Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Sunday, November 18, 2007

Last spring when the details on the iPhone were released, I was excited about it, but not too excited about a two year Cingular (I mean AT&T) contract, nor only having EDGE GPRS on it. Visual Voicemail looked cool, as did the SMS app that looked like the old MS Chat program with speech bubbles. I thought (and so did a lot of other people who posted on gadget blogs) "Looks cool... if it were only an iPod with that form factor and touch screen, I'd be all over it like a fat kid on a Smartie." Then a couple months ago, they announced the iPod Touch. An iPhone without the phone. Cool. Following the birth of the touchscreen iPod came the inevitable afterbirth: 8gb or 16gb. Eww. 16gb for a video player? Yawn. Wake me up when they release an 80gb or higher version.

Then I actually played with one (ok it was an iPhone Safari browser via WiFi, but same diff, really) and thought to myself "that's pretty cool... and it has a WiFi radio and Safari on it, plays videos, has the same size screen as my PSP.." and then that got me to thinking:

Playstation Portable iPod Touch 16gb
4.3" widescreen 480x272 3.5" widescreen 480x320
32mb Memory Stick Pro Duo (upgraded to 1gb MSPD) 16gb Flash memory
user-replaceable battery tough shit
has WiFi 802.11b has WiFi 802.11b/g
has browser w/awful text input, no javascript has Safari browser with better text input, javascript, cookies, supports AJAX
170mmx74mmx23mm & 260g 110mmx61.8x8mm & 120g
requires processing from xvid to MP4 (Videora PSPvideo9) requires processing from xvid to H.264 (Videora iPod Touch Convertor)

I realized that the biggest gripe I had was the memory size; 16gb. Then I realized that I had been making do with 1gb on the PSP, and had even stopped carrying the PSP with me on the plane because it was getting too be too much to carry around. The only plus for the PSP was that it also played games, but I haven't used it for that in over a year. Belay that, the other plus was that if I was on the road, I could bring more video on my laptop, convert it and then load it up via USB from my laptop, where the iPod is "linked" to my desktop computer where all my media lives, so if I'm on a long trip, I can't re-load new video without erasing everything on it and starting over, and then doing it again when I got home and re-homed it to my desktop.

Last week I had to make a daytrip to Miami, so I swung by Circuit City in Doral and after 3.5 years, they finally let me down: they didn't have the 16gb iPod Touch in stock. They sent me to the Hialeah store to pick it up instead. Anyway, as soon as I got it out of the box and plugged it in to my laptop and registered it, I got on the WiFi network in the office and was off and running. Wow. cool. I went to docjelly.com to see what it looked like. Tiny. I rotated the screen and it got slightly bigger, but still not big enough... then I remembered the multi-touch stuff from the iPhone commercial so I tried it... and it works on the Touch, too. Amazing and impressive and most importantly USEFUL. When you first zoom in or out, things look a little jaggedy, but then it cleans right up, fonts are crisp and easy to read and the high-res screen makes inline images look awesome. I immediately set up a few bookmarks: sports.yahoo.com/nhl cbcsports.ca docjelly.com of course, m.facebook.com and meebo.com

Facebook auto-starts the mobile application when you connect to it on the Touch, and Meebo recognizes you as an iPhone user and gives you the special interface for that, too. Friggin awesome. With all the open (on purpose or not) WiFi points on the island, it's practically covered.

When I was playing with the Safari/WiFi browser on the iPhone, I asked Jim "How do you find the keyboard?" and he said "it automatically comes up when you touch somewhere that requires typing" ba-dum-bump. NO jackass, how do you find USING it... "OH, haha...I thought you meant..." :) yeah yeah, that's almost as old as "how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice! Practice!" You definitely need to keep your fingernails trimmed. Note to the ladies with the acrylics: this interface is not for you. I made some fat-fingered mistakes at the beginning, but the spell-check is pretty good and it even has some predictive completion too.

I still prefer the keyboard on my Blackberry Curve, so I don't think I'll be shopping for an unlocked iPhone anytime soon, hence the title of the post, but these two devices together (Blackberry for email and notifications via EDGE) and then iPod Touch via WiFi for on-the-go connectivity as well as podcasts, videos and music is going to be a killer combination. Now if only I could get a PDF viewer and a Documents-to-go type of Word/Excel viewer...

Sunday, November 18, 2007 1:14:13 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Tech | Gadgets | Wireless | WWW#
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