Caution – Don’t Sling and Drive

Recently I wrote a post on how I can watch live TV shows on my Treo 650 Smartphone now by controlling my family room TV and streaming the video and audio using SlingMedia’s Slingbox. After writing the post I remembered writing another post on how dangerous it could become to watch TV on a phone while driving in a car. I called it DUII – Driving Under the Internet Influence. I know it sounds crazy and obvious that you should not do this but I have a feeling that this will become a bigger problem. People have become very accustomed to talking on the phone while driving and now people are beginning to text or sms on there phones more and more (even while driving). New phones have a feature that let you text a response to an incoming caller instead of answering the call. One solution to this problem could be a voice recognition user interface that will allow true hands free operations of any communications device. Using normal language you would just tell your phone what to do and it would do it. You would just say out loud “answer the phone” or “reply with a text message that I am in a meeting”. But this still does not solve the possibility of watching video on your phone while driving. For right now the only solution may be to create laws banning the use of portable devices such as cell phones or PDA’s by a driver unless it is handsfree. Unfortunately this probably will not happen until their are enough car accidents as a result of Driving Under the Internet Influence. Lets pray that does not happen.

Save on the cost of pay-per-view by using the Slingbox?

I purchased the SlingMedia Slingbox just over a year ago and it has already saved me enough money to pay for itself. At first I planned to watch my local sports teams while I was on the road or on vacation from my laptop. Then it happened. My brother called me to let me know he would not be able to come over to watch the pay-per-view fight at my house and would have to pay to watch the fight at his house. Slingbox to the rescue!

Why and How I use my Slingbox?

I use my SlingBox to watch TV (mostly sports and sci-fi) on my laptop in my home office because I have no TV in my office.
I also enjoy watching the local news, or local sports like the Miami Dolphins when I am out of town.
Read my previous post on how I even use my slingbox to watch TV by my Pool and Spa.
How about watching pay-per-view movies on the road or at a friends house. My brother was able to save on the cost of ordering a pay-per-view boxing match by watching the fight via my slingbox on his computer, which is connected to his 50″ TV at his house. How cool is that? (Keep in mind Slingbox only allows one connection at a time) But this idea caught on quickly and I figured that I could pay back the cost of my slingbox after just a few pay-per-view shows by sharing or slinging it with friends and family.
Whenever I want or need to have access to a TV channel around the house or even outside with wireless wifi I can have it setup in seconds with my laptop.
And now that I can sling to my Treo phone I can watch TV anywhere and anytime I want! And it’s pretty great!

I’m not alone!

Kenric saved $54.95 with a slingbox a few weeks ago. Read his other great ideas on saving money with a slingbox.
Read how others are Slinging Around the World.
And don’t miss the Sling Community Forum to learn more about the slingbox.

Join the sling community and buy your very own Slingbox.

Sling Media’s Slingbox can be purchased at most major electronics stores such as: Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, Amazon.com, SlingMedia.com, Walmart, Target, Office Depot, etc…

Slingbox Reviews:

Take the Poll and leave a Comment.
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What do you think about controlling your TV from anywhere in the world?

I can watch live TV shows on my Treo 650 Smartphone now!

It was just over one year ago when I bought my Slingmedia Slingbox and started streaming my TV shows in my house and over the Internet. However, it wasn’t until just last week that I was able to stream that same video to my phone. Yep, I can watch live TV shows on my phone. And since I have a ReplayTV unit (just like TIVO but better in my opinion) I can watch my prerecorded shows on my Treo also. The best part is I don’t have to pay for a monthly service like MobiTV. Once you own the slingbox and the slingplayer watching TV is free on your phone (minus the data service charges – I recommend the unlimited data plan)

Here are the steps to get the SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm OS to work on your Treo650 Smartphone:

  1. Download the SlingPlayer Mobile for Palm on to your Treo650
  2. Purchase and install the Kinoma Player 4 EX – This version comes with the Treo 700+, but not the Treo 650
    (The Kinoma Player contains the kinomaVideoMPEG4Lib.prc and the kinomaAACLib.prc codecs that are required by slingplayer to work)
  3. Turn off Bluetooth on the Treo650 – This prevents the Treo 650 from locking up (VERY IMPORTANT – hopefully this will be corrected in future releases)
  4. Launch the SlingPlayerMobile and add your slingbox to your directory and connect to it

Thats it!
Thanks to the SlingCommunity for the tips to get this working on the Treo 650.

