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All posts in WiFi

The quantum leap in progress and functionality of all these handheld/ portable devices over the last couple of years is amazing.

So many applications and services are available and everyday there is news about convergence of more technology with PDA’s and Cellular Phones. That in itself created the Smart-phone. Miniaturization of hardware, processors and memory allowed for these devices to progress even further and advances in battery development allow for a longer usage between recharges when you are on the go and not plugged into the car (or a mobile solar charger).

My big problem with all these devices is that the main piece of current technology that inhibits these devices becoming your primary Computer is not the keyboard or connectivity to peripherals (most have Bluetooth and or WiFi but yes, USB or another standard fast port would be nice); the screen size simply is restrictive.

Don’t get me wrong, I do lots with my Pocket PC but realistically, I love sitting down in front of my 19″ monitor and seeing things in 1024×768 resolution. As many web sites and services that have been designed also for Mobile usage (a la GMail and other Google Applications) many have not and the flexibility, usability and breadth of functionality is way more limited by Screen real estate usage.

This is where I flex my conceptual thinking muscles. This restriction is due to physical constraint and it has brought us UPMC, ultra portable laptops and rather large Smart Phones but is this the solution or a clever series of work-arounds?

I think that when we have devices that incorporate holographic projectors with built-in touch screen technology then these Mobile devices will truly have come of age. Obviously, this throws down the gauntlet to the battery creators to provide a more powerful, longer lasting battery. Perhaps, like the Seiko Kinetic watches these devices will be powered by movement of the Human body or the batteries will be charged by this.

I did Google the term “holographic touch screen” and it seems that others have thought in this direction but so far, not yet for Mobile devices. Time will tell.

My parents try to visit us from the UK at least once a year and they are here now. My son loves having Grandma and Grandpa here of course and we like it too; living far away from family is not always easy, even with Skype and such to keep you in touch.

My Dad has one prerequisite for travel; he has to be able to use his email and internet. My younger brother (the one who owns the hardware/ cellular solutions/ web design company) knew I had just changed from ADSL to Cable and hearing I was no longer Wi-Fi compliant stuffed a Cable router in my Dad’s luggage for me.

After a really helpful conversation with my Cable provider/ ISP I was able to plug in the router and define all the necessary settings and today my Dad was able to sit in the salon and surf the net or deal with his email from his clients.

Of course, technology is idiosyncratic so I have to boot up the Cable modem for two minute before I plug in the router and then boot my PC. Furthermore, neither my PDA nor my Dad’s laptop would display web pages until I cleaned the IE cache but what’s life without a little challenge?
Finally, thanks to my determination not to give up and me being increasingly forceful and uncompromising with my ADSL provider I got them to rebate me two months of costs.

I had cut-off and informed them in October and they continued to bill me for a service that one month prior I could no longer connect to. Coincidentally, I had turned down upgrading my connection speed from 0.75 to 1.5 mbps (as they told me, almost no one else has such slow ADSL and they don’t really support it any more); whenI said no that was when my troubles seemed to begin but hey a coicidence is just a coincidence, no? Or as Mulder and Scully used to say, “The truth is out there.”

Money aside I was very pleased with the Cable broadband, it was reliable and seemed fast. One strange thing was how certain applications didn’t “like” Cable at 1mbps as much as ADSL at 0.75 mbps for example Second Life. After some testing I discovered that my 128 Mb Graphics card cannot render Second Life vector graphics fast enough to keep up with the Broadband Cable.

Luckilly, Second Life allows the user to reduce bandwidth in the settings and with a few more tweaks it worked just fine.

The moral I suppose is never assume that more power isn’t going to cause new problems.
My son is an overachiever at two years of age. He decided that a simple ear infection was no good so a few days before his birthday he dragged us to the ER with an outstanding example of Mastoiditis. Every Doctor and his brother got to know our little man as he was displayed as a text book case, apparently not something they get to see every day.

Nearly three weeks later the poor little fella sports a scar behind his ear from where the surgeons drained an abcess and still is getting IV antibiotics once a day now we are home. Being in hospital was tough on him and emotionally and physically tough on us. The worry aside, sleeping on a cot and being woken during the night is not conducive to great health even in the best of hospitals.

Of course, we felt extremely cut off from our day to day life. You get pretty dependent on seeing your email and surfing the web at least once a day whether to read the news or go to your favorite websites.

Once again my one-two punch of Cellular phone as modem and PDA gave me a way to connect to the outside world in one of the few hospital wards without WiFi. My HP IPAQ had me up and running connected to my Gmail, Facebook (to let all my friends know where we vanished to and my son’s status) and the Windows Mobile Messaging let me download the headers for all my Outlook email.

Of course you need the energy to actually do all this, something I was lacking even when the little man was fast asleep. I managed to subsist during our stay on a steady diet of coke and espresso, oh yes and Tums. Still when I did go online it was a nice feeling to see the world was still there.

Now we are home and until the Doctors give him the all clear to go back to nursery he won’t let me get on the computer, he needs to!