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Archive for October, 2008

Run multiple terminals on Windows XP SP3

October 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Since I use my Media Center as a home desktop as well as a video player/PVR, I had used this hack to allow me to log into it remotely, while it was simultaneously being used to play videos on the main display.

Microsoft limit XP systems to only one login at a time – so although you can connect remotely to an XP machine, the local user will be logged out when the remote user connects. One licence = one user for Microsoft.

For those like me who are only one user, but want to do something a bit different, this hack makes things possible. It basically replaces the DLL behind terminal services with an old one which didn’t have the restriction – plus a registry tweak to switch it on. When I installed SP3 recently, it overwrote the hack and I found myself having to reapply it – which, at first glance, seems to be working again!

Of course, you lose any security patches to that DLL. Hopefully there were no biggies…

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Categories: Computing

Simple, cheap, inexpensive mobile charger battery pack?

October 23, 2008 1 comment

This is it – the Maplin N62FX (their stock code). Recommended on another forum to someone who lamented the Touch Pro’s battery life; is this the Nirvana of battery chargers?

I currently have a PowerMonkey Classic battery charger. At the time, I thought it was great – you can charge it from USB, and it has tips for my HTC, iPod, etc. etc.  On the downside, the miniUSB tip sticks out almost 2 inches from the bottom of the phone, and is easy to break – I’ve gone through 3 in 5 months, despite taking care. It’s also £40, and a funny tubular shape, with 2200mAH of charge.

The Maplin charger:
– is small (about the width/height of a 10-pack of cigarettes)
flat and slim (and half the thickness of the 10-pack)
– costs £9.99! So cheap, I bought two!
– claims to store 2000mAH
– comes with USB and even a mains charger – it has one charge in/out port, which is Mini-USB
– comes with lots of tips – although they’re quite bulky, and loose
– has a battery level indicator !!! – 4 green LEDs, which light when you press a button
– has on/off by the same button
– did I say it’s cheap?!?

So? Is it perfect?

It’s certainly convenient. I reach in my bag for both, and press the buttons to see which is charged. I connect one to my Touch Pro, which then sit neatly back-to-back, charging in my pocket. The rubberised coating helps keep them together, too. Back at home, or the hotel, I can use the one MiniUSB cable to charge my phone, then the battery (or batteries), ready for the next day.

However: if this is a 2000mAH battery, then how come it only charges my Touch Pro to 60%, when the Touch Pro is 1350mAH? ie. It should be able to charge it more than once over! So – more like 1000mAH, not 2000mAH. Lucky I bought two!

Also – the tips are a bit clunky. Although both my Touch Pro and the N62FX are mini-USB, I have a folded 30cm cable between the two. No biggie, but a tiny miniUSB-miniUSB would be nice. Can you get one anywhere on the planet? Nope. I’ve tried.

But overall: a good, honest, convenient, cheap portable battery. I love them. So get two!

Getting Microsoft Voice Command to work with HTC Touch Pro and a Jawbone New Headset

October 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Fairly simple.

Even if it gives an ‘Unrecoverable error’ on installation, soft-restart your device, and you should see Voice Command in the settings menu, and also as an application that can be assigned to the Long-Hold Talk Button. It should have installed OK.

Now – if you, like me, have been pressing the main button on your Jawbone New / Jawbone 2….

Stop…

Read the manual….

Activate Voice Command by long-holding the Voice Assassin (rear) button for 2 seconds

You should see Voice Command activate, and hear a beep-BEEP on your headset. Say “Help”. And you’re away.

More HTC Touch Pro Review

October 16, 2008 Leave a comment

So, continuing on my Touch Pro exploration:

In case I didn’t mention it before, you should note that the Touch interface *mostly* works. That means that using the on-screen keyboard or keypad for dialling or typing, is responsive enough that you can use it without thinking – unlike the Kaiser, where you had to allow both for inaccurate tapping, and lag. Here, typing a number in on the screen is a pleasure, and works fine.


Where it doesn’t always work is in swiping – it’s tricky to get it to interpret the movement correctly – such as scrolling down an inbox, and ending up opening an email instead. It can make navigating a pain, when compared to my much-missed jogwheel. Trying to get to a specific point in a document or web page is also a question of endless flicking the screen, or digging the stylus out for the scroll bars. However, it is still slightly better than the Kaiser at this.


Nice Little Feature

If you plug in something to the mini-USB connector, you get this helpful little pane pop up.

Which one shall I use today?

Which one shall I use today?

It’s genuinely useful -touch Internet Sharing, and that’s all you need to do – it effectively runs a macro that opens the usual Internet Sharing app, and selects Connect for you – and hey presto, your laptop is connected!

