• apple,  dell,  mac os x

    Run Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on the Dell Mini 9

    Dell Mini 9 “Hackintosh” running Mac OS X Leopard

    I had no idea this kind of modding was going on with the Dell Inspiron 910, aka the Mini 9! Looks like several teams of hackers have figured out how to boot the Intel processor edition of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard on the Mini 9, which I have sitting on my desk right now.

    Dan, of UneasySilence.com writes:

    “I’m a huge fan of ultra portables! They are small, light and just powerful enough to do what you need to get done. Sure I run Windows (in VMware), but for me the Mac OS better fits my lifestyle, but if you are looking for an ultra portable you are going to have to look beyond Cupertino.

    So, when I got the Dell mini 9 all I wanted to do was put Leopard on it. With a little bit of tinkering and some help from a good blogging buddy Kevin Tofel I was able to painlessly install 10.5.4 on the little guy.”

    For directions on how to bake Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard into your Dell Mini 9, check out UneasySilence.com now.

    [Thanks to Mark and Geri for the tip.]

  • apple,  sprint

    Smartphones, Cellular Networks Disappoint Customers

    Last week, during the Palm/Sprint Pre event, an industry customer return rate of 20% was cited for PDA smartphones. Over the weekend, The New York Times ran an article about spotty 3G wireless network coverage. A smartphone is only as good as the network it is on. If you don’t have cellular coverage you might as well have left your phone back in your office. The same is true for the feature that manufacturers pack into their phones. The fact of the matter is that most customers don’t read the thick user manuals that come with their phones. The result is that customers never realize the full potential of their smartphones.

    For example, Mr. Richtel writes for The New York Times:

    “Oh, the things modern mobile phones can do. They are music-playing, video-taking, direction-providing multimedia powerhouses. But many people have trouble getting them to perform their most basic functions, like making phone calls.”

    “The resulting technological glitches have given many owners of fancy new phones the urge to throw them out the window and onto the highway.”

    The rest of Mr. Richel’s article goes on to talk about customer’s dissatisfaction with their cellular carrier’s 3G wireless networks.

    I think that articles like the one that appeared in The New York Times and statistics like the one Sprint quoted last week show that carriers and manufacturers have a real problem to deal with.

    There is no one silver bullet that will fix this issue for any of the parties involved. Apple, Palm, and Sprint have taken some positive steps. Apple, leading the charge for easy to use devices, has been leveraging their retail Apple Store locations to help educate customers with one-to-one training sessions. You can make an appointment with one of Apple’s Geniuses who will teach you how to use Apple’s products. Can’t make it down to an Apple store? No problem. Apple has a number of short tutorials on their website that explain how to use the iPhone. If people are unwilling to read the user guide, they are likely willing to watch a short video. I haven’t read any statistics on how well Apple’s videos have been received. Sprint’s Ready Now program aims to offer a similar service when you stop in their stores to buy a new phone.

    In store training is good, however, I think Palm is working to make the Pre, powered by their new webOS operating system is also making positive strides to making smartphones easier to use.

    The webOS, according to Palm, will have an “instinctive user interface” and “intuitive and unobtrusive notifications” is suppose to make using the Pre easier to use. The first Palm smartphone that will use the webOS, the Palm Pre, will go on sale later this year. Palm used to have a motto of “Delight the customer.” Any smartphone maker and wireless network operator that can pull that off will stand to gain significant market share.

    Customer frustration with their phones and the carriers they sign a 2-year service contact with is a real problem for the industry. Customers are looking for technology that is simple to use. The good news is that companies like Apple, Palm, and Sprint are moving in the right direction. Hopefully by the time our 2-year contacts are up, things will have improved.

    You can read the full New York Times article on their website.

  • pugcast

    English Language Articles on PUGcast The Blog

    I received a note today from Clemen Schuchert to let me know that PUGcast The Blog has added a feature for selecting English language articles for their readers.

    Mr. Schuchert writes, “[f]or the last months we are facing many international readers and have a language mixture of English and German contributions due to international guest writers and our team of authors. Thus, we provide to filter all entries by language, so the reader can decide on his own whether he wants to read the full scope of articles or only those in English or German (or both).”

