My Galaxy Tab and I

At least my Android tablet is sexier than I. And yet I am the one people get to see more often.

It’s three weeks since I got my first Android tablet, last year’s model of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. As far as I know, their second generation Galaxy Tab 7 isn’t out yet. Even if they make one, I am not sure whether I would upgrade. It depends, mainly on whether the screen is radically improved without gutting the battery life. Running Honeycomb (the tablet version of Android) on more or less the same hardware is not really an improvement, in my opinion.

That said, I am fairly impressed with the old model, except the screen resolution is just a little too coarse. It would take only about 20% more pixel density to get rid of the slightly blurry and uneven text and pictures in the current size. It is good enough as is, just lacking the “wow” factor.

So, with this attitude, I must be using it a lot and dragging it with me everywhere, right? No, I have barely used it these three weeks. And only taken it out of the house two or three times. Basically I use it as a wireless access point, and that’s that. Occasionally I get up and wander into my living room just to get out of my boss chair, and use the Tab to catch up on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. It is very well suited for those, and the Android apps for those services are all quite good. Oh, and Tumblr too.

So why am I not going steady with Tab? The short answer is: “I already have a mobile phone.” The 7″ fits in a coat pocket (or a purse, not that I have that) but not in a shirt pocket. And the overlap is almost complete. The Tab is better for reading (it is the size of a softcover book, only thinner, and the weight is similar. The phone is better for phone calls and for having in your shirt pocket. I actually receive phone calls very rarely, but of course the day I leave my phone at home, I get an important call.

My employer has invested in some high-end (Jabra) Bluetooth headsets that we familiarize ourselves with as part of our tech support job (at least those of us who specialize a bit toward Android), and I believe one of those would actually make the Tab *better* than my cell phone for calls. Using the headset for the calls, it should be possible to look up things on the Tab at the same time. I haven’t tested it though.

Honestly, I can see a potential in work for this size of tablet. Eminently portable yet with enough surface to read documents, look up data or search the Web. Add the fact that they are *phones*, and you basically have an office in your coat pocket. Or purse.

But if I started to carry this thing with me everywhere, I would leave my cell phone at home. Having Internet access at home is how I (and you) can stream my record collection over the Internet anywhere, anytime. I would not deprive my friends and family of that without good reason, would I? ^_^ Well, perhaps a little…

The craziness continues…

It has arrived, at least. (The screen is rather brighter than it looks here – the picture was taken with flash so the screen seems dark in comparison.)

So when I wake up after a long night’s sleep, my first thoughts (or nearly so) go to the Galaxy Tab waiting for me at the post office. After a leisurely morning, I wander off to the post office … or rather, the place where the post office is supposed to be. I checked the tracking message and a couple different maps, they all agree that Mandal post office lies in Arkaden, the mini-mall in the center of the town.

There is no post office. There is a list of the various shops in the mall, and the post office is listed there, but it is not there.

I decide to check on the Net again, and fire up my trusty (?) Huawei Titan smartphone. Unfortunately, it cannot find the Internet anymore. It was there this morning, but it is gone now. I put it in flight mode and back. I turn it off, take out the batteries, wait, and replace them, then do a cold start. Twice.  It cheerfully informs me that yes, there are Telenor networks available, both 2G and 3G. But when I pick one, it works for a while, then plays dumb. “What is this ‘internet’ of which you speak?”

Eventually I walk around the outside of the mall, and find a sign telling me that the post office has indeed moved, to Kastellgata 8. Unfortunately I have no idea at the time where Kastellgata is, and the name does not really give any hint in itself. I could have looked it up on Google… if I had Internet access. I start going home.

Partway home, I decide to start the mobile phone again, and lo! It has Internet. I find out where Kastellgata is, and make my way there. It is is within walking distance, but then most of Mandal is, for me. Success! Objective obtained!

I already got the SIM card, so now the only thing I lack is the PIN code. It is not in the letter, which makes sense. Better not have it stolen at the same time as the card, if there are mailbox thieves. For the same reason, it would make no sense to send it in a separate letter to the same address on the same day. But it isn’t here today either.

On the other hand, I have a pretty, shiny paperweight now!


