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


Sunday, April 29, 2007

More on the LifedriveCF, Linux and a taste of Numenta.

Perusing through the Lifedrive Universe, I ran into a very interesting comparative video put out this weekend by PDAColombia. Here they compared -side by side- and running simultaneously the Lifedrive in its original format running with the Lifedrive CF. The most striking difference was the reboot times. There was an obvious advantage with the CF drive, taking about 1/2 the time to reboot as the harddrive version.

However, some apps appeared to run at the same speed and load at the same times as on the hard drive. That was very surprising. Overall, the Lifedrive CF appeared more robust and appeared to be faster on most counts.

For me, this video is a Godsend. I may in fact wait until October/November when the Linux based Palms hit the shelves. I am still debating whether to buy one, not wanting to be a part of the first adopter or bleeding edge candidates who purchased the Lifedrive. But if the price of the Lifedrive - used preferably - comes down, I may buy one and hack the daylights out of it.

PDAColombia.com video

Palm Linux

I have also spent some time this weekend over at hack&dev to see how the linux project is coming along. Those guys have made great strides. However, I am begining to wonder if they will curtail their project now that Palm will be supporting their own version of Linux. But you should pop over there to see some of the incredible strides that they have made with OPIE.

Linux Development on Palm.

Linux on Palm Screenshots.


Okay, for the ultimate geek weekend, I spent 90 minutes listening to Jeff Hawkins, the founder of Palm giving a lecture on Hierarchical Temporal Memory: Theory and Implementation. First of all, I was really impressed by Jeff Hawkins' incredible mind and ability to comprehend not only the anatomy, but the inner workings of the brain. In addition, I truly admired his ability to stand up to some of the world's most distinguished Neuroscientists and Neurologists. The grilling that took place following the lecture reminded me of Grand Rounds given once a week, when a complete review of a case was done. It was one of the most chilling aspects of my life many years ago, particularly if I was involved in the case. If I was as knowledgable and confident as Mr. Hawkins, I probably would have saved a few shirts from the puddles of sweat that encompassed each of these grillings.

So, why was I listening to this lecture? It was not purely to learn about Hierarchical Temporal Management, which I found absolutely fascinating, but to get a handle on what's next at Palm. After hearing about Numenta, I am convinced that the project coming out in November is not what everyone has been writing about. Numenta is not a machine, but a thought process which attempts to emulate the brains' thought processes through non-static, mobile "guesswork" that dwarfs our thinking about events. It is preemptive. It is akin to thinking about a sequence of numbers and colors before they have been produced. It is akin to knowing the difference in texture between velvet and carpet. Some of the guess work appears to involve appointing memories of other objects and things and interpolating them to come up with what you are holding in your hands. A real life example would be putting out your hand and having someone tell you that you are about to feel a cup filled with hot cocoa. You already have a preconceived notion about the scent of hot cocoa, the ceramic feel of a cup, the warmth involved and the visualization of the cup, such that when it is placed in your hand you can translate it to mean: Warm cup of Cocoa in hand. All of these things are involved in making that decision. Numenta appears to be about trying to emulate these thought processes to come to these conclusions.

One can see quite readily that this has the potential for a lot of DoD type stuff: Face recognition, object identification etc. Mr. Hawkins has stated that the early project will involve food/recipe recognition to start with. There appears to be some semblance of software out on the website to experiment with Numenta for now.

I suspect that it would be possible to have some form of recipe program just placed on the next Palm Project without much fanfair or discussion just to see how this works. Given the fact that Numenta (let's call it a program for now) works on Linux and Mac OSX, I think that the new Linux device will incorporate this well.

What this lecture did for me was to give me an idea of where Jeff Hawkins is heading. I am not certain how this fits into the Palm ecosystem, but I do foresee something along the lines of Search algorithms coming out of this. Google has been the prominent search king for now, but if Hawkins' Numenta is capable of adaptive search strategies, we may be looking at a handheld device dwarfing Google's capablities. For example, say that you want to find a picture of a yellow lemon. With Google, we would have to place file tags on the picture. With Numenta, the search program would already know that it is looking for a picture and then it would have to analyze the picture, shapes etc to come up with the answer. The obvious problem - and hence the reason why I do not believe that this is something to get excited about in November (the expected launch date for the Linux Palm Series) - is that this would require tremendous computing power - way more than a Handheld can handle.

