Welcome to InterconnectNow - Interconnected Technologies' blog about technology and other items of interest to small businesses and individuals.

The topics here will usually deal with productivity-enhancing technologies of interest to small businesses and individuals, but are often of broader interest.  Productivity is the goal of all of this technology that we use. Enabling productivity through refining or adding technology-based capabilities is what we're obsessed with at Interconnected Technologies, and so this blog is dedicated to discussions of all things related to that.



New Palm Pre - will it replace the BlackBerry for some?  Me?

Well, Palm has finally come out with an announcement of a new device, the Palm Pre.  It's here:


You can read about it here:


As many know, I've been using a BlackBerry for about a year now, and have some things that the BB does very well that I'll be looking for on the Pre:

  1. Removable storage.  I keep a 16gb card in my Curve and it holds enough music that I don't feel the need for an iPod.  Rumor has it that the Pre won't have removable storage.  If true, that would be a real shame.
  2. Quick and simple access to routine things.  The original PalmOS was superb at this.  The BlackBerry is almost as good in general, and has some quick-access things that surpass anything else around:
    • In the call log, when one has called someone, one can press the "pearl" button and bring up the a list of all of that person's phone numbers (not just the one last dialed).
    • Ability to go from the call log to viewing/editing a contact in one step.
  3. True speed dials.  I can put my voicemail number in my phonebook, along with an appropriate pause and then the password.  Yes, the Treo's Favorites application could do this, but it's built in to the BB, and survives going from one device to the next.
  4. Full sync with Exchange.  Email, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Notes.  For most people, there is no need to sync with desktop software.  The Treo/Centro can sync the first three only.  Hoping the Pre can do all five.
  5. Profiles.  At first I was a little put off by them, but completely configurable ring/sound profiles that can be customized for different circumstances are quite handy, once set up. 
  6. Amazing Bluetooth control.  The Palm Bluetooth implementation was always pretty bad.  The BB Bluetooth implementation is excellent, and includes the ability to switch between Bluetooth devices during a call. 
  7. Responsiveness.  When I press the speakerphone button on the BB, the speakerphone comes on instantly.  No delay like the Treo/Centro.  Everything on the Curve works like that - instant response.  Just like the old Palm devices used to be.  The Treo/Centro have a delay sometimes, which I attribute to the slower processor.  Then again. the BlackBerry Storm has a very fast processor, and still had significant responsiveness problems (one of the reasons I took it back).
  8. Speakerphone that is (finally) loud enough. No Treo/Centro ever had this.  I hope the Pre's speakerphone is loud enough to warrant being turned down from maximum occasionally.
  9. As corny as the little magnet in the BB cases originally seemed to me, I really do like the ability to by just pushing the device into the case, ensure that it is entirely unresponsive to outside pressure.  The standby button on the top accomplishes the same thing.  I hope the Pre will have something similar to one or both of these.

OK, that's enough for now.  You can read about all the other things the Pre is already advertised to do at the links above.  As always, I'm focused on the little subtleties that make a device really productive to use.


Google may have something - marrying Gmail with one's own email address

Google offers the ability, after some occasionally-complex steps, to keep one's own email address while adding the benefits of some of the features of Gmail to the mix.  Those of you who've talked to me about it know that I'm not a big fan of the Gmail user interface (which I think is awkward, klunky, inefficient, unattractive, inconsistent, and so on), but the core functionality of Gmail is quite good, especially with the addition of Postini spam filtering (Google recently bought Postini). 

The steps to implement this are as arkane as the benefits are real.  One can obtain many of the benefits of a hosted Microsoft Exchange account (which is still the gold standard, and at $8/mailbox doesn't cost a lot of gold) for free and without having to become my-name-was-taken@gmail.com.  Gmail can achieve synchronization with a variety of mobile devices while at the same time allowing users who love a web interface to have mail/contacts/calendar that way, and users who prefer a more responsive local email client like Outlook or other mail clients to use them.

