Sunday, August 31, 2008

Could You Lose the Landline?

Photobucket

When we moved to Texas, we debated on whether or not we even needed a landline. But because I was pregnant at the time, we decided better safe than sorry and got one with the least expensive plan. But as I looked at all the ways we use our phone that I hadn't even considered, I realized that we made the right decision:
-Security Alarm: we use Brinks security and it uses our phone line to connect to the security center.
-TiVo: at least the first TiVo connection needs to be through the phone system.
-DirecTV: needs to connect to the system through the phone.

So before you lose the landline make sure you check out all the things your phone is doing for you behind the scenes!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why the Redfly is Doomed

Photobucket

Recently the Celio Redfly dropped in price to $399...but as I looked over at my $299 Asus EEE I still fail to understand the point. But the truth is, the Asus is not going to be the deathknell for the Redfly- its actually the Windows Mobile devices that will kill it.
To me, the pricepoint that will make the Redfly a must-have add-on is about $80-$100. But by the time the Redfly reaches that price, most Windows Mobile devices will likely incorporate TV-Out which, combined with an inexpensive bluetooth keyboard will reduce clutter, and be a more energy efficient solution.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Camera Comparison: Nokia E71 and HP iPAQ 910

Photobucket

Photobucket

Yikes! Guess which photo's which? While the E71 defintely captures photos much quicker, the quality of the photos really leaves something to be desired. I took both these photos from the same spot, and at the same time of day. Now, I know that indoor shots are rarely fantastic, but I didn't expect the difference to be that glaringly different.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Would You Treat Your PDA like this?

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Can't Do Without: Beejive IM

I'm going to be doing a new series of posts on hardware and software that I use on a daily basis and how it impacts my life. Most of them aren't new, but they have proven themselves over time and have earned a permanent spot in my stable.
Today's focus is BeeJive IM (www.beejive.com) which is a beta multi-IM application that is a spin-off of the Blackberry version. This app is still being tweaked and perfected and at the moment it has 2 serious flaws that may put off some users- it is a battery and memory hog.
But for me, I love number of things that I can't get all together in one single place:
-Multiple logons per IM client: So you can sign on to AIM using both your work and play handles.
-Notifications: This is the only IM app that gives me the option to configure it so that my LED flashes when I get a new IM message. I can also set any notification sound I want.
-Pop-up: When I do get a new message, there is a nice preview window that comes up when you select the notification softkey. This means that I don't even have to go into the program to find out if its a message that needs responding to.
-Avatar support: If you like eyecandy as much as I do then you'll understand why this is important. I'm a highly visual person and I really enjoy this feature.
-Chat Logs: Suffer from CRS like me? I can just look thru the logs to see what the last conversations I had were about.

Beejive makes mobile IM a fun experience for me again. And with all its features combined with the wonderful keyboard on my HP 910, its the best communicaion tool I have!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Washington Mutual Goes Mobile!

Photobucket

WaMu provided checking balances via texts for a few months now, but they just upped the ante by providing mobile banking via web. For now it supports transfers, balance checks, and branch searching but I'm sure they'll add more. You'll need to configure it by logging into the Wachovia website, at which time they'll provide you with your own personal portal.

Incidentally, this version actually works on Windows Mobile unlike the mobile portal for Wachovia.

Comment Response: Symbian vs Windows Mobile

After I wrote about my experiences with the Nokia E71, I had a response from reader RayanMX who said:

Hey Lulugirl, it's been some time since I last posted, but here goes...

As you may recall, I was on the same boat as you when the HP 910C came out, and frankly I had my hopes high after viewing your reviews and comments, but as more people started using the 910C, more problems appeared everywhere, but basically the most important one (at least for me) is the poor battery performance on the 910C, so that and the fact that Amazon failed to deliver my 910C in time I decided to cancel my order and went back to the drawing boards.

