Lifedrivedoc.com began as a place to talk about the Lifedrive. It soon became apparent that it was much more than that. Since moving on from my Lifedrive, I am engaged in more avenues of technology. That technology has intersected with my professional life - Medicine as well as my social life.

As noted above, the blog is about a lot of things in relation to technology. If you are looking for Lifedrive related material, I am currently dividing the blog so that those searches will be easy for you to find. Most of them will be pre 2007, that should help. Additionally, if you are looking for the links that used to be on the left border. They will be back up in a different format soon. I do enjoy reading about new things to do with the Lifedrive, so you can feel free to let me know about those. I will also post those on the site.

If you are having trouble getting an RSS Feed, click on the feed link below or type this into your reader: http://feeds.feedburner.com/lifedrivedoccom


Friday, October 27, 2006

Someone Finally Did It!

I have wanted to do this forever, but Vincent Torralba got way ahead of the game by doing the most daring thing ever! Infact, I have been trying to win one of Sammy's Lifedrive's that he continues to put up for grabs on the Palmaddicts website to do just what Mr. Torralba has done. He replaced his Lifedrive disc with a CF card. And as expected, the lag time is nonexistent.

We must find out the long term consequences of this activity. But for now, you must go to Palmaddicts to see how he did it. He has very detailed information in regards to this and I am extremely interested, particularly if this is a stable change.




Friday, October 13, 2006

Google Maps for Treo: A Truly Amazing Experience on the Lifedrive.


Google quietly released its Googlemaps for Treo devices. There is only one thing to say about this program: AWESOME!

It can be downloaded to the Lifedrive without problems and the link given above takes you directly there. If you prefer, you may go to Google and download it directly from the mobile site.

The rendering on the Lifedrive is absolutely superb, not to mention flawless! Directions are stored on your device as are prior searches. You can also see satellite images, rendered perfectly on the lifedrive screen. See my pics below.

This is another example of well written software. No crashes, just responsive, slick software written solely with the user in mind. Of note, this program may also be loaded directly to the SD card and run directly from there.

If there is one program that could make me jump ship from the Stand-alone PDA and venture into the land of the phone-PDA, this would be it. But not for the reasons that you may envision. On the Lifedrive, the program is flawless. It even breaks out to send a message to my bluetooth phone to call a location if I want it to. The screen is beautiful and it is not power intensive.

Where the only problem relating to this well written program lies is with the telephone company. If you do not have a data plan that allows say 10-20 mb/month downloads, you could be in for a nasty surprise at the end of the month. I was able to test the program out on my preexisting bluetooth network and it was flawless. However, I have not ventured to use this on GPRS or EDGE, for fear that it will use up all of my memory for the month in the space of 2 minutes. As it stood, two direction searches used up 2.8mb and its rendering of images as you scroll from location to location requires more download memory.

As of now, Sprint may be the only American Telco that would prove beneficial for the download memory requirements, unless you have an unlimited plan. Herein lies the biggest setback for mobile phones and mobile media in general. A few telephone companies have a locked-in strategy to keep everything in their garden. And they charge a hefty fee for the privilege. It holds back substantial innovation from companies such as Google and even Palm, which must play ball with the Telcos - notice Mr. Ed Colligan avoiding the question of pricing for the Treo 680 yesterday. It is the gorging of the consumer by the Telcos that enables me to stick with my Lifedrive and to use a landlocked machine or intermittently use my bluetooth phone for the data that I need. I cannot justify paying $35+ per month to use a Telco invented PDA based data plan on top of a voice plan.

But departing from this, it is a company such as Google that may show us the way out of this quagmire. If they can open up the lines for free or minimal-charge WIFI, the Telcos will have to drop the price substantially, leading to greater competition.

Google has taken a great step forward with the creation of a portable Google mapping software. Now, if they could only make a universal Calendar program, that would be golden.

Google Maps First Hand Account

Here is a pictoral summary of my unbelievable experience with this software:

1. Select your destination and confirmation will be given in the form of a map display


2. If the address that you enter is valid, you will receive confirmation that the address that you typed in really exists. Sometimes, even a phone number will show up for a business establishment, along with the name of the company. This is followed with the functions listed below. You may choose to go to the location or depart from it.


3. Once you have entered your data, a summary page will show up showing how many miles are between the two points. If you run or bike, this is absolutely amazing.


4. Each colour point indicates a turn or change in direction.


5. Once clicking on a colour point, directions are given for each main turn.


6. You can zoom-in to see more detail and to pick out landmarks. Although not featured here, you can have indicators for restaurants, gas stations and other selected places of interest.


7. You can further zoom-in to see the area in more detail. Notice how the one way streets are also displayed. A very important point if you DON'T live in NYC.


8. You can change the image to view a satellite photo of your location.


9. More unbelievable is the more detailed image shown below after zooming-in again:


10. Alas, the cost of this show of brilliance? A data plan is a necessity if you are using this program. This may be a little difficult if you are using this with a bluetooth phone connection with only a 4 or 5mb monthly account. This is probably why it was originally written for the Treo, which necessitates a special high priced data plan. It is nice of google to put in how much data has been downloaded as this takes the guess work out of doing this.


Again, a truly brilliant piece of software. If you own a Lifedrive or Treo or Tungsten X, you owe it to yourself to download this. Truly Amazing !


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Palm Experience......

