MiFi Hack to Charge over USB & Still Use it as a WiFi Access Point#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

I was running low on battery with my MiFi and I needed to charge it, but I didn't have an external USB/AC outlet adapter or even a plug for that matter with me. I did however have a MicroUSB to USB cable that fit the MiFi,but when I plugged it in to charge I could no longer use the MiFi as a Wireless hotspot and the MiFi was only seen as a local modem. That is great if you want to use it for yourself and charge, but its no fun for your family and friends that are used to sipping off of the Wi-Fi internet access you are always providing them with, which can eat through a MiFi battery right darn quick. What I wanted to continue to do was upload photos to my computer for direct viewing at a family event via my EyeFi card in real time and both were working well until the MiFi had run out of juice. So while drinking a beer I figured I would dabble with the configuration of the MiFi if possible.

I was able to charge the MiFi long enough while getting my beer and a something to nosh on to have it run as a Wi-Fi AP for a brief while I nosed around and was able to log onto the administration menu like a standard home router.

screen

To Connect to your MiFi just type in 192.168.1.1 in your favorite browser and use the password is admin (I guessed at that so you may want to change that later to something else if you don't trust the people you are sharing your MiFi with.) Note you won't be able to access the admin screen unless you are connected to the MiFi via the password on the back of the device.

screen(1)

To reconfigure your MiFi click on Advanced->Config File and

screen(2)

choose download configuration file and remove the .sav file extenstion  when you save it so it is just a .XML file.

screen(3)

Launch your favorite text/XML file editor - Notepad will do.

Change the  routeroverusb value from a 0 (zero) to a 1 ->save it.

screen(4)

Next upload the modified file.

Restart your MiFi, now it won't act any different you can still connect to it via the Mobilink software that pops up when you plug it in, but you can now share your Wi-Fi connection and charge over USB at the same time. YAY!

03/02/2011 11:27:58 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Windows Phone 7 Apps I Would Be Thankful For#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

It’s Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. It’s a time for family and friends, football (the American kind) and most importantly – giving thanks. On my list this year (albeit down the list behind love, health and other significant items) is giving thanks to Microsoft for finally bringing Windows Phone 7 to the market. Long story short – while I still have Windows Mobile and Android devices available to me at a moment’s notice, every attempt to try to move back to those platforms for perspective ends up being short-lived. I end up right back on my T-Mobile HTC HD7, enjoying the ease of use and “glance and go” functionality Windows Phone 7 provides.

While I am thankful for Windows Phone 7 and the plethora of applications that have already reached the Windows Phone Marketplace (3,000+ and growing as I write this), there are a few applications I am longing for. That said, I thought I would write on some of these applications. Seeing as I am in the holiday spirit of things, I also thought I would write a brief “Dear Santa” letter to each vendor in the hopes that my wishes would be answered and I would have even more to be thankful for this holiday season Smile So without further delay, here is my “Windows Phone 7 Applications I Would Be Thankful For” list…

Hootsuite

“Dear Hootsuite,

Your platform has become an invaluable means in managing and monitoring my social media interactions. Your analysis tools are great, and your mobile applications for iPhone and Android have been mainstays on my devices.

I am now using a Windows Phone 7 device and sorely miss your mobile application functionality. Please, oh please, bring your platform to my phone this holiday season and make my social media experience pleasant once again.”

Waze

“Dear Waze,

I have watched your crowdsourced traffic application evolve from a fun game-type platform into a full-featured turn-by-turn navigation tool that still provides the real-time data and fun aspects so many have come to love.

Having moved to Windows Phone 7, I sorely miss the companionship of your application and invaluable guidance during my morning and evening commutes. Please, Waze – bring your application to Windows Phone 7 and make my commute fun (and faster) once again.”

XM/Sirius

“Dear XM/Sirius,

As a loyal XM subscriber for many years with many devices and an XM Premium subscription, you have managed to keep my sanity during commutes as well as providing me information and entertainment in places that are neither informative nor entertaining. Your iPhone and Android applications have kept me in-the-know when a radio is unavailable.

As the owner of a Windows Phone 7 device, I implore you XM/Sirius to bring your wonderful content to my new phone. Weekend yard work and waiting for the kids will never be quite as bright without you (or the NFL Radio Channel).”

ESPN ScoreCenter/ESPN Radio

“Dear ESPN,

Words cannot express my devotion to your family of networks and the hours of sporting fulfillment they bring to my sports-loving life. Your embracing of mobile technology with the ScoreCenter and ESPN Radio applications for phones has kept me knowledgeable in all things sport when a television was unavailable, making my technology addiction less geeky to those around me craving the latest sports news and scores.

As a user of a Windows Phone 7 device, I long once again to have the latest scores, stats and news available to me wherever I go. Please, ESPN – bring your wealth of all things sport to my new phone, making me happy and less nerdly to others around me.

P.S. – You think you could throw in an ESPN3 app for Windows Phone while you’re at it?”

TripIt

“Dear TripIt,

As a TripIt Pro subscriber, your iPhone and Android applications have often proved to be my best travel companion while on the road for both business and pleasure. With my complete itineraries and reservation details (as well as flight monitoring), you are the know-it-all obsessive-compulsive travel planning family member I never had.

Now owning a Windows Phone 7 device, I feel as though my family has grown apart, as the web-based version of your platform simply does not compare to your native applications. Please TripIt – bring back my OCD virtual family member to my fold by creating a Windows Phone 7 application. By the way – preferably do this before the upcoming holiday travel season, when I will so miss you.”

I am sure I will find more applications I miss as time goes on, of course. Looking on the bright side, this will give me more items on my wish list and (hopefully) more applications to be thankful for Open-mouthed smile

Happy Thanksgiving to all! May you have much to be thankful, both today and in the future!

11/25/2010 11:50:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

My Windows Phone 7 Enterprise Wish List#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

The holidays are fast approaching, and thoughts turn to children writing (and some adults) making their holiday “wish lists”. With Windows Phone 7 having been launched, I’ve been pondering a bit of a Wish List myself. While Microsoft clearly put the consumer “front and center” in the initial release of Windows Phone 7, they clearly realized that “managing your life” includes work as well as home. This being the case, many users purchasing Windows Phone 7 devices fully intend to use their new phones in their enterprise environments. The question, however, is whether they really can or be allowed to.

The enterprise is evolving with regards to phones. More and more companies are allowing employees to select and even purchase their own devices and connect to corporate infrastructure. Most commonly, there is at the least the allowance of connecting to Microsoft Exchange for email, contact and calendar information. While easing up on some restrictions, there is often a baseline of security that must be adhered to in order for any phone to be considered “safe” for corporate use. In addition, the value of any phone is often attached to its additional potential and uses. If a phone cannot be used for certain productivity scenarios, it is not considered to be “qualified” for the enterprise environment.

With all of these considerations laid out, I now present to you my personal “Top 5 Windows Phone 7 Enterprise Wish List”. While I have placed these items in order of my preference, the realization is that for each individual or business, these needs may vary. Generally speaking, though, I believe that these 5 items are essential to Microsoft gaining greater user acceptance in providing a reason for an individual purchasing the device for both work and personal use.

#5 – Application Blacklist/Whitelist Functionality

While enterprise control over what a user can or cannot install on a phone has been trending downward, the fact still remains that some companies require the ability to restrict what applications can be run on a device. Most commonly today, the use for this is for blocking specific applications (blacklisting) and is usually very tightly scoped (the days of “blocking everything but…” known as “whitelisting” has diminished with increased use of personal phones). When the need for blacklisting does arise for a company, though, the result is typically a “go/no-go” for devices where this cannot be done.

Microsoft had this functionality in Windows Mobile, and it made that platform (along with RIM and the Blackberry) the preferred device on some enterprise networks for a long time. Without this functionality, some users simply will not be able to access work-related information on their Windows Phone.

#4 – Manual WiFi Configuration

In case you were unaware, Windows Phone 7 WiFi network discovery is very restrictive. Simply put – if the SSID of network is not broadcast, it is not available for configuration. In environments where the WiFi network’s SSID is not broadcast, there is no easy way to connect to the network. Now, we can have a long discussion around the security (or lack thereof) that hiding an SSID provides. The fact of the matter, however, is that certain enterprise environments are configured in this way and changing to a broadcast SSID is simply not going to happen any time in the future. If this access is required for work-related activities (Exchange access from within the firewall and Sharepoint access without Forefront UAG installed are examples), we have another “no-go” situation for the user.

Microsoft has provided manual WiFi configuration in the past with Windows Mobile. While the “old” methods may not be conducive to the new Windows Phone 7 UI, it should not be all that difficult to create an option that allows a user to simply enter an SSID for discovery. Such a feature could go a long way in supporting users with business WiFi needs.

#3 – Enterprise Line Of Business Application Deployment

For those organizations building client applications for their business users, providing a controlled method for deploying these applications to only those should have it. In the current Windows Phone 7 world, deployment is – well, “controlled”. There is one way to deploy any Windows Phone 7 application – The Windows Phone Marketplace. Unfortunately, any application that is deployed through that channel is open to the world. There is no way to say “only display this application to these users”. For custom line of business applications accessing sensitive information, this type of exposure is simply unacceptable.

Windows Mobile was the other end of the application deployment spectrum, with complete flexibility in deployment options and a certificate signing process and trust model that still ensured safety. Every phone platform today now supports multiple application deployment options (this includes Apple now) – except Windows Phone. In enterprise environments where these sorts of applications make or break the value proposition of one phone over the other, Windows Phone 7 will be excluded.

