Tuesday, 14 July 2009

My phone

I'll start this by saying that I'm a geek, and proud of it! Now with that out of the way, on to the phone itself:
My phone is an HTC Athena x7510, running Windows Mobile and with 16 GB of storage. It has on-board GPS, a 5" touch screen, a full Qwerty hardware keyboard and fast mobile broadband with a 5 GB/month data plan.

I work in IT and all the features above do help with my job. This and the HTC Universal are the only phones on the market that allows me to remotely work on servers and fit the server's screen onto the phone without it being so small that I cannot use it. Both phones have a hardware keyboard, which is essential for remote support. The Athena has faster broadband speeds and has GPS, but other than these two factors I actually think the Universal may just be a better phone.

I use my phone to listen to music, and to watch movies. In fact, my kids have been quietly entertained by a movie playing on my phone during long drives in the car.
I have several games on it, including an old favourite of mine, StarCraft. I can track acceleration, as well as angles, using the built-in accelerometer.
I have Tom Tom SatNav, for when I need to travel to areas that I don't know and I use various non-driving GPS applications geared towards off-road usage. I have OS maps in 1:25000 scale covering almost all of the UK on my phone, so getting lost will actually be rather difficult!

My phone can output directly onto either computer monitors (and projectors) or onto TV sets, and I can plug in USB devices, such as flash memory sticks, or even USB mice or keyboards.

It has the obvious communications technology, such as WiFi and Bluetooth, plus of course the ability to make and receive calls, while maintaining a data connection.

Best of all, because it runs Windows Mobile, there are THOUSANDS of free applications available for it and if none of those meet my needs I can write my own software for it.

Probably my favourite and most used application is GPSed. GPSed allows me to track where I cycle and view my tracks on the GPSed site. It can also update social networking sites, like Blogger, Facebook and Twitter by posting a link so people can see in near real time where on a map you are.

Especially when I cycle slightly longer routes, I often use the live follow feature so my wife can see that I'm still cycling and that I haven't fallen into a ditch somewhere.

GPSed doubles as my cycle computer and shows me the total distance cycled, current speed and direction, as well as time elapsed. If I wanted to be truly posh I'd get a Bluetooth-enabled heart-rate monitor so I can track my heart rate. However, somehow I don't think I'll ever invest in one of those when I can feel whether or not my heart rate is fast or not!

When cycling, I remove my phone from its dedicated pouch. The hardware keyboard is removable and that is left behind. The phone lives in an armoured box fixed to my handle bars. The box started life as a normal click-lock water and air tight food container, but has since been lined with high-density foam. My phone is recessed and the lid has had a large hole cut, which was filled using clear acrylic. This allows me to see the screen of my phone as I cycle, but still protects the phone in case of a fall.

Sadly this means I have no access to the touch-screen while cycling, though normally this is no issue at all. At least my phone is protected from the rain and from falls!

Overall, to me my phone is an essential part of my cycling setup, but of course not everybody will feel quite the same about theirs?

Do you use any technology on your bike? If so, give me a shout. I'm always interested in any such ideas.