PrePoint

April 14, 2010

Move Along: This Blog Is Over

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikecane @ 2:45 pm

Well, it’s been a hell of a ride with Palm.

But now it’s over.

Having fondled the Palm Pre several times, it’s just not for me.

The keyboard is too small, I don’t like the slanted slider, and only multitasking has impressed me.

The Palm Pixi is even smaller. Smaller keyboard, smaller screen.

I had hoped that webOS would mean the resurgence of Palm, but recent accounts point to them wanting to sell the entire operation to somebody else now in order to remain alive.

It’s a pity Palm didn’t skip cellphones and go straight to a mini-tablet.

They really could have cleaned up in a space that Apple legitimized with the new iPad. I hope whoever comes along to buy them will do that. webOS is clearly superior to Android for tablets.

So, this is the end of this blog.

I’m closing Comments now too.

Time to move on.

July 1, 2009

Read DRMed MobiPocket eBooks On Palm Pre

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 11:11 am

Thanks to Twitter, I was informed about this new eBook development and invited the person to write this guest post. Thanks, Jonathan!

E-book Reading on PalmPre: MotionApps Classic Plus Mobipocket is a Winning Combo

As a longtime PalmOS user, I’ve been very happy using my Palm handhelds as e-book readers. I have (and have read) more than 200 e-books (many from Baen’s free library, others purchased in secure Mobipocket format from Fictionwise) on my Palm T|X (especially after I used the PowerSDHC driver by Dmitry Grinberg to add a 16 GB SDHC card to my T|X). When I received my new Palm Pre last week, courtesy of Palm’s Real Reviewer program, I was skeptical whether I would be able to completely switch from my T|X to the Pre, given how little software has yet been released for the Pre, especially in the e-book reader world (only the Shortcovers online reader is currently available). Happily, one of the very first apps released for Palm’s new WebOS is MotionApps’ Classic (a PalmOS emulator running on the Pre), and I was able to run Mobipocket Reader with little trouble.

classic_2009-01-07_113439

classic_2009-01-07_114950

While Classic’s emulation is not perfect, and it’s limited to a 320×320 screen (unlike the 320×480 available on the T|X), I was pleased to find out not only did Mobipocket Reader work on Classic, but it even generated its own Secure Mobipocket ID, allowing me to redownload and read my secure e-books from my Fictionwise bookshelf. Installing Mobipocket was a bit of a challenge (since it comes with an installation program rather than simply as PalmOS PRC and PDB files, I had to unpack and install each file separately — which you can find here), but once past that step and after I’d copied my e-books to the ClassicApps\eBooks directory of my Pre in USB Drive mode, I launched Classic, started Mobipocket Reader, and a quick rescan of my library brought my books up.

classic_2009-26-06_171656

Classic runs PalmOS apps relatively smoothly, and the issues it still has with animations and sounds do not impact on Mobipocket Reader. Page navigation is a bit clumsy (the Pre’s notifications often bump up against the bottom of Classic’s virtual 5-way navigator, making it difficult to advance pages that way), but after I’d set Mobipocket to accept screen taps as page advance commands, that problem went away.

classic_2009-26-06_172737

Classic itself is not cheap (the registered version is $29.99), but it essentially replaces carrying around two PDAs, one for WebOS and one for (most of) the PalmOS apps one still needs. For me, being able to continue reading novels at the checkout counter, doctor’s office and other waiting areas, and to have access to secure e-books even when offline, makes Classic’s price almost worth it for those benefits alone. That it can run almost all of my other PalmOS apps is just gravy. (It also means, by way of shameless self-promotion, that Pre users can read the Mobi version of my new free e-booklet on managing smartphone business/legal risk, Shooting from the Hip, after downloading it here!)

Prof. Jonathan Ezor, Touro Law Center (aka @Prelawyer and @ProfJonathan on Twitter, and Palm Real Reviewer).

June 21, 2009

Cut Palm Some Slack

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 10:58 am

An update on the early access program and the SDK.

There’s a hue and cry over the webOS SDK not yet being available to all.

This is what I posted at Palm’s Developer Blog:

I suspect Palm is caught between these tensions:

1) webOS 1.x is not final. We’ve seen Comments in code that seems to reflect that.