#2 – Data Encryption

The pros and cons of the value of device data encryption can be argued for days on end, but one fact remains – in some enterprises encryption is not just an IT policy; it is a legal compliance issue. In the case of all businesses with resident information in Massachusetts, it is the law (see here for more information). If data on a phone cannot be securely encrypted, using that device to store information may very well be in violation of statutes resulting in fines and other penalties. Regardless of the reasons, however, some enterprise environments simply cannot or will not afford the risk of unencrypted data.

Encryption functionality was another strong point for Microsoft and Windows Mobile in the enterprise environment. In addition to solid encryption capabilities, the ability to enforce encryption rules through policies was a key to enterprise acceptance. Microsoft needs to find a way to bring encryption back into the fold with Windows Phone 7. The legislative push for greater data security and privacy is likely to gain momentum and devices (phones or otherwise) that cannot meet the legal and technical criteria simply will not be tolerated.

#1 – Alphanumeric Password

Some may wonder why I have this rated #1 on my list. The reason is quite simple. Even in an enterprise environment where items 2 through 5 on my list are unimportant, the protection of device data through a device password is considered a minimum threshold for security. While Windows Phone 7 supports password security, it currently only supports simple (numeric) passwords. For most enterprise organizations I have worked with, the term “Basic Mailbox Policy” (the minimum security threshold for allowing a user to simply connect to corporate mail) includes the presumption of being able to mandate a more complex password. In many of these environments, not being able to even set an alphanumeric password means no Exchange Server access.

The lack of alphanumeric support and policy enforcement in Windows Phone 7 is one case where I was left nothing short of dumbfounded. While I don’t want to trivialize anything regarding the implementation of a feature, how this was not included for the V1 launch of Windows Phone 7 is out of the realm of my comprehension. I have already encountered people who work for smaller businesses with little to no security policies… EXCEPT for the requirement of an alphanumeric password for corporate accounts. I truly hope this is addressed soon.

There were a couple of items that missed the “Top 5” on my enterprise wish list that should still get some mention -

  • Custom APN configuration. For those enterprises that have agreements with carriers to have dedicated APNs.
  • Office Communicator. For so many enterprises, the expectation of a Microsoft platform includes a Communicator client, especially when the platform itself revolves around communication.

I am certain there are other items on people’s lists that I haven’t covered here as well (I did say this was my wish list, you know Winking smile). I do believe that none of these items are beyond the realm of possibility. While some are far more complex to implement than others, all can be achieved. The result of including these items as part of the value proposition for Windows Phone 7 would all equate to one message – Windows Phone 7 helps you manage your personal and professional life; and your company like it too

11/24/2010 11:54:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Rethinking Device Convergence–The Video Experience#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

If one is to consider using a single mobile device for all their multimedia needs, serious consideration has to be paid to the capabilities of the device for video purposes. In my first article on my decision to give mobile device convergence a serious try for the first time in many years, I listed video viewing as a key reason for carrying and using a dedicated portable media player (a Zune HD). In all honesty, video viewing takes up a small portion of my usage on a mobile device, especially when compared to listening to audio (described in my last article on this topic).  When the desire arises, though, I have always been a bit picky when it comes to the viewing experience.

From a video perspective, there are basically two major usage scenarios for me -

  • Viewing video stored on the device.
    Whether it is recorded TV, movies or home video, I like having the ability to store video on the device for watching “on demand”. While I don’t expect “theatre-quality”, I do expect a pleasurable viewing experience. The video should not be constantly subjected to stutter and buffering (this is as annoying to me as pixilation when watching live TV), and the audio quality should be at least acceptable stereo quality.
  • Viewing video streamed through the Internet.
    While the first thought that comes to most people’s minds when viewing Internet video is YouTube. For me, this is actually a rarity. I have a slightly more unique requirement in mind, and it is something I could not do with a dedicated media device. More on this in a moment…
    As with local video, I do have some expectation of quality of the video. I am a realist and understand that streaming video (especially when using a cellular connection as opposed to a WiFi connection) can suffer due to bandwidth. That doesn’t translate to blind acceptance, however.

In my previous attempts at device convergence and video usage, I seemly always came upon the following limitations -

  • Inadequate hardware.
    Limited CPUs and memory often meant stutter, buffering and occasional device freezes. I also include the limits of storage in this category. While storage cards did exist “in the day”, they were very limited in capacity and very expense. As a result of hardware and storage limitations, I found myself encoding video to compensate for the limitations. The result – grainy video and diminished experience.
    I should also note that displays on phones have often left a bit to be desired with regards to video. Small screens, lower resolutions and restricted display technologies did not help in making video viewing a pleasant experience.
  • Inadequate software.
    While hardware was a primary culprit in the mobile phone video experience, it was not entirely to blame. Native applications were limited in video codec support, and third-party applications often complicated matters by requiring extra hardware and memory usage on top of the video requirements.
  • Inadequate bandwidth.
    This was far and away the greatest constraint when it came to streaming video through the Internet. While many devices had WiFi capabilities, I rarely found myself in a location where WiFi was available when I wanted to view video. And cellular networks were nothing like they are today. For those that complain about network speeds and quality, think back 5 years ago. 3G networks were barely in existence. EDGE and 1XRTT were the norm, with sub-100Kbps speeds and unstable connectivity a way of life. Trying to watch video through the Internet was often painful at best.

With the painful memories of the converged device video experience still fresh in my mind, I was prepared to give this experience another try in 2010. A lot has changed over the past 5 years. I still could not help going in to my experiment that this would be the greatest challenge for a mobile device convergence test.

Gather Up Requirements

The requirements for a positive video experience on a mobile phone basically boiled down to the goal of overcoming past limitations. That meant -

  • Appropriate device hardware.
    Big screen, fast processor and lots of storage capacity. For me, the device is my T-Mobile USA HTC HD2. With a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor and a large WVGA screen, the basic needs appeared to be met. From a storage capacity, the T-Mobile USA variant of the HD2 came with a 16GB microSD card. Remembering the days when a 256MB Compact Flash card was considered a luxury, the 16GB total seemed like it should suit my needs Winking smile
  • Appropriate software.
    Be it native to the device or via third-party, I would need software that made it easy and enjoyable to view video on the device. There were 3 pieces of software I would try -
    • Windows Media Player for Mobile
      Standard on Windows Phone devices, it would be interesting to try the “out-of-the-box” video solution to see how it would fare.

      WMPMobile
    • Kinoma Play
      In my previous article covering the audio experience, I discussed Kinoma Play as an audio solution. Well, from a video perspective, Kinoma Play works as well.

      KinomaPlayVideo01
    • Sling Media Sling Player for Mobile
      Here at BostonPocketPC.com, we have talked about Sling Media’s fantastic Slingbox solution many times in the past. Providing a hardware solution that allows you to “placeshift” (watch and control a home system while outside the home), the Slingbox and associated Sling Player software allow you to access your home TV no matter where you are. Slingbox is flexible; it allows you to connect in to any number of home entertainment configurations.

      SlingPlayer01
      For me, a Slingbox is connected to and controls a Comcast cable receiver. While this box is not a DVR (if you hook into that, you could watch your recorded shows remotely), it does provide me access to all of my Comcast channels as well as Comcast On Demand.  

      SlingPlayer02
  • Appropriate bandwidth.
    I would need a device and carrier that could provide acceptable speeds, coverage and reliability to allow me to watch video through the Internet when I wanted. As a longtime T-Mobile USA customer, the issues of bandwidth and coverage were rather numerous over the years. From a bandwidth perspective, even as T-Mobile rolled out 3G coverage they did so on the 1700Mhz spectrum. My problem? – most of my devices (unlocked) did not use this frequency, leaving me on EDGE data speeds. My first T-Mobile 3G device was the MyTouch 3G. While it gave me the bandwidth I desired, it lacked in other performance areas.
    With the HD2 I get 3G capabilities and 3G performance. While the Greater Boston area has yet to receive the nationwide HSPA+ upgrade (which will also increase performance for 3G devices), I still am receiving data throughput rates worthy of effective streaming.

With my tools now in hand, it was time to try to live the converged device experience with video.

Evaluating The Video Experience

When you consider the fact that I consider video to be the toughest challenge for a converged mobile device experience, I will say that the HD2 exceeded most of my expectations.

When it came to local video viewing, the HD2 provided a wonderful experience. T-Mobile USA and HTC knew this would be the case, including copies of both the first and second Transformers movies on the included microSD card. Something I did notice – the video quality in terms of framerate and lack of stutter was far better using the native Windows Media Player than the third-party Kinoma Play. I suspect the combination of the higher encoding rate for the movie, combined with the age-old issue of third-party software running on top of the OS and the CPU/memory requirements made for a bit of degradation of performance. I used my Motorola HT820 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones (discussed in my previous article) for the audio, and the quality was very good.

From a streaming video experience, it was – well, spectacular! I had become accustomed to a low-bandwidth experience with past devices. Slingbox and the SlingPlayer for Mobile do a wonderful job of adjusting and optimizing to bandwidth, but the result was typically grainier and often required pauses for buffering. On the HD2, however, I rarely (if ever) had issues. This is as much a credit to the T-Mobile network as it is to the hardware and software. In addition, the higher speeds of the network allowed the SlingPlayer to stream higher quality video. The SlingPlayer is one area in a converged device scenario that really can’t be duplicated with dedicated media players. While there are newer solutions on the market (FloTV, for example), they are highly specialized and limit you to the content they provide. The SlingPlayer lets me watch whatever I have access to via my Comcast cable subscription (I am a bit embarrassed to say that means quite a lot Smile).

