The duties obviously included all sorts of work in the telco area, including design and development of voice-based systems (think voice mail, unified messaging, etc).
So, when I heard of new Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging applictions, including voice access to Outlook and more, I got all excited.
... server-based tools that integrate with desktop and mobile clients to give information workers access to voice, fax, and e-mail data from wherever they are and allows users to use the telephone to manage their email, calendar, and personal contacts.
I love the idea of mobile clients, and I wonder how well this integrates with Communicator.
There are now some evaluation kits available to test this functionality. The kit includes an AudioCodes MediaPack 114 FXO VoIP gateway, so you can plug the server to the telephony system - your PBX or other line.
I'd love to try these here, but they are not listing any APAC distributor and this thing costs US$1000... Microsoft NZ?
In our 9th episode we talk with fellow Mobile Device MVP from Wellington, New Zealand, Mauricio Freitas who runs and operates the Geekzone, about some of features of Windows Mobile that you may or may not know about. Like the benefits of using Exchange 2003 SP2 in combination with latest updates of MSFP and AKU2 and what it means to you the end user. As always, we also talk about a few gadgets as well, like some bluetooth stereo headphones and headsets, U3 drives, and more.
The mobilityguys.com are Jack Cook, Steven Hughes, Chris Leckness, Don Sorcinelli. They run their own mobility focused sites such as www.aximsite.com, www.bostonpocketpc.com, www.experiencemobility.com and have in common a Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices award (click on their names or mine to see our Microsoft MVP Profile).
Download podcast #9 to hear about Windows Mobile MSFP (Messaging and Security Feature Pack), how it integrates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 and with the upcoming Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Learn about neat things like Direct Push e-mail, remote wipe, closer integration of Windows Mobile and Exchange features, and more.
You will notice my voice sounds funny (yes, it's funny), but remember my part was recorded over a Skype VoIP call, with added latency and distortion (I know, all excuses for my funny accent).
And if you are curious about what a Microsoft MVP is, you can check the mobilityguys.com podcast #8 with Tyler Welch (Microsoft MVP Lead) or visit www.microsoft.com/mvp.
What can I say? It rocks...
I've used Sharpreader for some time before installing the NGES. The problem was keeping tabs on all feeds (at times more than 500!) while using three different devices: a desktop, a tablet PC and a Windows Mobile Pocket PC.
The NGES solved the problem by adding Locations, and allowing me to have my feeds served through a web interface, Microsoft Exchange or a PDA-friendly web interface.
But NGES 1.4 goes even further, adding the API calls available in the public NewsGator service everyone knows. This means that on top of the "locations" I already have here I can now use FeedDemon. And it is fast. And it synchronises well. And I can synchronise my tablet PC and take the content with me, knowing that next time it is on-line it will mark everything accordingly and download new content.
I could already do this with the Exchange synchronisation. But having ActiveSync set to synchronise 500 feeds to my Pocket PC also meant that it was constantly working, eating the batteries. Or I could have NewsGator Inbox, a Microsoft Outlook Plugin that brings the content to Outlook. It's an option to consider.
I am now waiting for NewsGator Go! for Windows Mobile to be compatible with NGES. Then it will be really nice.
You don't need to run your own NGES to have these features. The web-based NewsGator service offers this capability (and more) with some subscription options.
I wrote a NewsGator Enterprise Server review when I first installed it last year.
I just finished installing it. Running a virtual machine is great. I did a full backup of this server (which run Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 in addition to NewsGator) in about 10 minutes. If anything could go wrong I wouldn't be more than 10 minutes away from having my full environment restored.
Back to NewsGator, lucky it didn't go wrong. Installation was really smooth and with no problem. The install script upgraded my SQL database to the new schema - but I did have to install Microsoft .Net Framework v2 on this server because of the software requirements. No problem with that either.
The first time I run the software I did have a scary moment - the script threw an error, which now I believe was a timeout (although at the time it was referencing one of the assemblies). After rebooting and a few moments of 100% CPU utilisation, the NewsGator Web News Reader showed up - with a fresh new UI:
I see the feeds now show the favicon and they are all updated. Perhaps that's why the high CPU usage? Anyway, everything back to normal here and I am now playing around with it.
Also improved is the PDA-friendly web interface. First it's much faster to load now. And I believe it is so because version 1.4 only outputs links to feeds with updated content, while version 1.0 output links to all feeds, but making them invisible if no new content was available. It also had fixed a small problem with feed counters:
My next steps are to install NewsGator Inbox and download NewsGator Go! for Windows Mobile. I have FeedDemon installed, but it still tries to access the NewsGator public server, instead of my NGES (even though the configuration file points to my server). I will have to check this later.
Otherwise, I am happy that this was a painless upgrade - back up and running!
