Vista Upgrade Clean Install Work Around.#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

The folks at DailyTech have confirmed a work around for installing a "Clean Install" with a Windows Vista upgrade DVD based on information from Paul Thurrott. This is great for the consumer that wants to do a clean install from time to time with their legitimate copy of Vista, but will this hurt Microsoft's bottom line and sales of Vista?

Here are the steps:

1. Boot from the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD and start the setup program.

2. When prompted to enter your product key, DO NOT enter it. Click “Next” and proceed with setup. This will install Windows Vista as a 30-day trial.

3. When prompted, select the edition of Vista which you have purchased and continue with setup.

4. Once setup has been completed and you have been brought to the desktop for the first time, run the install program from within Windows Vista.

5. This time, type in your product key when prompted.

6. When asked whether to perform an Upgrade or Custom (advanced) install, choose Custom (advanced) to perform a clean install of Vista. Yes, this means that you will have to install Vista for a second time.

7. Once setup has completed for the second time, you should be able to activate Windows Vista normally. You can also delete the Windows.old directory which contains information from the first Vista install.”

01/31/2007 16:17:41 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Join the Club Astraware Points Party!#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

We all know Microsoft has a points system as a way of purchasing songs for Zunes and games on Xbox Live, but they aren't the only ones issuing points. Club Astraware bursts has started using their version of Points through a Point-popping Party! Everyone can join in and get points for all kinds of things, from purchases,  high scores filling out surveys and much more! And what do these points get you? Free games and discounts from the Astraware store, now that is pretty cool.The Points Party runs until the very last day of February 2007, and they've added lots of new ways to earn points!

To claim your points, all you'll need is the email address that you registered the software with. Simply ask us to add this email addresses to your Club Astraware account. Once they are added, check your products list in Club Astraware, and if all your purchases are listed, claim your points!  Remember, this is a one-time special event which offers long-term Astraware customers a chance to get all the points they would have earned in previous years.

Club Astraware is free to join and only takes a couple of minutes. There are also extra ways to earn points on your account including:

-2500 points just for joining

-Points earned from purchasing games from the Astraware website (1 point for every cent spent)

-1000 points for submitting you highest game scores

-2500 points for recommending a friend join Club Astraware

AND we've now added two NEW ways of earning extra points:

-Submit a post you've written on your personal blog about Astraware and you could get 2000 extra points - everyone likes being talked about!

-Complete our Points Party survey and we'll give you 1500 points. Your opinions matter to us!

Our Points Party survey is available on the Astraware website from 26th January to 28th February 2007 and EVERYONE who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win a special edition Palm Z22 PDA with Astraware Sudoku pack - Club Astraware members also get the special bonus of the extra points in their account. Visit
http://www.astraware.com/promo/pointsparty for more information

01/31/2007 16:12:04 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Microsoft Origami Experience Pack Now Available#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

I have mentioned the upgrade for UMPC/Origami devices dubbed now as the Origami Experience a few times. If you own a small screen device running Windows Vista you can install it. We are talking older UMPC devices and small Tablet PC based computers like the Motion LS800 and Fujitsu P1610.The team blog of Origami Project released this news yesterday.

The Origami Experience Pack is a combination of three programs that make your Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) running Windows Vista even easier to use. Upgrade your UMPC to Windows Vista, and then install Origami Experience Pack. You can download it from here.

Origami Experience Pack contains these three programs for an Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC) running Windows Vista:

Origami Experience
Access your music, videos, pictures, and favorite programs.

Sudoku
Play this popular game using a touch screen.

Touch Settings
Easily view and interact with the touch screen on a UMPC.

And, don’t forget to download Microsoft Reader, so you can read e-books on your UMPC. It’s available separately for download. See Related Resources on the right side of this page to download Microsoft Reader.

Note from Origamiproject.com:

DialKeys is not included in the download version. DialKeys is only available pre-installed on new UMPCs so if you wipe your UMPC or upgrade to Windows Vista, DialKeys will be unavailable.

There is also mention of a new project as well, hmm I wonder what that is...

On a completely seperate note, I wanted to formally announce that my entire team and I (with the exception of Jeremy) have been asked to move off of UMPC and go to work on a new secret project. The new Product Unit Manager (PUM) for UMPC at Microsoft will be Oscar Koenders.

See more about the Origami Experience on Vista with UMPCs here.