While a wonderful experience, only longtime issue around using a phone as a converged device still exists – battery life. While things have improved on this front, I will say that the video experience makes the battery issue most obvious. I could get about one two-hour movie in on my HD2 before becoming concerned about battery life. By comparison, I could watch at least twice as much video on my Zune HD. Being the realist, I understand why this is the case as the phone is doing so much more behind the scenes than a dedicated media player. Still, my feeling is that planning on using the HD2 regularly for video would require either a second battery or a portable charging solution.

The Final Verdict

Honestly – the jury is still out Winking smile There is no doubt that the HD2 is more than capable of handling my video needs. While I believe I lean towards using it on a regular basis, I will remain cautious in situations where battery life is important. Aside from that, I believe the score is now 2 – 0 in favor of going with a single device.

Next up (in my next article) – GPS navigation and trying to eliminate the need to carry a dedicated GPS device.  

08/07/2010 11:51:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Rethinking Device Convergence–The Audio Experience#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

In my quest to try once again to use a single device for all my needs, I decided that the first real test for my T-Mobile USA HTC HD2 would be with regards to the audio experience. In my previous article on the subject, I laid out what I thought were the needs, criteria and requirements for what would be deemed an acceptable experience. With all of this in hand, I set forth to put everything in motion.

Gathering Up Requirements

There were a few criteria for the audio experience that needed to be addressed from a hardware and software experience. They were -

  • Vehicle mounting.
    I wanted to be able to have a device mounting solution that allowed me to easily put the device in place where it was accessible when in my car. In all honesty, the greatest amount of audio usage for me has been while driving, be it during commutes or on business-related trips in the New England region. Fortunately, I have had the solution to this requirement in hand for quite some time – the ProClip Vehicle Mounting Solution.

    Longtime readers of this website have seen past reviews regarding ProClip solutions. I won’t rehash that all here, but I will restate what I have said to many time and time again – ProClip provides some of the most professional and easy-to-install solutions for vehicles you will ever find. I have used ProClip with a countless number of devices over the past several years and have never been short of completely satisfied with the results. The two-part aspect of the solution (one mounting bracket and device-specific holders) combined with their Move Clip enhancement have made switching between devices an absolute pleasure. My wife, who at one time used ProClip with her vehicle with an older phone, quickly remembered the convenience of the solution herself recently. When she asked me about using ProClip with her new T-Mobile USA Touch Pro 2, my answer was simple – “Your mounting bracket is still there. It’s just a device holder away, honey.” Smile

    For my vehicle needs, the ProClip HD2 holder was the obvious answer. ProClip provides variations of holders for some devices, and the HD2 was no exception. In addition to a basic holder, ProClip also provides a holder with a built-in DC cigarette lighter adapter. This is perfect for the user who intends to use the device heavily in scenarios that increase battery drain.

    IMG_2782
    ProClip HD2 Holder with built-in charger.

    The holder also includes a swivel mount, allowing for adjustment to meet viewing needs.

    IMG_2783
    ProClip HD2 holder attached to bracket with swivel mount.

    The end result – the HD2 is in a position for easy access and “at-a-glance” readability.

    IMG_2784
    ProClip HD2 Holder with device (driver perspective).

    This is not as important for audio experiences as it is for GPS navigation and incoming call perspectives, but is important nonetheless from an overall driving perspective.

    All in all, ProClip once again proved to be an invaluable component for using a device while driving. If you are interested in ProClip for your vehicle and device, check out all of the information at the ProClip website.
  • Device-Friendly Car Stereo. 
    For any driving scenario, a device-friendly car stereo is always a big plus. Such solutions come in many forms today, from Bluetooth integration to device-specific solutions. I’ve long had a flexible solution – a car stereo with a 3.5mm auxiliary input jack in the stereo faceplate. When combined with the 3.5mm output on the HD2, I can have full stereo sound with a minimum of difficulty.
  • Audio software.
    While there are a number of pre-installed and third-party audio solutions for Windows Mobile devices, I have some rather unique requirements. My audio comes in multiple “flavors” -
    • Music. This comes is a variety of formats, including WMA and MP3.
    • Podcasts. Usually, this comes in MP3 format, but there is the occasional WMA file thrown in.
    • Audible audio books. This is the really tricky part. Audible books come in a proprietary format and require authentication. Usually, this means installing Audible’s Audible Player software. While this works, Audible Player has not always been my favorite software.

Ironically, it was my audio book requirement that led me to look into a third-party solution that helped me to deal with Audible – and provide me with so much more. The solution – Kinoma’s Kinoma Play

KP01

Kinoma Play is a virtual “Swiss Army Knife” solution for media on your Windows Mobile device. A complete review of all of Kinoma Play’s features would probably be worthy of a book Smile. There were several features which did catch my eye.

  • Audible support. Kinoma Play supports Audible audio content without the need for the Audible Player. You can authenticate with your Audible credentials from within in the interface. That’s not all, however.
    Kinoma Play allows you to download and listen to your content, but also allows you to stream your audio books and subscriptions!

    KP02
    Audible support in Kinoma Play.

    My Audible plan includes a daily subscription to the Wall Street Journal Daily Edition. While I could download it (the Audible Player includes Audible Air, allowing you to schedule downloads over-the-air), it is often simpler to just stream it while driving during the morning commute.

    Kinoma Play also allows you to sbuscribe to podcasts. Similar to Audible support, Kinoma Play allows you to either download or stream podcasts as well.

    From an music perspective, Kinoma Play provides you with everything you would expect from a music player. Sorting by song, artist, album or genre, album art – you name it, it’s there.

    KP03
    Song view in Kinoma Play (with album art).

    While a full-blown equalizer isn’t present in Kinoma Play, there are audio settings available.

    KP04
    Audio settings in Kinoma Play.

    All in all, Kinoma Play exceeded all my needs and expectations. I will say that this does come at a rather hefty price – Kinoma Play retails for $29.99 USD. For all that it provides me, the cost was well worth the investment. If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to visit the Kinoma Play website.
  • Bluetooth stereo headphones.
    I admit it – when it comes to my devices, I hate wires. I avoid them wherever and whenever possible. As a result, a good set of Bluetooth stereo headphones are a must for me. I have been a longtime user of Motorola’s HT820 headset and have been reasonably satisfied.

    MotoHT820

    My only complaint has been not with sound quality and performance, but with comfort. The headset’s “around the ear” design without passing can get a bit uncomfortable over time. From a technical perspective, however, the sound quality is good and the fact that the HT820 also serves as a hands-free headset, allowing me to answer phone calls, makes for a big plus.

Evaluating the Audio Experience

In short, I can say that the audio experience using my combination of device, hardware and software has met or exceeded my expectations. The only complication I have experienced thus far is the in-car experience. using the 3.5mm auxiliary jack works great for music, but answering a call has complications. As it turns out, the speaker phone on the HD2 works rather well, so I can leave the device in the cradle. I will say that, ideally, a complete integrated Bluetooth car kit would be perfect.

My audio experiences have also worked well when dealing with incoming phone calls. Software has recognized the incoming call and responded accordingly. Phone functionality has not suffered as a result of my device convergence.

The bottom line – I am now using my T-Mobile USA HD2 as my primary audio device Smile My Zune HD has not been entirely abandoned; there are still times when I prefer to save my HD2’s battery life (this is still a major inconvenience with convergence, especially when using Bluetooth and streaming from the Internet at the same time). However, the first device I reach for now is my HD2 when I want to listen to music, podcasts or audio books.

Next up (in my next article) – device convergence and video. Stay tuned… 

08/01/2010 12:42:48 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Revisiting the Idea of Device Convergence#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Way back in 2003, I wrote some articles that discussed my case for resisting device convergence (that is, trying to do everything with one device). At the time, it seemed that everyone was trying to use their Pocket PCs (yep – we still called them that back then) and Smartphones (yep – that was a Microsoft branding) to be the one device for all of their needs. At the time, I gave several reasons for my thinking -

  1. The devices just were not powerful enough.
    Sure, Pocket PCs and Smartphones could multitask – in theory. But with limited CPUs, limited memory and no real hardware assistance for graphics, more than one resource-intensive application at a time meant sluggish performance and a degraded user experience.
  2. “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” Syndrome.
    In 2003, a Pocket PC could play movies, but not as well as a dedicated device. It could play music, but not as well as a dedicated device. It could perform GPS navigation, but not as well as a dedicated device. The result was a lot of sacrifice in quality for the luxury of less devices.
  3. The need for “accessories”.
    Many functionalities around device convergence often needed a bit of assistance a few years back. Sometimes, the assistance came in the form of software designed to overcome the limitations of Pocket PC default software. One example – I was an avid user of Conduits’ Pocket Player for its robust equalizer. Other times, the accessory came in the form of additional hardware. Most notable here was GPS adapters for navigation (that’s right – GPS chips didn’t always exist on phones, kids Winking smile).

In the end, the amount of effort required for device convergence combined with the often mediocre results drove me to the conclusion that specialized hardware was the way to go. The result -

  • A smartphone for “smartphone things” – Phone, email, Internet applications.
  • A GPS device for navigation.
  • A dedicated media player – in my case, Zune/Zune HD.

A lot has happened since those days of old, but for the most part I have continued with the 3-device solution – until now. I came close a couple of times…

  • The iPhone 3/3GS had me seriously thinking about convergence. However, iTunes has never been my cup of tea and managing multiple formats for media just didn’t seem to be worth it.
  • Several Windows Mobile and Android devices caught my attention. In the end, though, the devices that met most needs didn’t meet all and that wasn’t enough.

