Rick's Ramblings

Friday, February 17, 2006

Its Official... New Blog is Online

Come on over to my new home on the net: rickmahn.com. I'll be keeping this blog open for awhile, but no new content will be added. So, come on over to the new site and check it out.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Spb Provides New PPC Backup!

Today Spb Software House released Spb Backup, a new Pocket PC backup utility. A utility category for the Pocket PC that, until recently, has been a little light on products.

Spb Software House Releases Spb Backup - the Ultimate Tool for Saving Your Data
February 14, 2006 - Spb Software House, a leading Pocket PC software developer, releases Spb Backup - a new Pocket PC utility for backing up all of your Pocket PC content to a storage card.

Spb Backup is based on the proven technology used in Spb Clone. Thousands of enterprise users rely upon Spb Clone to create exact copies of their "master" PDA devices. This tested technology was used to create a backup program that would benefit Pocket PC consumers at all levels.

Spb Backup creates a self-restoring image file that can be restored with or without installing the main Spb Backup application. The backup file can be compressed and password protected with strong 128-bit AES algorithm. The scheduled backup features will help users to have regular, mistake-free backups.

Spb Backup features include:

  • Scheduled backups

  • Self restoring backup files

  • Options to separately backup PIM data, emails, "My Documents" folder, and system data

  • Backup file compression and encryption

  • Today plug-in with previous and next backup date notification

  • Desktop PC utility for extracting information from backup files

Pricing and Availability
Spb Backup is currently available in Czech, English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Traditional Chinese. A free 5-backups limited trial can be downloaded, or Spb Backup can be purchased for $19.95 USD, from www.spbsoftwarehouse.com.

Spb Software House has produced many other great software products including Pocket Plus, GPRS Monitor, Full Screen Keyboard, Diary, Weather, and Finance.

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brrreeeport buries web search!!

Ok, so maybe it doesn't but Scoble's little experiment is quite interesting - don't you think?


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Monday, February 13, 2006

HP iPaq hw6900 Announced...

Another data-centric Windows Mobile 5 device is going to make its way into consumer's hands. The HP iPaq hw6900! Fun times.

I've seriously got to investigate what will be the best device to purchase. Since I'm a T-Mobile customer, the upcoming MDA will probably be my choice - of course that'll be dependent on pricing. Sometime soon!

Via: Geekzone

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I'm almost happy... seriously

Check out this post at Smartphone Thoughts, I'll wait...

Ok, are you back? The SDA is one-half of the pair of new Windows Mobile 5 devices that T-Mobile is launching this month. The MDA will be launched in a week or two and should be around $350 after rebate if all the rumors are to be believed. When the MDA is released, I'll be happy.

via: Smartphone Thoughts

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Microsoft's Mobile Email - Moving Ahead

CNET News.com is reporting that Microsoft is "pushing ahead" with its mobile email technology offereing. While brought to market later than RIM's powerful BlackBerry platform, it still see's a large viable market for their product offering.

Via: CNET News.com

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International Data Plans comming online

Cingular is planning on launching new data plans next month that will include different levels of roaming data coverage. Check out Phone Scoop's article for more details.

via: PhoneScoop.com

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Looking for blogging nirvana

Ok, so I think I'm turning into a blog nut... I've been looking at tools, utilities, plugins, etc... for a number of reasons, mostly 'cause its fun. I've finally come to the conclusion that I need to go "pro" at this - what I mean by that is to sign up with a hosting service, manage my own site with a professional blogging tool that I can customize to my needs and personal preferences.

So what I've found to date is that I'll be building this site over the next two weeks (and last two weeks - I've already started) and getting it off the ground. This weekend has been one of learning some neglected (by me) web language technologies (XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, WordPress layouts, etc...) that are crucial to getting the site I really, really want to publish to the world.

My page layout and site design is mostly complete, I've got a site & domain name picked (I'll post about that later), a hosting service identified, at least a temporary theme picked out that I have customized somewhat (check out my WordPress blog for a taste). One thing that I would really like is to be able to design a theme that really fits what I want to display for "style". I'm not a graphic designer, or an artist - at least not skill-wise, I DO have opinions as most of us do.

One goal will be combine my two existing blogs (here at blogger, and my WordPress.com blog) into one. Though I will keep the two blogs I have, they will likely play a different roll which I can't think of at the moment. What I have learned from both these blogs are some interesting things, for one - they both are drop-dead simple to get started, which is excellent because that means more people can start a blog without needing to understand the underlying technologies. They are both also very powerful. Blogger at the moment is more customizable right away, WordPress.com has only been available to the public since I think Oct 2005 and is a bit more controlled at the moment making customization unavailable right away - though Matt Mullenweg is working on this for future options (Go Matt!).

