March 2008


CNET’s Matthew Miller Posted a Redfly Video Demo

CNET’s Mobile Gadgeteer Matthew Miller posted an informative video demo of the Redfly Windows Mobile Smartphone Companion at…

Can the REDFLY Windows Mobile Smartphone Companion succeed where the Foleo couldn’t?

The Redfly is actually LESS than what the never-launched Palm Foleo was supposed to be. The Redfly does not have any internal functions. It is just an external keyboard and display connected to a WiMo smartphone. The Foleo had some standalone functionality. The downfall of the Redfly is its dependency on the WiMo device for all functions including web browsing. It looks like it has a decent screen and keyboard and would be good for that function. However, since the WiMo Internet Explorer web browsing experience is so broken, this means that this same broken experience would simply be extended to the Redfly’s 800×400 display. At $500, the Redfly is a non-starter. There are a bunch of fully functional devices including the Asus Eee PC and the Nokia N810 that provide a much better mobile browsing experience.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Website Exploit Can Freeze or Crash iPhone/iPod touch

According to CNET… A new exploit will either lock up your iPhone or iPod Touch or crash your Safari browser on your PC or Mac OS desktop if you simply visit a maliciously coded Web site.

Web code locks up iPhones and iPod Touch

The current workaround is to disable Javascript in the Safari brower. Yuck. CNET’s article provides the 4-step process to disable JavaScript.

Apple
iPod
Mobile Devices

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ActiveSync/WMDC and Zune Sync: Birds of a Sync Feather

The Zune 2 firmware upgrade turned my 1st generation Zune from a moderately useful MP3/video player to a decent media player with a screen I prefer to my iPod video’s screen (though nothing can touch the iPod touch’s display – pun intended). With its 30GB hard drive (compared to my iPod touch’s 16GB) and the new firmware’s ability to deal with podcasts, I thought it would make a great device to store and watch a bunch of video podcasts. Viewing video podcasts on the Zune (1st generation) is a good experience. The problem lies in actually getting those video podcasts from a PC to the Zune. From what I can tell video podcasts are store in a hodge-podge of file formats in the Zune marketplace. However, it looks like many (maybe most) of these file formats are not Zune ready video formats and requires transcoding that takes place during the sync process with the Zune. A half-dozen or so video podcasts can sometimes take up to an hour for this transcoding process. This is a far cry from the few minutes it takes for a similar batch of video podcasts to be synced to an iPod using iTunes.

So, after trying this idea (using the Zune as my main video podcast device) for a number of months (since the 2.0 firmware came out), I deleted the video podcasts feeds for the Zune. This is really too bad since it really does have a good LCD display and is a good video playback device.

The Zune’s awful video sync process ruined an otherwise good user experience like Windows Mobile’s ActiveSync/WMDC sync process often ruins a good WiMo experience. With the iPhone gaining a lot of traction and entering the enterprise space with its own Exchange Server ActiveSync and Google’s Android arriving soon, one can only hope that Microsoft will take pity on its existing customers and fix their awful sync experience for the Zune and Windows Mobile.

Mobile Devices
Windows Mobile
Zune

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Notebook Too Hot? Try a Newer Notebook Model

Dell Latitude D600 and D620 notebook temperatures

My old Dell Latitude D600 notebook was too hot to work on the keyboard all day long. I bought a USB keyboard to use with the D600 to avoid touching it during the day. As you can see, the hottest area on the keyboard side of the D600 got up to 109 degrees F. The more recent D620 (the D630 is the current model) runs a much cooler 84 degrees F. after a few hours of use. The even older Dell L400 (a 4 pound sub-notebook) was in the 114 degree range near the touchpad and a scorching 124 degrees on the bottom (don’t put this thing on your lap!).

Not all newer notebook models run cooler though. My first generation Apple Macbook runs considerably hotter than the older G4 iBook which runs cool after many hours of use and has great battery life.

Mobile Devices

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SmartPhoneThoughts.com: Paul Thurrott to the Windows Mobile Team: “Screw ’em!”

Found this reference one SmartphoneThoughts.com (I’ve been telling Jason over there that he needs to rename it StandardEditionThoughts.com to stay in line with Microsoft’s branding 🙂
SmartPhoneThoughts.com: Paul Thurrott to the Windows Mobile Team: “Screw ’em!”

…to a statement made in the Windows Weekly podcast by Paul Thurrott and Leo LaPorte. I guess I’m not the only long time Windows Mobile user ranting in the direction of the WiMo group. Couple of reminders to the WiMo team about market leaders (and WiMo has never been dominant):

Palm OS, Wordstar, Lotus 1-2-3, Wordperfect, Novell Netware, DEC VAX, Kodak film.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Back to Basics: Assigning Apps to Buttons

App Key 1

The blog item I wrote earlier about Google’s tip for assigning Google mobile applications to a Samsung Blackjack’s key pointed out that not all Windows Mobile Smartphone (AKA Standard Edition) devices have this feature. However, all Pocket PC type devices (Professional Edition, Classic Edition) have this feature baked in by Microsoft. The problem is that because there is so much variation between Pocket PC type devices, key assignments can vary in physical position of the device. And, it may not be obvious to you which key is being referred to.

For example Ilium’s great freeware Screen Capture application (what I use for every WiMo screen capture you see in this blog) tells you that its snapshot key is assigned to the App1 key. For the last couple of generations, the App1 key has been the Messaging button (the one with the envelope icon on it). However, if you want to be sure, you can go to Settings and select the Buttons option to see which button is assigned to which application. From here, you can change the assignment of applications to buttons as well as the navigation pad.

The Media Player can assign individual functions to buttons and the navigation pad. However, this doesn’t always work as expected. The venerable Dell Axim X51, for example, would simply not allow any Media Player functions to be assigned to the four main buttons beneath its LCD screen. This made it very difficult to use Media Player without looking at the screen and using a stylus. Despite my otherwise high opinion of the Axim X51 (I think it is the best Pocket PC since the great HP Jornada 560 series), this problem along with the loss of ability to create playlists starting with WiMo 5, convinced me that I should buy an iPod an give up using WiMo devices as multimedia playback devices (they still are great for still photos and mini video clips though).

Windows Mobile Pocket PC Settings Buttons

Back to Basics
Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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