I am talking about htcwiki, a wiki-style website for people wanting to post material about HTC devices, those Windows Mobile devices we all know so well (full disclosure: I am a Microsoft Windows Mobile MVP).
According to WHOIS, htcwiki is registered to Waggener Edstrom Strategic Communications, the PR giant. The information I have is that it actually belongs to HTC, the Taiwan-based manufacturer of mobile devices. HTC is the company behind some of the most successful Windows Mobile devices in the market, including those branded as i-mate, T-Mobile, O2, Cingular and others.
In the frontpage you will see a picture from our review of the HTC Universal, and on the page with HTC Universal information you will read our full HTC Universal (O2 Exec) review, plus our pictures. You will even find the Today screen in one of the screenshots with the Owner Name "Geekzone" in it. One of the images is hotlinked to our server, and you will see the default graphic we send out in these cases.
If the page goes away before you can see it on htcwiki, here is a pdf of this page.
Why I am ranting about this? For a company that makes the most interesting Windows Mobile devices, and it's being supported by a PR company such as WaggEd, it's a shame that they let people post someone else's material on their on-line property, without taking appropriate steps to ensure no copyright is breached.
Investigating the site, this is what I could find on its About page:
While this wiki is operated by HTC, its content is not managed by HTC.
By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree that when using the Communication Services, you will not: ... Upload, or otherwise make available, files that contain images, photographs, software or other material protected by intellectual property laws, including, by way of example, and not as limitation, copyright or trademark laws (or by rights of privacy or publicity) unless you own or control the rights thereto or have received all necessary consent to do the same.
Pursuant to Title 17, United States Code, Section 512(c)(2), notifications of claimed copyright infringement should be sent to Service Provider's Designated Agent.
Who is the "Service Provider's Designated Agent"? There's no identification anywhere in the site, not even a way to contact HTC through the site.
Oh, I hear you saying, why don't you e-mail the htciwiki guys directly? I would, but the only way to contact anyone on that site is by registering and then sending a private message to one of the moderators. I don't want to register on htcwiki and I don't want to talk to a moderator. The site has no contact information that I could easily find.
I also get up to the walls here because HTC doesn't even reply to our e-mails about their products, and never sent anything for us to review (the HTC products we review are branded i-mate, Telecom or O2).
It would be great to have an acknowledgement with proper attribution in the article. Even better would be to actually have a communication channel between HTC and people writing about their products, because the way they do it now, is really, really, well... sad.
Times Reader is built on WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), which is Microsoft's advanced UI technology for applications. To check out the WPF features in Times Reader, try some of these things:
Resize the window or change the font size - WPF automatically reflows the content and adjusts the number of columns. Browse around the content itself - notice that the ads are themselves WPF (i.e. reflowable). If you’re running on Windows Vista RC1, try a search from the Windows search bar – you’ll see NY Times news articles appear as files in the search. Try the search link (just under the back/forward arrows). The articles are arranged in a heat map tile panel view, with the size denoting the importance of the article. This seems to be a work in progress, as some searches don't have many results at this point (e.g. a search for "microsoft"). Click the Topic Explorer (right-click > Topics, select a topic, then click the "Topic Explorer" radio button in the search results) and see an interconnected web of related articles.
All very interesting, as you can see on these screenshots below:
The cool stuff is that this technology is the same used to create Microsoft Codename Max, which I commented about before.
We have approximately 30,000 Vista Beta testers in this program now.
There are Windows Vista beta testers in 125 countries.
We have testers in all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Guam and several other U.S. locations.
Exactly 50% of our testers are somewhere other than the U.S.
The northernmost person appears to be in Fairbanks, Alaska at 64.85 degrees N. latitude though it's a close call with a person in Iceland.
The southernmost person appears to be in the Kerguelen Islands at 49.56 degrees S latitude.
We have 1 person on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.
We also have a person in the Tuamoto archipelago which is almost exactly half-way between South America and Australia.
If we had someone in the Yukon and someone in Labrador/Newfoundland we would have all Canadian provinces and territories represented.
In the U.S. we have testers in over 6,000 zip codes, or well over 10% of all zip codes in the U.S
The pushpins are only for the Windows Vista beta testers registered on Connect, the oficial beta test site for Microsoft. Go have a look at their blog post for other maps.
If you are in New Zealand, registered on Connect and think you can see yourself in the map, leave a comment here!
Well, I got an answer from Microsoft, and I will just pass it on:
The Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) Application is a separate component from Windows Vista. Windows Vista RC1 includes the WMDC Driver which enables you to sync music, acquire pictures and browse the contents of your device. The full WMDC application enabling you to synchronize email, contacts, calendar appointments and more ships separately. We’re looking forward to being able to release the first RC soon.
