Mobile Devices


MobileViews Podcast 385: People & severe weather; Tech for remembering beloved pets;



Jon Westfall and I are back after an unplanned podcast hiatus last week.

There were several serious weather related problems in the US this past week including the deadly tornadoes that went through Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. And, although hurricane season ended in November for those of us in Hawaii, we were hit by a storm system referred to as a Kona Low. I’d like to discuss tech failures and successes in the weather issue I dealt with.

But, first, I want to note the passing of a beloved pet – our rabbit Bunbun. Jon and I have both had pets pass away in the past couple of years. And, a number of friends who have appeared on this podcast have also lost pets in the past few years. In the best situations, pets are family. So, what are the tech solutions that help you enjoy your pets while they are with you and then, sadly, after they have passed?

The obvious answer is recording photos and videos throughout their life. Is there something else (short of pet cloning?). 3D tools? Which photo/video tools do you use to enhance memories? Google Photos and its built-in search, album building, and other tools is my key tool for these memories. What else is there?

Despite having lived in Hawaii most of my life, I do not recall hearing about a Kona Low (or Kona Storm) until two weeks ago when the island chain was confronted by one.

SYNOPTIC STRUCTURE AND EVOLUTION OF A KONA LOW

Kona lows are subtropical cyclones that occur during the cool season in the north central Pacific (Simpson 1952, Ramage 1962). The Hawaiian word, kona, means leeward and is used to describe winds with a southerly component that replace the usually persistent trade wind regime. Historically kona lows have produced a variety of weather-related hazards, including heavy rains, hailstorms, flash floods, landslides, high winds, large surf and swell, waterspouts, and severe thunderstorms (Schroeder 1977a,b; Ramage 1995; Kodama and Barnes 1997; Businger et al. 1998).

Most of our issues were related to flooding due to many inches of rain falling in a 24 hour period. I don’t think most populated areas had high wind issues although major mountain tops recorded winds in excess of 100 MPH (161 KPH). And, we were fortunate not to have any fatalities attributed to this storm system. That said, some key technology failed. Electricity outages were a big problem with a significant part of downtown Honolulu (the business district) being powerless for several days (up to three).

For me personally, my internet provider (Charter Spectrum) went down and then remained spotty for nearly 24 hours. I have a work-provided Verizon MiFi. However, the Verizon tower near my home was one of the 10 Verizon towers that I learned had become inoperable during the storm. Fortunately, I also have at AT&T phone and its voice and LTE service remained up allowing me to continue to work remotely through the worst part of the storm. I was also fortunate to have power at home throughout the storm. And, my office building has a generator which allows us to continue to process tasks around the clock throughout the storm.

It is still a mystery to me when government issued severe weather alerts sometimes are triggered on my phone and not others when I can clearly hear or see other phones getting these critical alerts. And, yes, I checked my setting to confirm that my phones are set to receive these alerts.

Although I have not installed the Apple 2021 Apple Watch app awardee Carrot Weather on my Apple Watch, I do have the full app installed on my iPhone. I found it more useful that the Apple owned Dark Sky. This is somewhat puzzling since Carrot Weather actually uses the data from Dark Sky for its forecasts.

Apple 2021 App Store Awards

Some you might be surprised to know that your Android or iPhone has a barometer built-in. I happen to have an iOS app named Barometer S10 installed on my iPhone. You can see the dramatic barometric change that it recorded during a 14-day period before and after the Kona Low event.

Jon’s End of Year Reminders:

  1. Run a backup even if you run regular backups. My air-gapped backup (an external drive) gets updated once a month, even though I have nightly replication of most stuff to my off-site. You need on-site/online, off-site, and air gapped.
  2. Check your important paperwork. If any of it is lost, you want to know about that before you need it.
  3. Update firmware/software on any embedded devices you usually keep offline. Crypto cold wallets are good examples.
  4. Review your end-of-life instructions for your loved ones. Update any passwords you changed, add any new financial accounts, strike out outdated information. I have a 3 color system: Black for initial entries, green for additions, and Red for strike-out/corrections.

