Toshiba Portege G500

June 25, 2007

I’ve been testing Toshiba’s reentry into the smart device market

it’s a bit of a collaborative piece of work so you’ll find the full review over at Tracy and Matt’s blog.

For the 10 second summary the G500 is not a bad bit of kit, a reasonably creditable smart device by Toshiba but to get the best out of it it needs to be used as a Toshiba Notebook companion.

Biggest Plus: 3G & HSDPA.

Biggest Minus : size, it’s big damn big.

Not Sure….: Fingerprint reader, great idea poorly executed

Oh and it’s Windows Mobile 5.0

If I had a bit more time I’d try a haiku review, hopefully things will calm down a bit round here soon.

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Bloggus Interruptus

June 18, 2007

not a lot going on round here at the moment

well in the blogging world at least – there’s far too much going on in the world of work, just one long go to meetings, follow up meetings and go to more meetings. blogging is not my day job, my wife will be pleased to know  so the extra mile is that much harder to tread for now. This is a testament to how imnportant blogging has become  as I have itchy fingertips, not having posted for  five days or so.

There are a few things I need to mention but they will have to wait until a couple of projects at work have been completed.

normal service will be resumed shortly

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Windows Mobile 6 and email triage

June 13, 2007

how Microsoft’s latest mobile platform has tipped the balance

email triage is one of the most popular  uses of  Windows Mobile device, which is the processing of your inbox in quiet moments when getting your laptop out is not an option.  it’s a great way to steam through a load of emails and filter the email fluff from your inbox delegate mails not for you and generally prepare your inbox for an efficient days work.  a true example of the benefits that the flexible working 9 by that I mean location independent working) that windows mobile 6 truly supports

The new shortcuts in Outlook Mobile under Windows Mobile 6 make life a whole lot easier

wm6shortcuts

simply press and hold the appropriate key and you can process the email according to your wishes.

today was the day when the balance was tipped, I came out of an extended  meeting  to find over 90 emails had arrived in the time I had been out of circulation. One particular thread needed my attention but the rest were FYIs or mailing lists ( yes I have a few where the site concerned has not yet embraced RSS), I had my laptop available in front of me but chose to breeze through the mails  on my smartphone because the shortcuts make  the process so much easier.  90 emails processed in double quick time down to the seven that really needed urgent attention. of course I penned the long responses on my notebook as the keyboard is much easier to make rapid use of however I’m pretty sure my inbox will always be processed  at the top level through my smartphone from now on.


Home Working Wayback Machine

June 11, 2007

Computing entrepreneurs the eighties way

I like my Waybacks this time it’s not just what Kevin called a mobile wayback but a whole workstyle wayback.

My family are hoarders, for me it’s trailing edge technology, for my Mother it’s old magazines which are great for those quiet contemplative moments men have :)

countryman spring 83

Recently I was perusing a copy of the countryman magazine from spring 1983, my eye was caught by the strapline ‘farming computerised‘ 

The article describes a home based business run by a Gillian Farrant of Manor Farm near Eaton in Oxfordshire.  Mrs Farrant took the enterprising step of setting up a farm data tracking business with the local vet’s wife.

The whole enterprise was run on  an apple II 

farrantThe which the author describes as  typewriter keyboard with a TV set sitting on top with a magnetic-disc recorder and an automatic printer  at the princely sum of £2000 a bargain as also unusually for a Mac  you could actually play a state of the art  computer game on the thing (ouch).  

Now unfortunately I cant find any record of Manor Farm Eaton or the Farrant brothers or Mrs Farrant and Hatch’s Farm recording Services, Farmplan are alive and well and still in the market they were in in ’83 however this appeals to my trailing edge tech interests  and is kind of on topic with a nod to homeworking.

