Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Friday, November 26, 2004

Cases for the hx4705

I've had my new toy for a little over a week now and I love it! I've noticed that it's getting a few little scratches here and there from regular use so I thought I should buy a nice case for it.

I checked Jenneth's site for advice because I remember that she recently posted something about 4705 cases. I had a look at the stores she mentioned - Piel Frama, Sena, and Bellagio - but didn't especially like any of the cases on offer. They were fine, they just weren't right for my little iPAQ.

I'm not sure exactly what sort of case I want, but I'm sure I'll know it when I see it.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Day

Pilgrim boy chasing turkey

Today is Thanksgiving. We don't have this holiday in Australia so I'm not really sure what it's all about (I think it's a North American thing). It appears to involve a long weekend, a large turkey and lots of other yummy food. Sounds pretty good to me. Actually, it sounds just like Christmas, but without the presents.

Pumpkins

Monday, November 22, 2004

Peter and iPAQs

Now that I've bought an iPAQ hx4705, Peter is interested in my iPAQ 3970 . I told him that he'd have to prove himself worthy first! ;)

I have been very devoted to my iPAQ 3970 over the past two years, and it has become accustomed to a certain level of respect. I couldn't possibly pass it on to someone who wasn't going to treat it properly!

Reading novels on PDAs

Several people have asked me if it's a strain on the eyes to read entire novels on the iPAQ. Anyone who asks this question has obviously not seen the majesty of the 480x640-resolution-transreflective-backlit-VGA-screen of the hx4705!

You can adjust the backlight, the font size, the font colour, so it's very customisable to personal preference.

Below is a screenshot. The screenshot really doesn't do it justice though, it looks much more inpressive in real life. Also, this screenshot is actually lower resolution than the real thing. 480 pixels by 640 pixels is too wide for this blog column and will throw the right-hand menu panel askew. Note that the image below links to a full 480 x 640 pixel image, which if you view at 100% rather than at whatever IE automatically resizes it to, you'll see it is very sharp.


First page of chapter one of The Da Vinci Code.
Screenshot taken with Pocket Informant 5 on an iPAQ hx4705.


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Da Vinci Code mania

Coincidentally, the day after I finished reading The Da Vinci Code I saw this news article. It seems that obsessive fans of the book have been wreaking havoc in Rennes-le-Chateau, a tiny town in south east France. Here are a few extracts from the article.

"The mayor of a French village besieged by obsessive fans of The Da Vinci Code has been forced to dig up the body of a mysterious priest and encase it in a concrete mausoleum to deter rapacious treasure hunters."

"It's a philistine minority but they come here and stomp all over the place with no respect for anything or anyone. Last year they even tried to tunnel into the church. It was like something out of a prison escape film. They began digging in the night, put the soil in bags and put the bags in the hole, which they covered with a layer of earth so nobody would see during the day. It was only when someone noticed the flower beds moving that we discovered what they were up to."
Interestingly, I actually knew of Rennes le Chateau long before I read The Da Vinci Code. Years ago I played the computer game Gabriel Knight 3 which is set in Rennes le Chateau. I think this means I will have to visit the little French town because (i) the Gabriel Knight is my favourite series of computer quest games, and (ii) I've visited the locations of the other two Gabriel Knight games (the first game was set in New Orleans, the second in Munich and Neuschwainsten Castle).

Yes, I realise it's quite geeky that I have visited the locations of my favourite computer games. One of the locations - New Orleans - was actually coincidental because it was a work trip. Germany, on the other hand, that was basically because of the game. Several years ago Peter and I were planning a trip to Europe and I said I was keen to see Munich and Neuschwainsten Castle because of the game. Fortunately, Peter thought these places sounded interesting anyway so he was happy to add them to the itinerary.

The Da Vinci Code

I finished reading The Da Vinci Code last night. I quite enjoyed it, but I'd hardly put it on a Top-10-Books-of-All-Time list.

