Google Desktop for the Mac

Today Google announced Google Desktop for the Mac.

Here is the article from Macworld. The feature that got my attention was:

“Google Desktop can also help you find deleted files. According to the company, Google Desktop creates cached copies (or snapshots) of your files and other items each time you view them, and stores these copies on your Mac?s hard drive. As a result, you can often use Desktop to find prior versions of your files or ones you?ve accidentally deleted.”

Update on Jott

Update on Jott – there was review in The 4/2/07 issue of of the Mercury News (which I pasted below in case it gets moved). Once piece of info that I was not aware of is that the service does not use speech-to-text technology – there is someone in India that listens to to the message and transcribes it. Hmmmm.

“I get some of my best ideas when I’m out bicycle riding, but I worry that I’ll forget them by the time I get home. I rarely have pen and paper with me, so sometimes I call my home answering machine to leave a message about the idea. But now I can use my cell phone to “jott” it down by calling a toll-free number and dictating the message. When I get home, it will be in my e-mail inbox.

The free Jott service not only lets you send messages to yourself, but also lets you use your voice to send e-mail or text messages to friends and colleagues.

Setting it up is very easy. You go to to open an account and give it your cell phone number and e-mail address along with the names, cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses of people you wish to contact. You can also import contacts from Outlook, Outlook Express, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and other services.

Jott will assign you a toll-free number to call when you’re ready to send a message. A recorded voice asks “Who to you want to jott?” You can say “me” or the name of any of your contacts. It then confirms your choice and asks you to speak your message. When you’re finished, you hang up or wait to record another Jott.

If it’s a message to another person you have the option to have it sent immediately via e-mail as a voice recording or to have it sent as both text and audio. If you chose the latter there will be a short delay while someone in India actually listens to the message and transcribes it

The goal, said Jott CEO John Pollard, is to get messages transcribed within a couple of minutes, but there could be delays during peak periods. Be warned that a Jott contractor in India will hear your message.

Another service,, offers a number of services including the ability to dictate memos to yourself from a cell phone that it sends to your e-mail box. Spinvox also has a nifty voice mail feature that turns your incoming voice mail into text messages or e-mail, saving you the trouble of having to listen to your messages.”

The electric car for the rest of us?

Phoenix Motors has an all electric SUV and SUT that they will start selling in late 2007. Their primary focus in 2007 is on fleet sales to companies, organizations and agencies in California needing economical, energy-efficient, zero-emission, mid-sized sports utility trucks (SUTs) and SUVs. Reviews I have seen put the price at around $45k.

It is no Tesla, but then it hauls more than 2 people and costs half as much.

A timeline of notes to self

First there was writing notes to self in notebooks or on random scraps of paper.

Second there was writing notes on stickies.

Third there was the Palm III, then Palm V, to capture notes.

Fourth there was writing notes on stickies and keeping them inside the Palm V case. (not my most efficient use of technology)

Fifth there was calling my work number and leaving messages for myself. Downside of this phase was that I would come into work the next morning and get bummed because I missed a call – then I realized it was my call, not so bummed.

Sixth there was sending self emails from Treo. Thought I would be at this phase for awhile.

But now we have a seventh phase – Jott.

– Step 1: Set up account – for FREE!

– Step 2: Call the toll free number and leave message. Most effective way is to program a “shortcut” on the Treo so all I have to do is hold down a specific key for a few seconds, the number is dialed, leave message.

– Step 3: The message is transcribed to text and sent to your email. You can also manage your “jotts” via their web interface.

– Step 4: there is no step 4!

In my testing so far the text to speech is pretty darn accurate. Left myself a jott to “Call Alex Buccieri to return his call”. Jott transcribed this to “Call [name:Alex?] to return his call”

Oh. My. Good.?

How to solve your Window Vista issues

You have 2 choices:

– go back to Windows XP

– get a Mac

In Thomas Hawk’s latest blog entry he discusses how Chris Pirillo is moving back to Windows XP after struggling with Vista. Thomas’ point is if a “power user” like Chris is struggling with Vista, how do you think the average user will do.

Thomas was a self-admitted diehard Windows user for 16 years until he bought a MacBookPro on a whim. After a short learning curve, we have yet another Mac evangelist.

Beleaguered Palm?

As a former employee of what the press loved to refer to as “beleaguered Apple Computer” from the mid to late 90’s (and we know how that turned out) – I have trouble losing alot of sleep over this article at Macworld.

Mike Elgan describes the admittedly convoluted path of company names that gets us to today’s Palm and then says Palm will fail unless it does somthing great. Well duh – isn’t that true for any company – if you don’t evolve you die?

What is Palm’s future and is it on the right path? WAY above my pay grade but I am still jazzed about the current products, excited about the future products, and supportive of the internal changes taking place to make Palm a better company.