Well, there is much to do even though its a good start. I'll post more information soon - maybe a few screen shots of things here and there as well.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Review of T-Mobile USA's new MDA

There is a review of the new T-Mobile MDA over at infoSync World by Jørgen Sundgot. The new MDA is based on the HTC Wizard platform that is amazingly compact for how much functionality is built into the product.
Windows Mobile 5.0, a slide-out thumbboard, quad-band GSM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a 1.3 Megapixel camera, oh my: Jørgen Sundgot takes T-Mobile's MDA communicator for a spin.

via: infoSync World

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Some Information on RIM's Plan

RIM* has announced details of it's plan for a software update designed to allow RIM, partners & customers to continue to use the BlackBerry service in case of a court-ordered injuction. A document on their web site indicates that this new software update called "BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition" was designed for customers using BBs on converged voice/data networks in the US, with either BB Enterprise Server or BB Internet Service. Please check out the link below for more details and additional documentation.

via: RIM BlackBerry

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First commercial bot-killer?

McAfee has a new technology to help protect companies from the threat of bot-launched attacks. Check the link below for more information at MSFN.

via: MSFN

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Vonage gets a new CEO

Vonage, the inovative broadband phone provider announced the selection of Mike Snyder to become the next CEO, overseeing day-to-day operations of the company. Vonage founder Jeffrey A. Citron was promoted to Chairman and Chief Strategist, focusing on expanding the company's products.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cingular 8125 Available

Cingular's new 8125 Pocket PC Phone is now available on their website - ready for order. The 8125 is a varient of the HTC Wizard platform (similar to the Orange SPV, UTStarcom XV6700, iMate KJAM, T-Mobile MDA Vario, and O2 XDA Mini. I got a chance to work with the T-Mobile varient of this phone late last fall and was impressed by the device. This class of device is based on the Pocket PC varient of Microsoft Windows 5.0 and includes a slide-out keyboard, landscape/portrait QVGA display and many wireless connectivity options. Some of the specs/features include:

  • 128MB RAM

  • 64MB ROM

  • 200MHz Processor

  • 2.8 in. 62K color screen

  • weighs 5.3 ounces

  • GSM (voice) GSM, EDGE (both data) radio technologies

  • Quad Band "World Phone" (850, 900, 1800, 1900)

  • 802.11b/g WiFi

  • Bluetooth 1.2

You can see a review of the T-Mobile MDA Vario at CoolSmartPhone.com.

via: CoolSmartPhone

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Microsoft OneCare on track for June Release

It looks like Microsoft Windows OneCare will be available in June for an annual subscription price of $49.95. Currently in both a private and an open beta test, OneCare is an all-in-one internet security product that includes Antivirus, Firewall, and Antispyware. In addition, automated backup and other system tuning tools are included to help keep Microsoft Windows PCs running at their best.

via: CNET News.com

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Monday, February 06, 2006

VMware Server Beta Available...

VMware Server is now available, bringing an entry level server virtualization platform to anyone interested for a very affordable cost - FREE!

Some of the capabilities:

  • Support for any standard x86 hardware

  • Support for a wide variety of Linux and Windows host operating systems, including 64-bit operating systems

  • Support for a wide variety of Linux, NetWare, Solaris x86 and Windows guest operating systems, including 64-bit operating systems

  • Support for Virtual SMP, enabling a single virtual machine to span multiple physical processors

  • Quick and easy, wizard-driven installation similar to any desktop software

  • Quick and easy virtual machine creation with a virtual machine wizard

  • Virtual machine monitoring and management with an intuitive, user friendly remote console

  • VMware Server is the first commercially available server virtualization product with support for 64-bit virtual machines and Intel Virtualization Technology, a set of Intel hardware platform enhancements specifically designed to enhance virtualization solutions.

via: MSFN

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Problems with Shockwave Automated Install...

I've been trying to build an automated install of Macromedia Shockwave Player 10 for the past week or so without the success I need. The ability to script the Windows Installer (MSI) version works, but when pushed through Microsoft's Systems Management Server 2003 (SMS), it fails. The failure is because the Shockwave MSI package requires a user profile to write some files to, and SMS uses the SYSTEM account to install distributed software - the SYSTEM account does not have a user profile, so the folders the Shockwave MSI package is looking for do not exist, and the install fails.

Perversly, Macromedia Flash Player 8 MSI package works fine through SMS, so its not like Macromedia doesn't know how to build the package correctly. There's even a thread on the Macromeda support forum which explicitly details the issue, but Macromedia has not responded to anyone (other than a forum moderator) to correc the problem.

Macromedia has great products, but need to support corporate customers better for mass automated deployments.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Russ going old-school

Russell Beattie has gone "old school" as he puts it in his blog this weekend. He mentions how much time responding to comments takes up, and I'm sure it is a time-sink though I don't have as much experience with that sort of blogging traffic.

