HP Changes Outlook

25 March 2007

Well, not really ‘changes’, more like ‘removes’.  I just received a link to this article on the HP website which explains that as of March 2007 iPaqs will not be shipped with a ‘free’ copy of Microsoft Outlook. Now, given that Pocket PCs are designed to work hand in claw with Outlook, doesn’t that seem a little short sighted? Even with Outlook the process of synchronisation is hardly seamless with stuff getting duplicated and just plain refusing to sync; my favourite error message from ActiveSync has to be the one that says in effect:

‘There are thousands of files on your Pocket PC, some of them didn’t sync. I’m not telling you why, and I’m not telling you which ones. Good luck with that.’

So what’s going on? Is this HP or Microsoft at work? I don’t know but I do know that if I’m expected to pay several hundred pounds for a new Pocket PC and then another big lump of cash to get the software to work with it I’ll be looking for something different.

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iPhone

9 January 2007

So the phone with the virtual keypad is finally properly here, even if it took Apple to make it. I’ve long said that this kind of interface is the way to go, afterall, most of the time you don’t need a keyboard, so why have one? These phones with the sliding keypad that HTC is banging out at an alarming rate won’t catch on because they’re too thick!

I’ve stated my position on Apple before and I stand by it. Now, when someone makes a clone of this phone, and they will, if they could stick Windows Mobile on it that’d be great. Thanks.

Following on from my last post about mouse transmitters and my Logitech MX1000, I found myself with the bizarre problem of having the mouse double-click every time I clicked! I tried resinstalling the software, resetting the configuration and was going to hack the mouse settings out of the registry but hadn’t gotten round to it when I spoke to my friend Owen who suggested it might be that both the receivers on my PC were picking-up the click and sending them one after the other, well, he was right! Crazy, eh? Props to Owen! His prize is in the email.

Here’s the answer from the Logitech knowledge base:

Question: ”When I move my cordless mouse, it moves the cursor on the system next to me. What should I do?”

Answer: ”This is called ”Cross talk” and is characterized by one cordless device controlling the cursor or keyboard input of another device connected to a different computer. To avoid possible interference, try to keep the distance between systems at least 10 feet. Also, moving the mouse closer or further away to the receiver can also improve transmission and performance. If the above fails, try pressing and holding the ”Connect” button on the receiver for 10 seconds. This will reset the receiver’s connection information and allow you to do a first time connection with the receiver and mouse or keyboard. After holding the Connect button for 10 seconds, then press the Connect/Channel button on the bottom of the mouse to synchronize it with the receiver. If you have a cordless keyboard instead of, or in addition to, a cordless mouse, press the ”Connect” button of the receiver again, then press the ”Connect/Channel” button on the Keyboard. Perform these same steps on any other Logitech cordless devices in the area that are experiencing cross talk. Another step that can be tried is to remove the batteries for 15 minutes. Then re-insert them and boot the computer up. It is important that during this time, you do not press the connect button on the receiver or keyboard of the other cordless desktop system.

Logitech diNovo

7 January 2007

My current favourite mouse / keyboard combo is a Logitech diNovo for Notebooks keyboard with a Logitech MX1000 mouse (which for some reason has dissappeared from Logitech’s website) though if I were buying a mouse today I’d get the MX Revolution.

Anyway, Logitech use a combined receiver for the mouse / keyboard combos but because I don’t use the diNovo sets mouse I have the receiver from the MX1000 as well. I was wondering whether I could connect the MX1000 to the diNovo receiver and free-up a USB port. A look on Google revealed nothing so I decided to give it a go and found that yes, it does work. In my case it seems that the receiver is too far from the mouse to get a smooth signal so I’m back with the MX1000 unit but if the receiver were on my desk it would work fine.

