Monday, October 29, 2007

crockett's quest for the ultimate treadmill computing platform, or, treadmill workstation, alpha

[Note, 12/8/08: due to popular demand, all internet treadmill walkstation/workstation posts have been moved the the following blog, ]

[unless you are some sort of treadmill historian or Crockett-stalker, skip to the latest version, here:] ########################################

for crying out loud, all I want is to be able to either listen to music, watch tv/dvr, or read & respond to emails while I'm on the treadmill. HURRY UP, convergence!

I've narrowed down the problem definition as follows: for me it is important to have either a rugged- no, "indestructible," mobile/tablet/phone-type device, or a separation of the HID device from the computer "body" and display. In other words, I don't want to sweat all over a laptop/tablet or tangle myself up in cables and dump everything, including myself, onto the floor.

(1) Experience with HTC Wizard:
I have been able to do some treadmill emailing with the HTC Wizard (branded Cingular 8125), but it was tough with the tiny display. So with high hopes, I tried the super-awesome HTC Advantage x7501 for its larger display, and what I had hoped would be an improved, larger keyboard.

(2) Experience with HTC Advantage:
This was a big disappointment, because I find it actually more difficult to type on the new, re-arranged keyboard, even though it's larger. The layout is different enough to confuse me (where's the D#*$! underscore???). Unlike the solid HTC Wizard, the Advantage is too big to comfortably balance in my hands while walking. I don't want the magnetic display to drop off. I'd be happier if it were a convertible tablet with flexible tilt. The rigidness, (one angle) leaves me wanting to tilt it forward.

And it's too small to use like a real keyboard on a flat surface. The keys are way too responsive, so I'm constantly cleaning up after my typos. Conclusions about HTC Advantage: unless I purchase a blue-tooth keyboard (something I can either hold like a PSP for thumbing or type flat on with keys large enough not too miss), this device is not my ultimate treadmill computing platform.

The HTC Advantage x7501 requires stability for typing, which would require me to be hunched over with my hands on the treadmill book tray the whole time. I preferred the feel of the HTC Wizard for typing, because I could hold it in the air while thumb-typing, although the display was way too small for any real productivity.

This leads me to the components of possible solutions:
Air mouse + mini-keyboard by Gyration. This, or the longer-range "pro" version, will almost certainly be part of the solution to my PC or terminal-based treadmill computing/music platform. It would be even better if I could run TiVo on my PC rather than having to buy the separate, dedicated "television" platform.

Cool thing about this long-range, RF wireless mouse. Not only is it great for use as a presentation style "pointer," and not only does it come with really cool media control software, but also it operates on a frequency that can be repeated by my old-school Terk leapfrog A/V/IR transceivers. Correction: I'm not sure if it's repeating the radio frequency, or if the 2.4GHz are simply reaching the computer upstairs. There is a point here, though. Possible solution:
(3) super thin client, also known as the "television." Display only with all computing done remotely. A variation of this is
(4) a sort-of thin client- windows mobile device or old, "throw-away" laptop. using RPD to access the machine with the really computing power. If you demand high graphics performance, this is not the solution for you. But if you want cheap, quick access to your data, it's ok.

More later...

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