I read it because everyone else was reading it and I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about. As I said above, I did enjoy it, however, there were a few things that didn't make sense I thought. I'm not talking from an historical accuracy point of view because I don't know enough about Grail history to comment on that front, I'm talking about the character's motives for their actions at various points. Hmmm. Perhaps I shall ponder some more and it will all become clear.

Bought my first ebook

I bought my first ebook earlier this week - The Da Vinci Code.

While I have regularly used my iPAQ for reading email, news sites and blogs, I have always been skeptical of ebooks. Did I really want to read hundreds of pages on a little iPAQ screen? Up till last Monday I thought 'probably not', but with the arrival of my new iPAQ 4705 (with VGA screen) imminent, I decided it was time to give it a go.

I had already chosen a book, so that part was easy, however I still needed to select an ebook reader app. There are several out there (e.g. Mobipocket, eReader, Microsoft Reader, µBook, Starbuck, TinyReader) and I didn't really know much about any of them. So, I went to Jenneth's site to look for an ebook reader review.

I ended up installing the trial version of Mobipocket on my iPAQ 3970 (my 4705 had not arrived at that point) and it was fine.

A few days later I tested out Mobipocket on my new 4705. Ew! It wasn't recognising VGA and so the text looked kinda crappy. Fortunately, I was already aware of this issue and knew how to fix it. During my ebook reader research I had read that Tweak2K2's VGA Brute Force hack would make Mobipocket display properly, so I installed it and order was restored. Yay!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

iPAQ 4705

Got my new iPAQ yesterday and I'm very excited!!

I've been using an iPAQ 3970 for almost two years and it's been great. In fact, it's still great, which is why I've kept it for so long. I knew some day I'd upgrade, but it was going to take something really special to displace the 3970.

Enter the iPAQ 4705. It's jam-packed full of features - 4" transreflective 480x640 resolution VGA screen, integrated wireless (bluetooth, IR, wifi), integrated SD ad CF slots and lots more.

iPAQ 4705
The iPAQ 4705

The most obvious feature when first powering up the iPAQ is the VGA screen. I knew the screen would be good (having read many iPAQ 4705 reviews before purchasing), but when I actually saw it for myself, I almost couldn't believe how amazing it was! The pictures online really don't do it justice.

Now that I have my new toy, what am I going to install on it? I've had so many things on my 3970 for so long that I almost forget they were 3rd party apps to begin with. Now I am looking at a brand new iPAQ, an 'empty slate' if you will, and it's hard to know where to begin.

Actually that's not true, it's very easy. ;)

To me, the very first thing that has to be installed on any iPAQ is Wisbar. Wisbar and Wisbar Advance 1.x don't appear to be compatible with WM2003SE (i.e. the 4705's OS), so it looks like I will have to purchase Wisbar Advance 2.x. I've just downloaded the trial version to keep me going for now.

Now I can start customising the Today screen. As any iPAQ person will tell you, personalisation of the Today screen is terribly important! Here are a few basics that I have to have on my Today screen:

  • a battery/memory monitor
  • weather channels, stock channels, news channels
  • program bar
  • upcoming appointments
  • various time zones around the world
  • a nice background image

There are various Today screen plugins for all of these things. The ones I use are Battery Pack Pro (includes Program Bar), Journal Bar, Calendar+ and WorldToday. I usually source Today screen themes from Pocket PC Themes, but their VGA selection is fairly limited so I will look elsewhere for this.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Most ridiculous eBay item ever

A 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich appeared on eBay recently. Apparently the bids reached $US22,000 before eBay cancelled the auction.

Why so much attention for a grilled cheese sandwich? Because it bears the image of the Virgin Mary, or so claims the women who made the sandwich.

If you want to see for yourself, there's a picture of the famed sandwich in this news article. At first glance all I saw was a grilled cheese sandwich. After looking at it more intently, I could sort of, maybe, make out the image of a person. In the same way that if you stare intently at some clouds you probably can probably make out the image of a person.