The reception and clarity is obviously not as good as the newer phones which take advantage of the higher speed networks but it still does work great. Just read the posts on the SlingCommunity forum and see what others are saying. It has been a year in the making but I am finally happy that I can sling my TV to my phone anywhere at anytime.

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What about you? Do you sling to your phone? Let me know by leaving a comment.

 

Winning Money with PokerStars on my Treo Smartphone

PokerStars on my TreoA few months ago PokerStars upgraded their software to allow resizing of their tables. I wanted to see what it would look like if I shrunk the table size to 320 x 320 pixels and then remote control my PC from the Treo. It worked great. Ok, I can’t really say great but it was usable. The table actually was not able to shrink all the way down to 320 x 320. So I was only able to capture part of the table on my Treo screen, but it was still good enough to play. You can see an actual screen shot of a PokerStars table on my Treo in this post.

I went on a road trip to Tennessee in July with the family and decided to test out playing PokerStars in the car from my Treo 650. (My wife was driving.) I ended up playing for just under 2 hours with no drop outs! Here are a few tips if you try this yourself: (You may want an unlimited Data Plan to avoid large data connection charges)

  1. Change the theme of the PokerStars table to a more suitable color for your Treo
  2. Resize the table on your PC to as small as possible
  3. Remote into your PC with your Treo using PalmVNC and UltraVNC.
  4. Enjoy playing PokerStars on your Treo

Warning: Even though this does work I did find that at times their were long delays or lag time between screen refreshes. A few times I had other players ask me what was taking me so long to play, even though I never did get disconnected or kicked off the table. If you absolutely must get your poker fix but you find yourself on the road without a PC, the Treo650 could save your day, but probably not your wallet :-)

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DUII – Driving Under the Internet Influence; The Crackberry Addiction

DUIIWhat is worse than talking on a cell phone while driving?

I was driving home from work a few weeks ago during rush hour traffic when I noticed the driver in the car next to me typing on his blackberry. This made me curious, so I paid more attention to this practice over the next few days. I was surprised to find several drivers each day texting using their phone or blackberry while in traffic. Now I know their are several studies on the dangers of talking on the cell phone while driving but you have to imagine that typing on a small device must be much worse. I remember around 15 years ago getting into a car accident just because I glanced down at my radio to change the station.

According to recent news reports their have been several fatal accidents where the cause of the accidents were due to typing or dialing on a phone or portable device. This is a new phenomenon that I fear will get worse before anything is done about it. In countries where text-messaging is very popular (especially in Europe) the accident rates are quickly climbing. With the advent of high speed data access on newer phones such as the Motorola Q and the TREO 700, the ability to watch videos on a smartphone will be a text message click away. Then you will have drivers in traffic not only texting but watching and reading webpages on their phones. The addiction will become too great to resist. I can imagine a day when driving under the influence of a crackberry may become more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol. What about you? Participate in my poll and leave a comment on what you think should be done about the use of phones, blackberries, two-way-pagers, treos, or any other portable device while driving.
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Bill O’Reilly Live on my Treo Smartphone