One more thing; and this applies to all modern Logitech keyboards / mice and probably most other brands too; if the performance is poor with jerky mouse movement or missed letters while typing, it could be weak batteries, or it could be the channel it’s using. In the case of the Logitech models, press the connect button on the receiver followed by the connect button on the mouse or keyboard and give it a try. Repeat until (hopefully) a good connection is made. It’s important to note that on a shared receiver the different devices are connected individually, so if one device is connected well and one isn’t, reconnecting the misbehaving device won’t affect the other one.

iTunes 7?!

16 November 2006

Let me cut to the chase; iTunes 7 should be rammed right up Steve Jobs’ backside… bang!

I’ve written on my opinion of the iPod and Apple’s approach to software before but really, this thing is the biggest pile of crap since Vista.

Apart from all the other problems that people have been having, like, oh, I don’t know, destroying people’s iPods, when I have iTunes installed, Nero 7 won’t work. Granted, it could be Ahead Software’s problem but somehow I doubt it. While quality is a continuum, and as such all software has quality, iTunes is so poor I’d have to say the reason Apple software doesn’t have release notes is because the developers have all knocked themselves out cold from all the banging of their heads into their keyboards which took place during their, for want of a better word, ‘development’ of the software.

That, or the release notes would just say something along the lines of ‘duh… we am rite suftwere, it go bang.’ Which is subsequently deleted by some poor long suffering Linux, or, yes, I’m going to say it, Windows user before being disgorged to the Apple fan boys (who, quite frankly, need to re-evaluate their decision-making paradigm) and those of us who appreciate the ubiquity of the iPod and are, to a greater or lesser degree, prepared to tolerate Apple’s peculiarities. My tolerance is waning.

Look at it this way; ‘Apple’s software is great; look at OSX oh sure, it’s actually a dumbed-down shell over the top of Unix but they make up for that by making really good hardware, well, except for the self-destructing laptops that overheat and have dodgy batteries and dodgy Wi-Fi (aerials don’t work well inside metal cases, who knew?), the self-destructing iPods whose batteries expire after a year or get killed by iTunes or scratch really easily or stop working if they’re knocked or have firmware which disables functionality. Oh, but wait, their machines are really great for media and stuff, well, if you overlook the small detail of Mac’s being basically PCs and so they’re all really good at media and stuff. Well, okay, but their customer support and respect for their customers is…. oh, forget it.’

So, to summarise and to render unnecessary any and all ‘yeah but…’ or ‘what about…’ questions: I will never buy a Mac[Insert ‘Cool’ Moniker Here] computer. The day a device emerges to rival* the iPod from a reputable company that respects its customers I’m there. If Apple went bang! tomorrow, it would cause me to raise a wry smile.

Questions?

* Understand that ‘rival’ in this context includes but is not limited to having appropriate connectivity and accessories to replace the functionality provided by the iPod in the context of my use of the device.

Having been using my camera for some photo journalism today (well, recording the postion of buried water pipes, anyway) I decided to give my iPod Camera Adaptor another go with the EOS 350D. I set the camera to ‘Print/PTP’ mode and hooked it up… Now I tried this once before but I didn’t have any luck but I’ve updated the iPod firmware since then so who knows?
I shoot RAW + JPG so I was expecting, if it was going to do anything at all, that it would copy the JPGs and probably ignore the RAWs but when I checked the iPod hard drive from my PC there were the RAWs too!
So, the iPod does work as a photo storage drive for RAW images. I’m not sure whether it can handle displaying them, I doubt it but it can cope with eight megapixel JPGs without any trouble.

Those boys at Google have done it again (maybe).

They’ve released an extension for Firefox 1.5 (you are using that, right?) that synchronises your browser state between machines. What do I mean by ‘state’? Well, try this:

 

·         Cookies

·         Saved Passwords

·         Bookmarks

·         History

·         Tabs and Windows

 

Tabs and Windows! That’s pretty cool. Any or all can be switched off (switching them all off would make the extension a bit pointless though) and they can all be encrypted.

I’m trying it at the moment and don’t have an opinion on the performance yet, which is why I said they may have done it again. 😉

If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a try. The FAQ is here. It’s good to see some cool companies give you information.