G1 google android phone – half a week in and loving it

A quick follow-up in form of notes on my G1 experience:
1. hands-off music on!

I discovered that I can press the ‘accept call button’ on my wired stereo headset to start the mp3 player without having to touch the phone. Awesome!

2. Exchanging contacts
When meeting another G1 owner, the question is always, how to exchange contact info the quickest. One obviously is to send it as an email, but that means typing in the others email address which is already half the contact info you wanted to share. The other is rather surprisingly smart: Use the application Barcode scanner – you select which URL/clipboard-entry/contact entry you want to share, and it shows it on the display as a 2D barcode. The other user just holds his camera over it running the same application, and *bleep* it transfers. Wow.

3. Other cute apps:
– bubble: shows how level something is using the accelerometers
– tiker: show stream of flickr

4. Chassis issues
I find that I am also bothered by the design deficiencies of the phone: Since you charge through the same USB port that you connect your wired headset to it’s either or, not both at the same time. And when I have my headset wired in, then typing on the keyboard is more awkward than the elevated right chassis half already makes it. Still would not trade it for an iphone with its touch screen keyboard ever though, ha ha ha !

4. Camera issues
The camera delay really sucks! It is hard to take a snapshot of a situation unless its really frozen in time in front of you. The resolution and sharpness is OK, but depending on the angle I see some fisheye effect (bent surfaces that should be straight).

5. web browser rendering issues

I noticed that the slower than treo webbrowser rendering does not really matter as much with 3G as it would have with edge.

I still would wish the caching and background loading of multiple pages would work better, the same grief I had with my iphone-1.

6. Battery lifetime
It is not as bad as with the treo, and once connected to an outlet it charges real fast. I charge about once to twice a day depending on how heavily I use it. And I use it heavily 🙂

7. Adding ringtones from any mp3 song is just sweet.

So my summary – I am loving it and find out new things all the time.

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My first day with the Google Android G1 phone – yeah I did it!

It’s not as if I had not given it plenty of thought 🙂 I even owned the first generation iphone for about a week before dropping back to my treo 680 – and if having full enterprise email access (via goodlink service) would not cost me $240/year in fees on top of the wireless internet plans on the 680, I might even still be ok with that.

So finally after hesitating for almost a year, I jumped ship, knowing that I won’t have my enterprise calendar/email for a while longer but at least have a decent internet phone, I bought it through costco to get the extra bluetooth piece and car-charger for almost the same price, and I am happy and very impressed !

First notable impressions (I already read all the reviews beforehand and knew what to expect for the most part, won’t mention those things here)

1. I could mount the phones storage through usb on my linux system and just copy over the images and mp3’s that I wanted to take with me. Take that, apple/iphone! Yes I own the content that I import, not you. And I will plug in a larger micro-SD card as soon as I got it from tigerdirect.

There was however a weird thing that the partition on the storage only showed up once I selected ‘mount though usb’ on the G1 phone side, but once I had googled that tidbit of information it worked like a charm, and Fedora 9 mounted it for me automatically.

2. application marketplace

Holy moly more than I care to know about.  So I used search to find what I was most interested in and had heard about, and tried out some of the featured apps as well. I did not see any for-pay apps yet.

Interesting that before installing you are asked to read multiple pages of license stuff that all is very uninteresting for a user. I wonder if that can even be legally binding if they hide something in there that actually matters – most of it talks about rights to copying software, how does that relate to a phone user downloading it through the marketplace that the company provides it through is beyond me.

Also interesting that before installing it tells you what the application requests to get control over, i.e. your address book, your wifi connection, your gps location, for-pay services like SMS…  and just like with Windows XP AntiVirus/AntiSpyware systems you have to OK all those things anyways to get it to work. But at least you are warned 🙂

With all those services asking for a signup I am surprised that we don’t have automatic fill-in of first-name last-name into the signup forms…

Here are the 8 apps  I installed on my first try:

– ShopSavvy (not ShopSawy 🙂 )- point your camera at a bar-code and it tries to identify the item, get you prices and locations. At first I was real impressed, I tried it with a book and it found it right away, quoted me three different prices and locations to buy it at, and with two clicks I got my gps telling me how to get there from where I currently was. Very cool. It also quoted a cheaper online price, did not pursue that.

So I thought, yeah this is as cool as I read about it before. My wife came home and I tried to impress her: I tried it with two vegetable cans and it could not grasp the barcode – probably since it was round? I tried a cereal box and it read the barcode then said it found nothing. Mhm, so maybe not that much stuff in the database yet…

– pacman – looks like the original. You can use the accelerator method to navigate it, which means instead of pressing keys you tilt your phone – almost like a wee control 🙂

– bonsai blast – nice color game, not tried to really play it yet

– imap weather – does what it needs to do plus more. Fails to find my location sometimes and then crashes. Not impressed.