    Check out the English language articles over at PUGcast The Blog

  • pre,  sprint,  web os

    Notes from the Palm/Sprint Pre Event

    Yesterday afternoon I attended Palm and Sprint’s Pre event. The following are my notes from the presentation which featured David Owens, Director of Consumer Acquisition for Sprint, and Matt Crowley, Product Line Manager at Palm.

    The show’s host was quick to clear the air about the Palm Pre’s availability date and pricing; that information was not going to be discussed on this webcast.

    Some of Sprint’s customers are too young to remember the Treo 300?! Zoinks! A statement like that tells me that Sprint and Palm are going to targeting teens with the Pre. Or, more accurately, the paying parents of teens. If customers want to enjoy the full benefits of the Pre’s capabilities, subscribing to a Sprint Simply Everything plan is recommended.

    Sprint also indicated that not all of their service plans will be available for the Palm Pre. Expect Sprint to offer the Individual, Family, and Business Simply Everything plans which start at $99.99 a month with the Palm Pre.

    Sprint will also be encouraging their customers to partcipate in their Ready Now program. If you are not familiar with Ready Now, I wasn’t until I watched the webcast and I’m a Sprint customer, it is a program where you can work with a sales associate one-on-one to select your phone, set it up, and then have them teach you how to use it. This may seem like a waste of time for smartphone fanatics like us, but there is a huge pool of customers who find “PDAs” too complex. 20% was tossed out as the generic industry number for the return rate for PDA smartphones. This return rate was mentioned because most people find smartphones too complicated and don’t want to read a 267 page user guide.

    The Palm Pre Smartphone

    When the Palm Pre was developed, it was designed with a polished river stone in mind. There are no sharp edges on the Pre. Everthing is rounded.

    Contact information can come from Google, corporate Exchange servers via Exchange ActiveSync, or Facebook for example. Palm’s Crowley did indicate that data was stored in a local database on the Pre. That should be good news for people who are worried about losing access to their PIM data when the phone is off or when they are in a wireless coverage dead zone.

    The Synergy data synchronization engine works with email, calendar, and the address book. There was no update as to how the Pre will sync with Microsoft Outlook on a PC desktop computer or how customers will be able to migrate data out of Palm Desktop and into the Pre. There are a few ways to move data around now on the Mac and Windows PCs today, but they require that you know how to export and import data using a comma separated values file (.csv files) or a paid utility that pushes data from Palm Desktop into Outlook. Stay tuned on this point. I believe that Palm is working with Chapura to help liberate data in Palm Desktop 3, 4, and 6 and move it to the Pre. Chapura has been helping customers to synchronize data with Outlook for the last 10 years. DataViz may also have a product to help migrate data as they have some experience in this area with their Beyond Contacts application.

    webOS’ search application is called Universal Search. When you start typing in webOS, the software begins searching your phone for the information you are looking for. If the inforation is not found on the device, you are presented with a screen to begin a search on the Inetnet using Google. In the demo, the user has to trigger the search on the Internet. This should also be a comfort to people who like to keep a tight control on how often and how long their phone is connected to the Internet.

    The zoom in/out controls for webOS is exactly like those on Apple’s iPhone/iPod touch. No wonder why Apple’s COO Tim Cook seemed so upset during the recent Apple quarterly earnings conference call. (I’m on the record as saying that there will be no law suit between Apple and Palm.)

    Palm’s Crowley reiterated the same information from the CES demo: notifications in webOS do not interrupt the foreground application like they do today in Palm OS 5. Notifications push up into the bottom third of the screen, but don’t change the focus away from the application that the customer is in the middle of using. That is such a nice feature.

    Crowley also spent some time talking about the coolest feature of the Pre, the Touchstone charging base. Touchstone is a conductive magnetic base that works with the Pre to change the phone when it is at rest on the pedestal. The Pre’s webOS knows that it is on Touchstone and if a call comes in while it is at rest on Touchstone, the call immediately goes to speaker phone mode. The Pre can be used in portrait or landscape mode while attached to Touchstone. The Touchstone charger will be sold as an accessory and will be available at Sprint retail locations when Pre launches. Customers will not be required to purchase a Touchstone and the Pre will come bundled wiht a microUSB charging cable.

