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Prepare your Windows Servers and Windows Mobile devices (and self) for timezone changes

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Nov-2006 11:54

For a few years now we have seen an interesting fault happening with Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphones that rely on a Microsoft Exchange Server to synchronise their appointments.

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.






More views on Microsoft Direct Push and Exchange Server 2007

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-Nov-2006 19:55

You probably read my article on What Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Brings to Users and IT Administrators. For that article I talked to Charlie Chung, technical Lead Project Manager in the Exchange Product Team, during the Microsoft New Zealand's Tech Ed 2007 event here in Auckland.

Microsoft Exchange 2007 and Direct Push

In that article I explained what new features are coming to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and how those features will interact with Windows Mobile devices, and other devices running the licensed Exchange ActiveSync client platform.

If you want even more information on this, you should head to Paul Mah's Technology At Play, and read the post Examining Exchange 2007: The Future of Direct Push.

Now that Microsoft have finally announced that Exchange 2007 is being slated for release at the end of November 2006, it is a good time as any for us to perform a detailed appraisal of the Direct Push-related components in this new version of Microsoft Exchange.

Perhaps you have already heard or even read-up on it.  But in case you are not aware yet, Exchange 2007 is a radically different beast altogether from Exchange 2003.  Rather than being a purely evolutionary upgrade, this latest version of Exchange is set to bring several features never before found in the e-mail server scene – such as built-in voice (Think in terms of voice PABX) and fax capabilities, onto the playing field.





DinarSoft updates website

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Nov-2006 22:15

There are two software I install on my Pocket PC as soon as they are ready to use: MagicButton and DinarSoft's MemMaid.

MagicButton is a very small task switcher, and free, while MemMaid is a great memory management software - perfect for cleaning up the Pocket Internet Explorer cache after a soft reset, or remove some unwanted stuff from your Pocket PC.


I've just noticed DinarSoft has updated their logo and webite. Worth a visit to check their range of software - TapText is a really cool tool to automate the process of entering text and strings into your e-mails and documents and HandySwitcher is an interesting task manager with lots more functions than MagicButton.






Vodafone and Palm

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 27-Oct-2006 13:02

The Wellington Mobility User Group meeting last night was very interesting, with Vodafone New Zealand showing new Windows Mobile devices coming in the next three to four months. I am sorry if you missed the meeting, but I can't provide you details of these devices, but keep an eye on Vodafone next week (1st November) and in December.

After the event I had a meeting with Vodafone New Zealand and Palm. Dion Knill (Vodafone, Business Terminals) and Geoff Anson (Palm, Sales Director) gave me details on some of the work the companies are doing together. All will be revealed soon, but until then, here are some interesting facts I gathered from the meeting:

- Vodafone New Zealand is bringing 16 new "Handheld Business Devices" (HBD) soon, 8 of these being Windows Mobile devices, the rest are Symbian devices. All come with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync capabilities.

- Palm commisioned a study which showed the uptake of some common activities, before and after users moved to a Treo smartphone: 93% of users browse the Internet on the handheld device, against only 20% who used to do it with their previous device. SMS usage also increased from 52% to 87% and e-mail utilisation grew from 15% to 93%.

- Vodafone New Zealand is offering an one hour "Mobile Mentor" session when companies purchase any of the HBD with a business plan. Dion told me this helped improve the understanding on how these devices work, why use them and how to do it better.

- Vodafone New Zealand is running a "try and buy" programme for qualified customers. You use one of the HBD for a few weeks and then decide to keep it or return it. Apparently the "keep" rates are as high as 85%. How do you know if you are a "qualified" customer? Your account manager will let you know.


There you go. Some interesting mobility facts. More on this later.



Palm Treo 700wx EV-DO launches in Canada

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Oct-2006 13:39

I was wrong in my comments before. I thought the Telecom New Zealand, Palm and Microsoft announcement of the new Palm Treo 700wx on CDMA EV-DO would be the first one outside the U.S.

I just got a press release from Palm annoucing the launch of its Palm Treo 700wx Windows Mobile device in Canada, through Bell Canada. This is just a few hours before our local announcement.


The Treo 700wx provides the same great world-class Treo experience and ease of use that customers expect, as well as the following key features:
  • Support for Email on the Go: Windows Mobile Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP), which includes Direct Push Technology, native S/MIME support, certificate-based authentication to all Exchange data, and remote and local device wipe, is available out-of-the-box giving smartphone users fast, automatic wireless updates of their email, calendar items, contacts and tasks. The Treo 700wx smartphone also supports Good Mobile Messaging and Good Mobile Defense for robust security and fleet management, giving users support for web-enabled enterprise systems, including sales force automation (SFA), customer relationship management (CRM) and corporate intranets.
  • Built-in Dial-up Networking (DUN) Capabilities: Treo 700wx smartphone users can take advantage of broadbandlike download speeds on their laptop computers by using the new smartphone as a wireless modem via USB technology. This out-of-the-box functionality offers an alternative to Wi-Fi, enabling users to access a high-speed connection in coffee shops, airports or hotels.

