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Previous Page Page 2 of 3 in the Gadgets category(RSS) Next Page

MTeoRite

Posted in Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Wednesday, 20 September 2006 02:48 Pacific Daylight Time

A few weeks ago I lost my SP5 SmartPhone and so I was on the market for a new SmartPhone. I had seen the HTC MTeoR but wasn't convinced it was the right phone for me. Especially after reading some of the reviews which said the phone wasn't suitable for North America. I emailed my Expansys sales rep asking about this issue and he told me that he was using the phone on TMO and everything worked great. So I took the plunge and bought the phone.

I've had it for about a week and so far I really like it. I pretty much agree with this review here which says it is the best SmartPhone yet. Yesterday I discovered a new feature: the metal case. As I got out of my car I forgot the phone was in my lap and it went flying out of the car and onto the pavement. Because of the metal case, the phone lived up to its name:

A meteorite is an extraterrestrial body that survives its impact with the Earth's surface without being destroyed.

It hit the cemet very hard but didn't even get a scratch. So I can't say if it works everywhere in North Amercia, but here in SoCal it works great (and it's very durable). :)

New Notebook Mouse

Posted in Gadgets at Friday, 01 September 2006 02:30 Pacific Daylight Time

Just got my new mouse from Amazon. I had a gift certificate that I had been sitting on for quite some time, so the $75 notebook mouse seemed like a good buy.

Logitech VX Revolution Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks
Other products by Logitech

Logitech VX Revolution Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks

I'm running the Pre-RC1 Vista build, so I was excited to see the following in the specs when I was ordering it:

System Requirements

PC

  • Windows® XP
  • Windows Vista™ (requires Internet connection)
  • Available USB port
  • CD-ROM drive

So after installing the mouse this morning I headed over to logitech.com to get the drivers so that the extra buttons would work. However, when I got to the download I see:

This release supports Windows XP and Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4.  Windows Vista is not currently supported by SetPoint. [Emphasis Mine]

Hmmm. Oh well. I guess they are planning on supporting Vista at some point, but still I think that is pretty misleading. Other than that the mouse seems pretty nice. It replaces my squeaky mouse which also recently developed a sticky wheel. I'd post a review but I have a feeling I'm not really using the mouse as it was meant to be used since I don't have a driver.

WM5 Beta Exam Promo Code

Posted in Gadgets | Certifications | Windows Mobile at Monday, 21 August 2006 02:46 Pacific Daylight Time

Via Jason Langridge:

We've just released preliminary details of the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 - Application Development certified professional exam.

This exam is currently in development. It is expected to be released in its beta version in August 2006. 

To get a headstart on studying for this you can review the pre-release information at:

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-540.mspx

You can head over to the Vue website and register for this exam right now. The beta exam is exam number 71-540. You can schedule to take it anytime after September 5th, 2006.

The promo code for this exam is BTA540 which will allow you to take it for free!

Good luck!

Update: More information on the exam and the promo code here.

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My Next Mobile Phone

Posted in General | Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Thursday, 27 July 2006 06:13 Pacific Daylight Time

My first Windows Mobile device was the i-Mate sp3i. After using this phone for a month I knew I could never go back to having a "dumb" phone. Next I upgraded from the sp3i to the sp5. While the phones look very similar, the sp5 was a big upgrade, especially when the feature pack upgrade came out and it supported push email.

Then a couple of months back, while using my sp5 as my Internet connection, the phone died. At the time I was working on a Windows Mobile project and really needed to have a phone so I walked down the street to the mall and purchased a Treo 700w from the Palm store. After having the 700w for about two weeks I figured out that the reason my sp5 died was because the battery died. So I put my sp3i battery in my sp5 and that phone was back in business. So now I had two phones with two carriers and I needed to get rid of one.