Check back in a year – I plan on still being at this great company.

Too much to read and too little time

One of the webs greatest strengths is the awesome amount of material out there.

One of the webs greatest weaknesses is the awesome amount of material out there.

One of the best ways to manage the information is to use Really Simple Syndication – aka RSS. I live by my RSS reader. Here is a great article from Macworld to get you started in the wonderful world of RSS.

BTW – I am currently using NetNewsWire (a part of the Newsgator family) to read my feeds. I have also played with Google Reader briefly but found some issues when using Google Reader on a mobile device.

Radio waves can make you smarter

A recent study in Japan (sponsored by the 3 largest cellular carriers) finds that cell phone signals pose no danger to humans.

The study focused on cellular base stations and finds that their transmissions pose no risk humans. The research also indicated that people close to GSM or 3G base stations perform better in cognitive tests regarding memory, concentration, reaction time and hand-to-eye coordination – wonder if I can get Cingular to put a tower in my backyard?

Tog on the iPhone

Bruce Tognazzini, an ex-Apple employee that is a fanatic regarding User Interface, reviews the iPhone.

Favorite quote:

“The ?cool? of owning this phone, particularly for the early adopters, is worth an easy $497, bringing the phone itself down to $2 even.For those who might doubt such a high value of cool, consider the self-winding Rolex, which sports 1/10th the accuracy of a Timex at 1000 times the price. With Rolex, the technology is grossly inferior, and still people will pay thousands to own it. With the iPhone, the technology is clearly superior.”

MacBrainiac Challenge

One of the events at Macworld San Francisco is the MacBrainiac Challenge.

Want to test your Mac knowledge – here is the questions/challenges from the event.

FYI – I was stumped.

FYI2 – looking through the comments looks like this jaysoffian person was pretty darn close. Funny, I know a Jay Soffian but I did not think he was such a Mac geek.

FYI3 – here are the answers – but not peeking until after you read the questions.

myThoughts on the iPhone

Watched the MacWorld San Francisco keynote yesterday at Apple with Geoff and Brian. I have watched many keynotes and I think I may be starting to develop a resistance to the Steve Job Reality Distortion Field – The AppleTV is cool, the iPhone not as cool.

AppleTV – When the iTV was demoed last fall it got me thinking how I could integrate it into our current entertainment system at Rancho Gibson. It is great having cool technology, but it has to pass the Beverly Test – can mom figure it how to use, does it enhance her entertainment time, and does using it reduce stress or increase stress. Some new technologies have been more successful than others – the most successful to date has been TiVO.

[side topic – when I first told Beverly about TiVo I got this blank stare and was asked “what does it do for me?” I showed her TiVo in action and the rest is history]

I can see the advantages of being able to pull movies, music, and photos off of the Macs in the house to play on our primary entertainment provider – the TV. But I am not sure if Bev will. Leaning towards getting an AppleTV, but still need to do some more research and soul-searching before making the leap.

iPhone – Maybe I have a different perspective because I work at what has become a phone company – Palm – and deal with phone/carrier issues daily. The physical design and the User Interface made me sit up and say WOW! But as a user of a smart-phone I have some reservations (in no particular order)

– Screen – Those of you who know me know I can’t stand fingerprints on my monitors at work – I can see myself having an epileptic episode over the finger prints and face oil all over the screen.

-Keyboard (or lack of) – I do a fair amount of SMS and email on my current Treo. I am concerned about the lack of tactile feel when using the soft keyboard. I think I need the “little plastic keyboards”.

For Palm our QWERTY keyboard is a key feature for heavy email users, and really for any robust data entry. Palm has made plenty of products over the years with soft-key onscreen keyboards and have found that they don?t produce the optimum experience for customers. It is also difficult to determine whether the iPhone allows one-hand navigation ? another key feature with the Treo smart-phone.

– Robustness – The screen sure is pretty, but what happens when you drop it? Will it survive a drop from 5’+ when is slips out from between your shoulder and ear?

– Radio – EDGE radio? Granted my current Treo (a Treo 680) is EDGE, but if I need to do any serious web surfing I use my Treo 700p that is on Sprint’s EVDO network. Granted I am an exception that I have multiple phones – but then I do work at a phone company. But if Apple is pushing it as an internet device what kind of performance are you going to get when you are not able to access WiFi.

EDGE radio downloads in the 150kb range. EVDO is in the 500-700kb range – quite a difference. Steve said 3G performance was coming – I’ll wait.

– Battery – From what I have seen the battery is not replaceable. I think Palm learned that not an optimal solution with the Treo 600. Additionally battery life is a BIG issue with users. I heard the time talk time and video playback times during the keynote – but your real-world experience may vary. It will be interesting to find out how well it manages battery life given its dimensions and heavy multimedia applications.