2) webOS 1.x will have at least one more — if not two — OTA updates that will greatly change APIs.

3) With those APIs being changed, it would create a hellacious developer support situation for Palm.

4) The bottom line of that would be wasting the time of developers and possibly alienating them too.

It is hard to be patient and I find the delay odd too, but I suspect the above is what is happening behind the scenes.

It’s incredible to see people comparing the less than a month old Palm Pre to the several years old Apple iPhone, comparing webOS 1.x to iPhone OS 3.x, comparing the App Catalog to the App Store.

For all the current shortcomings and unfinished bits of webOS, I think its full potential won’t be realized until the SDK has been released and coders start taking advantage of it.

But that’s not to say Palm itself won’t keep adding to webOS too.

I tweeted to Palm last week that I expected a webOS update last week, most likely on Wednesday — the day Apple was making the iPhone OS 3.0 Update available — to blunt some of the iPhone’s impact. (Unfortunately, Search Twitter is wonky and I cannot retrieve this tweet to link to it.) The update came on Friday instead, the day iPhone 3GS was released. I then tweeted to Palm to debug faster. (Another tweet I cannot retrieve.)

Palm has a lot on its hands. Not just the current Palm Pre, webOS, and dealing with the beta expansion of the SDK program, but also working with carriers for whatever follow-up webOS device is coming (such as the rumored EOS).

Cut Palm some slack, give them some time.

Here’s one thing to look forward to. Once the SDK released, there will be hundreds — if not well over a thousand — apps in the App Catalog by the end of this year. Developing for the Pre should happen with a speed no other smartphone platform can currently match.

June 10, 2009

Farewell, Ed Colligan

Filed under: Musings — mikecane @ 4:43 pm

EdAndJon

Jon Rubinstein Appointed CEO of Palm
Ed Colligan Steps Down After Sixteen Years of Palm Leadership

I was soooo mean to Ed Colligan:

Palm Computing: Self-Destruction By Self-Distraction

What Palm needs is a leader like Steve Jobs. Someone with taste and vision. Ed Colligan just doesn’t seem to be that kind of guy. He’d be a great lieutenant to such a person. But he just isn’t the leader Palm requires if it’s to celebrate a 20th year of existence (especially as an independent company).

Palm Wants Us To Wait ANOTHER Two Years…

Palm, Inc, the maker of the Treo smart phone, will continue to focus on ease of use and reliability rather than design, Palm CEO Ed Colligan said in an interview at the 3GSM telecommunications trade show here.

“We think that will be a greater driver of purchases in the future,” he told MarketWatch in the interview. “We don’t want to follow design fads.”

What This Year’s Treo Should Have Been

Hey, Colligan! Hiring Mercer to tart up PalmOS isn’t going to distract people with brains from the fact your hardware is going to die! die! die! under the onslaught of the iPhone!

Engadget Snags The Attention Of Autistic Palm, Inc.

Just a few questions for Ed:

1) Are you insane?

2) Are you that out of touch with reality?

What Engadget has put in one post has been said for YEARS over and over again at Palm Infocenter — which used to be *the* sites for PalmOS enthusiasts. As Fake Steve Jobs might say, Have You Heard Of It?

If We Can’t Have Momentum On This, Can I At Least Get An Amen, Brother?

Dumbass Of The Year: Ed Colligan

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

I’m So Bad, I’m Good

Can it be Ed Colligan’s resignation?

No?

Then not interested.

Will Palm Die Or Show Others How To Be Reborn?

“In my opinion, the Foleo is going to be most successful and the most significant product that Palm has done.”

Palm’s Worst Nightmare: HWR For iPhone

Wet your pants, Ed Colligan. Your gloat is over. Resign now. Palm is dead. And good riddance!

Palm + Celio Redfly = Mystery Device?

Ed Colligan is not below slapping a Palm label on the Redfly.

It’s Foleo Day! Did You Celebrate?

Palm’s Colligan: Centro Easier Than iPhone!

I think people are buying Centros for different reasons [than the iPhone]. They’re [Centros] easier to use, they’re a little less pretentious, they are smaller form factor. They’ve got a full keyboard for doing data entry.