01/31/2007 13:54:54 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Have you seen D.A.V.E. ?#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Robert Scoble has a pretty cool video of a new wireless hard drive called the Digital Audio Video Experience aka D.A.V.E. from Seagate that looks like it will come in both 10GB and 20GB sizes that communicate and recharge via USB and the wireless capability comes via Bluetooth 2.0 andWiFi in the flavors of b and g. Battery life lasts up to 10 hours of continuous use and it measures in at 3.5 x 4.7 x .47 inches and 2.5 oz.

Definitely worth checking out. A software API on the device is available so software developers can write programs that use DAVE, which was "already used ... to build an interface for Symbian and Windows Mobile cell phones". We should see them on sale in May for around $150-$200.

Here is the official press release. I can see myself pocketing one of these and subscribing to URGE or another subscription sevice for my Windows Mobile device as well as synching the drive to my media center to watch 320x240 video streamed to my device at 768 kbps via its built-in media streaming.

01/31/2007 13:46:21 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Windows Vista Updates#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

If you already have an RTM version of Windows Vista or just purchased one you may have noticed that several updates were recently made available.

More will come soon in the form of OS and driver updates.

If you have Windows Vista Ultimate you may have noticed some other updates in the form or Windows Ultimate Extras. One being an update to BitLocker and another that was previously part of the Windows Vista Ultimate Extra Beta called Hold 'Em, based on the popular Texas Hold 'Em game.

Texas Hold 'Em doesn't have any Live capability yet. I hope it will like many of the games like UNO that was demonstrated at the CES 2007 Keynote and Worldwide General Availability of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office System launch that work on the Xbox 360 as well. I also noticed that it wasn't updated in Windows Media Center under Games. Hopefully these changes will happen overtime.

 

Also available as optional updates were 15 localized languages.

Most of the updates for my system required a full system reboot to fully update.

So updates are rolling out. I also received several emails today from several hardware manufacturers that updates for their computers will be coming soon. Most said as early as next week. Some also stated that Windows Express upgrade disks should be arriving as early as today. I also received confirmation that several software titles will be coming out this week for Vista as well.

01/30/2007 16:31:01 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Vista Now Available - 3 Most Common Questions#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

As of Midnight tonight you could purchase retail and upgrade versions of Windows Vista not only in retail stores,but also online for download. I have been asked many questions about Windows Vista by many people some at CES, some at the Boston Launch, and some via email. Here are the top three:

Which version should I get?

Well that all depends on your needs, are you an “average” home user, power user, do some occasional work from home and need to be on a domain. There are 5 versions to choose from. For most people Windows Vista Home Premium will be more than enough for all their computing needs. If you are a power user or a user of more than one computer that is capable of being upgraded you may want to go with Windows Vista Ultimate. If you are a multiple computer user you can upgrade the rest of your PCs (well up to two) to Vista Home Premium for $49 each via the Windows Vista Family Discount (Note this is only available to customers in the United States and Canada who have purchased the full or upgrade Windows Vista Ultimate retail boxed product.) Not bad at all. To compare the versions side by side head here. A nice thing to know is that if you are not sure what version to get you can always upgrade Anytime, Anywhere with the Windows Anytime Upgrade which is a new option that allows customers to conveniently upgrade their existing edition of Windows Vista to a higher-grade edition by way of an online transaction. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices to upgrade to more premium editions of Windows Vista are as follows: Home Basic to Home Premium $79, Home Basic to Ultimate $199, Home Premium to Ultimate $159 and Business to Ultimate $139.

Why should I upgrade?

Another question I was asked. Well why do upgrade any software package? There are improvements. Most notably the answer is not just the UI. Granted 3D flip, Aero interface, new icons, etc are really cool. For me the built-in search from the Windows start is one of the best features, tagging of pictures and videos for easier organization and search, new UI in Media Center, the Security improvements in the OS as well as the Windows Mobility Center. For each person the reason will be different. For a list of all the features head here. Do you need to upgrade? Well that is a personal question. If you want the latest and greatest than yes. If you get by just reading email and surfing the interweb then you should be OK.

How do I upgrade?

Before purchasing any version of Windows Vista make sure it will run on your system by running the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. As Don and I said at our last meeting if you are planning on purchasing a new computer that has the free Express Upgrade until March 15, 2007, be sure to note the difference between Windows Vista Capable and Premium Ready PCs. Windows Vista Capable will run Vista, but without all the flash and functionality. Minimum requirements for it are an 800mHz processor, 512 MB of system memory, GPU capable of running Direct X 9 (note Vista runs DirectX 10).Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs are basically a system running Windows XP, 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, DVD drive, Internet connection, at least 40GB Hard Drive, Audio output and 128MB of dedicated RAM on your video card for the full Aero Experience. Note some manufacturers may also opt for different SKUs of Vista as part of the upgrade so be sure to ask which one before purchasing. Most look to be Windows Vista Home Premium.

