Not quite, but thanks to the MSN Team! First time using this new mug:
I am also meeting with Dion Knill (Vodafone New Zealand) and Colin Hankins (RIM) to talk about the new BlackBerry handheld device to arrive in these islands: the BlackBerry Pearl.
The BlackBerry Pearl comes with digital camera, multimedia capabilities and an expandable memory slot for the first time. It measures just 4.2" x 1.97" x .57" and weighs only 3.1 ounces. The BlackBerry Pearl is a quad-band GSM/GPRS and EDGE-enabled mobile device. It comes with built-in 64MB flash memory, expandable with a MicroSD card.
With the BlackBerry Pearl users will be able to use Voice Activated Dialing (VAD) through a Speaker Independent Voice Recognition, support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ring tones, and call management features such as smart dialing, conference calling, speed dialing and call forwarding. It also features a speakerphone and Bluetooth 2.0 for use with hands-free headsets, car kits and other Bluetooth peripherals such as a GPS receiver.
BlackBerry Desktop Software synchronization via Bluetooth is also supported.
The BlackBerry Pearl comes with a media player and stereo headset jack so users can enjoy their favorite music and videos on the go. Music and video clips are delivered with rich sound and vivid color. MP3 and ACC music files and MPEG4 and H.263 video files are supported.
Interesting that it's only GPRS/EDGE, not WCDMA/HSDPA, but for e-mail this can prove enough (unless you are in a touristic area with poor GPRS coverage).
I don't know yet all the availability details, but will post more information Tuesday afternoon, after the meeting.
Here's a quick run on the BlackBerry Pearl. I haven't seen one yet, so I can't confirm any of these comments.
This will be my second trip to attend the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and my fourth (or fifth?) trip attending a Microsoft Featured Community site event.
From past experience I know that it's almost impossible for a single person to attend the events and cover the whole show, find new stuff, take pictures and write about this.
I am thinking of having a second Geekzone person with me during the event, and I am currently looking for a sponsor for his trip. What kind of sponsorship? Tickets for the second Geekzone person, accomodation, cellular data for our on-line real-time postings, anything on these lines are welcome...
Full disclosure: Microsoft Corp is currently sponsoring my own trip, but if you want to be added to the list and have your company acknowledged in our posts, please contact me for this opportunity.
I have been using eWallet since my days of Palm. Since then I moved from the Palm to Windows Mobile and from desktop to desktop without having to change anything or re-enter any data. I now have more than 500 passwords, document numbers, credit cards, bank accounts, server configuration stored in this electronic wallet.
The new eWallet 5.0 Beta brings a couple of features I have really enjoyed testing. The visual, with all new icons is really stunning, but being abe to synchronise the electronic wallet between multiple PCs and Pocket PCs is great.
Here is what I do: I have a copy of my .wlt file on my desktop, a second version on my tablet PC and a copy on my server. Both my desktop and tablet PC are using the new feature that allows this file to be synchronised between a PC and a network server address.
In my case I use Hamachi to create my virtual network, so wherever I am with my tablet PC I am connected to my LAN. When I open this file on the tablet PC it will attempt to synchronise with my server, and it will do it again when I close the file. Back at my desktop the program is configured to synchronise to the same server, again on open and close.
There's no more copying the file between PCs now, everything goes through my server. And this is automatically synchronised to my Pocket PC.
Great software, even better.
Now I really have to go and finish writing some Pocket PC software reviews I have queued here.
I suggested the Windows Mobile device mainly because she is now keen on checking her e-mails while on the go, and the good old Sony Ericsson P800 wouldn't work with any push e-mail solution, only pop3 and imap. Since we have a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 here, Microsoft Direct Push is an ideal solution, with no need of third-party software.
But she liked (note the past tense) her P800 because it is quite a compact smartphone, with touch screen.
Today the P800 met the floor. Hard. And she asked if I had any phone she could borrow. The only ones I have around here are Windows Mobile Pocket PC, so she's now using an old i-mate Pocket PC Phone Edition. We might have to look for a newer more up-to-date model for her soon.
The bad side for me? Just last month I bought a brand new battery for this phone... Well, as posted in the post title, this is probably the last Symbian device in this house.
You can access the new Windows Live Search for Mobile beta from your phone's web browser by visiting mobile.live.com/search, or from a small client application downloadable from this page. The client is available for Windows Mobile or Java phones. Users can also get this information via SMS.
If you don’t have a data plan or a web enabled device, you can simply send a text message to 95483 (WLIVE in the U.S.) with a query like “Toys Chicago, IL” or “Coffee 90210” and you’ll immediately receive a text message reply with the nearest business listings with address and phone numbers.
With the client you are able to search for a business or other information from your mobile device, check addresses and even get directions how to get there.
You also have access to traffic information, including some detailed maps with green/amber/red routes pointing out bottlenecks in the transit system.
The service is currently available for the U.S. only.
Still reading? Good. Here's the deal: Power Together is a series of webcasts and on-line labs about Microsoft's new Windows Vista and Office system. Complete three webcasts on each series and you get a free licence for one of those software.
There's also a page with promotions, and the best one is a 15% discount on Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition plus an MSDN Premium or Professional subscription. I tell you this: a MSDN subscription is worth it (if you are in New Zealand and want this discount, check it here for a limited time).
Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.
