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, June 25, 2010

Nalder's Lifedrive mLearning video...Neat.

Jonathan Nalder has made an interesting podcast entitled "Lifedrive mLearning."  It is an overview of the Lifedrive and I think it looks very interesting.  As explained on the website http://voicerecorderz.com/   "An www.mLearnxyz.net video overview of the Palm Lifedrive from an educational perspective."

Very nicely done.

(Click on title to take you there).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amazon Kindle $189. Now we're talking...

I was asked the other day whether I would buy a Kindle. My answer is the same now as it was before: "Yes, if the price was right." Ladies and Gentlemen, the price has been made right.

Why, you may ask, would I subject myself to a machine that only shows books? Produces a monochrome image? Doesn't surf the web? Is awful with PDF's and places a number of restrictions on downloads. Not to mention fails in comparison to the iPad.  Why oh why?

Well, here's the answer. At $199, I think that this product is appropriately priced for what it does -- deliver books. At $199, this device can hook onto a local phone carrier and deliver a book in under a minute at no additional cost. This device will tie into my Amazon account, where I have most of my books anyway and bounce back and forth between my iPhone and the Kindle.

But more importantly, at $199, this device, with it's non reflective lighting, meaning that I will need a light source to read a book, it's solo attention to delivering books and its inability to download or use Apps or surf the web is a God Send! Why? Because the last thing that I need is a major distraction when trying to read a good book. If I have Apps and a glaring screen, I am inclined not to read a book at all.

The kicker is this: Not only does this device -whose only negative in my eyes is that it is not completely touch screen - deliver an ADHD-free reading environment, but it actually beats my fair price of $199, by selling as of June 21st, 2010 for $189.  This is the tipping point for me. What a wonderful start to the summer.


The Lifedrive Revisited: Lifedrive News 2010

Palm LifeDrive Mobile ManagerPalmOne 3218WW Aluminum Hard Case for LifeDrive Mobile Manager 
A non-nostalgic look at the Lifedrive news for today.  All information is current as of June 21st, 2010.

I will try to do a few updates to keep many of you abreast of information in the Lifedrive Universe.  It still exists, can you believe that?   Right now, I am still wondering if anyone is running Linux on the Lifedrive or if that effort has been abandoned?  I hope you find some of the information below helpful.  I will try to make a repository for Lifedrive news as time permits.  It's still an interesting device.

A quick roundup of Lifedrive news:

Noted a few 4gb Compact Flash Sites.  Appears that adding a Compact Flash card is big business in some parts of the country.  Still a little pricey, but at least people seem to care:

Unity Electronics is offering the card with installation for $79.

Site (http://www.unityelectronics.com/products/5196/Palm_LifeDrive_4GB_CompactFlash_Drive_Upgrade_Plug_and_Play_SanDisk_Ultra_II_CF_Memory_Card_New)

o  A blast from the past,  Sammy's PalmAddicts 2006 article that started the craze, written and performed by Vincent Torralba, Jr.  A How-To guide on replacing the hard drive in the Lifedrive with a CF card.

Site (http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/2006/09/my_lifeflash_fo.html).

o  How-to-Wikia has a very good article on doing the same.  It's pretty much the same information as Vincent's but included here for your perusal.

Site: ( http://how-to.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_replace_microdrive_with_compactflash_in_Palm_LifeDrive)

o  Palm, the company, is having a firesale on Lifedrive and other Palm accessories.  Now through June 30th, you can pick up a Lifedrive leather case (I used to have one of these), previously $30, now for $7.

Site:  (The Palm Store (until June 30th, 2010))

o  There is now a Wikipedia site devoted to the Lifedrive.

(Site:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeDrive)

o  The Kingston Cards are now selling at Firesale prices again,  although I wonder about this ad?  States that it is an 8GB Kingston CF card, but as far as I know, the Lifedrive can only handle 4GB memory.  I could be wrong, but for $20 it looks like a steal.  But some photographers are having some issues with it.  Read the reviews before buying.

Site:  Amazon Kingston 8 gig CF

o  The Lifedrive is still chugging along, as witnessed by a few Forum posts.  Note the date June 10, 2010:

Site:  http://forums.palm.com/t5/Support-Downloads/LifeDrive-Manager-HardDrive-Crashed/m-p/304252

o  Lifedrive Used Parts:

Site:  http://usedpdaparts.com/Lifedrive.html

o  OKAY, so I saved the best for last.  I ran into this ad a few days ago while surfing the web.  It's a pity that I cannot put it on my site selectively as an ad.  I really want to.   There is a company out in Mankato, Minnesota that will sell you a used Lifedrive with a 4gb CF card installed for about $160.  They can also replace the glass on your lifedrive with what they call a glass digitizer, which is an additional $25 if you want it installed on your CF unit.

Site:  http://www.palmdr.com/cart/palm-lifedrive-mobile-manager-palm-os-garnet-54-416-mhz-p-3.html

The company also repairs Lifedrives, which may come in handy for some of the defunct Lifedrives being toted around on Ebay.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

On AT&T and the new pricing plan....

Today, AT&T announced new pricing plans for Smartphones.  Gone is the Unlimited plan for new subscribers, but old subscribers will be able to keep their existing unlimited plans for the new phone.

This is huge!  I ran to my usage log a few minutes ago to see how much data I have actually used since I got the phone.  I am certain that it is a lot more than shown, since I mainly use it on a WIFI network, so the limits appeared to be okay for me.  But what about for others?  I can visibly see this new pricing structure putting a serious dent in 3G music listening, not to mention video streaming.   Perhaps that was the intent.