Upgrading isn't as simple as it was in the past. To find out your proper upgrade path head here. There will be no clean install option available for an upgrade in place if you purchased Windows Vista as an upgrade for Windows XP. So if you are upgrading from Windows XP it has to reside on the hard drive for the upgrade to take place. For upgrading from Windows 2000 or Windows XP64 you will need to do a clean install upgrade. The "clean install" option assumes that you have the OS installed on the hard drive and you are not installing to an empty, reformatted hard drive. If you do upgrade to Windows Vista with a clean install you should use the Windows Easy Transfer to automatically copy all your files and settings to an extra hard drive or other storage device, and then install Windows Vista. After the installation of Vista is complete, the Windows Easy Transfer will reload your files and settings on your upgraded PC. Then all you need to do is reinstall your applications.

Note: Also note before upgrading your OS be sure to unistall your Anti-Virus Software if you have any or it could cause problems.

Hope these are enough to get you started if you have more. Feel free to ask.

01/30/2007 15:23:28 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Cut' N Paste on a Windows Mobile Smartphone#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

If you have a Windows Mobile Smartphone, one of the glaring aspects missing from it is the ability to cut and paste. Well you have to suffer no more there is a cool new third party program out there that allows you to perform these actions and more with just one hand called Scissors Mobile. The Edit Menu works with Outlook Mobile, Contacts, SMS, Tasks, and their own version of Notepad Mobile.

scissors mobile for Windows Mobile Smartphone and Pocket PC

Based upon the revolutionary editing technology from Notepad Mobile, the world's first notes solution for Windows Mobile Smartphone, you get a simple, easy, and robust one handed editing solution. To select text, simply enable Mark mode and highlight a selection. MarkEdit™ has been fine tuned to work the way you expect, it automatically turns off Mark mode when you cut or copy text, and provides a convenient context menu when you press the action button.

Notable Features

  • Edit menu with Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo and Redo
  • One handed operation for Smartphone and Pocket PC
  • Visual indication of Mark mode with BoldMark
  • Select entire words with a single button press with WordMark
  • Fully integrated into Outlook Mobile

To try and buy this great new piece of software head here.

01/30/2007 14:25:14 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Celebrate Windows Vista Launch with an Ultimate Vista Celebration#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

If you are unfortunately bogged down with work in the office and regrettably are not able to attend the launch event in New York City’s Time Square today you can still view the video here.

If that isn't enough for you and are looking to get down and really celebrate, there are some local events worth checking out that have some NFL football superstars doing some signing and picture taking in association with FOX Sports new addition to Media Center. For the Boston area at the Framingham,MA Circuit City the infamous 'Master of Hail Mary' - Doug Floutie will be signing autographs and you have the chance to win some cool stuff. To find out what is in your local area head here.

Also if you haven't noticed Microsoft has updated the Windows Vista page for the Launch!

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/default.mspx

01/29/2007 11:07:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Windows Live Messenger Web Client Beta#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Thanks to some digging by Steve Hughes, there is a new Windows Live "toy" for IE Mobile users to enjoy. Windows Live Mobile Web Client allows you to use Windows Live Messenger for IM without the installation of a client. While this functionality has been around for the desktop for some time, it is exciting to see it come to the mobile world!

According to the Live Ideas Beta page, Windows Live Mobile Web Client offers a lot of features.

To access the service, simply point IE mobile to the following address:

http://mobile.live.com/wlm

That's it! You'll be IM'ing with your browser in no time!

01/24/2007 13:17:11 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

LingvoSoft Releases PhraseBook 2007 for Pocket PC#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

The development group at LingvoSoft has to be one the most prolific groups I know. They have managed to produce an enormous amount and variety of applications related to language translations over the years, and they never seem to rest. The latest result is LingvoSoft PhraseBook 2007 for Pocket PC -

For use by those who need to communicate immediately in a second language but with no previous experience they are available in both talking and non-talking versions to suit every need and budget. And the wide array of languages available mean that everyone will find just what they are looking for.