Mobile Devices

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MobileViews Podcast 384: Guest Jack Cook, Windows Mobile 25th anniversary; Cyber-Monday sales



Jon Westfall and I are joined by fellow former Windows Mobile MVP Jack Cook to reminisce 25 years of Windows CE/Mobile/Phone and the Microsoft MVP program.

Jon and I also discuss Cyber-Monday sales

  1. Amazon Cyber Monday 2021 deals have dropped: These are the 175+ best deals on Apple, Samsung and more
  2. LowEndBox (https://lowendbox.com) has a ton of deals for Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Windows Server 2016 VMs are surprisingly cheap.
  3. camelcamelcamel, a free Amazon price tracker

After the podcast recording, I went into my device archives to find the smartphone whose name I couldn’t remember during the podcast. It is the T-Mobile Dash (aka HTC Excalibur) which was a Windows Mobile smartphone that didn’t have a touchscreen. However, it had a great thrumb keyboard.You can see a photo of my device in the photo here.

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

Mobile Devices

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MobileViews Podcast 383: 13th podcast anniversary. Guest-Sven Johannsen



Jon Westfall and I are joined by our old friend Sven Johannsen to discuss Windows CE’s 25 anniversary and 13 years of this MobileViews podcast.

We also discussed Apple’s new DIY repair program, Jon’s new 3rd generation Oura biometric ring, and thoughts of what we’re looking forward to in Black Friday sales.

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

Mobile Devices

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MobileViews Podcast 382: Reminiscing 25 years of Windows CE with Craig Peacock


Jon Westfall and I are joined by guest panelist Craig Peacock to reminisce 25 years of Windows CE/Mobile.

We also discuss:

  1. Notability blinks on charging users more, grandfathers in existing users
  2. Google One members on iOS get new ML-powered filters in Photos, including Portrait Light & HDR
  3. Jon tested out his iPhone 13 Pro at the Cleveland, MS “50 Nights of Lights” tree lighting last night. Overall the 13 Pro’s blacks were better (less light pollution than the 12 Pro Max). Can really see this in live photos video versus still image. Very happy with the video quality.

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 381: Meta-who? Mobile fast food orders; Wacom tracking you?



In this podcast Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. Facebook renamed their parent company to “Meta”. Do we care?
  2. The first images of the Facebook smart watch have leaked . Can FB really do anything new in this space? And would you trust them?
  3. Interesting piece on how mobile ordering is pretty stressful for Chipotle workers. Makes one think about the intersection of technology and human limitations.
  4. Discussion topic: Oura announced Gen 3 of their ring (which Jon bought last year). Same price ($299), however first 6 months are free then you have to pay a monthly subscription to access all data (Otherwise you just get 3 scores, nothing deeper). Gen 2 users get $50/$75 off and lifetime access
  5. Wacom tablets tracking your app use?
  6. Google resolve DNS
  7. Ableton: Learning to make music with just a web browser

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

Mobile Devices

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MobileViews Podcast 379:Reminiscing 25 years of Windows CE/Mobile/Phone with Jason Dunn


Jon Westfall was unavailable for this podcast. Fortunately, our mutual friend Jason Dunn was available as a guest co-host to reminisce about Windows CE/Mobile/Phone as it nears its 25th launch anniversary (November 1996).

Unfortunately, something weird happened during the recording process, however. The Audio HiJack audio-flow template that I’ve used to record hundreds of previous podcasts only recorded what Jason said. The good news is that I mostly asked questions and provided a few discussion prompts. Moreover, Jason is an excellent extemporaneous speaker. So, you can guess what I said. I removed the blank audio spaces (silences) during the segments I spoke.

Way back in Nov. 2010, Jason and I discussed the then new Windows Phone 7 which made a clean break from Microsoft’s older mobile devices and didn’t maintain app compatibility with Windows Mobile 6. Today, we’re looking back even further to Windows CE 1.0 as well as doing a catch-up conversation since his last visit to the podcast in October 2016!

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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