Q&A


Mailbag Q&A/Back to Basics: ActiveSync and Bluetooth

Having used Windows Mobile devices since 1997 when the Handheld PCs running Windows CE (still the core engine underneath the Windows Mobile shell) had been out for just a few months, I sometimes forget that things that seem obvious to Windows Mobile enthusiasts may not be obvious to other people. So, I’ll pontificate :-) talk about some real basic type topics here now and then to try to help people who haven’t spent the past decade playing with these things.

Back in May I posted a short video to YouTube titled T-Mobile Dash WM6 Bluetooth ActiveSync demonstrating syncing with my PC using BT. I received an email from viewer ZTT asking:

hello, so on active sync you just have to turn bluetooth on and how does it connect to the computer? does the computer have to be bluetooth??

Oy! Good question. Microsoft ActiveSync and Bluetooth (BT) are two of the most problematic basic tech items I know of. They shouldn’t be. But, they are.

First, yes, your desktop or notebook computer must have a Bluetooth radio in order to sync with a Windows Mobile device over Bluetooth. Unlike Apple Macs (which all have BT these days), very few desktop and notebook Windows PCs come with an intergrated Bluetooth radio. Some notebooks have the option have adding an integrated BT radio at the time of purchase. If your Windows PC does not have BT, BT dongles are fairly inexpensive these days.

You need to partner your Windows Mobile device with the PC using a USB cable the first time. If all goes well, you should be able to configure ActiveSync and the WiMo device to sync over BT. I have an earlier blog entry that details this process. It can be found at…

Tips for ActiveSync With Bluetooth

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Mailbag Q&A: Using a Mobile Phone for Heart Attack Care

Reader D.S. has an interesting question. I usually post interesting questions because I think the question and my response might be of general interest. This time, however, I’m posting it because I think the question needs a better response than I can provide. D.S. asks…

We are in the midst of setting up a system to improve the care for patients who are suffering a heart attack in the city and county of […]

One significant issue is how to to allow the cardiologist to see the electrocardiogram. This is important for the cardiologist to make a decision as to whether an emergent cardiac catheterization should take place.

Obviously if it is during business hours or if the cardiologist is at home and has a fax machine, this is not as much of an issue.

However, we need to address the possibility that the cardiologist on call is out and about. Hence the question about how a cardiologist might be able to view the electrocardiogram in the field.

One thought is for the cardiologists to have mobile devices. In my research of the topic, there do appear to be ways for a fax of the electrocardiogram to be sent to a mobile device. However, the worry is that there is still a delay, especially with a fax to email solution. In acute heart attack care, seconds and minutes count, so the image would need to be available in real time.

In your experience, what would you recommend as a way to get an image of the electrocardiogram to the cardiologist. Some way for the emergency room to send a fax of the electrocardiogram to the phone? Could it be send via MMS messenging?

First, here’s a caveat/disclaimer: My response here should not be considered as advice, recommendation, or consultation. It is merely a response to an interesting question. (Sorry for the weasel words :-).

Couple of thoughts…

1. First, before starting on the technical aspects of the project, be sure to consult with an authority in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). You may need to encrypt the electrocardiogram image for transmission.

2. As you point out both SMS and email are subject to potential delays. And, sending images may be problematic depending on how email is configured, the storage capacity of the receiver’s mail server, and other factors. It may be worth investigating the possibility of keeping multiple resolutions of individual images (low, medium, high) on the server and sending alerts to the cardiologist via simultaneous multiple channels: E.g., automated voice call, SMS, email. This message would point the receiver to a password protected site where the image could be called up on a mobile device for viewing.

3. Don’t rule out the possibility of an old-style client-server application where coded alphanumeric data is sent from the server to the client (mobile device) instead of a graphic image. An electrocardiogram image could be rebuilt from this smaller coded data. This could greatly reduce the amount of data that is sent compared to an image file and thus speed up the process of receiving and viewing the electrocardiogram image.

Here are links to two mobile technology sites that may provide more information than I can provide.

MedicalPocketPC.com

Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine has an M.D. as a regular contributing author

Finally, if anyone has other information links that might be useful to D.S., please post it in a comment to this blog entry.

