Motorola Q on Ebay

While casually browsing ebay for some gadgets, I came across something that I was least expecting: GSM Motorola Q. While the official release date of the GSM Q is unknown, the CDMA version is said to be released sometime this month.

The seller does not mention how he got this unit. (He in fact claims to have two of them!) Obviously an engineering sample, I always wonder how these items sneak out of the labs and end in ebay- months before the product is finally released.

Interestingly, the item is listed as an Antique!

Update(24-APR-2006): Ebay has removed this listing since yesterday morning.


New Look!

With a flurry of new traffic coming from tech enthusiasts, I thought it is high time that I redesigned the website. Thanks to Eris’ template generator, this blog now sports a fresh new look.
Thanks also to all the encouraging emails- I am now planning to regularly update this blog with tips and articles. (Of course, try at your own risk :-))

Convert your dumb phone into a smartphone

If you are carrying one of those sexy phones like the RAZR V3/V3i and want to do a lot more than just making calls, here are a few tips that can help in converting it into a smartphone. (Well, almost!). A mobile phone with Java MIDP 2.0 support and a data plan with your cellphone operator are required to run these applications.

Some of these apps will cost you money, but these applications do a great job, so I feel they are worth the cost.

  1. Get Opera Mini. This is a java version of the legendary Opera mobile browser. The Opera proxy strips of much of the graphics, flash animations etc., and perfectly fits the web content on your screen (most of the times). The browsing experience is almost comparable to that on the smaller Symbian phones.
  2. Get EQO. EQO brings Skype to most mobile phones, which was hitherto only available for the elite Windows Mobile phones/PDAs. Click here to see if your phone is supported. The main disadvantage of EQO is that you need to keep a PC always ON and connected to the internet. EQO is currently a beta version and hence free.
  3. Buy RoadSync. While many mobile phones today support POP3 and IMAP servers, only the Blackberries, Treos and Windows mobile phones support Microsoft Exchange Activesync. RoadSync for MIDP 2.0 handsets can synchronize mails with your corporate exchange server. While direct push is not available with the Java version of RoadSync, having corporate email access without Blackberry is a definite plus. A trial version of RoadSync is available via Dataviz’s Office Mobility Kit.

Please leave a comment if I have missed any application that can be added to this list. Enjoy the new Smart avatar of your dumb phone!

How to Run IE 7 without installing it

If you want to test IE7 without the risk of installing a beta software, here is a simple way to do it. This method does not install IE 7 the usual way- instead you just run it from the installer package and hence your system does not get littered with beta dlls all over the place.

  1. Download IE7 beta from the MS website at . Save the file at a location from where you want to run it. For example C:\IE7Beta
  2. Right click the file and select “Extract Here” option from the Winzip/WinRAR context menu.
  3. Once all the files are extracted, find the file named “shlwapi.dll” and delete it.
  4. Create a file by name “IEXPLORE.exe.local”. Make sure that it does not have the .txt extension. [Go to Tools-> Folder Options -> View -> uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.]
  5. Launch iexplore.exe from the same folder and verify that it works.
  6. Right click on iexplore.exe and select “Send To…-> Desktop (Create Shortcut)”.

This method also helps in running both IE7 and IE6 side-by-side! A great help for web designers. To uninstall, just delete the folder where you extracted the installation package!

Trivia: With the new beta, the browser is no longer called “Microsoft Internet Explorer”. It is now “Windows Internet Explorer”.

Update (17/04/2006): This method seems to have screwed up the IE6 installation of many of the visitors who tried the latest beta. A better method is described by Jon Galloway in his post here. As always, try at your own risk! Thanks to Claus for the excellent comment with all the pointers.

Mot, better watchout!

If you ever kept the count, I am sure the Motorola Q and the Windows Vista are the ones which could well qualify for the Guinness Records for the most number of ‘delayed again’ news. Competitors sense the opportunity, and pump out products that have more features and can really live up to the hype generated by their originals. Apple is gearing upto take on Vista with its leopard. With plenty of rumoured features that can make Vista look like a pretty ordinary OS, Apple is in an advantageous position now, especially with Boot Camp that was released a few days back.

A Chinese handset maker by name Tech-Faith recently made news for some of their new Windows Mobile based handset offerings. Engadget reports that these guys have a Q clone now! The best thing about this yet-to-be-named handset is that it runs Pocket PC edition of Windows Mobile than the Smartphone version. Samsung already announced the i320, which is even thinner than the Q. It might just happen that these two handsets reach the market before the Q!

Airtel’s Rip off GPRS plans

Airtel India has gone from bad to worst in terms of GPRS pricing. At a time when the data service usages are increasing by leaps and bounds in other countries, Airtel has committed a biggest blunder by introducing some new plans which turn out to be very expensive. The erstwhile Mobile Office plan gives way to three new plans which are priced at INR 399, 599 and 799. The first plan offers 100 MB of data transfer while the last one offers a GB. 100 MB data transfer is just a joke and is not suitable for anyone. While the 799 plan looks like a good option, the presence of a max cap on the data transfer makes it a risky proposition.
The former Mobile Office plan is no longer available for subscription, which is very disappointing since it offered unlimited data transfer at just INR 600. Thankfully, customers who are currently subscribed to this plan will continue enjoying the service!

Bob’s Diner

It is quite funny how the Call-center culture is propagating in Bangalore. You can feel this pulse in almost every nook and corner of the City these days.

The ubiquitous Dharshini or Sagar – the small coffee joints where you can sip a cup of coffee with a Vada soaked in hot steaming sambar are now getting completely westernized. A relaunched Dharshini in Jayanagar 4th T Block now has a new name: Bob’s Diner.