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HP iPAQ Review – Part 3: Data Messenger

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The Data Messenger from HP is their newest flag-ship in Pocket PC Technology. At the moment you can only buy it from their website for none less than 599€ or 440 British Pounds (including VAT) and I myself am pretty sure that this amount of money is not worth it yet to own this device. As with most other devices the price will most certainly be lower with retailers and of course with carrier plans as soon as they’re introduced.

Why I wouldn’t pay 599 for this device:

Although it has a very nice optical appearance, just like its little brother, it is just another Windows Mobile device with its own little 01042009456extras. Nothing really blew me away about the device. In Part 1 of  my review I promised to go into detail about the buttons and connectors on the side. On the left hand side you have (from top to bottom) a Lock-Button (which is just as complicated to operate with this device), 2 Volume Buttons and a Voice Dial/Command Button. On the right hand side you have (from top to bottom) the micro-USB connector, the 2.5mm audio out (read previous post for details) and the Snapshot-Button for taking photographs which worked better with this device. On Top of course you again have the Mute-Switch which was the first positive factor I recognized about both devices. And that’s about it.

Furthermore the Screen has a very static and stale feel to it, especially when you operate it with the stylus. I’m used to having a Touch-Screen sink in when operating it with a stylus. It assures me that I just made a click.

The full QWERT-Keyboard seems quite OK concerning the layout. I didn’t work too much with it since I assumed it would work just like you’d expect it to.

Conclusion:

So I assume that the previous iPAQ device of this category didn’t lack any major feature of this one and I would just consider it a minor update to it. As soon as I see it for a reasonable price I might know some people I could suggest it to but not yet.

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My Mac OS X Dock reviewed

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So after a weekend break and a stressful start into a new one I could finally think of a topic for another blog-entry. So here’s a list of Programs that reside in the Dock of my MacBook and some more i regularly depend on:

  • Finder – Who would’ve thought.
  • Firefox – It’s my browser of choice and a good one at that. I know my way around Internet Explorer/Safari and they both do not meet my expectations and the only other one worth mentioning in my eyes is Opera which i have also tried numerous times but it just doesn’t offer the same allaround solution.
  • Mail – With the ability to work with multiple Mail Accounts (IMAP of my university and Gmail in this case) intuitively it already provides everything I’m used to from Windows. Smart Folders, RSS functionality and Notes are just very useful additions to that.
  • iCal – After trying unsuccessfully to sync my Outlook-World (which is synced with my Mobile Phone) with the Apple-side of the pond i decided to just sync my Phone redundantly over Bluetooth with iSync as well until Nokia Ovi for Mac comes along. So I’m not satisfied by its syncability but very much by its usability.
  • iTunes – Another very guessable Application I use. The only alternative i tried so far is Songbird and although i liked it i didn’t see any reason to not stick with iTunes since I don’t listen to music on my MacBook too much anyway.
  • SimplifyMedia – So this is where my list might become interesting for some. For those who don’t know it. SimplifyMedia provides me with the ability to stream music from any of my computers that also have SimflifyMedia running on it. It integrates into iTunes (or Winamp for Windows) very neatly. Very recommendable application.
  • Picasa – Although it hasn’t been out for Macs for long yet I sure made up for lost time already. It’s the best Picture Manager I know of and none works better when you have your Collections in a network-folder.
  • Adium – Without a doubt the most advanced Instant Messaging client out there for Mac OS X. It’s got it all. It’s that simple.
  • Cyberduck – When it comes to foreign file-protocols like FTP, WebDAV and so on, I’ve always been satisfied with the way the Finder itself handles them but I still hold this app dear for its ease of use, should I ever need it.
  • Activity Monitor – Since I often want to know what’s happening inside my computer i could not live without some Application of this kind. Although it cannot even begin to keep up with Process Explorer for Windows it still features everything I need.

Other Applications I regularly use:

  • VMware Fusion – This Application sure has made it easier for me to use Windows on my MacBook from time to time. It’s so much simpler to be able to have Mac OS X and Windows running side by side when the performance penalty is almost not present at all.
  • InsomniaX – Sitting in the MenuBar this Application makes sure my MacBook doesn’t go to sleep when I close the lid of my MacBook. I don’t like that standard behavior.

Maybe some of you can profit from this blog-entry. The others might as well just wait for another one. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

cheers

Windows vs. Mac OS X: Aspects reviewed

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Tiny Spoiler: no Macintosh/Apple praising found in this post.

So to make my blog interesting to a bigger audience I decided to publish both in german (because I think one should never forget where they came from, especially if you’re partially surrounded by all those programmers who write great programs in bad english and think that’s OK) and english of course.

The language i choose will most likely be based on the subjects i cover. Whether they are of interest for everyone or rather just the people from my language area (which is Austria and not Germany for all those who didn’t know).
What i want to talk about are the following experiences i had with the operating systems Windows from Microsoft and Mac OS X from Apple in specific scenarios.

My School (University of Applied Sciences Hagenberg) offers me the possibility to access my personal files on their server from everywhere where i have internet – through a WebDAV protocol. Which is great by the way.
Anyways, here are two short overviews of how the previously mentioned operating systems handle all the fuzz:
Mac OS X 10.5.6: When I connect it asks me for my credentials and everything seems to be working smoothly. But after moving some files back and forth you realize that OSX tends to for example say it overwrites a folder but in fact it just uses a different set of characters to name the folders and files so then you might have 2 Folders with almost the same Name existing side by side (i.e. Übung01 and Ubung01), but OSX will still only show you the one you just copied over. Furthermore what seems really cool is that no matter how bad your WiFi connection might be at the moment, OSX seems to be browsing through the folder structure smoothly at any time. Which is until you find out that OSX just buffers the contents of the folders you’ve already been to and what you see can very likely just be an outdated view of the actual data, someone else might have edited.
Windows XP: So Windows has the possibility to access FTP/WebDAV/… from within the Explorer as well which I didn’t find out until recently. Just like OSX it asks me for my credentials at first login which i then choose to save for further logins. First of all, with Windows you can access the server over its own file protocol (called Samba in the UNIX world) if you’re in its local network (so in this case when I’m at school). The hierarchically highest link you would be able to access is \\fshome\students and then you have to go through all the subfolders until you eventually find your own files. But the problem is that you may not dare to access \\fshome for example. Because if you do you’re on your way to eternal damnation. You don’t have the rights to access it but contrary to other Samba servers you wont get the opportunity to correct your mistake through a simple altert-window. You’ll just find out that this explorer.exe is lost forever. (Apparently this doesn’t happen on all Windows machines but my point stands.) On the upside of things, Windows doesn’t seem as smooth as OSX while browsing through the folder structure, which assures me that whatever Windows shows me is up-to-date content
So why can’t I work with my files on every type of computer the same way? Using anything else than Explorer/Finder is not an option because I want it to work with the same File Browser I use for everything else on said operating system.
So maybe I’ve just been a Windows user for a too long period of time and just don’t know my way around UNIX systems and if anyone would try to point that out i will not hesitate to agree with them but what do you think: Would you rather have an operating system that claims to work in every scenario but doesn’t, or an operating system which obviously doesn’t work in every scenario but seems to be doing the job well if you know how to work with it?
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