Saturday, July 1, 2006

Archives-July 2006

July 25

Preparing for a Hard Reset

Almost everyone who owns a pda has had a need at least once in the life of the device to do a hard reset. In fact, a hard reset can be a very good thing and can help with clearing all the leftover junk that deleted programs have left behind. The bad thing about a hard reset is that it causes you to lose your data and settings. Now, if you use a backup program, you may chose to restore from that file, but you run a greater risk of still having some unnecessary files on your device.
I took the time to explore the folders for each of the applications that I add data to (finance, health, etc) to find the file that contains the data that I entered. For example, in Egress, I would be looking for the 'MyChannels.opml' file, and in Beiks woman calendar it would be the 'woman.dat' file. What I tend to do is to make a folder on my pc and copy these files into it. Every few days I paste a fresher copy over the old one to make sure I keep it as current as possible. Of course certain apps, like ewallet and listpro already have a desktop component to sync with, and make this function obsolete.
I recently had to perfom a hard reset on my Jasjar.I thought it would be a good idea to clean house since I've been using it steadily for the past three months. Also, I'm still learning when it comes to Windows Mobile so I there were a few mistakes I made in the beginning and wanted to be able to clear up. My hard reset went extremely smoothly and it even prompted me to hard reset my T-Mobile SDA. Unfortunately, that reset proved a bit trickier as I forgot to copy my connection settings and cannot recall exactly how I had it set up. I've managed to get it connected, but every so often I get an odd 'remote party has disconnected' message.

July 23

In Depth Review and Tutorial of HubDog

In a couple of my previous entries I've written bits and pieces about one o my most treasured finds-HubDog. I've decided to combine my very own tutorial in with my review of the application. Please bear in mind that I am running this application on an I-mate Jasjar running Windows Mobile 2005- your own mileage may vary.

If your device only has 5-6MB of available program memory, it will probably not be the best environment to run this application -it is a very resource heavy program. You'll need to have enough free space to run not only the application, but also TCPMP to view your audio and video content. This is something that I have emailed Yannick (one of the program's developers') about. The recent updates of HubDog have slightly reduced the usage so I am optimistic that in another few releases, they will be able to work the size down even more significantly.
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Once you have installed the program onto your pda, you are presented with a well-thought out lanch pad, where you can easily access all of the areas of hubDog. There is a smart feature which allows you to auto play your latest videos or audio files, as well as shortcuts to see the most recently created channels, most popular and suggested channels. The suggested channels are assembled by HubDog and is a pretty good starting point for a beginner. You can also choose to 'fetch' certain keywords on the web and have them gathered into an rss feed for you. You might also chose to 'search' within the existing HubDog channels to find the data you are looking for. My only gripe is that there is no standard way to index the channels that are created- so there may end up being 3 different Engadget feeds because different users have chosen to create the same content but with a different name, or number of included entries.

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Now that you've assembled you channels and created your 'Hub', you'll want to update them to get some actual content on your device. Here's a neat trick that took me a while to figure out; uncheck the box on your channel list and instead of downloading the content to your device it will stream from its location. This is useful as you sample channels and want to find out what type of content it plays.

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Because there is presently no way for HubDog to determine how much content is downloaded from each channel, they have devised some sensible work-arounds. The first is to allow you to control which connection you want to use to update the data. Choose Wifi and Activesync pass-through for fast updates, and block your GPRS connection to keep your costs down- the choice is entirely up to you! The other control is to specify what percent of your storage card to leave free.

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Once you have set up HubDog, you can enjoy your content in a number of ways One of the hidden features that I now use is the created webpage. This allows you to read your rss feed on your desktop without the need for a separate feedreader. And you can access your feeds on any pc that is connected to the internet! In fact, you can use a Palm-Powered device to launch your page via browser by going to your created page ( mine, for example, is ) and read your feeds in a nicely formatted layout!
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All in all, I highly recommend Hubdog to anyone with a capable PocketPc or even Palm device (via Blazer). My wish list for the technical portion of the device includes things like less program memory used, scheduled updates and an indexing feature for newly created channels. I would also like to see a more 'SakiMobile' approach to the networking aspect of the program. It would be useful to be able to interact with other users especially if you read the same rss feeds. This could be a creative way to connect like minded users who use the application several times a day.
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July 18