So, 90 minutes gave me some insight into the mind of Jeff Hawkins, but sheds less light on the new devices that will be running Palm Linux.

Bye for now.

(updated, thanks to Bryan :)).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Short Blurbs from Around the Lifedrive Universe

The following is a list of short blurbs from around the Lifedrive ecosystem:

(LDD) Slingbox support for the Lifedrive is still lacking. According to a report on Slingcommunity.com. Perhaps a moot point given the fact that many are dropping support for the device.

(LDD) Intel has essentially dumped Origami and will be focusing on a Mobile Internet Device. This device is smaller, with a mixed platform design and has a quick boot to Linux. This thing looks amazing. For full details, you can go to Intel's developer PDF site for the Developer Document entitled, "Intel Developer Forum: 2008 Mobile Internet Device Overview by Panjak Kedia and Christopher Yahna." Pay particular attention to page 6 to see that this is not Microsoft's UMPC. It is something completely different, faster and apparently Home Brewed for and by Intel. Could this be the Lifedrive replacement? This is a thing of beauty, at least on paper.

(LDD). Khertan, an avid developer, has released updates for Kmeteo to support devices such as the Lifedrive. I am not a user of this, but apparently many of you are. Khertan's website is here.

(LDD). For about a day, I saw a Lifedrive being sold online for $140.00, but it was promptly removed and the site appears dead. If anyone knows of a cheap one, I am in the hunt for one to tinker with. I want to install a CF card to see if there is any improvement in stability. Additionally, I wonder if Linux or OS X can be installed in one of these things?

(LDD). On a few blogs, the question of buying a new or used Lifedrive continues......

(LDD). Ken's vox blog is interesting. He actually owns a Lifedrive, among a host of other gadgets.

(LDD). The indefatiguable Mike Cane posts an interesting article on the Lifedrive and its, well..., obvious problems. But he does it with a twist, sending a blurb to Palm's new blog. Mike is unique, sometimes profane but unarguably honest. You always know where you stand. I like him because he is New York and reminds me a lot of my time spent there many years ago. An interesting read.....As always

(LDD). Interesting question over at Palm's Support site and my answer follows. The reader posted a question in regards to his Lifedrive jumping to the 4 gb newly installed SD Card everytime after a beep and exiting applications.

For others having this problem, you must ensure that you are using a PATRIOT 4 gb card. This is the only Guaranteed card to work in your Lifedrive. I have not had the opportunity to check out the Sandisk, but I would be pretty certain that this will work also (Also Transcend). Software wise, you may want to obtain a copy of Explorer. Also, unknown whether the user officially formatted the card when he/she placed it into the Lifedrive. That could be the beep. If the card reads any more than 3.8 gigs available when empty, then it was probably not formatted.

(LDD). In the better-late-than-never section, MP3PLAYER-review.com has posted a review of the Palm Lifedrive. It's a good review and worthy of a read. But my view is that if you plan on obtaining an MP3 player alone, the iPod has the Lifedrive for dinner. However the site appears to put together the reviews from several different sources throughout the year. Uncertain if this is a legitimate site or not, but it's included here. mp3player-review.com

(LDD). Reminiscing on what could have been. The Palm Infocenter initial review on the Lifedrive in May, 2005.

(LDD). Anyone installing Opera Mini on the Lifedrive? You may want to check out this forum before doing so. Personally, I prefer to wait for a few months before installing anything new on this temperamental device. Still waiting to install Palm Update. Yes, the luddite in me still says to wait. myopera.com

(LDD). Perusing the Lifedrive Universe brought me to this site: giveawayoftheday.com. Interesting software giveaway with forums etc. Appears legitimate. Review of Crystal2mobile done. My take, just use a copy of Apple's Quicktime or some of the free and low cost alternatives available. But the site appears to be well supported.