Long story short, I ended up purchasing a Nokia E71 and I really love it despite it's differences with Windows Mobile Pro. But don't get me wrong, I still love WiMo a lot!... It's been a bit more than eight years using the platform, but now that high speed internet by means of 3.5G has landed on my town, all my 3G WiMo devices have failed me big time in the battery department.

None of them last through the day! not even 3/4 of a day which is simply unacceptable for me.

Enter tne Nokia E71, which has an astonishing autonomy that gets me through the day (and yet some more) without compromises or sacrifices and it's simply a joy to know that I can push email two different accounts, browse extensively, and the occasional Youtube session through the lovely Mobitubia or CorePlayer.

Yes, Symbian is no Windows Mobile Professional the same as an iPhone is no Symbian nor WiMo... They are different platforms for different niches. I simply love them all! But one thing is certain, Symbian S60 V3 is by no means less robust as WiMo. In my long Windows Mobile trajectory I managed to acquire a series of Symbian devices (either UIQ and S60) and know my way around it. However if find S60 more capable of multitasking and handling rouge apps and crashes better. (I managed to crash the system to see what could happen and I noticed that it recovered automatically without the need of soft resets or even hard resets) so that means a lot to me.

Oh, and many of the issues you didn't like about S60 can be added in with third party software, just like on Windows Mobile, and the OS is much MUCH more customizable than WM to the point of being able to change the icons throughout the interface with just a skin or theme (in WiMo you need something like WisBar Advanced Desktop which is a memory hog). :)

Another aspect of the E71 that I love is the fact that I can make use of software that simply is unavailable on the WM platform (because of hardware limitations) like VoiceCall Recorders and Answering Machines (in Mexico my phone company charges me money just for checking my voicemails... NOT ANYOMRE!) LOL... :)

Bottom line for me is that I think I'll stay put on the E71 since it serves me more than well on the most important aspect for me, the battery and form factor, at least until the new Windows Mobile 7 devices start to popup real soon... (I'm holding my urge to go for the Treo Pro... Argh, I know I can make it!!!)... :)

Cheers!
RayanMX




I wanted to bring this comment to the forefront because I would like to hear from RayanMX or anyone else familiar with the OS about a few things.

-In my post I mentioned a few of the things I feel I can't live without on a mobile device that the Nokia E71 did not have. How do you get plugins (weather, RSS feeds, GPS, etc) for applications to how up on the Homescreen?
-Is there a way to have the time show up on every screen? In the titlebar or something?
-Does the Windows Media Player sync playlists over? I couldn't figure out how to do this.

I'd love to hear especially from Windows Mobile Professional users who have switched to, or are using WM in conjuction with Symbian.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Be Careful what you Email...

A Change of Font

Sometimes a simple change of font can make your device look totally different. Jury's still out on this particular one...

Friday, August 22, 2008

How's This for Going Green?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Custom PIE Landscape Home Page

Hurray!

Screen004
I did it! Here is the final version of the Modified HomePage that I made for Pocket Internet Explorer. You can download it here. You'll need to edit some of the information in the PIE Modified file using Notepad (the areas that you need to modified are in Caps). I've tried to keep it as simple as possible because I don't know deep coding.

Download each file, then place them in the /windows folder of your device. Open the PIE modified htm file and then set it as your home page under options.

If anyone is interested in steps on tweaking it, let me know. Enjoy!

Stay Tuned: PIE Home Page

I'm working on a revamped and more usable version of the HP 910 home page for Pocket Internet Explorer. Once its done I'll be posting it for your enjoyment. It should work nicely on any landscape device!

Pixel Confusion

I just took a closer look at the screenshots of the new Palm Treo Pro. It says its screen is 320x320 but when I look at the calendar on my 320x240 I see the same number of hours displayed (10am to 7pm). Shouldn't there be more lines displayed vertically than on my device?

Why Can't This be a Facebook WM App?

