Does your playlist of favorite podcasts run longer than you have time to dedicate listening to them? If you can get past the chipmunk voices, try increasing the play back speed. You can reduce the play length by up to 20% before it gets too obnoxious.

If you are using a Windows Mobile Device you will not be able to do this with the mobile version of Windows Media player. Try using a media player such as TCPMP (The Core Pocket Media Player).

London Underground in Urban ArchitectureI continue to be amazed at the ease and efficiency of today’s public transport services powered by the web to provide immediate information access. On Tuesday morning I arrived at work to discover that I was to immediately travel to London to visit a customer. Within just a few minutes I had purchased e-tickets for the flight which was leaving about 3 hours from that time. Given that I still had to go back home (a 45 min. train trip) to pack and eat and then still make it to the airport (another one hour trip) I didn’t have much time. I was immediately able to connect to TrenItalia (Italian train service) to discover there was a training leaving in 15 minutes, then a quick look at the GTT (Torino public transport service) would tell me that bus 61 would be passing in 5 minutes to bring me from work to the station.

When I arrived at Pinerolo I jumped on my bike to rush home for a quick bite and to throw the essentials in my luggage. I still needed to arrange for travel to the Torino airport so I called a local Taxi which unfortunately had his phone off. This was the only point where the system broke down, the connecting trains to get to the airport would have taken too long, there was no direct bus service from Pinerolo to the airport and no taxi company that makes it easy to arrange a pick-up (I would like to see this as a web service, a network of participating Taxis of which you can check status, position and book online).

Once finally in London I catch a classic black London cab, who only after briefly getting lost finally finds the hotel. Later in the evening I head down-town to get a bite to eat. No easier way of getting around London than the Tubes, as the English call it (metro for Europeans or subway for Americans) . Combine this with my travel to the customer in car and me walking around London to find the Hard Rock Cafe and at the end I have used just about every means of transportation available, just missing a ferry ride up the River Thames. The combination of all these public transportation services makes it so easy for the traveler to reach any destination even with last minute notice and regardless of their familiarity of the area.

A few thoughts on London: One of the parts of traveling is discovering peculiar differences from one country to the next. A few things that caught my attention this trip:

  • Low Ceilings – In contrast to the often exaggeratedly high 3 meter ceilings in Italy I felt like a giant in most of the buildings in London.
  • Fire Doors – The door manufacturing industry must be booming with the high request for fire doors everywhere.

Side-note: I write this as I am flying over the French/Italian Alps. If you haven’t lived that experience, mark it as one of the must see sites to see from an airplane. Breathtaking!

On the continual look out for great new mobile apps to put on your Windows Mobile device? Here are a few recent apps that I have tried that you might like:

  • TCPMP (The Core Pocket Media Player) – If you want a better media player that supports a broad range of audio and video files try this out. This player is free and can be downloaded here: http://picard.exceed.hu/tcpmp/test/
  • Opera Mobile – Finally a decent web browser for your windows mobile device. So far I have been very impressed with its usability and page rendering even if it is still justa beta. Some features include full-screen zoomed browsing,  pan and zoom functionality, tabs, faster than Internet Explorer Mobile, AJAX support and a true web experience. You can download it here:  http://www.opera.com/products/mobile/download/
  • Total Commander – Have you ever been frustrated with the limited ability of the windows file explorer? Here is a free program that lets you choose between single window or 2-window modes. It is an excellent file browser, with a ton of extra features, including an FTP client, registry editor, and the ability to save and view .zip files. Get it here: http://www.ghisler.com/ce.htm

If you are looking for more great recommendations for Windows Mobile apps try these:

http://www.downloadsquad.com/2006/11/21/5-windows-mobile-freeware-programs-im-thankful-for/

http://lifehacker.com/5041023/the-best-free-apps-for-your-windows-mobile-device

If you have a favorite Windows Mobile application let me know about it by adding a comment.

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Related Resources
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Writing 70-271 and VCP-310 becomes easier for a 640-802 student if he has achieved credits like 70-290 and 70-270 already.

08
Oct

blogger_burnout This post is the start of another iteration in my blogging efforts. This is the third iteration so far, however the time between each cycle has reduced so some progress may be being made.

This same cycle is often visible in other areas of life, moving from inspiration to motivation to commitment and then eventually to lack of motivation and eventually burnout. After a period of recuperation the cycle repeats itself. I don’t know if this cycle can be completely avoided however I am sure there are some tips to be able to extend the cycle and to reduce the recovery time.

Apparently this is not uncommon as I have found it widely discussed in the blogosphere. So incase any one else has experienced this cycle I have posted links to other articles that may give you the advise you need.

Tips for avoiding blog burnout:

wm6ref

I previously wrote a post about deciding whether to upgrade from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6. It has now been a couple months that I have been exclusively running Windows Mobile 6 and here are a few follow-up thoughts…

Battery Life

In my previous article one of the 2 critical decision points was battery life. Several sources have insisted a significantly reduced battery life after upgrading to Windows Mobile 6. While admittedly there may be a slight reduction, the impact, however, has not been significant enough to consider it a major issue. I have found that a by just adjusting the synchronization schedule, reducing it to only the hours of use, has greatly extended the battery.

