Mac calendar syncing on the cheap

Ever since I got my iPhone I’ve been wanting to integrate its calendar app more into the planning of my day to day stuff. I did some research initially, but gave up about finding a solution that didn’t tie me into some sort of perpetual sync-software subscription model for ages. There are lots of available options if you want to pay, but I wanted free. Not as in speech, but as in beer.

I finally found a setup that works for me. It is as follows: My google calendar account is the heart of the operation. That’s where my different calendars are all based. On my iPhone I installed the excellent app called Nemussync. While neither the website nor the utility is super flashy it works beautifully out of the box and does two-way synchronisation between your iPhone and your google account. Setting it up for automatic updates can’t be done from the GUI yet, but it’s a fairly benign little hack (you basically just have to copy a .plist file to a directory, it’s on the nemussync page under FAQ).
Now that the iPhone is hooked up to the google account all we need to do is set up some hefty syncing between ical and the google account. Google calendar now supports CalDav which means that you can sync your calendars both ways for free. Google even supplies a nifty little tool to accomplish this. The process is really quite seamless and my experiences thus far are really positive. Thumbs up to all the macheads at google who make this possible.

Oh… and screw you mister Jobs and your overpriced MobileMe disaster.


Make the perfect netbook

I read daily – it’s been in my mobile computing category for a quite a while. Today he has an interesting post asking readers to put together their perfect netbook. The caveat? They can only use parts from already existing netbooks.

I’ve been following the netbook market since way before the phrase netbook was even applied to these little beauties so I thought I’d give it a go:

My perfect netbook:

  • Processor:Intel Atom (the one they pretty much all use these days)
  • Screen:10.2 inch LED like the one on my wind. I still catch myself wishing that the bezel on the wind would be a tad narrower. I think they could have squeezed an 11″ screen in here if they’d wanted to. I know that at this point it’s just a convention and also Microsoft helps limit innovation in the space with their pretty rigid requirements for netbooks. But the more screen real estate the better. I think the resolution could be bumped to 1280×768 or something similar, but I don’t think any 10″ netbooks have that combination.
  • Keyboard:HP Mininote. I’m satisfied with the keyboard on the wind. I’m typing on it right now and it’s performing great. I haven’t used my macbook really since I got the wind, but the Mininote allegedly blows everyone out of the water in this aspect. Might as well benefit.
  • Wifi:Draft-N module on the newest Eee series. This is not a deal breaker for me either way. 802.11g would fill my needs as well.
  • Storage:Hard drive for me please. I appreciate SSD, but my tragic experiences with the original Eee and the constant space constraints have jaded me. A SATA drive feels just as snappy in real world usage scenarios as the discount SSDs.
  • Other connectivity:Card reader (nice to have, not important), express card slot (nice to have, but I’ve never used one up till now), 3G module (Definitely a plus. Would eliminate the need for tethering)
  • Styling:I really like the wind’s styling. I’d remove all the stupid LEDs, and make the entire thing matte instead of glossy. And black. I’m not big on all the casual colour-schemes.

I think that’s all I could come up with for my ideal netbook.

mobile broadband

Emma and I are catsitting this week for Jacob and Klaus and we’re spending time in their kolonihavehus with their two babies Oscar and Mivsen.

One of the perks is that we get to test out Klaus’ neat 3g service from 3. Emma and I both brought our laptops but thanks to the sweet little feature in osx called internet connection sharing we can both be online independently. The speed is quite decent also. I ran a speedtest at and the results are seen below:

the 3g service from 3 strutting its stuff

the 3g service from 3 strutting its stuff

At my work we are seeing a rapidly increasing interest in mobile broadband as well, but it’s still mostly seen as a supplement to bring with you when you’re away from home.

Mobile tech superman James Kendrick started a discussion over on jkontherun about whether or not mobile broadband would be enough to cover day to day needs. My answer based on three days of usage here is a resounding no with the caveat that it could certainly do in a pinch. But I do miss our 10 Mbit line at home right about now.