Setting this up is not for the faint of heart.  I've done it a few times now and still don't have all the subtleties completely documented (some of them are real doozies!).  That's where InterConnected Technologies comes in - we know how to do it now!


BlackBerry as a music device

Ah, Christmas has come and gone and with it the flurry of new iPod sales going on all around me.  Seems like everyone I know now has at least one iPod.

I have resisted this trend for two primary reasons:

1. I don't want to carry around another device.

2. I don't really spend a lot of time with headphones plugged into my ears.

The former is a practial matter.  One more device; one more cord or power adapter.  The latter is perhaps a generational thing, or maybe it's just tht I don't want to feel THAT cut off from the world!

Enter some relatively new capabilities/devices that turn my trusty BlackBerry Curve into a reasonable substitute:

Research in Motion quietly released a tool called BlackBerry Media Sync which syncs iTunes with the BlackBerry.  Combine that with a 16gb microSD card from Samsung and you have a viable (if a bit underpowered) portable media device, and no need to carry around an iPod.  The Media Sync program is here:  http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/media/mediasync.jsp.  I'm just testing it now, and will update this with any issues.  The Sandisk 16gb card can be purchased in many places.  Search on Amazon.com for a starting point. 


Norton Internet Security 2009

I've discussed with most of my clients how much of an improvement NIS 2009 is over its predecessors.  I've also said time and again that with a properly configured Norton Internet Security program in place, NOT ONE virus or other attack has gotten through and done damage to any of my machines or any machine of any client - that's hundreds of computers over many years with not one incident of a virus or other infection.  This has been the case for over 5 years now, and this article in PC Magazine just reinforces what I and my clients have experienced:  NIS is the best security suite around.  I've also discussed with many folks the fact that one of the key reasons NIS is so powerful is that Symantec bought the entire antivirus research and operation of the IBM Watson Research Center - picking up some very powerful antivirus technology to wed with their already-superior user interface.  It just keeps improving every year:


New in the 2009 version is an almost eery 2-minute install time and almost completly invisible operation.   In addition, the spyware protection in the new version is good enough that I'm gradually discontinuing the use of Spysweeper (which is really a huge resource hog) for additional spyware protection on all but the most spyware susceptible machines.  Yes, you have to pay me to know what that means!

For my clients I can download and install this new version as a free, in-place upgrade to NIS 2007 or 2008 (continuing the license term of either of those products) or as a new installation - remembering that one license serves up to 3 PCs.

If you are interested, take a look at the PC Magazine article - the best just keeps on getting better. 


BlackBerry Storm vs. the Curve - a quickie

You will no doubt forgive me for the lack of specificity here.  Time is limited right now, so I just want to capture things at a high leve.

Prolog:  I have been a Palm/Treo user since the Pilot 1000, dabbling in WinCE/PPC/WinMob briefly over that time.  In 2007 I decided for several reasons to try a BlackBerry - first a Pearl and then a Curve.

I was like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for the Storm to come out.  I pre-ordered one at Best Buy.  I picked it up on Day One.

It is really quite an impressive device in many ways.

However, at a high level, I have to say that it, like the iPhone, is more of a "look and listen" device than a "do" device.  I'll no doubt explain that later, but here's the summary:

Look and Listen

  • Screen is breathtaking
  • Email is as easy to read/use as a laptop
  • Web is very usable on that big, bright screen
  • Flip scroll is better than the iPhone, even.
  • Media player is much improved.
  • Camera is 3mp.


  • Overall ease of use - logistics and typing
  • Performance and responsiveness
  • Battery life
  • Accomodation of legacy applications
  • Entering data on the touch/click screen is better than just a touch screen, but not as quick/responsive as a real keyboard.

In addition, here in my locale, Verizon's coverage is just not as good as Sprint's.  So, back to the Curve and hoping that the next touchscreen BlackBerry will address these issues.  I like Look and Listen too, but "Do" is the reason I carry these things.  If I weren't comparing this to the Treo and the Curve, I might have been happy to keep it (Verizon's higher price for unlimited service notwithstanding). 

More detail when I have time.