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Category: Technology

Out and about

I’m standing at a bus stop in Harvard Square, realizing that I’m better off posting via Web than by email. Whoops; maybe not, since I can’t set categories this way. Oooops. Ah well.

The first day review of the Hiptop: pretty good, it’ got a very thoughtful design. For example, the @ sign is unshifted, which makes a ton of sense since it’s used so much. There’s decent autocapitalization. The keylock automatically tturns off if you flip the screen open, cause you’ll never do that unless you want to use it.

The core interface is good enough for now. There are some warts; you can’t do an address book lookup while writing an email message, for example, which is dumb since you can store email addresses in the address book. On the other hand, you can launch email from within the address book. The only really annoying quirk is that the email client loses track of attachments if you save a draft message. oh, and it sorely needs cut and paste, or at least a way to delete text from an email message so you don’t wind up quoting the whole damn message each time.

The unit is nicely integrated with the T-Mobile web site. You can import Outlook or Palm address lists via the Web. Nice stuff there.

The physical unit is barely big enough for me to type on, but not big enough to be clumsy on my belt. The case that comes with it kind of sucks; I’m on the lookout for a better one.

Let’s see. Oh, yeah, the camera. Check out Hiptop Nation for an idea of the quality. It’s bad, but the concept is exciting. Realtime pcitures from the mass event of your choice, good or bad? Heady stuff.

Overall I rather like it so far. And everyone in my office wanted to play with it, which has to say something.

[Edit: interesting lack of line breaks. My fault (I set up my bookmark wrong), not the hiptop’s.]

What interface was that?

I’ve been peering at this Scripting News post about cell phones all day, trying to figure out what struck me as weird about it. I finally figured it out. Check this quote:

“So why not make them just a teensy bit bigger and put a real qwerty keyboard on the darn thing and let me type into it like a human being.”

That seemed totally reasonable to me the first zillion times I read it. I just went out and got a Sidekick, cause I wanted a keyboard on my cell phone. But wait — “like a human being.” He wants a keyboard-based interface, cause he wants to use the cell phone for more than just the classic telephonic voice based interface. “Like a human being.”

Humans aren’t stuck with just talking. To be human is to have access to a keyboard!

So it’s weird, but he’s also right. We are the tool using ape. Keyboards are a very nice symbol that says “digital tool here.”