Friday, December 29, 2006

Ho Ho Ho.....

A very blessed Christmas & Happy New year 2007 to one and all!
Holidays are finally here!

Well, for me anyway. Two solid weeks of total relaxation and bumming, this is the way to spend the end of every year. No work deadlines to think about, no reports to submit... nothing. Unfortunately, no travelling outstation this time round due to family commitments, but that's alright, there's always next year.

Besides, it gives me time to work on my upcoming Treo 680 review. (work in progress.)

Generally though, this is the season of Xmas trees, parties and gift exchanges. The spirit of giving's only appearance in the whole year. Already I've been asked (by friends) for advice on what recommended models are out there as gifts for their loved ones. My usual reply is, "Depends on your budget". If moolah isn't a factor, then the sky's the limit. How nice though, to be given a mobile phone as an Xmas gift. To me, that's an ultimate gift. Mobile phones are gifts you can actually USE, gifts that you SEE and HOLD every single day of your life. Why doesn't everyone just give mobile phones are gifts right? That would sure save anyone from wondering what to get for their friends or loved ones.

Ok, maybe in an ideal world. My ideal world. I remember a time though, when I was (sort of) given a mobile phone as a gift. About 2 years back. The Sony Ericsson k750i. Yup, blew me away receiving such a gift. It was (then) the latest and most popular mobile around. I thought I'd never get rid of it. Too bad though, being the nutter that I am, I sold it off after getting totally bored with it. Yea, I was such an inconsiderate brat. (Hey, the gift givers know about it, so its cool.)

Anyways, even the shops are into the spirit of giving. Giving good discounts that is. You'd think, locally, with Christmas being such low key, no way would there be any good deals whatsoever on mobile phones. You'd be surprised. QQ Station and DeeJay, to name a couple.... had good deals. It was also nice to see that operators like Bmobile had also jumped onto the bandwagon.

Their latest offer, just prior to Christmas (for a limited time only!), after their very popular $99-for-phone-prepaid line-and-credit (nevermind that the phone is some china-made unknown) was the Nokia 6233 for $199!!! Inclusive of prepaid line and credit! In a word, amazing. You'd have to wait a LONG time before the current prices could ever drop that low. Of course, in other countries, the partnerships between the operators and phone titans allow such good deals, but in Brunei, that's still very much in an infancy stage. It should have been done a long time ago, like in UK, Singapore, US, Malaysia.... where the markets have become so much more mature by now. Well, better late than never I suppose. For now, we can only continue in waiting, while biting our nails, to see what other offers Bmobile might bring out. But the question is, how about the "other" operator?

With 2007 around the corner.... with new years always coupled with new beginnings and new surprises, who knows what it will hold for us. DST might come to their senses. Heck, they might even rollout 3G. Wow, two impossibilities in one year. That would really deserve a "Ho Ho Ho..."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Treo 680 testing phases

Day Four with my trusty sidekick the Treo 680. Its awesome coming back to such a familiar OS. I feel like I've been around the world and back, and there's definitely no other device out there that just does it for me. Since I sold my Treo 650 almost a year ago, I've tried a couple of Sony Ericsson's, I've tried Nokia Symbian's (few models), I've tried cheap low budget type phones (my reason: to use temporarily while waiting for new treo to be out) .... heck, I've even gone the Windows Mobile way with the 750V. But now, I'm back to where I truly belong. A friend just noted to me yesterday, I'm a Palm guy. I totally agree. Its been a mad journey this past year trying all these phones and their OS's. Maybe I shouldn't have sold my 650 in the first place right? But then if I did that, it would've been close to two years of using a mobile.

Now THAT would be h-i-s-t-o-r-i-c-a-l.

Anyways, four days with my 680. So far. Other than the fantastic things I love and other slight little niggles I have against the 680 (which I'll just save for my coming review), the reactions I've been receiving from my peers around me have been nothing short of my expectancies. They sure have shown mixed feelings. Some already expected it (gee, thanks guys, you understand me too well) while others have just gone plain speechless, definitely believing that I've lost all my logic.