Those were the days: the full article is copied below for your enjoyment – you can get up to date copies of the countryman from their website

digital dairying 1page 61page 62page 63page 64


support for Office 2007 comes to Windows Mobile devices

June 6, 2007

Office Mobile 2007 comes to a range of Windows Mobile devices

Jason has revealed that Office Mobile 2007 will be available from Q3 this year – I mentioned my disappointment that even though the Windows Mobile 6 and EVO launches were so close that the docx format was not supported in WM 6 this update redresses the balance – the terminology suggests that this is an application upgrade rather than an AKU / ROM update so  there should be no need to backup / wipe and start again,  the update will support .pptx .docx .xlsx and FAX documents on both WM6 and WM5.0  devices 

I’m increasingly coming to view my WM6 device as a portal to a sophisticated back end and this will help reinforce WM6 as a handportable part of the EVO environment, I just wish that Microsoft had included office 2007 support in the initial WM6 release,it should have been an intrinsic part of the WM6 and WM6 should have been launched as a portable office portal device.


office live Gotcha

June 4, 2007

the beta ending also means the billing starting

if you, like me,  signed up for the beta of office live on a premium account and you don’t want to be charged ( or signed up for a years subscription) you must go here to get instruction and downgrade your account within 30 days of the 23rd May.

I just got billed £26.44 for a service I didn’t want – I’m a bit peeved as the letter I received telling me that the beta was ending was not explicit that this would happen – oh and it also contained the same letter for a different subscriber who if I hadn’t found through the phone book would have been none the wiser.

at sign up for the beta I’m sure it was stated or at least implied that I would not be automatically charged but it seems that I have been – here’s hoping the promise to refund comes through.

caveat emptor

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Extended interoperability for Office Communications Server 2007

June 1, 2007

Traditional telecoms players align themselves with Microsoft to provide integration

this from the Unified Communications Group Team Blog Russell Bennett the UC senior program manager has promoted an alliance between Microsoft and just about everyone worth mentioning to provide interoperability between OCS and existing PABXs

no comment from Mark as yet but I’d hope to see a UK perspective soon.

this is a commitment by some major major players of the telecoms world to provide seamless ( well as seamless as possible) interoperability with Microsoft Office Communications server.

you’d think as we’re all talking SIP these days this would be a given however as always interoperability is not always so straightforward, for instance OCS uses the SIP standard over TCP and a fair proportion of other equipment uses SIP over UDP to communicate. this isn’t an insurmountable problem however it is not conducive to an easy out of the box experience.

What these manufacturers are actually supporting is Microsoft’s interoperability specification for OCS 2007 which extends the basic interoperability afforded by SIP to include transparent support  of key features found in OCS  across platforms.

we should see the ability to transparently provide

  • a common intuitive user experience
  • multi media interoperation of voice, video, text messaging, web collaboration
  • Ad-hoc multi-party, multi-modal conferencing  ( this will be a challenge I am sure)
  • Integration with business applications
  • Rich Presence, so full multi modal state information shared across platforms 
  • Mobility
  • Enhanced security

the  main press release includes pithy statements from the big players worthy of mention

  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Avaya.
  • Cisco.
  • Ericsson.
  • Genesys.
  • Mitel.
  • NEC.
  • Nortel Networks.
  • Siemens

Which is how Microsoft reach the the 80% figure of the installed base, I think this is too optimistic for me  the installed base is a notoriously treacherous place to make promises in, Cisco found that in the early days using trad telephony protocols like DPNSS   ( having had bitter experience of interoperability or lack thereof in the past we could be chasing wild geese for months).  On the brighter side native support of the interop spec is to be extended by the use of IP gateways from AudioCodes, Dialogic and Quintum although I am skeptical about gateway traversal of a lot of proprietary systems.

I’m sure these companies can provide interoperability moving forward but I’d expect existing kit to require upgrades ( usually costly) or those gateways’s already mentioned remember PBXs last for years, the established replacement cycle  was always 7 and sometimes longer years which is way way before SIP or even mainstream IP adoption so the chances of older kit being up to scratch is slim.

I am still unsure as to what the outcome of all this is as as I’ve said before OCS is potentially a direct competitor for a great deal of the high, value added applications that the trad telecom companies rely on for big chunk of their revenue, interop seems to open the door for third party developers to get in there with niche apps, I’d expect entry level costs to plummet.

I guess for most of these companies ( with the possible exception of Cisco) it’s  a case of having to offer interoperability or be left behind at the moment and assess the impact of the erosion of core revenues. I’m pretty sure most of the players concerned couldn’t take on Microsoft so I can see them rapidly moving to call routing applications that use the OCS core as a base for their own applications.

One of the most interesting aspects is the potential for vicarious interoperability between established systems using OCS as a mediator, although I am sure this will be a licensing minefield.

exciting times ahead….