Featuring advanced speech recognition, crystal clear native speaker voice output and a fully customizable interface they are the most user-friendly applications ever designed to help you get the most out of your foreign travel experience. So do yourself a favor and put one of the hottest applications of the New Year on your device and say goodbye to misunderstandings forever!

You can find out all of the latest information at the LingvoSoft web site.

01/24/2007 10:24:23 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

V2R Announces Multi-Desk for Windows Mobile Pocket PC#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

For those who feel the need to "freshen" their Pocket PC Today screen regularly with new themes, or for those who wish they could have multiple Today screens containing their favorite plug-ins for different situations, V2R (the makers of Photo Dialer for Pocket PC and Smartphone) may have the perfect solution - Multi Desk! Multi Desk allows you to create multiple Today screen configurations that you can then switch between right from your Today screen (using the Multi Desk Today screen plug-in).

Multi Desk's features include:

  • Support for having multiple Today pages
  • A Multi Desk navigation plug-in for your Today screen
  • Ability to add your favoured Plug-ins for different Today screens
  • Selection of specific themes for each Today screen
  • Selection of different background images for each Today screen
  • Easy navigation through all Today screens
  • Fast stylus animation
  • Support for all Microsoft standard and 3rd party designs and plug-ins

More information, screenshots and ordering information for Multi Desk can be found at the V2R Multi Desk product page.

01/22/2007 12:51:47 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Spb Softwarehouse Launches Spb Club#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Imagine yourself as the owner of a shiny new Windows Mobile device. You've heard that there are lots of ways to customize and enhance your phone, but you're not sure how. Thanks to the folks at Spb Softwarehouse, there is a new and great place to start - Spb Club

Signing up is free and easy, and provides access to:

  • 50+ free Pocket PC ringtones and SMS-tone (specially created for Pocket PC)
  • 40+ free Pocket PC themes (all themes support all resolutions + good usability of all themes)
  • 50+ free skins for different Pocket PC programs (Windows Media Player, Dialer, Calculator and Spb programs)
  • 200+ free tips & tricks about using Pocket PC
  • Information about Pocket PC accessories
  • Spb Pocket PC programs and games

So don't delay!

01/18/2007 12:30:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

REMINDER: Next Club Pocket PC - Boston Meeting: Wednesday, Jan. 17th#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Time for your "friendly reminder"...

The next meeting of Club Pocket PC - Boston will be held on Wednesday, January 17th starting at 6:30 PM at the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA (201 Jones Road, 6th Floor).

 


Our next meeting will include:

  • CES 2007 Roundup. Steve Hughes will be attending the 2007 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show ("CES") in Las Vegas. Steve will provide us with some of the highlights from the show.
  • Windows Vista for Mobile Users. A few months back, Steve Hughes and I covered various pieces of information regarding Microsoft Windows Vista in relation to mobile users. Well, the code has shipped and we will be days away from the official launch. What better time to cover things in greater depth? 

We look forward to seeing you there!

01/12/2007 19:35:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Cisco Sues Apple Over iPhone Trademark#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

As c|net (and seemingly 2/3's of the world's population) is reporting, Cisco is suing Apple over use of the iPhone name and trademark (owned by Cisco). I guess I need to add 2 more items to my list of obstacles the iPhone and Apple need to overcome for success -

  1. This legal hurdle. Obvious, yes. But when I heard about this yesterday evening, I nearly fell out of my seat. The reason is that I have been following this whole thing for a while.

    For those that are unaware, there is a little history here. Cisco stole some thunder from Internet rumors a month or so ago by announcing their iPhone, which is a VoIP device. Lots of rumors about an iPhone were flying around, with everyone simply assuming that this was from Apple.

    When the Apple iPhone was announced this week, there were quotes that made it seem as though the issues regarding the trademark had been worked out. I know that the first thing I thought when I heard the announcement was "Oh - guess Apple bought the trademark."  Turn to last night, when it appeared Apple's meaning of working something out was "<expletive deleted> you, Cisco. We, by divine right, own anything beginning with a little 'i'." I am happy to see the surprise was not unique to me, as even Cisco's very own SVP and General Counsel Mark Chandler was taken aback -

    "So, I was surprised and disappointed when Apple decided to go ahead and announce their new product with our trademarked name without reaching an agreement. It was essentially the equivalent of “we’re too busy.” Despite being very close to an agreement, we had no substantive communication from Apple after 8pm Monday, including after their launch, when we made clear we expected closure. What were the issues at the table that kept us from an agreement? Was it money? No. Was it a royalty on every Apple phone? No. Was it an exchange for Cisco products or services? No."

