Category Archives: Technology

Review of Motorola V330 and T-Mobile

About two months ago, I decided that it was time to give my old Nokia cellphone a break. I had it for about 2.5 years and it always worked very well. My original carrier was AT&T and then they merged with Cingular. The service with AT&T was always very good. I always had excellent signal reception in Austin, and when I traveled to other cities (Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, NY, Boston, Washington…) it always seemed to work just fine.

Since I was content with AT&T, I tried to see my options for upgrading the phone. I was willing to sign another 2 year contract with them, in exchange for a free phone (and retaining my phone number). But unfortunately, they only offer those options to new or switching customers. I find that bussiness practice totally absurd. Why give a free phone to a new customer, but not to an existing loyal one?

So after calling them a couple of times and visiting stores like Best Buy, I understood that my best option was to switch carrier.

So I call a friend who uses T-Mobile and asked him about it and he told me that T-Mobile was a good carrier. So I went ahead and bought a T-Mobile plan.

Motorola V330

The plan included the Motorola V330 which is a bluetooth camera phone supported by iSync.

I’ve been using this phone + plan for two months and I’m really dissapointed. In other words: T-Mobile sucks!

My phone is always searching for signal. The reception sucks. I don’t receive phone calls all the time. I get text messages 30 minutes after they were sent. I would rank AT&T service with 10 and T-Mobile with 4. So if you live in Texas, don’t sign with T-Mobile!

Regarding the phone, I’m not very happy either. I’m sure that part of the bad reception is caused by the phone, because otherwise I’m sure my friend would never had recommended me T-Mobile. I also like the simple Nokia style better; I don’t like opening an closing a clam-type phone all the time.

I must say that phone integration with iSync worked very well. I was also able to use bluetooth to copy MP3 soundtracks to my phone and use them as ring tones. That is actually really cool. I converted the MP3 song to WAV, croped it to 30 seconds, changed it from stereo to mono, converted it back to MP3 and uploaded it to the phone. Now Connection from Elastica plays everytime the “…vital connection is made”.

Flickr integration

I decided to give Flickr a try and created an account and installed a WordPress plugin in my site to support it. I need to say that the integration was very easy and I like the results. I also installed a plugin to export my pictures directly from iPhoto to Flickr.

Flick has some constrains on free accounts:
– Only 20 MB can be uploaded each month
– Only 200 pictures will be hosted by Flickr. They say that after 200, you can still access your pictures, but I’m not sure if this works with WordPress.

I decided that I can live with those constrains if I use Flickr only to upload the pictures that I like the most. So let’s see how this new experiment of becoming a professional photographer works!

NI Week – Day Three

Sorry for not posting sooner about the last NI Week day. I didn’t really spent much time there, since I only attended the morning keynote. It was given by Jeff Clarke, Senior Vice President of Dell Computer Corporation.

The main point in the keynote was ‘Standardisation’. When a technology becomes a standard, its cost drops significantly, the performance improves and more choices are available. At the end everyone benefits from standard technology.

A mouse that years ago was a revolutionary device is now a days a standard technology.

Unfortunately, there are many examples that show that not always the best technology available becomes the standard.

You can watch the three keynotes here.

NI Week – Day two!

Yesterday the Robolab mentoring went pretty well. I was assigned to a group of guys from an Ohio company called Inoveris that produces digital media (CDs, DVDs, …) and a professor. They were the Robolab challenge champions at NIWeek 2004, so I thought that they were not going to need much help from me. But since the laptops we got to build our programs were iBooks I got in charge of writting the software because I was familiar with the OS. Out of 6 missions, we were able to complete 4 in the 3 hour time slot we got. We picked the easiest missions and our software and hardware was actually very simple. We didn’t use touch or light sensors, only the motors and timing. Let’s see how things work out tonight.

This morning I went to Las Manitas again and then headed to the convention center for the keynote. Later I attended to a session called ‘Extreme Home Automation’ which made me think about doing some cool ‘home improvements‘ and then attended to a session showing how LabVIEW was taking advantage of three of the main features in Tiger OS X: Spotlight, Dashboard and Automator. I can see the Spotlight integration very useful, to quickly find VIs.

Now I’m back at work, but I’ll go to the convention center again this afternoon to cheer for my team in the Robolab challenge.

Update:
The Robolab contest was very fun and my team did very well. We ended up in 5th position.

Tomorrow is the last NI Week day and I think I’m only going to attend to the keynote.

NI Week – Day One

I always thought it was very cool when people go to a conference and daily log their activities. So I’m going to try to do the same.

I woke up early today and went with my sister, Marcos, Alejandro, Andres and Raffaele to Las Manitas Mexican restaurant to have breakfast. Then we headed to the convention center and got good seats to see the keynote.

The keynote was very cool with very nice demos. The one I liked the most where a Compact Fielpoint system controlling 3 inverted pendulums. Another very cool one was a bearing sorting machine using Vision and Motion products.

Then I went to a presentation from the OpenG.org and they got me really interested into open source development. Perhaps I could try to create a LabVIEW based application, and put it out there as an open source project.

I had lunch with the Integration Services group at PF Changs, and now I’m here waiting to hear a presentation called: Designing Plug-in User Interface Modules in LabVIEW.

Later at 4pm my group will be giving a presentation so I’ll be there as backup.

And at 5:30pm I’m going to be working as a RoboLab mentor for the RoboLab challenge. I hope that works fine.

Mac OS X Essentials

A friend just bought one of the new 12″ PowerBooks and since this is his first mac, I wanted to send him a list of some applications that I use all the time.

Here is the list:

Quicksilver

Application launcher

VLC

Video player.

MPlayer

Another videp player

Httpmail-plugin

Download your Hotmail email to Mail.app

Skype

Talk with your friends (supports multiple OSs)

Microsoft Messenger

Microsoft Remote Desktop Client

Connect to PCs running Windows XP.

TextWrangler

Text Editor

Gimme tha PowerBook!

I looked today at Apple Store special deals website and found that they had a very cheap refurbished PowerBook:

Apple Certified PowerBook G4 12-inch TFT

PowerBook G4 1.33GHz/ 256MB/ 60GB/ SuperDrive/ AP Extreme Card/ E/ 12-inch/ Aluminum – Apple Certified

Original price: $1,799.00

Your price: $1,299.00

� Save 28% off the original price

So I told Kirsch about it, because I knew he was looking to buy one. Then he says to me: you should buy it!

I've been wanting to buy a new Apple computer for a while, since my iBook G3 600MHz is almost 3 years old, and I told my mom I was going to give it to her. So the idea of buying it started jumping in my head, until I finally decided to buy it.

But wait! there is more!

Now Marcos is suggesting me that instead of giving my iBook to my mom, I should sell it on eBay and with the money I can buy a Mac Mini for my mom… that actually sounded like a great idea.


UPDATE

I'm writting this update from my new PowerBook!

Impact 128 MB SD Card and Pentax Optio S4i don't work!

During the thanksgiving weekend I purchased an Impact 128 MB secure digital memory card for my digital camera (Optio S4i) at Walmart, because the price was really low (U$15). My friend Vanessa also purchased two memory cards of the same brand.

When I tried the memory in my camera, it seemed to work ok, but I noticed that the camera was taking more time to record the pictures. But then after taking a few more pictures, the camera displayed a black screen with the following message:

“Memory card error”

Vanessa also tried her memory and both cards failed with the same error message.

I even tried to format the memory card with the camera and it failed to do so.

I want to try the memory with a different type of camera to see whether the problem is caused when using that type of memory with an Optio S4i, or if it is a problem with the cards.



I have another memory SanDisk and it has been working great for the last 6 months.