The things that are important to me on a windows mobile phone are (1) portability, (2) internet access, (3) a2dp, (4) phone service, and (5) upgradability. The sp5 is definately more portable, not just in size, but also in weight. The 700w is very large when you stick it in your pocket. The 700w did have better internet access, but I was surprised at how little of a difference this actually made for me. I thought the EV-DO network speeds were going to make it impossible for me to ever go back to EDGE. However, there really wasn't that much of a difference. I also thought that Verizon's "most reliable network" would clearly outshine my T-mobile service, but that was not the case. In fact I actually prefer T-mobile because I got better coverage, better quality, and their voicemail doesn't require a pin and doesn't needlessly repeat things (verizon: you have x unhead messages, first unhead message, the following message has not been heard (okay I get the point already)). The 700w does not support A2DP so I couldn't listen to .Net rocks or my music using my HT820 headsets (technically the sp5 doesn't support A2DP either, but you can make it work).

Finally, one of the most important aspects of a mobile phone for me is upgradability. By this I don't mean I can add stuff to my phone. I mean that I can upgrade my phone whenever I want and I don't have to wait 2 years to qualify. So T-mobile wins again since I can have multiple phones if I want and switch between them. But really this post is about my next phone.

Orginally I was thinking that I was going to get the HTC MTeoR. The MTeoR is the logical upgrade path for me (sp3i (32/64), sp5 (64/64), MTeoR (128/64)). However, there are a couple of potential deal breakers for me. (1) The microSD card slot. The sp5 (and sp3i) took a MiniSD so that is what I already have. If I move to the MTeoR then I have to buy a new card. (2) The connection is not mini-USB. Well it might be. I'm not 100% certain that it is, but right now all of my devices charge via a miniUSB cable (that was another reason the Treo didn't fit in). (3) The name. Do I really want to have to type MTeoR all the time? :)

The device that might steal me away from the MTeoR is the ASUS P525. It meets all my requirements plus it has a stylus which might come in very handy. However, I would like to see how well it works using one hand since the SmartPhone software is made for this while the Pocket PC software is geared more to having a keypad.

I'm not planning on upgrading for a couple of months (since that is when we get our next gadget fund at Avanade) so I still have some time to look into what device I really want. It will be interesting to see where I stand a couple of months from now. :)

Old Network Drivers

Posted in General | Gadgets at Monday, 01 May 2006 13:29 Pacific Daylight Time

Last christmas I took an old Micron laptop (the one I won in this DHTML contest) and converted it to a digital picture frame.




I then wrote a screensaver that pulls an RSS feed from our families website of the latest pictures that have been posted to the server. I use FolderShare to pull the photos from everyone's computer onto the server. The screensaver then cycles through the photos so that my wife can enjoy them.

Everything was working great until I turned on WPA security on the FAN (Family Area Network). I was able to get all the computers online with the new settings except the picture frame with uses a D-Link DWL-650 pc card to connect to the internet. First I went to see if there were some new drivers on the D-Link website but D-Link doesn't even provide downloads of the old drivers any more. I thought I was out of luck.

However, after a little bit of googling I came across this page which explains how to use the Eusso drivers with the DWL-650+ card. I don't have the plus card, but I gave it a shot and it worked! So now everything is back up and running.

The question that I have is why couldn't D-Link provide these drivers for me? I guess they feel they aren't making money supporting the old cards, but I know that it will make me think twice about buying another D-Link card in the future.

I-mate SP5 A2DP

Posted in Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Monday, 24 April 2006 05:19 Pacific Daylight Time

Lately I've enjoyed listening to DotNetRocks and HanselMinutes during my commutes to/from the client. I was using the cheap headphones that come with the SP5 which work pretty well in that taking a call while listening to a show is pretty seamless. However, being a gadget guy I thought I would like to upgrade to some better headphones.

Round One - My wife bought me a the HS850 handsfree device from Best Buy. I set it up and start my drive to work. I put the headset on and hit play on the phone. Strangely the audio comes out of the phone's speaker instead of the headset. With a little google research I figure out that I will need stereo headphones to play windows media to the hands-free headphones. The HS850 goes back and I order the HT820 stereo headphones.