    But wait - it gets better, as Chandler "lays the blog smackdown" on Apple -

    "At MacWorld, Apple discussed the patents pending on their new phone technology. They clearly seem to value intellectual property. If the tables were turned, do you think Apple would allow someone to blatantly infringe on their rights? How would Apple react if someone launched a product called iPod but claimed it was ok to use the name because it used a different video format? Would that be ok? We know the answer – Apple is a very aggressive enforcer of their trademark rights. And that needs to be a two-way street."

    Why do I point this all out? For new issue #2...
  2. Arrogance. Apple does what it does very well. At times, however, Apple can behave like the business equivalent of Terrell Owens, complete with all of the arrogance and air of superiority about them. Apple knows media players. Do they know cellular phones? Do they have experience with the cellular industry as a hardware provder AND OS provider AND content provider. Apple cannot afford to simply dismiss these business challenges as trivial, or assume knowledge because they have had success in other areas.

Wow - all of this and still a minimum of 6 months before this device even sees the light of day ;-)

01/11/2007 10:42:20 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Initial Thoughts on the Apple iPhone#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

The talk of the Internet yesterday was Apple's announcement of the new iPhone. I will leave the buzz to the rest of the Internet at this point (Gizmodo does have the official specs and press announcement in one place, if you're interested).

What amazed me out of all of the news and discussions regarding this new device was the "coronation" of the device as a complete success. It reminds me of a recent event...

For the past month and a half, I have followed the sports media and pundits here in the US as they essentially "crowned" a national champion in college football. Funny thing - the fact that a winner would be determined in an actual game on an actual football field on an actual game never seemed to get in the way of this coronation. By January 8th (the date of the actual game), many made it sound like the game was more of a nuisance and waste of time.

On Monday, January 8th, 2007, the Ohio State University Buckeyes actually played the University of Florida Gators for the national championship. Final score - Florida 41, OSU 14. By the way - OSU was the team that had been handed the championship by the press. The moral of the story - don't predict a winner until the game is played.

The iPhone has the potential to be a runaway hit. Notice the word potential here. I don't consider raw number of gross units sold to be the ultimate determination of success, either (more on why in a minute). To get there, however, the iPhone actually has to "play the game", and with it prove some things to me -

  • From Apple's perspective, the iPhone is very new to them in a number of areas. Moving into new markets, using new technologies, targeting both new and old users. Apple is very good at overcoming all of these obstacles when everything else goes well. There is a lot in play, though, which leads to...
  • The iPhone has a lot of "moving parts". New touch-screen technologies, accelerometer, cellular radio stacks, etc. Bringing this all together and making it work in mass-produced, heavily-used, real-world situations without failure is going to be a huge challenge. For those who think this is a "no-brainer" for Apple, simply look to all of the issues with the MacBook/MacBook Pro as proof of "nothing is full-proof".
    While sales of the Apple hardware have been good, customer dissatisfaction with issues and lack of response are way up. I do not ever recall a time when I have heard so many friends who are Apple loyalists frustrated and upset. If this starts to happen in the cellular space where the carriers are the front-line tech support, trust me - the carriers are going to get nasty pretty fast (anyone remember the T-Mobile/HP row with the 6300 series).
  • Apple gets to play in the cellular space. Long-time Windows Mobile developers, enthusiasts and partners all know how challenging the cellular marketplace can be, especially here in the US. While being both the OS and device manufacturer (unlike Microsoft's model) can have some advantages for Apple, it can also prove to be a challenge for cellular providers who are keen on being in control. Success in the cellular space is not a given, nor is it instant. Apple needs to be prepared to not be the one running the show here. This is something that they have not had a good track record with recently, with iTunes and the various industries (music, TV, movie).
  • The iPhone and price points for a phone. While this is not a major issue, Apple (and the public and press, for that matter) cannot compare sales of the iPhone to the iPod as a measure of success or failure. As far as phones are concerned, comparing these two is like comparing apples to oranges (I just *couldn't resist ;-) ). Nokia, SonyEricsson, Motorola and Microsoft have proven time and time again that making a phone "feature-rich" is not enough to justify high price-points. The true success of such devices has been the combination of manufacturers and cellular carriers subsidizing the cost of the device enough to make it reasonable. This means Apple working closely with the carriers (see point above). I do not see every iPod owner buying an iPhone, if for no other reason than the ability to actually pay for it at the current starting MSRP of $499. This is what hurt the SE P800 and early Pocket PC Phone Edition devices.