I’ve been listening to streaming audio on my Treo 650 smartphone for a couple of years now. There are thousands of online radio stations streaming audio in every genre there is. Check out Live365.com, Internet Radio on TreoBits, or radioio2go. But it still wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to listen to my music library and wanted to listen to it on my phone. However, my Treo does not have the storage capacity of even the smallest ipod. But if I could stream the audio from my home PC then I would not need lots of storage on my phone. So, I setup streaming audio on my home PC using the free Nullsoft Shoutcast Server software. Once I got that working I realized that I could stream any audio from my PC. Well I happen to have a Hauppauge TV Video card in my PC and was wondering if I would be able to stream the audio from the TV card. It worked like a charm. Now I can stream sports broadcasts, TV News, Talk shows or anything else I want to listen to on the road such as Bill O’Reilly on The Fox News channel. Cool huh? The trick is how do I set the TV card to the station I want to listen to when I am out of the house? Aah thats easy, I use PalmVNC to remote into my PC and change stations on the fly right from my phone. (More about PalmVNC in a few days). Some radio stations do not have a compatible audio stream for the Treo 650. I am now able to circumvent that problem by streaming the incompatible audio to my home PC using any PC compatible stream and then retransmit the audio through Shoutcast to my phone. This allows me to enjoy local radio stations and get real time traffic and local news updates throughout the day. Is there anything that this phone can’t do? If you have listened to streaming audio on a phone or would like to learn more about it please leave me a comment.

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Top Ten uses for my Treo 650 Smartphone

My Treo 650Ever since I started using a PDA and a Cell phone I started dreaming about what life would be like if my PDA and Cell phone became one. Well my dreams have come true…

  1. Make & Receive Phone Calls (Obviously, its a phone!)
  2. Check email (Its a smart phone!)
  3. Browse the Web (Its an Internet phone)
  4. Add contacts (Its an address book phone)
  5. Schedule appointments (Its also a calendar phone)
  6. Read the news, articles, books, even other blogs (Its my newspaper, magazine, library, bookstore all rolled up in one really smart phone)
  7. Post to my Blog Page (Its a phone with a keyboard – great to keep my blog updated)
  8. Listen to Music, AudioBooks, Podcasts, Radio Stations, TV Stations, Internet Radio when and wherever (Its a radio, I mean mp3 player… I mean… oh yeah, still a phone)
  9. Watch Videos even full length DVD movies (Ok I don’t watch full length movies. But I do watch funny video clips, favorite sitcoms, and even a cartoon occasionally which I always have on the phone for my kids)
  10. Play Games (Its a portable game board – chess, checkers, and my favorite: Texas No-Limit Holdem Poker — you can even play online now.)

Leave a comment sharing other ways you have discovered how to use a smart phone.

Until next time…
May all your posts be lively, and all your blogs be alive!

First Post From My Treo 650

This is my first post from my Treo 650 using uBlog. It just dawned on me that I could actually type a post on my phone and then send it to my blog from where ever I am. I don’t have to wait to get back to my computer to add breaking news to my blog. Not that I have enough content to warrant needing breaking news. But I can just see it now… Sitting in yet another boring meeting at work and having the ability to write a post while I am waiting for the meeting to end. Isn’t life wonderful? Well it is when you have a Treo helping you out.

Until next time…
May all your posts be lively, and all your blogs be alive!

Palm Treo 650 Smartphone – The Perfect Day Planner & Companion

I’m another owner of a Treo 650 smartphone and yes I know that their are thousands of articles already written reviewing this phone but I bet you, I will be able to add something that probably no other site has. Did you know that you can listen to any local TV station from whereever you are with this phone? How about streaming audio from thousands of radio stations on the Internet? Don’t forget listening to audiobooks either. You can even sit back and watch your favorite videos (I personally have 3-4 Seinfeld episodes always loaded and a few cartoons for my kids in case I need to quickly calm them down when we’re out in public). Since this phone is with me ALL of the time I no longer need to purchase any newspapers or magazines for that matter. I get all the articles and news that I am interested in automatically downloaded to my phone everyday. This includes: The Wallstreet Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, BBC News, Wired, Yahoo!, Miami Herald (my local paper); Local news from TV stations, and many more articles and even other blogs via RSS feeds. How about remote controlling your Home PC while your on the road?
Until next time…
May all your posts be live, and all your blogs be monsters!