You did not think I would stop that easily, did you? On one hand, I have a shiny paperweight without a functioning SIM card. On the other hand, I have a mobile phone with a functioning SIM card. It cannot act as a WiFi hotspot, but the paperweight can. So out goes the one SIM card, and in goes the other. Now, I cannot receive calls with the mobile phone, but that is not something I do every month anyway. People who know me well enough to call me, know me well enough not to. They will instead send a mail or, failing that, a text message.

I have a shiny paperweight that is also a WiFi hotspot! That was the most important reason I bought it, after all, so I should rejoice. Just as soon as I am able to actually log on to my new wireless network. It works just fine with my Huawei Titan smartphone, but that is not much progress, since that is where I had the SIM card before!

Now to the Windows 7 desktop computer where I do most of my writing (and gaming, such as there still is). I look in various plastic bags that are still not emptied from when I moved, and eventually find the Jensen USB wireless dongle. I insert the USB plug. Windows starts installing, then gives up. It does not recognize the device. I install the driver software from the CD. Windows installs it, then ignores it. The latest version is for Windows XP, which may have something to do with it…

I try the Jensen USB wireless in the Vista machine. No go. Then I remember that I had an even older wireless dongle, from D-Link. It seems kind of pointless to try something from my first ever wireless network (not counting the Bluetooth home network I improvised before wireless became available for the masses). But I try it, and it works at once, in Windows 7.

Now that I have Internet access again, I get a one-time password so I can log into my Google account from the Galaxy Tab and access Android Market. (Because I have Google 2-step verification, I needed a special authentication password for my first login on a new device. It is inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as having my Google account hacked, as happened last year.)

And so the long, long row of talking donkeys finally come to an end, and I wonder if I have learned anything from it.


As for the Android tablet itself, I shall quote my Google+ report:

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is reasonably nifty for its age. It really is just a big, flat, and somewhat heavy smartphone – but that is good enough for now. The next model seriously needs higher screen resolution, but I find the 7″ size ideal and the weight acceptable, especially seeing that it has great battery life.

The resolution is fine for the Kindle reader, but a bit grainy for Zinio. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all look as if on a really big smartphone. If there are tablet versions of the apps which make better use of the screen estate, I have yet to see them.

It was probably not worth it, actually. But these are the kind of things I want to support, things I want to see more of in the future, if any: Android tablets (especially the smaller 7″, which is about the size and weight of a smallish book) and wireless networks. So I encourage them with my money. But to tell the Light’s own truth, I suspect that money – and that time – could have been put to better use, if I had been a wiser person. But for now, I am this.


More divine (?) comedy!

Is some celestial power working against me or something? If so, I hope it is mostly for your entertainment, and not serious like “You won’t need any Internet where you are going, mister.”

See previous entry about the impossibility of getting more than a trickle of Internet access in a town in the world’s arguably most advanced country.

Not easily deterred, I checked Multicom today again, the company where I ordered the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It continues to be pushed one day into the future for each day. Of course, since they have already got their money, they have less than zero incentive to ever order the actual products. So, it is time to cancel the order. But first I look for somewhere else to get the same thing.

The obvious choice is the Netcom site, which sells the actual telecommunication subscriptions with the hardware on the side, rather than the other way around. Unfortunately their pricing is deliberately confusing, I would guess, or else a result of exceptional incompetence. In any case, the minimum price I could figure out from it was substantially higher than the competition. So, onward to Telenor, the former monopoly (and occasionally still acting like one).

They have a rather affordable plan and rather affordable Galaxy Tab as well. It is almost too good to be true. (Wait for it.) I match the hardware to the fixed price plan and go to checkout. There is a form with fields for first name, last name, birth number (like social security number, for foreigners) and e-mail, twice. I dutifully fill out the form and click “To payment”.  The computer works for a while. Then: “Phone number must be filled in.” It sends me back to the same form, where there is no field for phone number.

Somehow I doubt they are going to sell a lot of stuff over their web site … wonder how long they have had this up and not noticed that nobody ever ordered anything? Well, it probably doesn’t matter if you think you are a monopoly. After all, if the peasants don’t want your services, they can suffer. I am sure the CEO will get his bonus no matter what. I am not sure the programmer will, once this reaches the right ears. That may take some months, I guess, this being a multinational company after all.

