Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Sunday, 19 June 2005

Exactly the Same Thing as a Treo from Earthlink

The reception on my T610 has been awful lately. A month or so back the signal was so clear people could hear the birds in my backyard. Last week, I’d be lucky to make out words under the tidal waves of static. On road trips, the T610 lost it’s signal the moment the “Wisconsin Welcomes You” sign was in view. While Jen’s Samsung E310 always kept at least one bar.

As I’ve mentioned before, the I’m heavily using Apple’s iSync and BluePhoneElite to keep my phone and Powerbook playing nice together. T-Mobile offered to replace the T610 with a comparable model. None of their current handsets support iSync via Bluetooth let alone match my ideal phone – the opposite of a Treo.

Bryce Howitson suggested an unlocked Nokia 7280. The 7280 fills all my requirements, though I’m not quite comfortable buying an unlock phone off eBay…yet. This left the Motorola RazR and the Treo 650 in the running. Emails with T-Mobile customer service confirmed neither are available through them.

It was OfficeMax’s $299 after rebate price on a Treo with Earthlink Wireless finally sold me. Eight hours after taking it out of the box, Earthlink had ported my number. During that time, I quickly remembered all the things I loved about Palm’s OS and the awkwardness of HotSync/Palm Desktop on the Mac. The Palm OS itself has matured quite a bit in the 3 years since I ditched my Visor, those two apps seem to be frozen in time.

I’ve bumped up against some oddness; Bluetooth polling seems to be more frequent than necessary – if only because it locks the Palm up completely, it’s not obvious how to record just audio, and the ‘@’ key an option-click. I’d rather it be a shift-click (like other QWERTY keyboards) or better – a key all it’s own.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the Treo. Just as Christoper Mark Brooder said I would be.

Not only does the signal stretch well into Wisconsin, I discovered there’s something both wonderful and wrong about checking your email from a pontoon boat.

Also, if anyone wants my USB phone charger, make me an offer.

Sunday, 20 February 2005

A Weekend in the Northwoods

Bayfield Ice Road Photos

Jen and I headed up to Bayfield this weekend for an enjoyable, off-season Northwoods weekend.

The moment we merged onto Highway 2 in Wisconsin, our mobile phones declared ‘No Network’. It took a moment for ‘No Network’ to sink in:

  1. No using the phone’s bluetooth as a dial-up modem.
  2. No calling people you’re meeting to say, “we’re running late”.
  3. No calling for help from the side of the road when Something Bad Happens. (i.e. the car starts making odd sounds in the middle of the Chequamegon National Forest)

Though, we missed ‘Book across the Bay’, the cross-country ski race across the frozen Chequamegon Bay between Ashland and Washburn, we still took advantage of the winter-only real estate.

During the winter months, the State of Wisconsin plows a two-lane, pine tree-lined, road on frozen Lake Superior connecting Bayfield to Madeline Island.

After some difficulty with a small patch of ice outside the B&B, the Neon performed excellently on the Ice Road and had enough zip left for a full tour of the yet-to-be-fully-plowed island.

As isolated as I felt without T-Mobile service, I found the lack of TV and phone in the room refreshing. It made watching Anchorman off the PowerBook‘s DVD player that much more enjoyable.

We’d like to thank Sharon & Craig Locey, proprietors of the Thimbleberry Inn for a quiet, comfortable stay. Sharon’s enthusiastic hospitality, her apple bars, and her restaurant recommendations – all flawless.

She sent us to the Deep Water Grille, next to the South Shore Brewery in Ashland and Maggies in Bayfield. Both are islands of culinary joy in the Northwoods. At Deep Water, Jen enjoyed the black bean veggie burger and I’d go back for half a mushroom, spinach, and gorgonzola sandwich. If they’re out of whitefish livers at the pink flamingo-covered Maggie’s, get the spicy Thai peanut noodles.

After we got out of the lake-effect snow storm, the drive back went very quickly.