Getting back on the horse … news and analysis

I have a big case of bike lust (actually the name of a bike cleaning product) now that my LeMond has gone to the peleton in the sky.

This is what I want. A Cervelo Carbon Soloist. In my dreams, and not if my wife has anything to say about it. She’s declared an end to my cycling days and want me back in the rowing scull.

Treo vs. Blackberry — help me decide

I’ve been bitching about the lack of email support on my Treo 650 since arriving at Lenovo in January. I am as much of an email junkie as the next guy, but Lenovo IT doesn’t support Pylon or any of the Lotus Notes conduits on the Treo platform. What do they recommend? The Blackberry — an ugly device I hate as much as luggage with wheels and bluetooth headsets as poseur affectations for proving to the rest of the waiting lounge that one busier, more important, and more connected than the next guy.

So last week I was in Yerp with a useless Treo — a Sprint PCS phone that won’t work in the GSM markets. Faced with a two hour phone call from my London hotel room,  I could either pay the evil bandits at Le Meridien a staggering 83 Pounds per 15-minutes — a potential phone bill of nearly 700 Pounds, or do the right thing and make the call via Skype through my Lenovo X60.

I haven’t had any luck pairing my bluetooth headset with the laptop (call me a hypocrite, but there are laws that require me to drive hands free in some states) so I had to use my noise-cancelling headphones and the X60’s built in microphone to participate. The result was not only astonishingly cheap, it was effective and no one bitched about the line quality whenever I spoke through the Meetingplace bridge.

I’d use Skype all the time except the EVDO modem on the X60 also doesn’t work in Yerp (see my earlier post about electrical plug standards and incompatibilities) and I can’t reasonably leave my laptop running all the time as a cellphone alternative.

So, two things are challenging me.

1. I need a GSM phone but I have less than a year into my two-year Sprint PCS contract on the Treo and I have the entire family on the same plan. I switch to a GSM carrier like Cingular, then I will need to leave the family behind on the Sprint plan …. or, get a GSM Blackberry and only use the phone when out of country, which then leads to two mobile numbers.

2. Email. I need mobile email. The Treo is okay with my POP3 email but will not grab Lenovo  Notes mail. I need Notes mail at this point more than I need mail.

Grrr. I like the Treo. I think it is a fine little device. I don’t use it for much more than voice, a little email, and a little browsing, but the form factor is familiar and I am a cheapskate who doesn’t want to get boned by Sprint for dropping their service a year early.

To map the decision tree:

A. I need GSM. My options are:

1. Get a GSM phone from Cingular for overseas use

2. Keep the Treo for domestic use.

3. Give the Treo to my wife (who doesn’t like it) and leave her and the family on Sprint while I go to Cingular.

B. I need Lotus Notes on the go and overseas

1. That means I need a Cingular Blackberry (unless anyone can advise me as to whether or not Blackberry is CDMA/GSM agnostic).

2. Adding a Sprint Blackberry to my plan will get me email, but only in the U.S.


My favorite things: Lamy Swift

This is a Lamy Swift — the pen I’ve used since 1995 when I walked into a stationer’s on East 12th St. in NYC looking for a fine roller-ball. The clerk showed me a few pens, but the Swift was the winner, hands down.

I’m on my fourth pen today. The first two were pinched from my desk, the third got confiscated at airport security by an over zealous TSA security goon in the weeks following 9/11.

It’s heavy, it’s thick (which is good for fat hands), and it has a wickedly sharp point. The clip retracts flush with the barrel when it is in writing mode, and pops open when the point is retracted. It writes like a surgical instrument. Because my penmanship is befitting a victim of a head trauma, I print, in small precise letters, and this pen is great for detailed writing.

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