So, what changed my mind, you might ask? Ironically, in an age where Windows Mobile is typically a “whipping boy” in the mobile device space, it was a Windows Mobile 6.5 device that did the trick – the T-Mobile USA HTC HD2. Back in June, T-Mobile USA had their one-day Fathers Day promotion going. My wife and I, both longtime T-Mobile customers (going back to the days of Voicestream) realized that 1) we were off-contract and 2) T-Mobile’s “Even More” plans would give us more than our current plan and cost us less (including finally getting an Internet data plan for my wife, something we had discussed for quite some time). While we didn’t qualify for free phones (that was only for new customers), the combination of a “Buy One Get One Free” phone offer and other rebates was just too good to pass up. My wife decided on the HTC Touch Pro 2 (she really wanted a physical keyboard and the slide out functionality of the TP2 was just what she wanted). I, on the other hand, looked at all the specs and potential of the HD2 and decided that this was my choice.

When I first fired up the HD2, my intention was not to go “all-in-one”. I still was using my dedicated Navigon GPS unit for navigation and my Zune HD for videos and music. Late in the first day of usage, though, a casual try of a feature that came with the T-Mobile USA version of the HD2 lit the proverbial lightbulb over my head. The HD2 came with a 16GB microSD card. Included on that card – the movies Transformers and Transformers 2. I decided to try out the movies on the device. To my amazement, the quality and clarity of the videos were on a par with my Zune HD, and with a bigger screen to boot. Of course, battery life on a Zune HD (or any dedicated media player for that matter) would be superior to a multi-purpose device, but still – this was intriguing. Could I possibly go one-device after all of these years? Had the time come and the hardware progressed to the point where I could change my mind?

In order to fully evaluate the possibility of device convergence on a regular basis, I decided to break down what my requirements would be. I took the approach of defining desired experiences first, then looked at more tangible requirements. The results -

  • Experiences
    • Audio on-the-go.
      This would include music, podcasts and audio books. I want to use the headphones of my choice when needed, and have a positive experience when in my car as well.
    • Video on-the-go.
      Similar to audio, except drop the “car” part. No watching video when driving, you know Winking smile. I also including streaming media into this equation, whether it is from the Internet or through it (as in “from my home”).
    • GPS navigation.
      I desire a quality and accurate experience here, on a par with dedicated GPS units. I expect audio (turn-by-turn directions) and video (accurate and readable visuals).
    • Phone usage.
      While this is considered a given at face value, the experience here relates to phone experiences while involved with other experiences. This is a huge consideration for for converged scenarios. What happens when a call comes in while listening to music or using the GPS? How easy is it to answer a call? What happens when the call ends. From my perspective, this is still often the greatest point of failure for many phone today.
  • Requirements
    • Big screen.
      Needed for an enjoyable video experience and effective GPS presentation.
    • Powerful CPU/GPU.
      A big screen is worthless without the processing power to provide the required frame rates and updates needed for video, audio and GPS.
    • Well-supported Bluetooth.
      I add “well-supported” for a couple of reasons. First – without the proper Bluetooth profile support, using a Bluetooth stereo headset or car kit is impossible or unlikely. Second – profiles without the hardware support for performance results in quantity but not quality. This was a major failing for earlier Bluetooth implementations; I could use a Bluetooth stereo but the quality was horrible or the there was a tremendous amount of buffer/stutter with the hardware trying to keep up.
    • Supporting hardware.
      This includes things like headsets for audio and car accessories for when driving. I can’t put all of the burden on the device now, can I? Winking smile
    • Supporting software.
      While there are onboard solutions for many of the experiences I desire, that’s not to say that third-party solutions cannot enhance the experience even more.

With my requirements and experiences now in hand, the grand convergence experience could commence. It is currently in process, but so far so good. The details? I will be writing them up in more focused articles shortly. The articles will include what I included from the Requirements perspective and will discuss the pros and cons of the experience. Stay tuned…

08/01/2010 10:31:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

An Open Letter…#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

As someone who spends a great deal of time writing and speaking about technology, I am regularly asked by technology companies to write or speak about their products. Over the years, I have established a number of relationships with companies as a result. While I have generally had good relationships with these companies, I am finding more frequently that the relationship between companies and myself with regards to my role as a “technology communicator” is becoming strained. In some cases, the relationships are strained to the proverbial “breaking point”. This is why I have decided to write what follows.

In the spirit of openness and communication, I think it only fair that I write an Open Letter to all the companies that I currently do work with, as well as though that might wish to work with me. I do this in the hope that we can establish better and more positive interactions that benefit each other as well as (and perhaps more importantly) those in the public who both read and listen to my words about your products.

If you are a current or potential “partner” with me and find yourself taking offense in any way by what follows, please take a sincere moment of pause and honestly ask yourself why you feel this way. I hope that my writing may in some way cause you reflect and react in a positive way for yourselves, your other partners in the community and ultimately those in the general public whose acceptance you hope to gain.

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I write to you today with regards to your desire to have me write and/or speak about your product(s). I thank you for your consideration in this manner. In order to affect a more positive and effective relationship with your company, I ask that you take a moment to review the following information regarding our current and potential future business relationship into account before we proceed any further in the process.

  1. Please get to know me before seriously engaging me. I hope that the reason that you have chosen to engage with me is because of my reputation and the belief that I can be an effective partner. If you are considering me as someone to work with you, please perform due diligence in advance of establishing contact. I have always been an “open book” with regards to who I am, what I do and what I can provide to your company. I have always made my life around technology writing and speaking very transparent. Google me. Ask me questions. Ask yourself if I am a “fit” for your goals. Those few minutes of research will prevent yourself from trying to persuade me to look at, work with or review something that simply makes no sense based upon my interests. I expect that you value your time greatly; please respect the fact that I value my time as well.
  2. Please honor (in legality and sprit) any agreements we undertake. I am often asked to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (“NDAs”) as part of your processes. I have yet to encounter an NDA that does not have some stipulations for the company I am working with. I have and always will treat NDAs with the greatest level of respect; it is something that makes up my “professional integrity”. While you may perceive me as something less, please remember that by requiring a contractual agreement such as an NDA, you are treating me as a business partner. Not only are you legally bound to the contract, your own integrity is at stake in this agreement.
  3. Please do not expect me to work with you on “blind faith”. I take the greatest pride in being able to communicate with the public based upon real and tangible knowledge based upon first-hand experience. I consider any sentence that includes “trust us” to be an affront to my professionalism. If you cannot explain why something is or provide me with information, do not expect me to accept that and then pass it along as personally-acquired fact. Furthermore – if we are under an NDA and you feel that you still cannot trust me to honor our agreements, I question whether we should have a relationship in the first place. Furthermore, I find such an attitude professionally and personally insulting and fear that it will introduce emotions into my perceptions of your products that would be unfair to you and (more importantly) those who read and listen to my words expecting an unbiased assessment.
  4. Please do not ask me to speak to something when you will not provide the information I need to speak properly. In relation to item #3, please do not ask me to speak or write about something about your product based solely on your word. I am more than happy to post press releases at my web site, but to ask me to advocate or endorse any product without first having experience with the product is a waste of time. Also – please do not ask me to appear at a product launch with your product without first having access to your product. I take my role as a speaker and writer very seriously; the word “credible” means everything to me. There is other form of communication where credibility is more at stake than when in a face-to-face scenario. I will not put my reputation on the line as “knowledgeable”, an “expert” or anything else without being personally comfortable in knowing that I am speaking from direct knowledge and experience.
  5. Please refrain from double-standards or “levels of confidentiality” with regards to talking about your product. I respect all legalities surrounding NDAs. I also understand and respect the need for such things as “press embargoes” until specific dates and times. However, please do not put me in a position where others considered as peers are allowed to talk about your product, but not myself. This jeopardizes my relationship with the community-at-large and therefore hurts you as much as me with regards to credibility and effective communication regarding your product. I consider this type of activity to be hypocritical with regards to you as a business partner and will question any further relationship when it happens.
  6. Please acknowledge my input/feedback regarding your product. I am intelligent enough to understand that I am but one person of many who may be providing input or feedback regarding your product. Please understand that, after years of being a product tester, I only provide such input in the context of making of improving your product (from my perspective). While I do not expect this input or feedback to necessarily be incorporated, I *do* expect that some acknowledgement of your company at least looking at or considering my input. Non-responsiveness to my communication (which involved taking the time and effort to test/research) delivers a message that the effort is not worthwhile and diminishes our relationship.
    Also – please do not ask for input for a specific release of your product under the guise that the input could be incorporated into your product when this is not the case in reality. I am intelligent enough to figure out when this is the case (and I do quite regularly) and consider this to be disingenuous at best. Once again, this diminishes my trust in your company. If you would like input on a product release but know it cannot be incorporated into the product before release, simply state that fact. I will respect your honesty and be glad to oblige you in any way that I can.
  7. Please respect my time. My goal is to always speak to any product or technology based upon real experience. This takes time, often at the expense of other items (personal or professional). Please do not ask me to review or speak to your product in an unreasonable amount of time.
  8. Please refrain from asking for “editorial review”. I have not and never will sign any legal agreement that allows you to have editorial review of my written or spoken content. I expect that our relationship (both professional and legal) would allow for us to work in an environment where we can work without the need for censorship. I regularly have offered companies the opportunity to read or hear what I will deliver to the community in advance of the delivery itself. I do so with the hope that anything that is truly inaccurate is caught, as well as providing the professional courtesy of a “heads-up”. While I am a partner, I am not an employee. My credibility is based in large part on my ability to speak freely on subjects. As an side – I will never speak negatively of any product issues in public without first communicating with the company responsible for the product. I believe it is my obligation to first address issues like bugs, features or defects with the company to understand if these items have been already identified and, if so, are they being addressed.

