Koolio

Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

Windows Mobile 6 for T-Mobile Dash coming on May 4?


wm6_tmobile.jpgRumors have been circulating that T-Mobile will be releasing a Windows Mobile 6 Standard ROM upgrade for T-Mobile Dash owners on May 4.

If it does drop next week, I would caution that you make sure all of your 3rd party apps are compatible with WM6 before upgrading.

[via Smartphone Thoughts]

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Filed under: Cellphone, Microsoft, Mobile Phone, Mobile Software, Rumors, Smartphone, T-Mobile, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Vista barely made a dent in Apple’s marketshare during Q1 2007


Research firm Gartner released a preliminary report saying that Apple’s marketshare has remained steady despite the release of Windows Vista in January.  In fact, Mac sales increased 30% year over year:

gartner-mac-shipments.gif

Like I’ve said before, Apple’s got the mojo.

To be honest, it *feels* like Apple’s marketshare is more than 5% because I see a lot of people using Apple laptops in Starbucks, Panera Bread, and all of the other places that offer free WiFi in the Boston/Cambridge/Somerville area.

Obviously, this isn’t scientific but I’m sure other people are feeling the same thing…and when PC users see more Macs out there, they’re more likely to consider switching.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Technology, Vista, Windows

Microsoft Deepfish: a new concept for mobile web browsing


Microsoft Live Labs has created Deepfish – a new approach to web browsing on your Windows Mobile device that is very similar to how Safari will work on the iPhone (remember Steve Jobs’ demo from MacWorld?). Instead of loading a web page and only being able to see a small section of the page, Deepfish takes a screenshot of the web page so you see the entire page as it was designed (as opposed to the page’s header, sidebar, etc. being displayed all jacked-up). When you want to zoom-in on a specific section, click the center/joystick key to bring up a small gray focus box, move the box around the page with the directional keys, then click the center key to zoom-in. If you click the center key a third time, you’ll see an arrow cursor so you can click on buttons, links, text fields, etc.

Deepfish is in pre-beta and you need an invite if you want to try it…which is fine by me because the last thing I want to do is install buggy/unstable software on my smartphone and have it crash/reboot on me when I need to make a call.

Looks like Windows Mobile users will have a similar web browsing experience as their iPhone counterparts.

There’s a demo on the Live Labs website and there’s also a video of Deepfish in-action on a Palm Treo.

Filed under: Microsoft, Mobile Software, Web Browser, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Windows Mobile 6 demo in Flash


Microsoft has released a 38 MB Flash-based demo of Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition for download. Interestingly, the demo shows a T-Mobile Dash/HTC Excalibur. It’s worth a quick look if you want to see WM6 in action instead of screenshots.

Some cool things the demo shows are:

  • Ability to send a Contact card via text message
  • Calendar ribbon
  • Viewing call history in Contact cards
  • Support for HTML e-mails
  • Search your device by simply typing the search terms
  • Viewing/editing Word & Excel files.

FYI, this demo is targeted to business users so it also shows a good amount of corporate-related features such as: out of office status, searching Exchange Server mailbox, ability to remotely erase data on the SD card, etc.

Filed under: Microsoft, Mobile Phone, Smartphone, Software, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Free South Park episode (in HD) on Xbox Live Marketplace


Comedy Central and Xbox Live are giving away South Park’s first ever HD episode for free. That’s right – free. It will be free for the next two weeks (starting today). The episode they’re giving away is from 2004: ‘Good Times with Weapons’ (i.e., the ‘South Park Ninjas’ episode).

If you don’t have an Xbox 360 and are planning on getting one, get it at Best Buy between March 20 – April 3 because they will give you this episode on HD-DVD for free. Already have an Xbox 360 but want to buy the HD-DVD add-on drive? Don’t worry, Best Buy’s got you covered: you’ll get this HD-DVD for free with the purchase of the add-on drive, too.

FYI, this HD episode is 1GB so be patient…unless if you’re one of those lucky people with Verizon Fios.

Filed under: Bargains, HD DVD, Microsoft, Video, Xbox 360

10 User-Friendly Windows Vista Tweaks


Laptop Magazine has a list of 10 Windows Vista tweaks that you may want to check out. The most interesting tweak is the ability to disable the annoying “allow/deny” pop-ups whenever an application is installed or needs to access the registry. However, doing so creates a security risk with IE 7.0.