Weird.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Musical CV

This guy is a legend. With a CV like this, who wouldn't want to hire him??

His musical CV is available in French and English. It's also available in more traditional forms including Word and PDF.

I think Peter especially likes the CV. He's been playing it over and over again this afternoon.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

New York Cat Show, Part XII

These are the last of my pictures from the New York Cat Show.

...
In addition to lots of kitties, there were many vendors at the cat show too. This crazy orange cat car was from one of the cat food companies.

...
Many breeders went to considerable and expense decorating the cages of their pampered kitties.

...
The GSC kitties hung out in these cat enclosures while being introduced to the public.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

New York Cat Show, Part XI

Persian kittens. It doesn't get much cuter than this!

Hello. We're Tortie and Orange Persian Kittens. We're just babies and all this show stuff has tired us out.
Hello. We're Tortie and Orange Persian kittens. We're just babies and all this show stuff has tired us out.

We were working hard on being as adorable as possible so some nice cat people would adopt us at the cat show.
We were working hard on being as adorable as possible so some nice cat people would adopt us at the cat show.

Hello. We're Grey and Orange Persian kittens. We've also been working hard on being cute. Actually, that's not true. We're so naturally adorable that it's easy!
Hello. We're Grey and Orange Persian kittens. We've also been working hard on being cute. Actually, that's not true. We're so naturally adorable that it's easy!

Hello. I'm a Black and White Persian kitten. I quite enjoy showing off at cat shows.
Hello. I'm a Black and White Persian kitten. I quite enjoy showing off at cat shows, unlike my flatmate, the Exotic.

My friend here (who is an Exotic) has had enough of the public and so is hiding under her cat bed.
My friend here (who is an Exotic) has had enough of the public and so is hiding under her cat bed. Every now and then our person would lift up the cat bed to check on her. She'd look up with a scared expression and then hide under the covers again. Poor dear. She's new to the whole cat show thing and I don't think she's dealing with it very well.

Friday, November 05, 2004

New York Cat Show, Part X

Hello. I'm a Cream Persian
Hello. I'm a Cream Persian. I compete in the Solid Colour Persian Division. Check out my magnificent fluffy mane!

Hello. I'm an Orange and White Persian
Hello. I'm a an Orange and White Persian. I compete in the Bi-Colour Persian Division. It's been a long day so I was a bit grumpy when this photo was taken.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

New York Cat Show, Part IX

Here are some lovely Silver and Golden Persians.

Hello. I'm a Golden Persian. Everyone tells me I'm a beautiful princess.
Hello. I'm a Golden Persian. Everyone tells me I'm a beautiful princess.

Hello. I'm a Chinchilla Persian. CFA describes my breed as exquisite and ethereal.
Hello. I'm a Silver Chinchilla Persian. CFA describes my breed as "exquisite", "ethereal" and "a sparkling white cat with black tipping scattered as evenly as stardust, ever so lightly, on the face, legs, tail and body".

Monday, November 01, 2004

New York Cat Show, Part VIII

Hello. I'm a Black Persian. My fur is so black I can disappear at night if I close my eyes. But when I open them, you can see my eyes are a lovely dark orange.
Hello. I'm a Black Persian. My fur is so black I can disappear at night if I close my eyes. But when I open them, you can see my eyes are a lovely dark orange.

Check out the pretty black and gold decorations around my house. They match my fur and my eyes and make me feel like a princess (which I am, of course).
Check out the pretty black and gold decorations around my house. They match my fur and my eyes and make me feel like a princess (which I am, of course).

I also have pretty decorations to match my black and white fur. And a fan in case I get hot. It's tough work being this beautiful, popular and pampered.
I also have pretty decorations to match my black and white fur. And a fan in case I get hot. It's tough work being this beautiful, popular and pampered.