Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

Email Documents to Google Docs
I'm sure the feature has been around for a while but I only noticed this evening that you can create document files in Google Docs by sending email to it. After logging in to Google Docs, click on the Upload link to read detailed information about how you can bring in foreign files (Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, for example) into Google Docs. If you move your eyes down the page a bit more, you'll see instructions on how to create text documents by email (no spreadsheets yet). It works like this: Google assigns a unique email address to you in the form of username-secretstring@prod.writely.com (Google bought Writely to get their web based word processing techology). You can then either send a simple text email file or an attachment. The text on the subject line becomes the Google Docs document name. And, the text body or attached document file becomes the document text (translated to HTML).

The availability of QWERTY thumb keyboards on current generation phones makes this a simple and convenient way to quickly create easily accessible documents without the need to sync the mobile device by tethering it to a desktop or notebook computer. And, since I view the battle with Microsoft's ActiveSync and Windows Mobile Device Center to be a losing one, anything that gets me away from those sync solutions is a good thing.

Bev Howard's Pocket PC Radar Finder
I tried to post a response to a question about weather radar images on Windows Mobile devices to a Microsoft newsgroup earlier this evening. But, the new Microsoft Mail in Windows Vista decided it didn't have a clue on how to post it to the NNTP newsgroup. So, I figured I'd mention this very cool Pocket PC formatted site here created by a fellow Windows Mobile MVP, Bev Howard:

Pocket PC Radar Finder

Bev's mobile friendly web page lets you quickly and easily find animated radar maps that can be viewed on your Pocket PC (or desktop for that matter). Check it out. Very cool and useful.

Microsoft Device Emulator 2.0-Standalone Release
Microsoft released a new version of their...

Microsoft Device Emulator 2.0 -- Standalone Release

...on April 4. The release information lists 4 major changes (the 5th item is really for Microsoft - Customer Experience Improvement Program). The most important change is probably the performance increase.

Safely Disposing of Old Handheld PCs?
Reader T.W. writes: Hello, my name is [...] and I have a very odd question. I work for [...] and I happen to have lots of Sharp PV-6000 Pocket PC and the university doesn't support these anymore. I am in charge of putting together older computers to put into this yard sale and I have to enter but I need to know something about them. Being that this is a state college before anything can be sold it has to undergo a Department of Defense wipe that wipes out the hard drive and I can't help but notice that there is no way to put in a drive. So my first question is I was told that they wipe after the battery dies, is this true? I have one that I have had unplugged for about 2 weeks and I can't get the battery to run down, mainly because I don't have the time at work to sit and play with it. My next question is if it happens to not wipe the information how could I wipe the hard drive? Before they are sold I have to make sure that there is no State information on it and I am not sure how to go about this. Okay so now that I have asked a lot of questions and confused you (I'm sure) please let me know how to go about this. If I am going into about a computer that you know nothing about I would please like any information you can give me about who to get in touch with that might know. I have checked on Sharp's website and they don't have any info.

First, let me say the following weasel words :-) My response does not constitute advice and does definitely not ensure compliance with any DoD recommended procedures. The main problem is the confounding of assumptions made. So, let's look at these issues...

  • The Sharp PV-6000 is not a Pocket PC. It is a Handheld PC and a rather large one at that weighing in at several pounds and about the size of a small notebook computer.
    * The DoD approved wiping procedures mentioned applies to hard drives. The Handheld PC does not have an internal hard drive. It might have a removable PC Card or CF form factor hard drive that was modestly popular before flash drive sizes increased dramatically. But, these removable storage cards can be dealt with separately. If one needs to follow DoD policy for this particular device, you need to look at their procedure for ensuring data deletion from volatile memory (if such a procedure exists). Volatile memory, btw, loses all its data when power is removed from it.
  • There shouldn't be a need to let the PV-6000's batteries run down. The Handheld PCs I used (including the Vadem Clio that is very similar to the PV-6000) all had removable batteries. Removing the battery should return all settings to factory defaults. An alternative is to check if the PV-6000 had a specific hard reset procedure.


Use the T-Mobile Dash Smartphone as Modem for a Mac (sort of)
If you have a T-Mobile Dash (or some other Windows Mobile Smartphone) and a Mac, take a look at this article and video demo by Brian Jepson...

HOWTO: Tether Your Mac and T-Mobile Dash with Parallels

He explains how a Dash can be used as a wireless modem for an Intel based Mac with Parallels for Mac (virtualization tool) running Microsoft Windows XP as a Guest OS.

T-Mobile Drops the MDA: Is the Pocket PC Phone Edition Doomed?
Too melodramatic a title, I know.

T-Mobile has never had much of a Windows Mobile line-up to start with. They recently dropped the only Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition model they carried: The MDA. This leaves them with two Windows Mobile Smartphone models: The SDA and the Dash.

The most likely reason for dropping the model is because T-Mobile is getting ready to introduce a Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC Phone Edition (now called Professional Edition) to their lineup. But, wouldn't it be interesting if they were the first of the mobile carriers to drop the Pocket PC Phone Edition altogether. Ok, it is unlikely. But still, this is something that will happen in the next year or two IMHO.