In conclusion, please note that I consider all of the items listed above as proper professional courtesy for any successful business relationship of this nature. I have always taken pride in addressing these types of relationships with the greatest amount of professionalism. All I am asking in return is to be treated with that same level of respect. If you feel that our relationship is anything less than a professional one because of the nature of what I do, I kindly ask you to refrain from any future engagement as such a relationship will never be beneficial to either one of us.       

Sincerely,
Don Sorcinelli

11/18/2009 09:58:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Lest Ye Forget… The Mobile Web and Multi-Platform Development#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

During our Boston/New England Windows Mobile User/Developer Group meeting this past Wednesday, we had a wonderfully interactive discussion during my presentation “State of The Union: Mobile Device Application Development”. A common theme/concern during the presentation revolved around the effort involved in creating a single logical application that runs on multiple devices across platforms like Windows Mobile, iPhone, Android, WebOS… and on and on. We talked in great length about development tools, programming languages, learning curves and the like. During the presentation, one consistent message I tried to impart the audience with was simple…

Don’t dismiss the possibility of leveraging the mobile web for your application.

I think the greatest example of this came from one of our attendees, Jim Travis (thanks, Jim!). He gave an example of an iPhone application currently available in the iTunes App Store (and a quite popular app as well). This application, focused on mobile banking, is quite nice and has the visual appeal expected when using iPhone applications. Jim then pointed out that by using this bank’s mobile web application, you received a similar visual appeal with similar functionality. No application download required. It is this very example that brought me to writing on this subject.

Any seasoned application developer will tell you that there are times when a web-based application simply will not work. Usually, it is business-critical requirements like offline access to the application, detailed interaction with hardware and/or system resources or local storage of information that becomes a “show-stopper”. I understand this entirely, having experienced this far too many times myself over the years. I believe, however, that when it comes to mobile application development, we have become conditioned in an almost Pavlovian way to assume mobile application equates to native application.

Part of our conditioning when it comes to mobile application development comes from the evolution of mobile devices themselves. For so many years, mobile web browsers were well behind there desktop counterparts in capabilities. In fact, it was not that long ago that the only “safe bet” when developing for mobile browsers was to keep it as simple as possible, falling back to WAP standards to guarantee that the application would work. Times have changed in this regard; today’s mobile browsers are quickly gaining the ability to render desktop web sites with near-desktop fidelity. Unfortunately, these capabilities have led to yet another aspect of our turning away from mobile web application development.

With today’s mobile browsers supporting near-desktop browser capabilities, many have come to assume that there simply is not a need to mobile web equivalents. I frequently hear people say “let the user go to the ‘regular’ web site if they want <fill in the blank>.” Sadly, simplistic statements like this forget an oh-so important principle of software design – accessibility and/or readability do not equate to usability. While I can see my bank’s web site on my mobile browser, the process of using my bank’s web site to manage my finances is fraught with challenges zooming in and zooming out of a page, panning, scrolling, doing data entry, etc. All this typically leads to frustration and (inevitably) abandonment. If the banking site is optimized for my mobile browser, however, I can perform the tasks I require with improved readability, navigation and data entry. Result – a workable application that, when crafted correctly, can support a user base using different devices.

The techniques for supporting mobile mobile web browsers have existed for a long time. In fact, those who have developed web applications long enough can recall having to use the same techniques for desktop browsers (remember the first “Browser Wars”, with IE 4 and Netscape 4?). Interestingly enough, desktop web application developers are finding themselves in a similar situation today with IE 8, Firefox, Safari and Opera. To best provide rich web application functionality using “browser sniffing” (the web application determining the browser being used) and appropriate rendering of the web page, one can leverage a single base of common business application logic and customization only for the user interface. If you are developing using this technique today for your desktop experience, why not simply extend it for your mobile experience? While this approach requires a greater development effort, I think it is safe to say that it is usually far less effort than the alternative of learning multiple programming languages, investing in multiple toolsets and trying to keep everything “in sync” from a feature/functionality standpoint.

Another major challenge with native mobile applications lies in the process of distribution. How do you get your application to your users? Every mobile platform currently has one or more ways to deal with software distribution, but managing this when complicated by one logical application having multiple device-specific implementations is complex, to say the least. One compelling reason for the explosion of web applications in the past decade has been around this challenge. Simply put, web applications have no distribution issues to address, at least from a mechanical standpoint. New features? No problem. Bug fixes? No problem. Simply update the web site and voila! Bottom line – distribution of software is almost always a major complication for any type of application; web applications practically trivialize this issue.

All of this may sound like I am minimizing the importance of native device applications. I most certainly am not. I recognize their importance as well as scenarios where they are the only option. What I want to make clear, however, is that they are far from the only alternative for building solutions that support disparate multiple device platforms. When the idea for developing a mobile application first arises, you should be asking yourself some simple questions…

  1. Is there a compelling business and/or technical reason why I cannot design the application for the mobile web? Sometimes, a legitimate business reason may trump technical reasons. An example – the exposure of a native application to the public through a distribution channel provides more marketing ROI than a web application would. I think the mobile banking example mentioned previously could support this scenario.
  2. Can I provide the functionality for the user that meets the business and/or technical requirements with a mobile web application? While this used to be a blocking factor for the mobile web, it is increasingly becoming less so. Remember – the same mobile browser functionality that allows for the rendering and interaction with desktop web sites can be leveraged with a mobile web site; it is the design for usability on mobile devices that makes the extra development effort worth while.
  3. Is the extra cost associated with multiple versions of the same application for different devices worth it? Back to the ROI discussion. If there are no blocking factors for a mobile web application, it is crucial to address the costs and benefits of going the native application route to make sure that there is a very real reason to “go native” (held off using that phrase up until now ;-) ).

As a presenter, I love discussions that make me think in the same way that I hope to get my audience to think. This past Wednesday’s meeting/presentation was one such discussion. I really believe that the diversity of mobile devices and associated platforms may in fact be a greater driver to mobile web application adoption than anything else prior. By simply being open to the idea of cross-platform mobile web applications, we can potentially see a new world of opportunities for all mobile device users.  

08/21/2009 09:53:30 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

How To Say “Netbook” and “Outlook” In The Same Sentence with a Straight Face#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

I am among the legions of people who have come to wholly rely on Microsoft Outlook over the years for my day-to-day PIM actions (mail, calendaring, tasks, contacts). As a result, I (like many others) have cheered the improvements and lamented over the issues related to Outlook. Having first observed and now being a part of the netbook world (in my case, an Acer Aspire One), I thought that my long relationship with thee Outlook client might have to come to an end. “There is no way”, I thought, “that Outlook would ever perform reasonably well on a processor- and memory-constrained platform like a netbook. Folks, I am happy to report that this presumption was woefully wrong.

I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview. When I first received the invitation, I had to decide where and how I would run the included applications. I couldn’t run it on a “production” computer; it is only a Technical Preview, you know ;-) I could create a Virtual Machine for it to run on a production computer, but I really didn’t think I would give the suite of applications much attention and use if I did that. This left the Aspire One. With just an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1 GB of RAM and the Windows 7 Release Candidate. I shuddered at the thought, but forged ahead.

The first thing you notice when working with the Office 2010 Professional Edition Suite (the default for the Technical Preview) is the size; more importantly, the reduction in size. Clearly a lot smaller install than in recent years. I took this as a hopeful sign, although the skeptic in me knew that executable size is one thing, but performance is another. I went ahead and completed the installation of the Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote).

Outside of a new splash screen, the initial setup process for Outlook is pretty much the same. I immediately set up my personal hosted Exchange account, planning on immediately following that up by trying out a new Outlook feature that is incredibly overdue – running more than one Exchange account within a single Outlook profile. To this this, you have to shut down Outlook and access the “Mail” Control Panel applet. Once completed, I held my breath and fired up Outlook 2010 once again. This is when the wonderment truly began.

When it comes to Outlook 2010 on my netbook, here is what I can safely say -

  1. Outlook 2010 loads as quickly as Outlook 2007 on my other computers. Mind you, I am saying this from an end-user experience perspective (please don’t email me with “I benchmarked and there was a 1.2 second difference; nice to know, but I was more concerned about the experience rather than the raw numbers). Keep in mind that my other computers are far more powerful and only loading 1 Exchange account.
  2. Outlook 2010 is as responsive if not more so than Outlook 2007. Again, when you consider the fact that I am saying this about Outlook running on a netbook…
  3. Outlook 2010’s memory requirements are on a par with Outlook 2007. Considering the fact that I am running 2 Exchange accounts AND all of the new features included in Outlook 2010, that astounds me.

I simply cannot believe I am saying this, but…

I am running Outlook on a netbook and loving it!

Before I wrap up, a few additional initial comments about Outlook 2010 (expect to see more in the coming days and weeks)…

  • I love the ribbon bar. Of course, I’ll need to get used to where everything now is, but I went through the same learning curve with the other Office apps in 2007.
  • Conversation View is great. But Conversation View with the ability to still track the thread even after moving emails to other locations is awesome!
  • Quick Steps are long overdue. Most people use Rules in Outlook, but I always had a fundamental problem with them – the rules did things before you looked at the message. Quick Steps are more like macros; I can look at an email, then click on a Quick Step icon to do processing. Number 1 use – filing messages without have to drag and drop within the labyrinth of folders I have set up.

All in all, I am more than pleased with Outlook 2010 at this point. As a matter of fact, “pleased” is really an understatement.