Sammy and friends have been discussing the possibility of Palm abandoning its base of Palm handheld devices and going for the Treo Model. Certainly, there has been no official word from Palm in regards to this, but it would appear that Palm is embarking upon a road to Treoville. We have heard no word about a stand alone PDA this year. Normally about this time, the Blogosphere is filled with speculation, queries and sometimes smuggled pictures of Palm PDA devices.

Instead, blogs, including Engadget and Palm centered pages are salivating about the probable release of a new Treo. The possibility of another Windows Mobile or Palm OS 5 telephone device. In addition, said pages are now driven to write about phone programs and phone reminder programs with data collection tools and discussions about dropped calls, provider rates for phone usage consumption and antennae-free devices.

But something is missing! Something that has been missing ever since the Windows Mobile Treo came about. With the exception of Palmaddicts, which seems to have a host of stand-alone PDA warriors with separate cell phones, the reporting seems to be about TELEPHONES! It does not appear to be about the PALM EXPERIENCE. In short, does anyone remember the time when they picked up a device (for me it was the Palm V) and stared in awe at the ability to do calculations, store messages and be informed about events? It was an early time and it became a helpful tool for me - being able to practice medicine without having to remember every single piece of minutiae (ie. asbestos lung cancer incidence) or walking around without pockets filled with scraps of paper. It was in short - a revolution!

It was so compelling that even Bill Gates had to emulate the model with a Windows CE product to do just about the same thing. Now, I am not saying that those were the good old days, because the devices in those days were filled with flaws of their own, mainly processor problems, but it was a time when people concentrated on writing good software - lean and productive. The turn of a switch produced the opening menu without the need to warm up. That, appears to be gone now.

What we have is a margin question. What product produces the margins needed to be profitable? What if an experiment was done and a completely innovative device was released, can we - like Nokia - just throw it out there and see if it sticks? And what if that device is flawed, in ways that could be corrected, but in a time and financial frame that destroys our margins? Do we correct it or come out with a second version? Or do we scrap it and go for the product that makes us money? While we're at it, do we scrap the very thing that made us a leader in the first place -- the standalone PDA -- in favor of the device that produces earnings?

I believe that the answer has already been made. I have a wonderful device called the Lifedrive, but I believe that its days may be numbered. The TX was a success, but it too has a few flaws, mainly in its ability to handle the NVFS and so crashes a few times, but much less than the Lifedrive running programs trying to address nonexistent memory locations. The device is not as rich in function as the Lifedrive, but it appears to have caught the fancy of many, with its faster browsing and more rugged build. It does savor the PALM EXPERIENCE and will probably represent the new breed of devices coming from Palm. I would not be surprised to see an 8-GIGABYTE DRIVELESS DEVICE in the form of the Tungsten X, a complete solid state device. A hybrid could be another option, with a large ram of say 512k, immediate program memory of 1 gig continuous and a hard drive to store, but not run programs. Such a device would also be fruitful and probably impress the bottom line.

But before any of this can happen I feel that the one thing that Palm needs to do is come out with an operating system that can manage all of this. If anything, the TREO series of devices has shown that OS 5 .x in its never ending cycle of appearances in new devices is outdated and in need of a complete overhaul. The Palm Media says that Linux is the answer. There is discrepancy as to whether the Access Company will produce this or if Palm will enter the fray and produce a Linux based Palm device alone. The latter would be most appealing after seeing some of the cartoonish GUI's produced by Access.

However, CEO Ed Colligan in a conference call to analysts last year pointed out that Palm's concentration would be on Treo models this year. This would appear to be reasonable given the margins and popularity attained, especially by Windows Mobile devices. However, those of us not ready to jump on the Windows Mobile bandwagon or for that matter own a phone based PDA appear to be left out in the cold, wondering if we are in the possession of an outdated Model-T. There is no mention of a new stand-alone PDA - anywhere.

We are also left wondering if we will ever experience the wonderful feeling of holding a Palm device again that just does its job. It came to me again a few years ago when I picked up a Palm Tungsten. The sliding panel was a joy to behold. The device actually fit in my shirt pocket. To me, I still think that this was the most innovative Palm ever made. Yes, it was flawed slightly, but Palm again ascended to the technological high ground creating a product that few could compete with. Yes, multimedia almost killed the Palm and Windows CE made a run for the money tree, but it was that ability to pull out a Palm Tungsten that drew the most interest. In meetings, people wanted to look at this strange device that had a slider. They were even more in awe when I surfed the web via a bluetooth connection with my phone or sent a contact to my phone to call or transferred data to and from the phone without having to hire my work's IT guy to set up baud rates, string bits and hexadecimal init strings. It was Palm at its best.

So here is a request to Palm. Do not abandon the stand-alone PDA. It is the very soul of your company. It is the rock of Gibraltar that brought you the ability to produce the Treo. I am hoping that the lack of a release of a stand-alone PDA is indicative of a wait for either Cobalt or Linux next year and that our current OS 5.x NVFS devices will be able to be upgraded or better yet, have second editions that are far superior to their originals.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Brighthand has Palm Representation


I was very pleased to run into a post on Brighthand this week in regards to problems with wifi on the Lifedrive. It seems that any attempt to connect will give a soft reset at least once if you use it long enough. I was very interested to learn that the TX appears to do Wifi a lot better than the Lifedrive.

Seems to be a very interesting board on Brighthand, but perhaps the most interesting feature was the fact that someone from PALM actually answered a post. Heather Cullen, from Palm Inc, answered a question on the board.

They actually do read the boards.



http://forum.brighthand.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1097 (Will give you entire Lifedrive forum).
I have added this to my listing on the left.