Catégorie: "Mobile & wireless"

Palm to XP synching via IR

I still carry around that vintage Palm V that I still haven't replaced by a smartphone to carry around things like my address book and some access codes (heavily encrypted).

Since I moved my email/outlook to my newer Presario X1005 laptop I was a little bit annoyed though... that laptop has no RS 232 serial port! Thus, I cannot connect my vintage Palm craddle and cannot hotsync my email address book no more the way I have been doing it for years... |-|

I thought it would be wise to buy an USB to RS232 adapter... but these aren't actually easy to find. I finally got one on ebay, but that peace of crap came with an unverified XP driver... and I think there's a reason for that: the device worked properly only twice over about 50 desperate attemps... >:XX

Then, I remembered that RS232 ports may have been heavily replaced by USB ports but IR ports have not been wiped out by Bluetooth yet... That sounded so easy I wondered why I hadn't thought about IR earlier! Morevover, I had done that kind of IR sync before on an NT 4 laptop... :crazy:

Well, it isn't quite as easy as it seems... that IR port just wouldn't act like a serial port, so there was no way to get the palm hotsync manager to listen to it. :!: Huh? What's that, it worked on NT 4 a few years ago!

A few days later I finally realized that I needed a missing brick over the IR port driver: a virtual COM port driver! :idea:

Luckily, the open source community has produced such a thing:

Even better: it works like a charm! B)

Now I just wonder: did I install something like that on NT 4? Well, now that I'm thinking about it... I have a vague memory that I did... :oops:

2004: year of the mobile apps

As Russel puts it: 2004 is the year of the mobile [applications]. (Okay, here in France, it might shift to 2005, but whatever...)

Of course, the two main markets here are:

  • mobile games (play while commuting...)
  • and mobile enterprise applications (sales forces enpowerment/reporting...)
Well, it wouldn't make sense to develop mobile games on any other technology than J2ME since no other technology is as widely available on a variety of trendy phones... the ones the targetted audience will buy, or already has bought.

However, regarding enterprise applications, the equation is quite different. The targetted users often do not have a recent (smart)phone (they just don't care that much, as long as they can use their phone to call! :P) and even if they have: it doesn't matter! Actually, the cost of new phones with a specific technology will just be a fraction of the cost for the global distributed application. Therefore, Microsoft smartphones and Palm based smartphones are just as well positionned to be used for mobile enterprise applications! Actually, the advantage may go to the platform that provides the most efficient middleware/framework to speed up development!

Another question remains: while a color phone screen and a keypad are enough for playing games, we yet have to check what screen size and input method are appropriate to fill out forms. Maybe connected PDAs will prove more relevant... (just add a bluetooth headset for phone capabilities). Personnaly, I tend to think that smartphones with large screens (P900, Sendo X, 6600, SPV E200) will do the trick, but we really need a reality check here! :!:

A journey into WiFi

I'm on a train right now (typing this into TextPad) and I'm sort of realizing that the WiFi ubiquity I have been experiencing for the past few weeks was actually an illusion! :-/

It all started last month when I bought a new laptop with built in WiFi. It's the kind of gadget you just can't leave unused, even if it's hidden deep inside the machine. You know it's there and you just gotta check it out.

I thought the cheapest way to give it a try was to buy an USB WiFi adapter and plug it into my desktop. So I went for a Netgear USB key and quickly set up an 'ad-hoc' network between my laptop and my desktop. (For the record, the laptop uses an Intel "centrino family" WiFi chip.)

The other way to go would have been to buy a standalone WiFi access point, maybe even one that's merged into an ADSL modem. This would be called 'infrastructure' mode. I thought ad-hoc and infrastructure were basically the same, except I would not have had to turn on the desktop to act as an internet router everytime I wanted to access the Internet from my laptop. So I decided I'd simply go the cheap way.

Well... I was wrong.

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Du Microsoft dans les téléphones Nokia et HandSpring :!:

Incroyable mais vrai, Microsoft va désormais facturer $0.25 pour chaque appareil utilisant le système de fichier FAT, c'est à dire tous les appareils stockant des fichiers sur des cartes mémoire: appareils photo numériques bien sûr, mais aussi smartphones... y compris, ceux fonctionnant sous Symbian ou PalmOS, c'est à dire se positionnant comme des alternatives à l'OS de Microsoft... :|

Si vous trouviez que UNISYS ne manquait pas d'air de demander des licences sur un format d'image aussi basique que le GIF, que pensez vous de Microsoft qui facture sans aucune honte un système de fichiers qui n'est pas seulement basique mais carrément obsolète, peu performant et défaillant en termes de sécurité?

On devrait toujours se méfier des standards de fait...

Sendo X unveiled

Sendo X

Sendo has unveiled more of its Sendo X in a press conference today. Let's tell it as it is: that smartphone totally rocks! It's even better than what we could expect from previous announcements.

Of course, in this industry, product cycles are very short, so it's only going to be a matter of months before someone (Nokia?) comes out with something better (I mean a better smartphone, not an experimental device like the 7700! :>>).

The Sendo X should be priced around 500 € (unsubsidized) and actually includes pretty much everything you could wish from a smarphone: compact, true phone form factor, normal keyboard, color display (176*220*16), integrated camera with flash, recording and playback of video (15 fps), sound, music, support of standard formats (mp3, mpeg...)

And of course, it runs on Symbian + Series 60 with Java/MIDP support.

One thing I was pretty unsure of until now, was if it was possible to connect a stereo headset for mp3 playback as an alternative to the built in accoustic system. Not only is it possible, but the headset is provided in the box! B)

The other good news is that the device supports SD cards up to a 1GB capacity and beyond. That's exactly what you need to store the mp3s you want to listen to and all those sound/video recordings you're going to make. Even better: the SD cards are hot swappable! B)

Actually, the only drawback I could find so far is the lack of support for SD/IO.

Also, I had written before that many pocket devices were going to converge soon and this time has definitely arrived (it only lacks an emebedded GPS! :> ) However, I stated that we'd still want PDAs with larger screens and a pen interface to take notes.

Well... the fact is you don't need to take notes no more! Just record or picture the info! You'll process it later anyway. ;) Moreover, when you really need to enter text (for email for example) you can always use T9. (That is for western countries with limited alphabets... :>>) However, for massive emailing, you'll probably want to get the external keyboard accessory. Plus, stylus technologies aren't so reliable anyway!

I am glad I managed to wait that long to replace my aging PDA and phone, because the SendoX is definitely going to replace them both at the same time, with increased efficiency on all my previous plans! ;D

Can't wait! Gotta check availability in France. :)