Yay. For about six months, I've had an unlimited data plan for only â‚¬10/mo. with my operator Saunalahti. It's been great, but would have been greater if they actually had a 3G network in Rovaniemi (for really high speed data transfer). Now, it's reality. I noticed last night that my little 3G icon in my phone was glowing, and sure enough the Elisa network (which Saunalahti uses) has expanded 3G coverage to Rovaniemi. As Teemu says, let the bytes fly!
The biggest limitation to my use of Google Calendar so far has been the lack of synchronization to my mobile phone (so I can ditch the Filofax). While it is still in its infancy, there is now the promise of a solution to this problem with the release of gcalsync. I managed to actually get it to upload an event from my phone to my online calendar, but none of the online events downloaded to the phone (what's up with that?). Also, I have to give the program permission about ten times during its sync to read and write data to/from the phone and use the network interface (despite setting 'Ask First Time Only' permissions from the program's Java settings). So like the warning label says, still not ready for prime time, but let's hope this (or a similar application) offers the two-way synchronization desperately needed for Google Calendar to succeed.
So is the competition in online calendars heating up, or is it now over? After months of rumour and spied links to the fabled Google Calendar (CL2) is reveled by Techcrunch in a series of new screenshots and beta details. For me the sheer weight of Google's popularity will drive membership and development of Google Calendar (it integrates with Gmail), and leave competitors like 30 Boxes, Airset, and CalendarHub in the dust. The power of online calendars is only fully realized through social networks-- your friends, family and coworkers that you are sharing events with -- and Google has one of the biggest networks going thanks to Gmail. Many of the "innovative" features of Google Calendar CL2 appear to be taken directly from upstarts like 30 Boxes, such as the 'QuickAdd' function, which looks like a clone of 30 Boxes' best feature, the 'One Box.'
For me, I'll be happy to share my most intimate scheduling details with Google, provided they support SyncML to sync my online calendar with my SymbianOS phone.
I just went out and bought my shiny new Nokia 6680 phone on my lunch break ("break" in the sense of a break from last minute feature and price comparisons). In the end I decided to use a local retailer as the price advantage of ordering from Germany or even Helsinki disappeared once shipping and bank transfer costs were taken into account. I bought a 1GB memory card at the same time, and they guy in the local Elisa shop gave me a pretty good deal on the combo. Of course the other reason was that I just couldn't wait any longer to have my new toy phone. The phone runs Symbian Series 60 OS, and can run a whole bunch of games and apps. The guy in the store mentioned that it is probably more powerful than computers from a few years ago. I started to consider which of my previous computers it would approximate in performance. Ten years ago I was saving up to buy a my first laptop before going off to graduate school. I think I paid about $4000(!)cdn for a Fujitsu Monte Carlo, with a 133 MHz Pentium processor and an 800 MB hard drive. I'm not sure how the 220MHz ARM processor in the 6680 compares to a Pentium chip, but I'd bet they're in the same ballpark anyway (exept with respect to power consumption, obviously). It seems there is a benchmark utility for smartphones, but no idea how to compare these to PC benchmarks.
I've also decided to change my mobile operator to Saunalahti, to take advantage of their DataEtu offer: unlimited data for â‚¬10 per month, with a one year agreement. Mobile internet is really here, but alas Elisa (the network Saunalahti uses) doesn't have 3G coverage in Rovaniemi yet (although they do in Levi). But 3G isn't so much faster than EDGE, so I guess I'll survive.
Update: Elisa factory-installs a silly little branded app, Elisa Mobi, on the Symbian phones they sell. No biggie, except that it takes control of one of the soft buttons and I can't find any way to delete it! Help. If anyone has ideas short of flashing the phone memory, I'd be grateful.
I had only decided this week to upgrade my phone to a nice shiny new 3G Symbian-based smart phone (the Nokia 6680), and now Skype have announced a versrion that runs on the very same kind of phone. While this sounds initially promising, the fact that you'd be paying 3G data rates to get the quality equivalence and latency of a satellite phone (according to the article) leaves a lot to be desired. As I commented before, there are already third party applications to run Skype on a Symbian phone via a client on your PC (over Bluetooth or GPRS). If the quality is ok, I can see myself using this more than a dedicated Skype app. If the quality is ok, you're basically using your phone as a Bluetooth headset to extend Skype on your PC. We'll see how this develops. Now I'm just waiting for the phone. Maybe Agustin, who is in Barcelona for 3GSM, can find out more for me.
Sun is still shining in Vancouver. Back here for a week after Yellowknife. Had brunch with mom and did some shopping. Pity there's no NHL on tv, but I'll cope with la liga tonight.
On my way to Yellowknife, via Frankfurt, Toronto, and Edmonton. A better schedule would have let me overnight in Toronto and see the Canada-Finland hockey final live, but I'll have to be content watching it in the boarding lounge in Edmonton. Since I forgot my camera, I might try sending multimedia messages from my phone while I'm in Canada. If the local MMS settings work!
Just came from sauna and rabbit is soon served. Yum!
Sitting here in the sunshine overlooking Barcelona from Parc Güell. Not sure how warm it is, but I don't need a jacket. Everything is great here in Barcelona. Marc showed us around his family area north of the city around Girona yesterday. Tonight we're going south to a country house of one of Marc's friends. Happy New Year to everybody.
We're in business! For some reason MFOP is ignoring the entry titles being sent from my phone, but otherwise, we're all good to go.
Thanks to Kevin Cameron's fab little MFOP and the eXcell SMS-to-Email gateway I'm now in the moblogging business. I can now send text messages from my phone straight to my website. Why would I want to do this, you may ask? Because I can and because it's cool (oh yeah, and because I'm a super-geek). In practice, this might be handy during my trip to Barcelona over New Years. I'll be without regular net access, so I can briefly keep my legions of faithful readers up to date on what I'm up to. Another benefit is that it might make it so easy to post a new entry that I'll do it more regularly. My mobile posts will look like this (until I further embellish the style) but shorter (limited by the 160 character SMS limit).
Once I get one of those new-fangled camera phones with multimedia messaging, the fun will really begin, as I'll be able to post pictures to the site from wherever I happen to be travelling.