Here’s the list:

  1. Turn Off User Account Control (this allows you to disable the ‘allow/deny’ pop-ups)
  2. Bring Back the File Menu
  3. Customize the Start Menu and Taskbars
  4. Create a Flip 3D Shortcut
  5. Activate Multi-file Tagging
  6. Automate Your Defragmentation Routine
  7. Expanded Right-Click Options
  8. Activate Three Clocks
  9. Activate Parental Controls
  10. Make Mobility Center Ever-Ready

Filed under: How-To, Microsoft, Vista, Windows

Will you be able to upgrade to Windows Mobile 6?


Answer: it depends.

In the past, when a new Windows Mobile version was released, the manufacturers and carriers (i.e., T-Mobile, Cingular/AT&T, Verizon Wireless, etc.) had several hurdles to overcome in order to offer you the upgrade (which is why they never did). The carriers had to: 1. pay Microsoft a license fee for the upgrade, 2. customize it for their devices, and 3. test it.

For Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft has eliminated hurdle #1. Per Smartphone Thoughts:

“We’ve just learned that Microsoft has given a free license to vendors who will upgrade their devices. So I think it’s clear that Microsoft understands the frustration that all of us feel when a new OS is released and are trying to change things. It’s expected that HTC will offer upgrades for any device with a keyboard – as all of you Dash/Excalibur users are already aware. Unfortunately we don’t know what Motorola or Samsung plan to do about this. The ball is in the carriers and manufacturers court. Let’s hope they don’t drop it.”

I know, if you’re a Samsung BlackJack or Motorola Q owner this doesn’t tell you if you’ll be able to upgrade to WM6 but now you know what’s involved with an upgrade.

Filed under: Microsoft, Mobile Phone, Mobile Software, Smartphone, Windows Mobile

Windows DreamScene Preview: Initial Impressions


Since Microsoft won’t be releasing the final version of DreamScene until mid-2007, they decided to release a “preview” version. I noticed it in Windows Update back on February 16 and finally had the chance to check it out. For those of you who are not familiar with DreamScene, it allows you to replace your desktop wallpaper with a video (in .mpg or .wmv formats) that plays on your desktop.

DreamScene comes with one video, which is an animated version of the standard ‘Vista wallpaper’ but you can change it to any .mpg or .wmv video file. Here’s how to download and enable DreamScene:

  1. Click the Windows start button
  2. In the search box, enter “windows ultimate extras”
  3. In the search results, click “Windows Ultimate Extras.” This will open the Windows Update window.
  4. You should see DreamScene listed in the “Windows Ultimate Extras available for download” section. If not, you probably already installed it (you can verify if it was installed by clicking the “View update history” link).
  5. Install DreamScene.
  6. After installation, right-click on your desktop and choose “Personalize.”
  7. When the Personalization window opens, click “Desktop Background.”
  8. In the Location drop-down list, choose “Windows DreamScene Content” (see image).
  9. After choosing this option, you’ll be able to choose which video you’d like to play. After choosing the video, click “OK.”

Once you have DreamScene enabled, there are shortcuts to 1.) pause the video and 2.) to choose a different video file:

To pause the video, right-click on your Desktop and choose “Pause DreamScene.” See below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Microsoft, Reviews, Technology, Video, Vista, Vista Ultimate Extras, Windows

CNET Review of Windows Mobile 6 (Rating: Very Good)


wm6-standard-homescreen.jpgCNET has posted a review of Windows Mobile 6 and they gave it a 7.0 out of 10. This review is a bit more in-depth than the Pocketnow review I linked to in my ‘Windows Mobile 6 for T-Mobile Dash‘ post (the author could’ve done a better job differentiating the features between WM6 Standard and WM6 Professional). Here are some of the highlights:

  • Outlook Mobile can now display HTML email
  • Outlook Mobile supports email searching (you just type the letters and it will filter your emails)
  • Call history is associated with your contacts (see screenshot)
  • Calendar now displays a ribbon at the top of the screen so you can easily see your free/busy time (see screenshot)
  • Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition now comes with Mobile Office, which allows you to view and edit Word and Excel files but only view PowerPoint files (on Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone Edition you had to install a 3rd party app to view these files). However, the editing capabilities are pretty thin: (who actually does massive edits on a smartphone, anyways?)

“We should note, however, that the editing capabilities are pretty light. In Word, you’re pretty much restricted to adding and deleting text and formatting type (such as bold, italic, underline, and highlight); while in Excel, you can insert rows and columns, sort, perform basic functions, and so forth.”

One thing that does not seem to be fixed (*sigh*) is that when you “close” an application Windows Mobile hides it instead of closing it. When an application is closed, it should be closed (just like it is in Windows XP/Vista). Why does that matter? Well, when an app is hidden it still utilizes memory and when you don’t have enough free memory the performance drops and you can encounter memory errors.