Passion makes people do crazy things doesn't it?

So far, I know of four people (including myself) with the Treo 680. Two more 680's will be flown in from Singapore in a couple of days for another 2 friends. Then there'd be six of us. Behold, the beginning of a local 680 community. Five of us will own the standard available Graphite colour whilst one owns the rare Arctic version. Here's a picture of it up close and in hand.

You will notice that its quite a nice shade of white. The texture is not "glossy" like the graphite version, but almost similar to the soft touch of the 750v. Its nice. Clean and sophisticated. One can only imagine what the Copper and Crimson colours will look like. But anyways, my mate with this Arctic 680 has also just received his black vaja, like mine. It looks awesome. Black on white. There's just something so classic about that. I think if he chose white on white instead, it'd really rock, but really, a white leather case? Geez, you'd have to wash your own hands everytime you touch your treo!

These past few days, together with my mate Frogman, we've been testing out various apps (that used to work on our 650's) to check out the compatibility issues despite both the 650 and 680 having the same OS version. Our results have been surprising so far. Many apps that work on 650, won't on the 680. How odd.

I will mention about this further in my review. But for now, its back to the testing phases.

Updates in my regular websites of interest:
- Eseries has some good photo comparisons between the Nokia e61 and Treo 680 in one of their posts.
- Treocentral has posted a good review on the pen stylus for the treo 680 and 750V editions. I will definitely be on a lookout for this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Palm Treo 680

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that I've switched from coffee to tea, mainly as an effort to be more health conscious. So far I've succeeded against that urge for a "java". There have been moments though, where the mere whiff of it drives me crazy, how much more to see others with their "shots". Self-control. BUT I'm glad I haven't cracked under pressure (yet).

Why has it been so difficult? I've been a coffee addict for many years now. It used to be my morning wake-me-up concoction, my afternoon break and my night relaxation choice of beverage. So you see, switching from it has been a challenge.

Ok, where am I going with all this boring talk you might ask....

Ok, I admit it. I've crumbled. I've had enough of tea (windows)!! I've now moved back to coffee (palm)!!! That's right, I've had enough of the dark side. Its been good, stable and all, but real boring I gotta admit. I needed to see the light! I need to go back to my first love... and boy did I miss her.

Let me introduce to you, my new long lost first love, the Palm OS (Treo 680!)

I just received it at noon today, with the kind help of a friend who just returned from a short trip in Singapore. Though she arrived at 1am this morning, I had to stop myself from physically going to pick it up from the airport. (I was close to doing that last night though) BUT, I decided to do the sensible thing and go during lunch today. I could hardly wait.

Unfortunately, Singapore, just like Malaysia and Australia (I checked) only has the graphite colour available. The other 3 colours have not been released to Asia yet. Not a problem, I think I much more prefer the graphite anyway. Because personally for me, the looks of the arctic, copper and crimson could fade away after a while. So I'm just playing safe.

Anyways, when I reached back to the office, I quickly snapped a picture of it before I allowed myself to rip the tight plastic wrapping off. And boy did it look good when I opened the box. Its exactly like what the millions of reviews I've read about it says. All in all, it sure feels good to be back to Palm.

Since I just got the Treo today, I will be messing about with my 680 the next couple of days.
A more detailed review will be posted soon.

Meanwhile, what did I do with my 750V you might be wondering. Well, lets just say, its proud new owner is real happy with it. Hey, thats this is the business isn't it?
But hey at LEAST I still have my vaja. So not all is lost.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I have added a few tweaks in my blog.

  • There is now a new Chat Box on the right hand side bar. Please feel free to post any comments relating to "anything mobile".
  • I have removed my d3xmobs link. Coming to three months now of maintaining my blog, I realise that advertising 2nd hand phones on this blog is not the way to go. Its not effective. Word of mouth is still best. (Incidentally, is anyone interested in a few months old Nokia 3250 (black) or a year-plus old Treo 650? Let me know)
  • I have added another link with good reviews and other downloads relating to the Treo. Check it out.