To say that I never missed a chance to stab Ed Colligan would be … entirely true!

There has probably never been a company that took such a leadership position in a market and then dribbled it all away. The only thing that saved Palm from looking like the total disaster it was becoming was this year’s deserved collapse of General Motors.

What Ed Colligan has in his favor — what ultimately redeemed him — what his recognition that he didn’t know what to do next. This is a very tough thing for anyone to have to admit — and I applaud Ed Colligan for having the bravery to admit such a thing. It takes real guts to do that.

In doing so, Colligan gave Palm another shot in the market. If press coverage, word of mouth, and general Internet buzz could instantly translate into real dollars, Palm would have had a market capitalization above that of Apple, given the six months of anticipation that led to the introduction of the new Palm Pre.

Having brought Palm to its Third Act (Pilot, Treo, and now Pre), it’s fitting for Colligan to step away and regroup for his own Third Act.

Farewell, Ed Colligan.

I’ll sharpen my knife for Jon Rubinstein.

He’s been warned now.

The World’s First Jailbroken Palm Pre?

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 3:39 pm

The always-tuned in @cimota is at the — pardon the expression — Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and he clued me into someone with a hacked Palm Pre.

The guilty part is @stroughtonsmith. Here he is touting on himself in Twitter.

He begins innocently enough:

Smith061009000

Proof:

SmithPre061009000

And then it gets dramatic:

Smith061009001

And he apparently gets some Booos from iPhone priests for his heresy:

Smith061009002

But he sallies forth:

Smith061009003

Smith061009004

Smith061009005

Here it is:

SmithPre061009004

Smith061009006

He does! Look:

SmithPre061009001

He’s busy:

Smith061009007

He’s finishing:

Smith061009008

And he’s done:

Smith061009009

See this:

SmithPre061009001

It looks innocent enough. But don’t be fooled!! He’s part of the nefarious #paddyinvasion — programming wizards from Northern Ireland who have snuck into this country to steal our precious bodily fluids and dominate the world with their mobile programs! Have fear!

This time next year, we could all be standing on line to buy the O’Pre!

June 8, 2009

First eBook App For Palm Pre: Shortcovers

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 10:57 am

I have a keen interest in eBooks, so I’ve been anticipating what eBook reading programs would be available for the Palm Pre.

The first one is now available: Shortcovers!

Here are two screensnaps:

ShortcoversPre01

ShortcoversPre02

This will be available only via the Palm Pre App Catalog, so send your Pre there now!

Leave some Comments to let everyone know your experience.

June 7, 2009

How Demos SHOULD Work

Filed under: Musings — mikecane @ 2:22 pm

For those who were skeptical about my account of emailing iPhone pictures to myself, here is the proof. The timestamp reflects that of the iPhone, which was set to Cupertino, California time:

iPhoneEmail

Click = big

And look at the email itself:

iPhoneEmail02

Click = big

And these are the five photos (click = big):

iPhoto001

iPhoto02

iPhoto03

iPhoto04

iPhoto05

Eh, my hand moved when I took one. But if I didn’t include all five, people would wonder.

And by the way, yes, I do know that the iPhone does not email the full-sized photos. I would have been happy for the Pre to have mailed similarly-sized proxies too, OK?

Sprint/Palm: You’re Doing It Wrong!

Filed under: Musings — mikecane @ 12:23 pm

So today was the day I finally got to fondle a Palm Pre.

It was a disaster of epic dimensions!

I went to a Sprint Store in lower Manhattan where I knew two demo units were available to molest.

I had no problem trying one. The salesman was smart enough not to hover at my shoulder. He dismissed himself when I said I didn’t have any questions, that I just wanted to try it.

The Pre was on top of the Touchstone, so I got to see that too. And the matte rubbery special back that’s required for it.

The Pre was tethered. I expected that. What I didn’t expect is like ten Gs of resistance when trying to hold the Pre!

Tip One: People want to feel the weight of a gadget. Making it feel like it has the weight of a sack of rice is not good.

I was shocked at how tiny the Pre is. Not small — tiny! People have said it’s like a bar of soap. Well maybe one of those bars they give out at hotels! Really, it’s tiny!

