iPhone 3.0 Supports Both Local AND Exchange Calendars and Contacts

What would you like to do with the existing calendars information on your iPhone?
What would you like to do with the existing calendars information on your iPhone?

When Exchange support was added in the iPhone 2.0 software last summer, turning on Exhange Syncing for Contacts or Calendars was an exclusive action.  Once you turned on Exchange Calendars you could no longer sync your calendars on your iPhone with your computer directly.  It appears that in the iPhone 3.0 that this is no longer the case.  I upgraded to the beta of 3.0 last night and when I attempted to setup Google Syncing again with my calendars, I got the screen on the right.

Previously, doing this action would prompt me that all existing calendars on the iPhone would be deleted, now it asks what to do with the calendars already on the iPhone with an option to keep them intact.  This indicates that Apple is planning on removing the limitation of supporting either Exchange OR synced content but not both.

Unfortunately iTunes seems to not know what to do with this yet, and if I don’t delete the synced calendars, iTunes is not able to do anything with them.

Also unfortunate is that the iPhone will still only support 1 exchange account, an attempt to add a second Exchange Account brings up the familiar “Only one Exchange ActiveSync account can be configured.” message.  While most business users will only have one Exchange account to sign into, Google’s recent move into adding ActiveSync support to Google Calendar and Google Contacts means that at least some of those business users with business accounts on their company Exchange servers may want to setup their personal Google Calendar and Contacts as well, and they’ll be out of luck.

This is still good news, however, for anyone who needs their corporate calendars and contacts but has their own calendars and contacts on their computer as well that they would like to sync.  Kudos to Apple for this non-touted but useful feature.

iPhone 2.1 Software – So far so good

So I upgraded to the 2.1 software this morning on my iPhone. There aren’t any new features, but the array of fixes that Apple promises with the new update are much needed, if it turns out to work.

  • Increased Call Stability
  • Better Battery Life
  • Faster Backups
  • Faster interface

I’m reserving overall judgment, but so far it seems to be working just like Apple said it would.

  • I turned backup back on and the backup part of iTunes sync was done in about 5 seconds, as opposed to the HOUR or more that I’ve experienced before.
  • Since getting everything synced the way I want it, I’ve had it unplugged for several hours with both 3G and Wi-Fi on, as well as periodic checking of email, and my battery gauge still shows full.
  • The opening and closing of applications, particularly the contact list on the Phone app seems much snappier.

I’ll let you know later on if it really has made an impact on the few negatives that were remaining on the iPhone 3G, but in the mean time, how about some news from the other side of the fence. Microsoft has released their second Seinfeld & Bill Gates commercial, and while it’s not going to make me switch back to Windoze, I have to admit, it made me chuckle a little bit.

For the sake of completion, here’s the first video:

Amazon Kindle Reader for the iPhone

I wish I was posting this as a follow up to an announcement, but actually it’s a suggestion to Amazon on how they can make more money, sell more Kindle books, and make more people happy.

Amazon KindleFor those of you who don’t already know, the Amazon Kindle is an ebook reader that uses E-Ink technology to display content on a screen. What’s cook about e-ink is that once it has rendered the screen’s contents, it takes no power to keep the content on the screen. The result is that battery life of the kindle is measured in “page turns” instead of hours. The Kindle is also cool because it has WhisperNet, provided by Sprint, which lets you have books you purchase from Amazon’s kindle store be sent straight to the Kindle, without the need to plug the kindle into your computer. The Kindle also gets a special email address where you can email documents to this address and have them appear on your Kindle for a nominal fee for reading. All in all, it’s a fantastic product, it only has one little problem, the price. The Kindle is $349 (previously $399), available only from Amazon, which is still a bit steep for an up-front cost before you start buying books from the Kindle store to put on it.

Amazon, I know you want to sell Kindles, but your bread and butter will always be the books themselves. My suggestion is that you write an iPhone app that can read the Kindle book format and will validate like a Kindle to your own DRM. You could sell this app in Apple’s app store to make even more money, I’m thinking something along the lines of $20 to $40. This way people with an iPod Touch or iPhone (which is quite a lot of people, including yours truely) can start buying Kindle books without a Kindle, and get the enjoyment of having instant access to literature the way only the elite Kindle owners do. The iPhone already has access to the internet, so it could support all of the functionality of Whispernet without any difficulty from you the developer. The iPod Touch has WiFi, so even it can download books directly when it’s on a hotspot.

