Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

Raise Your Hand if Your IT Dept. Supports Windows Mobile

I read Gerardo Dada's MSDN Blog item titled Windows Mobile eMail Troubleshooting with the hope of getting some insight on topic. Then, I read the key sentence:

If step 2 fails then you need to chat with your IT department.

Um, say what? Let's think this through. From my observation, the vast majority of Windows Mobile device users do not have an IT department to consult with. And, for the ones whose organizations do provide them a WiMo device, their IT group is probably so busy with Windows Server, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and a bunch of server and desktop applications that they are not really focusing on WiMo support.But, let's say I'm wrong. Let's say that 80% of all WiMo users are part of an organization that handed them a WiMo device and supports it fully. Why would those people need to read a blog to fix their email problem? Wouldn't they just go to their IT department first? And, what about the other 20% (which is probably more like 95%) of WiMo users? Let's say that there are 10 million WiMo units out there in use. If 80% is enterprise supported, that still leaves 2 million people without support of any kind.

I think a reality check is needed here. The vast majority of people I have spoken or emailed with over the past 10 years do not have an Exchange Server or are not allowed to connect to it with their WiMo devices. So, we really need some non-Exchange based ActiveSync/WMDC/email support. Even those of us who do work for large organizations often (usually) do not have WiMo support (there may be Palm OS or Blackberry support though).

Is 0×85002002 Meaningful to You???

There is no doubt in my mind that no matter how much you like a Windows Mobile smartphone or Pocket PC, you will one day have an epic battle with ActiveSync or its Windows Vista counterpart WMDC. And, on that day, if you look through a log file, you may find a meaningful message such as 0×85002002. This tells you so much, right? It turns out that this code means ActiveSync ran out of memory. That is obvious, right? Sure it is. Fortunately, Jason Dunn over at Pocket PC Thoughts has been contracted by Microsoft to explain this gobblygook and found that Palm has a great customer support web page that deciphers ActiveSync's otherwise useless error codes. You can find it at...

ActiveSync error messages when trying to sync a Windows Mobile device

I suggest you bookmark this page on multiple bookmark sites so you can always find it.

Facebook iPhone Site Snubs Windows Mobile

Facebook iPhone site

I mentioned a while back that the Digg iPhone website wasn't viewable on Windows Mobile devices. Well, we WiMo users are being left in the browser dust again. This time it is the Facebook iPhone formatted site. The site still works for WiMo and other mobile platform users. But, it is still kind of irritating to be left behind again. Ah well.

FYI: The screen cap above was taken by using Firefox on a Mac (it works on Windows too).

BTW/FYI: If you are on Facebook, I created a Facebook MobileViews group. Drop by. Say hello. Tell us about your iPhone, Nokia, WiMo, or any other interesting mobile device.

Podcasting on the Move

I'm still playing around with the idea of podcasts for my two main blogs (this one - MobileViews - and my Freeware/Open Source blog - OgasaWalrus). The Blogr web service that lets me easily post Podcasts and even videos has been a huge factor in working towards this goal. They just applied a fix to let their users email audio files directly from a mobile device and post it as a podcast. I recorded a short audio clip on my T-Mobile Dash and posted it today. You can find all 14 seconds of it at...

MobileViews Mini-cast 4: Blogr email podcast test

There are, however, two problems I need to deal with before I will feel comfortable with the process. First, Windows Mobile smartphones appeared locked in at 11KHz for recordings. I would really prefer to record at 44KHz. Second, even at 11KHz, the resulting WAV file is pretty large (e.g., 14 seconds = 320KB). This can take a long time to upload using the pokey ol' T-Mobile EDGE network (and, no, I don't want to move to AT&T Wireless or Sprint/Verizon). So, I need to find an audio recorder that can produce smaller MP3 files. Three apps that look interesting are Resco Recorder, Vito SoundExplorer, and Vito AudioNotes. Unfortunately, only AudioNotes works on a Smartphone. The other two are for Pocket PCs.

Any comments on those three apps would be appreciated. And, any recommendations beyond those three apps would also be appreciated.

Finding/Getting Windows Mobile Support

From a gadget owner's point of view, there is nothing more frustrating that one that isn't working the way you think it should. One comment posted here is how do you contact Microsoft for a Windows Mobile problem. You can find direct Microsoft contact information at...

Microsoft: Contact Us

Be aware that there may be a fee involved if you contact Microsoft for support for a specific problem outside of your initial support period (right after you buy a device). I suggest visiting one of the many mobile device community sites. Here's a couple created by Microsoft itself to consider...

Microsoft Public Newsgroups (NNTP client such as Outlook Express or Vista Mail required)

Microsoft Windows Mobile Owners Circles Forums (web based)
There are also many excellent 3rd party sites with large and active communities. You might want to start two that were founded and managed by an old friend of mine: Jason Dunn.

Pocket PC Thoughts (AKA Professional Edition & Classic Edition)

Smartphone Thoughts (aka Standard Edition)

There are, of course, many other great sites. And, I'll list them somewhere on MobileViews later. But, I have to rush off to my day job now :-)

Dell is Still the #4 PDA in Sales???

If you look at the chart in the IDC report...

IDC Worldwide PDA Sales'll note that Dell is the #4 worldwide PDA seller. Since Dell got out of the PDA business earlier this year, this can't be good news for the PDA industry.

MobileViews Mini-casts 2 and 3: More Windows Mobile Audio Recording Testing

I posted two more MobileViews Mini-casts (very short audio files) that can be found at...

MobileViews/OgasaWalrus Podcasts

Mini-Cast #2 is an audio recording created using an HTC S710 (Vox) Windows Mobile 6 smartphone. Mini-Cast #3's audio recording was created using an old Dell Axim X50v Pocket PC (Windows Mobile 2003 2nd Edition). I used it because it is the only WiMo device I have that can use an external microphone (mini-plug type) for audio recordings.

You'll notice that the HTC Vox' recording sounds a lot tinnier than the Dell Axim. This is because WiMo smartphones only allow recordings at 11KHz. Or, more correctly, I can't find a way to change the audio recording quality settings on a smartphone. I changed the Axim's audio recording setting from the default 11KHz to 44KHz.

Having tested a couple of devices for audio recording quality, I think it is pretty reasonable to use a Pocket PC as a recording device for Podcasts. Smartphones are ok but produces recordings that are not as clear as Pocket PCs set to record at 44KHz. I'll guess that running a smartphone's audio file through something Audacity for post processing could clean it up and make it sound better though. Finally, I didn't think using an external mic with a Pocket PC sounded any better than using the PPC's internal mic. And, of course, the odd drop-outs when recording using the external mic isn't a good thing either.