Misc | Office
07/17/2009 08:13:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Making the Most of Mobility When Traveling – Your Suggestions#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

For those who could not attend our last Windows Mobile User and Developer Group meeting last Wednesday, our featured presentation and discussion was entitled “Making the Most of Mobility When Traveling”. We covered a lot of ground on this topic, which was very all-inclusive and discussed items like the packing tips, hardware, software and accessory considerations and ways of staying connected. I have put the presentation up in PDF for download if you are interested in looking at it. Please keep in mind that the PDF was not intended to be the “Bible of Mobility Travel”, but instead facilitate discussion and interaction.

This leads me to the following thought – What do you think (and do) when it comes to leveraging mobile technologies for travel? Are there any favorite tools you use? Hardware? Power options? Software? Web sites? I would love to get a broader discussion going on the topic, and our Comments section (at the bottom of this post) is the perfect way to continue the discussion online.

Let’s hear it, folks! I am certain there are some great tips out there waiting to be popularized :-)

10/21/2008 12:24:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Zune 3.x & XNA Games#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Since the release of the Zune update I have received quite a few emails asking why their games no longer work. As I stated in the update post it has to do with how the games were compiled with the XNA Game Studio CTP and not XNA Game Studio 3 Beta, which fully supports the new Zune 3.0 update! Yay!!!

xna 3 beta

To get your old games and applications to work all you have to do uninstall the CTP and install the new XNA Game Studio 3.0 Beta and edit a few lines of code:

  • Modify the .contentproj file to delete all instances of the OutputPath element. This element usually is within a PropertyGroup element that has Condition attributes. For example:

                      <PropertyGroup Condition=" '$(Configuration)|$(Platform)' == 'Debug|Xbox 360' ">
                        . . .
                        <OutputPath>bin\Xbox 360\Debug</OutputPath>
                      </PropertyGroup>
                      
  • Add the following as a child element in the same PropertyGroup that includes the XnaFrameworkVersion element:

    <OutputPath>bin\$(Platform)\$(Configuration)</OutputPath>

    The folks over at Zuneboards have a list of games that have already been “fixed” to work with 3.0.

    If you wish to do it yourself you can download the latest version of the XNA Beta from here and be sure read the READ ME file.

    Enjoy!

     zune capture

    There is a new snapshot feature too! A few people wrote in asking on how to do this so here it is. Screen captures are taken using the XNA Game Studio Device Center. It’s important to understand that screen captures can only be made when you start the game from your computer using Visual Studio. You cannot play a game stand alone (i.e. Running from the Games menu on Zune or from the Games Library on the Xbox 360. Here are the two ways to capture:

    • Starting the game with debugging (usually “F5” in Visual Studio of Visual C#)
    • Starting the game without debugging, and hence better performance (usually Ctrl+F5 in Visual Studio)

    Zune-1 Zune-2

    Once started and connected startup the XNA Game Studio Device Center, right-click on the device currently running the game and select “Take Screen Capture”. A PNG of your Zune’s Screen will then be placed in your Pictures folder, and it will be opened automatically for viewing.

    zune capture2

    Note: This will not work with packaged games like creators club game packages (*.ccgame files). This files are automatically installed on your Zune and don’t require to be built.

    Zune | Misc
    10/16/2008 17:03:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Velocity Micro Announces the Release of the CineMagix FuzeBox#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Wow, the folks at Velocity Micro, an independent builder of custom, high performance computers, notebooks, and home theater systems announces the immediate release of an innovative new closed-box home media server solution, called the CineMagix FuzeBox Home Media Server.  Utilizing an innovative interface and Velocity Micro’s trademarked expert engineering, the FuzeBox manages, stores, and distributes pictures, music, and video throughout an entire home, making it the first and only whole home media experience on the market.

    fuzebox

    So the FuzeBox Media Server allows you to stream audio and video into zones including DVD and BluRay content that will be stored locally on a hard drive coming in 2009, hopefully this will be available with the ongoing courtcase  between the major Hollywood studios and Real Media’s RealDVD, which allowed for backing up of DVD’s to one’s hard drive. We hope they win like Kaleidescape did, paving the way for solutions like the CineMagix FuzeBox Home Media Server which looks to provide the same function as a Kaledescape a fraction of the price.

    “For years, consumers have been struggling to find a home theater solution that will simply and efficiently help them manage their digital lives,” said Randy Copeland, President and CEO of Velocity Micro. “The FuzeBox, with its simple interface and dynamic features, provides exactly what that consumer is looking for—a whole home media experience in one system.”

    Velocity Micro paired with Fuze Media Systems to create and develop the innovative interface and perfect the meticulous build of the FuzeBox. As a result, the FuzeBox is a home media server device so simple and stable, literally anyone can use and enjoy it.  Key features include:

    • Digital Cablecard support for watching and recording digital content without a cable box or DVR(2 in the Fuzebox and up to 4 can be installed in the Fuzebox Pro);
    • Multiple audio zones for playing different music selections in various zones throughout a home using either a wireless or wired network;
    • The capability to back up and distribute DVDs and Blu-Rays to various video zones
    • Whole home storage server capability for music, photos, video, and data;
    • Tremendous redundant storage capacity of up to two terabytes means space for over 300 movies and 8000 songs;
    • Multiple control options for remote management of all media server aspects including playing and controlling music and video from anywhere on the network;
    • Simple installation by end users or media professionals;
    • Locked graphical user interface that can't be broken by casual users.

    fuzebox2

    The CineMagix FuzeBox looks like a great Media Center PC with all the functions many users have been looking for quite a while. The system is fully configurable starting at $1,995, directly from Velocity Micro.  Visit VelocityMicro.com/FuzeBox for more details.

    10/09/2008 13:07:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    SlingCatcher Now Shipping and Available in Retail#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    One of the things I would like to do in my household is to stream the DVDs to my bedroom. Currently Microsoft Vista’s Media Center doesn’t support direct DVD streaming (there are ways to rip it to a hard drive and then stream it, but that breaks the DMCA). One solution I am currently using is an old laptop with video out hooked up to my television that streams the DVD output of my Media Center PC and DVD changers via SlingPlayer, however there is a loss of video quality in the process. We were also looking at getting another HD DVR cable box for the bedroom, but the SlingCatcher looks like a great solution that pays for itself.

    SlingCatcher-Angle

    The solution I have been waiting for a few years made its appearance at multiple CES shows called the SlingCatcher from SlingMedia which distributes video and audio without the need of a PC. It also includes software to allow you stream any video from a PC to a television if you have a Slingbox. Currently there isn’t any support for HD streaming support, but it is coming as well as streaming video from various online sources as well are mentioned in the press release:

    The SlingCatcher allows customers to watch online video from any popular site on the internet including network television sites like ABC.com, video content sites like Hulu.com and CollegeHumor.com, community video sites like YouTube.com, and even online movie rentals from popular services like Netflix, directly from a PC to the TV for the ultimate lean-back, social viewing experience…

    SlingCatcher comes with three built-in applications: SlingPlayer™ for TV, SlingProjector™ and My Media that combine to create a unified media platform capable of delivering content from disparate places for viewing on a single TV screen. This unique approach promises to give customers unprecedented control over their home television experience.

    SlingPlayer for TV delivers one of the most requested features from existing Slingbox customers: the ability to watch and control their living room TV on another TV in the home or on a TV in a remote location without using a PC or custom cabling.

    slingcatcher back

    The back of the SlingCatcher includes both standard definition and high definition outputs to connect to a TV - including HDMI, component video, S-Video and composite video, and analog and digital audio connectors. SlingCatcher also features a standard Ethernet jack to connect to the home network, either directly or via SlingLink powerline Ethernet adapters. The SlingCatcher even has two USB ports for connecting a thumb drive or external hard drive to play video directly through the SlingCatcher.


    SlingCatcher can be purchased in the U.S. from many leading online retailers for the MSRP of $299.99. like Buy.com, NewEgg.com and Amazon.com – who has it for $285.02. ;) The SlingCatcher is also on retail store shelves starting today, including national retailer Best Buy, as well as Fry’s Electronics, Microcenter, J&R and other regional retailers.

    News | Misc
    10/09/2008 08:44:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Celio REDFLY Special Offer $199!!!#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    I saw this over at jkOnTheRun and couldn’t believe my eyes Celio Corporation, makers of the REDFLY have incorporated a special “seeding program” where you can get the REDFLY at 50% off the MRSP of $399 for a limited time. We saw a recent price cut back in August and were told, when I got my unit for review that it would be possible to offer the REDFLY for even less, but I didn’t believe it would be this soon.

    redfly special offer

    Celio Corp. found that a REDFLY Mobile Companion device in the hands of media, developers or mobile enthusiasts has a tremendous viral marketing benefit. So they decided to offer a a limited amount of REDFLY devices for placement into the market atn this special marketing seed program at $199 until October 31, 2008 so you can help spread the word by using the REDFLY at a very low price directly from Celio as well as other retailers like Amazon.

    Don told me that you can get it even cheaper, $195 directly from Enterprise Mobile and you get free tech support too! Also check out their unlocked Windows Mobile devices they have for sale here  like the - HTC Touch Diamond, HP iPAQ 910c Business Messenger, Palm Treo™ Pro smartphone, and MOTO Q™ 9h business edition and some mobile PCs like the HTC Shift X9000 and HTC Shift X9501 also with free support. :)

    Edit: It is now $199 at Enterprise Mobile.

    09/25/2008 19:09:00 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Adding Sizzle to Emulator Demos with SOTI Pocket Controller#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    I haven't had the chance to mention things here, but I recently fired up a personal blog at Sorcinelli.net. My goal is to cover - well, anything I don't think might be of direct relevance here at BostonPocketPC.com. You may find things of a more personal nature, technology items outside the realm of Windows Mobile / Microsoft mobility technologies, .NET development (including device, desktop and web) or anything else, for that matter.

