Rydia writes: Since it first released, I have been in love with my Nokia N900, and it has satisfied all my needs for a mobile with a high degree of control and utility. Sadly, the little guy is showing his age, both in battery life (even with the powersaving kernel options enabled), and performing in general has been left far, far in the dust by phones that are now considered quite old. The time has come to find its successor, but after a thorough search of smartphone options, I can't find any handset that offers everything for the power user that the N900 did (much less a hardware keyboard). I'd like to avoid supporting Google/Android, but there don't seem to be many options. Have any other techies found a replacement for their N900?
Rydia writes: I am the partner in charge of the IT for my small (3 partners) law firm. We have used ClearOS (formerly ClarkConnect) with great satisfaction for the past three years, but with the new version our current groupware solution (Horde) is deprecated in favor of a new mail stack centered around Zarafa. Horde (being php-based) upgrades through PEAR, but attempts to upgrade from the most current supported version (3) to a reasonably current version (4) breaks everything due to the modifications the ClearFoundation folks have made to the php system.
My roadmap was to install Horde 4, which includes a time tracking/invoicing platform (time tracking and invoicing being a huge part of our business), but that is clearly no longer in the cards. Zarafa is a fine groupware suite for everything but that. My question is: are there any good web-based solutions for time tracking and invoicing, preferably OSS, available? Do any of them integrate with standard address books so we wouldn't have to double-book client information? Does this thing even exist?
Rydia writes: I have written a (somewhat lengthy) letter to EB Games regarding their $700 Wii preorder bundle. Personally, I believe this is a travesty and profiteering of the highest order, playing off our fears of being unable to secure a Wii to force us to buy things I, at least, simply do not want nor need. While the only pertinent email address available on ebgames.com is site feedback, I imagine that if enough people sent a letter (or even better, a paper letter to corporate) EB would take notice. I urge everyone who has an interest in this to make themselves heard. I have included mine below as an example.
To whom it may concern,
I woke up this morning and wandered over to your web site, still hoping for a shot at a preorder for Nintendo's Wii. Much to my dismay, I find that the only way to secure an online preorder is to drop $700 on a bundle mostly full of, to be perfectly blunt, garbage.
I understand that, as a corporation, you want to maximize sales. A $700 "bundle," however, for a $250 system, an extra $450 you are requiring consumers to pay, is beyond the pale. Were you simply asking the price for a console, you would have had a sale. You would have had more than a sale: I am planning on buying an extra controller, nunchuck, classic controller, Zelda, Madden and Red Steel. All of that sale would have gone directly to your company, as I would have simply preordered every one from your site while I was there.
But you will not receive any money from me regarding this new system. Instead of trusting consumers to come to you for selection, price and quantity, you are attempting to lock us into buying things that we do not want. There is no need at this stage to buy an SD card for the Wii, as the on-board memory is sufficient for our saves and virtual console games for the forseeable future. It is widely known that protection plans are simply ways of gaining pure profit, especially when the electronics are as sturdy and well-made as Nintendo's are. A magazine subscription, though billed as a "gift," is completely unrelated to what your customers want: a Nintendo Wii.
Of course, it seems that what customers want is not foremost in your mind. I know I speak for many when I say a big selling point for the Wii is the relative inexpense of buying one. Yet your company, with what can only be described as callous disregard for your customers, ignores this and attempts to force a minimum of $700 of sales out of us, apparently because of a combination the expectation of high cost for modern consoles and the theory that we are so desperate for a Wii that we will do anything to secure one.
Many people will. I, and I imagine many like me, shall not. I could have written the entire deal off as efficiency had the bundle been sane: perhaps $500 for a couple games and controllers. But your bundle is too expensive. It contains only one controller, and no extra attachments. The consumer is not allowed to choose which games to include. This is not designed to help the consumer. This is not designed to gain sales by beating the competition's selection and service. This entire scheme is purely designed to gaurantee sales at the expense of your customers.
I am sincerely disappointed. I had been a regular at the Cuyahoga Falls Gamestop for years when I lived in Ohio, and have spent some time at the Howard EB Games now that I live in Chicago. I am afraid that I will be frequenting neither any longer. Your company exists to serve us, the consumers. It is your purpose to secure sales by impressing, aiding, and helping us secure the things we want. This travesty of a "bundle" does none of these things. Of course, a corporation must think of profits and shareholders. The customer, however, must be equally as important. It is obvious that the people who buy from you are nothing more than a resource to dredge money out of with as little effort as possible.
I will therefore no longer be buying from your website or any of your stores. While I may just be one person, I imagine that there are others whom, perhaps less vocal, will respond in kind. As gamers, we look to your store to allow us access to the hardware and software we want. When you brazenly ignore our desires or subjugate them to yours, you do not deserve our business.
Rydia writes: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the scoop on Nintendo's afternoon (midnight in America) press conference, where all things Wii were discussed. The deal? $250 on November 19th for North and South America. Included with the system will be an expanded Wii Sports (with at least bowling as an addition), and Nintendo believes the games themselves will stay at the $50 gamecube-software level. The final numbers seem to be 25 games this year, and 4 million units worldwide.
Unsurprisingly, the Wii will come with a web browser (likely Opera, from the rumors), and virtual console games will be more expensive than expected ($5-$10).
Somewhat new is the talk of "media channels." Examples given are weather and news (likely RSS feeds or similar), but also a "photo channel," which is apparently designed to display and share digital photos.
Nintendo will likely reveal more specifics at its conferences in the USA and England over the course of the next few days.