Also, in a couple of days, I will post a preview of something I've got up my sleeve. Its a shocker! Even I can't believe it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Its now official, the time of my life I've been dreading this past few months. I'm now a year older. Usually, every year, I spend a few moments on my own reflecting on the year that has passed. My achievements, failures and their lessons learnt, milestones... and memories. This year, however, one of my reflections included, *surprise, surprise* how many phones I've switched to since I last sold my Treo 650 (for the 3rd time) about a year ago.

Let's just say I gave up trying... I seriously can't remember. Ah well, sign of aging I will attribute it to. You understand right?

Anyway, for dinner last night, I went to a relatively posh restaurant known for their good food and good atmosphere. It was fairly packed, as expected. I mean, to have dinner there meant early preparations in making reservations at least the day before. The night went well, the Chardonnay was good, the food was good, the company greater. Towards the end of the night, suddenly, I hear this ringtone from a Sony Ericsson phone. (Hey, SE tones are easily recognisable). A bit loud I thought to myself. Turned around and saw it was this dude sitting 2 tables behind me. His mates had probably gone out to the washroom or out for a smoke, leaving him alone. So, what did he decide to do? He decided to make himself at home and go through his whole list of ringtones in his Sony Ericsson, wondering which one he should use!!! That twat.

I don't know if its a sign of age or what, but one thing I cannot tolerate is people around me playing with their ringtones OR answering their calls in either a nice restaurant or at the cinema. To make it worse, these type of people usually talk louder too for some reason. Can't they do it in private or maybe somewhere else where there are no people around to irritate?

So I sat there, getting cheesed at each ringtone he was going through in his list. At that point, others around him had also began giving him looks, which he probably got the hint from... and stopped. Good thing too, otherwise I'd have flung my empty bottle of Chardonnay at him.

Ok, maybe not, I'm not that violent by nature. I didn't drink that much maybe.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Treo vs iPod

A major project was due today, first thing in the morning too, to make it more exciting for me. Fortunately, it went quite smoothly and there were many lessons to be learnt from it. Of course, no details will be mentioned (hey its got nothing to do with mobiles right), BUT its all over now. I can now breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Anyway, today would have been another usual routine Friday afternoon, but by about 4.00pm, my department (there's only 7 of us) decided to go for high tea to kick back and relax at the Empire Hotel & Country Club, after the long morning. After all the eating, talking and laughing (we get along well together) and towards the end of our "tea time", my boss whips out a gift. (Apparently, it was to celebrate my birthday which is coming next week. An occasion, honestly, I'd rather not remember. Age is catching up with me you understand..). It was the new Apple iPod Shuffle!

Ok, what's this got to do with my mobile blog? When I reached home, I examined this tiny little box and slowly took out the Shuffle. I have to admit, its a real cool product though. I admire the build quality, the clip system (best invention added to an already awesome product in my opinion) and the sheer size! Its unbelieveable! You HAVE to hold it in your hands to know what I mean. Not bad though, I thought, for my 1st Apple product ever.

Now, I started thinking, what am I going to do with this Shuffle???? I'm definitely NOT the typical music hermit with earphones stuck in my ear all day long. This will be... strange.

In one of my earlier posts about using my 750v as an mp3 player, lately I've been storing all my mp3 collections on my 1Gb mini-SD card. I only occasionally listen to them at whim... in the office, at home, in the car. The 750V utilises its built-in Windows Media player to play all formats of songs. Just recently too, I've also installed another 3rd party app called PocketPlayer which is an even more user-friendlier program that I can use to search, and play, my entire collection of mp3's in my device. I'm quite satisfied as it is. Even with my previous Treo 650 and the (now) new Treo 680, the bundled PocketTunes software would easily satisfy any music junkie out there. This was the sole reason why I never invested in ANY of my own Apple iPod product before. Why would I right? My Treo plays all mp3s and wav files, just like an iPod. My Treo can store as many songs as I want depending on the size of my memory card, just like an iPod. My Treo can watch any format of video I want it to, NOT like an iPod with its limited video formats. My Treo can view AND edit all photos stored in it, NOT like an iPod. My Treo has an even more versatile calendar or alarm clock, even BETTER than an iPod. My Treo has better color and it can make calls too, which an iPod can't even do! (for now of course).