Here are some comments from others

Time Magazine

David Pogue

Bottom line is that the iPhone has lots of WOW factor – just concerned how it will play out in the real world. Granted the UI on the Treo could use some improvement from what we have today – but not sure I want the trade-offs to get the iPhone UI.

A Mac Geek Xmas

Now that we have the pesky holidays out of they way (:-) – anticipation grows for Santa Jobs’ visit.

It is Macworld San Francisco Keynote eve and I have this anticipation building that reminds me WAY to much of the XMas eve jitters I would get when a kid.

Lots of rumours of what Santa Jobs will bring to us tomorrow, but I am not going to speculate. Don’t want to get my hopes up and be disappointed. But at 9am tomorrow morning my focus will be on one thing, and one thing only.

MacBU is looking for users who can think outloud

Last week I had the opportunity to go to the Microsoft campus here in Silicon Valley and participate in a User Trial for some upcoming Mac products. Regardless if you are a Microsoft fan or not, Entourage, their email program, is arguably the strongest on the Mac platform – and is an app I live in every day.

The Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) is looking for Mac users of Microsoft products that live in the bay area to participate in on-going user studies. If interested, sign up on their site. Not only do you get a chance to influence development of future products you get free stuff – and we all know that “free is good”

No longer a secret

I think most of you are aware that I work at Palm – been here for a couple of years.

Yesterday we introduced the Treo 680, a project I have been working since late last year and am pretty damn proud of. I have been using the Treo 680 as my primary phone for about 6 months and it has been a great smartphone. The most visible difference is the lack of an external antenna (aka “the handle”) and even though it is with in millimeters in size compared to the Treo 650/700, it looks and feels smaller and lighter.

Technology-wise, alot of effort was put into the peformance of the radio and the audio sub-system, the user interface, and the standard applications on the device. The radio is still an EDGE radio (same as in Treo 650), so you do not get the “broadband” performance, but the “strength” of the call signal is best in class.

Now if I can only find a set of the colored plastics – I really want a set of the Orange plastics (aka Copper).

Brad has a blog – sort of

The Macintosh Business Unit, aka MacBU, has started a blog – Mac Mojo.

It is discusses all things MacBU related – and of the 5 articles on the blog (as of 8/31/06) – 2 of them are from my friend, I like to think good friend, Brad Post.

When I read the title of the 2nd entry – 80,000 lines of assembly code, Cold Fusion, a Russian winter and one bad TLB entry …. – I knew exactly who it was, did not have to read the rest of the post.

In his second entry – Bugs, how I love them … – he describes his first hard bug at Apple and I am proud to say “I was there”. I was not directly involved with the testing of the bug, but was in the same group and we were all very aware of this bug and the effort he and DC put into it.

Brad – welcome to the blogging world. Looking to reading more from you.

(BTW – when are we going to do lunch 😉

Suggestions for Leopard

In the latest issue of TidBITS, Adam and the gang put forth their ideas for the “secret” new features for Leopard that Steve alluded to during the WWDC keynote.

The one that caught my eye, and for some reason made me think of BL 😉 was:

**Smarter Finder** — Speaking of the Finder, rumor has it that Apple is working on it for Leopard, and we have some pet peeves we’d love to see addressed beyond performance. There are still times the Finder doesn’t notice new files appearing, which is confusing at best, and its warning when you’re copying multiple files over files with the same names really needs the chronological information available when copying a single file over an identically named item. Other complaints include the default button when changing the extension of a file’s name (if you’re changing the extension, in most cases you probably intend to change it, so that should be the default); the way the Finder selects the original file after you duplicate it, rather than the copy that you probably want to work on; the tendency of a folder to be scrolled out of sight when you rename it; and the way the Show Original contextual menu command doesn’t always (if ever) select an alias’s original file. Apple could do worse than to study Cocoatech’s Path Finder for hints on how to address these and other small usability problems with the Finder.

I can hear BL ranting commenting on this feature.

Checkout the article for their other ideas – including one regarding FileVault.

Not what I was thinking when read Apple went to Boot Camp

When I was in the Air Force – Boot Camp had a whole different meaning.

Today Apple announced their own Boot Camp – software to enable you to run Mac OS X or Windows on fancy new Intel based Mac.

Pros: can run windows apps that I am required to at work; can run PC games (the boys will love that feature)

Cons: can not run windows app simultaneous with the Mac apps – like I can with Virtual PC

This solution meets some needs, but my biggest need is to be able to run Windows and Mac OS X at the same time – here’s to hoping Microsoft is still working on a version of Virtual PC for the Intel based Macs.