Digital Thoughts : Gadgets relating to my gadget fixation.en-GBCommunityServer 1.1 (Build: LakinDerek Lakin ( '05, 14 Sep 2005 08:33:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:533Derek LakinDerek Lakin (<P>There's a huge amount of new stuff coming out of PDC '05 at the moment. So much, in fact, that I feel like I can hardly keep up!</P> <P>Here's a quick round up of some of the cool things that I've heard about (not necessarily all from PDC):</P> <UL> <LI><A href="#topofpage">Windows Sideshow</A> - an extra mini display <LI><A href="#topofpage">Windows Sidebar</A> - yep the sidebar will definately be in Windows Vista as revealed in the <A href="#topofpage">PDC Keynote</A> <LI><A href="#topofpage">Microsoft Gadgets</A> - Konfabulator-style widgets for Windows Sidebar, but they can also be applied to Windows Sideshow <LI><A href="#topofpage">Microsoft Codename Max</A> - photo presentation and sharing built using WinFX <LI><A href="#topofpage">Umbraco </A>- open source .NET CMS <LI><A href="#topofpage">Google Blog Search</A> - given Technorati's recent addition of the same feature it was inevitable that Google would do the same soon <LI><A href="#topofpage">Microsoft Office 12 Preview</A></LI></UL> <P>Cool stuff for developers:</P> <UL> <LI><A href="#topofpage">Atlas</A> - Microsoft's .NET AJAX library <LI><A href="#topofpage">Virtual Server 2005</A> - according to Ben "<A href="#topofpage">Virtual PC Guy</A>" Armstrong, Virtual Server 2005 will be included in MSDN Enterprise and Universal&nbsp;subscriptions <LI><A href="#topofpage">LINQ </A>- or Lanquage Integrated Query for .NET</LI></UL> <P>Update: <A href="#topofpage">Microsoft Expression Suite</A> has also been announced now, too. This suite consists of Graphic Designer (codenamed Acrylic), Interactive Designer (codenamed Sparkle) and Web Designer (codenamed Quartz). Acrylic seems to be a Fireworks/Photoshop type application and Quartz seems to be a FrontPage-type application. I think the purpose of Sparkle is to help Developers create good looking applications for WinFX. </P> <P>According to <A href="#topofpage">Scott Guthrie</A> "the VS Whidbey WYSIWYG web designer [will use] the Quartz design surface so that [it] can take advantage of its richer CSS and layout editing support".</P> <P>Also just announced at PDC is the <A href="#topofpage">Windows Workflow Foundation</A>.</P><img src="/aggbug_PostID_533.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( ActiveSync 3.8 Released, 07 Jan 2005 11:49:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:374derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>Microsoft have released ActiveSync version 3.8; <a href="#topofpage">download here</a>.</p> <p>Hat tip <a href="#topofpage">Neil</a>.</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_374.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( Case for 17" Laptop, 02 Nov 2004 13:52:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:286derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>My new employer was kind enough to purchase a <a href="#topofpage">Sony Vaio 17" widescreen laptop</a> for me when I started work for them. However, they didn't think to get a carry case at the same time and now I need one. Having scoured our preferred supplier's website I put in the purcahse requisition for a <a href="#topofpage">Dicota BacPac Jump</a> because another website I found somewhere else said that the 17" Apple Powerbook fits in it. </p> <p>In all fairness I don't have a Powerbook, I've got a 17" Vaio, but I figured they were about the same size. The bag arrived today and unfortunately, it's about an inch too short! Can anyone reccomend a rucksack style carrycase for 17" laptops?</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_286.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( Goodness on the PocketLoox 720, 08 Oct 2004 07:46:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:272derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>One of the main reasons for buying the Pocket Loox 720 over something like the DELL Axim X30 or something simimlar was the fact that it was a VGA Pocket PC, rather than the QVGA that most other Pocket P Cs are. My first impression when I started it up was that the screen was clear and crisp and the colours nice and sharp. There was definately a marked improvement over my previous Pocket PC, however this was still actually QVGA, i.e. 240x320. Windows Mobile 2003 SE still doesn't provide the ability to display at a full VGA resolution of 480x640 (portrait). However, thanks to an excellent piece of free software called SE_VGA you can make this happen. There is good review of the differences that this makes over on PocketPCTools .</p> <p>At first I thought that it would be unusable as everything becomes so small, but after bringing the text size up a few notches for the Today screen and actually using a few things I'm really beginning to come round to it. It gives an excellent browsing experience, reading eBooks is better, looking at images is good and using applications like Excel is so much better as there is now so much more screen real estate.</p> <p>The downside comes with things like the taskbar or more specifically the icons on it. Now these are extremely small and therefore harder to hit with the stylus, however, after a screen recalibration I soon started to improve my hit rate. The biggest area that I haven't found a work around for yet is the onscreen keyboard; the increase in screen real estate hasn't increased the size of the keyboard and so 'typing' text is quite difficult now.