Many bloggers differentiate themselves from the mainstream media, while others are members of that media working through a different channel. Some institutions see blogging as a means of "getting around the filter" and pushing messages directly to the public.
Most importantly C-level people, middle managers, employees - everyone - should read Naked Conversations and the Cluetrain Manifesto:
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.
These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can't be faked.
Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies unable or unwilling to speak as they do.
While many such people already work for companies today, most companies ignore their ability to deliver genuine knowledge, opting instead to crank out sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets literally too smart to buy it.
However, employees are getting hyperlinked even as markets are. Companies need to listen carefully to both. Mostly, they need to get out of the way so intranetworked employees can converse directly with internetworked markets.
Corporate firewalls have kept smart employees in and smart markets out. It's going to cause real pain to tear those walls down. But the result will be a new kind of conversation. And it will be the most exciting conversation business has ever engaged in.
If you think I am talking about your company (if the hat fits) then you are probably correct in your assumption.
AppManager is not limited to Windows Server machines. It also works with Windows Server, Windows clients, Linux, and Unix machines.
Note that I am not a paying customer. I am using the free version of their software, which allows me to add up to 5 monitors. I use this to keep an eye on my local Windows Server and the remote server running Geekzone.
This web based tool provides the admin of a single or multiple servers a lot of information that would otherwise require many hours of work and hundreds of scripts to collate.
After upgrading my local server I decided to update the software from version 6 to version 7. It all went nicely, but I had to delete one server. And the problems started.
As soon as I tried to add the server back to the monitor the CPU would go to 100% and require me to reboot my server.
I logged a fault with AdventNet, and in a few days I received an e-mail asking for more information, and a debug program to trace the SNMP requests.
After a couple more days I got a phone call from AdventNet and we looked through more settings.
Today I received a second phone call, from 6pm through 8:10pm - that's more than two hours on an international phone call. Using WebEx their developers looked through the application database, tested the issues, applied a fix and put the application to work again.
How is this for an excellent support service for a customer using their free version?
I can only recommend their product and services now. By the way, AdventNet is the company behind the Zoho web-based office tools (think of word processing, presentation, collaboration, spreadsheet, CRM, project management).
Windows Mobile users in New Zealand, Australia and some other countries have reported appointments are moved to and from the device with an one hour difference from the actual time. This happens only during the week immediately before or after the start of Daylight Saving Time in those countries.
I have raised this issue with Microsoft before because we had reports of this in our Geekzone forums.
We read some horror stories here, such as the CEO (or Chairman?) of a large telco who missed a flight because the Pocket PC appointment was one hour off. And this is just one example.
The answer was always something along the lines of "the timezone information on a Pocket PC is stored/managed on a dll file and an update would require the deployment of a new signed dll to millions of devices, and OEMs would need to update older devices, etc, etc".
In short the answer was "sorry, this is a fault, but there's no immediate fix". The only fix for this was to (inappropriately) change the timezone on the device, which would cause more problems if you actually created a new appointment directly on the device during that week.
Interestingly enough things have changed. You see, the Energy Policy Act 2005 is going to be inforced and according to the Wikipedia entry:
The bill amends the Uniform Time Act of 1966 by changing the start and end dates of daylight saving time starting in 2007. Clocks will be set ahead one hour on the second Sunday of March instead of the current first Sunday of April. Clocks will be set back one hour on the first Sunday in November, rather than the last Sunday of October. This will affect accuracy of electronic clocks that had pre-programmed dates for adjusting to daylight saving time. The date for the end of daylight saving time has the effect of increasing evening light on Halloween (October 31).
Now it seems the DST problem will affect the U.S. consumers and organisations as well...
And guess what? Microsoft came out with a registry fix for this, applicable to old Windows Mobile devices from Windows Mobile 2003 and newer.
But isn't this against to what they kept telling us before?
So, go ahead with your conspiracy theories, but to be safe, you need to work with these Knowledge Base articles (only if applicable).
First make sure you check the Knowledge Base article 928388 2007 time zone update for Microsoft Windows operating systems:
The update that this article describes changes the time zone data to account for the United States DST change. This time zone update will also include changes for other related DST changes, time zone behavior, and settings. Some of these changes will occur in 2007, and some have occurred since these versions of Windows were originally released. The update that this article describes also includes some changes that have previously been released as individual hotfixes. An example of this is the Sri Lanka change in time zone offset. This update will also include some changes that have been individually documented in Microsoft Knowledge Base articles
Next, read the Knowledge Base article 923953 How to configure daylight saving time for the United States and Canada in 2007 and in subsequent years on Windows Mobile-based devices. Note that it mentions some .inf files converted to .cab files to be loaded on your device. Why is Microsoft not releasing the files? It only makes things harder for end users. But fear nothing, visit pdaphonehome and dowload a installer from there.
By the way, good luck trying to load something that changes your registry on a Smartphone. Pocket PC phone users are lucky though.
Also note this impacts Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2. According to Microsoft a patch will be available in January 2007 for these servers:
A test version of this update is now available to businesses that wish to test the impact of the upcoming time zone changes. A copy of the update can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. For more information please refer to Knowledge Base article 926666.
The test version of this update is only intended for use in testing environments. A final version of this update for production deployment will be released in January 2007 through Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS), Microsoft Download Center, and Microsoft Update.
For a wealthy of information on this topic, visit Microsoft's page Preparing for daylight saving time changes in 2007.