Blog posts made on 19-Oct-06
Online CFUG Goes Offline At MAX

Steve Erat has announced that the Online ColdFusion Meetup Group will be meeting offline Tuesday evening at MAX. It's great to see more and more unofficial events and impromptu meetings cropping up. After all, networking (the social kind, not WiFi) is a big part of the MAX experience.

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Lots of you have been asking if there will be WiFi at MAX this year (as there has been in the past). And yes, there will be WiFi available in the exhibit area, as well as in the foyers on levels 3, 4, and 5. The SSID and access code will be prominently posted, too.

So yes, you can blog away and post Flickr pictures to your heart's content. And I guess you can work too, if that is absolutely necessary.

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Back To Taiwan For MAX Asia

Looks like I'll be heading over to Taipei the week after MAX for MAX Asia (well, the first venue, MAX Asia will actually be held in three locations). I was last there for MAX Asia 2004 (MAX Asia 2005 was in Hong Kong) and am excited to be going back.

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Nokia E62 24 Hours Review

Yes, I did it. I promised myself I wouldn't, I don't need the distraction now with MAX days away. But I could not help myself. I'm a gadget junkie, and I needed that Nokia E62 I mentioned yesterday.

I've been using it for almost 24 hours, so time to share my initial thoughts, both the positive and the negative.

First the positive:

  • The first thing you'll notice is the screen, it is beautiful! I think the color and image is brighter and sharper than any phone, MP3 player, and even portable game console that I have ever seen. It's an absolute pleasure to look at.
  • The device feels very light. I think that's a pro, although I keep checking to see that I have not lost it. I guess I'll get used to that.
  • The phone audio quality is superb. Maybe I am so used to lousy Treo call quality that I have forgotten what phones should sound like, but this one is a treat. And folks on the other end of the connection commented that they could hear me better than usual. Huh, a phone that is a good quality phone. What will they think of next?
  • Bluetooth synched up with everything I threw at it, including my car. Pairing was flawless, every device was found and just worked. And one bonus, if you are wearing a connected Bluetooth headset you'll hear alarms, reminder beeps, and other alerts via the headset - no other device has ever done that for me before. I did find one problem, as noted below.
  • The best surprise thus far has been the built in web browser. It is fast, clear, and displayed any sites I tried perfectly. This puts Blazer and even Opera Mobile to shame. Navigation is a little weird without a stylus, but you get used to it quickly.
  • I installed Google Maps Mobile to it. Google will tell you that the device may not be supported, but it does indeed work and work very well. I have yet to find a way to turn off the constant checking that the app has permission to go online, if anyone has figured that out please share.
  • Battery life is great, and charge time is very good.
  • The keyboard is much more comfortable than the Treo's. It is wider, so that is part of it. But just as important is that they've made important keys readily available, like / and \ and @ (good luck finding the \ on the Treo).
  • The synchronization software is very good, it just works. It does not seem to be as configurable as Palm's HotSynch Manager or Microsoft ActiveSynch, but thus far I have not needed anything but the defaults. And synch time (even the first synch, over 500 contacts and thousands of calendar entries) was very fast.

And now the negative:

  • The device is horribly uncomfortable to hold next to your ear. It comes with an ear bud, use it. Or use a Bluetooth headset. You don't want to be holding this to your head for any extended periods.
  • The device sometimes feels sluggish, even without lots of apps loaded.
  • Major oversight alert! No auto keypad lock? What were they thinking? Any phone that is not a flip phone MUST have an auto keypad lock feature. This is just asinine! Fortunately others must feel the same, there are several freely available auto-lock utilities out there. I downloaded AutoLock which is perfect and does the trick. Make this the first app you install, and make sure you get the version for S60 3rd Edition.
  • The voice record button is terribly placed. I have several oops recordings saved now, and more to follow I am sure.
  • The built in apps are ok, same are even good. But the Calendar app is appalling. It won't let you access notes attached to meetings! Huh? Apparently this is a longstanding known issue. Unacceptable. I installed Papyrus, a replacement calendar app which boasts that it'll let you see all data "including an item's note/description fields". This app shares the data store with the integrated calendar app, so this may be the solution.
  • The SMS client is lousy. No chat mode for starters. Address book lookup is not automatic as you type. And when you delete an open message, the next message is not automatically opened, you need to go back and open it manually. It just feels not very thought through. I need to find a replacement, something more like the Treo client (which is really good).
  • As already noted, Bluetooth works very well. But it does not seem to be publishing extended data to Acura HFL. The phone works with the car, but signal strength and battery life are not displayed in the car (the Treo displays signal strength but not battery life, the Sony Ericsson devices I have tested all displayed both). Bummer, hopefully they'll have a software update to fix that at some point.
  • The device does not come with a case, and there don't seem to be any right size cases in the stores yet. Fortunately, the Treo case fit (more or less).
  • I have not used the MiniSD card socket yet, mainly because I have lots of SD cards but no mini ones. And with the card socket under the back cover (yes, you need to remove the battery cover to get to the socket!) I highly doubt I ever well.

Bottom line, the E62 is a lot of phone crammed into a small case (thinner than Treo, but wider). The device is light and feels less solid and rugged than Treo or the Windows device I have tried, not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing yet. Not having a stylus and touch screen feels odd, but I need to give it some time I guess. Will I keep this one? I am not sure yet - I have 30 days to decide. Make that 29.

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Greg Cannon On How To Keep Busy At MAX

Greg Cannon uses ColdFusion, Flash, Photoshop, and more. He's involved with the Las Vegas Adobe Users Group. Oh, and he also happens to work for The Venetian (home to MAX next week). So who better to keep is informed of the MAX bar scene?

As per Greg, this is how you should be spending your non-MAX time:

  • Sunday: MiniMAX at "The Beach"
  • Monday: Tao (at The Venetian) starting 8:30, cover is waived, no line with Max Badge
  • Tuesday: V Bar (at The Venetian) starting 7:30, cover is waived, no line with Max Badge
  • Wednesday: Max Special Event
  • Thursday: V Bar (at The Venetian) starting 7:30, cover is waived, no line with Max Badge
  • Friday: Las Vegas Dreamweaver Users Group event

Just one note of caution - "I was up late partying" will not be accepted as an excuse for showing up late to my early sessions! ;-)

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