</p> <p>All in all I'm really happy with running my Pocket Loox at full VGA and will almost certainly continue to do so, all I need to do now is find some 480x640 wallpapers.</p> <p>Via a forum somewhere I also discovered that by installing the trial of Pocket Informant I actually get a full version!</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_272.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( PocketLoox Photos, 06 Oct 2004 19:33:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:271derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>I promised in my earlier <a href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1">Pocket Loox720 First Thoughts</font></a> that I'd post some photos taken with the camera so here they are. The photos I took were intentionally from a similar location and in similar lighting conditions to <a href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1">Landscape Photos At Flickr</font></a> taken previously with my digital camera, which is also a 1.3MP camera.</p> <table class="TableWithoutBorderClass" style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0px" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="2" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="TableCellHighlightedNoBorder" align="middle">FSC PocketLoox 720</td> <td class="TableCellHighlightedNoBorder" align="middle">Fuji FinePix 1300</td></tr> <tr> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td></tr> <tr> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td></tr> <tr> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td></tr> <tr> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td> <td class="TableCellNoBorder" align="middle"><img src="" /></td></tr></tbody></table> <p>All of these and similar photos can be found in my <a title="" href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1">Flickr Landscape PhotoSet</font></a> . All the photos taken with the PocketLoox 720 have been tagged with the tag <a title="" href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1">pocketpc.</font></a> </p><div> <p></p></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_271.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( New PocketLoox 720 Has Arrived!, 05 Oct 2004 09:37:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:268derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>My new FSC <a class="create" title="Click here to create this topic" href="#topofpage"><font color="#000000">Pocket Loox</font></a> 720 has arrived! Now all I need is the time to play with it <img src="" /></p> <p>As soon as I have I'll post some actual pictures of it and some taken with it (it has a 1.3MP digital camera built in). Until then here's a picture from <a title="" href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1"></font></a> :</p> <table class="TableWithoutBorderClass" style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0px" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="2" align="center"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="TableCellNoBorder"><img src="" /></td></tr></tbody></table> <p>You can find their review here: <a href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1">;p2_articleid=25</font></a></p> <p>You can also find more information on it at <a class="create" title="Click here to create this topic" href="#topofpage"><font color="#000000">VGA Pcoket PC</font></a>.com: <a href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1"></font></a> and on the Fujitsu website: <a href="#topofpage"><font color="#4169e1"></font></a></p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_268.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( it a Blog? Is it a Wiki?, 30 Sep 2004 19:35:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:265derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>No it's a Bliki and <a href="#topofpage">David Ornstein</a> (creator of <a href="#topofpage">FlexWiki</a>) has <a href="#topofpage">found it</a> before it's officially launched!</p> <p>I'm a big fan of Wikis, especially FlexWiki and I'm also a big fan of blogs (obviously). Recently I found <a href="#topofpage">Hallgrim Ludvigsen's bliki</a> and decided that this would be a good way of trying out some funky technology so I've done it myself <a href="#topofpage">here</a>. There's more I want to do with it, especially in relation to the formatting to make it a bit more blog-like, but I need to understand <a href="#topofpage">WikiTalk</a> a bit more first.</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_265.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( New Toy!, 29 Sep 2004 09:03:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:261derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>Having only been at my new job for a week, I've finally got my shiny new toy: a <a href="#topofpage">Sony VAIO VGN-A197XP laptop</a>. This is quite a beast as laptops go and is far too heavy to be portable; thankfully I won't need to be doing much of that. However, it's a 17" WUXGA Onyx Black screen running at a resolution of 1920x1200. My photos really don't do it justice.