So it’s been a month since I stood in line that was too long to purchase my 16GB iPhone, and I’ve been putting it through its paces. I even messed around with jailbreaking it. (short answer: not worth it for me) Overall, I am very pleased with the device! Would I recommend it to all of my friends? No, actually I probably wouldn’t. This is the perfect device for those folks who are used to carrying a PDA of some sort and are looking to consolidate devices. If you’re just looking for a replacement cell phone then the iPhone is most likely overkill. With the addition of a few apps from the App Store, I’ve now completely replaced both my trusted palm pilot as well as my Motorola RAZR with the iPhone.
Using the 3G network to check email and browse the web is not as fast as I would like, but it is definitely useable. It was a fantastic companion when I flew to Las Vegas last month allowing me to alternately read some great fiction by Cory Doctorow, listen to some of my favorite classical music and get caught up on some old episodes of Doctor Who. Battery life has been great; I don’t think I’ve seen the meter drop below 50% once in the past month.
The phone portion works great for me. I’ve been primarily on the 3G network when using the phone (usually with the included earbuds) and I’ve been quite pleased with the sound quality. To me the call-quality is every bit as good as the Motorola RAZR that it replaced.
The one feature (if you could call it that) that I loved about my palm pilot was the abundance of third-party apps. The iPhone’s 2.0 firmware and the App Store bring an abundance of third party applications for my downloading pleasure! I can even browse and download new applications directly from the iPhone. I wish it was that simple with my old palm pilot! I’ve downloaded, used then deleted several dozen applications and there are now just a handful (five to be exact) that I use the most.
My top five favorite apps so far:
- Pandora (free)
Streaming internet audio while I drive to work! I plug my iPhone into a cassette adapter, fire up Pandora, choose one of my stations and I get to enjoy and discover new music! Because of this app I no longer feel the need to sync more than a handful of songs via iTunes. With Pandora, I always have a great selection of music available anytime.
Once a loooong time ago, I made the switch from using the Palm Memo application to using plain text files to maintain all of my notes and memos. Boy, has that decision ever paid off! This app not only provides an ftp server on my iPhone to transfer files back and forth, it also allows me to edit and create text-based files! How could this be better? How about adding scp file transfers instead of or in addition to the ftp server. Maybe add the ability to assign a username/password to the ftp connection? At least the server is only on for a very short time while I actually transfer the files from my desktop, but I’d feel so much better if the connection was encrypted.
- Stanza (free)
With all the talk about no one reading anymore, I was really concerned that I was not going to be able to find a suitable replacement for Mobipocket. Stanza is turning out to be quite a fine e-book reader! It handles the simple comforts like being able to change font and background colors to providing an online catalog that you can access from the application to download free books from Feedbooks, The BBC, Wired Magazine and others.
- Twittelator (free)
This is one of several twitter clients available, and so far it’s my favorite; narrowly beating out Twitterific. I like the fact that it can post my current location via Twitter (although I almost never use this feature)
- WeatherBug (free)
The built-in weather app is nice, but I like looking at the radar maps and this app has them! (you have to pinch-out and center the world-map on your location; not sure why this isn’t automatic, but maybe in a future release it will be)
I haven’t added an ssh client yet. There are now at least three apps available purporting to be good ssh clients, but each one seems to have its drawbacks of one kind or another. Since I haven’t had the need to connect to a command line lately, I’m waiting for these apps to go through a round of updates to see how (or if) they mature before making a purchase there.
When the iPhone launched last year, I promised myself that I would wait until the 3G version came out before I took the plunge. You see, I use a pda (Palm Pilot TX) on a daily basis for such things as checking email, reading ebooks (a lot), watching the occasional video, tracking todos and maintaining a large list of text files (think ‘memos’ on steroids) Besides the pda, I also carry around a 20GB ipod photo for listening to music and podcasts during my daily commute, which can end up being nearly two hours round trip on very bad days. And of course, I always always always have my cellphone with me no matter what.
So there is a certain logic in yearning for a convergent device that rolls all of the necessary functionality into just one, shiny little object. I wouldn’t need to lug around three different devices (all with separate charging needs, no less) and lighten my load, so to speak. I’ve kept a close eye on the iPhone developments over the past year (including the whole ‘jailbreak’ thing) but after seeing how quickly the new 3G version sold out, I realized it would probably be a few months before I finally got my hands on one.
Continue reading Adventures in iPhone Land. →
So I’ve slowly been adding my archives to this site. I’ve got most of the data all the way back to the very beginning way back in 2000. There are quite a few gaps still but I hope to be able to fill them in as I find the data. Thanks to archive.org, I’ve managed to find probably 80% of my missing entries and pull them into this blog.
It’s really quite surreal going back over eight years of journal entries. Back in 2000 we didn’t use tools like WordPress or Blogger or MySpace, we wrote our own journalling software. That’s right. From scratch. Using the barest of html, and eventually adding perl, php, css and nifty interfaces and backend mysql databases. And yes, I used either vi or emacs to code it all. Uphill. In the snow. Both ways!
And we liked it!
But after a while it got to be just too much work trying to maintain all that code; the new blogging tools were doing nifty things like pingbacks and such. And after a while it just got to be easier to let someone else maintain the code. And the styles. And let someone else worry about the security for a change.
