reverts to a much older formula where the identity of the bad guys is almost never in doubt. As a result, the show is free to imbue its villains with a quirky sensibility which makes them as enjoyable as the cops who chase them. This makes for a fun alternative for the grim, forensic porn which so many procedural cop shows seem to aspire to today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mozilla Plugin Check Runs on Any Browser

I no longer use Firefox very much. But it doesn't seem that Mozilla holds a grudge. Mozilla's new Plugin Check will check your browser for outdated plugins allowing you to head off potential security threats even if you are running on a different browser. Mozilla, a class act in a world of squabbling children.

Thanks to security guru and all around paranoid freak Steve Gibson for the tip.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Internalz, a File Manager for webOS

When I reviewed zcorder I complained that this voice recording app has no way of managing recordings while noting that you can always use Internalz to browse through your recordings. After having played around with it a bit, I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with Internalz. I can move, copy, delete, and rename my recordings fairly easily and organize them by creating new folders for them.

File management is something we all have to do with our computers and as more and more of our data starts migrating to our mobile phones, a good file manager will become increasingly necessary for them as well. Internalz works well as a file manager. I would probably like more sharing options, like the ability to email files. But overall, this is a good, solid choice for managing your files.

"I'll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missourah."

Slate put together a pretty nifty widget for figuring out how the American flag would look if we added more states. A nice, little time killer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Like Chrome But Hate Google? Iron Can Help.

I've always been a big fan of Google's Chrome web browser but these days a lot of people are worried about Google's growing power and its implications for their privacy. But Chrome is so fast! And it's so much better than other browsers! It's something of a conundrum.

Enter Iron. Iron is a new web browser based on the same Chromium code which Chrome uses. As a result, Iron lacks some features like Google Update and address bar suggestions which most people love but which others deem to be a privacy risk. Iron's creators have gone even further and have removed Chrome functions like the Client-ID and error reporting and more. The point is to eliminate all behind the scenes contact between Google and your web browser. While this might seem a little paranoid to some, to others it might be just what the privacy doctor ordered.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

UberCalendar, Smart Up Your webOS Calendar

One of the shortcomings of the Palm Pre and Pixi the calendar application. While it is clean, simple, and arguably more powerful than its counterparts on the iPhone and Android; long time users of PalmOS can be forgiven for thinking that the webOS calendar feels dumbed down. Enter UberCalendar. A Homebrew patch for the webOS Calendar app, UberCalendar adds a number of enhancements to the calendar such as including the subject of an event in week view, more reminder times, the ability to remember and open the last calendar view when the Calendar app is reopened, buttons and shortcuts for entering new events, and a shortcut for launching the excellent Agenda Homebrew app which provides an at a glance view of all your upcoming Calendar entries. These enhancements along with others make the webOS Calendar more powerful and more pleasant to use.

The UberCalendar just debuted and is a little rough around the edges. One example of this is that UberCalendar supports the use of icons for events but these icons must be downloaded and saved separately on your phone's media partition. While this gives you more options for customizing your Calendar, it can be confusing for less advanced users. But then again, Homebrew software is by definition software for advanced users. More importantly, even with its current shortcomings, UberCalendar is the best add-on for the webOS Calendar available and is a must have for anyone who wants to get more out of their phone's calendar.

Once again UberCalendar is a Homebrew app and is not available through the official Palm App Catalog. It can be installed through Preware or with WebOS Quick Install.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good News, Bad News

So the good news is that HP will probably continue to make webOS smartphones. The bad news is that to HP, smartphones are just a small cog in their machine: CEOs say the darndest things: 'Smartphones are just another connected device to us' |

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Phone Angst, Part II: Will HP Kill Palm Smartphones?

I was feeling pretty happy with my Palm Pre until I started seeing this headline making the rounds of the Internet: HP CEO: 'We didn't buy Palm to be in the smartphone business' | Here we go again. I have been hearing about the imminent demise of Palm for almost as long as I have used Palm's products. In the past it has been little more than the rantings of disgruntled users but this time it's the CEO of Palm's soon to be parent company which while not actually suggesting that it is not interested in Palm's core business. While that may not have been his intent, it is a troubling thing to hear nonetheless.

When I first bought my Palm Pre almost a year ago, it was because I was looking for a platform which I could use over the long haul. After a decade of using PalmOS PDAs and smartphones, my attempt to move to Android in the form of the T-Mobile G1 did not work out. It was a technically amazing mobile platform which fell wildly short of the ease of use that I had enjoyed with PalmOS.

The Pre and webOS felt like a second chance to me. It was an open, modern mobile operating system which was backwards compatible with PalmOS through the Classic emulator. It seemed like the perfect platform for my needs. And it has only gotten better in the past year with regular updates.

But none of that matters if I can't buy another webOS smartphone once my Pre no longer works. While my Pre is still going strong, it is also showing its age. It has a small crack on the upper left hand corner of the screen—it's barely noticeable now but it's sure to grow over time. It is beginning to suffer from the infamous "oreo effect" where its slider flexes in a left to right fashion. And I have to overclock its processor for it to be as fast as newer phones. While a webOS tablet would be cool it will not be able to take the place of my Pre when it finally gives up the ghost.

While it's entirely possible—even probably—that Palm or HP might clarify the situation to give Palm's smartphones a vote of confidence, I feel more cynical about the platform today than I even have before.

Update: After reading some of the discussion at Precentral and the ZDNet article which helped provoke a lot of the discussion, I am probably a little more reassured that webOS is part of a larger strategy which calls for a large number of devices which presumably includes smartphones. But I still have to wonder if HP won't simply let Palm die away slowly the way they did with its Jornada PDAs and Compaq's iPAQ line of PDAs and smartphones. Only time will tell I guess.