Amazon can even take this one step further. Amazon already partners with Apple’s iTunes Music Store as a place to purchase content from it’s own Audible.com, once someone has purchased your iPhone app, partner with iTunes again and have people able to shop for books right through the iTunes music store, making it even easier for iPhone owners to purchase your Kindle books.

What I think Amazon may find surprising if they did this, is that it probably would bolster sails of the Kindle devices itself, not only the Kindle books.

See I’m a bit leery of buying a Kindle, and buying Kindle books, knowing that those books are locked to the Kindle. If I could start buying those books now, and reading them on another device, I’d probably later buy a Kindle knowing it’s a better platform for reading them on.

It’s also not exactly outside of Amazon’s business model to offer their digital products to other platforms either. In March, 2007, I blogged about Amazon and TiVo teaming up to make Amazon Unbox Videos (now known as Amazon Video on Demand) available on TiVo boxes. I immediately started buying Unbox videos when I never had before. Incidentally, I’d love it if Amazon Video-on-demand Videos were playable on the iPhone as well, and I’d probably buy a lot more videos from Amazon if they did, but I think that might be a bit of wishful thinking.

So come on Amazon, release an iPhone app that can read Kindle documents and you’ll have even more of my money then you do now, and I’d bet a whole lot of other people’s money as well.

TiVo making a come back? Watch out Apple TV.

I personally have never owned a TiVo box, primarily because I knew there were a number of DVRs on the market that did not require a monthly subscription and I didn’t see the benefit to paying $12/month for something I thought I could get for a one time fee.

TiVo and Amazon have signed a deal recently that actually made me think twice about this policy however. As most people know, Amazon unveiled their Amazon Unbox program earlier this year to not much applause. After all iTunes has had video downloads for a while now, and it just didn’t seem to make sense to buy movies from Amazon when I already had iTunes. Add to that the fact that Amazon Unbox does not work on a mac as their video drm is PC Only and I didn’t give Amazon a second thought when it came to purchasing single episodes of TV shows or directly downloading movies. Similar to the reasons I previously mentioned why I didn’t give TiVo a second thought, why would I get something that would require it’s own monthly service when I could buy a cable box with DVR built in, or better yet, build a MythTV (though that requires lots of effort and is buggy).

But then TiVo and Amazon signed a deal that I believe is mutually smart for both companies. Amazon Unbox now can be linked with your TiVo account, which means that as you are browsing the web from anywhere, (even away from home) you can purchase a movie or episode on Amazon, or even Rent a movie (something you can’t do on iTunes) and then when you come home (or turn on your TV if you already were home) you’ll find that in your Now Playing List on your TiVo, the episode or movie is already there, ready for you to watch on your TV or (in our case) Projector.

I decided to take the plunge and find out. I purchased a TiVo and linked my TiVo account with my Amazon account, and now I’ve learned what I’ve been missing with Both services.
Continue reading “TiVo making a come back? Watch out Apple TV.”

Deathly Hallows Deathly Near

The final book in the Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released on July 21st, 2007 in English Speaking countries (just one week after the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Movie comes out). Barbara and I recorded a short WizardCast this morning with the news update. This special podcast episode is available here and on iTunes so Subscribe!View in iTunes.

Nick Moline is on the air…again

After several months, Episode 2 of WizardCast, a Science Fiction and Fantasy Podcast hosted by me, from wizards.pro and hogwartslive.com is finally available for download. Be sure to check it out. You can either hit the play button below to start streaming the podcast live, or you can download the podcast to your iPod or other mp3 player. Also it’s available on iTunes so Subscribe!View in iTunes.

Nick Moline is on the air

When I first started this blog just over 3 years ago (July, 2003) it was my second jaunt into internet pop culture. My foray into the culture of the web (after years of being a sort of web recluse) was to write a fanfic, then I created a blog, and now, now after these 3 years, I have published my first podcast episode. WizardCast is a Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Role Playing podcast by the staff of Wizards.Pro and the HogwartsLive RPG.

Continue reading “Nick Moline is on the air”

Road Warrior

Many of those of you who know me know and tease me about the fact that I hate driving. I don’t know why some people (e.g. JMac, who drives just for the sake of driving) love driving so much, it causes me physical pain. I really should get a car with cruise control or something so it doesn’t hurt so much, but after driving for a while my right heel hurts bad and generally I feel bad for being so cramped in the car, I just don’t like it. That said, Yesterday I got up early, after my shower got dressed as nicely as possible, and then drove down to Austin, TX to meet with the creators of the Metadot Portal Server. Continue reading “Road Warrior”