Even though WM6 has some room for improvement it sounds like it’s worth an upgrade. Heck, since it’s free for T-Mobile Dash owners, I’m definitely upgrading. If I had to pay for it, I most likely wouldn’t (thanks to the iPhone!).

Filed under: Microsoft, Mobile Phone, Mobile Software, Reviews, Smartphone, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Another PC vs. Mac Commercial


Here’s another funny Apple commercial…actually, a lot funnier than the previous ‘Vista Allow or Deny’ one I posted. Enjoy!

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Video, Vista, Windows, YouTube

Windows Mobile 6 for T-Mobile Dash


T-Mobile DashPocketnow is reporting that, in the next few months, T-Mobile will offer T-Mobile Dash owners the option to upgrade from Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone Edition to Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition (the new name for WM Smartphone).

This would be a very nice benny. Hopefully, this is true and the cost to upgrade will be none to minimal.

Btw, Pocketnow also has a review of Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition with a handful of comparison screenshots between the two. Their conclusion: WM6 is just a refresh that makes the user interface look a lot more polished. However, I noticed there is one new feature: Outlook mobile now supports HTML email.

Update: (2/16/2007) Gizmodo is hearing that T-Mobile will allow existing subscribers to upgrade to WM6 for free. Still no exact date but they think it will be within the next few months.

Update: (4/26/2007) Rumors are circulating that T-Mo will release the upgrade on May 4th.

Filed under: Microsoft, Mobile Phone, Mobile Software, Rumors, Smartphone, T-Mobile, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Tired of Google? Try Ms. Dewey Search


Ms. DeweyLooking for an interactive search engine? Try MsDewey.com – it’s a Windows Live Search engine that has a Flash front-end (yup, it was created by good ‘ol Microsoft). Trust me, go to this search engine and do a search – you’ll enjoy it. 😉

Want to know more? Ms. Dewey is a female actress (Janina Gavankar) who responds to your searches via pre-recorded video segments. She has a couple of different responses for a particular search term – some of which are pretty funny. Here’s a few from the Channel 9 forum that I recommend trying:

  • video (this is the funniest – if you don’t find it funny, do the search a second time)
  • xbox 360
  • colt 45
  • microsoft

Is this the future of search? Nah, just a way to market Windows Live Search.

Give it a try and let me know if you find a good search term!

Btw, pictures of Ms. Dewey’s various responses can be found here.

Filed under: Microsoft, MsDewey, Search, Search Engine

Tagging Photos in Windows Vista Destroys Metadata


If you’re using Windows Vista do NOT use Vista to tag your photos. Apparently, Vista destroys a photo’s metadata if you tag the photo. Microsoft hasn’t said if or when they will fix this but I’m sure they will.

“A bit of bad news about Vista if you’re a photographer. Apparently if you tag a photo’s metadata in Vista, it destroys other important metadata used by image editing apps such as Photoshop. Microsoft’s gotten reports of RAW files generated by Nikon cameras being unreadable after being tagged with Vista or Microsoft’s Photo Info tool.”

Good thing I’ve only used Windows Photo Gallery to view photos.

Filed under: Digital Photos, Microsoft, Software, Vista, Windows

Vista vs. Mac Commercial


This Apple commercial is pretty freakin’ funny – especially, if you’ve used Vista because there’s some truth to it. Here’s the skinny: in Vista, every time an application needs to access or write to the registry, a pop-up window is displayed asking if you will allow or deny the request (the goal is to provide better security). This can get annoying because you can’t configure Vista to always allow ABC application to read/write to the registry. Thus, every time ABC app attempts to do so, the ‘allow/deny’ window pops-up.

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Video, Vista, Windows, YouTube

Windows Vista Sidebar Wish List


Vista Sidebar Screenshot

I’ve been using Windows Vista Ultimate for about a month now and have had a chance to use Sidebar a little bit. Overall, Sidebar is nice but there are a couple of things that can be improved upon:

  • Sidebar is limited to a fixed width column on your desktop – it would be nice if I could widen this column since I have a 20″ widescreen LCD monitor (Dell 2007WFP).
  • It would also be nice if I could change the size of the gadgets so, for example, I can read more of the headlines in my RSS gadgets.
  • Sidebar allows for multiple ‘pages’ (or columns, if you will) of gadgets but the only way you can view the second, third, etc. ‘pages’ is by clicking on the left or right arrows at the top of the Sidebar column – it would be nice if I could customize Sidebar to cycle through my ‘pages’ every x seconds/minutes. I will rarely cycle through these ‘pages’ on my own.