None of this means that Apple cannot be successful with the iPhone, folks. If one company has a track record for brand loyalty and making things happen, it's Apple. However, walking around telling the world that this is already a smash success without a unit hitting the streets is a bit premature. Just think about all of those sports journalists waking up on Tuesday, January 12, 2007 and thinking "How do I explain this?" ;-) 

01/10/2007 10:27:03 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Steve "fyiguy" Hughes Launches Techronical#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

If there is one person I would place in a room of tech-saavy people and say "He's your man for information", it's Steve "fyiguy" Hughes. His passion for technology in general is only superceded by his knowledge and ability (as well as desire) to learn more. I have had the distinct honor of working with Steve for a few years now at BostonPocketPC.com, and it has been this experience (as well as the personal friendship we have had) that has been a large part of my continued interest and passion for writing about technology (he is infectious, you know... in a good way ;-) ).

Steve has decided to branch out with the launch of a new web site - Techronical. His goals for the web site are quite simple, as can be seen in his "About" page -

"Techronical is chronological log about one’s journey with technology with some hands on tips and tricks on the hardware and software used everyday. This site will also contain reviews, tweaks, and how technology can be used everyday."

Steve plans to continue his presence here at BostonPocketPC.com, so don't you worry now. We'll continue to see his unique brand of news and insight on the world of mobile technology. I would wish him the best of luck with Techronical, but I do not think that luck is needed. Steve' knowledge and ability make luck a non-factor :-)

01/07/2007 10:38:57 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

The Calm Before The Storm - CES 2007#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

It is always interesting to see how quiet things can become in the world of vendors, PR, marketing and the likes just before a major event. Such seems to be the case with the 2007 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show. CES 2007 begins next Monday, January 8th.

Expect lots of news surrounding the world of mobility to start this weekend, with lots more to follow. In addition, our own Steve "fyiguy" Hughes will be at CES, so watch for the "latest and greatest" news and information next week.

01/05/2007 10:41:29 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Windows Live for Vista Media Center Enters Beta#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Now this looks like one cool application for Vista media Center. Previously known by code name "Nemo" and now code named "Orbit", LiveSide has reported that Windows Live for Vista Media Center has gone to Public Beta.

 
Photo courtesy LiveSide.com

According to LiveSide, features include:

• Browse millions of Spaces in rich 3D graphics with new Gallery views and full keyword search
• Find out what your friends have been doing and saying on Windows Live Spaces
• Have real-time text and voice conversations*
• Call your friends' mobile or landline telephones by signing up with Verizon Web Calling to make affordable domestic and international calls**
• Easily navigate with your mouse, keyboard or a TV remote (remote navigation requires Microsoft Media Center Remote and IR)
• Make free PC-to-PC calls to other Windows Live Messenger users.

You can sign up for the Windows Live for Vista at the Windows Live Ideas web site.

01/03/2007 21:17:40 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Audible.com and AudibleAir: Direct Downloadable Audio Content#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

It has been a while since I posted about Audible.com's AudibleAir application being ported from the Palm OS to the Windows Mobile platform. At that time, the port was to the Smartphone version of the OS. Since then, Audible has released the AudibleAir component for the Pocket PC as well.

If you are not aware, AudibleAir allows you to access and download your Audible.com content (audio books, subscriptions and podcasts) directly to your Windows Mobile device. Previously, users had to connect their device to their PC and use the combination of Audible Manager and ActiveSync to copy content (note - this option still exists for those that prefer or must use it).

 
AudibleAir Subscriptions View

 
Subscription Details

For downloading purchased audio book content, the ability to only download a segment of the book (like on the desktop with Audible Manager) can be useful from storage, bandwidth and time perspectives.

 
AudibleAir Online Library View

 
Selecting a portion of a book.

As a very long-time Audible subscriber, AudibleAir is perhaps the most significant enhancement for Windows Mobile users to come along since the initial release of the AudiblePlayer for Windows Mobile devices. As always, there is still room for improvement in the Audible.com platform, especially from a Windows Mobile perspective. My "wish list" includes -

  • Ability to purchase content easily from my device. A mobile-friendly web front-end is really all that is needed here.
  • Either:
    • Windows Media Player Mobile direct support (i.e. - Janus DRM support), or
    • Continued improvement to the AudiblePlayer application.

