Treo 650/Cingular: atrocious GPRS speeds lately

Has anyone else noticed their web browsing speeds on Cingular GPRS (MEdia Net) have gotten *ridiculously* slow lately? It’s driving me batty. As far as I can tell, the download speed is reasonable, but the upload latency has gotten ridiculously bad. It’s not uncommon for Blazer to be stuck in the “Sending…” stage for 5 minutes. I don’t think I’m being too harsh when I insist that sending 20 or 30 bytes for an HTTP GET request should take less than 5 minutes.

MotivAider® substitute?

The other day I was browsing through the O’Reilly book “Mind Performance Hacks” and it was talking about changing your habits through the use of a simple device called the MotivAider®. Basically it’s a pager-like thing that vibrates at a chose interval in order to remind you to do things. Sounds simple, huh? Unfortunately, the device costs $60! Seems pretty steep for a vibrating alarm clock.

I’m thinking that there must be some simple program that I can install on my Treo 650 that would do the same thing. In fact, I have a few timer programs such as TikTok and 1TouchTimer, but I don’t think either can set recurring timers.

Anybody know some Palm software that would fit the bill?

Mind Performance Hacks : Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain (Hacks)

Alternative Palm programming

I’ve wanted to try my hand at Palm programming for a while, but have never really gotten into it.

Perhaps part of this is due to the fact that the “official” way to program Palm apps is using C and doing low-level coding of event loops, handlers, and resources (by “official” I mean the way that is supported by Palm and which is the main topic of almost all books on Palm programming).

Well, naturally there are other ways to program Palm. Here are just a few that caught my eye.

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Upgraded my Treo 650 firmware to 1.20

Referring to the nice guide at Treonauts, I finally upgraded my Treo 650’s firmware to the 1.20 firmware for unlocked GSM devices. As is typical with Treo firmware upgrades, it was frightening and anything but uneventful.

I had gotten tired of waiting for Palm to release a firmware updater for Mac OS X, so I finally decided to just do it on Windows, even though it’s not the primary machine that I sync with these days. I grabbed the wife’s laptop and attempted to sync with that, but I could not get it to sync. My wife recently installed Palm Desktop for Clie so she could sync her Clie – perhaps that somehow killed my Treo syncing or maybe it’s weirdness from trying to get Hotsync to work with Windows XP’s fast-user switching feature. Eventually I tired of trying to get it to work and thought maybe I’d do it on Virtual PC on my PowerBook. After many attempts, I could get the Virtual PC to see the Palm USB device but not to Hotsync with it. Many people complained about this on the Web but no one had a good solution beyond doing a Bluetooth sync instead. So I went with the Bluetooth sync, which of course is much slower, but also seemed to be very error-prone for me. It took maybe 5 attempts before I got it to send the entire update to the Treo – before that it kept losing the Bluetooth connection or something and ending up in a weird state. On said fifth attempt, it sent everything over and a reset or two later I had 1.20 and then just had to flip over to the Mac and Hotsync to restore my data.

So now it says 1.20 in Phone Info, though I haven’t played with it enough to have any opinion on whether it has helped or hurt speed, battery life, Bluetooth range, or sound quality. I guess time will tell…

Palm and Treo Hacks : Tips & Tools for Mastering Your Handheld (Hacks)

Treo 650 Updater 1.20 for Unlocked GSM phones

  • Improved memory handling for opening larger web pages
  • Optimized Bluetooth performance and added support for additional headset or carkits*
  • Improved voice quality
  • Improved device performance for heavy data usage such as email or web downloads.
  • Includes Versamail 3.1E, the latest version for the Treo 650 smartphone
    including an updated Mail Service (ISP) list which includes Gmail support
  • Added support for Gmail attachment downloads via web browser
  • Improved performance and increased stability with third-party email solutions
    that are offered directly from carrier partners.
  • Added support for wired carkits
  • Updated carrier settings for data connections and MMS or when roaming internationally
  • Masked password entry in browser to increase privacy
  • Improved customizable voice or sound recordings for specific callers
  • Sounds like a nice update – I haven’t taken the plunge yet though as I want to do it when I have a good block of free time in case something goes wrong.