Google Spreadsheets Can’t Display Certain Excel Mobile Functions

I wanted to take long close look at a spreadsheet on my Pocket PC the other day. So, I emailed it to my Gmail (Google Mail) account from where I could easily download the file to a PC that did not have ActiveSync on it (and on which I did not want to install it). When I opened my email in Gmail, I noticed that one of the options was Open in Google Spreadsheets. A column with text it in appeared but two columns containing date and time functions (e.g., =date(2006,11,18), =time(22,49,00)) were all empty.

I manually typed in a date function to demonstrate to myself that Google Spreadsheets supported that function… and it does. I was able to view the Excel spreadsheet translated to HTML by Gmail as well as download and work with the file showing that Gmail itself left the data unmodified.

It would have been nice to be able to email an Excel Mobile spreadsheet to myself at Gmail, work on it at any web enabled PC, and then mail it back to myself on my Pocket PC. But, oh well, perhaps Google will fix this in the future.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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Happy 10th Anniversary Microsoft Windows Mobile

HP320LX With BoxI don’t know the actual introduction date for the first Windows CE devices. But, I always considered their launch at Fall Comdex 1996 to be their public introduction. The original devices were pretty spartan by even my 1996 standards. So, I waited until early 1997 to buy my first Windows CE device: An HP 320LX Handheld PC. It was a step up from HP’x 300LX. The 320LX had 4MB RAM (compared to the 300LX’s 2MB), a backlit screen, and a CompactFlash slot as well as a PC Card slot. Unlike other Handheld PC, it also had a 640×240 grayscale (greenscale) screen. It was a great device and as you can see from the photos here, it still works! HP engineers really built stuff to last back then (I have a few choice words about the iPAQ line HP inherited from their Compaq merger in some other blog entry). I just stuck in a fresh pair of AA batteries and the HP 320LX fired up. Even the backlight still works fine.

HP320LX with Compaq Aero 8000Microsoft’s manufacturing partners experimented with all kinds of Handheld PC form factors before the HPC bit the product life dust in 2000 (or thereabouts). You can see the Compaq Aero 8000 Handheld PC behemoth in the second photo. Yep, this monster is a Handheld PC too. It has a 800×600 color screen, built in modem, and a bunch of other interesting features. But, alas the instant-on notebook sized device concept never caught on. The Aero 8000 also suffered from a pitiful battery life. I recall not being able to get much more than an hour of use under battery power. The T-Mobile SDA phone in the photo is just there to help you get a feel of the size of the devices.

HP320LX with Windows Mobile 5 DevicesAlthough the Handheld PC platform rode off into the sunset, a good idea never truly dies. We can see that current day Pocket PC Phone Edition devices like the JasJar, K-JAM (both pictured here), and host of QWERTY keyboard enabled Pocket PCs and Smartphones owe a great deal to the original Handheld PC design.

I have to mention the first non-Microsoft Windows CE web site I found before signing off on this blog item: Craig Peacocks Windows CE Pages. I believe he created the site shortly after seeing the first Handheld PCs at Fall Comdex 1996. I didn’t attend that Comdex. But, I did go to Fall Comdex 1997 and was able to sync up with Craig in person. Craig’s work inspired me to get involved in getting a deeper working understanding of Windows CE and I ended up creating and then managing the MSN Computing Central Windows CE Forum for a number of years. Craig went on to much bigger and better things than I and is currently a key player in the Microsoft Windows Mobile product team!
So, happy 10th anniversary Microsoft Windows Mobile! It will be a blast to see what happens in the next 10 years.

Mobile Devices
Windows Mobile

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Freeware: XnView Pocket-Image Viewer for Pocket PC

Ran across this freeware image viewer for the Pocket PC the other day…

XnView Pocket

Those of you with older Pocket PC devices might find it especially interesting since its creator provides versions for devices going back to the Pocket PC 2000.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Windows Mobile

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DeveloperOne Agenda One for Smartphone

DeveloperOne released their Agenda One for Smartphone last week and the Pocket PC version this week. I bought a much earlier version years ago for an early model Pocket PC and liked it quite a bit. But, moving from one device to another as I do, I lost my product registration and didn’t install it on subsequent devices. For the past 8 months or so I’ve been using a Windows Mobile Smartphone (T-Mobile SDA) as my primary device. This is quite a change for me since I usually prefer to use a Pocket PC Phone Edition (the i-Mate K-JAM was my previous phone). I still carry a Pocket PC around with me if I need to take notes since I still can’t enter text quickly enough using T9 on DTMF layout keyboard.

My Smartphone currently only has two add-on applications: Ilium Software’s NewsBreak RSS newsfeed reader and Microsoft’s (now defunct) Pocket Streets (most of my data entry related work takes place on a Pocket PC). So, a lot of consideration goes into deciding whether or not to install and try an application on a Smartphone. The weak calendar viewing capabilities of Windows Mobile’s integrated calendar finally drove me to install Agenda One just to get an informative week-view on my phone.

Agenda One provides alternate views for Contacts, Tasks, and other Calendar views too. But, for me the winning feature is the week-viewing feature. That alone may convince me to keep it on the Smartphone beyond a test period.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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Microsoft 10 (on10.net) Adds Zune Video Format Downloads

I’m not sure when they added this, but the Microsoft 10 consumer video blogging site (sort of a consumer version of Microsoft’s Channel9 site for developers) added the option to download video in the Zune format.  It also provides versions for the Apple iPod, Sony PSP, as well as WMV (Windows Media Video).

Mobile Devices
Zune

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Windows Mobile Loses Features With Each Upgrade???

The Microsoft Windows Mobile platform turns 10 years old next week (more on this topic next week). Mike Calligaro’s most recent blog item which bravely (Mike blogs about a lot of hot button topics on behalf of Microsoft) tries to explain Microsoft’s rationale for removing the ability to use ActiveSync over Ethernet (wired or wireless) reminded me of an interesting fact about Windows Mobile: It may be one of the few products that actually lost functions across a series of upgrades. Let’s take a look at just the features I can remember losing in no particular order (I don’t claim this is a comprehensive list. So, feel free to let me know about lost features I neglect to mention).

  • ActiveSync over Ethernet
  • Microsoft Access Database Importation
  • Printing (with add-on driver)
  • Microsoft Reader
  • Creating a Media Player Playlist on the Device Itself
  • Ability to Manually Disconnect from ActiveSync while connected over USB
  • AvantGo Reader in firmware
  • Menus at the bottom of the screen (replaced by two giant soft-buttons)
  • Ability to add to Tasks on the device (Smartphone)
  • Ability to encrypt Word or Excel documents/spreadsheets
  • Backup entire device to PC using ActiveSync
  • Pocket Money (add-on Microsoft application)
  • Pocket Streets (add-on Microsoft application)

The Windows Mobile Pocket PC (perhaps soon to disappear in non-phone configurations based on sales declines) and Smartphone are still my mobile devices of choice. But, even with explanations from people like Microsoft’s Mike Calligaro about various design choices, it is difficult for an ordinary end-user like me to understand why I’m losing features and options (even software add-ons) which each new Windows Mobile generation of devices.

Mobile Devices
Pocket PC/Phone Edition
Smartphone
Windows Mobile

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