Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

Microsoft SyncToy + Windows Mobile = No Luck

Microsoft updated their SyncToy PowerToy to version 1.4 last November. But, I only got around to trying it this evening. SyncToy's function is to synchronize files in two different folders. One obvious use is to sync files from a digital camera's storage card to a PC's hard disk. Another, one would think (at least I did),would be to sync from a Smartphone's or Pocket PC's. Unfortunately, SyncToy can't see beyond the Mobile Devices folder of a synced Windows Mobile device during the Folder Pairing process. So, you can't use it with a Pocket PC or Smartphone synced with the PC. Too bad. Perhaps, the company that wrote SyncToy and the company that designed Windows Mobile should talk to each other. Oh wait, never mind...


Yahoo! oneSearch Mobile

Yahoo! seems to be trying to provide more than one way for us to use their services from a mobile device. The client software for Yahoo! Go provides an attractive interface but was very slow on my Pocket PC and wasted too much screen real estate IMHO. Recently, it looks like they took the content from wap.oa.yahoo.com mobile web portal and moved it to...

m.yahoo.com

This mobile web portal has the same lightweight and lightning fast mostly-text interface from the wap design and added the oneSearch feature that provides a mixed result page that reminds me of Google's SearchMash site. oneSearch returns results categorized as Web (all of the web), Mobile Web (results of pages that look good on a mobile device), and Web Images.


Migrate Your Windows Live RSS Feeds to Ilium NewsBreak

Remember all the ugliness a few weeks ago when some people lost their Google RSS feeds because of some glitch on Google's servers? Interestingly enough, if you use Microsoft's Windows Live web page as your RSS feed collector, you can avoid this by using a somewhat hard to find Live feature. And, as a side benefit, this procedure lets you migrate all your Windows Live RSS feeds to Ilium's NewsBreak RSS/Podcast feed reader for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones.

Here's what you can do.

  • Start Windows Live and, if needed, login to your personal page
  • Click on the Add stuff link near the top left of the page
  • Click on the Advanced tab
  • Take a look at the last line of the box that just opened up. Find the line that reads Click here to export your feed subscriptions to OPML.
  • Click on the word here in that line
  • A new window or tab will open up at this point and show you the OPML XML code containing all of the feeds in all of your Windows Live page tabs.
  • Click File
  • Click Save As
  • Save the OPML XML code to a file on your PC

Assuming you have Ilium Software's NewsBreak 2.0 installed on your Pocket PC or Smartphone, sync your device with your PC. Then, copy the OPML file you created using the steps above over to your Windows Mobile device. Now, start up NewsBreak and use its New Channel Wizard to import the OPML file. NewsBreak doesn't have a check all option in this wizard. So, if you have a lot of feeds in Windows Live like me, it might take a little while to check off all the feeds for NewsBreak to use. But, this is not too painful. You might want to use NewsBreak's option to store the feed data on your storage card after this. But, otherwise, that's it. You not only have a backup of your Windows Live RSS feed collection, you also have a portable version on your Windows Mobile device.



Tumblr.com is Mobile Format Friendly
Tumblr is a free web tumblog (sort of a minimalist blog format) service that lets you quickly post text, links, photos, videos and other data. I just noticed the other day that it also provide a mobile device display friendly format. Just add a /mobile after a tumblog's URL. You can see the mobile display version of my tumblog, for example, at:

http://mobileviews.tumblr.com/mobile


Twitter Mobile

Do you Twitter? It seems like everyone is either Twitter-ing or Jaiku-ing these days. And, those who aren't, seem to be life-casting. But, sharing your life via text seems a lot cheaper and easier to do than videocasting your life. The one exception may be those who chose to use Twitter via SMS and found a large text messaging bill the next month (unless they had unlimited SMS service, of course).

Twitter has a new mobile browser friendly site at...

http://m.twitter.com/

...that lets the rest of us (assuming a decent mobile data service bandwidth) twitter on the go using a mobile device with a web browser.


BusinessWeek's Mobile Experiments

BusinessWeek appears to be trying out two different approaches to providing content to mobile devices. Their original Handheld Edition (right side of image) found at http://pda.businessweek.com/ has a simple clean interface that provides a lot of textual content per click (think Google). Their newer dot-mobi site found at http://www.businessweek.mobi/ looks somewhat graphically richer (think Yahoo or MSN) but provides much less textual content per click. You need to make a lot of clicks and endure download pauses to read a whole article. Essentially we have form-over-content (the dot-mobi site) vs. content-over-form (the PDA site). I hope BusinessWeek maintains both presentation options since it is pretty certain that both will appeal to different types of readers. We can only hope other content producers follow BusinessWeek's lead in experimenting with mobile content presentation.


The Camera Phone Book: Comments on the Advice from This Book

The USA Weekend insert in my local paper has an interesting full page article title How to make the most of your camera phone that gets its information from the new book The Camera Phone Book: How to Shoot Like a Pro, Print, Store, Display, Send Images, Make a Short Film by CNet's Aimee Baldridge and and National Geographic photographer Robert Clark. I haven't read this book. But, based on the co-authors' credentials, I'll guess it is a pretty good book. I do have some issues and additional advice for the tips extracted from the book in the USA Weekend article though. I'll go through the two lists of advice from the main article and its sidebar.
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