    This week’s Pre event was very much about getting the word out about the Palm Pre smartphone and Palm’s continuing partnership with Sprint. There wasn’t a lot of discussion of some of the technical details about how the Pre will sync with your data that isn’t already in the cloud or in a corporate Exchane server. I encougae Palm to start talking about how customers will need to sync their PIM data before the Pre goes on a sale later this year.

  • blackberry,  dataviz

    Documents To Go for BlackBerry Review

    DataViz has recently released Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry (link), version 1.006. I have been working with Documents To Go on my BlackBerry Curve 8330 for about a month now. Documents To Go is my “gotta have it” application for all of my mobile devices and my expectations for the new BlackBerry edition where going to be high.

    Most new BlackBerry smartphones will come with Documents To Go Professional preinstalled. Existing BlackBerry customers must be running BlackBerry OS 4.5 or later before they can install and use the software. Sprint customers will have the Professional Edition installed on their Berry when they upgrade to BlackBerry OS 4.5 or later. If you are not sure what version of the BlackBerry OS your device has, please consult your owner’s manual or contact your wireless carrier for assistance. DataViz has posted an article on their blog to help customers download BlackBerry OS updates if they need them.

    As with all of the other editions of Documents To Go, you can read, create, and modify Microsoft Office documents created with versions 97-2008 on the Windows or Mac OS X platforms. A list of key features for Documents To Go for BlackBerry can be found on the DataViz website.

    If you have used Documents To Go before, say on a Palm OS Centro, you will find yourself at home with the BlackBerry edition.

    Word To Go, the application that I use the most in the suite, has a clean interface that allows you to focus on the open document. Pressing the BlackBerry button will conjure up a menu of commands, including one for the online Help system. DataViz’s InTact Technology ensures that your document’s formatting remains the same on your desktop computer after it has been modified on the BlackBerry. Another great feature of Documents To Go for BlackBerry is the ability to email your current document. After selecting “Send via Email” from the application’s pop-up menu, you are presented with a standard email compose screen with your document already included as the attachment. This is a great time saving feature if you email Office documents to customers or coworkers frequently.

    DataViz has also done a great job tuning the PDF To Go application. PDF To Go has received a considerable speed boost with this release. My BlackBerry Curve 8330 was able to open my sample PDF file twice as fast when compared to my Palm Treo 750 and 755p. The Curve took 15 seconds to open and render my 6 page document. The same document took 30 seconds on the Treo. If you press the scroll wheel while reading a PDF document, a contextual menu pops open and gives you access to the Zoom, Next, and Previous page commands. If you are reading the document from the top of the page to the bottom, this may not seem like a bid deal. However, when you need to skim though the document, the BlackBerry interface for next page/previous page is nicer than on other platforms.

    Slideshow To Go and Sheets To Go also performed well with my sample documents. A 25 page PowerPoint 2007 presentation rendered the way that I expected. Interestingly, the yellow slide title text appeared as black; which to me is only a minor issue. (This may have been an operator error as I’ve only had Office 2007 for about three weeks.) Changing to a new slide and zooming in and out on a slide was fast. Once you have zoomed in on a slide, you use the trackball to scroll around. Slider sorter is a new feature that people who use PowerPoint often will appreciate.

    In my tests, Sheets To Go did a good job of handling my parts lists and inventory sample spreadsheets. It did have some trouble with a spreadsheet that was setup as a form. In my test file, I had a number of cells with word wrap turned on in Excel that did not wrap in Sheets To Go. This could be a problem if you are using spreadsheet-based forms on your mobile. When you bring the file back to the desktop computer, the original document formatting is maintained, thanks to the InTact engine.

    Customers who are migrating from the Palm OS platform should be aware that the BlackBerry edition of Documents To Go does not have a desktop application for synchronizing documents. If you want to transfer files between your BlackBerry’s storage card and your desktop computer, you will need to use the phone’s drive mode and copy files to and from the card.

    In conclusion, DataViz has hit another home run with their new version of Documents To Go for the BlackBerry. The InTact Technology does a superb job of keeping the look and feel of the original document after it has been modified on the mobile device. The application navigation is easy to learn and use. DataViz’s Documents To Go will turn your smartphone into a powerful, work from anywhere solution. Berry addicts are going to gain a lot of utility from this must have application.