My Wind arrived

my two little babies

my two little babies

I just got my wind a couple of days ago. I’m typing this post on it right now. It’s an amazing little machine. they keyboard is fantastic for a device of this type – it feels better than the keyboard on my Macbook. Not that Macbooks are known for great keyboards, but still I find it quite impressive for a machine this size.

I’m really quite taken with the form factor as well. It’s so much smaller than I imagined – yet after having used it for a couple of hours the size seems just perfect. My Macbook know feels like it’s massive and very clumsy.

Performance-wise I’m also quite impressed. Granted I’m not using it for anything really taxing, but I see that as being the entire point with a machine this size. It’s great for doing online stuff, twittering, e-mail, facebook. As I read in a review it’s a machine for content consumption not so much for creation.

After receiving the machine I wiped the original XP home install that came with it and then installed XP professional. I don’t think there’s a massive difference, but I had a license lying around so I figured I might as well use that.

I also dabbled with dual-booting and now have a working OSX Leopard installation in separate partition. OSX works wonderfully on this little machine except for the built-in wireless card and the headphone and microphone ports. I’m getting a new wireless card and hope that someone much smarter than me figures out the sound issues. The forums are awesome for getting help with anything related to this

But all in all. Beautiful little machine. Usable in a way the Eee never even came close to be.

Things to love:

  • Awesome form factor
  • Quite satisfactory build-quality
  • Really good keyboard
  • Bright screen
  • Snappy performance
  • Runs quite cool

Things to gripe about:

  • The “, .- ‘ ยจ^” keys are half sized compared to the others and that makes typing fast a problem
  • Battery time is a joke – you’re pretty lucky if you can squeeze a little over two hours out of the 3-cell battery – if portability is in any way a point for you then make sure to get the 6-cell version
  • The insane amount of little blinking LEDs. WTF were the designers of this thing thinking?

I’ll definitely be posting more about this little wonder as I start using it around more.

Return to blogging

After what can only be called a long hiatus I’m back to recovering the burning ruins of my blog. My last post was about the MSI Wind and ironically I’m still very much in love with that little piece of tech. I actually signed up for a pre-order. I could probably get it faster through ebay or some such, but I’d like to have a Danish keyboard and a proper warranty.

I did however also get an iPhone on ebay. I figured it was about time I took my geekhood a little more seriously. I was cheap and got the “old” iPhone. They’re cheap and abundant on ebay these days and it seems that with the 2.0 firmware update you’re really not missing out on that many killer features. If I don’t like it I can always sell it on without incurring major losses. They seem to be going for a bit more here in old DK than on ebay.

More info on the MSI Wind

MSI WindSo finally there are some specs out on the MSI wind. What first appeared to be a proper first take on the device turned out to be just a showing of a prototype. Not that there is anything wrong with showing prototypes, but it’s just slightly anti-climactic and may not be reason for videotaping and setting the gadget-themed blogosphere on fire.

Here’s the coverage at engadget and to save you having to read through the coverage here’s a link to the turkish guy who got to fondle the unit.

The keyboard seems nice, the design is decent, but what’s with all the leds? Do we really need 8 (eight!) little lights just to insure that everything’s working properly. Sometimes less is really more, people.
Who makes a product release in Turkey anyway? WTF!

UPDATE: Turns out the MSI Wind is the Medion Akoya that was mentioned around the blogosphere recently umpc portal has the scoop.

Comparing UMPC screen sizes

comparing common UMPC screen sizes
I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out just how big a difference it will make that the Mini note has a 8.9″ screen as opposed to the 7″ screen of the original Eee. I’ve found it hard to visualize just how big the difference will be. I opened Photoshop and drew up a little figure to visualize just how much extra screen estate we’ll be getting by opting for a different UMPC. I included the MSI Wind because they’re marketing is as having either a 8.9″ or a 10″ screen. Looking at the chart I could be totally tempted to go for a 10″ screen. It might just be the sweet spot for a tradeoff between screen size/keyboard size / bezel size.

Of course resolution factors in as well, but that’s a whole other post to be written right there.

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