Archive for March, 2007

Jajah: Free landline and mobile phone calls

March 31, 2007

I can’t believe I haven’t heard of Jajah before! If you haven’t heard of it either, here’s the scoop: jajah users can call each other over standard landlines for free. When calling someone who’s not already a Jajah user, you pay a rate based on the originating and receiving countries — currently 2.8 cents per minute for USA to USA and 3 cents for USA to UK. And if you’re not already signed up, they give you 5 minutes for free so you can try the service. Don’t really know why people would want to use Jajah with their mobile phone since just about everyone I know already has free long distance with their mobile plans but if you don’t I suppose it’s worthwhile. Their mobile site is http://mobile.jajah.com
OK, so, how do you do this? You go to the Jajah website, enter your number and your friend’s number, Jajah call you then calls your friend and connects you. When you register, you can enter your home, office and mobile numbers. Next time you want to call someone, you can select which number you want to originate from, key in your friend’s number and go. And, yes, they’ve got an address book so you can save your friends’ numbers.
Update, 4/3: Note that here in the USA you only get 30 minutes of free calls per day (and 150 per week and some other limit per month). Not great but better than nothing.

The State of Online Calendaring, Part 2

March 22, 2007

So far, all I’ve been talking about is syncing my Outlook calendar with another calendaring service — Google, Yahoo!, AirSet, etc. What about syncing the other calendaring service with my mobile phone (Windows Mobile 5)? That’s a whole different story … and syncing BOTH sets (Outlook to both another calendaring service AND my mobile phone) is yet another kettle of fish. Finding something that will allow me to do all of that is a bit of a challenge, particularly if I want to be able to sync OTA (Over The Air). See, that’s called a 3-way sync: mobile phone to Outlook, Outlook to remote calendaring service and remote calendaring service to mobile phone.
The best way I’ve found so far to sync OTA is ActiveSync but, as far as I can tell, that only works to an Exchange Server. Mail2Web.com has a free Mail2Web Live account that’s based on Exchange You can sync mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, notes — all of the things that you can sync with ActiveSync BUT it won’t sync with another Outlook — to get that functionality, you have to sync your mobile phone with your Outlook, so it’s a 2-way sync — and that’s what makes room for some of these other services. I’ve seen nothing that will allow me to sync Outlook to a remote Exchange Server, short of actually setting up Outlook to use the remote Exchange Server as its server and setting up your mobile phone to sync OTA (can you sync a mobile device to the same server both OTA and via ActiveSync? — I don’t know!). So, what’s out there for use as a remote Exchange Server? MSExchange.org has a decent chart comparing hosted Exchange services, as they’re really called, and Solutions Sherweb’s service actually only costs $8.95/month — not a bad price considering what you get (see their web page).
OK, I’m out of time again. I guess this is gonna be at least a 3-part series, instead of 2 — still have to cover the remote calendaring services that AREN’T Exchange-based.

The State of Online Calendaring, Part 1

March 21, 2007

As part of my overall effort to make myself “location-less”, I’ve been evaluating online calendaring sites. For good or bad, I’ve chosen Outlook as my “home” calendaring, contact management, task and note system. There’s a lot to debate about choosing a “home” system (meaning the system you use to maintain your base set of information and the one whose information is your long-term storage choice) so suffice it to say I’m constantly reevaluating my choice of “home” but, so far, Outlook is the winner. Not for feature set or universality but because it continues to exist!
OK, anyway, on to the real subject of this. I’ve got a lot of information to post (for me) so I’ve decided to break this into two entries: part 1 will just cover online calendaring sites and syncing with Outlook while part 2 will cover mobile devices — syncing and access over the web.
I’ve looked at both free and commercial calendaring systems. In the free category, I’ve looked at Calgoo, ScheduleWorld, HipCal (acquired by Plaxo), Google Calendar, Yahoo! Calendar, SyncMyCal and AirSet. Of these, the one that I’ve chosen is AirSet. Why? It syncs easily with Outlook. It can sync on a schedule or manually and it just works. Plus, the AirSet calendaring concept is a good one — it was built understanding that we have multiple calendars. This makes it easy for me to maintain a work calendar and a personal calendar. I can have my agenda sent to me each evening, meeting notices sent to me by email or by text message and the layout and user interface is pleasant and easy to use. It understands recurring appointments and the sync from Outlook will carry those recurrences over. The others were in beta (Calgoo) or just didn’t carry the ease-of-use that AirSet does (Yahoo, ScheduleWorld), may be orphaned (HipCal) or didn’t provide online calendaring at all but just a sync service (SyncMyCal).
I’ve got lots more to post but have to run off to do some other things so I’ll come back to this shortly. Thanks for bearing with me.

Streaming media from a NAS

March 17, 2007

What have I been up to? On a hunt for a good NAS that’s powerful enough to do some other things like run an mail server and run my favorite media server, Slimserver. I looked at quite a few including the Linksys NSLU2, the QNAP TS-101 but think I have finally settled on the Buffalo Linkstation Pro. Not sure which version I want … a 250G seems like it oughta be enough since I don’t intend to store videos out there, just some email and about 50G of music. Still, you never know what you’re gonna end up with, do you? And, since it’s not a Terastation, there’s no RAID so whatever I’m going to want to backup whatever I store out there.
Since SlimDevices was purchased by Logitech, I searched for and found this article which pointed me to this good set of instructions for how to install SlimsServer on the Linkstation (and, of course, this posting in the SlimDevices Forums). And, in further searching, I found LinkstationWiki which has a wealth of other information about the various software that you can download and install on it.
When do I start? Well, let’s see where I can get a good deal …
Update, 3/19/2007: it would make sense that if you run Linux on the Linkstation, that you could plug a printer into one of the USB ports and get a print server out of it too by running CUPS. HP printer drivers are available here at The Linux Foundation, their OpenPrinting working group.
And, while I’m updating this entry, the Linkstation Pro is supposed to be available without a disk as another incarnation of the Kurobox, as reported by Akihabaranews.

32G Flash Drive?

March 14, 2007

I guess the industry will soon be moving away from rotating memories. SanDisk has announced a 32G flash drive that’s SATA attached (see this story from ExtremeTech

Bad Parking

March 14, 2007

I think we’ve all seen it. Now you can do something about it. This website lets you post pictures of bad parkers and even print notices to put on their windshield.

Good TV Listings

March 6, 2007

Chris Pirillo does some good things sometimes and his picks often have good sites. Today’s list (note that it’s not up on his website yet so I’m guesstimating what the URL will be) has a pointer to Couchville.com, a site by SnapStream, the makers of BeyondTV and the FireFly Remote, which aims to make it easier to browse and search TV listings.

Scientists Make Light Exceed the Speed of … uhhh

March 5, 2007

(From Digg🙂
This article from cbc.ca talks about how scientists caused atoms in a chamber to speed up light so that it exited a chamber before it finished entering it. The article will supposedly appear in this week’s Nature.

T-Mobile Hotspot Access

March 5, 2007

If you’ve got T-Mobile Internet for your phone like I do, you probably also have unlimited use of their hotspots. What’s your userid and password? This is something I forget every time I try to use it, so I figure if I actually write it down, I’ll remember it. Your userid is your 10-digit phone number and your password is the last 4 digits of the primary account holder’s social security number.
Now, don’t forget it again!