Author Archive: Mark McKenna

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By June 19, 2007 Read More →

Portable Battery Charger – JAVOedge

Just got a new bit of kit “hot off the press” from JAVOedge. Not sure batteries come from presses actually, but moving on…

Portable Battery Charger1

Most of the stuff JAVOedge sell, can admittedly be found elsewhere. You know the stuff – 99p off ebay with £20 postage from Hong Kong etc. If you want that, then off you go. But one thing I’ve noticed, not just from this item, but from JAVOedge branded stuff in general – is the quality. It looks and feels well made, rather then just random bits of plastic stuck together with a glue gun.

Onto the battery then. I was a bit unsure as to its use when I received it. I drive a lot, and have chargers in my house and workplace. I have a car charger for the… er car as well.

So where does it fit in? Luckily enough, being a northern monkey, the weather helped out by flooding my village and cutting off the power. Its just the usefulness of it really. Plug phone into battery. Charge phone. The end. It kept me on the net, it kept up my push email and charged 3 phones off a signal battery charge.

I also found it very useful, when my ever-battery hungry M3100 was required in the ground floor of my home. Unfortunately, it needs to be next to a window, which is helpfully a long way away from the nearest plug. Not a problem anymore – I just take the battery with me.

I’m also gonna be using it when I’m on holiday. Even when you do remember your charger, for some reason, it always seems to end up being discharged, and then theres the fight for the only charger!

Its a simple product, but effective, and genuinely useful. My only bugbear (which is quite important frankly), is that for some inexplicable reason, JAVOedge haven’t included a Nokia adaptor. I found one from another kit that works, but this needs addressing pretty quickly, as its a major limitation.

Portable Battery Charger2

You can buy the Portable Battery Charger from the JAVOedge website

Posted by: Mark

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Posted in: Reviews
By June 14, 2007 Read More →

Orange – Powered by… err… wind?

Are you bored of “emergency chargers”? You know, the pointless single use chargers that generally support Nokia and not much else?

Well worry not. Orange have certainly won today’s award for innovation, with their all new Windy-Charge 500* designed especially for Glastonbury and the festivals

Orange Wind Charger

Orange Wind Charger

The idea is, you fix your wind powered charger to the top of your tent during the day, and your windmill zooms round and charges up a small battery connected below. Then later, when you arrive back, you plug your phone into the battery and charge it back up.

Sounds pretty cool actually, though there’s no info on cost or availability as yet. In fact the only information we have, is that it weighs just 150g and is Orange.

*-This name might have been made up by me. 😳

Posted By: Mark

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Posted in: News
By June 5, 2007 Read More →

Orange SPV brand… Axed!!!

The Orange SPV range, which has covered all smartphones and pdas on the Orange network, is no more

In the beginning, the Sounds, Pictures, Videos brand was given to the first ever Microsoft Smartphone. Commonly known these days as the SPV Classic, it may have been buggy, slow and horrifically irritating, but at the time it was a massive leap forward for the smartphone world. Indeed, without the Orange/Microsoft partnership, and the SPV brand, this site might not exist, and today’s HTC Touch may have been running Symbian!

So, not unexpected I guess, but a sad day for those of us who have been around a while! Orange phones will be branded HTC, in a similar way to Nokia, Motorola et al.

Posted by: Mark

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Posted in: Cameras
By April 24, 2007 Read More →

Orange Unlimited Data – it’s nearly here!

According to The Times today, Orange are finally ready to introduce unlimited, uncapped 3G and GPRS data usage.

Although the £8 unlimited deal has been “around/not around/maybe around” for some time, there has never been any publicity or comment from orange about the tariff.

However, according to the same source, Orange feels that per-mb pricing is keeping customers away (No! really?). Although there’s no fixed date for the introduction of the new plans, the times have managed to get a fair bit of information out of orange.

So how do they shape up?

  Orange T-Mobile
Pay Monthly

£5 offpeak
£8 anytime

£7.50 anytime
Pay-as-you-go £2 a day £1 a day

OK, so its not a web-n-walk killer, but it is a step in the right direction, and for the people who prefer orange, but have been looking at moving, it may be worth holding off a while yet.

Posted By: Mark

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Posted in: News
By April 20, 2007 Read More →

HTC to pressure operators over WM6?

Although I guess by now this is old news, HTC have formally announced that a selection of their own branded devices WILL be eligible for a free Windows Mobile 6 upgrade.

“HTC is also offering WM6 upgrades for the most popular devices in its current range. This includes recently launched “messaging” products, which will enjoy the greatest benefits of Windows Mobile 6, such as the HTC Advantage, the HTC TyTN, the HTC S620, and the HTC P4350. The upgrade will also be available for the award-winning HTC P3300, plus some of our operator-branded devices.”

This is the first time any operator, or device manufacturer have bothered to even consider an upgrade – let alone a fee-free one.

There have, of course, been close calls – I’d bet there’s still a vast majority of C500’s knocking about running the MS test builds of WM5. Very little on the right side of the law though.

Putting aside the praise that should be heaped on HTC for the announcement alone, I believe the upgrades could cause problems for the network operators.