Additional Treo 700wx Features and Benefits

  • Device Users Guide -- customers can view the full Users Guide (located in the Quick Tour and My Treo sections) right from their device, providing convenient access to tips, troubleshooting techniques and how-to instructions;
  • 1.3-megapixel camera to shoot crisp, clear digital images and videos;
  • 64MB RAM for program execution;
  • Integrated Bluetooth(R) 1.2 wireless technology for communicating with compatible headsets, car kits, computers and printers equipped with Bluetooth technology;
  • Removable battery and non-volatile memory;
  • Expansion-card slot (SD, SDIO, and MultiMediaCard compatible); and
  • 240x240 transflective (TFT) screen


Let's see when this device is available here in New Zealand. I didn't get any other information from Palm, Telecom or Microsoft about this device, so I am still waiting for some data to work with.



Wikipedia on Windows Mobile devices is back

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Oct-2006 19:19

A few months back I posted about a service (Wikipedia Mobile Guru) that "translated" the Wikipedia content to fit on the small screen of mobile devices - and it looked great on Internet Explorer Mobile on Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones.

Wikipedia on Windows Mobile and other handheld devices

The service went down for a while due to traffic, but it's back, and the guys at instinct.co.nz tell me they will be moving it to a bigger server to support the traffic.





Palm Treo 700wx Windows Mobile to be available through Telecom New Zealand

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 10-Oct-2006 16:48

I just got an invitation to attend a media event where Palm, Telecom New Zealand and Microsoft will demonstrate a new Windows Mobile Palm Treo connected to the Telecom New Zealand CDMA EVDO network.

I am pretty sure this will be the first Palm Treo CDMA EVDO being released outside the U.S. where it is available now as Treo 700w (Verizon Wireless) and Pam Treo 700wx (Sprint).

Knowing of the close relationship between Telecom New Zealand and Sprint, I'd guess the version being released here is either the Palm Treo 700wx (pictured below) or a similar one.

Palm Treo 700wx
The introduction will happen Thursday 19 October 2006, in Auckland. Bummer - I am not going there for this release (no, we are not swimming in Air New Zealand tickets here):

- receive a hands on demonstration of the first Windows Treo in New Zealand and see what it has to offer users
- understand how Palm has further developed the Palm user experience on Windows mobile operating system and combined with ready access to Microsoft’s world-class email solutions
- find out how Palm’s latest Treo lets users take advantage of Telecom’s high speed, EV-DO Mobile Broadband network to get them faster access to email, desktop and server information.


Note that this will be an introduction to the media. There's no word yet of availability dates. But one thing is for sure: people have been reporting in the Geekzone forums that Telecom New Zealand has pulled out the webpages for the Palm Treo 650...





Palm Treo 750v coming to Australia through Telstra?

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Oct-2006 12:54

This just in: Telstra has switched on their HSDPA network. The first HSDPA-enabled Windows Mobile device available through them is the i-mate JASJAM:

i-mate JASJAM

But down in its press release, Telstra also promised a device from Palm joining the network next month. I know Vodafone New Zealand is launching the Treo 750v 1st November. I wonder if Vodafone Australia will be behind Telstra on this one?

Palm Treo 750v



Wikipedia on your Pocket: 7val

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Oct-2006 10:49

There is another wikipedia for mobile devices, at http://wikipedia.7val.com, found through Micro Persuasion. I've seen some Wikipedia content in mobile devices, but other projects were taken down due to traffic and other problems. Let's see if this project stays up.

It looks great on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC:







Developing for mobile devices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Oct-2006 12:00

Nick Randolph has just released a podcast show with Jeff Arnett about building mobility applications that work across different platforms:

This year we have not only seen a whole variety of Windows Mobile 5 devices hit the market, we have also seen the first UMPC devices being released. With the launch of Vista just around the corner (are you “ready for a new day“?) we will see operating system convergence such that Tablet PCs, laptops, UMPCs and desktop machines will all be running the same OS.

With coming versions of Windows Mobile we are also likely to see a further convergence between the smartphone and pocketPC operating systems. In this show Jeff Arnett joins me to talk about how we can optimise our development process for building applications that work across different mobile platforms.







freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

A couple of blog posts you should read:

Find more about Business Transformation | Enterprise Content Management | Customer Relationship Management


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