I’m looking for a good new mobile phone

It's that time again, time to upgrade the mobile phone, and though I've pored over reviews, and talked to sales people at the shops, and read friends' weblogs, I'm still not sure how to proceed. So once again, I'm turning to you dear readers, to hear your thoughts about the latest and greatest in mobile technology. Here are my requirements:

– Reasonably decent camera on phone (doesn't have to be 1 MB pictures, but something decent that I can post to Flickr, etc. and have things be recognizable)

– GSM so I can use it abroad

– Works on T-Mobile

– Decent form factor and interface, if possible. I'd rather it weren't a giant phone too large for my pants pocket, or one with some annoying interface like my current Ericsson T68 (which seems to require an inordinate amount of inputs just to add a contact)

Any suggestions? Do you love your phone? Or hate it? And why? Thanks so much for your help!

Update: I've closed the thread because I've gotten enough recommendations and I've decided on the Nokia 6600. More to follow once I've had time to play with it.

Don’t buy that new TV just yet!

According to this New York Times article, Signs of a Glut and Lower Prices on Thin TV's, prices are due to drop on flat panel TV's over the next twelve months due to increases in production capacity by manufacturers.

According to several manufacturers and analysts, the prices for L.C.D. flat-panel TV's will drop in the new year, falling by as much as 30 percent by the end of 2005. The prices of plasma flat-panel TV's are also expected to fall significantly.

That is not a message that the electronics retailers want to be heard during the holiday shopping season. They are hoping that the price cuts that have already occurred will spur more people to buy flat-panel sets, and many are already offering discounts to increase traffic in their stores.

"We do not want to talk about predictions of price drops," said Lee Simonson, the director of Best Buy's television division. "We want people to buy now."

Of course they do. But according to people quoted in this article, a $4,500 set could be going for $3,100 next year (and ~$2,200 in 2006). So maybe instead of buying that TV for this holiday season, you should give an IOU, or something else, and save the TV purchase for next year — even if the Consumer Electronics Association says, "a plasma television is the most desired holiday gift this season."

Welcome to the web, Modern Pooch

If you're dog crazy, or even just someone who like dogs, you'll want to check out the recently launched Modern Pooch. My friend Andrea and her dog Sparky, the founders, have big plans for the site:

We publish the cutest dog pictures, the most outrageous dog stories, and links to essential information you need to take care of your own pooch.

It sure is the spot for your daily doggy fix!

Megnut’s Two Rules For Blogging

On a mailing list I'm on, someone pointed out the difficulty of starting a blog because he didn't know the audience he would be writing for. That got me thinking about getting started blogging, and I realized two "rules" I have for megnut.com. I thought I'd share them here as well:

1. I write about things I feel passionate about

This ensures that I'll take the time to get facts right, that (hopefully) the excitement will show through the writing and make the posts engaging to readers, and I always have topics to write about because I have lots of passions. It doesn't ensure lots of readers (a la Glenn Reynolds) but that's OK, because I'm not interested in mass audience. I'm interested in someone who'll email me with the story of their first marathon, or with a pointer to a great recipe they enjoyed. It ensures I connect with readers who share my passions, and those are people I want to meet.

2. I won't write something I wouldn't want my parents/grandparents to read

This doesn't mean I won't write about some annoying XHTML compliance issue, it just means I'll do it in a way that might make it comprehensible to them if they choose to read it. I've heard through the family grapevine though they, "just skip those posts." More importantly, it means I don't write about something I wouldn't tell them in person, and in a way I'd tell it in person. So I rarely swear. And I don't talk about intimate issues. And I try very hard not to whine or complain, because my Yankee family has very little tolerance for that.

I don't know if those two rules are useful for anyone else, but in looking back over 5+ years of blogging, those seem to be two constants I can identify.

Can you name this song?

This is a favor for a friend of mine who heard a song at a bar the other night. We've searched on Google with the lyric snippet to no avail. So we're turning to the wisdom of the web, and hoping you readers may know the artist and/or the song. Do you know a song that's new and probably released within the past few years? He might have heard something about this band on MTV and this may have been the lead single off their major labor release. It's, "really good 'generic' funk." It's also, "The closest thing I've heard to Prince since Outkast." The lyric snippet that can be recalled is, "I'm gonna do it. Take your body out all night." He thinks. Do you know? Can you help?