In the UK, I reckon Orange would have decided against an upgrade a long time ago. The problem with the Windows Mobile community is that the vast majority ARE techies, and most will be well aware that the HTC upgrade will work fine on all the operator branded handsets, and know full well how easy it is to flash it to their device.

Once again, the network operators have to weigh up the cost of providing the upgrade, against the cost of answering calls from customers with ‘bricked’ devices. This time, thanks to HTC, they may also have to consider the image their company portrays by refusing an upgrade, made freely available by the device manufacturer.

Posted by: Mark

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Posted in: Phones
By April 19, 2007 Read More →

Internet Sharing in Windows Mobile 6

In Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft have removed the Bluetooth DUN ‘service’ along with our trusty “Wireless Modem” app.

Although this raises some fairly major issues with wireless devices which don’t support the replacement Bluetooth service type (I’m looking at you TomTom!), the new features are well worth persevering with.

I’ll explain as best I can; in early WM5, on the device requiring internet access, we had to create a Dial Up Networking Bluetooth connection, and then explicitly define a connection, rather like using dial up internet in windows.

Internet sharing, and its Bluetooth network access service gets rid of most of that.

Internet Sharing

The Internet Sharing app has just 2 selection boxes. You choose the incoming port (Bluetooth or USB), and select the outgoing internet connection (your GPRS connection). Job done? Nearly…

Now we make sure Bluetooth is turned on, and go back to our internet-free device. Finding our internet-happy PDA/Smartphone is still as normal, but the list of services now lists “Network Access Point”. This is your new best friend. Once this connection is enabled and active, it doesn’t matter if your PDA loses its GPRS connection – as soon as it returns, so does your internet.

Think of it like your ADSL router at home. There’s no dial up connection to drop out, its always on, as long as there is signal. if the signal drops, wait until it returns, and continue, without having to reconnect!

And now here is Microsoft to make more sense of it:

In WM5 AKU3 we introduced a new application called “Internet Sharing”. The technology behind this is actually referred to as Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). But our usability folks decided to drop the word “Connection” since it didn’t fit nicely in the user interface.

omething we’ve shipped as a component in the Windows CE operating system for several releases. We have now brought this technology to Windows Mobile. ICS allows you to share a public network connection (cellular data) with a private network connection (Bluetooth PAN or USB). The phone is basically acting like a your home’s wireless router.

Modem Link

Before Internet Sharing, we shipped an application called Modem Link. This application enables some of the same functionality provided by ICS. Modem Link supported sharing the cellular data connection over USB, IrDA, or Bluetooth. For Bluetooth, the DUN profile was used.

Instead of sharing the Internet connection at the IP layer, as ICS does, Modem Link enables the PC to directly send commands to the cellular radio on the device.

All that remains now is for Bluetooth enabled device manufacturers to support this standard….

Posted by: Mark

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Posted in: Phones
By January 13, 2007 Read More →

Bye Bye Cingular

This monday, US operator Cingular will be rebranded as AT&T Wireless

Cingular logo

Now, sit down, and read the following very slowly…

Cingular Wireless LLC bought AT&T Wireless, then an independent company, and killed off the AT&T Wireless brand. The owners of Cingular, SBC, then decided to buy AT&T and adopted the brand for its landline services. After AT&T bought Bellsouth Corporation, the other owner of Cingular, the AT&T Wireless brand was restored.

Everything clear?

The timing is slightly odd.. what with some news about an… Apple Phone(?) being exclusively Cingular? Those in the know are fine, but will Apple really be that happy with a rebrand just days after their own CES bombshell?

This first step will put in place a transitional logo with elements of the Cingular logo, and AT & T’s own. The 2000 Cingular outlets across the USA will all be updated with AT&T branding in stages throughout 2007.

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Posted in: Phones
By January 5, 2007 Read More →

2GB SD Card for just £15!

Those people at Clove have done it again!

Clove Technology

Currently you can buy a 2GB SD Card for just £15. We’re fairly confident that’s the lowest price you are going to find right now.

Not only that, but if you need a higher spec, faster card then 150x 2GB SD Cards are also on offer for £24.

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Posted in: Phones
By January 5, 2007 Read More →

Virtual Earth Mobile 1.69 released

Virtual Earth Mobile is a funny beast. Microsoft doesn’t appear to push it, support it, or beta test it. Instead one guy, Jason Fuller, takes it upon himself to not only release and occasionally update, but to provide the source Visual Studio product.

The product itself is really good, and definitely a program to show off the capabilities of your device.

Virtual Earth Mobile Large Screenshot

Rather like Windows Live Local, VEM is a small application which allows access to the Virtual Earth servers, with mapping and decent quality aerial imagery too. The original release of the program wasn’t terrible, but suffered some annoying bugs, and in my experience struggled to maintain a connection to the servers.

The new version is very much improved. A brief overview of the updates are listed below (taken from Jason’s blog)

  • For those of you who asked to be able to drag the map with the stylus, I’ve finally gotten around to implementing it.
  • I also added the option of getting directions in text form, for those of you who prefer written directions.
  • And I fixed a bug in “Add to Contacts” that appeared because the server is no longer returning zip codes.
  • Virtual Earth Mobile 1.69 can be downloaded from the Windows Mobile Team Blog.

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    Posted in: Phones