Russ, in case you've missed it, there is a new comment-tracking tool that is currently in limited beta called coComment, and may be of help to you as you deal with comment overload. Interesting timing actually, the anouncement of this tool and your decision to turn comments off on your blog. Well I hope it goes well for you, and you find that extra time you're looking for. In many ways, I don't blame you, but I'm sure that you'll get some feedback on the negative aspect as well. See ya round!

via: Russell Beattie Notebook

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

VMware GSX to be free?

There's a story circulating (CNET, BetaNews, eWeek, Bink.nu) that VMware GSX Server will be re-released this coming week as a free product to combat Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 product which was reduced in price late last year.

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New SBSH Software Updates...

I'm a little slow this week - SBSH Software released updates to both PocketBreeze and ContactBreeze this week. Congratulations to Amit and the team at SBSH!
Download the updates below:

via: SBSH Forums

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Too Good to be True?

Apparently, Verizon Wireless is changing its policy on tethering laptops & PDAs to mobile phones for data connectivity! Users of high-end, high-speed data capable phones will be able to use their mobile phone as a modem for their laptop. This is good news for those on Verizon!

Kudos to Verizon for making this policy change - I would be surprised if they did not see an increase in subscribers of data plans. This is one of the reasons that I would never consider Verizon in the past, with this change Verizon is becoming a viable alternative if I leave T-Mobile.

Now we just need to work on their pricing! :)

via: PC Magazine

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Sbp Diary 1.7 Released

Today Spb Software House released Spb Diary 1.7:
February 2, 2006, Spb Software House announces the release of Spb Diary 1.7. Spb Diary is a feature-rich Today plug-in for your Calendar, Tasks, Contacts, Notes and Messages. It enhances Pocket Outlook by gathering all of your PIM information in one place. The new version introduces a bundle of new features like the Messages Tab, an auto-height adjustment feature, native birthdays support and integration with Spb Finance as well as improved speed, better usability in the Notes Tab and many other changes.

Personally I use SBSH Software's PocketBreeze which was on the market first, and has quite a long history. However, Spb is known for their quality software solutions and the integration between their products.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fixed some things

OK, I've fixed a few things here on my blog that were bothering me - just needed to take the time and find where to change the code in the template. I've updated the Permalink so it says "Permalink" instead of the time - thats bothered me for quite awhile. Next I changed the title so it always links to the permalink as well - call me something-retentive. Also, I added a small bit to place the any title link I add to the bottom of the post called "link". Finally, I added a link & logo for w.blogger, which I find to be a very nice tool for posting - even at work.

When I get a few minutes, I'm going to see if there is an easy way to add Technorati tags to the bottom of each post as well - or at least to the tech-releated posts.

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June 29 set as wireless auction date for FCC

Well, the FCC has set June 29th, 2006 as the wireless auction date to sell advanced wireless service licenses. Check out the article at RCR Wireless.

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More on Clipmarks

Been using Clipmarks now for about a week or so - clipped a lot of information, and I believe it to be a fantastic new tool to keep me organized! I've been able to go back to a number of articles that normally I would not be able to find after reading them. I'll recommend the service at this point with the knowledge that it really does work as advertised.

I've used the plugins for both Internet Explorer and FireFox with great success. I've been able to search the my clips from both browsers along with Opera as well. Go try it out and let me know if it works for you as it well as it does for me!

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Windows Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2

Now is your chance to see what all the fuss is and will be about. Microsoft released Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 7 on the world last night. While its not a final release product, I can tell you it is FAST, feature rich and has good support for RSS.

I'm not too delighted at the feed support as I could be - MS is only supporting RSS at this time, and if you notice on Blogger we have ATOM feeds. Doesn't work right now. Eventually, I may be able to uninstall Pluck which I have used for over a year as my main RSS/ATOM reader. That won't happen yet, but it could when the IE7 ships later this year - we'll see how much better the RSS support gets. That its built in and works rather well already is very promising.

Another irritating thing I've noticed since installing on XP (I've used IE7 on antoher OS...), when trying to create this post here at Blogger using IE7, the "Compose" mode when creating a post does not display text correctly - its white on white! Using the "Edit HTML" mode DOES show the text so you can see it.

Well, its a beta release and it is impressive in the changes and features MS has brought along so far. Also impressive is MS's interest in listening to the user community for feature and usability improvements in IE7. The laundry list from IE6 is long, and MS has worked very hard to build a modern browser.

Is it better than FireFox - probably not, especially in beta, but its a BIG step in the right direction and will continue to improve. Also, I have to admit here that I'm a dedicated IE user, so while I use FireFox (and Opera too!), IE is my main browser and will probably continue to be.

Well, more to come on this as the days roll on!

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