In such a situation, I am the kind of guy who goes beyond the call of madness… er, duty. So I call the helpline. A voice message greets me and tells me to key in the phone number my request is about. Now, I am trying to buy a NEW account, so there is no phone number. I wait. The voice returns eventually, informing me that I have not keyed in the phone number. There is of course no manual operator and no choice other than the phone number.

I will now use the phone number of my existing phone, in order to get through to them. Watch me.

OK, I got through to a helpful and seemingly competent woman who took down the information. She promised they would send a confirmation e-mail. This is almost too good to be…

Mail arrived. They still have my address in Holum, even though their website said it will be sent to the address in the national registry (which is where the social security number comes in). You cannot change the address – it is locked to avoid identity theft. The postal collect slip will doubtlessly arrive in the mailbox at Riverview – I assume there will be a slip and they don’t just dump the whole box there. As it happens, I have reported my move to the post office, so perhaps they will send it after me to my new address. Or perhaps just the collect slip. Luckily there is a tracing number that I can use to trace it online, so I should be fine.

To be continued… God willing?

Internet rationing

Hey, I must be watching too much anime…

My Internet access is being rationed. No, not by the government – that would not fly here in Norway, not even now. I am talking divine intervention, or something very similar.

Back in Riverview, I had fiberoptic Internet access. The speed was over the top: I could download a movie in a few seconds, if I wanted. It was several times more than I felt I needed. But hey, I like supporting technologies of the future, when I can afford it. Also, the price was about the same as for slower access, except I had to pay the equivalent of a weeks salary up front to get it installed in the first place.

When I moved to the House of Cherries, I did not want to pay a lot up front when I don’t know how long I will stay, so I opted for DSL instead of fiber. Then after some days I got a mail from the ISP that they could install it on September 20th. Half of July, all of August and most of September? If I could do without it that long, I could do without it for the rest of my stay here, if not the rest of my life. I would basically have proved that I don’t need broadband. Which is technically true: I don’t need it to survive (although I do need it to work from home*). I can live without it, but it is not a lifestyle fit for the zeroth world.

(*Further testing shows that I can actually connect to work using my mobile phone’s wireless broadband and an USB cable. This is an undocumented feature. Thanks to the voices in my head for making me test this today.)

So anyway, I canceled my DSL order and instead ordered a Galaxy Tab and wireless broadband to go with it. This device is said to be able to provide wireless hotspot, which would let me work from home if I am too sick to commute but not to think.  Between this and the wireless broadband in my mobile phone, I would also have enough premium capacity for all my Internet use. (Norwegian providers give unlimited use, but speed is drastically reduced after a certain amount of download, in my case 8GB, about half a month of normal use for me.)

The Galaxy Tab was not in stock, but expected to arrive at August 1. Now ten days later it is expected to arrive on August 11th. You can see what way this is going. If it shows on my next credit card statement and is still not in stock, I will report it as fraud to my card company and let them handle it.

Luckily (right?) the third competitor contacted me. have a longer-frequency wireless broadband, so they cover areas in the countryside better with less installations. But they also have decent coverage in the cities. I used them for a while, and did not really have any complaints, but I did not need them anymore. We parted on a somewhat unpleasant note, since they continued to invoice me even after I had got confirmation that my account was discontinued. They even sent the bill to collection, but in all fairness they eventually pulled out without any extra expenses for me.

Now they are back, and offering former customers 9 months at half price. That is pretty sweet, so I sent them my phone number and e-mail. They called me after a while. Now it starts getting funny. See, I was out in the traffic and did not hear the phone until too late. Later I tried to call them back, but for some reason they could not hear me clearly, although I could hear them. Perhaps there is something wrong with the microphone on my Huawei? I think I have called the doctor from it once, but generally I don’t talk, so I would not know if it was defective.

