PDA Post

This post is coming straight to you from my new toy, a Dell Axim x50v PDA! This thing is so cool! I reiceived my replacement last week and I have been loving it ever since. It can do jwst about anything a geek like me might want. It has built in wireless so I can browse the web from any hotspot. It has 2 kinds of memory card readers for lots of storage. It plays movies, music, games, and more. The handwriting recognition is incredible: it can recognize my chicken scratch. Jenn can attest to the fact that it has been constantly by my side since arriving. I keep finding interesting uses for it too. Aside from this post, I also take all of my notes on it, track my gas mileage, browse, check e-mail, and jot down appointments. It's really handy! Hopefully my zeal for this new toy persists and I get lots of good use out of this incredible machine.

Dell Axim x50v.... DOA

Oh Dell, why do you torment me so. A couple of weeks ago we ordered a new laptop to replace the one I had for school, and a PDA for myself. After checking out some review sites and waffling as to whether I would really use it, I decided to get the Dell Axim x50v. Dell was having a sale where the units were marked down 35%, and so I jumped on it. The x50v has quite a few features that appeal to me. It has a gorgeous VGA (640x480) screen. It has Wi-Fi (802.11), Infrared, and Blue Tooth built in. It has a fast processor, Compact Flash and SD I/O slots, and lots of other goodies. I wanted one to track my appointments, todo list, and for browsing the web from the couch. Jenn and I were both like little kids waiting for our packages to arrive. For Jenn's laptop, we chose the Inspiron 6000 with a Pentium M 1.6GHz chip, built-in Wi-Fi, and widescreen display. It's amazing how much laptop prices have come down: it was just a hair over $900.

That doesn't look right...

This isn't giving me a warm fuzzy feeling

I got the call from Jenn that the UPS driver had dropped off our toys. When I got home we got them out of the box and started charging them. I powered up the Axim and went through the setup steps, then shut it down to charge while I went out to mow. After dinner and giving Corbin a bath and putting him to bed, I retired to the basement to play with the new toys. The laptop was a breeze, it worked great straight out of the box. I had it updated and installed all of the programs Jenn uses (Picasa, Gaim, w.Bloggar) in just a couple of minutes.

The Axim was a completely different story. I clicked on the PDA and I saw a message which said that a memory error had been detected. I clicked the button to get rid of the error, and then nothing. Just a black screen. Hmm.... I'm new at the PDA game, so let me try a couple things. I plugged in the charger / dock and put the PDA in. I hit power. I see the same message. After clicking the button though, I see the Dell background. Success right? Wrong! That's where it stayed. No friendly start button, no prompts, no response, even to the power button. After actually reading the manual, I click the reset button in the back. It blinks off, then straight back to the Dell screen. Grrrr.... So then I checkout the forums on AximSite, a community run forum for Axim users. By holding down the power and reset buttons, I can force a "hard" reset. Unfortunately, even after the hard reset, I get the blue Dell button staring back at me. Reading further on AximSite, I find that there is a strange three button combo that will throw you into the Dell Hardware Diagnostics Utility. I ran through the utility, and it passed every test perfectly. One test was to record my voice and play it back, which was pretty cool. After finishing the test, I'm back to the Dell blue screen (of death?). I'm pretty sure that the hardware must be okay, and that the ROM / firmware is somehow biffed. At wit's end, I got on the Dell on-line customer support chat site and spoke with "Joshua". He ran me through the same tests I had already tried, and then came to the conclusion that I needed a new unit :-( The chat thing definitely worked better than the phone, as the problem was "resolved" in less than thirty minutes. Checking my order status now, the replacement has shipped and should be here sometime tomorrow or the next day. As a feeble last attempt, I let the battery charge overnight, but in the morning I was still stuck at the Dell screen. I was majorly disappointed that my cool gadget didn't even work out of the box. Hopefully I have better luck with this replacement.

Dell Blue Screen (of Death!)

State Fair

It's state fair time. I'm reminded about once an hour by the train whistle blowing. The train tracks outside our office are only used one time of year, and that is for the state fair. Normally, the tracks are bare excepting for now when they fire up the old engine and ferry folks back and forth to the fairgrounds. It's kind of neat hearing that whistle blow...

Froogle Wish List

I know, I'm probably years behind on learning about this one, but I just noticed the WishList feature over at Google's Froogle site. You can browse around on Froogle and add things to your shopping list. Then you can mark some of those items as being on your wish list. Items on your wish list can be viewed by others, which makes it sort of like a gift registry. I had an idea for a service that would work something like this, and intended to charge the stores that were available to shop from a small fee for anything purchased from a wish list. Google just beat me to the punch. Anyway, if you are feeling generous, here is a brief wishlist I put together.

The Miserable Meteorologist

I missed my calling as a weatherman. Every time the weather is about to change, whether it be from sunny to rainy, muggy to dry, or whatever the barometer chooses to do, I know well in advance. How? My sinuses start giving me fits. Today is one of those days. Anyone who has ever been around me knows that the day of a good rain, I'm a mess. And no, I don't have allergies. Trust me on this one. I've had that torture session otherwise known as a prick test performed three times, and each time I had no reaction to any of the allergens. Do we really need sinuses? I mean, really, what purpose do they serve (aside from making me miserable)?


Click here for a sweet little animated short.

Jade Mason