Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Winter festivals of lights in Ontario.

- Owen Sound

Niagara Falls

- Ottawa Winterlude.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Ideas in 2004.

The New York Times Magazine published its 4th Annual Year in Ideas ("a compendium of ideas from A to Z").

You have to register in order to see this compendium and I tell you it is worth reading. Here are some interesting links:

- listening to cells noise or to keystrokes.
- cars that can be emotional.
- translucent concrete.
- acoustic freezer.
- plants detecting land mines.
- tattooed literature.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Cool Canadian websites

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Suretype is amazing!

Googling and suretyping from my BlackBerry 7100r. Below the Google entry line where "sur" is typed the Suretype technology generates all the possible typing intentions. I learned not to pay attention to it when I fast type since Suretype always figure it out at the end the word I intend to type. That's why I like Suretype. You have the feeling of a full keyboard even if almost all keys have 2 letters on each key.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Long range Walkie-Talkie communication with the new BlackBerry 7520.

Do you want to talk on a mobile phone almost for free? Tired of dialing telephone numbers? Want to call and talk with a group of people? Walkie-Talkie is the answer. You just press a button and talk. It is the same principle that any dispatch radio system is using. You can talk to a party or a group depending how the telephone is configured.

The problem with the classical walkie talkie systems used by police or taxi services is that they work only for short distances (2 to 3 miles). Nextel (a successful US company) owns a digital wireless network and Direct Connect technology that allows long range walkie-talkie wireless conversations across United States (see July 2003 news on this page). The fun thing is that the conversations are with no extra charge or free if they are in the local coverage area with special rate plans.

Long range walkie-talkie communication is one of the main feature of the new BlackBerry 7520 recently announced by Nextel and RIM. If you combine the walkie-talkie feature with the Bluetooth connectivity, speakerphone and add on top the clasic features of any BlackBerry device (keyboard, phone, organizer, push based email and browser, etc.) you get the unique device that is BlackBerry 7520.

Nextel's technology is so amazing that it allowed the company to almost double its market from 8 million in September 2001 to around 15 million now. Any owner of a Direct Connect enabled BlackBerry can pottentially walkie-talk in less than a second with any of the current 15 million Nextel customers. To learn more about Nextel's walkie-talkie feature click this link or run this online demo.

To learn more about the BlackBerry 7520 run the demo on this page.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Cool Toronto TV channel.

CityTv is one of my favorite TV channel.

While browsing their Speakers Corner link I found this NHL Lockout site.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Pictures stored on BlackBerry 7100r.

Can you believe that BlackBerry 7100r uses only around 9 kilobytes to store each of the pictures it displays below?

9.3 kilobytes.

9.1 kilobytes.

9.5 kilobytes.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Another "push" to the next level from RIM.

In the past week RIM released major upgrades to the two of the most important pieces of its software offers:
BlackBerry Enterprise Server and
Java™ Development Environment for BlackBerry v4.0.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server is the power house that keeps most of the devices in this picture, alive. It is also the main differentiator of RIM's handheld wireless push technology.

RIM's push technology is so amazing that it becomes another RIM standard (besides the small BlackBerry keyboard standards). Proof to this is that RIM is licencing its Blackberry Enterprise Server to most of the major players in the wireless communication field: PalmSource, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, Siemens.

In this way other handheld device manufacturers can take advantage of the benefits of the RIM crafted wireless push technology.

What makes the new BlackBerry Enterprise Server so special? Well, if you take the time to review the features on this link you realize what I'm talking about.

The new Java Development Environment is available for free to any Java mobile developer that wants to develop BlackBerry like applications. I definitely will use it to benefit from its new features.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Pay parking with your cellphone.

In Toronto you can pay your parking by dialing a number from your cellphone. Not a free service though. You have to pay for the convenience of not getting out of the car to pay your parking :)

Bad Christmas gift ideas.

In trouble choosing presents? Here is list of no, no's:

Transfats are bad for your health.

If you didn't know it yet, read this and follow the chain of links that starts at the end of that page. So...may be it is better to stick with peaches.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cat returns home safe.

After around 2,800 miles unexpected truck trip from Calgary to Mississauga the Shadow cat is just fine. Read the story here.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Christkindl Kitchener Market.

Yesterday at 6pm took place in Downtown Kitchener, the
Candlelight Procession as part of the 8th Christkindl Kitchener Market festivities. The event is the expression of the German heritage of the menonite founders of our community. Explore the above first link for videos of the past events.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Text messaging with BlackBerry 7100r.

Another situation where abbreviations are quite useful (beside Autotext ) is with text messaging or SMS (Short Message Service). OK, Autotext is good if you want to be discursive since BlackBerry will replace your abbreviations with full words so that anyone can understand what you want to say.

But if you want to communicate something very fast you could use meaningful abbreviations that any of your friends can understand. For example: instead of message you could use msg, or instead of text you could use txt. The technique is quite similar with the shorthand writing where by eliminating the vocals from the words you still keep their meaning. For online users there is already a glossary of chat acronyms that could be used.

Sending a text (SMS) message with BlackBerry 7100r is quite similar with sending an email and Suretype can learn very fast your abbreviations so that you can type them easy.

Text messaging is quite popular in Europe and it starts to catch up in U.S. too, as per this source.

For a fun introduction to text messaging check this site.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

BlackBerry 7100r Speakerphone is a "sensitive" boom box.

For those that don't know...Speakerphone conversation = hands-free phone conversation. When you use it? Every time you want to talk on the phone without keeping it in your hand. For example, while you are driving, cooking in the kitchen, working on your computer or in a conference call. How a speakerphone capable phone does it? It has the feature to amplify the received voice signal through a speaker and has also a sensitive enough microphone to capture well any surrounding or reasonable distant sound.

While playing with my BlackBerry 7100r I've noticed that if during a call I click the thumbwheel I can activate the speakerphone by selecting this feature from the local menu that opens. I'm impressed by its performance. The sound was so clear and the microphone was so sensitive that the other end didn't notice that I'm on Speakerphone mode even if my BlackBerry 7100r was at 6 feet away from me.

Another way to have hands-free phone conversation is to use the Bluetooth communication feature of the BlackBerry 7100r. You need though a Bluetooth capable wireless headset.

You can see the BlackBerry 7100r's speakerphone and Bluetooth in action by clicking on View Demo image on this page.