If you have yet to check out Audible.com, now might be the right time.

01/03/2007 11:43:17 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Avis To Offer In-Car Hot Spot?#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

According to IHT.com, Avis Rent-A-Car is planning to offer an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot solution sometime in March -

...Autonet Mobile, a start-up wireless technology company based in San Francisco, is expected to announce soon that it has reached an agreement with Avis Rent A Car System to provide an optional wireless access point — better known as a Wi-Fi hot spot — to Avis customers by March. For $10.95 a day, Avis will issue motorists a notebook-size portable device that plugs into a car's power supply and delivers a high-speed Internet connection to passengers.

For now, the service is intended for business travelers. But Autonet sees its service appealing to families traveling with their children, although its unit is expected to cost $399, about twice as much as current cellular card technology, plus $49 a month for service.

This does potentially make for a desirable (albeit more pricey) solution for less tech-savvy users. Using USB dongling to a cell phone with data access and then using Internet Sharing is not for the faint-of-heart (or knowledge).  

01/03/2007 11:01:31 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

A Workout On Your Phone - PumpOne Mobile#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Here's an interesting idea for the traveller who wants to stay in shape, but needs the guidance that a personal trainer provides -

PumpOne, the company that first developed visual personal training programs for the iPod, nano and other image-ready handheld devices, is about to revolutionize the way people use their cell phones. The new service, which is available starting today, is called PumpOne Mobile, and offers the first complete visual personal training workout programs for cell phones making it possible to instantly receive expert fitness advice, wherever you are and whenever you want it.


By combining PumpOne's expert workout programs designed by Exercise Physiologist Declan Condron, with the very best digital photography, interface design and cellular technology, PumpOne Mobile provides over 80 complete workouts, not just exercises, that guide users toward their Weight Loss, Strength & Flexibility fitness goals. "The iPod is a great vehicle for anyone to access PumpOne Trainers," says Craig Schlossberg, President of PumpOne, "and now by using PumpOne Mobile's easy cell phone delivery technology, consumers have even more options to instantly access expert fitness advice in the most portable and affordable way."


PumpOne Mobile works: Users can access the PumpOne Mobile site 3 different ways:
1- Go to PumpOne.mobi on a web browser-enabled cell phone, or
2- Text PUMP to 94444, or
3- Enter a mobile number at
www.PumpOne.com & get PumpOne.mobi `pushed' to their phone
Once at PumpOne.mobi, the user can choose from Gym workouts that use gym equipment, or Traveling workouts that use their own bodyweight, hotel furniture, water bottles & luggage for those who are traveling or can't make it to the gym.
All workouts are categorized into the fitness goals: Weight Loss, Strength or Flexibility, to help refine the perfect workout search.


PumpOne Mobile is designed for everyone, from beginners to fitness enthusiasts, teens to seniors, with various fitness goals & levels that eliminate all excuses for not working out. PumpOne Mobile offers over 80 workouts including total body conditioning, complete abs & core sculpting, cardio cross-training, swiss ball core, hatha yoga, pilates mat, full body stretching, and hotel room fitness. Text your Workout-Anytime/Anywhere.
Press and users can access a free complete workout at the PumpOne.mobi home page!
Three flexible pricing options give users convenient direct-to-cell phone billing:

  • $2.99 - One workout accessible for 24 hours
  • $4.99 - All workouts accessible for 7 days
  • $14.99 - All workouts accessible for 30 days
01/03/2007 09:30:52 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Netwasp Acquires KamWare's ThemeMaker#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

I used to be an absolute Pocket PC theme addict - making them, downloading them, and constantly switching between them. So imagine my surprise to hear that Netwasp, owner of PocketPCThemes.com and "FlashThemes" had acquired KamWare's "ThemeMaker" -

Netwasp is very pleased to announce the acquisition of the software business “ThemeMaker” from KamWare, including all ThemeMaker versions (ThemeMaker X, M, SE and SP), branded versions of ThemeMaker (such as “ThemeMaker McDeb”, “The PocketPCThemes Toolkit” and others yet to be released) and the web sites ThemeMaker.biz and WMThemes.com.

“ThemeMaker is widely recognized as the best Windows Mobile theme creation tool available today”, says Jim Hunt (Netwasp CEO), “so we see this as a fantastic opportunity to extend and enrich our position as the largest PocketPC themes publisher in the world!” Hunt goes on to say “it is our intention to continue the high quality of innovation and design shown by ThemeMaker and we already have plans to extend the current application suite adding more value to our customers. Plans include support for animated themes, becoming Windows Mobile 6.0 ready and, of course, continuation of the high level of customer satisfaction both KamWare and Netwasp have provided to-date”.

