Dell x51v Back ordered...

but of course my Axim was back ordered- it went from a March 31 delivery date (with overnight shipping) to an April 7th delivery date... Now I have to decide if I want to cancel or if I want to wait!

I have been finding all sorts of cool proggies during my wait for hte x51- like Hitchhiker, The Core Media Player and iNavigate. The later program also runs on a PC and was pretty cool as it does the 3D navigation and zooms in where needed.



I received these from Amazon today and hooked them up to my (roommates) iPod Nano (that I have loaded with my music as she never uses it). The sound is much better than the stock little headphones that come with an iPod, and I am hoping that it is a little more difficult to pop the speakers in these...

Sound is good, but nothing to go 'holy crap' about- the lows are good, but seem to be cut off and the highs are VERY pronounced; middle ranges are Ok... I think the sound is worth the $25 I spent on Amazon- but not worth the $40 they want at Target and Frys.

The headphones come with three different size 'cups' to fit in your ear- I use the largest ones. The middle-sized ones are pre-installed and the smallest ones will probably only used by the most petite people. They fit in you ear and effectively block out most outside sounds (actually causes me a little dizziness as my ear channels are completely blocked).

There is a crazy-ass storage cup to put the headphones in that is supposed to help keep the cord from tangling- but the headphones ends are different lengths (left one is tied to the main cord then a smaller 18" cable goes over to the right one behind the neck) so it is impossible to neatly wind the cable up- but it does seem to keep the earphones protected and keep the little rubber caps from getting lost.


MS Streets Trips 2006

Ok, I have been using the MS Streets & Trips and/or MS MapPoint ever since I received a free copy of the later one (the 2002 version, I believe) for attending a MS Office XP launch (yea, that was some time ago). I never have had to purchase a copy (free copies or MSDN versions), but I have always liked this software over the other map/GPS planning software’s. There was a sale at Fry's for the 2006 version with the Pharos GPS 360 (USB connection) so I decided to go ahead and buy a copy to use with my upcoming carputer project...

Granted- there are some things in the software that just aren't all that grand- most notably is the lack of a 3D driving option- but it has a LOT of features that make it kick-ass for trips: among these are different route selection types (fastest, shortest, preferred roads), local attractions (like 'how many Chinese restaurants are located within 5 miles of my present location?') and construction information to help re-plan routes (although I have my doubts that the later actually has current info).

The GPS is pretty nifty- it replaces my old Garmin GPS II Plus (bought from eBay a few years ago- and probably about to go back up on eBay) and allows me to use a USB connection instead of a serial connection. This is important to me as if I boot my laptop with the GPS connected and powered on, Windows XP thinks it is a serial mouse and makes it difficult to use the pointer- I have to unplug and reboot to get software to recognize the unit as a GPS again.

The fix from the GPS was almost instant- it was actually fixed before I can start Streets and Trips and turn on the GPS tracking option. I have only had a few situations when the GPS lost connectivity- and most of them were due to large overpasses or a plethora of tree overgrowth. I can also set this GPS on my window sill (south facing) and get a GPS lock- something my Garmin could not easily do.

The only issue I had with the setup is that once the system appeared to be locked up (near the end of a 240 mile trip) and I had to hard-boot the laptop. I am not sure if this was from the GPS, Streets and Trips or Windows screen saver/sleep mode. I rebuilt this laptop on a new HD a few days before the trip, so I will need to trouble-shoot this more when I have the time...

For $80, this is an awesome deal- the GPS 360 goes for $90-$120 by itself or about $70 on eBay. The Streets and Trips just enhances the usefulness. There are also Bluetooth and CF adaptors that compliment the GPS 360 for use in other situations- such as using the GPS with a PDA or a blue-tooth enabled laptop.

New Toy! v2.0!

Ok, I said I was never going to buy another PDA as they are useless, but I ordered the Dell Axim X51v today- it is scheduled to ship on 03/30 (if Dell's estimates are right) with overnight shipping so I should have it by Friday...

I decided to return the Nokia N770 as it was just to damn slow- it was a great idea, but I couldn't justify spending that much for something that was such a pain to use it. I returned it (no restocking fee- I love Fry's Electronics!) with the idea of putting the return of cash into an upcoming carputer project- but that project is now on hold until I decide if I can live in a world of 800x480 for a computer screen...