I didn’t think it was thick overall. Despite the ten Gs of resistance, it felt good in my hand although, again, damn that thing is tiny!

And then there was the screen. Damn, that thing is tiny too! It’s bright and lush in terms of color, though.

Then I tried to do my thing on it. I was real eager to put webOS through all those delicious and delightful flow paces we’d all seen demonstrated in seemingly hundreds of videos.

This was not going to happen.

The Sprint Pre live demo units are running a Demo program. You’re asked up front if you want to use this Demo or explore on your own. I chose the latter option.

Unfortunately, that Demo program is seemingly always running in the background — invisibly. There’s no Card for it to kill it altogether.

And that’s what killed the demo for me and made it an epic disaster.

The Demo program seemed to hog most of the Pre — both its CPU cycles and its RAM.

I went immediately to Card View to kill all Cards because I’d already read of that slowing things down. OK, there were like six Cards open. Card View and dismissing those cards was slow. Like “Is this thing working?” slow!

But once I got rid of them — and it really was an effort because the Pre kept freezing! — I began to play.

Except that goddammed Demo monster had other ideas. About every 60-90 seconds, the Pre would vibrate and what I was doing would be interrupted!

Would I like to Exit the Demo? What? I wasn’t in the damned Demo! I said Yes at times, and No at times. It didn’t seem to make any damned difference because I’d get the Demo Welcome Screen again asking me if I wanted a Demo or if I wanted to explore on my own!

Tip Two: Sprint, Palm, if you have multiple live demo units in a Sprint Store, make sure at least one of them is free of this damned program! This is making the Pre act like crap!

I got to try the camera. I’m not sure exactly what I saw, though. Here’s why: I’d just spent the previous hour at the Apple Store on both an iPod Touch and an iPhone. I specifically made a point to use the Photos app and the Camera app. When I took a picture, I looked at it and pinched out to its maximum size to judge its quality. This made me realize that while the iPhone’s camera delivers more vibrant colors than what I’ve seen of numerous Pre photos, at full size there are just as many jaggies (although the iPhone camera still does a better job with edges).

When I played with the Pre, I did the same thing. Took a picture and pinched out. Except I think the Photo app on the Pre is cheating. The camera is three megapixels. The image should have really really gotten larger. At no point did it! It went to a certain size and wouldn’t enlarge further. I suspect the Pre is not letting people see photos at actual size on the device itself.

Tip Three: If this is the case, Palm, if you’re cheating with the Photo app, stop that right now! Let people enlarge to full size so they can see the actual quality!

Then I wanted to email a sample photo to myself. This is something I’ve been able to do at the Apple Store all the time. Not so with the Pre. The Pre was not set up with an account from which it could email a photo (or anything else!). Sprint, how hard is it to have every live demo model set up with a “predemo@sprint.com” account?

Tip Four: Let people be able to email things from the live demo Pre!

I tried the keyboard in Twitter. Thanks to that damned pernicious Demo program, I couldn’t get much done even with that! It interrupted me before I was able to complete my Twitter password. This meant I had to go through the dialog and screen of the Demo before I could get back to Twitter. Then once in Twitter, I sent one tweet. That went OK. When I tried to send a second, I was interrupted again by that damned Demo app! I gave up Twitter in disgust.

I accidentally called up Google Maps. I was pleasantly surprised to see that even inside the Sprint Store, in a crowded area of Manhattan, it correctly showed the location with a (tiny!) blinking dot.

The keyboard … can you guess by now that I’m going to say it’s tiny? It is!

I had very little trouble typing on it, though, except for one important bit. Part of my Twitter password is a string of numbers. Trying to hold down the orange button and then type in the numbers, I found my left thumb was getting in the way of the number keys. Because the keyboard is tiny!

One other thing about the keyboard — trying to slide up the screen was a pretty hairy experience for me. The Pre seemed stuck and I was sweating bullets hoping I wasn’t about to break it! I hope this reflects this particular demo unit and not the Pre people are buying.