In any case, I gave up. I assume that even if I could make them hear me, and even if they did offer me a subscription, something would happen to delay it until late September anyway. It seems God is playing Sims with me again, or something. Perhaps there is a lesson for me to learn, like, you know, patience? Or perhaps it is just for entertainment. In which case, I hope y’all are entertained now. ^_^ It is not very fun to read about people who get everything they want as soon as they want it, right? I have been told that it doesn’t make for great literature at least. Right now it looks like Someone Up There agrees…

New mobile phone

Since none had any protests against me and the Huawei U8800 joining in a wholly matter-of-money, I brought this beauty home today. The picture does not really do justice to the crisp screen, but that’s because I suck at photography, or at least not have a tripod to place the camera on for long exposures.

The Titan is not that much larger than the Hero, the screen fills even more of the front but is only a diagonal 3.8″ rather than 3.2″ in the older phone. But the screen resolution is twice that of the Hero, and this is quite noticeable.  When viewing the Hungersite page in Opera, for instance, I can now clearly see the tabs on the top showing the other more or less worthy purposes that share its space, such as the Breast Cancer site and the Literacy site. On the old phone, I could only see smudges which I identified by their placement and shape; they were not actually readable.

Somehow it feels like I have passed an invisible threshold, and actually have moved from simply a “smart phone” to the long awaited Datapad, the handheld unit for interfacing with the world. Web browsing, mail and even moderate amounts of writing are only marginally harder than on a small computer.  Arguably, the thing is a small computer.  I suspect this is how iPhone owners have felt for a while, for one of the things that gadget actually did right was prioritize the screen resolution over pretty much everything else. It may seem overkill for such a small screen, but it is our window to the world (wide web) after all.

The problem of my manly sausage fingers remain, although it is slightly helped by the slightly larger screen estate. Seeing is one thing, hitting is another. For surfing, Opera’s latest mobile browser offers a help: If I hit more than one link at a time, the program automatically zooms in on the spot so the links become large, and waits for me to press again.  I have not needed it to repeat this procedure so far, so it works, and it works quickly.  Typing is another matter. Swiftkey does correct some errors, but I still notice that my right hand still has a tendency to hit the keys to the left of where I intended.

It took some time to download the apps I was used to from the Hero: Opera (the browser), and clients for my three types of blogs:  LiveJournal, Blogger and WordPress. Since my blogs have different purposes and audiences, I don’t particularly want one client app that can post to two or all three of them. That would just make it easier to confuse what I was doing, and I would probably miss out on some features.

Then there are media consumption apps,  Spotify (European music streaming service) and Amazon Kindle e-book reader.

Some apps were already loaded right out of the box: Twitter, Facebook and Gmail, a camera app, and the indispensable alarm clock.  The thing also comes with a text message app and even voice calls, whatever that may be good for…

One unpleasant surprise was that the Titan uses a microUSB instead of the more common mini USB contact for recharging and syncing to computers. I have plenty of the old ones, which fit a number of gadgets, including the Sony PSP. I habitually recharge the mobile phone off the PC when I am sitting at one, and even at night (I have a netbook beside me at night, connected to the stereo.) None of these work anymore. There was a cable in the box; but while the phone fits excellently in a shirt pocket, the cable does not.  So I bought an extra to bring with me home. It was rather expensive too. I distinctly remember putting it on my desk after testing it and deciding to put it in my bag after I had finished whatever it was doing. It is not in my bag though, so presumably I mistook planning to do for actually doing. A human trait, at least!

So now the weekend has begun, and my office is locked until Monday, and I have no way of recharging the new smartphone. I still have the old phone, though. Luckily it is not yet broken. Only outdated.

More phones, less games

I may not quite think of my mobile phone as part of my body, but it is roughly on the level of pants. I definitely don’t want to leave home without it.

I have continued my inquires into the latest crop of Android phones. As a Google person, this seems to be the natural segment for me. There are a couple applications that I would have liked that are available on the iPhone but not on Android phones, chief among these Questia, the online library. But for the near future at least, I will probably have plenty of reading without it.  And unlike the pad / tablet segment, the price difference on mobile phones is distinctly in favor of Android.

