Moto Q

Jennifer shows off Jeff’s Moto Q

I spent some time today playing with the world’s thinnest PDA smartphone.
The one I was using was on the Telus network (I used it near Toronto and Niagara Falls today).
I wanted to use it as a modem, since logically (programatically?) it followed that it could do that.

This way it could be used in the car to make a hotel reservation or something quick, since the regular plan is only 4Meg/month
($12/Meg after that, without another plan) — well actually, the onboard browser is quite fine but anyway, customer service told me it was impossible.
So here I was thinking I’d have to write my own gateway program, but I found PDANet (shareware: $34US) and it did the job.

You should also be aware that the high-speed network is only available near big cities.
Lower speed is available in a large area.
Also do like PDANet says and watch your usage!

The phone can take a mini-SD card, has a 1.3megapixel camera (you need to change the default), and you can copy files to and from it using Bluetooth..

It runs Windows Mobile 5.0, an operating system close to the type I program in almost every day, however just having a 320×240 colour screen means you can surf to dictionary pages on the net or whatever you need.
Alas, its not GSM, but it should be hours of fun anyway.

Somewhere on a menu it mentioned GPS.
I need to investigate if that’s for real, because there were no applications that take advantage of that.

Garmin Street Pilot i5

Another thing I recently obtained was a GPS that speaks and has a 3D map and is very small that you use in the car. Its a lot like the Hertz “Never Lost” system from a few years back. I never bothered with this type of GPS in the past because I always knew where I was going, however I would like to share a couple of discoveries about this technology in general. If the navigator is asleep and you’re on an interstate, I had in the past simply followed my mental map connecting one interstate to another, but the GPS will direct you along the limited access highways and bypasses to avoid the core of a city, saving time and not disturbing the navigator from her slumber. If you are in a well known city, all you have to do is turn onto a side street if you encounter traffic, and the unit will immediately recalculate your route and give you a short cut around the traffic (assuming you start driving away from the congestion!).

If there’s some question about which route is quicker (that you might know of), the unit will settle the question. I tried it in a city I had never driven in (Columbus Ohio), and never once had to open the paper map to get where I wanted to go. It worked like a charm.

* Warning: contains technology known to cause confusion to residents of the state of California.

Format War! Game on!


Okay I picked up a BluRay player (Samsung BD-P1000), programmed my Harmony remote (they already know about it) and bought a few BluRay titles. Future Shop seems to have rather high prices on BluRay discs at the moment, as I was able to get a few titles in the states last week for quite a discount. So far everything is okay, except that I had to make a tough decision. I had to connect the BluRay player to the DVI input on the TV and drop the HD-PVR back down to component video. I’d forgotten how weird “The 5th Element” was…

RSS Feed fix



I’ve found a nice, local way to handle the RSS feeds in various sidebars.
I downloaded Feed2JS,
a Free Software PHP script that does the job, and now I run it locally.

Please let me know if this affects the speed with which pages load.
I know it does locally, but I think that’s because of my long-running http issues.

It seems to take a VERY long time for my own web server to respond when I use fully-qualified names like
What I end up doing is creating local shortnames for everything like “tech”, which alias to the internal IP of
(and I’ve configured Apache on tnir to respond to these short names)
and everything is nice and zippy.

I’ll figure it out one day.
But for now that means this change really slows down page loads for anyone inside our firewall.
But not outside.

You can access my copy
of the script, and use it even to build your own RSS feed list.

HD Beat

Found a not-bad HD site.
HD Beat
seems to be an HD news site, which also has a podcast.

I haven’t listened (watched?) the podcast yet, so I can’t tell you if it’s any good.
Feel free to leave a comment saying if it’s good/bad.

The RSS feed for HDBeat is an excellent full-text feed with images.
Highly recommended.

Hm, all the weblogs blogs I’ve seen so far have these hi-fidelity feeds.
Must be a (very good) corporate policy.

Adding “Digg this” link to WordPress in one line


<a href="<?php echo urlencode(get_permalink()) ?>">Digg this</a>

That’s it. This seems to work in at least versions 1.5 and 2.0.

Most of this is from an article on Pierre Far’s I just put in the WordPress-specific stuff.

He has a nice Javascript bookmarklet that can be dragged to the bookmark bar to digg any site you visit:
Digg this

The bad thing about the bookmarklet is that if you are just reading on the main page, it won’t point to the specific story’s permanent link.
So be sure to click down into the story before using the bookmarklet.

Ubuntu Software

Just a brain dump of some useful Ubuntu software I ran across while browsing recently.


It’s like Mac OS X’s Spotlight
apt-get install beagle


Programmer text editor
apt-get install bluefish
[Mac version: “fink install bluefish”]


iTunes replacement, integrated with music site
apt-get install amarok


Programming text editor; uses fish://.. to edit via ssh


Web design app like FrontPage or DreamWeaver

sudo apt-get install nvu
sudo cat > /usr/share/applications/nvu.desktop <<EOF
[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Web Development Editor
killall gnome-panel

[requires universe and multiverse repositories]


Another text editor
apt-get install kate


Windows TrueType fonts
How to install your Windows TrueType fonts into Ubuntu
apt-get install msttcorefonts

extract nicefonts.tbz into /etc/fonts as root

Xara LX

Xara LX
Graphics Editor


Web site mirroring command


IEs 4 Linux
Lets you run Windows IE under Wine on Linux