So really, why WOULD I ever want an iPod right? Other than it just being cool to have! And now, with the availability of the Arctic Treo 680 soon, it'll look JUST like an iPod!

Well, you get the picture.

Of course, there was ONE thing which I NEVER used my Treo for, which iPods are widely being used for these days. Exercising. I have never gone jogging, or trekking anywhere with my treo I have to admit. C'mon, what if it dropped! Although, having said that, reading other Treo sites, there are products out there that allow you to strap your Treo to your arm for this sole purpose. So you see, even then, this proves my point, you still wouldn't need an iPod if push came to shove.

Now, it leaves me with what would I do with my new iPod Shuffle then.

I decided.... I think I'll try use it for my jogging and gym sessions then. Yup, I'm going to fall into that category of gym rat that sports a white earphone plugged into his ear during workouts. Sad I know, but I rather not risk my Treo flying out of my arm band while I'm jogging you know.

Anyway, wanna know what am I doing now while posting this? Charging the Shuffle. Yup, here I am dissing it and comparing it to my Treo, but I'm still gonna try it out at least. (Update) I've just tried transferring some mp3s into it, to test it out. (No cd-rom with iTunes bundled in unfortunately. Gotta download it myself). So far, all I see is a blinking light. I've read and re-read the instructions about charging and transferring songs, but it still doesn't work. I don't get it. Well, back to charging it goes.

HMPH! My Treo never gives me problems like this. Another point for the Treo.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Treo 680 is on shore!

Work's been rather hectic as of late. A major project due in a few days, a course to attend next week. My trusty ol'V (that's 750V and NOT V3 mind you) has been a great help, tracking my progress and reminding me on what needs to be done.

Anyway, announcing the presence of the alter-ego and new kid on the block all-rounder, the Treo 680! Selling at SGD$788 as advertised on the Palm Singapore website here.

Two friends of mine have JUST received their new Treo 680's yesterday. Flown in direct from Singapore. (Its not available locally yet. And we know how much the cut-throat prices here are anyway). They are SO SO pleased. Two very different consumers. One is a new 1st time Treo user and the other, a replacement from his Treo 650.

I've was just able to see it in "person" a while ago. I have to admit, it looks GOOD. The first thing you notice is that its lighter than the 650. The button layout is exactly the same as my 750V, with a few minor tweaks to cater for the Palm OS. The battery cover, the front screen size, the stylus location... all exactly the same imprint as the 750V. Once I switched it on, the first thing that hit me was the color and resolution of the 680. Well, it IS the same as the 650. I guess its been a while since I've seen the 320x320 screen. Operating system wise, because of the back-up sync that my friend did last night, it looked exactly the same as his previous 650. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference, other than the fresh new form factor, i.e. no antenna, button layout etc.

But all in all though, it looks like a best-seller in the making. It IS targetted at the consumer market, the first time Treo users. Its just too bad the launch in Singapore only gives buyers the choice of the Graphite silver colour (like the colour above) , and not the remaining Arctic, Copper or Crimson colours that US has released. But hopefully it will come soon.

Also earlier today, my other friend, who bought the other Treo 680 (for his wife) called me up and we talked about the new Treo (he still uses 650). It seems that his wife's still struggling with learning the new Palm system from her previous Nokia. (Hey, it HAS only been a day ok?) But what he said to her struck me. He said "Don't worry, you'll get used to it, once you're a Treo user, you'll always be a Treo user". Now THAT is a Word of Wisdom.

So with Christmas around the corner, and if you're stuck on what to get as a Christmas gift for your loved one, why not try out the Treo 680. Try it, you'll never know, he/she might like it. Heck, YOU might like it too!