Thoughts about iPaq h6315?

I am thinking of buying this phone, but I can’t make up my mind. If anyone has experience with this model, I would love some feedback.

For context, I already am using the T-Mobile Pocket PC phone for a number of years. I have evaluated all of the ?Smart Phone? phones and think they are yucky; I am happy with Pocket PC form factor (and I don’t use a stylus, Rory). I am only considering upgrade to the new model so that I could accomplish a few additional things:

  1. Bluetooth to GPS. I use Pocket Streets, and my GPS supports bluetooth. Does this phone actually work with Bluetooth GPS and Pocket Streets, or is the ?Bluetooth Support? some kind of crappy custom thing that works only for ActiveSync?
  2. 802.11 access. My current phone has GPRS only. I want 802.11. However, it cannot be just vanilla 802.11 with WEP; it needs to work at MSFT WLAN. Does it?
  3. Connection to corporate mail competitive with Blackberry. If it doesn’t work out of the box with my corporate e-mail as well as Blackberry, then I am stuck using OMA and might as well keep the current phone.

And that’s it. The phone advertises some cool features in vague terms; if they don’t work in the specific terms I describe above, it’s not worth it.

The Problem with nofollow

As the blogosphere toasts itself over the collaboration that went into nofollow, I can’t help thinking that it’s way too soon to declare victory.

Dare points out that it was a bug for vendors to assume that all links are links of positive mention. But the point is that an href never provided any additional metadata about the disposition of the person doing the linking. The only metadata that could be inferred from a hyperlink was ?the person authoring page X found page Y to be sufficiently interesting to link to it?.

Now with nofollow, you have one tiny extra bit of metadata. ?The person authoring page X wants you to be able to vist page Y, but can’t decide if it is interesting or not?.

I think it would have been much better (and just as easy) to add a ?rating? attribute instead. Rating would capture the opinion of the page author about the site being linked, and might be one of ?Cool|Unknown|Spam|Crap?. Search engines could ignore links with unknown rating, and actually downrank links reported as spam.

The problem with nofollow is that it’s only effective as a deterrent if 90% of sites with comments implement it. It costs the same amount of money to spam a nofollow site as a non-nofollow site, and it doesn’t cost much more to spam 10,000 sites than to spam 100. If 5% of the sites you spam implement nofollow, you just spam 5% more sites for the same ROI at a tiny fraction of the incremental cost. I don’t see this acting as a deterrent.

On the other hand, if the search engines actually allowed downranking, then spammers would very quickly be punished. Again, it wouldn’t work to downrank all items that appear with ?nofollow?, because most of them will be legitimate (especially if your system works). So you don’t want to punish legitimate links.

In practical effect, nofollow seems like a really crappy hack that tells search engines ?this link probably comes from a comments page?. For starters, the search engine should be smart enough to figure that out. And furthermore, it doesn’t help much at all. And finally, I should be able to search on this metadata just like any other (for example, I can search for pages in a date range that is likely to get filtered out by relevance rank; why not be able to search for all pages with a rating of spam?) It seems like it’s actually more work for search vendors to take this little page rank hack than it would be to treat it like any other metadata.

If nofollow is the thing that stops comment spam cold (or slows it down noticably) then I’ll be pleased. But I’m very skeptical right now.

XBox World Domination

From the recent press release: ?Smashing previously established records, the Xbox Live community has logged a record-breaking 91 million hours playing “Halo 2” since the title’s launch — more than any other Xbox Live game in the two-year history of the service. In addition, the instantly immersive gameplay has resulted in close to 61 million logged sessions on the game, with an average session lasting nearly 92 minutes, approximately the length of a major motion picture.?

Halo 2 on XBox Live is fantastic exercise for your Hippocampus and Caudate Nucleus, which in turn is good for your mood.

End of Candor

Seth Godin is great, because he’s just as eager and evangelical when he’s wrong as when he’s right. He’s raising the red flags like a modern-day Paul Revere, ?YOU CAN’T TRUST BLOGS, THE CIA MIGHT WRITE ONE!!!? He’s wants to make sure that you know your expectations are about to change, and that he was the first to tell you.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what he’s excited about. By his logic, you should never trust human contact again, because the person you’re talking too might be a CIA asset. But that has always been a possibility. Blogs are simply a form of personal communication, and like all intrapersonal communication, capable of being subordinated by ulterior motives. And I have news for Seth — nobody reads blogs thinking, ?What a crafty way to get my news without CIA interference!?

Personally, I think the whole NYT thing is yet another attempt by the old media to deflect attention from their own conflicts of interest (I recall some recent story of a news commentator being paid to boost ?no child left behind? in his newspaper column). It seems that every time the old media gets caught in a lie or loses a major advertiser, we see a story about ?YOU CAN’T TRUST THE BLOGGERS?. It’s stale and pathetic, really.

Lazy Germans

The average German works about 2.5 hours per calendar day. The link has more analysis about lazy Germans in general, but I am more interested in the related issue: do you know how much productive work you do each day? Time, like money, is a resource which you spend largely at your discretion. To maximize the utility of either, you need to make smart decisions. But before you decide how to optimize resource allocation, you have to be able to get a reasonably clear picture of where your resources are going.

This is all seems patronizing, until yourealize that very few people have any idea where they spend their time or money. Most people could give you a reasonable guess about how much they spend on taxes versus investment versus consumption, but the number of people who could break down consumption into the five biggest constituents is probably in single-digit percentages. And most people do far worse at understanding where their time goes. This is unfortunate, since time is undoubtedly more valuable than money, and burns at a fixed rate whether you chose to spend it or not.

Lawyers and consultants learn to track time in terms of billable hours. I believe that the simple discipline of tracking billable hours makes it easier for such people to balance their time for other professional activities, since their rough time allocation is always visible to them. However, most people do not have any such requirement for transparency, and even billable professionals do not often have good visibility extending beyond their office time. A very interesting exercise is to track your time in 30 minute increments over the period of a week, and see where your time goes. Especially interesting is the personal time; since presumably people’s working time is meant to enrich and enable the personal time rather than vice-versa.

I’m convincedthat we spend most of our lives sleep-walking through decisions about time expenditure, allowing the decisions to be made by default rather than lucidly. It’s amazing, really, how hypnogogic most of us are about many of the most important choices we can make. I’m not passing judgement; just making an observation — perhaps we would all go mad if we tried to micromanage our own existence. But I can sure say it’s absurd for most people to take a comment about ?2.5 hours a day? and run with it.

Do No Evil/Good

I think Bosworth made a mistake to join into argument with the GPL zealots about Google’s ?contributions? to open source. Dare’s narrative gives the best summary.

I discussed exactly this issue with Eric Raymond a few years ago, when I postulated that the GPL would serve as an incentive for software companies to leech OSS whilehiding their own innovations behind GPL-proof barriers like server-hosted applications and hardware appliances. I think this incentive (protect IP while changing the distribution mechanism) is far more powerful than the ?viral? incentive effect that Stallman hoped for. Google uses both of these GPL-evasion techniques (although, admittedly, for more reasons than GPL evasion).

I personally commend Google for doing this to protect their IP, and I see nothing wrong with them taking so much and giving so little back. Bosworth’s request was not out of line. The Stallmanist puratins will never be satisfied, ever, so it’s a waste of time even engaging. And, as I recall, Raymond was not all that concerned by Google-style dodges of GPL.