Phoenard

This device has been with me for seven years now, and so far I have never found a reasonable use for it. Most recently I tried to get it working again with a few ideas of what I might use it for. I bought this, or rather funded it on Kickstarter, and now, sadly, the company that made it has long gone. These things happen of course, all too frequently.

As a device it has a lot of potential, but potential doesn’t always equate to actual usefulness, or at least that is always the case with me. I have a few ideas about using it, or possible uses for it, but right now, as I’ve decided to revive it, I cannot seem to get it to work at all. Which is somehow typical.

I have a sense that this happened the last time I tried to revive it. I will continue to try and get it running again, but it may be that it has simply had its day.

Why did credit card computers not take off?

I noticed a Rex device on eBay the other day and was sorely tempted. In the end I resisted though. Which is probably good. But it got me thinking about these kinds of devices. I’ve posted about these before, a number of times and there is a page dedicated to all things PDA as well. I wonder why credit card sized devices never took off.

I know that smartphones have taken over almost every use case of mobile computing, but I do think that the result of that is that everything is a little dull. Sure we have smartwatches and phones, but the lack of a variety of form factors makes everything a little too uniform in many ways.

Something to think about maybe.

Rebble hackathon

I find myself inextricably drawn back to the Pebble ecosystem, if indeed you can call it that. I had the original Pebble, then the Pebble Time. I got rid of both. The I decided to try something different with an original Pebble that I put on my key ring. I tried that for a few months, but in the end I really had no need for it, it had no real use at all.

Then I heard about this Rebble Hackathon, and once more, my interest is peaked. Why? Well, I have no idea really. For a start I don’t currently even own a Pebble device. However, I’ve been looking on eBay for them again. Once more, why? I do not know. It is probably just an obsession of some kind. I even tried using a Pebble on my key chain.

Sadly that little experiment was never really a success.

Anyway, I’m interested in what comes out from it. The event is running now (18th – 20th November 2022). If you want to find out more here’s the event page.

Thumby has arrived

You may remember that I posted about this a little while ago. Finally it has arrived, in a somewhat inauspicious package, but arrived nevertheless.

Of course, it is tiny, really tiny. Actually thumb sized.

And it comes in a tiny box too. Yes I bought two of them.

I had thought that it would be so small that I wouldn’t be able to read the screen at all, but I can, just about, and I even managed to play one of the games that comes pre-loaded.

This gives you an idea of the size of the thing.

It even makes a very tiny sound too. At this point I have no idea what I will do with it. I had been trying for a very long time to not buy any tech that I had no use for, and this is certainly a piece of tech that I have no use for. I am no gamer at all, so playing games is not something that I will be doing much of, but perhaps I will find a way to make it useful. If not it’ll find it’s way on to eBay in a few months.

Thank you Apple

I have had an iPhone 8 for a few years now, and, as with these kind of devices, the battery fades away over time. I decided that I would rather keep this device, as, for the most part, I have little or no need for anything more right now. So I thought I would try to get the battery replaced. I got booked in to the Apple store at Covent Garden and took it in. The staff told me that it would take about an hour.

I went off and got a drink and wandered back to the Apple store to pick it up. Sadly though, Apple had managed to break the phone whilst trying to replace the battery. I was a bit shocked to be honest. They had said when I left it that they might end up wiping the device, but not that they could break it.

However, to make up for this, they have replaced it entirely. Not with a newer device, but with a new iPhone 8. Which is nice. Of course this meant restoring everything to the new device, and that takes time.

Overall this was a good experience, although for the most part a little annoying as I am still restoring things to the new phone, but for the price of a new battery I got a new phone. Not bad really.

Goodbye Sony Clie

A little while ago I posted about trying to make old technology useful again, and specifically, useful to me rather than in some general sense. The first device in my list, was a Sony Clie NX73V. This is a lovely device, a lovely piece of engineering, and, in its day, an incredibly useful.

I tried a variety of things (mainly software) to make it useful, but, in the end, I had to concede that I had no real use for it whatsoever. Which is a shame. However, on the upside, I sold it to someone who had always wanted one. Which is great.

I backed Thumby on Kickstarter

I backed this even though I really try not to back tech stuff these days. It always feels like I end up with a device that I really don’t need and then eventually sell it. However, this was reasonably priced and just such a cool idea. Plus, I had been thinking about devices that sit alongside your keys. This certainly fits that description.

Over the last few years I have pulled back from backing things on Kickstarter, at least backing technology projects. This is in no small part due to the experience of backing blocks smart watch, which failed to deliver anything at all, but also as I backed too many projects where I subsequently never used the final product.

However, I couldn’t resist Thumby. It is so cool that I have made an exception. I do expect that I will struggle to be able to use it. Especially with a screen of that size and eyesight that is less than great these days. But maybe it will be fun, and maybe, just maybe, it might even be useful. Although I am not holding my breath on that.

The device itself can be programmed using the arduino IDE, which is cool, and, whilst I am nothing like a good programmer, I am at least familiar with it. I doubt that I will write much original code for it, but I might amend something that others have written to make it suit my needs. Maybe.

According to Kickstarter it is due to be shipped later this month. When it arrives I’ll post something about it with some pictures I expect.

Finding new uses for old technology (or not)

I recently read an article about people finding new uses for old technology. When I saw the article I was very keen to find out the what and the how, but I was sadly disappointed to discover that it was mostly about people using iPod Shuffles as hair clips. Which is not what I was after really.

For ages I’ve been trying to think of ways to make use of old technology. Uses for the technology that make sense, that are productive and interesting. I’m not really interested in using an old iPod as a hair clip. I don’t think it would suit me for one thing.

One thing I did manage to cobble together was using my old Pebble smartwatch as a key chain.

Not that it is a very useful device if I am honest. It is kind of useful to have the time on my keys, and some notifications are helpful there too, but aside from that it has not been the most successful of experiments.

So what else?

Ideally I would like to find a way to make real use of the old PDAs I have. Over the last couple of years I have sold off a lot of the old devices I owned, and I owned a lot. But I still have a few left that I feel unable to part with. Most of these devices don’t connect to the internet, and if they do they are painfully slow.

A few of them can be used for rudimentary music making, but that is really all it is though. So what could I use them for? That’s the question that is on my mind a lot of the time. Ok, not a lot of the time, but periodically and it is something that I seem to go back to on a regular basis.

As you can see I have used these devices in a variety of different ways over the years, and, whilst some of them have been interesting and fun, none of them have really had long term appeal or efficacy.

Most of the time I find that I need less technology these days rather than more, so finding a real use for any of these devices seems to become harder all the time.

To start off with I am reviving the Sony NX73V. This is a lovely device and one that I actually bought from new.

I found that there was a restore image on the memory stick from 2018, which is probably the last time I went through this process. Next I need to go through all the stuff that is now on the device from the restore process, but that is a post for another day.

When will WordPress and DayOne integrate

When WordPress bought the journal app DayOne I thought that after some time there would be some kind of integration between to the two. But so far nothing.

The DayOne people posted this on their blog. Which does more than allude to integrations, in fact it promises them. That was back in June last year. The announcement from Automattic goes further still:

That doesn’t mean that everything you journal has to stay private, though. When you want to share specific entries – or even entire journals with the world – you can expect seamless integrations with both WordPress.com and Tumblr to do just that. On the flip side of that, importing your favorite content from WordPress.com and Tumblr into Day One is on the near-term roadmap. 

But so far nothing at all. As a long time user of both apps I have to say that I am a little bit disappointed. I kind of thought that about six months was enough time to get something working, but obviously I am wrong about that.