Cascading Menus

One of the most important functions I rely on when using my Jasjar is the cascading menus. To me, its the equivalent of the Palm launcher screen except more logical.
I use Wisbar Advance with a passion and I have finally organized my applications into comprehensive sub-menus. So when I know that I have brief access to Wi-Fi I simply pop into my wireless screen and update any of my applications that require a wireless update.
If you're using a device that does not allow you the luxury of the space for Wisbar Advance, be sure to check out Wisbar Lite which gives you selected features from WA but without the skinning function. There's also an application called Right Menu that will allow you to do the same thing but with an even smaller footprint.

July 17

A Nifty way to use Egress

In my continuous search to find new and innovative ways to use my Jasjar I have been looking for a neat way to view some specific comics on a daily basis. At first I hunted around for a standalone application, then finally realized that my best bet was to try to incorporate it into an existing aplication. For a while I was using iSilo to convert a page I had found on the web of comics updated daily but I wasn't entirely happy with that.
I then stumbled across a wonderful site called This site offers something called a comic slurper...pick from the list of over 100 comics listed (Garfield, Peanuts, Ziggy, etc) and it will give you the rss address of the list you have compiled. So now, instead of having to enter a separate channel for each comic I want to read, or being forced to scroll through a list of some that I don't like, I can get a specific list of my favorite comics and add the address as a channel in my rss reader of choice (Egress).

July 14

T-Mobile SDA

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting  Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting  Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now this is one OS I can actually be happy about. The difference between Smartphone 2003 and 2005 is night and day, and especially when you throw in the QVGA display. This is one device that is so powerful it actually restores my faith in the whole 'smartphone' concept. Here are the high and low points of the T-Mobile SDA (bear in mind that I have an unlocked version with Cingular service, so your mileage may vary slightly)

- Low on memory (both storage and program)
- Key layout not intuitive for long term typing
- Cannot effectively mute entire device. (Player& games emits sound)

- Crisp QVGA screen (almost feels like VGA at times)
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Excellent call quality
- Easy to navigate
- Great multi-tasking (even in spite of low memory)
- Fast processor (feels extremely zippy)

July 10

Connection Fixins

Back from vacation and by far the most annoying thing I encountered was the incessant hunt for free Wifi hotspots...did not find a single one. And with my gprs connection updating even a single rss channel took an eternity. I returned home determined to find a better solution- and I did.

Here's my I've stated numerous times before, my Jasjar does not support Edge (the hi-speed data connection) meaning that I am forced to use Gprs which is as slow as molasses. I also felt that having a dedicated phone would not be a bad thing in and of itself. In spite of numerous bluetooth headset set ups I always seem to end up holding my 'brick' to my head. I had already decided that I would always use my 'phone' device for music as it would be smaller.

My imate Sp3i was not ideal for me. The screen is small and decidedly unattractive and it aso did not support Edge. Which meant I was toting around 2 devices and still eternally hunting down wi-fi. After some research I decided to upgrade to the T-mobile sda unlocked (my service is Cingular) and see what it was like. I knew it supported Edge so at a minimum I would be gaining a wireless device with Edge and Wifi. Not bad- worse case I'd type up my messages on my Jasjar then beam them to my sda, right? Wrong! And happily so....

When my Sda arrived this Saturday the first thing I noticed was its brilliant screen. I mean, this screen even surpasses the Kjam/Cingular 8125 screen! I configured it to connect to Edge and was happy to notice a marked speed improvement from gprs. However, I was still not entirely satisfied. I didn't like the idea of my sda totally overshadowing my jasjar just because it was more 'connected'. After a search online I found the method to dial up from my jasjar to the sda. After several attempts, I finally got it to work. Connecting directly with the sim inserted in my jasjar got my gprs speeds of about 40kb per second. I inserted the sim into my sda and dialed up from my jas jar as noticed speeds upward of 120kb per second. Woo-hoo!

Now I can use my Jasjar as a light laptop and connect using either wifi or edge if needed and then use my sda as my phone or pda if its not convenient for me to use my jasjar . Perfect!