Found this gem and it gives me hope that someone will be able to develop something similar for Facebook!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How iPhlunked

Well, I had what should have been the most brilliant plan in the world....I figured I would use my upgrade to buy an iPhone 3G, then sell it on eBay for a tidy profit. But, I didn't count on a few stumbling blocks along the way:

1. Activating the iPhone plan would mean that I could only access data and internet on the iPhone. Since I had to stay at least a month on the plan, that would mean that there was a month that I wold not be able to use my HP 910 to its full potential. 

2. The store seemed pretty adamant that I would have to keep the iphone data plan for the 2 years that the renewal contract was for. This was contrary to what I had read which indicated that I could change my plan after a month.

So I decided not to go ahead with it. I just didn't want to go through the hassle of not having a data plan for a month, and possibly for 2 years! I also don't want to mess with the possibility of losing my number...it took a lot of flirting and sweet-talking to get my number which consists almost entirely of 0's and I've had it for almost 10 years!

Photobucket

Monday, August 18, 2008

Treo Pro's Idle Screen- A Great Idea

Photobucket

Poring through the leaked photos of the Treo Pro I noticed on that intrigued me- It seems that they have incorporated some type of low-energy 'idle' screen. This is a very useful feature and one that I hope more WM phones will start using in the future!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Take That,iPhone! WinMo has useless apps too!

Not to be outdone by iPhone offerings like Cowbell, and Light Saber, WM developers release Flash Ripple!

Treo 850 (Pro) Splashes Across the Web

Photobucket

Everyone has been abuzz with the leaked information that accidentally popped up on the Palm website (but has since been taken down) and the gist is that the Treo 850 is going to be known as the Treo Pro and has:

-3G GSM
-320×320 touchscreen
-3.5 mm headset jack
-Wi-Fi
-MicroSD expansion
-MicroUSB connector

PhotobucketPhotobucket

It looks like a nice, sleek device and all I keep thinking is that Velocity Mobile just completely missed the boat now. With a flush screen, the VM111 has nothing on this device and this one has a loyal multitude of Palm Treo followers who have been waiting to jump on a device like this one!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Windows Mobile Girl handles the Nokia E71

Photobucket

I finally had a chance to get my hands on the Nokia e71 and had hopes of making it my main device...and long story short, that isn't going to happen. But that decision says more about me, than about the device- I have realized that I don't just like Windows Mobile Professional, I love it. But, enough about me, lets talk about the device!

I opened the box and was immediately impressed by the look of it- Its a small, sleek looking thing and is unbelievably thin. However, one of the first things I noted was that it does not do well with fingerprints- in certain spots where my fingers had been it looked almost like it was tarnished with dark spots (which wiped clean, but still). 

Physically, the Nokia e71 has a lot going for it. Its almost as thin as my Zune 8GB, and thats saying a lot:

Photobucket

Lined Up: TMobile SDA, Ubiquio 503G, HP 910, Nokia E71 and Zune 8GB

Photobucket

Stacked (Bottom to Top): Ubiquio 503G, HP 910, Nokia E71, TMobile SDA, Zune 8GB

The use of metal on the device is a double-edged sword: it looks amazing and solidly-built, however, the downside is that it can be hard on your hands after long use. I tend to hold my QWERTY device in a particular way which balances the bottom of the device on the insides of my ring fingers for balance, and type with my thumbs. For this reason, I love the HP 910 due to its smooth, curved bottom. The Nokia E71 has a bit of a sharp, angled bottom and digs a bit uncomfortably into my fingers.

Okay, so what's under the hood? The Symbian OS to me most closely resembles the Windows Mobile Standard- its non-touchscreen and not as robust as the Windows Mobile Professional version. 

Photobucket

As someone who really enjoys customization, I felt a bit limited on the OS. I love to have a lot of information at-a-glance when I turn on my device- but I can't do that with the Nokia. Another pet peeve of mine is that the clock isn't visible in all applications, something which I find invaluable. Sometimes I can get absorbed in a game, or a book and just like to be able to keep an eye on the time without having to flip to the homescreen. 

