April 2007


Speed Up Windows Mobile By Deleting Its Internet Explorer Cache

Most people name ActiveSync (Windows Mobile Device Center on Windows Vista) as the most annoying aspect of working with a Windows Mobile Pocket PC (Phone Edition) or Smartphone. The second most annoying aspect is Windows Mobile Memory Management (or lack thereof). This of course always brings up the “X” button that doesn’t actually close the application as it does in Windows XP/Vista. It just hides the display and shows you the previously used application or screen. But, I’m not going there today. Instead, I’ll  mention something else.

If you use your Windows Mobile Internet Explorer, you may notice your device becoming more and more sluggish overall after a time. Like its desktop counterpart, Windows Mobile IE caches web pages as you surf the web. This cache can grows to take up a couple of megabytes of memory on your system which doesn’t have much memory to begin with. The solution is to pop into Windows Mobile IE’s options menu and delete the cache every now and then. If you use WMIE a lot, you might want to do this at least once day. I tend to empty the cache about once a week.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Duplicate Outlook Contacts and Appointments

Reader M.L. writes: Am using Activesync4.5 and when I re-sync my Moto Q, I get duplicates in my contacts & calendars. There is no info on how to avoid this on the Activesync 4.5 “help & How-to” pages.

First, aargh! I hate it when that happens. And, yes, it happens to me too. Not all duplicates are caused by ActiveSync, but it sure does create its share of Outlook headaches. And, if you live in the US and applied the Windows Mobile Daylight Savings change patch in March, take a look at birthdays in your calendar. Some of them may stretch across two days now.

I tend to be extremely cautious with my PIM data since I’ve been managing this data for over 10 years now (after getting my first Windows CE Handheld PC — an HP 320LX that still works!). So, I backup my Outlook data and then manually remove dups from Outlook before syncing with a Windows Mobile device. However, there are techniques and tools that you may want to evaluate for use. Here are a pair of references that may help.

Sperry Software article: Prevent and Remove Microsoft Outlook Duplicates

Outlook Duplicate Items Remover 1.2

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Backup Outlook 2007 Data Files in Windows Vista

My main Outlook data still lives on a Windows XP PC. So, I had to take a look at my Windows Vista box to check on how Outlook behaves over there. It turns out that the steps I described for Outlook 2003 running under Windows XP remains the same for Vista with Outlook 2007. Outlook did not get the new Ribbon interface that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint got in their 2007 versions. So, the menus are pretty much the same between Outlook 2003 and 2007.

One thing you might be thinking, though, is why not just use Vista’s powerful search function. Um, yeah. Go ahead, try it. Click Start->Search and then type “Outlook”. Now, extend that string to “Outlook.pst”. Not very helpful, is it? Unfortunately, Vista’s search is powerful but not smart (Mac OS X Tiger’s Spotlight is very smart by comparison if you want to see how a smart search should work).

The main thing to remember is to sync your Windows Mobile device to Outlook regularly (at least once a day) and backup your Outlook data to an external storage device regularly too (at least once a week).

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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GrandCentral Adds Mobile Interface

GrandCentral, the free web voicemail system (among other features) added a mobile web interface to let you check on voicemail from your phone or PDA. You can it at:

http://grandcentral.com/mobile

Mobile Devices
Mobile Phones
PDA

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Become a WiFi Provider from Your Home

Well, this was totally unexpected…

Time Warner Cable Teams Up With FON For Home-Based Wi-Fi

Who would have thought that the 2nd largest cable modem service provider in the US would team up with FON (not to be confused with Sprint whose stock ticker symbol is FON) to allow its customers to install a FON WiFi Router/AP to provide public wireless. FON’s router has a dual access configuration that lets you have a secure internal LAN separate from the public WiFi LAN service it provides.

Mobile Devices

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Backup Outlook 2003 Data on Windows XP (Because Windows Mobile Has No External Backup!)

Two days ago I responded to a question from D.K. who somehow managed to wipe out Contacts in both Outlook and a Windows Mobile Smartphone. This is easy to imagine since most people don’t back-up their Outlook data (or anything else for that matter) and Windows Mobile Smartphones have never had a backup via ActiveSync or to a storage card provided by Microsoft. Microsoft assumes that the persistent storage in the Smartphone (and Pocket PCs starting with Windows Mobile 5) keeps data safe from a battery rundown while the IT staff behind an Exchange server keeps your data safe from accidental erasure. But, oh wait, not everyone has an IT staff and Exchange Server to backup their data. Doh! So, why did Microsoft remove even the so-so ActiveSync backup/restore for the Pocket PC too? Remember, Windows Mobile devices are not intended for individual consumers. Look at the Windows Mobile 6 reference guide again. See the users categories? There isn’t one for consumers.

So, if you, like me, do not have IT staff and Exchange Server to safeguard your data, you better learn to be your own system administrator if you plan to keep using a Windows Mobile device. You can start by getting into the habit of making regular backups of your Outlook data so you don’t lose everything one day like D.K. The first thing you need to do is find it. Microsoft created ridiculously deep and confusing directory structures that make it difficult to find files (although Windows Vista’s find helps a lot). Let’s start with what most people use: Windows XP and Outlook 2003 (I’ll cover Windows Vista and Outlook 2007 later). Here’s how to find your data.

  • Start Outlook 2003
  • File
  • Data File Management…
  • Most people at home will have one data file named Personal Folders
  • Open Folder
  • Windows Explorer opens up to the directory with your Outlook 2003 files
  • Copy all the files from this folder to one or more backup devices
  • I back up my files to multiple places including a USB hard disk drive, CompactFlash card, and a USB Flash Drive. You might even want to burn a CD-R or DVD+R disc once a year or so.

You might also want to consider investing in a Windows Mobile backup software from Sprite or Spb that creates backup files on a flash card in your device. And, again, you should copy the file off the device to your PC in case you lose or destroy your mobile device.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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