Keyboard

I’m just about used to the keyboard after a couple of days. The one major remaining annoyance is the SMS button – accidentally press it while typing, and your email will be saved to drafts, and you’ll be flicked back to the SMS screen. Getting back to your email is a long journey…

There’s also a bug: if you choose to use T9 mode when using the touchscreen (which is actually very usable!), then it’ll also be enabled for the keyboard (which is not at all usable). Want to have the best of both worlds? Tough! You’ll have to manually change the input settings each time you switch from one to the other.
(This bug’s reminscent of the Hermes, where using the keyboard while in a call was impossible because it was locked in DTMF-only mode. It seems HTC just didn’t get to these finishing touches…)

Ergonomics
– The stylus makes a return to the right side of the keyboard and phone body – good news for all those righties who had

to reach across for the Kaiser. The magnetic action is also quite nice, but again, the slightly insensitive touchscreen means you have to put a bit of effort behind your prodding
– Speaking of prodding, the slightly insensitive touchscreen (am I too used to the iPod Touch?) makes clicking links in Opera a pain. Stab, stab, and stab again, until you manage to get on the link, and the page opens.

– The Touch Pro defaults to a ‘large font’ for all menus – I assume on the assumption that they expect you to use your finger rather than a stylus. For the most part, it is a good choice – unless the menu is larger than the screen height. In that case, I found that some apps strangely automatically scroll the menu downwards, and you have to grab it and wrestle it back up to the option you wanted (using too-small up and down arrows). Your instinct is to scroll through it by flicking your finger – again, like an iPhone would allow – but it won’t work.

Touch-Wheel

Now, this is the worst one… I learnt the other day that the Touch Pro actually has an Apple-style rotary touch sensor around the D-Pad.  Yep – you heard right – you can actually spin your finger around the rim of the button, and it’ll sense that and act accordingly.

Wow! An alternative to the jog dial!! Excellent! So – you can scroll up and down lists, web pages, contact databases, at lightning speed, right?

No.

What you can do… is Zoom In, and Zoom Out.

Zoom In…… and Zoom Out.

On a couple of applications.

Now – if I had to zoom in and out more frequently that I had to scroll – which is every email, web page, screen that I look at – then this would be great. But I don’t. I need to scroll, and HTC seem to have completely wasted this (probably quite expensive) little add-on.

Zoom In....

Zoom In....

...and Zoom Out...

...and Zoom Out...

So – I guess that’ll be fixed on the next model…

However – overall, I’ve already grown quite used to having the Raphael around. The responsiveness when typing on the screen or switching Portrait-Landscape is pleasant. The looks and solid feel ARE nice… I’m already wondering if I’ll dislike having a Hermes as my backup phone….

Moving from Kaiser to HTC Touch Pro

October 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Well, following my Kaiser’s early demise due to a loss of signal problem (something I’ve had with it before), I’m now on an early upgrade to a Touch Pro. So… as I go through the usual “why did they do that?” process of change, what do I think? – WHERE’S THE JOG-DIAL? Well, OK, the clue is in the name. But, still, the absence of a jog-dial, which most great and good PDA phones (P910, Hermes, Kaiser, most Blackberries), causes a hude drop in productivity for me. Particularly for moving emails around my Outlook folders, and using WMNewMenu5 for quickdials and SMSes (an essential tool for those of you who still have Jogdials!) – Lack of buttons. Hermes had 6 buttons configurable in the settings tab; Kaiser had 5… +1 (a long press on button 5 providing the 6th). Touch Pro has… ONE! A long press of the Dial button. All others are non-configurable. Granted, the Hangup button can be long-pressed to give you a menu with four common commands (eg. silent, Flight modes), but they’re fixed. – D-pad – less distinct than the older phones – you find yourself unable to press any button without pressing another by accident, butg after a day you master the changea – Keyboard layout – changed a fair bit, meaning I’m pressing Enter instead of Delete, CAPS instead of A (and all other left-side keys feel shifted by 1 place), and FN is no longer in the bottom-left corner (why?!). Again, after a day, I’m getting used to them. – Lack of Web/Mail buttons. Again, going through the Touch interface is slower than one button press, although dedicated mail and SMS keys on the keyboard do mitigate this, now I’m getting used to them. – No Windows key (anywhere), and down from 3 OK buttons to just 1 (the ‘back’ button). Again, less convenient, but I’m getting used to it. – Other keyboard issues: the keyboard seems fine – a bit smaller than the Kaiser, but I think I’ll get as fast on this as I was on that. Currency keys ($£€) are welcome, and the dedicated number keys are too. I find myself missing the tilt of the Kaiser and the possibility of finger-typing (only really used when my thumbs were tired), but again, you get used to it… More moans coming up 🙂