HSPDA

The second critical decision point was the higher data transfer rates available through the use of HSPDA in Windows Mobile 6. This has been considered the primary advantage for most Palm Treo users upgrading to WM6. Once again, this has not turned out to be a critical point. The speed increase may be slightly noticeable, but not as dramatic as expected.

Other Perks

So after additional use I have found other features that I really like in Windows Mobile 6. At the top of the list is improved ability to share your Internet access with your laptop/PC. The Internet Sharing program allows you to quick and easily share your 3G connection to a Personal Area Network (PAN). While also being able to do this with WM5, I find this new program to make it much easier.

Remote Desktop for Mobile Devices – I recall in previous Windows CE/Mobile versions having the ability to open a remote desktop connection, but in WM5 I did not natively have this option. I was happy to see it come back in WM6.

Storage Card Management – With Windows Mobile 5 I had a lot of problems with my Mini SD card extended memory being recognized by the Operating System. After certain operations it would no longer be visible. I have especially had problems with the media catalog getting corrupted and causing several problems on the extended memory card. Since upgrading to WM6 I have not had any of these problems.

If you are using Windows Mobile 6 on your device let me know what you think of it.

I came across new Windows Mobile Applications today that I am trying out on my Palm Treo:

Fring: Fring is an easy way to connect to all your social networking services. It supports Skype, MSN Messenger, ICQ, Google Talk, SIP, Twitter, AIM, and Yahoo, all over WiFi or your data plan.
Most phones, most operating systems

This looks like a great application for those wanting to chat on their mobile or to make cheap phone calls through SkypeOut or other SIP services. It is easy to setup and is especially great for those with integrated Wi-Fi, allowing you to use your mobile phone without a SIM card!

I was, however, disappointed that you can’t make free Skype calls to your Skype contacts, apparently you can only make SkypOut calls. It is also limited as a Twitter application as it only allows you to send updates and not view those of others.

HelloTxt – HelloTxt is an aggregate of microblogging services through which the user can insert their messages on all main microblogging services in a simply and simultaneous way.

Useful service to post updates from your mobile device directly to a series of common social network platforms. One post can be sent to Twitter, Facebook, Bebo and many others. The other nice feature about HelloTxt is that it allows you to see other updates from within the same application.

Have other useful Windows Mobile applications? Let me know about them!

A brief list of recently news/articles or sites that I have come across this past week:

my_travel_map

Want a place where you can log your travels, map your trips, post your trip pictures and gain access to a wealth of useful information such as trip planning guides and packing lists? Okay, maybe you weren’t looking for all of that, but you can find it anyway at TRAVELLERSPOINT.

This is a nice “Web 2.0” site that has put together some useful information together with a nice list of tools and resources all free of charge. True to form of most Web 2.0 sites, they have also added a flavor of social networking, allowing you to add friends, share information and create a free travel blog. In addition, they have a Facebook app that allows you to post your travel map on your Facebook page (image above is my travel map)

11
Apr

This touching video sends a strong, personal message given by an inspiring example of courage and faith during a very difficult time.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

windows-7preview

Microsoft has already begun hinting towards the release of Windows 7, the next version of Windows as the successor of Windows Vista, to potentially already be released in 2009! This obviously gets everyone excited, but does Microsoft really want to recreate the same hysteria about their next operating system while Windows Vista is still trying to take root?

I understand that Microsoft needs to generate interest in the OS a great deal in advance to prepare its millions of reselling partners, but by creating this excitement they are going to slow Windows Vista sales even more! Windows Vista has already had a poor adoption rate, especially in the enterprise environment, hinting towards another release already in 2009 will likely further encourage them to skip Vista entirely. Do they really want to make Vista the successor to Windows Millennium Edition (ME)?

Up until now Microsoft has maintained a policy of silence concerning their plans for Windows 7 to avoid being unable to deliver on previously promised features, as happened with the release of Windows Vista. However some details are now beginning to come forth:

  • MinWin – A slimmed-down kernel called MinWin that uses 100 files and 25MB, compared to Vista’s 5,000 files and 4GB core and is so small it lacks a graphical subsystem.
  • 32-Bit / 64-Bit Editions – Operating system will come in consumer and business versions and in 32-bit and 64-bit editions. (Wasn’t Windows Vista originally hypothesized to only be released in 64-bit? Are we ever going to be able to break away from 32-bit?)
  • Data Protection and Encryption – Further extension of Bitlocker and EFS to potentially have data encrypted all the time, everywhere.
  • Windows 7 Wireless Platform – An extensible media framework that will allow for seamless roaming between various wireless technologies (WiFi, WWAN, WIMAX, etc.)
  • Windows 7 Parent Control Features: “Family Safety” services are being developed for both Windows Live and Windows 7 Parent Control.
  • Get a longer and more detailed list at UX Evangelist

To help encourage anxiety for the new operating system Microsoft on Thursday declined to extend a lifeline for Windows XP, saying that only a limited number of specialized machines will be sold with the operating system after June.

Sources:

http://www.news.com/8301-13860_3-9911470-56.html?tag=bl

http://www.news.com/Next-version-of-Windows-Call-it-7/2100-1016_3-6197943.html

http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,144152/article.html#

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_7

http://uxevangelist.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-7-and-windows-8-wealth-of.html