The X51v pretty cool so far from what I have read on the web; there are reviews on PocketNow and Mobile Tech Review- both seem to like it...

It runs Windows Mobile 5 on a VGA (480x640) screen and has a 642Mhz processor, built-in 802.11b, Bluetooth, 64MB SDRAM, 256MB ROM, CF and SD card slots and Windows Media 10.1 (for MP3s, Videos, etc)- I don't think they left too much out on this one...

I reasoned that a PDA has just about the same functionality as the N770- plus the Axim has a lot more horsepower (642Mhz vs. 250Mhz) and there are TONS of applications out there for the Pocket PC (but not necessarily for the Windows Mobile 5 environment)- so I decided to give it a go...

Dell was also having a 30% off sale for the Axim when purchased with accessories (I got the Rhinoskin aluminum case and another 1100ma battery), so it was cheaper to buy the top-of-the-line Axim than it was to buy the middle-of-the-line Axim (and the later only had 240x360 resolution). I am assuming they are about to release a new Axim, hence the discount...

I think that MS Streets and trips will work with it, so all I need to do now is buy a Bluetooth or CF adaptor for my Pharos GPS unit (came with a copy of Streets and Trips 2006 for $79 on sale at Fry's) and I should be good to go for GPS testing. I will probably go the Bluetooth route as more devices can use that and it will free up my CF port for a large CF card or microdrive (for lots of MP3s or some movies).

I will update when I receive the unit...


Security Camera PVRs

I have tried some new PVRs for my security system:

Clover CDR4070 - $400 at Frys

Nice picture quality
CF Backup of setings (will not work with my CF card)
CF Backup of video (with player software)
Pass-through of all video ports

Needs two ports for HTTP access: 80 and 4550 (or something)
You must stop recording to play
Client software is very plain
Fan started having problems within a week

Lorex DXR43000 - $650 at Frys

Very nice picture quality
Play while recording
External interface for second HD
USB interface for copying off movie to USB thumbdrive
Remote control

A little more difficult to setup than the Clover
No HTTP access- client software only
No video pass-through ports

After looking at the two, I would keep the Clover CDR4070 if I could get the HTTP inteface to work!  it appears to go to a web page to download a CAB and then gives me a black screen with a script error.  I contacted Clover support (terrible support hours) and they were able to connect and see my three cameras.  They thought I may have a setting in IE that is preventing an Active X istall- I do not think this is the case...

I plan on looking up comparable DVR systems on eBay and returining these two units.


New Toy

I bought the Nokia 770 from Frys on Friday- I was going to look at other DVR recorders (more on that later), but I saw the 770 on sale and I couldn't pass it up (I am such a gadget Junkie). 

What is the Nokia 770?  As close as I can tell it is a sub-laptop.  It has 802.11b/g, bluetooth, a 800x480 screen (something like 133dpi resolution) with a touch-screen input.  It has a built-in web browser, email client, rss news agent and Internet radio player.  It has a mini-MMC card slot (64MB card included) and 128MB of flash RAM.  It can also play MP3s and other audio formats (not WMA or OGG) and several video formats (MPEG, AVI and others).

The unit can access the Internet via WiFi or via a bluetooth connection to a phone with Internet access.  So far I have had problems getting this to work with blackberry phones (tried a 7250, 7100i and a 7800 so far- make sure you turn on discovery for the blackberry so it can be seen!), but I finally figured out how to get it to work with my old Nokia 3650 with help from and Internet Tablet forum:

   set the number to *99#
   set the AP to wap.voicestream.com
   proxy server for HTTP and HTTPS: port is 8080

There unit runs Maemo Linux and there are lots of 3rd party applications for it- such as a GPS program, Doom, and an Xterm program (for accessing the Linux console).  You will need the Xterm program to gain root access on the Nokia 770 if you need to change out the ICD program to use this with a Windows Mobile device for Internet access.

Important links I have found so far:

mameo.org - for developers but links to downloads
Internet Tablet - excellent discussion forums
nokia770.com - info on projects (with pics) and more links
thoughtfix - more projects and downloads