Is an incomplete good deed better than no good deed done?

Long Story. Bear with me. A nice old man dropped into my office, asking if I am "so and so". I wasn't. Turned out he picked up a wallet on the street with ID's in it. He wanted to return it.

I googled the name and found that he is most likely was visiting a client in a concierged building around the corner. I'll spare you the details, but because of the professional info that is a likely case. I told the old man he could leave the wallet with me and I can track the person down easily. The power of google. But he insisted he will give the wallet back himself. So I told him to try that building and leave the wallet with the concierge. After all, a very high end place with high end service. I am sure the concierge will take care of it.

After the old man left, I continue to google the person, and found his email, phone, and office location, which is just a little further down the road. So I ran out trying to catch the old man, no luck. I dropped into the concierge, he did not take the wallet. I was disappointed. Concierge should try harder to help than that. I ran around the block, cannot find the old man.

Meanwhile, I contacted the owner, and got his hopes up, only to let him know that the old man is gone with the wallet at the end.

Good deed unfinsihed. End result is still bad. On second though I could have kept the old man for a little longer to finish my googling, or asked for his phone number just in case. Lots of options, too late now.

What would you do? How would you feel?


A final email came from the owner. Turned out the old man delivered the wallet back to the owner. Perhaps the concierge told the old man where is the owner's office. I am so glad that there is a good ending to this chain of event.

How popular is the Treo?

I was at a conference today, held at a top class hotel. I had a lot of calls to make (or is it that I keep checking my emails?). Near the end of the day I am in dangerous red territories regarding battery life. I went to the concierge to see if they have a charger. She give me her box of chargers left behind by other hotel guests. It has chargers for new and old style Sony Ericcson phones, Motorola phones, mini USB, a few others that I do not recognized, but nothing for a Treo. My first thought -- the Treo is not that popular?

My second thought -- Treo owners are better organized and not likely to forget their charger at a hotel?

Aston Martin will be British Again, and Casino Royale

News from International Herald Tribune – Ford Sells Aston Martin. Maybe it’s growing up with James Bond, but Aston Martin will always be one of my fav brand. Has anyone notice the inside joke in Casino Royale, when James Bond first arrived, he drove a — Ford. Only after his first little success he got a DB Sports from M.

While we are talking about Bond, this new Bond movie has to go down as one of the best. Almost no gadgets, good stunt work, back to the real bond!

iPhone is NOT the big deal...

What? No? Sure, the iPhone is "cool", "unbelievable". I agree. But all the buzz is shadowing the really important Apple product -- Apple TV. This is such a well conceived device. It solves ALL of my home media management problem, and I am not even a Mac user. What will the Apple TV do?

  • I can now access all my photos on all my PC's at home on my big screen TV without any work.
  • I can listen to all my music stored on all my PC's running iTunes without any work.
  • I may even start to buy TV shows and movies from iTunes store

Get it yet? This is going to

  1. put iTunes on every (windows) PC's
  2. Get people to start buying movies and music videos and music from itunes store

Get it? No need for any windows media editions, any roku/slim device/sonos etc. It will just work. My only worry is loosing that little remote control from Apple. I hope my Logitech Harmony remote can send those Apple codes. I am (pre)ordering one.

the gadgeteer breakup?

The Gadgeteer is one of the gadget review sites that I read often. They offer many no nosense review of stuff that I actually use. For years the two writers, Julie Strietelmeier and Judie Hughes seems like a great pair of blogging partners. I also find the fact that their names are similar give the blog a personal touch. However, I caught a link to Judie Hughes' new blog site, Gear Diary somewhere. I thought it was strange then, that she is starting a different blog. Today I visited The Gadgeteer blog and seems that most references to Judie Hughes have been removed except for her older reviews. Seems like the blogging partners have parted ways !

