Cool Toys…

First off, I haven't forgotten about this, and am going to get back to it as soon as I have time. Between the extra pressure of being short-staffed again, all of my kid's year end activities, father's day and setting up a web site for my brother, I haven't had a lot of time to deal with it.

I did get a couple of new toys over the last few days though, that are pretty cool.

For Father's Day I got a new TomTom Go920 GPS unit. This thing absolutely rocks and:

  • Acts as a bluetooth hands free unit which links to my cell phone. My cell phone links to it as soon as I turn it on, and with 3 clicks I can call a defined contact. Very nice. 🙂
  • Allows me to update maps, including rename streets, update addresses and such
  • I can download different voices for it (like John Cleese) to give me my directions
  • Acts as an MP3 player

It's got a bunch of other features as well, and I'm still trying to figure my way through all of them. I've been wanting a GPS for a while, as it makes life a lot easier when I'm driving into an unknown city to teach an Excel class.

The other thing I got was a new cell phone, which arrived this morning. It's an HTC S640, which is a Windows Mobile SmartPhone.

I'm pretty stoked about this, as it is going to let me link to my Outlook data on the go. Lately I've been trying to manage so many things, and I often remember some of them on the way home. I can now pull over and add it to the list. (Or use the voice recorder to do the same.) Because we're using a Microsoft Exchange server, it links in quite easily (although I still have to do this part, so reserve the right to change my opinion on that,) and I'm going to be able to access my calendar, tasks, contacts and email. The bluetooth links seamlessly with the TomTom in the car, as I mentioned above, and I'm expecting the actual coverage to be 100% better than the Mike phone that I was using previously.

It's been less than 24 hours so far, but I've been wanting to get rid of the Mike phone for so long that this is probably the most exciting technology thing that has happened to me since... er... I bought a new server about a month ago. 😀

At any rate, I need to go work on my home server now, so that I can port my data there, reformat a PC that currently holds the data, and set it up fresh. I'm trying an experiment to see if I can get my wife the ability to book our personal appointments into my work calendar (without granting full access to work) so that I end up with a complete calendar on my SmartPhone. (I'd be lost without her, truly. I figure that this might help avoid her irritation when I keep asking her "what is on for tomorrow night" for the hundredth time!)

2 thoughts on “Cool Toys…

  1. Boy Ken, you and I are eerily similar - I've been shopping for a new phone and was settling in on the S640 and also for a new GPS and the TomTom was high on the list there too!

    As for the home server, take a peek at Windows Home Server. It's seamless for backups and file sharing, plus it has a bunch of other really nice features as well 🙂

    If you have a PC already, just buy the OEM CD:

    http://www.pricecanada.com/detail.php?product_id=500903&sku=CCQ00015

    And if you want more of an appliance, the HP MediaSmart EX470 or 475 is an awesome way to go:
    http://www.pricecanada.com/detail.php?product_id=522657&sku=GG795AA%23ABA

    On the calendaring side, my wife and I are both on Exchange so calendar sharing is a breeze and is one of the main reasons why I set it up this way. In you case though, there are a few ways that you can do it but I would recommend the easiest to be setting up a Google Calendar account and then she can invite you to all of the family events.

    You can also set up an Office Live account on your side and publish you calendar for her to see as well.

    Many options, hope these help!

    All the best,

    Steve

  2. Hi Steve,

    I'm loving the smartphone, but on the other hand, after the Mike phone, anything would seem good. I really like that I can type AD, hit the down arrow and press the call button, and it will dial the Administration office. Four keystrokes and I'm there. I'm also a big fan of being able to press F and have it bring up all my contacts whose first or last name start with F. As I keep typing, it filters. Very cool.

    With regards to the TomTom, as I was driving home today, I got a call on the cell, and TomTom just popped up to ask me if I wanted to take it. How cool is that? One button and answered, and I was chatting hands free with someone about the systems issue I just blogged about. Very cool.

    Home Server... the server I'm running at home I bought off work, so it isn't actually capable of running Windows Home Server. Kind of sad, but I couldn't beat the price. I just wanted somewhere to put her data so I can rebuild hers right now. Once done I was considering setting up Groove with a shared calendar, and having Groove sync with my work calendar. We'll see though, if that is practical or not. I'd rather not go Google, as it's just one more calendar I'd have to maintain. Office Live though... that might be an option too... I'll need to look into that.

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