iPad 3G : User experience

I picked up the iPad 3G within 20 minutes of its official launch time. Many friends asked me me to share the experience, so, after playing around with it I have decided to write a few things up.

3G service on iPad can be used only with microsims. These are different from regular 3G SIM’s. At this point, microsims are are available only with AT&T in USA, selling at $30 per month for unlimited data. You would be able to use 3G in India only when this kind of SIM’s are provided by Indian networks, hopefully in next few months. Until then you cannot use the 3G service in India though the iPad itself is 3G compatible.

iPad comes loaded with Safari, Mail, Calender, Contacts, Notes, Maps, iTunes, Appstore, Youtube, Photos, iPod. Depending on your needs, even these may be able to keep you entertained for hours. Mail didn’t live up to my expectation as it didn’t integrate well with SMTP/IMAP as well as I’d expected it to.

At this point, the apps available for iPad are limited. So I use many iPhone apps on Pixel doubling mode. Eventually, I think software will catch up to the iPad.

iBooks, Dictionary.com dictionary, Doodle buddy, Skype, Yahoo messenger, Box.net app, FeeddlerRSS, TweetDeck are highly recommended free apps.

To me, the iPad is principally a reading device. My wife, however, doesn’t think twice before picking it up to play games on it.

I’m happy with the battery life I get out of it when I’m reading. With the device in air-plane mode (wifi, 3G turned off) , a single charge can easily last 10-12 hours in reading mode with decent screen brightness and color. Having color on a reading device is a huge advantage. Charging once in 2 or 3 days after few hours of daily reading is perfectly acceptable to me. What I’ve noticed is that the battery holds its charge well when not in use.

The killer-app, to me, is a $9.99 offline wikipedia reader called Allofwiki. So far I’ve used it more than I thought I would. It works by downloading, all of Wikipedia’s hyperlinked text (not images) on to the device itself. Eventually I guess there will be costlier software to get to the images as well. iPad lets you read Wikipedia offline for hours. Awesome.

I am a big fan of Goodreader, the $0.99 app for reading pdf files. Its a life saver when comes to reading e-books. Helps you move and read large pdf files flawlessly with a datacable sync or as email attachments.

I purchased Office HD to be able to do spreadsheets on iPad. It provides a decent entry level spreadsheeting compatible Google Docs and Mobile Me. But with this you still can’t transfer files with a data cable to your ipad.

The other thing the buyer must understand is that most software for iPad would come from the App store. And all App stores are not equal. App store in India doesn’t have the same things as the US. And you can’t buy apps with a $ cost to it from the US App store without an American credit card. Free apps can always be purchased by creating accounts in different stores with different email addresses.

iPad is no where close to a computer in terms of raw computing power. But it is the perfect book reader and 3G enabled PDA available in the market today. A must have for people who read a lot. But if you are looking for a little more processing power and don’t mind charging batteries a little more frequently, I’d really recommend a netbook.

How to : Install a .cab file to WM6 device

The process of installing a cab file to a WM6 device is straight forward. 

Either using Active Sync (for XP users) or the new Windows Mobile Device Center(for Vista users), copy the cab file to your device.  You can pick where you want to place it. I generally place it in MyDocuments or sometimes on my memory card.

After copying the file over to your device, open the folder, highlight the file and either tap it with your stylus (Pocket PC Device) or hit the OK key (Smartphone) and it will begin the installation process.  Follow the instructions that may appear (individual programs vary in what they may have you do).

That’s it!   

Note: Some cab files are automatically deleted after installation and some are not.  If it was NOT removed, you do not need to leave it on your device after it is installed.  Depending on your memory needs, you may want to delete the cab file after installation if it was not removed.  I generally do that and I keep a folder of all cab files in a directory on my PC in case I ever need to use them again.

JBL reference 510

Its green. It is fluorescent and phosphorescent. It glows in the light and in the dark. It is viscous. It flows, though slowly. Any thing that comes into direct contact with it glows.

At times when I’ve been really down, I’ve felt it flow into me. From my walkman, through the leads, through the wires and through my head phones, into my ears, making me glow. But it flowed slowly. The walkman seemed to be a weak pump. And for years it remained that way, oozing out slowly from a source of music.

Some times it would spill out of my ears and I always had trouble getting the right sealing at my ear to prevent the green stuff from leaking out. Years ago, I had a headphone that was glued into a position that best fit my head so that no one would change my best fit position.

But all that changed today.

The wires became pipes. The slow flowing thick liquid became thin and came down with force. It wasn’t glowing that brightly either. It did not fill me slowly, but it poured all into me and overflowed.

It was a different experience today.

To me, my new JBL reference 510 changed the way music sounded.

HP iPAQ 610 business messenger

This is the news I’ve been waiting for.


HP iPAQ 610 ships this month or next. Hopefully it should be in India by the last quarter. It is one super gizmo which is a mini-computer with windows mobile 6, can run office, push email, a mobile phone, a camera, a PDA with a touch screen and – hold your breath –  a GPS all in one tiny bundle less than 150 grams.

No wonder Apple dropped the i-Phone prices.

The specs are here and the phone retails at US$600

Now the question is, if I get to lay my hands on it. Buying this makes even more sense to me – because this can tether with my laptop, which is also HP, to give wireless internet access at every location where there is phone coverage.

Dell Axim X5

I picked up a used Axim X5 from Houston’s craigslist.

  • 400 MHz Intel XScale Processor
  • 64 MB of RAM
  • 48 MB ROM
  • 3.5″ 65,000 color display
  • Integrated CompactFlash Type II and Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard slots
  • Built-in microphone
  • Speaker
  • Stereo headphone connector
  • Stylus
  • Sync cradle
  • AC Adapter
  • 1440 mAh Lithium-Ion battery

This is just to get familiarised with the PPC platform. Its been reset to factory defaults. I’ve had it for over 5 hours now and strangely, I havent still installed a single software. This didnt come with any software :(

The manuals are available at http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/aximx5/en/index.htm