</p> <p align="center"><a href="#topofpage"><img alt="DELL Inspiron 8600c" src="" border="0" /></a> <a href="#topofpage"><img alt="Both Together" src="" border="0" /></a> <a href="#topofpage"><img alt="Sony VAIO VGN-A197XP" src="" border="0" /></a> </p> <p align="center">[click the photos for the full size versions]</p> <p align="left">On the left is my current personal laptop, a <a href="#topofpage">DELL Inspiron 8600c</a> and on the right my new work laptop, the aformentioned Sony VAIO. The two machines are actually a very similar specification, although the Sony has the Centrino 1.8GHz processor and the DELL has the 1.7GHz, the Sony has an 80GB hard disk and the DELL a 70GB, they both have DVD writer/CD rewriter combo drives, WIFI and Bluetooth (although the Sony is a b/g and the DELL just b), the Sony has a 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 and the DELL has a 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600. The real difference comes with the screen: the DELL's is clean, clear crisp and 15.4" widescreen whereas the Sony is a full 17" and somehow manages to be clearer and more crisp!</p> <p align="left">Needless to say I am more than happy with the new toy that my new company have provided for me. However, I did provide them with a quote for a DELL Inspiron 8600c with the 2GHz Centrino and a rucksack style carry case and a 3 year International On Site Next Business day warranty and a port replicator for about £250 less than the company actually paid for the Sony. The powers that be have something against DELL laptops and so it was discarded straight away. So, now they've spent about £250 more and I don't have a port replicator or a carry case or any kind of support contract (other than that provided by our schoolboy IT support monkeys). But do you know what? The Sony screen makes it all worth while!</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_261.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( Notification, 16 Sep 2004 11:12:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:239derek lakinDerek Lakin (<div style="FLOAT: right; MARGIN: 5px"><a href="#topofpage"><img alt="GNotifier" src="/images/gnotifier.jpg" border="0" /></a></div> <p>A while ago I signed up to <a href="#topofpage">GMail</a>, my initial thoughts were that I wouldn't use it much and besides, it's web-based so I'll have to go and check on-line all the time to see if I've got any emails.</p> <p>purely by coincidence I picked up a magazine the other day which had a few tips on using GMail and one of them was to point out the <a href="#topofpage">GTray</a> application that is a system tray notifier for your GMail account. It can even tell you on your Welcome Screen how many GMails you've got, but I don't use the Welcome Screen, so that feature's not too useful for me. I've used for a week or so and although it works well there are a few niggles, like the fact that when it's changed it's icon to tell you you've got mail it remains that way even after you've read your mail until you do a manual refresh.</p> <p>To my delight someone has done an even better notifier and this one is .NET-based too! It's called <a href="#topofpage">GMNotifier</a> and can be found over on the <a href="#topofpage">G2007</a> blog. If I recall correctly he's actually a Digital Thoughts reader too :)</p> <div style="clear:both;line-height:0px;height:0px;font-height:0px;"></div><img src="/aggbug_PostID_239.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( Commission Report Available in Electronic Format for Free, 13 Aug 2004 09:01:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:183derek lakinDerek Lakin (<div style="FLOAT: left; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 4px; MARGIN-RIGHT: 4px"><img src="/Images/911_Commission_Report.jpg" border="0" /> </div>"<a href="#topofpage">The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States</a>" is now available for free download from <p></p> <p>It's available in 8 formats including Adobe PDF, Microsoft eBook and Palm Doc, so it's handy for any gadget freaks with some kind of PDA (like me).</p> <p>You'll need to register (for free) at in order to download it, but you won't need a credit card.</p> <div style="clear: both;" /><img src="/aggbug_PostID_183.html" width="1" height="1">derek lakinDerek Lakin ( Mobile 2003 SE, 14 Jul 2004 08:55:00 GMT31eb02f0-ccfc-4712-8b04-2b5c7351f0c8:156derek lakinDerek Lakin (<p>Now that my wireless network gives me a nice strong signal pretty much everywhere in my house I tend to browse some of the PocketPC-related news sites in the morning on my HP iPAQ h5550 before I get started for work. One of my favourites is <a href="#topofpage">PocketPC Thoughts</a>, which has a layout designed for PocketPCs.</p> <p>To my dismay I read <a href=",29972&amp;sid=0e5bda208723d601d71eb0af93864499">this post</a> this morning. Basically, it seems that neither DELL nor HP will be offering upgrades to Windows Mobile 2003 SE for existing products. Reading the discussions about this it seems that people fall in to one of two camps; they either couldn't care less as they don't see much benefit in SE anyway or, like me, they're really ticked off that the OEMs are forcing their customers to purchase new equipment every time there's an OS change.</p> <p>To my mind one of the most useful features of SE is that it allows the user to rotate the screen to give a landscape orientation, which gives a much better use of the screen for reading web pages or eBooks. I am aware that there are several applications/drivers out there that provide this already. However, I've yet to find one that works on Windows Mobile 2003. If anyone knows of one then please do let me know.</p><img src="/aggbug_PostID_156.html" width="1" height="1">