The price issue came to my attention today again, as I read a glowing review of the new Sony-Ericson’s Xperia Neo. At close to 3/4 of the company’s new flagship phone, Xperia Arc, it was deemed just as good, although slightly less stylish to look at. In fact, for those using their phone to take photos or video, it may be better. I rarely take even still photos – not every month for sure – but shaving off the price a sum approximately 1/8 of my monthly rent is always welcome.  There is no urgency, mind you, and I would probably not actually notice any difference in available money, but still, if the products are otherwise roughly equal…

And the Neo is indeed a thing that may cause geek arousal. Running Android 2.3, and with a 3.7″ display with… What? You don’t care? Well, that’s OK too, because I am probably not buying it.

While reading reviews on the Xperia Neo, I found mention of a Huawei Titan, alias Huawei U8800, alias Huawei IDEOS X5. It runs the previous version of Android, 2.2, and the camera is more like last year’s model (5 gazillion pixels instead of 8). But it is around 2/3 the price. Or in other words about half the price of Xperia Arc, Nexus S and I think one more that I have forgotten.  That means I can buy this one now, and still have the money to buy whatever holds that niche next year, when Android is 3.x and pigs can fly. Or at least perhaps speech recognition actually works on cell phones.

I am cutting costs another place too. Well, too and too – it may be a stretch to say that buying a new mobile phone is cutting costs. But anyway, I have closed my account at the online game Age of Conan.  It is a technically excellent game, and it is Norwegian, and it has taken some undeserved (in my opinion) flak for its lack of content during the first month or two.  There is certainly a lot of content now. But it is simply too evil for me to enjoy. The way my life is pointing now, I have been finding the game less and less palatable.  I have not played it in months, and before that there were some more months. So, bye bye Age of Conan!

Still keeping the 4 City of Heroes accounts though. ^_^ Even though only two of them are played with any regularity. We’ll see how things work out.

Looking at phones to Desire them?

Vaguely related: If you want to exchange phone numbers or mail address with someone, it is customary to ASK, not knock them down, grab their mobile phone and add your phone number and mail address. But Desire makes blind, as you can see.

I read a review of the new LG Optimus 2X today. It looks to be good value for an acceptable price (by Norwegian standards, people in the 1st world and below may need to save up for a while first). Now if I can avoid referring to it as Optimus Prime, it certainly looks like a candidate.

It seems to be marginally ahead of HTC Desire HD, which I have also considered for a while, but which I hesitate to buy because of the name. You may say this is picky, but would you buy a mobile phone labelled Scientology for instance, if it was not dazzlingly better than the competition? Or “Allahu Akbar” perhaps? All of us have things we are proud of and things we are ashamed of, and they are not the same for all of us. I am not proud of desire. It has caused lots of trouble both for me and others.

And on that note, it would be sorely ironic if I avoid the HTC Desire HD because of the name, but still desire it in my heart. As it happens, my gadget lust has faded a bit since its height a few years ago. A lot of things fade when one live the kind of life I live. But there is still some excitement left, so I’m not buying for a while yet unless my HTC Hero goes down for the count.  Hero, now that’s a name to love.  As the inhabitants of Paragon City say:  “Forget all those postmodernist deconstructionists. Itland is a hero, plain and simple.”

That said, I do intend to buy either a large mobile phone or a small tablet this year if no particular disaster strikes.  The Hero is such a part of my life that I feel rather naked without it. Mainly because it is my only portable Internet connection and e-book reader.  Phone calls and text messages are so scarce that I would hardly notice if those did not work. But being able to read your Twitter and Facebook posts on the potty where they rightly belong is a great boon.  (OK, I actually tend to read them on the bus, but still.)

The Hero is a bit small though. Typing with my big fingers could have been better with just a little more screen space.  I certainly won’t need an iPad for that for many years yet, Light willing, but an extra centimeter would make a good improvement. Reading also benefits from more and better screen. Again, I may prefer a large mobile phone over a tablet or pad, simply for privacy purposes. There is no reason why random strangers should know that you are reading Dante rather than some tabloid or a juicy mail from your lover.

Anyway, I have what I need for now, so I can afford to wait for a while yet. Unless something goes up in smoke, though, it seems pretty certain that my next computer will fit in a large pocket.

Let there be Google!