Problem with using Descriptive names in URL

I downloaded a piece of 21-days trail primium software from a vendor for evaluation. They offer a set of free add-ons as part of the download. Unfortunately they only let me pick one of the several free add-ons to try. The download URL is in the form of something like: company/download-location/etc/free_add_on_addon_type... So how hard is it to guess all the download names? Not hard. I got them all first try. Since these are free add-ons anyway I don't feel too bad about figuring this out and downloaded all their free add-ons. After all I may end up buying this piece of expensive software.

One look at the URL for the download however,

Hotsync is going to kill PalmOS

I love my Treo 700p. It's the first time I have my PDA with me all the time, because it's also my phone, and my link to the internet. I also like PalmOS. I often think of it as the Mac of Smartphone. However, I hate the HotSync process. It is a way to backup your data, yes. But if I want to drag a little article onto my TREO for reading later, must I go thru four steps and 3 minutes to sync my phone? No!! Where is the "quick sync" mode? Why do I have to buy third party apps to access my SD card on the treo so that I can drag and drop? Arrgghh. On a related note, Palm OS UI is great. It's good, but it's dated. Their new Access Linux Platform does not sound so good. What company in the world design great, usable, simple UI for small devices? Apple, did I hear? Where is the TREO killer? Surely Steve is thinking about this, a lot more seriously if you believe this news...

Cash ATM Security

No, this is not a technical/crypto post. I was getting lunch today, somewhere which has one of those non-bank ATM cash machine. This guy came in, dressed very casually in t-shirts and shorts, and exchanged a metal box from the machine. I had to think that he just refilled the machine with new cash. I was surprised by his casual dress code, and I watched him exit the deli. He walked a little down the street, got into his double parked pickup truck and drove off. Question to ask -- how many little metal cash boxes does he have in his truck? Leaving it double parked on a city street -- is that a good idea? Do you want his license plate and truck description?

Palm OS Program Installation

Many Palm OS programs "ships" in a zip file. You unzip the zip archive, and click on the PRC file to send it to the Palm via HotSync. Simple, right? I wish more authors / publishers will make sure that their zip archive are setup so that it unzips into its own directory. The Mundu Instant Messenger application does that. It unzips by default to a "MunduInteroperableMessengerV3.0.6" directory. Makes organizing all the application install files easier on the PC.

The Web of Treos

Since I got my Treo 700p, I started lots of research on the web for reviews, tips and tricks, and products. After a while I notice some thing strange. A lot of the online retailers are related or backed by the same company. I dug deeper. What I found is pretty "interesting".

Starting with TreoCentral. It is owned by Palm. From their website's disclaimer at the page bottom:

TREO and TreoCentral are trademarks or registered trademarks of
palm, Inc. in the United States and other countries;
the TreoCentral mark and domain name are used under license
from palm, Inc. The views expressed on this website are solely
those of the proprietor, or contributors to the site, and do not
necessarily reflect the views of palm, Inc.

Look under their "about" page, it confirmed what I thought -- the Smartphone Experts brand of products are behind the store front as well:

Today, the infrastructure created for the TreoCentral stores
powers a wide variety of Smartphone stores under the
umbrella organization Smartphone Experts.

Checking on the Smartphone Experts website confirms that they powered the store part of most of the treo sites out there:

  • TreoCentral Store
  • Treonauts Store
  • Everything Treo Store
  • Treo Addicts Store
  • and BlueShop for bluetooth stuff.

So when these Treo sites review products, are they truly independent of the Smartphone Expert brand? You thought it matters which site to buy stuff from, but it really doesn't since they are all the same store? What do you think?


How many pair of headphones do you have? I have the following: _

  1. Several pairs of wired earpiece for my cellphone, one in the car, one in the bag, one on the desk, etc.
  2. One pair of B&O cool looking and reasonably sounding A8 headphones for my iPod Shuffle
  3. One bluetooth headset, for my phone
  4. One noise cancelling Bose QuietComfort 2 for listening to music while travelling on the plane, or sleeping on the plane
  5. One pair of wired headphone + mic for Skyping on my PC

  6. One wireless RS120 headphone for watching TV without disturbing others in the house.

Too many pairs? Exactly. There are some products out there now that combine a cellphone headset with a stereo headset for listening to music on the go. But how about adding a audio passthru mode so that I can hear the traffic when I want to? and improve the sound quality.

