Pure Genius

March 17, 2007

How often during a conversation do you wish you knew what the leading guy’s name is in Dutch (Ed O’Neill, of “Married with Children” fame), or quickly look up reviews of the digital camera you’re looking at in the local Best Buy store, or check the flight status of the plane soon leaving while you’re still stuck in traffic, or … And if you have a Palm Treo 650 (like I do) or 680 (like some of my cooler friends do), you probably fumbled with the Treo’s Blazer — an Internet browser — in a futile attempt to quickly find the answer.

Hobbyist GeniusWell, no more. Genius! from Hobbyist Software pools together quite a few common types of searches into one (somewhat-)easy-to-use tiny application on the Palm Treo 650 / 680. And it’s only $9.95. A free trial is available, but I only had to use it once to see its potential. For example, it can quickly search the following sites or general areas for you:

  • Google
  • Google Local
  • Several weather channels
  • IMDB
  • Yelp!
  • USPS (tracking)
  • UPS (tracking)
  • Fedex (tracking)
  • Flight Status
  • Dictionary
  • Answers
  • Yahoo Movies
  • Wikipedia
  • Web MD
  • Thesarus
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Google Directions (but we don’t need it anymore, right?)
  • Edmunds Auto
  • City to Area Code (and vice versa)
  • Movie showtimes
  • White Pages Lookup
  • Translations
  • Financial quotes and information
  • Shopping reviews and prices
  • … and many more

What Genius! actually does is give you one single search box where you can select different destinations (i.e., Google or IMDB or the Wikipedia) — and then it’d take you directly to the right website on the Treo’s Blazer application. So, it’s really more of a shortcut — but an amazing one. You would need to go to Genius!’s home page via the Treo to download “plug-ins” — each plug-in represents a separate search destination.

I’ve used Genius! countless times to look things up in the Wikipedia (even during office meetings — believe me, I’ve won plenty of bets, including whether a door “jamb” is not spelled “jam”); find things on Google; and track my flights. One very useful feature that Genius! provides is “Google-izer” — in which you just give a website address like “www.cnn.com” — and then it’d take you to Google’s fantastic “squeezer” where it condenses large webpages and photos and makes them small enough in size for easy displaying and loading in a mobile device. Another nice feature is that you can customize up to three tabs (information, finance, translation, and/or shopping) and assign plug-ins to a different tab.

There are a couple things I don’t like about Genius. One of them is that it’s neither easy or convenient to load new plug-ins. You have to browse to Hobbyist’s page for Genius, then find the plug-in link, then you can only load each plug-in one at a time, returning to the same page each time. I hope that in the next Genius! update, the Genius! application would take you directly to the plug-in page — and that you can select multiple plug-ins for simultaneous installation. Another thing I don’t like, ironically related to plug-ins, is that it can be a bit confusing at first to manage these plug-ins, including ordering them and assigning them to your customized tabs.

Hobbyist logoDespite its (relatively minor) shortcomings, this program is, well, sheer genius!

Hobbyist Software has also released several other programs I use on my Treo, including Butler and Reset Doctor.


5 Responses to “Pure Genius”

  1. Curious Eyes Says:

    sounds very handy! I once used my T-Mobile MDA to blow away my technie dinner companions as I Googled an image of okra, which one of them had never seen. Do you know if Genius will work with Windows Mobile?

  2. proudgeek Says:

    Curious Eyes — Unfortunately, Genius! is only available as a Palm OS application for the Palm Treo 650, 680, and one or two Tungsten models. :-( I wonder, though, if there’s at least one Windows Mobile app that does something similar? I’m sure there has to be one.

  3. […] from Hobbyist Software.  See my previous review of it.  It’s a nifty Treo program that finds information fast for you.  I used it for […]

  4. blue cross and blue shield Says:

    Wonderful web site, was very useful. Lovely touch having this guestbook. Thanks

  5. […] Hobbyist Software’s more legit offerings – Butler, Power Hero, Initiate, and Genius!, and have written about Genius! in the past.) Posted by proudgeek Filed in Treo, […]

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