About Netwasp

http://www.netwasp.com

Netwasp is a UK based software development company formed in 1998. Netwasp, a Microsoft Certified Partner, began developing software for Windows Mobile devices in 2002 when it first produced the enormously popular animated theme application “FlashThemes”. In 2003 Netwasp launched the first animated theme editor application “The FlashThemes Generator and went on to produce several other PocketPC based applications including “FlashThemesPro” & “FlashThemesPlus”.

Netwasp further strengthened its position in the Windows Mobile theme domain in 2004 by acquiring the number one PocketPC theme community web site www.pocketpcthemes.com. Today this site has a user base of over 180k users; has over 250k free PocketPC themes supporting all flavors of PocketPC screens and device types; and has a page impression rate of approximately 4 million every month.

In 2004 Netwasp went on to develop “PhoneThemes” the first animated theme player both for Windows Mobile and Nokia Series 60 SmartPhones. This technology was showcased at the launch of Windows Mobile 5.0, forming part of Bill Gates keynote speech in Las Vegas, at MEDC 2005. Netwasp has continued its strong support of the Windows Mobile platform and has worked directly for Microsoft on several related projects.

Congratulations to Netwasp!

01/02/2007 21:23:34 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

I Am SPIDER-MAN! Yeah - It's a Slow News Day#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

I just happened to read about the "Which Superhero Am I?" Quiz. I couldn't resist. The results -

"You are Spider-Man!
You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility."

Wow! Really? I AM?!?! I feel so much better now.

Even more interesting was the analysis of the "poll results" -

Spider-Man - 70%
The Flash - 65%
Iron Man - 65%
Robin - 55%
Green Lantern - 55%
Hulk - 45%
Batman - 35%
Supergirl - 35%
Superman - 30%
Wonder Woman - 25%
Catwoman - 20%

Man - more Supergirl than Superman. Does that say something? Should I be losing sleep? Actually, this looks like a preview of the 2008 Iowa Caucus to me. ;-)

As you can probably tell, New Years Day is not known for being a busy news day. Feel free to find out which superhero you are while wating for breaking Windows Mobile and mobility news.

01/01/2007 15:07:49 (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

 

Happy New Years (and a Little "Gift")#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

First off - a Happy New Year to all of our readers around the world! Here in the Boston area, the new year greats us with - rain :( As a precursor to some additional post I will be making later today, I thought I would pass along information on the first feature we are able to implement as a result of our move to ASP.NET 2.0.

Using your mobile device, simply point your browser to http://www.bostonpocketpc.com. Mobile-friendly, here we come!

The news doesn't stop there, though. Thanks to ASP.NET 2.0's support for over 60 mobile browsers, you can view our site on just about any mobile device browser with Internet access.

None of this would be possible without the constant work of the folks involved in the DasBlog project. DasBlog is a blog/site authoring platform built for ASP.NET. We are actually using a derivative of DasBlog in ThinkJot, which runs under ASP.NET 2.0 and runs with medium trust. Taking the queue from Scott Hanselman's blog post on making DasBlog mobile-aware, I was able to incorporate the changes (NOTE: If you are a .NET developer and not reading Scott's blog or listening to his Hanselminutes podcast, then shame on you ;-) ).

I hope you enjoy this latest web site feature!

01/01/2007 10:57:07 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Getting the Most Out Of Your Day With Your PDA#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

As we start a new year, one of the age-old resolutions for many people is to get better organized. With that in mind, the folks at Modern Nomads have put together a nice article providing tips for your PDA. "Get more out of your day with your PDA" may be just the thing to accomplish your organization resolution -

Time is a scarce resource so we have to spend it wisely. Most of us do have to put up a daily fight to try to spend their time in accordance with their priorities. Most of us rather reduce the time spent on traveling or working and increase the time spent with friends and family. Some even have the feeling they are constantly rushed and stressed in their work. It isn't a surprise that given a choice, most people would like to spend some extra time with their loved ones or take it just a bit easier at their job. In this article we present timesavers and ways of working that might help work more effectively, allowing you to get more out of your time.

Here's to having more free time in 2007 for friends, family and ourselves!

01/01/2007 10:03:08 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

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