Remembering your customer's names

This is a true story -- I got a buzz from the front door. It's "Paul" from FedEx the voice said. I buzzed him in. I am actually not at home, but someone else is. The front door buzzer rings my cellphone. Useful when you are not at home a lot. I was expecting a package. Moments later the house phone called my cell. They accepted the package, and put the FedEx guy on the phone with me. I thought they needed a special signature or something. Paul, turned out, use to run a car cleaning service in a garage that I use several times a year, about ten years ago. He is now a independent FedEx delivery guy. He recognized my name on the package, and he wanted to see if I was one of his customers. I was.

Paul was always good with names. I use his company to detail my cars about four times a year, for a few years when I was working in that area. I doubt if I was one of his top customers in terms of sales. Yet each time I drop off the car he would greet me by name before seeing the car. I thought he had great memory or sales or people skills back then. But ten years later? This is impressive. He would make hack of a salesperson.

American Express Cash Back Reward

I don't know how I let this one slipped by. American Express card used to allow redemption of points for cash for up to $300 per year. So at the end of each year I go check to see if I have enough points to get some money back. To my surprise, they now have a much better cash redemption offer -- you can directly get a cash back, in increment of $100, from your reward points. So if you have 100,000 points, you can get $500 back. Not bad at all !

People Doing their Job Well, Part II

I wrote a while back about two people doing their (two different) jobs exceptionally well. Today I had another one of these encounter: I needed to make a few copies of my new front door key. For some reason the key needed a key blank that is not easily available. The first place that tried to do it ended up with a new key copy that does not work. When I went back and told him, he was very appologetic and immeidately gave back my money. He suggested another place near by.

This place is a high end professional security and lock place. The guy behind the counter took the original and spent about 10 minutes looking for a suitable blank for it. He couldn't find one that works, and told me that they couldn't do it either. Just at that time, another employee there walked by, overhead the conversation, and snap the original from his hand. He studied it, and said, "hmm.. how about D24100X or WM3435" ? (or something like that). This person clearly knows about key blanks. He took the key, disappeared for another 5 minutes, and came back with a key cut. The first employee told me that this other person has been in the biz for 40 years, and truly is an expert in key blanks.

All this work, for a $5.25 transaction (for three keys). They have to first love their trade, and also know their stuff, to get this excited about finding the right key blanks for me.

Nike Free Defective

DSC_9057 I thought I found the perfect atheletic shoes -- for walking, running, and more importantly, for doing wushu and tai chi. The Nike Free. When it first came out, I brought a pair online from Finish Line. It was great. I was happy. Until about a month and half later...

The mesh material started tearing from the heel, on both shoes. Since it happened at about the same time, and on both feet, I am pretty sure that it is not damaged by me hitting something. (Especially not on the heel)! Examining the tear, it is obvious that the glued attachment at that point is not very strong.

I emailed customer service, and they told me that if I think it's a manufacturer defect, I can bring it back to the physical store and exchange them within 90 days. I took them back to the store, and they were nice about it -- exchanging them for a new pair. However --

They said the reason for the tear is that I must have stepped on the heel to take the shoes off, which I do sometimes. They said Nike actually will not take the shoes back from the store because they do not believe that is normal wear and tear. The store must have gotten a lot of return/exchange requests, they said now they tell the customers not to step on the heel to remove the shoes when they buy them.

What do you think? The shoes are great. You can even use the Nike iD system to customize a pair for yourself. But for $105 a pair, would you think you need to remember to not step on the heel when removing the shoes?