– Wertago – ‘where to go’ nightlife guide application, kind of like yelp but yet-another-social-network-thing. I did not bother to create the account but found the crowd kind of wierd… however this is probably the kind of thing that is going to be really useful once there are more reviews in it.

– Meridian Video Player – I hoped to be able to play my eve online trailers (mov/wmv), but it did not work. Oh well.

– cab4me light – finds phone numbers of local cab companies. Nice…

– imeem mobile –  an internet radio station but tailored to your taste. Wow, just typed in Metallica in the search and now get all those metal songs from all those bands. Nice, have not listened to Manowar in a while…

3. Access to wireless

It was really simple to setup (select wifi station from list identified, enter WEP code, done) but I was surprised that web browsing still seems as slow as over edge/g3. Mhm…

4. what am I going to miss form my treo 680

– real good keyboard – the g1 is not terrible but far from being as good.

– uploading pictures straight to facebook off of the sd card ejected from my digital camera – the workarounds could be getting a microsd in sd adapter and take pictures to that (supposedly much slower than sd though) or even better to get a wifi enabled sd-card (eyefi) – then I would no longer need to eject the card.

– faster/earlier rendering of my most frequented websites in the web-browser.

– superefficient email/contacts when paying the $240/year goodlink fees. but not gonna anyways.

– reasonable low resolution video

5. What I am not going to miss from my treo 680

– call dropping or going on hold right after accepting the call when I fumble the ringing phone out of the pocket

– always out of battery when I needed it the most – lets see how the G1 fares on that 🙂

– real bad (i.e. unusable) mp3 player, harsh electric interference noise when it transmitted data and playing music at the same time

– low resolution photo camera

Python based webapplications – WSGI – state of the web 2009

I read a really interesting article by Mike Orr on http://linuxgazette.net/115/orr.html regarding WSGI / python web frameworks, dated June 2005 and wondered what had happened since then. Mike was so friendly to update me and would like to share what I learned:

I asked him: “I saw an older article of yours at linux gazette.net that had an overview of web frameworks and WSGI.  If you where trying to find an update to that, where would you look first?”
The answer:

“There is no state-of-the-web overview that I know of, but a lot has
happened since I wrote that article.  Pretty much all new frameworks
are written for WSGI, and the older ones have been retrofitted.
(CherryPy can run as a WSGI server, Plone can run as an application,
parts of Zope have been extracted to independent Repoze components,
and Quixote has a WSGI gateway floating around somewhere.)  Django
works with WSGI sort of, and has been ported to Google App Engine via
WSGI.

I’m involved with Pylons, a framework that’s fully WSGI and modular to
the core, built on top of Paste, which is a low-level WSGI library.
TurboGears 2 is being built on top of Pylons.  This means that
different frameworks with different goals and target users can share
the same technology, and essentially makes every TG developer a Pylons
developer, doubling our developer base.

There’s a group of WSGI framework developers including
Pylons/TG/Repoze.BFG that is designing a new framework to potentially
supercede all of them, with plug-in personalities to reflect their
different application styles.  This is still at the idea stage but may
have some alpha code by the end of the year.  If so it could point the
way to the next generation of frameworks.

Another big issue is Python 3.  Over the next year frameworks will
either be ported to Python 3 or replaced by frameworks written for
Python 3.  (Though the Python 2 frameworks may continue in use for
several years.)  This has to be done on a dependency basis; e.g.,
Pylons can’t upgrade until all the components it depends on have
upgraded.”

Reproduced with Mike Orr’s friendly permission.

Clubs swiping ID in California ?

I recently was shocked by a club swiping the ID of their visitors and pairing them with a video snapshot. They did not ask if they could swipe it, just did it, and I felt that if I objected they might not have let me in. But the more I think about it, it bothers me.

The data they collected is according to http://www.exeba.com/comm40/califdriverlic.htm pretty detailed and personal, including my address, height, weight, hair color, license restrictions, id, fee due year and more.
According to http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/781085.html the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and the Privacy of Your State Motor Vehicle Record limits the use of a driver’s motor vehicle record to certain purposes. (18 U.S.C. 2721) including:

* “Legitimate” business needs in transactions initiated by the individual to verify accuracy of personal information.
* Research activities and statistical reports, so long as personal information is not disclosed or used to contact individuals.

So apparently its perfectly legal for them to collect the information as long as they don’t use it for anything else than confirming that I am of legal age.

Who is checking on them conforming to that though?