Wednesday, August 1, 2007

You Phonia

I know in the past I've recommended cargo pants as a great way to deal with all the electronic gadgets we tend to haul around with us now. The more pockets, the better. But this does not apply to bathing suits. Bathing suits should not have lots of pockets. Maybe none!

On a completely unrelated note, my Treo 600 went for a swim while I was on vacation last week. Smart phone? Ha!

So, of course, this gave me the opportunity to reassess the state of cell phones, PDAs, smart phones, etc. Overall, there are way more all-in-one gadgets out there than there were when I got the Treo two years ago, and many of them seemed very capable.

Of course, the much touted Apple iPhone was the first one to be considered. But there were two drawbacks:
1) AT&T's mediocre service reputation, and
2) Newness. Unlike the tens of thousands who lined up to grab in iPhone the day they came out, I'd prefer to let the technology mature a little, and get the kinks shaken out.

I wound up going with a T-Mobile Wing. I was already a T-Mobile customer, and they are the only ones to offer what I consider the perfect plan: Unlimited data and 0 minutes of phone calls. I'm much more interested in being connected to the internet than in actually talking to anyone. (See the title of this blog.) And when I do want to make a call, I don't mind paying the 20 cents a minute or whatever it is.

Now the Wing itself has several pros and cons:

PRO: It's Windows Mobile, so it syncs up very well with standard MS desktop applications like Outlook.

CON: It's Windows Mobile, so it doesn't sync very well with the MacBook Pro I'm now using as my main computer.

PRO: Mark/Space ( has Mac software called Missing Sync which can sync with Windows Mobile.

CON: Missing Sync only works with Windows Mobile v5 and earlier. The Wing runs WM6.

PRO: Mark/Space has a new version in beta that will work with WM6.

CON: I have yet to get sync working at all with the Missing Sync beta. It doesn't realize the device is connected.

So, I'm still struggling with this, but I'm optimistic. Sync with my office Windows XP machine has been relatively trouble free. (I tried installing the MS ActiveSync software on WinXP running under Parallels on my Mac, but it failed to install. Maybe I need to break down and upgrade to Parallels 3.0, but I'm peeved at having to shell out another 50 bucks only a couple of months after paying $80 for the previous version.)

Otherwise, this phone/PDA/whatever-they're-called-now device has been wonderful. The Outlook "Today" view, which I always found incredibly annoying on a desktop PC, is actually a pretty handy one-glance summary. And I like the fact that I can deal with actual files, instead of just PalmOS applications.

I still don't have e-mail working quite the way I'd like. I want to read only new, unread messages from both an IMAP server and from GMail, and I'd like to have two delete options: local only, or local plus server. There may be a way to do that. I downloaded the GMail Java applet for reading mail, but it won't run due to a missing certificate. I'll have to look into that further.

But the best part of the Wing is, of course, the cool blue, rubbery finish. It feels really good in your hand. Go play with one at a T-Mobile store.

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