Deciding between iPad Wi-Fi + 3G or HTC EVO 4G

When Apple first released the iPad it only came with Wi-Fi support and I waited in line that day along with thousands of others, only to get to the end of the line and have the guy in front of me buy the last one.

I went home empty-handed that day but decided it was probably for the better anyway, knowing that support for 3G was on the near horizon. In fact, I've had an iPad Wi-Fi + 3G on reserve for a few days now at the Apple store, just waiting for one to arrive.

Only now I'm torn because Sprint just released their HTC EVO with 4G support, and it also acts as a Wi-Fi access point. The EVO will provide wireless internet access for up to 8 devices, and it's 4G connection speed is reported to be up to 10 times faster than 3G network speed.

I could save $129 on the iPad and just get the regular Wi-Fi model, and then use the HTC EVO from Sprint to provide a wireless access point wherever I go. Plus, I could connect my laptop to the internet using the same access point.

The HTC has some downsides though. It's battery life has already been receiving a lot of complaints, and the 4G speed comes at an extra $10/month premium. That's $10 above the $69 I'd already be spending for Sprint's data plan, and that's assuming there was actually a 4G network available (which isn't guaranteed given all the places I travel on a regular basis).

That all being said, I'm locked into AT&T for at least another year with my iPhone, which I wouldn't have much use for if I bought the HTC EVO, and I'd be locked into another 2-year contract with Sprint with a double-payment (one to AT&T for the iPhone and one to Sprint for the HTC EVO).

How to Repair Corrupted Outlook Folders

Microsoft Outlook usually does a decent job of maintaining it's email folders, but if your computer ever crashes or accidentally gets a power cord yanked out then there's a chance these folders will get corrupted.

Outlook won't be able to start back up until these errors are fixed, but fortunately there's a scanpst.exe tool that's included with Outlook that can often resolve the problem in a few seconds.

The Outlook scan repair tool is included with your Outlook installation in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12 folder (for Office 2007). Find scanpst.exe in that folder and double-click it to start the Outlook Inbox Repair program.

Outlook saves it's email folders in a file with a .ost extension if you're using a Microsoft Exchange email account, or with a .pst extension if you're using a standard POP3 email account. This file is located in your user directory along with any archives you've saved. On my Windows XP system, this folder can be found here (simply replace rick.palmer with your own account name to find it on your system):

C:\Documents and Settings\rick.palmer\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

In the Outlook Inbox Repair utility, click "Browse" to find the location of your damaged Outlook file. You can also enter the path shown on the initial error message shown at the top of this article.

Click "Start" on the Inbox Repair utility and it will begin processing your Outlook file. On my system it only took a few seconds and was able to repair the Outlook file, putting me back in business with email.

Smart Phones that let you Text without a Data Plan

Phones that let you send text messages have been around for quite some time, such as the Motorola RAZR (or really any phone that has a text messaging plan). That's because each phone number represents a series of letters, and when you're in text mode you can press each number multiple times to cycle through the letters associated with that number.

But that's the hard way to text, or at least a very SLOW way to text.

Enter the Querty keyboard that you find on iPhones and Blackberries. These keyboards give you the full alphabet along with other characters like commas, exclamation points, and quotes. They also let you use both of your thumbs to bang out a text message in a few quick seconds.

The drawback with iPhones, Blackberries, and most other Qwerty devices is that you usually are required (at least if you're using AT&T) to purchase a data plan that includes web browsing and email.

These data plans cost about $30 extra a month, in addition to text messaging support that can range from $5 a month to $20 a month depending on your phone carrier and whether you have unlimited texting or just a couple hundred texts a month (which is very easy to burn through in just a few days).

If all you want from your phone is text messaging, but want to be able to text quickly and easily using a full Qwerty keyboard, then take a look at the LG Xenon from AT&T.

The Xenon comes with a full slide-out Qwert keyboard for fast texting, and also gives you a 2.0 megapixel camera with flash and video recording capabilities, GPS navigation, calendar, contacts, games... essentially a full blown Smart Phone.

Check-in with a United mobile boarding pass

United Airlines now offers a technically advanced airport check-in option that let's you use a bar-code on your mobile device.

It's environment-friendly because it saves you from having to print a boarding pass, and it saves you time because you don't have to stand in line to get your boarding pass if you aren't checking any luggage.

The new program is still in beta and was just announced a few weeks ago. I had the chance to try it out today while flying back to Portland from a business trip to Chicago and it worked flawlessly.

With the new mobile check-in option, you visit on your mobile device (iphone in my case), find your itinerary and choose the mobile checkin option.

You'll be asked to provide an email address where you'd like to receive the mobile boarding pass, and you'll receive an email message containing a link to download your mobile boarding pass. Once you get the email with the link, then you click the link to open a web page on your mobile device that contains the actual mobile checkin bar-code.

I was hoping it would be fewer steps than this, but it's still fairly convenient and straight-forward.

Here are the 5 steps again in order:

1. Check in on your mobile device
2. Provide your email address
3. Download the email message sent from United
4. Open web page link containing bar code
5. Scan bar code at the airport security checkpoint and also at the airport gate.

Just to be safe, I'll admit that I printed out a boarding pass in case something went wrong (I didn't want to be "that guy"... the one who holds up the line because he forgot to have his ID ready). But nothing went wrong and I even saw a couple other guys doing the same thing.

How do I get Facebook notifications on my Blackberry?

Question: hi i have question, i just downloaded facebook mobile onto my blackberry and my friends have facebook on their blackberry but they get a little icon with an f on the top of their screen when they get a notification or friend request or message and i just get a text from a code. How would i be able to recieve that little blue f icon on the top of my blackberry and not just recieve a text from a 5 digit code? Please help me out!!! thank you!!

Answer: I received some great tips from a couple people who deserve the credit, so please read their answers below in the comments section.

Many thanks to Dennis and @powerwheelz for the step-by-step instructions.

On a related note, if you're wondering where to get the Facebook app for your Blackberry, here's the link, and here's the Blackberry Facebook User's Guide.