Sometimes I wonder if that was the right decision. Maybe we shouldn’t have given up on our code so easily. (not that it was an easy decision by any measure)
I’ve been going through a bunch of files from the various incarnations of my blogs (all the way back to the beginning actually) and trying to decide what to do with it all. Now that we as a family are attempting this blog, I think I may pull some of the more relevant posts from the archive and post them here. Perhaps some of our ‘Griswalding Adventures’ (there were only two or three) But the real question is how do I add them here? Should I just create a new post with the current date and pull in the text? Would it be appropriate to back-date the entry to its original date? (not even sure if you can do that easily in WordPress) I don’t want to give the impression that this blog incarnation has been here longer than it really has (2 days now) but I also don’t want to lose the history that has come before. Well, keep watching this space to see what the decision comes down to. Feel free to chime in with any ideas or suggestions!
Update: I’ve realized that WordPress allows you to backdate posts so you’ll begin to see the archives appear as normal posts, just dated when they were originally posted!
Welcome to our family blog! Here’s where we’ll be keeping everyone updated on all of our family happenings! Things like our homeschooling adventures, raising the children, travels and various other personal tidbits that we want to share with you!
Check back in a week or so and watch as we get this ball rolling!
Here’s a quick bunch of links to check out in your spare time…(which, if you’re reading this site you must have in abundance -spare time, that is…)
One Word – Fun little writing exercise.
Blue Oyster Cult – an old favorite, in honor of the free concert they’re giving downtown tonight.
User-Friendly -Don’t Fear the Penguin
St. Louis traffic -Thanks to Christopher for posting this one in the comments for the previous entry.
* Remember a few months ago (okay it was more like six months) when I was complaining about the extra fifteen minutes it took for me to get to work because of some rubber neckers along highway 44? Boy, those sure were the good old days! This month we moved into our new house out in O’Fallon (to accommodate our growing family) and now I drive highway 70 to the riverfront. On a good day, the 70+ mile round trip commute will take about 40 minutes each way. Unfortunately I’ve only had one ‘good day’ of driving in the past three weeks! Twice in the past week it has taken two hours to get home, and yesterday it took an hour and forty-five minutes to get to work. This morning a single-car accident in the opposite direction added an extra twenty minutes onto my drive time just from the high RN factor (Rubber Neck factor) of the drivers going east. And it really wasn’t that spectacular of an accident… just a pickup that bounced off the median once or twice.
It’s been just about a month since Faith and I finished the “40 days to a Purpose Driven Life” We were invited by our neighbors to participate in their church’s program of “40 days” Each day we read the assigned chapter, and occasionally Faith and I would discuss our thoughts about a particular reading and how it affected us individually and as a couple. I believe that the book, in and of itself, is a great read for most christians. For beginning christians, it provides a great foundation for learning about and practicing christianity. The real value of participating in a “40 days” program comes from the fellowship opportunities within the small-group sessions. Our small group met each thursday at our neighbor’s house where we would watch a short presentation about the previous week’s readings and then a group discussion based upon the accompanying study materials. As each of the members of the small group began to share their insights and feelings and prayers, a deep bond was beginning to form that is difficult to describe. Being able to debate various points with people of varying backgrounds and perspectives led to a much deeper understanding of much of the material.
So what does a purpose driven life look like? This entry would be incomplete if I didn’t at least touch on the core content of the book and the program. Rick Warren points us to the five purposes that we accept when we become Christians:
- * Worship – you were planned for God’s pleasure.
- * Fellowship – you were formed to be part of God’s family.
- * Discipleship – you were created to become like Christ.
- * Ministry – you were shaped for God’s service.
- * Mission – you were made to tell others about Christ.
We have quite a long way to go in our walk with Christ, but thankfully that first step has been taken. Our lives are so much richer, so much fuller and so much happier. If you think that you might find this book interesting, you should see if your church is taking part in the “40 days” and if not, well, maybe they should. If you don’t currently attend a church, that’s okay. A quick look around your own community will most likely find a church or two (or three or four) that is hosting this program and I am quite certain that they would be very happy to have you participate in the program with them. (yes, even as an ‘outsider’- after all, that’s what Faith and I were when we were took part in this)
For more information check out http://www.purposedriven.com and http://www.purposedrivenlife.com
* So the system was down most of Sunday and early Monday thanks to some idiot spammers. Turns out that one of the sites that I host had (note the use of the word ‘had’) a cgi script that allowed people to send email to him via a web-based form interface. The spammers figured out a way to utilize a flaw in the script that allowed them to send thousands upon thousands of emails through the system. As many of you know, the box that hosts this site and the one in question (as well as a few others) is a modest, ten year old Sun Microsystems Sparc 20 with NetBSD for its OS. As a testimony to the reliability of the system, it never completely crashed. Of course response times were being measured in hours… So, I did in fact have to reboot the system in order to regain control of the mail facilities. I had to clear the queues and disable the cgi script until such time that I could provide a fix or workaround. I won’t go into specific details here on just how the cgi script was abused (since I don’t have a fix at the moment) Perhaps once I fix the issue, I may share the reset of the gory details. I will say that for the most part, the script did a good job of validating most of the input it was accepting. If you really want details, send me an email and I might be willing to discuss the details, but please don’t post comments asking about the specifics as they will be ignored.