Welcome!

Update 1/8/2012: If you’ve been redirected here from my other site, FromtheFencepost.com, don’t be alarmed.  Due to some problems with that site, I’ve moved all of its content over to this site, SneakyReader.com.  All the reviews and how-to’s are now posted here, and I’m working on getting everything properly assimilated.  My Google Voice how-to’s can be found here.

Due to changing priorities, I’m not posting as much as I used to.  I probably won’t be writing any more book reviews in the foreseeable future, but all my old reviews are still here.  I may continue to write reviews and how-to’s for electronic devices when the urge strikes.

Update: both devices have been sold.

It’s a sad day, but Mrs. Sneakyreader and I finally decided it was time.  We’ve hardly used our Nokia N810 Internet Tablets since we both got Android phones, so we listed them for sale on Amazon.

To see the listing, go to this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001VY9H1W/ref=sr_1_3_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1329261379&sr=8-3&condition=used  The seller name is Polly’s Pocket Books.

 

Disclaimer: The Nokia N810 Internet Tablet is not your everyday portable device.  It’s a niche device intended for people who like to tinker, customize, and program their own apps.  If you love the iPhone’s simplicity and ease of use, the Nokia N810 may not be the device for you.  If you’ve never heard of Maemo, or Nokia’s N-series devices, then this may not be the device for you.  Please do your homework and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you buy this device.

Why would I want to use Google Voice with my Android phone?

  1. Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice.  If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice.  Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want.  You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.
  2. Save money on international calls.  International calls are far less expensive than the exorbitant per-minute fees charged by cellular carriers.  For example, I can use Google Voice to call my sister in Germany for about 2 cents per minute.  AT&T would charge well over a dollar per minute for the same call.

Why would I want to use Google Voice with my iPhone?

  1. Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice.  If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice.  Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want.  You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.
  2. Save money/minutes on calls.  US calls are free.  International calls are far less expensive than the exorbitant per-minute fees charged by cellular carriers.  For example, I can use Google Voice to call my sister in Germany for about 2 cents per minute.  AT&T would charge well over a dollar per minute for the same call.

I’m a big fan of Google Voice.  During the past year, I’ve written a number of posts about it, including tutorials for setting it up and getting the most out of its features.  During that time, the service has been in a limited beta, by invitation only.  Yesterday, Google Voice opened up to the public.  Anyone can now use it.  To celebrate, I’ve decided to make a list of my favorite ways to use the service.  Where applicable, I’ve provided links to detailed, step-by-step tutorials for setting up the features I describe.

1. Free home phone service:

Google Voice is not a self-contained phone service- it’s just a free and permanent phone number that forwards wherever you want.  There are two VoIP services I know of, SipGate and Gizmo5, that provide free incoming calls.  If you initiate a call through Google Voice’s web interface, by telling it what number you want to call and which of your phones you want connected, Google Voice will place a call to your phone and connect you with the other number after you pick up.  When you dial by this method SipGate and Gizmo5 treat it as an incoming call, which is free.

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In my review of the HTC Tilt2 from AT&T, I mentioned how much I love the Opera Mobile browser.  There’s just one problem, however: when I try to browse on a wifi network, Opera wouldn’t work, instead giving me an error message indicating that it couldn’t find a proxy server.

The good folks over at XDA-Developers Forum have a solution:

Apparently, Opera is configured out of the box to use a specific proxy server, which is only available when the phone is operating on AT&T’s data network.  If you try to connect through wifi, your phone can’t access the server, so Opera won’t work.

Here’s how you fix it:

  1. Open your Opera Mobile browser.
  2. Type “about:config” without quotes into the address bar.
  3. Scroll down until you see “Proxy.”  Click on it.
  4. When the Proxy section expands, uncheck every box and tap “Save.”

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In my recent preliminary review of the HTC Tilt 2, I mentioned that getting the device to work with VoIP and Google Voice calls would be a high priority for me.  Since then, I’ve found a workable solution.  This article will show you with step by step instructions how to set it up.

Why would I want to use Google Voice with my cell phone?

  1. Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice.  If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice.  Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want.  You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.

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I love my Nokia N810, but after 10 months of hoping in vain for ubiquitous wifi in the places I frequent, I finally put convenience ahead of cost and upgraded to a smartphone with a data plan: the HTC Tilt 2 from AT&T.  I’ve only had it for a couple of days, and I’m still getting used to it, but here are a few of my first impressions.

The Tilt 2 is also available from T-Mobile and Verizon as the Touch Pro 2.

Things I liked

The keyboard: This is one of the main reasons I didn’t get an iPhone.  Even the best onscreen keyboards fail to measure up to hardware buttons and tactile feedback.  The Tilt 2 has a fantastic keyboard.  The buttons are just the right size for my thumbs, and are nicely spaced.  Frequently used characters like “/”, “@”, and “:” are intuitively placed, and there are shortcut keys for things like email, calendar, texting, and wifi.  I thought I liked the keyboard on my N810, but this one is even better.

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Today, I received the dubious honor of being plagiarized.  My article, “How to make and receive free phone calls using your N810, Google Voice and Gizmo” was re-posted verbatim, without notification, permission, or attribution, as the very first post on a brand-new blog.

I knew this was illegal, but wasn’t quite sure how to handle it at first, so I sought guidance from the Google God, and found some excellent information and tools for dealing with plagiarism.

Brent Ozar (http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2009/06/how-to-take-action-when-your-content-is-plagiarized/) recommends first sending a cease and desist letter to the webmaster, followed by a Digital Millenium Copyright Act take-down notice to the plagiarist’s internet service provider and/or web hosting service.  If you don’t get a response from the webmaster or ISP, you can send a DMCA notice to the major search engines, who will delist the offending site.  He even provides links to sample cease and desist letters at PlagiarismToday.com which can be customized for your situation.

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Here are some free tools that helped me save money and work smarter during college.

Share class notes with Google Docs

Google Docs is like having Microsoft Word in your email account.  Once you sign up, you have access to a word processor and spreadsheet application that can import and export files to and from Microsoft and Open Document formats.  It doesn’t have all the features of Microsoft Office, but it’s good enough for most of the writing you’ll have to do during college.  Best of all, you can give your friends access and editing privileges for your documents, enabling easy sharing of class notes and study guides, and efficient collaboration on projects.

A few years ago, getting notes for a class I missed meant I had to set up a time to meet, and either copy by hand or find a copy machine.  Now, if I’m getting notes from a colleague who uses Google Docs, sharing notes with me takes 30 seconds and a couple of mouse clicks.

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Update 8/26: DialCentral now seems to be fixed.  Mine is, at least.  If yours is still broken, check out the link below for more information.  You might have to manually change a file in order to fix it.

More information here: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?p=312525#post312525

—Original Post—

If you are running DialCentral on your Nokia N810, you need to be aware of this:

The latest version of DialCentral has some bugs that cause the program to not work properly.  The developer is working on a fix.

For now, if your N810 asks you to install updates for DialCentral, don’t allow it or it will break the program.

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