Good news: New technology is spreading the good news! In this case, the Internet spreading the good news that an animating movie is spreading the good news that the printing press spread the Good News.  Not confused yet? Read on…

In the animated movie The Laws of Eternity, there is a part where Thomas Edison in Heaven explains his most recent incarnations.  In China, he incarnated as Tsai Lun who invented paper for writing. This made it possible to reproduce the Buddhist Sutras and preserve them for later generations.  In Germany, he incarnated as Gutenberg, and his invention led to the spread of Bibles. Then as Edison he invented the gramophone and motion pictures.  (It is not said in the movie, but this made possible Happy Science’s anime, which has spread their happy news across the world.)

It seems entirely too early for Edison to be back, but then who created Google?

In the world of Happy Science, Google would surely be the work of a Nyorai (Tathagata, archangel) from the eight dimension. A Nyorai when incarnated is a light of his age, and his mere presence changes the way people think and live.  A Nyorai may reform or renew a religion, though he will usually not start a new.  (Lao Tzu got pretty close though.) Other Nyorai may change the political landscape or usher in new inventions that completely change people’s lives. Some of them were later worshiped as gods by the pre-literate civilizations, where the stories of their lives changed and grew with the telling.  Examples of Nyorai are Apollo, Martin Luther and Albert Einstein.

Now,  I am not a member of Kofuku-no-Kagaku, so I may not fully and deeply understand their doctrine. But it is pretty straightforward, I think.  Even in daily life, we realize when two people are working in the same spirit.  Obviously we are not actually reincarnated in the sense that we continue to be the same person, or psyche:  This is always created from scratch in the meeting of spirit and dust, and is subject to its own judgment, whether upon death or in this life.  You cannot say to your conscience:  “Well, I did these good things in my previous life so cut me some slack.”  No, we are all living our first and only life.  But that does not mean we can’t bear within us a spirit that is greater than this earthly life.  Think of J.S. Bach, for instance, did he not have a heavenly spirit that can be felt in his works?

Now, it may be a stretch to compare Bach to Sergey Brin and Larry Page , but look at these excerpts from their letter to the shareholders:

. . .Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.

. . .Our goal is to develop services that significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible.

. . . Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served-as shareholders and in all other ways-by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company.

Is that, or is it not, words you would expect from a Nyorai?  That’s exactly what a Nyorai does, significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible. If at least one of them is not a Nyorai, they are sure faking it well.

Not to mention that without Google, I would not have found the Happy Science books in the first place. ^_^  More broadly speaking, I have found so many new sources of ideas and become able to see my life and the world from so many new angles thanks to Google.  “Googling” has become a way of thinking, that does not replace but expands on ordinary thought by drawing in association from other people almost as if they were present.  With the digitizing of books and newspapers of the past, we are emulating the concept of the “fourth dimension” where not only distance but even time ceases to be a hindrance.

Of course, the “fourth dimension” also includes Hell, in kofuku-no-kagaku’s worldview.  And so does Google.  This is something that cannot be avoided when you give humans freedom. Some of them will use their freedom to raise hell.  But still, giving people freedom is an extremely noble goal, close to the divine, surely.

If you haven’t used Google Books yet, you really owe it to yourself to check it out.  You can read excerpts and reviews and find purchasing information about a huge number of books. Old books that are out of copyright can be read right there on the screen.  It is as if the Great Library has risen from the ashes.  Or been reincarnated or something.

Quick! To the GOOGLEPHONE!


I suppose for one day I can write about something that is NOT a pain in the @$$.  My new mobile phone (or cell, as I believe Americans still call them?) definitely qualifies. At least unless you try to type Scandinavian or other accented characters, which was a slightly nightmarish experience, albeit in the Kafka style rather than Dante and the burning sensation.  Luckily, I have very little to say that I don’t say in English.  When you are as weird as me, using a language with billions of readers is your best bet of being read at all!

To be honest, I was considering an Apple iPhone 3GS. They are cute, they are easy to use, and there is a lot of software available for them. Also, your girl next door knows them inside and out if you should get stuck (or just want an excuse to talk to the girl next door, for the male reader. Or writer.)  It so happens that the newest model was set to be released in Norway this past Friday.