(LDD). 1SRC special entitled, "I hate my Lifedrive." I don't think I need to say anything more on that one. Very interesting article though. Released 4/4/2007, they are asking for comments. I think that those of you who own the device should go there and express your comments. You should also go to the Palm blog (See link at the blogroll on the left). They really are listening to us.

(LDD). David DeJean writes a very nice and interesting counterpoint to the above in his article in the prestigious, Informationweek.com .
In the article, he delivers a verbose response to Steve Jobs' DRM article; he talks about the Lifedrive as his sole MP3 player with easy upgradability. True, that is one of the strengths of the device. Mr. DeJean writes a wonderful piece in this regard, while having a go at one of our favorite heroes.

(LDD). I cannot believe that we are still seeing crashes from new software by developers on the Lifedrive. I would suspect that a crash in the Lifedrive is a crash in the Treo too, with similar operating systems. But on the iambic forums, there are details of iambics NextDay crashing. This post was written on 4/3/2007. It's now 2 years since the introduction of the Lifedrive and we are still seeing this sort of thing. Can anyone wait for November to roll around to see what Palm does with Linux? The iambic forums site is here.

(LDD). On a lighter note, I perused an interesting site the other day, The Gadget Pastor.
You guessed it, a pastor with a Lifedrive. And to really appreciate this, you have to see the picture on the web site. It is absolutely beautiful. A Lifedrive resting on an open bible with ambient lighting. Pop over to the site to see how he uses his Lifedrive. I found the site to be interesting and was really surprised at his vast knowledge of technology. Perhaps I'm naive.

And that about does it for the News from around the Lifedrive Universe.

Since I've been very busy lately, I haven't had a lot of time to post, but hopefully in the next few months that will change. Additionally, I have scrapped the idea of making a Lifedrive.net website, at least the big plans that I set out to do before October of last year. With Palm dropping the Lifedrive and my busy schedule as it is, the expenditure was neither cost or time effective. Additionally, I did not foresee that I would be this busy. Instead, I will be making a smaller website that will feature a few effective downloads of smartlists and other apps. I think that this scaled-down version will be much more manageable. It will probably be hosted on the Google test site that I have had up for quite a while now. If any of you have some contributions to donate such as smartlists or Handbase files or iSilo (which I will purchase and review soon), drop me a line --> Lifedrivedoc /at/ gmail.com. I will try to get back to you in a timely manner.
I prefer medical apps, but others are welcome.

In addition, thanks to all of you for visiting the Lifedrivedoc.com blog. I am truly appreciative for all of the support over the past 20 months. The time has gone by so quickly. A special shout out to Sammy McLoughlin for your endless support, Mike Cane for your kind words recently, PalmDiscovery and PalmDoc for adding the site to the blogroll. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Open Letter to Mr. Colligan

Dear Mr. Colligan,

After reading about the Analyst Day Meeting today, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for listening to the users of your products. As a physician, I am certain that you are well aware of the extreme disappointment that was noted in the Palm community upon the release of the Lifedrive. Its inability to function as advertised, without causing soft or hard resets. Its lack of truly dependable apps and its lack of multitasking.

Your decision to entertain the Linux platform is both breathtaking and refreshing for those of us who have been, to say the least, underwhelmed by Palms' latest offerings. Your recognition of the need for multitasking; accurate and secure memory management; adequate battery life with reasonable use and the recognition of wifi enabled telephony is a true indication that you have been listening to or possibly reading some of the banter concerning these issues.

I am looking forward to your offerings later this year. It is important for your company to succeed and I admire the true grit to "go it alone" or at the very least to do it your way. You are to be commended, along with your staff for at least trying to be innovative.

I believe that I speak for many in the medical and possibly other fields when I state that the decision to leave the Palm platform is a very difficult one. It is also one that should not have to be made. If it is true that you will be creating a device that can act as a standalone PDA or possible phone, then there is no reason to leave Palm. Your meeting today has reaffirmed that you have not abandoned the PDA market and that you plan to stay around. This is a very important first step in keeping people such as myself using your products. As a user with mission critical data stored on your devices, it is important for me to know that you have not abandoned us.

Again, I and many others look forward to your next offerings and I thank you for your time.