Update: The mystery is solved! Reader's report it's, "Take Your Mama" by the Scissor Sisters. Well done readers, my friend thanks you.

Crossing the finish line

In what will hopefully be last NYC Marathon-related post for a while, here's a photo of me finishing the race. Unfortunately at the end there I got jammed up with that older gentleman in blue, so they didn't get a very clear shot of my triumphant completion of the course. I look very serious. I think that's because I didn't see that words "FINISH" on the banner and wasn't 100% the thing was finally, really, actually, over!

Reflections on the marathon

It's a little less than 72 hours since the marathon ended and my body is close to recovered. My legs are still a little sore, but nothing that keeps me from zipping up and down the stairs — unlike Monday and yesterday. I'm planning on going for my first post-marathon run tomorrow, and can't wait. The excitement and high of the marathon has yet to abate. In fact, I'd venture to say a sort of "marathon insanity" has set in. Evidence to support my diagnosis:

1. When I think back to the actual running of the marathon, it wasn't that hard. My pace for nearly 21 miles was slower than I'd actually trained because I ran with friends. It was great to share the experience with others, and it was only around the 14 mile mark that I started to feel some tightness in my legs. I think that was due to the slower than usual pace, which affected my stride. Once I sped up, the tightness dissipated. That was in the Bronx, where I sped up and ran the last five miles alone. I felt strong and fast those last five miles, managed to hold my form together, and because I had so much gas in my tank, I passed people left and right. I have to say, there's something awesome about heading past the mile 24 marker, weaving through the crowd, and speeding towards the finish. There was no point during the race where I really thought, "I can't do this!" Towards the end I felt tired, but it was just a matter of perseverance. I'd actually thought it would be harder and I'd have to battle myself to complete the race.

2. Now I'm all hopped up and ready to run another marathon, and to try and run faster! My net time was 5:09:04, and I know I can go quite a bit faster, so my goal for my next marathon is 4:30. Which leads to further proof of my marathon insanity: I've signed up for the 2005 Paris Marathon next spring! Check out the course map, doesn't that look great? What a tour of the city! So my training begins in early December.

3. Further evidence of my marathon mania is my hope to run the NYC Marathon again next fall. If I can get in a few more NYC Road Runner races before the end of the year, I'll automatically qualify for next year's race. I'd love to run it again, the experience of seeing all those various parts of the city, and all the crowds, was unforgettable. The NYC Marathon is something I'd recommend everyone do once in their life. I'm sure you're thinking, "Ha! There's no way I could ever run a marathon" but you'd be surprised. With some training and dedication, anyone can run a marathon. The course was filled with people walking, with people of all sizes and shapes and ages, people just out there to enjoy the day and the experience and the challenge. I highly recommend it. Honest.

So I think those three points make it official: I am marathon crazy. Running crazy. Or maybe just plain crazy!

Highlights from the Marathon

photo by Jason Kottke
photo by Jason Kottke, http://www.kottke.org

It was a bit weird this morning to wake up and not have to worry about the marathon. It was also a bit weird to wake up and not be able to bend my knees. I'm sure they'll recover with time though. Jason snapped the above photo early in the race in Brooklyn, around mile 4. You can still see the Verrazano Bridge in the distance. I had lots of energy at this point and you can see all of us smiling as we spotted our first cheering friends.

Additional marathon photos can be found all over. Gina, who waited for us in Brooklyn at Fourth Avenue and 14th Street, captured a lot of nice shots of the day, and also my favorite photo of us racing. So artsy!

You can peruse all the Flickr photos with the tag "nycmarathon" and see the few I managed to snap before I gave up trying. The sun was too bright to see the screen and after a while I just wanted to run.

Photographer Rion Nakaya captured Faces of the Marathon for the Morning News. And there are plenty more photos of Marathon finishers on her site that are worth checking out.

All in all, it was a glorious day for running. Thanks to everyone for coming out and cheering us on.

Done and done!

I've survived the NYC Marathon and actually had a pretty smooth time running it. More later, now I'm just recovering on the sofa. Also later a photo of my medal.