Round Two - The new headphones come in and while the hands free part of the headphones work just fine with my SP5, the stereo part does not. A little more google research and I figure out that the phone would need to support A2DP which is part of the AKU2 update. I already have applied that update from i-mate so I put in some support requests and post questions to their support forums: no response. I give i-mate a 1 of 10 for their support on this. As far as I can tell, the A2DP support was pulled from the SP5 AKU2 update, maybe in the next update.

Round Three - Ok fine, my perfect scenario won't work, maybe I can salvage the situation a little by using the headphones with my Toshiba M2 laptop since it has bluetooth. Well I'll skip all the work it took to get a Toshiba bluetooth stack with A2DP, but eventually I found the download (hint: it is the one for the m5 (v4)). Everything seems to be great until I try to connect to the headphones and get the screenshot above. WTF is SCMS-T?!?! Thankfully I was able to google up a solution from here to here to finally here which contains a link to this file. Run the file and it turns off the SCMS-T requirement. Sweeet! Now I'm listening to music and when a call comes in on my phone I can answer it while the music pauses. Fast forward, skip tracks, etc. It all works great, as long as I run that program everytime I reboot my laptop. :(

 

Why is this so difficult? At this point I'm ready to buy an MP3 player to use as my music source and just deal with having multiple devices. But I can't seem to find a player that supports A2DP over bluetooth. Imate: update your software! Toshiba: WTF is SCMS-T? Motorola: I love the headsets!

Update: [via SmartPhoneThoughts]:

"The guys over at xda-developers.com did it again and found a way to enable A2DP on Windows Mobile AKU 2 updated devices, even if your operator left out the A2DP and AVRC Bluetooth stereo profile out!"

Amazing! Downloading now....

Update2: It works! I can now use my HT820 headphones with my sp5. The interface has a few bugs (like windows media doesn't automatically restart when I'm done with a call), but hey it works. If you're looking to get this working go here and/or here. I had to turn off bluetooth, then power down and back up to get it working on my phone.

Squeaky Mice

Posted in Gadgets at Monday, 24 April 2006 03:51 Pacific Daylight Time

A few months ago I purchased a Microsoft Notebook Laser Mouse 6000. A few days ago it started squeaking whenever you click the left mouse button. After a quick google search I see I'm not the only one noticing this. The squeak is starting to really irritate me. Any ideas?

 

Mobile Data Access Speeds

Posted in Gadgets | Windows Mobile at Monday, 24 April 2006 02:58 Pacific Daylight Time

Just read t-mobile vs. verizon and I have to agree with the conclusion (vzw beats tmo every day of the week). I'm a tmo customer since I get the plan as part of my compensation package. So I ran the same tests on my phone and the best I could do was 190 kbit/sec with the 1MB test (I couldn't figure out how to do a screen capture).

I really like the sp5 (despite the lack of a2dp support, more on that later) and the new push email support rocks. Whenever my phone buzzes at work I know that I need to hit send/receive in Outlook. But I'm definately tempted to make a switch to vzw because of the faster data access (Sprint is just as fast, but do you really want to deal with that company?).

Oragami for my Car

Posted in General | Gadgets at Thursday, 09 March 2006 01:51 Pacific Standard Time
Now that oragami has been revealed, I want one, but not so much to use as an ultra mobile pc, but more as a navigation system/audio system for my car that I can take with me to watch a movie if I want. I was looking into the AVN5500 for my VW Passat, but after seeing Oragami I'm thinking why spend $1600 on that system when I could probably get an oragami device (for less) that I can dock in my car? I'd be interested to know if any of the hardware makers are working on a docking station for cars...

Homemade Peltier Beer Cooler

Posted in General | Gadgets at Wednesday, 19 October 2005 04:51 Pacific Daylight Time

I think I need to build myself one of these [via Engadget]:

Basically a drink holder attached to a cooling plate, a thermometer, and some batteries, this contraption cradles a pint glass and keeps your refreshment of choice chilly even in the hot sun.

peltier beer cooler

 

Looks like a fun project. :)

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