Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

MobileViews Blog 1st Anniversary
Although the site has been around for many years, this version of the blog just reached its first anniversary since its relaunch on July 22, 2006.

The blog had been down for many months after one of those former web hosts and broken software sob-stories. And, it took a while to decide to get back to blogging after that horrible experience.

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to visit this blog more than once :-) And, a special thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to comment on a blog post. When you agree, disagree, or correct an error on my part, it is all appreciated.

Windows Mobile Standard Edition Wireless File Transfers?
I discovered today that the little Windows Mobile videos I've been posting to YouTube has actually generated some questions via YouTube email over there. I created those videos to illustrate things I talk about in this blog. So, I didn't pay much attention to them. Some of the comments are interesting though. So, I'm going to try to muddle through a few this week. Here's one from DargonPacer to start things off...

Just got my Dash a few days ago.. AWESOME device. I am able to connect to wifi and surf, but I cannot find out how to transfer files via wifi.(I want to be able to just drag and drop files on the laptop into the dash, w/o using ActiveSync)

I wouldnt mind using active sync over wifi or bluetooth so much, but I cant get either to work..followed your tutorial, didnt help. When it is connected via USB, all works well including active sync, but the only thing I can do with the wifi is surf faster.

The bluetooth pairs fine and the bluetooth software on my laptop 'sees' the phone (and the phone 'sees' the laptop), but active sync wont connect. Have tried using various serial ports (making sure to add correct comm) and all that..

I have the latest Active sync on my laptop and the days SAYS it has Windows Mobile 6 Standard (CE OS 5.2.1236 (Build 17741.0.2.1)) on the Dash (came with it). Any suggestions?

Couple of comments: First, IMHO Bluetooth under Windows XP or Vista is iffy at best. I, for example, was unable to use my Microsoft Bluetooth Presenter Mouse on my Dell D620 notebook after the June Patch Tuesday. I can't diagnose your particular bluetooth problem. But, I can address your other question. Be warned, however, it doesn't offer much help.

Microsoft removed the ability to use ActiveSync over WiFi with the introduction of Windows Mobile 5 and Active Sync 4. Older (Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Ed.) should be able to sync over WiFi using AS4 because it actually drops back to AS3.8 code when it sees pre-WM5 devices.

If you used a Pocket PC (Professional Edition) instead of a Smartphone (Standard Edition), you might have been able to use File Explorer's Open Path function to access a shared directory on a network. But, honestly, that has been an iffy proposition too in my experience.

So, short of using a USB connection, putting the micro-SD card in a reader, or emailing a file attachment to yourself, I don't see any other alternatives (perhaps someone who does know of one can chime in here). You might want to get a second set of eyes to look at your PC's Bluetooth configuration to see if you can get it working with ActiveSync.

Misc. T-Mobile Dash Questions from my YouTube Mailbag
Here's another Windows Mobile question I found in my YouTube mailbag. This one is from dagdag32.

so on my wondering how do u change da background to oother wuns dat dont come wit da phone....and how do u put new games and upgrade it to a bettel windows mobile.

First, it sounds like you would really benefit from just spending 30 minutes exploring your Dash. It is a very rich device and well worth learning more about. You'll find yourself getting a lot more productivity and enjoyment from it by becoming more familiar with Windows Mobile in general and features specific to the Dash.

Take a look at the manual that came with the Dash. If that is not enough, browse through some of the excellent books covering Windows Mobile. I can heartily endorse my friend Frank McPherson's excellent WM5 book: How to do Everything with Windows Mobile. It was written for WM5 devices. However, a good chunk of it still applies to WM6.

Fortunately, T-Mobile made the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade for the Dash available free of charge. You can find and download it from the T-Mobile USA (assuming you are in the US) website.

T-Mobile Dash Video Recording Limits?
T-Mobile Dash video file size options
Today's question from the YouTube mailbag is from mstakkrid who asks:

anyway how long is the video running time for this phone?! does anyone know?

The screen cap of the Dash's video recording limits options screens shows you the recording limit options available. Basically, you only need to set this if you do not have a microSD storage card in the Dash. If you have a reasonably large microSD card (I see a Kingston 2GB microSD card for $22.99 with free shipping at Amazon), you can consider choosing the No Limit option I use. The 3 minute 49 second raw AVI file I posted on YouTube as a video demo (after converting it to WMV) is 12.8MB. You can get much smaller video files by using the higher compression MPEG4 format. However, you won't be able to use low-end tools such as Microsoft's free MovieMaker to edit those files.

Windows Mobile View Menu Options All (or mostly all) at Once
Example menu list view
The list of Window Mobile video size options in yesterday's blog entry reminded of something that may not be common knowledge to Smartphone (Standard Edition) users: The Smartphone often presents single line scroll lists that let you scroll up and down in a single character high text window to select an option (say the reminder period for a calendar event). The next time you see one, try pressing the select button instead of scrolling up or down. There's a good chance you will see the option expand to a full screen size showing you as many of the options as possible on the screen. You still need to scroll, but it lets you quickly scan and decide which of many options to choose.
Yahoo! Go 2.0 for Windows Mobile
Yahoo! Go 2 Wide Beta Release
The earlier releases of Yahoo! Go 2 for Windows Mobile only worked on a small number of devices. However, if you visit the new...

Yahoo! Go 2.0 page for Windows Mobile devices

... you will find a huge number of supported Windows Mobile PDAs and Smartphones. I installed it on a Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition (Pocket PC) and a Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone. The over-the-air installation directly to the device using the direct installation site...

...went smoothly. The initial application startup was very slow. I suspect it is because Yahoo! Go attempts to cache as much as possible before displaying the initial screen. What they should do is cache 2 or 3 of the most used initial features (probably email, maps, and news), display the screen, then continue caching other content. The app seemed much faster than previous beta releases. However, they retain the same non-intuitive (from a Windows Mobile user point of view) GUI interface. Menus are navigated from the bottom-up instead of the top-down menus that most WM apps use. The side-scrolling menu on a Pocket PC is even more puzzling because choices are relative rather than direct: If you tap an icon 2 icons away from the center icon under focus, the menu just moves 1 icon in the direction your tap occured instead of selecting the icon you actually tapped.

The mostly text web site is much faster to use and as a lot more content available. But, Yahoo! definitely deserves brownie points for making their app available in native binary form for pretty much every modern Windows Mobile devices out there.