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Windows CE vs. Windows Mobile

Reader Z.M. asks: Two products I have seen, the Cisco/Linksys WIP330, and the Y5 World handset use Windows CE/Mobile for the OS and browser, but they do not have the full UI suite you see on Windows Mobile mobile phones. They both use what looks like the same 3rd-party UI kit for a telephony UI. I was wondering if you know who makes this software?
Microsoft provides the base platform for Windows CE that is used in embedded devices such as the ones you mention (and many more). This base platform is then molded and enhanced by independent developers to create products like the ones you mention. This is a large number of embedded systems developers working to develop these kinds of products.
Windows CE is also the underlying platform for Windows Mobile devices: Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone Edition, and Smartphone. The Windows Mobile Shell, Office, and other teams add on the features you see on Pocket PCs and Smartphones based on Windows Mobile.

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EV-DO applicability in Japan?

Reader J.V. asks: Would a BlackBerry with Ev-DO technology (such as the 7703e) be usable in Japan? Would a BlackBerrys on GSM/GPRS and EDGE networks be usable in Japan?

Most of the world does not use CDMA/EVDO. Most of the world tends to be GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS. Japan’s NTT DoCoMo invented W-CDMA used by both FOMA used in Japan and UMTS used in a lot of places (except for most of the US where we tend to lag behind in the wireless world).

I took a look at taking my GSM/GPRS phone with me when I visited Japan back in 2005. I ended up leaving it behind. In speaking with people who visit Japan regularly, it seems that they tend to buy a phone with rechargeable SIMs (fixed number of minutes). If you read the article I wrote about my trip for O’Reilly’s MacDevCenter…
Japan Primer for the Mac Techno-Tourist

…you’ll find a section sub-titled Mobile Phones, Broadband, & Wi-Fi Hotspots that provides links to sites that discussing phone roaming options.

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Q&A New Pocket PCs?

Reader D.K. says: I’ve been reading your blog and site for some time, and am one of the myriad people who greatly appreciate the lengths you’ve gone through to help us plebieans disseminate the complexities of what’s now the WM platform.After being cursed with the imate sp5 (and wm5 for smartphones – what a crock), I’ve decided that I’m going to switch over to a full fledged wm5 pda-phone. I’ve got my eyes set on the htc p3600 (trinity), but it’s still stuck using the samsung 400mhz processor and worse yet, has only 64mb of ram. You had mentioned that a few manufacturers are producing and will soon produce 256mb phones, and I was wondering if you knew if HTC has any underway. It would be a shame to spend nearly $800 only to discover that the phone is obsolete a few months later.

D.K.: Thanks for the kind words. But, you might have read about upcoming phones with 256MB RAM at some other site. Generally speaking, I tend not to write about rumors and unreleased products? Why? (cough, cough)… Mostly because I don’t catch wind of many rumors or get juicy insider tidbits :-)

That said, the HTC P3600 is a pretty nice looking Pocket PC Phone Edition. I would not be too concerned about the 400MHz Samsung chip. You will probably find it quite acceptable. I’ve got two first generation Windows Mobile 5 Phone Edition units: An iMate K-JAM (195MHz) and an iMate JasJar (520MHz). While the JasJar is definitely much faster than the somewhat pokey K-JAM, the K-JAM is quite usable. I usually carry the K-JAM around as my daily use Pocket PC (I use an SDA as my phone).

I also don’t find the 64MB RAM a limitation. However, I tend not to install a lot of apps on either my Pocket PC or Smartphone. And, I keep all my data on a 1GB mini-SD. So, I haven’t felt any storage crunch issues yet.

Of course, unless you must-a-gotta get a new phone now, it always pays to be be patient and wait for the usual round of announcements of new phones that seem to come out in Spring and Summer.

Mobile Devices
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Q&A: How to Configure Email for an IMAP4 Server

From the beginning of Windows CE/Windows Mobile-time, it seems like people have had problems configuring Messaging (formerly known as Inbox) for their POP3 or IMAP4 and SMTP email servers. Reader D.B. recently wrote me email asking about this issue.

D.B. writes: I recently got the Cingular Treo 750- my fiorst experience with Windows mobile. I read you peice below and wondered how I can go about configruing my email as you have apparently done the the very last scenario (IMOAP4)…any advice greatly appreciated!

IMAP4 06

The response is way too long for a blog entry. So, I created a special How-To page for D.B. and anyone else wanting to configure Windows Mobile 5 Messaging with an IMAP4 server. Click on the link below to read what I hope is a simple 10-step process with lots of screen shots to step you through the configuration process.

Configuring IMAP4 Email for Windows Mobile 5

Mobile Devices
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