I can’t offer a true comparison between Sidebar and Mac OS X’s Dashboard because Dashboard is only available on Tiger (OS X 10.4) and I’m running 10.3.9 (Panther). However, I have used Dashboard on other Macs and Sidebar has a leg-up on it: Sidebar gadgets/widgets are displayed on your desktop – with Dashboard you have to hit a button to view the widgets. Since Sidebar gadgets are displayed right on the desktop, they will be viewed more often…after all, isn’t that the point of these things? Anyway, I’m (wishfully) hoping Microsoft will include these improvements in Q4 2007 with Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

Filed under: MacOSX, Microsoft, Sidebar, Sidebar Gadgets, Software, Vista, Windows

Want more Vista Sidebar Gadgets?


Engadget Sidebar

Intelligroup, based in the U.K., has created 12 free Vista Sidebar gadgets (most are for U.K. websites). These are the ones I would recommend checking out:

  • Amazon search
  • eBay search
  • Engagdet headlines
  • Kotaku headlines

I’ve downloaded the Engadget and Kotaku gadgets and they’re pretty cool. The Engadget one is very nice but the Kotaku gadget is practically impossible to read because of the red text on a yellow background.

After downloading the gadgets, just double-click it and it will automatically be added to your Sidebar library. Speaking of, you can find more gadgets on Microsoft’s Windows Live Gallery website.

Update (2/27/2007) I provided some feedback, to Intelligroup, requesting the ability to customize the color scheme of the Kotaku gadget and just heard back from them: they are planning on adding this feature in the next release. Nice.

Filed under: Microsoft, Sidebar Gadgets, Technology, Vista, Windows

New Windows Vista Ultimate “Extras”


Microsoft has released 2 new Vista Ultimate Extras: Windows Bitlocker & Texas Hold’Em. If interested, you download them via the Ultimate Extra control panel. In fact, the Ultimate Extra control panel should automatically notify you that these new extras are available. The deets:

  • Texas Hold’em: Pretty obvious.
  • Windows BitLocker & Online Key Storage: Allows you to encrypt all data on your hard drive and to store your BitLocker recovery key/password and Encrypting File System certificate on Microsoft’s website (Windows Marketplace Digital Locker) for access to the key anytime, anyplace, and from any computer that has an Internet connection.

There’s also a third Extra but it hasn’t been released, yet: Windows DreamScene, which allows you to play videos on your desktop instead of a static image.

For those of you who don’t know, one of the marketed benefits of Vista Ultimate is the ability to download “extras” for free. All of these “extras” are exclusive to Vista Ultimate – in other words, if you don’t have Vista Ultimate, you can’t get the “extras.”

I haven’t downloaded these, yet, but am planning to download only Texas Hold’Em. When I do, I’ll let you know what I think. I’m not planning on using BitLocker since I don’t like the idea that if I lose the key, I will never be able to access my data, again. Yeah, I know, the key is stored on Microsoft’s website but I’m a bit weary of storing my keys/passwords on a server which can be compromised.

For screenshots of these Extras, checkout Engadget and WindowsUltimate.com.

Update: I just installed Texas Hold’Em and played it for about 15 minutes – it’s a great free game. The design of the game is very nicely done and there are 3 different difficulty levels. I chose the intermediate level and noticed the computer plays somewhat loosely.

Update 2: Looks like DreamScene won’t be released until mid-2007.

Filed under: Microsoft, Storage, Technology, Vista, Vista Ultimate Extras, Windows

Switched to Mac because of Windows Vista


Now, this is not something you read about everyday – Erika Jonietz from MIT’s Technology Review magazine (a great magazine, btw) wrote an article about how she is now using her Mac as her primary computer after using Windows Vista Ultimate. Uh, this is not what Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer wants Vista to do.

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Microsoft, Reviews, Technology, Vista

Windows Vista Ultimate: Initial Impressions


Vista LogoBefore providing my initial impressions I want you all to know that I’ve been a Mac convert since 2003. Since I bought my PowerBook G4, I’ve used it 98% of the time when computing at home (unfortunately, I use an HP nc6400 laptop w/WinXP Pro at work). Also, over the past year or so, I’ve tuned-out all of the Vista-hype so I went into Vista knowing only about Aero and Windows Media Center.

Ok, with that out of the way…about 2 weeks ago, a buddy of mine offered me a free legitimate retail copy of Windows Vista Ultimate (via his MSDN subscription) and I gladly accepted. So, after downloading the 2.5GB file for about 12 hours, I burned it to a DVD and installed it. After running Vista Ultimate for about 2 weeks, here are my initial impressions:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Microsoft, Reviews, Technology, Vista