    As an example of what I am talking about, I did just post up an article regarding demo, screenshots and videos involving the Device Emulator for Windows Mobile. I've been asked on a number of occasions how to "spice up" the bland emulator skin. While you could go down a path in creating custom skins for the emulator, a simpler and more powerful solution can be found in using SOTI's Pocket Controller Professional. There are a few steps to follow in order to get things running, but the results are well worth it. You can check out my complete tutorial here.

    Emu_PocketController

    P.S. - if you are interested in Sorcinelli.net for only some of the content, be sure to check out the RSS feeds by category (on the lower-left side of the home page). You can subscribe to only what you want. I expect many to filter out my "personal side" ;-)

    05/09/2008 13:39:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Congratulations, New Microsoft MVP Johan van Mierlo!#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    My travels and busy schedule have delayed me in publicly congratulating our very own Johan van Mierlo, who received the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional ("MVP") award for Mobile devices on April 1st. Johan has been involved in user groups and forums both here in New England and in Europe (but now he and his family are back with us in the States) for a number of years, and has recently been posting news and reviews here and responding to questions in the Microsoft Windows Mobile forums.

    Congratulations, Johan!

    mvplogo

    04/08/2008 06:42:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    CES 2008 -Fuel Efficiency and Emission Reduction#
    Post By Johan van Mierlo

    Mtech Inc. (www.moletech.us), an innovator of automotive and transportation fuel savers, introduced its innovative Moletech Fuel Saver at the CES.  The technology was first launched in Australia and now makes its introduction here in the US.  A universal system, the Moletech Fuel Saver can deliver fuel savings and emission reduction to all fossil fueled engines.

    The Moletech Fuel Saver is the end result of 10 years of research and development,  over 25 million miles and three years of exhaustive testing on 300 vehicles in the U.S., Taiwan and China.  Moletech Fuel Saver’s molecule reaction technology works together with a vehicle’s fuel, cooling and air filter systems to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.

     

     

    In July 2007, the California Environment Engineering (CEE) Center for Environmental Research tested the Moletech Fuel Saver using Federal Test Procedures (FTP). 

     

    Results from the CEE concluded, “Analysis indicated a reduction in the tailpipe emissions and an increasing improvement in fuel economy using the Moletech Fuel Saver device.  This included a significant reduction in Total Hydrocarbons (THC) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).  The results of the limited but decisive test series is considered noteworthy and verifies with a high level of confidence the viability of the technology, while indicating that more dramatic improvement could be expected and achieved with time.  The device, as tested, provided results that are more dramatic than similar technologies previously evaluated.”

     

    Mtech’s molecular technology incorporates Molecule Reaction Technology to reduce fuel usage and decrease harmful emissions.   Key features of the Moletech Fuel Saver include:

    ·         Saves up to 20% on gasoline

    ·         Saves up to 10% on diesel

    ·         Saves up to 15% on LPG

    ·         Improves horsepower

    ·         Reduces harmful exhaust pollutants

    ·         Lowers greenhouse gases

    ·         Removes the engine’s carbon build up

    ·         Easily fitted at Authorized Installers

    ·         Lasts for more than 10 years

     

    Easily installed in any vehicle, the Moletech Fuel Saver is a simple solution for fuel saving and emission reduction.  The Fuel Savers are small enough to fit in a pocket, yet deliver certified results. 

     

    The Moletech Fuel Saver is a universal product that can be easily installed in any fossil-fueled vehicle including automobiles, motorcycles, diesel engines, trucks, fleet vehicles, agricultural vehicles, and boats.  The Fuel Saver is available in eight different models for all vehicles from scooter to semi vehicles.  The model is determined by engine size and fuel-type including the following:

    • Model #M1027 – gasoline engines under 3 liters
    • Model #M1058 – gasoline engines between 3-6 liters
    • Model #M1010 – gasoline engines between 100cc-1100cc
    • Model #M1003 – gasoline engines up to 100cc
    • Model #M1034 – diesel engines under 6 liters
    • Model#M1041 – diesel engines over 6 liters
    • Model #M1089 – LGP engines all models
    • Model #M1096 – LGP and gas (dual fuel) engine all models

     

    When the Moletech Fuel saver was professionally installed in the testing vehicles, the increase of the vehicle’s horsepower and reduction of carbon build-up, fuel consumption, and reduction of toxic and greenhouse exhaust emissions was notable and impressive. 

    With today’s gas prices and new laws, the Moletech Fuel Saver is a cost-effective and simple solution for anyone environmentally minded or trying to save money.

     

    Now let see if the car companies are going to snatch this up if it s working as they have tested. It would be a small price to pay for the huge environmental benefit.

     

    Moletech Fuel Saver will be available nationwide in 2008 at select dealers and stores.  For additional information on this revolutionary product, visit www.moletech.us.

    Misc | News | Internet
    01/17/2008 21:21:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Where In The World Is Don?#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    Sorry to sound like an old PC game/TV series in the post title, but it is the only thing I could come up with at the moment ;-)

    The last couple of months have been an extremely hectic period for me in both my professional and personal life. While I have managed to make it to our user group meetings, even that has been quite the undertakings. Business-related travel has been very good for my frequent flyer/traveler programs, and not so good for everything else.

    What this all means is that unfortunately the site has had to suffer in recent weeks. I am working to change all of that and bring things back to a more "expected" standard for news, reviews and information. I ask that you be patient as this occurs. In addition, some very exciting changes will be happening in my life that will hopefully translate to an increase in my contributions to the Windows Mobile community. I cannot go into detail quite yet, but trust me - you'll know as soon as possible :-)

    Thanks go to everyone for your continued support!

    12/08/2007 10:33:56 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Cingular 8525 now becomes the AT&T 8525 with some added updates#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Good news for all you Cingular 8525 owners out there waiting for an update to your phone to actually use that push to talk button. More good news your Windows Mobile 6 update will be available soon... I have a review of the 8525 in Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine available here in case you missed it.

    Today AT&Tannounced today the availability of a re-branded and upgraded version of its popular Cingular 8525 now called  the AT&T 8525 Pocket PC (you may have seen the new branded unit in several television comercials for other products like DHL - the one on the golf course)— boasting additional services that will appeal to business customers and consumers alike. 

    Now, the AT&T 8525 also comes with AT&T Push to Talk functionality pre-installed as well as the latest multimedia music and video services from AT&T.  AT&T boasts the largest Push to Talk network in America and its PTT service includes several differentiating features, including "availability" icons, quick group-calling and the ability to easily switch a PTT session to a regular wireless voice call.

    To turn downtime into playtime, the AT&T 8525 provides access to AT&T Mobile Music — an integrated, on-the-go music experience that delivers "your music, your way" by providing simple access to the most robust collection of music content available today, including XM Satellite Radio, which comes pre-loaded on the device. 8525 users can easily access and enjoy 25 commercial-free music channels from XM Satellite Radio through the XM Radio Mobile service.

    With AT&T Mobile Music, AT&T 8525 users can connect to a one-stop shop for everything music on the handset, such as full-track songs, music videos, ringtones, music news, MusicID, music chat rooms, streaming music and more. AT&T is the first U.S. carrier to offer subscription music to the handset, including music from leading online retailers, Yahoo! and eMusic.

    The 8525 will also feature AT&T’s on-demand streaming video service, Cellular Video. Customers can watch a large selection of video clips of their favorite television shows, sports, news and weather, entertainment and premium content, including such hit HBO programs as “The Sopranos,” “Entourage,” “Sex and the City,” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and exclusive mobile content from World Wrestling Entertainment.

    Those customers who own an existing Cingular 8525 can download the same software upgrades found on the AT&T 8525. The software upgrade can be found at: www.america.htc.com/products/8525/default.html. The AT&T 8525 will also be upgradeable to the latest version of Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile 6, later this year. 

    “Our enhanced version of the AT&T 8525 Pocket PC provides an exciting new array of features that will allow our customers to do more during both work time and downtime,” said Cathy Quaciari, director of wireless B-to-B devices for AT&T. “The lines between work and personal lives are blurring, so end users now not only need a device through which they can access their work e-mail or other corporate applications, but also they want something that has music, video and other entertainment capabilities as a way to unwind at the end of the day.”

    The first UMTS/HSDPA-enabled PDA in North America, the AT&T 8525 still features Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 with Direct Push Technology — which allows users to retrieve their important information in the familiar environment found on most desktop computers. 

    In addition to Microsoft Direct Push e-mail for business customers, the AT&T 8525 also supports other popular wireless e-mail solutions, including Good Mobile MessagingTM and AT&T Xpress Mail. 

    The AT&T 8525 provides users with both domestic and international 3G capabilities.  In the U.S., customers can use the AT&T 8525 on AT&T’s BroadbandConnect network in more than 165 major metropolitan areas with seamless access to AT&T’s nationwide high-speed EDGE network outside of 3G coverage areas. When abroad, customers can use the AT&T 8525 in 125 countries where UMTS/HSDPA, EDGE or GPRS networks have been deployed.

    “AT&T and HTC continue to bring the best of mobile hardware and software innovation together with one of the most advanced wireless networks in the world,” said Todd Achilles, vice president of HTC America. “With the addition of Push to Talk and the latest multimedia services from AT&T on the 8525, customers are able to get the most powerful, fastest 3G-connected phone experience available anywhere in North America, Europe or Asia.”

    Pricing and availability

    The AT&T 8525 Pocket PC will be available exclusively from AT&T for as low as $399.99 beginning May 14, in Cingular (now AT&T) retail stores nationwide, select national retailers, http://www.cingular.com/, and through AT&T’s B-to-B direct sales team.