On the other hand, I don’t really like Apple.  I have used their iTunes and found it clumsy, swollen and overbearing compared to Amarok for Linux, which I grew used to over the last year. I am also not happy with Apple several times a week trying to make me click “OK” on installing more of their software which I have never asked for, not to mention that they have actually installed a couple smaller programs without asking.  (Mobileme and Bonjour. Well, they may possibly have been mentioned, either by name or some generic description, deep in the legalese of the iTunes user agreement. I know I have never asked for them nor explicitly allowed them to install.)  This, and the frequent updates that all need to restart the computer, earns Apple a vote of Not Very Much Confidence from me. I know it is popular among girls however.  I guess we just value different things.

Even so, it was a near miss.  There just did not seem to be other phones that were close to my concept of the Datapad.  Regular readers may remember that I have written about this repeatedly in the past, most detailed in the entry Datapad 2010, written in the year 2000. It is an almost frighteningly prescient description of the iPhone. Or, as it happens, the HTC Hero, the newest and most powerful flagship of HTC’s series powered by the Android operating system made by Google and the open source community.

Like its smaller predecessor HTC Magic (Google Ion in the States), this gadget comes with some Google functionality built in by default. If you have a Google account, as I have, you can get your Gmail right to the phone, and check your Google calendar everywhere. You can read your favorite news sources through Google News.  And of course you can always search for whatever phrase you need the final word on.

But not content with Google, the phone also comes with one-touch access to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace as well as Ebay and, not to forget Wikipedia.  I’m actually on Twitter, although it is mostly a symbolic presence, telling whether or not I am at work and such. (I block any followers whose handles I don’t recognize, btw.)  Facebook?  Don’t you need an invitation for that?  I am not sure what I would do with it even if I had it.  I use LiveJournal, which I had to add manually, but it was not a pain in the posterior to do so, once I had typed a couple hundred characters altogether so had an idea of how to hit the on-screen keyboard correctly.

How many ways does it connect to the Internet?  Not quite enough. I want it to also access the Internet through a PC when connected by USB cable to synchronize.  It does not. Boo! You may think you don’t need to when you actually have a computer right there accessing the Internet. But the thing is, I would want to quickly refresh Twitter, mail, calendar etc before unplugging and moving away from the computer.  I can’t see any way to do that.

On the other hand, it does connect to wireless networks that are either open or to which you have a WEP key. And it does connect through the various mobile-phone networks normally available.  I am switching to a mobile broadband plan for it.  It is actually probably more expensive than just paying for actual use for me, since I have wireless at home, but having a fixed predictable expense is still a way to make life less complicated.  I have had enough of the time of surprising phone bills. Sometimes surprising me with hundreds of dollars back before the age of broadband.  Simplicity over thrift, at least on a small scale.

While you can’t use your computer to give your phone Internet access (as far as I can see), you CAN use your phone to give Internet access to your computer.  If the speed is good, I may well do this and do away with the wireless broadband modem on the laptop.

Of course it comes with a built-in GPS receiver so you can find out exactly where you are, should you get lost.  (Just combine it with Google Maps, which covers most of the civilized world and probably then some.) This may serve me well if I am healthy enough to take that trip to Oslo in 10 days.  Though I am not sure about that right now, and what with the swine flu… but that’s not today’s topic. GPS requires free sky and takes a toll on the battery, but it is there when you need it. And when you need GPS, you REALLY need it.  It may come down to either that or asking someone for directions, and a man can’t do that.  It hurts us in the man-thing. Anyway, even without using the Global Positioning System, you can get your bearings using data from the mobile network base stations.  It also gives you the local weather forecast.

There is the usual multi-mega-pixel camera which you don’t need and which should probably have been illegal (in Japan mobile phones are required to make a loud sound when taking pictures. I will leave the reason for this to your imagination.)

Oh, and you can probably use it to talk with, too.  I haven’t tried. Who in their right mind would TALK to their telephone? Perhaps one day when it can automatically transcribe it and post it to Twitter.

Oh, and about that iPhone 3GS? It was sold out the first day.  I strongly suspect this was arranged by only supplying a moderate quantity, so they could get the “SOLD OUT WITHIN HOURS” headlines. Free marketing, and not even obviously from them!  Anyway, by the merest of coincidence the HTC Hero came into the shop the very same day!  Providence, surely? In any case, the Datapad 2010 has arrived, a year early.  See you on the bitstream!