Why, oh why, i-mate you do this? Installing a Root Certificate is an easy task on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC, but on a Smartphone it is a pain. Why i-mate ships these phones with this security policy preventing people of installing Root Certificates? Don't tell me it's "dangerous". It is needed for business, and it's allowed on Pocket PCs, which are connected to the same network, and run the same OS. This is just...
I need a self-signed Root Certificate installed so that I can enable Microsoft Exchange synchronisation on this device.
So I decided to go Club i-mate and ask their on-line support about this. My session has timed out and I couldn't connect to anyone there. They probably set a cookie in my system and now I can't initiate another session unless I clear my cookies, which I don't want to do because I have some automatic login settings stored here.
I then tried to read the FAQs for the i-mate Smartflip. I have an i-mate Jasjar, i-mate Pocket PC and i-mate SP2 registered with Club i-mate, but they won't show me the FAQs for any other product other than the ones I have registered:
And yes, I know there are ways to unlock these devices. But I want the official word. A non-expert user won't go around trying to find ways to hack his phone security system.
UPDATE: it looks like there's a program to install certificates on this device, but only available to registered members. I have finally managed to contact the i-mate live support and talked to Duncan. I explained that I can't register this device, because it belongs to Vodafone NZ and I am using it for a review (he could see my domain). So he is forwarding the installer directly to me. Let's see how it goes. One less bump in the ride.
UPDATE: As promised, I got the e-mail with the certificate installer and this i-mate Smartflip is synchronising with my Microsoft Exchange Server as I write this update... Way to go now!
UPDATE: Two days with the Samrtflip and all working well so far. The review will come up sometime soon...
My main phone is the Jasjar, because of my old phone number (which I've been using for the last, what, seven years?). It's not the smallest Pocket PC in the world, and obviously you need to have a Bluetooth headset, otherwise you look like a dork with such a huge device hanging from your face during a phone call.
But you can't beat Telecom New Zealand's CDMA EVDO (for now) data speeds. The Apache is great and I use it frequently as a modem for my tablet PC. I can get speeds between 500Kbps and 800Kpbs (while on the Jasjar it won't pass the 250Kbps mark).
Of course everyone wants more and more speed. Vodafone has introduced their HSDPA offering, with speeds of up to 1.4Mbps (although the official words is that some centres will have up to 3.6Mbps available, but this is the max theoretical). But that was before devices to access the network were available, and I was probably the only user on a specific cell site.
Back to the point: GPRS. An ancient packet switched technology, which most companies promised to be "always-on, fast" Internet. Reality sunk in after GPRS became popular. It wasn't always on, because devices would disconnect the data session when an incoming voice call was announced to the handset. It wasn't fast because of its dial-up speed and high latency. And the only applications were WAP portals with almost no content and badly designed applications.
Moving forward to 2006. We have WCDMA (which some try to call UMTS, but let's have its name here) with max theoretical speeds of up to 384Kbps, CDMA 1xEV-DO with max speeds of 2Mbps but going up to 100+Mbps in a few years, and HSDPA with speeds of 14Mbps in a couple of years. And we still have GPRS, with speeds of up to 42Kbps.
Why I love it? I just sent my i-mate Jasjar for a special place for a special surgery. In the meantime, I moved its SIM card to my old i-mate Pocket PC Phone (the first i-mate device around here) and I am surprised how fast the device is in comparison to the newer Pocket PCs, even though the newer CPUs are faster, and the devices have more memory.
I am also surprise on how responsive the GPRS data is flowing. Seriously you can't connect your laptop through this Pocket PC and expect fast speeds. But I have some specific requirements, such as push e-mail and single connection to a server, and for that it serves me well.
I am using this Pocket PC to connect to my Microsoft Exchange Server for e-mail, calendar and contacts synchronisation. It performs thesse actions while in my Pocket PC, so I really don't care if it takes 20 seconds or 60 seconds. And it does it fast because it is a single connection to a single server.
Another example of single connection application I am using and surprised me today was RSS feed reading. I run my own Newsgator Enterprise Server, and it serves me with a PDA friendly webpage. Since this is a single connection, basically text only, to a single server, it is actually extremely fast. And that's not WAP, but full HTML. I actually haven't been to a WAP page in years.
It is like the RIM BlackBerry devices. Most of them are still connected to the GPRS network. And do you notice it? No, because you only know about the e-mails arriving. You probably don't even notice the e-mails flowing to the device. But they are still coming on the slow GPRS network (of course, except on the new latest BlackBerry models coming out now).
So, yes. I am using GPRS these days on my Pocket PC, and I am enjoying it. Of course when I need to do some serious work, here comes the Apache for some broadband speeds (or some HSDPA in the near future?)
Horses for courses, as they say...