Multitouch. Oh boy. This did not seem to work well for me at all. It felt sluggish and the screen too often didn’t register my touch. The contrast between multitouch on the Pre and the iPhone was shocking: the Pre felt like a poor Chinese knockoff of the iPhone! Again, I hope it was just this particular demo model and is not a sampling of what the Pre is really like.

Overall, I was deeply disappointed with my micro-fondle of the Palm Pre. I chalk it all up to that damned Demo app that’s running on it, interrupting me every minute or so, getting in the way, and irritating the hell out of me.

I didn’t get to experience any of the flow I expected.

Tip Five: And if this is what I experienced as a tech vet, how much more frustrated would the general public be, Palm and Sprint?

I really wanted to molest the hell out of the Pre, especially having played with an iPod Touch and iPhone right before my encounter. What happened was that the Demo program wound up molesting me!

I’ll have to wait until Best Buy’s staff have live demo units. I hope these will be free of the plague of a Demo program and I can experience webOS and the Pre in full.

And Palm and Sprint, if you’re reading this: Act!

May 21, 2009

New Palm? Old Stupidity!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikecane @ 4:59 pm

vlcsnap-00004

It was truly startling.

Ed Colligan had delivered on his boast that Palm had “game-changing hardware” with the Pre.

Palm, a company whose software was so damned good that it created addictions in people (one of them being me), had finally come out of the wilderness with the New New Thing.

After some initial skepticism, I finally grokked it and wanted it.

So much so that I did something I said I’d never do: create a blog around a product. This blog.

And although time constraints caused me to put it on hold, my enthusiasm for the Pre never wavered.

If anything, once I saw that Garnet emulation would be available, I was All Systems Go for it.

Palm seemed to be doing Everything Right too.

Until today, when they apparently revealed that within their heart, the Old Palm remains.

The Old Palm that treated its users with contempt, with condescension, with something almost like outright malice.

Today several disturbing tweets appeared in my stream regarding the PreDevCamp that had been percolating for several months.

I think the key post is this one, with these prime excerpts:

We have now developed a theme at Palm… “why would you do this if we’re not paying you to?” Each time, I have to explain that the event is not about Palm. It’s about the community. The brand is a vehicle to rally a number of like-minded people around, but it’s not the reason for the event. We do this because we want to build community, connections, cool products, make great software, solve problems, meet new friends.

Emphasis added by me.

Also:

In my opinion, Pam could not have been more short-sighted, condescending or dismissive of the community if she were coached beforehand by Chuq. If the intent of introducing Pam to the conversation was to get us to simmer down it didn’t work. Her call with whurely and subsequent email had the effect of throwing kerosene on an open flame. Clearly, Palm doesn’t get it. Why they even created the positions of community and developer managers is beyond me at this point.

Emphasis added by me.

And fatally, this:

I love the community as evidenced to the dozens of events I’ve created and co-organized over the past several years. I have a bitter taste in my mouth for the Palm brand now. I’m going to grab a mint and sit this one out. I want no part of building a brand that has such contempt for the influencers and developers that want to support it from the ground up.

Emphasis added by me.

This is the behavior of Old Palm.

With an absolute vengeance.

It’s as if after months of acting sane, these people could no longer stand the strain of the pretense and finally snapped, revealing their true souls.

I’ve been through this before.

I put up with it for years, but I’ll be damned if I’ll go through it again.

On June 6th, I will not be there to buy a Palm Pre.

Apparently there is only one way to tell any group of people that what they’ve done is unacceptable as a business practice — and that’s to hit them back in their business.

I’m really shocked by this turn of events.

Up to now, Palm had been just about flawless in its dealings. I had no criticisms to offer.

How they could do this with the Finish Line in sight has to rank as one of the biggest business blunders of the year.

I have to ask myself: If this is how Palm treats its supporters, how will it treat its customers?

April 30, 2009

Personal Cloud Computing

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 9:55 am

Wayne MacPhail posted this video on YouTube that I find very exciting. It’s a demo of the PogoPlug. I’d heard of this but it didn’t capture my attention until I saw his demo. Watch this:

Demo of the PogoPlug

For those who have squawked about the lack of storage card slot on the Palm Pre, consider what you could do with a terrabyte hard drive of your own goodies accessible wirelessly!

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