I could add a number of applications relatively easily, and they worked well. Organizing the folders and menus was a bit of an enigma to me though:

Photobucket

One thing that I loved though, was that Google reader provided a neat mobile version of its site which had a slightly iPhone-ish UI and navigation to it:

Photobucket

I'm not going to bang on about everything that has been covered extensively in other reviews: the camera is quick, but has a purple tint. The video player is okay, but stuttered on some videos I played. The music player works well, but didn't sync playlists from Windows Media Player, and some album art was missing. The volume was very loud, but I felt that the metal back interfered with the quality at times. Battery life was ridiculously long, even without conditioning- I wish Windows Mobile devices could find the secret sauce to make the batteries last so long.

Yesterday evening my husband handled the device for a bit, and was very impressed with the build quality and intrigued with the device. I realized that the Nokia is a natural progression for him- he currently uses the TMobile SDA with Windows Mobile Standard so this is one thats thinner and more mature than his. (But he likes a more hardy phone, and wouldn't use more than 2% of the functions!)

All in all, its a great device, but I would have a hard time making the switch to the Symbian OS. And the hardware, while attractive, is a bit too hard for me- odd to say, but I prefer plastic. And so, I packed it up and back it goes...and I am glad to have satisfied my curiousity. I think most WM Standard users will be able to make the transition smoothly- WM Pro users, not so much.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How my husband probably feels:

Monday, August 11, 2008

GPSToday Uses on Windows Mobile

When I first talked about getting the HP 910 one of the things I hadn't figured out was a practical use for the built-in GPS. I have a Magellan that I use in my car so I have no interest in using my phone's GPS as substitute for that.
I'm generally not a hiking gal (especially not in 100+ degrees of Texas heat) so geocaching is not an immediate interest to me.
Some research led me to a cool app called GPS Today. Its a today screen plugin that can show not just coordinates but your actual street address based on the satellites' info. To me, the best feature is that you can add your current location as a new contact. This is an example of an actual usable feature- I add my favorite restaurants while we're at them, and over the weekend we stumbled upon a nice park and I was able to store the address for future use.
Another cool function is that it can show you a map of where you are as well as nearby contacts' addresses as entered in your phonebook. I just used this to pinpoint where exactly my new dentist's office is!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Solved: Why I Hated the New Look of the HP 910

Its been bugging me lately why I so disliked the look of the HP 910 when I first saw the new version released to the FCC. I mean, I look at it now, and think its quite attractive especially coming from the Ubiquio 503g. I looked back at the photo and realized what the problem was:

Photobucket

The image was distorted! The actual device is narrower and longer than it appears in that shot. So it looks very 'squat' and unattractive in the photo. Case solved!

As an aside, one of the major downsides to HP's decision to show the device before settling on a final design is that a google image search yields a ton of the old version, and hardly any of the finished product, even now that so many people have put up reviews, comments, etc on it. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

FLASHBACK: A Day in my Life with my Treo

Every now and then I find myself re-reading my old blog entries to remind myself of what my time with a particular device was like. I stumbled on this one which details how I was using my Treo in the course of my day, back in February of 2006. Its interesting to see how I use the same general types of applications even though I'm on a different OS and my lifestyle is totally different at the moment!

 


Morning
-Before I even wake up my Treo is configured to refresh my RSS feeds with QuickNews at 5AM. My Treo connects to my high speed connection via bluetooth so downloading my image-heavy feeds (PalmAddict, The Superficial, etc) is a breeze. 
  
Photobucket

-At 6am when I wake up, I bring up my Today screen in Agendus Pro to give me an idea of what my day looks like and what the weather is. 

  
Photobucket

  

-While waiting for the train at the station I do a check of my email and respond to anything urgent. I also send messages to my assistant regarding any tasks we may need to accomplish first thing in the morning. 

Photobucket  

-On my ride in to work I browse my feeds, use Snappermail to write my blog entries, and play a game or ten. 

