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Wednesday, June 19 12:00 AM ET

BBspot Mailbag

Now you too can enjoy my Inbox without the annoying spam. Every week I get some amazing e-mail. Some amazing because of the sheer cluelessness of the sender, some because of the time and energy that went into crafting them and some are just simply amazing.


Snagged a few BBelievers with our article on OpenBSD creating an "I'm a Mac ad for TV"....

This from Science Blog: Wow... that commercial would make even less sense than the ridiculous apple ones.

This from BBspot: How accurate is this article? Why would a software company (a very good one at that) which only has one full time developer employed dish out so much money for a tv commercial, starring such big named actors? It just doesn't make sense to me. Why wouldn't they spend that money in hiring more developers instead?

The story about a serial killer trademarking the term "iPhone killer" snagged one too...

This from BBspot: Surely this is a hoax!

More Grammar Tips

A BBspotter sends in an idea for more grammar tips:

From: Bruce Burns
Date: Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 8:20 PM
Subject: grammar tips

For your next Grammar Tips, you should really "take up" the "issue" of "people" using "quotation marks" for "no apparent reason." This not only applies to online writing, but people who distract you from what they're saying by making those stupid air-quotes when talking.

I will "definately" consider that "great" idea "Bruce."

Report from Iran

I know that you don't come to BBspot for political commentary, or news from the front lines. You want fun links and fake news that tickles your funny bone. The news from Iran though hits close to home, so I hope you'll forgive me for turning a little serious.

As you may know, my wife is from Iran. We have lots of friends and family still in the country, and many here. Mrs. BBspot lived through the revolution in 1979. She was 9 years old when it happened. It was a traumatic experience for her, and the news today brings back bad memories.

It's hard for her to talk about, so I asked one of our friends about what he's hearing from his friends and family back there. I have removed his name to protect his family from reprisals in Iran. The danger is very real. Here is what he said...

From: xxxxxxxx
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 9:49 AM
Subject: Re: Iran and your Family
To: Brian Briggs <>

Yes! I talk with them on a daily basis. What they describe is what we can see on Facebook, YouTube and other internet sites. People are worried and hopeful, anxious and excited at the same time.

All means of connectivity are limited. Cell phones get disconnected everyday around 4pm and are not back any sooner than midnight. Internet is extremely slow and there are limited times that can be used (depending on ISP). But people keep communicating using whatever is available. The pictures of those shooting directly at people are being circulated widely, as well as other useful information like how to recognize the plain-cloth murderers, how to overcome internet filtering etc.

All of my friends, as well as [my sister], participate in street demonstrations. The participation is Much higher, compared to 1979 revolution, which was humongous to begin with. Yesterday there have been somewhere between 3-5 million people in one gathering in Tehran, a city of 12 million. And this is not to sat anything about other cities, all of which are involved.

More amazing is that this many people can demonstrate in silence without even shouting slogans, quite a different picture than what you see in TV, reporting the government-organized demonstrations. These are civil people, not wanting to overthrow but who want reform and it seems that they are serious about getting it the civil way too. I have seen pictures of people helping the riot police out who had been hitting them until a few seconds ago, after they were caught by the crowd of people.

All my friends and relatives are safe so far. Brother of a close friend of mine was arrested but was freed yesterday after 3 days. A co-worker of [my sister] (a tiny girl) was beaten with a stick by a bunch of guys and besides bruises and painful body she's fine. She is actually happy and not deterred one bit! Interestingly she reported (and this I have heard from different sources) that those guys were not Iranian and were speaking Arabic among themselves! There have been shootings and so far 32 people had been killed. I am worried about my sister and friends but I would hesitate one second to join them in all of the demonstrations if I were there.

Doctors in hospitals have let pictures of the dead out, showing that they were mostly shot in the head or chest, making it obvious that the intention had been to kill them. I have seen a very graphic and painful video of a young man dying in front of camera within seconds after being shot in the neck while his friends try to put pressure on his neck wound. But these don't seem to scare people, nor make them angry enough to forget they want peaceful reform. For the first time, I am PROUD to be an Iranian!

Pre Questions

One BBspotter wrote in with some questions about the Palm Pre with my responses in bold...

From: Barry
Date: Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 12:39 AM
Subject: Palm Pre Questions

I've been sitting on the sidelines as I have watched the various smartphones that have been released and rumored since the original iPhone introduction. I currently own a Treo 680 and bought it to be my everything-in-one device. It has been a great phone, but fell short in that it crashed whenever I pushed it too hard or whenever I used the wrong combination of apps (like Voice Dial and Garmin Mobile XT -- or then again, like Voice Dial and anything else).

Apple did not win me over with the iPhone because of many missing features which it seems OS3.0 and the 3G-S are finally addressing. But to be honest, I feel Apple is only circling back on those gaps now because Palm has finally lit a fire under them. What's more, AT&T's network is a concern to me since they just forced Sling Media to cripple their app, they have delayed MMS and tethering support for iPhone, and their new network _begins_ rollout this summer.

The big question for me is: What gaps are there in the Palm Pre?

I haven't had anything yet that has made me consider returning the phone.  That's not to say that the device is perfect, but so far I haven't found a fatal flaw.  Most of the items are "wish list" items that can be implemented in future software updates.  That's not to say that they will, but it's likely

The app store only has 30 apps in it so far.  The ones in there have been solid though.  I'm willing to have some patience with the number of apps for a while, but it is a possibility that developers won't flock to the platform.  I don't expect that to happen, though, but it could.  With the Pre going to Verizon next year, I would think smart developers will get on board before that.

People have complained about the battery life, but I haven't run into any serious issues.  A device that does as much as it does is going to use the battery.  Just using some battery-prolonging tips makes a big difference though.  A USB cable at work, or a charger in the car should solve any problems.

My last phone from Palm certainly had gaps, and the Pre is of course a first edition on a new operating system. In my heart of hearts I want Palm to succeed and I think Sprint's data plan which includes text messaging is far more attractive, but I have my reservations about going with another Palm phone.

So here are my concerns:

1) With Sprint's network, what happens if I am surfing the web on Palm Pre and receive a call? Is Sprint EVDO Rev A forced to send my call to voice mail or break my network connection OR do I get a nice notification at the bottom of the screen telling me somebody is calling. All the demos I have seen of this show the notification bar reading "Missed call" not "Incoming Call". It would be nice if all this multi-tasking included phone + internet at the same time.

I tested this out by running Pandora on EVDO and calling my phone. The call came through just fine.  You can't however surf the Internet on while on a call using the EVDO network.  You can use a WiFi connection while on a call, so that's one possible way around the limitation.  I understand the the data/voice limitation is a function of the network, so there won't be a fix for this one.  I'm usually where there is a wifi network so this isn't much of an issue for me.

2) Does the Palm Pre support voice dialing?

The Pre does not support voice dialing yet. There is a mention of it in the manual, so I would expect this to be added soon.

3) How often does the Pre crash on you?

The Pre has not crashed on me once since I've had it. I have only cycled the power on it once in almost two weeks, because I thought there might be a memory leakage issue.

4) And the hardest question of all since you don't want to damage your device..... Is the screen scratch resistant? I've heard it is plastic so I am very concerned about scratching it up since I _hate_ putting my phone in a protective blanket like many folks do.

My Pre doesn't have any scratches on it yet, but I've only forgotten to put it in the pocket without keys a few times.  I have ordered an Invisible Shield from  It appears to be a good solution for those of us who don't like bulky cases. There are a few other "invisible shields" from other manufacturers as well.  I will report on it once it arrives, so stay tuned.

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