Mar 26

I’ve had my Treo 650 for just under a month now and I’m in love. My friend Benny convinced me to get one and he was right – this is the first PDA convergence device they finally got right. I was reading a forum post on and this guy was referring to it as “my precious.” I can totally see Golem salivating over this phone if it were in LOTR – “one phone to rule them all.”

Every day since I’ve had it, I’ve discovered a new feature I really like. I would love to see someone calculate the person-hours of time that went into designing this particular phone, there is so much they aced on the interface. I know some people like the convenience of receiving email on their phone – I find it decidedly inconvenient since I’m already too “wired in” as it is and being out of the office is the only escape from super-connectedness. I remember having had a BlackBerry back in the day and how bad it sucked having to receive and respond to email wherever you are – I mean you wouldn’t want the postman to follow you around and tap you on the shoulder everytime a piece of snail mail arrived, much less be accountable for responding immediately to that communication… no plausible deniability of “i didn’t get that memo” when every email comes right to your phone. So basically I don’t use the email features of the Treo. But Cingular’s MMS system has the capability to send email through their gateway so it’s an option if you need to.

All in all I dig my setup right now: I use Yahoo for all personal mail (can’t beat their spam blocking and I’m hooked on their personal organizer features and the public calendar). I use their free Intellisync software to hotsync all my contacts, notes, tasks and dates with my Treo. I use Gmail for all listservs I’m on (roughly 10 I think) and I have the free Google Desktop Search running in the background at all times to index every piece of content that comes in or out of my laptop. The Gmail does a great job of indexing my lists and for every other piece of communication, GDS is like a “helmet cam” that records everything I read or write 24/7. With their recent release of a full 1.0 product, GDS now supports PDF’s, Firefox and Thunderbird as well as ID3 tags on MP3’s and other file formats- plus there’s a third-party plugin to index Trillian chat sessions so all my IM’s (yahoo, MSN, AIM and ICQ) are indexed as well. Powerpoint, Excel and Word docs are all supported which is key in the legal tech industry when you have to hunt down a specific detail someone’s asking for. With so many disparate communication channels and a barrage of info we deal with everyday, I was having the problem of “where did I read that… was it an RSS feed, on a web site, in an email – oh no someone IM’d me that URL…” It was getting to be a scavenger hunt through web history and emails every time I needed to track down a simple reference. Now I have one place to search and I know that GDS will return accurate results immediately (it even makes a little screenshot thumbnail for each result for visually-oriented people like myself).

Other tid-bits for the Treo that probably demand entries unto themselves:

  • SoundRec – is a free app that turns your Treo into a dictaphone. very cool
  • SD Memory Card – I got a $50 512MB expansion card from Fry’s and I now have almost a CD’s-worth of storage on my treo. That translates to either 7000 photos at 640x480px or 3hrs of video at 320x200px.
  • Chess Everywhere – this ingenious program allows you to play chess with a friend over your phone. I don’t know what protocol it uses (SMS maybe?) but it let’s you play against a buddy or find a random human opponent.
  • PdaNet – exactly what I was looking for – turns your treo into a modem for your computer. It works with a USB cable or Bluetooth if you have it. Simple to use and it does exactly what it claims. Genius.
  • AvantGo – is nothing new but it’s good at what it does. I find the web browsing on the Treo to be slow enough where it’s only worth it if you need it in a bind but not for leisure reading. AvantGo however caches the content you specify to your device when you hotsync. The coolest thing is their “autochannel” bookmarklet that you can use to grab a copy of a web page you’re on and send it to your phone.

It pretty much is the ideal customized setup for what I want. I can’t imagine improving anything on this phone at this point except for adding support for 802.11 wifi but then again, I just snagged this nifty gadget from PCTEL – it’s a wifi detector that goes on your keychain and alerts you if it finds a hotspot. The trouble is I don’t know if my keychain can physically fit another gadget. My girlfriend always says “honey, you are such a dork” when I start talking about this stuff – I’ve always defended myself but occasionally I’ll have this moment of clarity when I’m emtying my pockets at the end of the day and think “wow, you know I guess you’re right.”

5 Responses to “Google Desktop: the ‘Helmet Cam’ for your computer”

  1. benny says:

    Aparently the price went up. 60 bux. but you can spot a wifi ( and SSID and WEB info. ) all on your keychain.

    Personaly id rather have a 12inch powerbook to do this. But idealy the god damn Treo650 should have usable 802.11 skills. To be honest dood, if it did i would have allready set up my asterix linux based sip VOIP server and be making free VOIP calls all over town. SO i can see why sprint supressed the drivers so harshly.


  2. Sean Tierney says:

    yea, that one looks badass. so it also tells you whether the signal is encrypted – nice. like i was sayin’ yesterday on the mountain tho, i guess I just assume if the person is smart enough to change their SSID, they’ll be smart enough to encrypt their signal. i downloaded the <a href="">JVM for Palm OS</a> the other day and I know that has a java client for browsing their offline wifi maps called <a href="">jigle</a&gt;. I haven’t tried it yet but it would be cool to have a map for your city loaded on your treo. It’s not adhoc discovery of a hotspot but should show you where the closest one is. and that app allows you to filter on signal strength, WEP and SSID.

  3. benny says:

    those maps are only as acurate as the last war drive. So basicly your better off just war driving.


  4. […] History Hound – This app is the Google Desktop replacement for Mac that is so conspicuously missing right now. he logo needs some work but don’t let it’s cheesiness fool you- it provides the “helmet cam” functionality that GDS did on the PC as far as giving you a searchable index of everything you read. It works on every major browser on the mac (Safari, Firefox, Camino, Opera, Omniweb) as well as email programs and RSS readers. I’ve used it for the past week and it works well. It will also index retroactively if you let it scan your history file. […]

  5. benny says:

    those maps are only as acurate as the last war drive. So basicly your better off just war driving.


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