    05/09/2007 15:42:18 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Ding Dong the PMC is dead...#
    Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

    Now this is very sad news. I was reading Jason Tsang's blog at lunch today and read this from a post he found in a post by David Bono, a Microsoft employee in the Microsoft newsgroup microsoft.public.windows.mediacenter.portable, that the PMC (Portable Media Center) platform has met its demise and will no longer be licensed. This comes as no surprise since Microsoft is pimping its new portable media platform the Zune, which is based on the PMC version 2.0 OS.

    Its a sad day, but we kinda new it when we didn't see all the new PMC units shown off at CES 2006 (LG and Tatung) except for the Toshiba Gigabeat(which the Zune is based on) come to fruition as well as Creatives early bail after the original Zen PMC (which I have two of). This also points more to the dedication to the Zune platform and hopes for a thinner, smaller unit with more storage and functions in version 2.0 of Zune.

    Here is the full post from the newsgroup:

    Microsoft is no longer licensing the PMC software. Here is an announcement that was sent out last year to our PMC partners:

    In early 2006, Microsoft released the second version of Windows Mobile for Portable Media Centers to our partners. The second version of the Portable Media Center software enhanced the end user experience and enabled partners to build smaller, less expensive and more competitive devices.

    As part of the ongoing review of our product investments, we have decided to take what we have learned from our investments in Portable Media Center and focus our product and marketing resources on building media experiences on connected Windows Mobile powered devices.

    With the re-investment of resources in media experiences on connected Windows Mobile powered devices, Portable Media Center 2.0 is the last version of our Portable Media Center software under the Windows Mobile brand. We do not plan any future Portable Media Center software upgrades or marketing activities.

    Thank you for all your support- Microsoft is proud of its work, the work of its partners and the devices and services delivered as a result of those relationships. We will continue to work with existing Portable Media Centers licensees to ensure that devices they are developing come to market.

     

    05/09/2007 15:02:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    Happy Birthday, BostonPocketPC.com!#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    Light the candles and sing the songs - BostonPocketPC.com turns 5 years old today! Our official launch was January 1, 2002. Where does the time go?

    It really does not seem like it is 5 years already. In that time, we've seen so much happen in the world of mobility that I really cannot believe the timespans are so short. This really hit home for me earlier this year during a business trip. I went on a trip to Chicago for the first time in over 6 years. All of the "routines" regarding the trip (travel, hotel, office) were the same, but the use of mobile technology 0 totally different. Some examples -

    • We used notebook computers, but connecting to the Internet was via dialup from a hotel or business. WiFi was still an "emerging technology".
    • Hotspots? What are those?
    • I had a cell phone, but it was used for - calling people. No e-mail, no Internet browsing.
    • I had a PDA (a Palm V, to be more precise), but "content" was entirely via sync (unless you had high-end modems designed for the platform).

    I found myself feeling strange doing "routine" things in an entirely different way. The trip did give me some perspective as to how far we've come, as well as where we continue to go.

    When we started BostonPocketPC.com, there was so much of a world still in front of us. More manufacturers, more hardware types, more underlying technologies. We watched as Windows Mobile played "catch up" with Palm, then watched as Palm changed (time and Time again), and then watched as Palm and Microsoft became partners. We watched the introduction of the Smartphone platform, it's slow initial adoption, and it's rise to prominence and a mainstream staple in our lives.

    "Mainstream" - maybe that is the greatest change we have watched unfold over these 5 years. I still remember the constant need to explain a Pocket PC device, and how it was *not* a Palm PDA. Now, it seems as though people tend to look at the hardware branding and are not as surprised when it is Windows Mobile "under the hood". With all this said, where do we go from here?

    I see 2007 as another year of evolution for the Windows Mobile platform. For all of the complaining I hear from people at times about how the Windows Mobile platform "never changes or revolutionizes", I respond with "evolution eventually results in revolution". You have to take things into perspective and realize that change does not have to be massive and instantaneous to be effective. I think we will continue to see device manufacturers try to "think outside the box" in terms of industrial design. Some will be successful, while others will not. That is what happens when you experiment, right? I think we will continue to see improvements in performance (thanks to a new generation of Xscale processors and increases in onboard storage). In the end, all of this will lead to more consumer choice.

    Consumers will also play a role in 2007, as I expect to see a continual increase in platform adoption. This will happen in two areas. As wireless carriers provide more and more choices for Windows Mobile devices, standard consumer purchases will continue to grow. Do not expect huge percentage increases, however, as price and complexity still keeps Smartphone adoption confined to a more "tech-savvy" demographic. The second area of adoption which may be more significant is in the enterprise. More and more Exchange Server-based organizations are discovering that the total cost of ownership for mobile messaging can be reduced by deploying Windows Mobile devices. Interestingly enough, the enterprise adoption curve may in the long term fuel overall adoption. Anyone remember why they started using Microsoft Office at home? For many, it was because it was their workplace standard.

    In the more generalized world of mobility, 2007 will be yet another year of new products, platforms and technologies. The public launch of Microsoft Windows Vista is only days away, and Vista provides functionality oriented towards the mobile user. We will continue to see new products oriented towards mobility and travel - the Sling Media Slingbox's success in 2006 was (I believe) just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The use of the Internet as a content-distribution medium exploded this year, with major US and worldwide media organizations bringing programming to the Internet. Expect more of this in 2007, although the continual thorns-in-the-side that are DRM and IP debates will likely still affect the general public.

    What about us at BostonPocketPC.com in 2007? Well, there will definitely be plenty to keep us busy in the coming year :) One of the things that has changed for us over time is that we have evolved much in the same way that the technology we cover has. Expect us to still be "up to our neck" in coverage of Windows Mobile-related topics. Also continue to expect us to cover the issues and technology around mobility that affect us all. I also hope that this year I can provide more coverage and exposure to those companies in the New England area that are using and/or producing solutions in the mobile arena. We have always tried to be close to our home community here at BostonPocketPC.com, and I am putting the call out to our local community - contact me if you have a story to tell the world.

    I am still amazed at the diversity of readers to our site. We still receive visits from all around the globe, and I have received e-mails from citizens of countless countries over the years. I hope that 2007 keeps that history in place. Of course, none of this would be possible without the people that make up the BostonPocketPC.com team. It goes without saying that the dynamo that is Steve "fyiguy" Hughes has been the lifeblood here over the years. His knowledge, passion and willingness to share make him an invaluable asset to any community. There have also been so many others over the years who have helped make this a wonderful site. Here's to their continued involvement in 2007, as well as (hopefully) the addition of some new faces in the coming year.

    I am looking forward to the coming year. I find myself with a renewed excitement and commitment to the Windows Mobile and mobility communities. I hope that you feel the same way, and that we will see much more of each other in the months to come. 

    01/01/2007 12:49:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

    I've Been "Blog Tagged"#
    Post By Don Sorcinelli

    OK - in one of the latest rounds of "Blog Tag" (the tech equivalent of a chain letter, to be honest), my friend Jack Cook of Experience Mobility decided to tag me. The rules are simple -

    • Tell 5 tidbits about me that are less than common knowledge;
    • Pick 5 more people to tag.

    We'll start with the 5 facts. Those of you who know me well might yell "I already knew that". That's why you know me well ;-)

    1. I was a high school debator. Yes, yes. Start the wisecracks coming. Just remember - it was that experience that made me comfortable speaking on technical topics to large audiences later in life. It was also a wonderful experience in terms of travel. I had the opportunity to visit many cities around the US as a result of speech and debate tournaments. By the way - I wasn't half bad. a few boxes of trophies, highest honors in the National Forensic League (hey - I'm an NFL alumni :-) ).
    2. Computers were the furthest thing from my mind as far as formal education. I considered Pre-Law and Public Relations. Computers were a "hobby". Ironcially, my hobby kept on coming up as a job skill in my professional life, leading me to finally enter the field full time in 1989.
    3. I was a "Metalhead" (and still am). My musical tastes include AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and other "Gods of Metal". Sadly, it gets tougher and tougher to watch an aging Angus Young parade in a schoolboy costume.
    4. My "other careers" over the years include:
      1. Fast food worker;
      2. Movie theatre manager;
      3. Alarm system installer;
      4. Customer service representative.
    5. I am a monsterous sports addict. I cannot get enough of sports. As a kid, I tried all I could. As an adult, I will watch just about anything labeled "sport". I am also a statisical nut; it goes back to when I was a kid. Some kids collected baseball cards for play. I memorized the statistics. I still believe my "dream job" would be a software developer for Stats, Inc.

    The facts are the easy part. Picking 5 more people are the tough one. Let's see -

    1. Steve Hughes. This one is obvious. Of course his 5 facts will dwarf mine, I'm sure.
    2. Eric Hicks. Some of you may recognize him as "ThatKid" from various Windows Mobile newsgroups and occasional posts here at BostonPocketPC.com. One of my New Years Resolutions is to get him to lend his unique insights even more here. Maybe this will get things going.
    3. Janek Parekh. Many people know Janak from Pocket PC Thoughts. If he plays along, I think you'll find some very interesting things out about him. And Janak - being a Yankees fan doesn't count. The entire world already knows that ;-)
    4. Thom Robbins. One of my favorite Microsoft bloggers is also one of my favorite people. I hope he plays along - it will be a great read.
    5. Duane Laflotte or Patrick Hynds. I list these two together because, well - they are a team in every sense of the word. Those who have had the opportunity to hear these two present on topics like security realize how fortunate they are. Those who have had the opportunity to present with them realize even moreso their fortune. Again - I hope they play along here, as I just know this would be one for the archives. 
    12/31/2006 14:14:43 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

     

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