Miscellaneous Geekery

Went shopping and finally found myself an iSight to purchase - the magnetic stand atop my "old" iMac is a stroke of genius, as usual, and the video quality (even in this superseded model) puts the PolyCom gear I use at work to shame, and I haven't even tweaked the H.263 settings on eyeBeam.

Incidentally, there are Mighty Mice in the shops, too (but, as usual, no new iMacs or PowerBooks yet).

Some items of note:

  • HandBrake has been updated to support multithreaded H.264 encoding - and guess what, it builds on Fedora (provided you know where to pick up jam and make sure to ./configure --cc=gcc32). Ten years ago, I started ripping my CDs to MP3 and storing them in a box - I guess it won't be long until I start doing the same with DVDs...
  • According to this, the PSP Giga Pack will be on sale in "other European territories" by November 28th. So far, no one seems to have started doing a LocationFree server to use the PSP as a wireless player, but I guess it's only a matter of time...
  • Via the Q feed, there was a QEMU CVS update that promises good things for the Mac community in the future (although I'm willing to bet VMware will come out with an Intel Player for the Mac when the time is right...).
  • Via Ricardo, the Xbox 360 seen as the Dreamcast 2.0.

KISSing Mobility

In the meantime, I've been having a hard time letting go of my V600i. Although I will be going back to my Blackberry pretty soon, it has a number of appealing features:

  • I find the "voice MMS" menu extremely useful to send myself audio notes and reminders (this would be a killer feature if we didn't wrap MMS-to-email in some rather funky HTML that gets flagged as Spam by both SpamAssassin and Mail.app...).
  • Still on the GTD theme, the browser works great with Backpack mobile (as well as my newspipe front-end).
  • iSync works perfectly, and the SonyEricsson Windows sync software (which I use solely for syncing calendar reminders) does an adequate job.
  • I've managed to stretch battery life up to 3-4 days in GSM mode (with Bluetooth in power-saving mode, but also with a few hours as UMTS modem while I'm out and about).
  • Using a HBH-660 with it is sheer bliss - the little LCD displays the caller name (i.e., the phone translates the MSISDN for it), so I seldom take the phone out of my pocket.
  • The phone's loudspeaker mode works pretty well for impromptu conference calls.
  • Video calling works fine without a handset too, although unlike the V800 it's hard to find a suitable position to leave the phone pointed at you (the VT camera is fixed, so you have to angle the phone or hold it in your hand).

The photo camera, however, is not that great - not for me, at least.

I have a recently re-flashed K750i for testing (which is vastly superior to anything else I've come across so far, including the N90 and a couple of the new Sharp phones), but besides it being a GSM-only device, SonyEricsson's idiotic new connector (why, oh why can't they simply use mini-USB and a standard headphone jack?) means I have to carry two chargers - one for the HBH-660 and another for the phone - and that's simply not going to happen.

Note: Nokia has made adaptors available for using old chargers with their new - smaller - connector format, but I've yet to find a similar item from SonyEricsson (even considering that the voltage rating is the same on both old and new chargers), and USB-to-mobile charging cables are generally a bad idea, if only because they require you to leave your computer on and put the phone through a much longer charging cycle...