    Documents To Go Premium Edition for BlackBerry can be purchased for $69.99. Upgrades from a previous edition of Documents To Go costs $29.99. For more information about the Documents To Go family of products, visit the DataViz website.

  • android,  google

    Ringo Pro Released for Android

    Little did I know that today was going to be “Android Day” here on Smartphone Fanatics.

    I just received word from the good folks across the pond in the United Kingdom that Ringo Pro is now available for Google’s Android platform.

    “Electric Pocket’s Ringo Pro, the top-selling ringtone manager for smartphones, is now available for smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system, such as the T-Mobile G1. The new Android version of Ringo Pro enables users to set their own MP3 tunes as ringtones for both calls and SMS messages as well as offering a number of phone personalization options.

    “Changing ringtones is a very popular way for users to personalize their smartphones,” says Iain Barclay, Electric Pocket’s Chief Product Officer. “Ringo Pro makes changing ringtones easy and fun, as well as making useful features like personal caller tones much more accessible.”

    Ringo Pro is available for users to download direct from their handsets through the Android Market for £2.69 (approximately US$3.99). A slimmed down version, Ringo Lite, is also available for users who wish to try Ringo before purchasing. More information on Ringo can be found at Electric Pocket’s web site, http://ringomo.com.”

  • android,  dataviz,  google

    RoadSync, Documents To Go Coming to Android

    I just noticed that over on the DataViz website there is a teaser page up that should get Android users excited. It looks like it is a lock that DataViz’s award winning Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and mobile office suite applications, RoadSync and Documents To Go will be coming to a Google-powered phone near you soon.

    To sign up for a notification when the software ships here

  • iphone,  mobile apps 360

    Mobile Apps 360: Lose It!

    Mobile Apps 360 takes a look at mobile software for your Palm OS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and iPhone/iPod touch smartphones that will help keep your favorite mobile gear fresh with new software.

    Lose It! is my new favorite application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch. This free application from FitNow is a great way to help you set a weight loss goal and stick to it.

    To get started with Lose It!, all you have to do is answer a few simple questions to setup your weight loss plan. Once you have your plan in place, the Goals screen will allow you to track your progress.

    Now that your plan is ready, you enter the foods you eat into one of four categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks. You will need an active Internet connection (G3 or Wi-Fi) to search the online database. You can also add custom foods and recipes if you want. As I have used the software, I have found most of the foods I’ve been eating in the online database. If I can’t find an exact match, I’ve found an item that was close enough. For the things that I couldn’t find, I’ve added a recipe for quick entry into my daily calorie log.

    In addition to being able to track what foods you eat, you can also track your exercise in Lose It!. The execrise database, which is stored on the iPhone or iPod touch, is very extensive. It covers everything from walking to dancing, to lawn mowing.

    I’ve been using Lose It! for about two weeks now and I have been able to lose 5 lbs in two weeks without chaning what I eat or increasing my exercise routine. In the end, Lose It! has helped me make better choices about how much to eat.

    As with any diet and exercise regiment, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting.

    Lose It! is available now from the Apple App Store.

  • blackberry,  rim

    Telus Flips for BlackBerry 8239

    According to a post on the Boy Genius Report website today, Canadian cellular carrier, Telus Mobility, is now offering the new BlackBerry Flip 8230 smartphone. BGR writes:

    “Starting at $49.99 on a three-year contract and going all the way up to $449.99 contract-free, TELUS is hoping the youth market in Canada will receive the clam shell smartphone with open arms — especially younger females considering TELUS’ nation-wide media campaign featuring the all pink Pearl Flip.”

    Read the full Boy Genius Report article

    [via BoyGeniusReport.com…]

  • microsoft,  windows mobile

    Microsoft My Phone Beta

    A few weeks ago I submitted my name to participate in the Microsoft My Phone public beta. My Phone is a service from Microsoft that will allow you to:

    • Back up and restore your phone’s information to a password-protected web site
    • Access and update your contacts and appointments through your web account
    • Share photos on your phone with family and friends

    Last Friday I received my invitation into the program. Check back later in the week for my opinions on the service and how well it works with my Palm Treo 750 smartphone.

    To jump in and join all the Microsoft Windows Mobile phone fun, head over to the MyPhone Beta website.