HP Changes Outlook

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

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.

Crazy Double-Click Problem

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

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?!

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.

iPod Camera Adaptor Revisted

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.

Take Two Browsers Into The Shower?

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.

 

Wearing Out F5?

Windows PCs are funny things; each one has its own unique personality. My work PC, for example, wouldn’t show changes to the file system through Explorer unless I manually refreshed the window by pressing F5. This was particularly irritating when creating a new folder because while the folder was created with the name highlighted to allow me to rename it, I couldn’t see it! Refreshing the window displayed the folder but cancelled the rename operation, so I had to highlight the folder and select rename again and finish the job. It doesn’t sound much but when a two step task becomes a five step task for no good reason it makes me wonder why.

The cure for the problem is of course in the Registry and if your PC is afflicted with the same problem here’s how to fix it:

Start RegEdit and work through the tree until you reach ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Update’. In that folder there should be a Value called ‘UpdateMode’, if it’s not there, create a binary Value and give it that name. On my work PC the value of this Value (stay with me) was 1. I’m guessing this a polling interval or something similar. Change the value to 7 and close RegEdit. That’s it; you’re done. Make a change in Explorer that normally would need you to refresh by hand to see it and you should see the change immediately without having to do a thing.

Alternatively, save the text below as refreshfix.reg and double-click it, agree that you are sure you want to add the information to the Registry and you’re ready to go:

 

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

 

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Update]

"UpdateMode"=dword:00000007

 

Sshhh… It’s Apple

Me: Well, Apple have released a firmware update for the iPod.

Not Me: I didn’t hear about that! Did you get an email?

Me: Nope. iTunes has been updated and I was using Google to find out what had changed when I saw mention of the iPod update.

Not Me: Hang on, you mean Apple didn’t say what was changed

in iTunes?

Me: Not a thing. The forums say it’s something to do with the

Nano/Nike bop while you jog thing.

Not Me: I see. Well, I’m capable of choosing my own music and have

no need for a musical pedometer.

So about this iPod update; what does it do?

Me: Apple say ‘Bug fixes’.

Not Me: Bug fixes are good, but that’s a bit vague.

What kind of bug fixes?

Me: Not a clue.

Not Me: Alright, so they didn’t go into detail but they said something about the video playback bug, right? I mean, that screwed-up a lot of the Apple faithful.

Me: Nope.

Not Me: I see. I’m noticing a pattern here: So I’m expected to install this update which may or may not fix something that’s been bothering me and it may introduce more problems or change functionality, like the last one did?

Me: Pretty much, yes. Though I don’t think Apple actually care. It’s not cool to worry about things not working. People who aren’t cool aren’t Apple.

Not Me: Have Apple even heard of release notes?!

Me: I’d have to go with ‘No’ on that one. You see, my confused friend. Apple aren’t like other companies; their products exude an… Appleiness that means that details like what’s wrong, what’s fixed and when it happens just aren’t ‘cool’ and don’t matter. In the same way that things like good engineering, customer support, value for money, profit and loss, working Wi-Fi, overheating and lifts that work just don’t matter; they’re not ‘cool’.

Not Me: I’m installing Linux on a home built rig and listening to FLAC files on a valve amp.

Me: You said it.

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