  
Photobucket
 

Afternoon 
- During my work day I use 2Action Meeting to document a number of meetings and convert some of the items discussed into tasks. 

Photobucket  

- I constantly use my PocketLingo medical dictionary for fact checking durng the day. 

Photobucket 
 

 -I check my stocks periodically using Stockbroker. (Ouch!) 

Photobucket

-On occasion I might need to retrieve a file forgotten at home. I use Win-Hand to connect to my home PC and email myself the needed file. This is also great when I am in a meeting and need to refer to a document in my office! 

Photobucket  

  
Evening 
-On my way to the train I listen to my favorite songs using PTunes. A bit of techno goes a long way to keeping me upbeat! 

Photobucket 

  
-On the train I unwind by watching a bit of Family Guy using TCPMP. 

Photobucket

-I SMS the hubby to find out what our evening/dinner plans are. 

Photobucket  

-I check out PocketTV Browser to see if there’s anything worth watching on the TV tonight. 

Photobucket
 

-Once I get to the car, I plug my Treo in and continue listening to my playlist. 

Photobucket
  
These are just a few of the innovative ways I put my Treo to work during my busy day. What are yours?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Battery Conditioning on the HP 910

I've been trying to make a conscious effort to 'condition' or calibrate my battery by running it down and then charging it. Tonight is the first time I felt bold enough to run it all the way down. I got to 5% and got a warning that the battery was very low. Then I got all the way to 0% and a popup came onscreen and said it was shutting down in 10 seconds.
Once it turned itself off, I plugged it into the charger then immediately tried to power it back on. However, my ipaq showed an odd screen of a huge battery with an exclamation point then turned itself back on. After a few minutes I was able to turn it on and it had 2%, and most importantly, it hadn't lost any data at all!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I 'Wood' Not Go For This....

Photobucket

I don't have an iPhone, but its safe to say that even if I did, I would not be encasing it in this wood case. It reminds me of those old station wagons that had the wood siding on them. Actually, maybe I could get on board with a case like this for an external GPS unit if your car had wood accents/interior!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cell Phone Flask

This one is just perfect. In fact, my only advice would be for them to make a Jasjar flask so you %an get twice as much liquor in there.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Windows Media Player Invaluable Tool

I don't tend to listen to music a lot on my Windows Mobile devices, but I think the reason is because I find so many little details to be annoying about the Windows Media Player. One of the most annoying is that each time you launch the player you need to take several steps to get music playing again. 

The resume plugin just may going to get me to look into the Windows Media Player again. Its a simple plugin that allows WMP to remember its previous location and resume play from its last location once you restart it. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

Invaluable Backup Tools

Two weeks ago while we were on vacation (actually, as soon as the plane landed!) my pda phone crapped out on me. It was a pretty horrible experience, but there were a few things that made my life bearable for the week.
Let me start by saying that we stayed with my mother-in-law for most of the trip, and she has an older PC with IE6 on it. Some of my failsafes do not work on IE6 (eg Dashwire). I also spent a night in a hotel with my cousin who has a Blackberry and got to borrow hers for a few moments.
Here are the solutions that I found invaluable and was so glad that I use:

1. YouMail This is great if you don't have access to your phone and you are expecting a call. You can see who called, even if they chose not to leave a message. It also has a mobile portal that you can use to check your messages.
2. Dashwire Now this one would have been great except that I had a nasty suprise when I found it wouldn't load on IE6. They should at least have a barebones version that will run on lighter browsers.
3. Mail2Web Singlehandedly saved my bacon. Fortunately I had already been using Mail2Web for push email so it had all my contacts, tasks and calendars. I couldn't get the full version to run on IE6, but it would run the mobile version on the desktop so I could print out what I needed.

I encourage you to incorporate at least one of these free solutions to your daily or weekly routine. A backup application will only be useful if you have a phone on which to restore, but are you covered if you have to do without one?