In reviewing my own data usage, since I have never reset it, it shows that I have downloaded 2 gigabytes of data over 19 months of usage, while sending a total of 300 mb.  I also checked my usage for the previous month and noted that it was in the megabytes and not gigabytes, something that I found very interesting.  Perhaps my usage was not as intense as I had first imagined.  Or perhaps I am lucky to have WIFI wherever I go and just use 3G when that is not possible.  Remember, AT&T counts email as data and I have a lot of that coming in on a constant basis.  They also count all of those "pings" for badges that show that you have a text message or a message in an app.  Streaming data is also included.

The New AT&T Data Plan:

Data Plus  :  200 mb of Data for $15 per month. If you go over, you get another 200mb for $15.

Data Pro   :  2 GB data for $25 per month.  If you go over, you get an additional 1GB for $10.

According to AT&T, 65% of their smartphone users use less than 200mb per month.
While 98% use less than 2GB per month on average. 

AT&T provided a Data Calculator so that you can calculate your need at this time.  -> Data Calculator

Information provided from the AT&T website (AT&T) to go into effect on June 7, 2010.

There is an uproar across the internet right now, with blogs requesting that a letter be written to the CEO of AT&T.   However such a letter, as discovered by Giorgio Galante, may lead to a cease and desist letter from AT&T.  Such customer service!  No wonder why we are seeing some major rumblings about leaving AT&T.  This may also be the reason AT&T is preparing for what may indeed be inevitable:  The iPhone opening up to other companies in the US.   At the rate that things are going, with data fee changes and a contentious public relations policy, AT&T may be unlucky if a large majority of iPhone owners decide to take up residence with another provider.

However, there may be more to the changes in rates.  One option could be that AT&T knows what's coming down the pike.  Certainly a new iPhone. One that will compete with Google's Android on many levels.  But one that will usurp more bandwidth than AT&T can provide, particularly in the hardest hit metropolitan areas of New York and San Francisco.  What is crazy now, could be madness in two weeks as the new phones come into play.  It could also mean that AT&T knows about the iPad and its 3G demands.  The fact that NYC ran out of 3G iPads is testament to what will happen once Apple brings supply up to satiate the demand.   All of this 3G activity from two Apple devices, which may include Video Conferencing, is bound to obstipate the bandwidth.  Especially in the first two weeks of the release.  Let's see some of the rumors from various web sites for next week, which could account for AT&T putting a sweeper in the defensive line:

Rumor 1:  A video camera on the iphone.  Talk about bandwidth hogging.  Who wouldn't stay on line forever over 3G (if it worked), sucking up bandwidth forever.

Rumor 2:  (Confirmed Fact):  Pandora and other music entities will be allowed to run in the background.  More bandwidth hogging, this time 8 hours per day from work, subway, bus and anywhere that allows a cell phone.

Rumor 3:  Tethering.  I used to tether my Palm Vx to my cell phone and then my Lifedrive to the same via Bluetooth.  It was slow, but it worked.  Picture doing the same with a full fledged computer over 3G.  Picture doing this with FLASH running in the background (alone 1mb down), spreadsheets (1mb), attachments etc.  So before even starting, you're 2-3 mb in the hole.  (So much for the potential $15 (200mb) plan).   You can see how this could become very cumbersome, usurping at least 200 mb per session.

Rumor 4:  Android devices will need the internet for just about everything.  It stands to reason that when Google comes out with Froyo, everything will be linked to the internet and that will cause more bandwidth to be used.  Consider Google's Documents app.  You will be looking at multiple megabytes of data being downloaded.  My thoughts:  AT&T is shivering thinking about this potential.

Rumor 5:  Tied into Rumor 4, Apple may make MobileMe free!  Now picture Rumor 4 running on Google devices and now multiply that by about 10 for AT&T to include current owners of MobileMe and new owners of MobileMe all vying for bandwidth at the same time - uploading/downloading movies, pictures, music, sound files, applications all over 3G!  If AT&T shivered thinking about Google, there is now panic in the streets at the AT&T headquarters.

So what to do?  Well, if capacity cannot equal demand and you have the ability to lock in the already existing customers, you start to make some big decisions.  Some that could ruin you as a company or save the company going into the future:

  • You become proactive and ask customers to report low signal areas.  You then try to fix the problem (this seems to be working in some parts of the country).
  • You increase the price to get out of the AT&T contract from $175 to $325.  You claim that the new devices have nothing to do with this change.  Thus you prevent the cavalier purchases and the possibility of never recuperating the money spent to subsidize the phone.
  • Although this draws ire from the blogosphere, you know that people will still buy the new iPhone because you are the only one selling it.  And should the sky fall next year as the iPhone migrates to other carriers, you will still collect revenue from the current AT&T subscribers for they will think twice before leaving.
  • You support your claim that it is the Power Users who are hogging up the bandwidth.  You get rid of the unlimited plans and kick these vagabonds off the network, hoping that these power users will leave and go to Verizon where you only too happy to see them "clog their pipes."

All of this because AT&T knows that there is a lot more coming down the pike than they are letting on about.  Just the above mentioned possibilities and rumors are enough to require change on their side of the wall.

What is left to ponder is what about the consumer?  Is 2 gigabytes enough to satiate the average iPhone user?  Or more importantly, will 2 gigabytes be enough to satiate the NEW IPHONE USER?  Or will AT&T, and let's be fair, other companies including Verizon, do just enough tweaking of the bandwidth that they stifle innovation and cost developers a lot of money.  If nobody downloads a Pandora, Etrade streaming, Facebook, Twitter or similar apps for fear that it will eat up their bandwidth, the growth of the App store could come to an end.  Let's hope not.