TWCNYC Goes Voice

I am not sure if it’s actually a VOIP product, but Time Warner has officially launched their voice product here in NYC. It’s called Digital Phone – a shockingly boring name and costs $39.95/month. That’s less than Verizon, but more than options from Vonage or AT&T CallVantage.

Feature-wise, Digital Phone falls a bit short. Forwarding is one line, there’s no conference calling and no email announcing of voicemail or listening online. There’s also no call log, or way to click to call from the computer.

I’d say this is purely for people looking to save money on existing phone service – though willing to take a chance with their cable company rather than use the phone company since the service quality is unknown. Time Warner does have access to free media on TV, so I expect to see quite a bit of it while the tube is on. I actually learned about the product from a generic bill stuffer (you had to actually go to the main site and see if service is available in your area), but checked it out tonight after seeing a local market commercial on TBS.

SBC Just wasting money

For a while I’ve been seeing SBC ads on network TV … I just caught one during the first quarter of the Eagles vs Giants game on FOX. What are they thinking?? This is far from an SBC market and their brand has next to no meaning for the MILLIONS of people watching. For kicks I checked my phone number as a potential residential customer on their site and as I expected:

You may live outside the SBC 13-state service territory: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas or Wisconsin.

I am in NYC, so the only possible state possibly of interest is Connecticut in this region and I can’t imagine there are enough people there to make this a worthwhile ad spend…

AvantGo comes back to life

I just learned that there’s a recently activated AvantGo Beta program and decided to give an old friend another chance… I was hooked on AvantGo early in my Palm days and even used VirtualPC to sync it before there was a proper Mac conduit. There’s still no proper Mac conduit directly from the source, but it’s simple for non-Windows users today if you use a wireless device (you can do it over the air) or on Mac OS X you can use Missing Sync with the MAL conduit as I’ve done.

The latest beta is version 5.7 Build 26. I am not completely certain, but I think it’s the first real release since the company was acquired by iAnywhere. I had given the previous version 5.5 a run, but was really not that psyched with how it worked on my Treo – limited 5-way support and it just did not look all that great.

This latest release fully supports the Treo and allows for much great account management on the device itself. You can now fully customize the display order for channels and even browse the entire collection of available channels from your device which is a very nice addition and enables mostly computer free control. While you can choose to surf or sync the channels you have selected (or any site actually since it is a browser after all) with a live connection, you will be more impressed if you use AvantGo in an offline capacity as the speed in which pre-cached content loads is great.

AvantGo existed before RSS came into the mainstream and it looks like it just might keep on pushing to bring professionally formatted content down to your device with each sync. You can easily read news or site updates from a variety of sources during your commute or simply just killing a few minutes. You’ll need about 2MB of free space in order to install the required .prc files and store content from your account. If you’ve paid for the premium level of service you can keep up to 8MB of information — assuming you have that much free space.

Brighthand’s First Impressions of the Treo 650

A very positive review coming from Brighthand on the 650… memory issue aside — preventing proper mobile backup, not that other issue.

Everything that made the Treo 600 so hot is even better. The Web, messaging, the camera, the better screen, better buttons, and more powerful applications all join to make the Treo 650 the newest ‘must-have’ smartphone, and when I can back it up to and restore from a card it will be… dare I say it… as close to perfect as it gets in a smartphone. With the Treo 650 palmOne has once again raised the bar. [Brighthand]

Command thy Treo (or T3) via Voice

I had actually heard of VoiceLauncher at an earlier stage, but finally gave it a whirl tonight… It absolutely works! The only noise in the room I did my tests was the steady static from a baby monitor. I was able to easily program a few speed dials and call them into action without any searching about which could certainly come in handy for in-car activity when you are trying to be a safety conscious type. There were a few hitches, but these were easily resolved with another recording of the command.

Voice command is a very handy thing to have at times and something I’ve made great use of it on my laptop in the past following an injury and a cast that left me one-handed and unable to really type. We are pretty far from that level of interaction (no text transcription) on a Palm, but for opening applications, panels or simply calling a number it’s quite easy to see the value here.

The app is an amazing 99 Kb and your voice profiles and actions can easily be stored on an SD card. Treo 650 users shouldn’t have anything to worry about if they are interested in checking this one out.

There is a major new release of Jean-Francois Morreeuw’s best selling program VoiceLauncher available! The new version 0.8.5 works with the Treo 600, Treo 650 and the Tungsten 3 (on both the simulators and the real devices!!!). Now you can save database to an SD card, launch a phone call in handsfree mode, utlize newly enhanced recognition capabilities and a new normalization feature (for users who don’t read the tutorial to have a working database), the microphone sensitivity is more accurate, and several small bugs have been fixed!

Application Description

VoiceLauncher is the very first voice recognition application publicly announced and made available for palmOne Treo600 and palmOne Treo650. VoiceLauncher has been fully designed to take advantage of palmOne Treo600 and palmOne Treo650 specific features: 5-way navigator, phone application, signal and battery indicators just to give few examples.

VoiceLauncher can launch applications, panels and phone calls. It can dial through any helper compatible application, and is fully integrated with TAKEphONE phone application, allowing features likes pauses in phone numbering. [ ]

eReader goes RSS

I’ve been enjoying the content at eReader on my various Palms for a while now and am glad to see this addition. I love the link right to the shopping cart! I’ll still have to subscribe to the newsletter for now, since that’s where you get the weekly discount code. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until that also makes its way to the RSS, though they’ll lose some sense of who they are communicating with since I’ve yet to see RSS get to personalized in the way email has been capable for years.

The folks at eReader have added an RSS feed so you can see all the new releases each week. They also include a link to add the book directly to your shopping cart. Excellent use of RSS. [Michael Gartenberg]