Monday, 29 October 2007
Sunday, 28 October 2007
But anyway, msmobilenews has got a post on their site that tells of Touch Commander - an alternative to the TouchFLO interface found on the HTC Touch and Touch Dual. If anyone checks this out then don't forget to comment and tell us what it's like!
So what did we learn?
I tested using the DMA tool on a dummy system in our attempt to see what could break during the process - and during the process I found no problems. Great! What we didn't really bank on was some issues with the installation of CM5 with the real customer's DMA file. The problem that occurred caused the CM installation to crash and at first we thought it was a problem relating to delete.CSV being present in the DMA tar file; but using the tar tool to remove it didn't solve the issue. It turned out to be a problem relating to the new 7937 Cisco phone, and a typo in one of the XML files. We got Cisco TAC on the case and their brilliant engineers got us to the install day.
After the DMA had completed we did find several other (small) problems but were easily sidestepped:
- It was impossible to delete some old device pools because the device defaults claimed they were assigned to the device pools- but they weren't...
- The Subscriber is having problems replicating databases even though the system health check says all is well.
- Various auto generated device profiles could not be deleted because they were assigned to phones that didn't exist.
Overall the whole process was very successful, but it took a while to complete and we came up against some problems which were definitely "show stoppers". DMA is a fantastic tool, but for all budding upgrades out there -plan, test, plan, test.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
In our office we have been successfully been using Dual-Mode mobile phones on our CallManager system. Basically this is either a Nokia E60 or E65 phone running SCCP software provided by Nokia, which uses Wifi to connect to CallManager. When calls come in to the DDI the Nokia has a shared line that also rings out at the same time so you can answer the call on either device - great so far!
The problem is that when the DDI gets called, it calls both the GSM line and the SCCP line of the dual mode phone at the same time - which is rubbish.
Documentation on Mobility at the moment appears to be incredibly poor. :(
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
2 problems to take note of:
- The first problem is what you set on your mobile phone as your voicemail. My problem was that originally my mobile phone was forwarding to my IP Phone extension in the event of forwarding to voicemail. If someone calls the mobile it would go to my extension (and ring out if I was logged in, otherwise would go to my Unity VM).
Now what will happen, is that if someone calls my mobile, it will forward to my extension which is logged off, which will in turn call back my mobile in a sort of strange loop. A possible fix for this is to get Unity to recognise your mobile number as a number that can access your mailbox directly, and get the mobile to forward to a generic VM pilot number instead of your direct extension. I will update when I have a solution to this.
- Problem 2 is the obvious issue of timers between making calls and having enough time to answer them. Be careful with timers as it takes a while (A LONG time if you use a GSM gateway :D) to build the call to the mobile. By the time your mobile starts ringing the CM will already have reverted to VM!
The best guide (Which isnt very good) to setting this up is the Cisco SRND for CM6.0
But wait! It doesn't have WiFi! Erm, hang on - when have I actually used mine?
There are no doubt people out there who just absolutely can't cope without it, but if Push Email is your primary concern then the addition of 3G will be welcomed (Though tbh, 3G in the UK is just rubbish), and if HTC couldn't fit WiFi into the phone then ok it's a shame, but i'm sure i'll manage without it. It sucks battery life anyway...
And besides, if you've got WiFi, you should be using a UMPC anyway as the screen on a mobile phone is just to small to be useful.
Though if we could get Dual-Mode working with SIP on the Windows Smartphones, i'm sure i'd change my tune...
Sunday, 21 October 2007
I need a holiday!
P.S popped by the local Orange shop and got my hands on the HTC Touch - it's smaller and cuter than you think! I encourage anyone interested in it to go and get a hands on demo. Also I had a go with what looked like the TYTN II, with a hinged keyboard, but it could have been some other HTC device - there's so many I get confused!
Thursday, 18 October 2007
I think where I was going wrong first of all that I didn't notice that there was two drivers available. The camera driver that matches my camera (V6.32.00.004 - 800k in size) still caused my PC to freeze when using the camera and also refuse to shut down. This driver is the one that contains the Lifecam utility that you had problems with Warner.
The second driver called "BisonCamInstall" weighing in at just over 4mb allowed the camera to work correctly and my Asus is still behaving itself.
In short, don't install the 1st driver - it doesn't seem to add anything useful and just causes more problems than it's worth.
R2H Vista drivers
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Personally I quite like Vista and as usual as an early adopter I may be putting up with more than I have to. Once you get UAC disabled though all is rosy in my opinion...
This Dial Plan was released primarily to add 075xx mobile numbers to the list of supported E.164 numbers of the dial plan; but has unfortunately exhibited strange issues with dialling out.
If you experience issues with ISDN Q.931 messages being returned on the gateway with either "No bearer channel available" or "Number not obtainable" then you may find that the dial plan is causing the gateway to send out incorrectly formatted Plan and Type fields. This can be remedied in two ways:
1) Change the "Called Party IE Number Type", "Calling Party IE Number Type" and both Plans under the Outbound Calls settings section of Gateway configuration page of CallManager to "Unknown" instead of "Cisco CallManager".
2) Add the following line to the serial0/0/0:15 interface:
isdn map .* plan unknown type unknown
As far as i'm aware, this patch has now been recalled and Cisco are working on a replacement.
Upgrading was a fairly simple matter - however (as usual) wasn't the same as the documentation described. Basically we were supplied with an upgrade disc and license PAK, with which you use to move to the new platform by way of a tar.gz file on the upgrade disc. Nicely, this had the big advantage of upgrading the CallManager server through the 5.1 GUI (in the same manner that you would any CM 5.x upgrade patch) and then simply rebooting into the new partition. All phones upgraded themselves - Robert's your father's brother. It wasn't quite as smooth as that though because our PAK code didn't work so we had to raise it on Cisco TAC.
So first impressions for me? Well the interface is a nice blue colour and the two great things about the 6.x GUI are the fact that the drop down box on the top right of the page now fits into a 1024x768 screen; and thankfully Cisco haven't moved things around too much - yay.
I think the first impressions were good as i'm used to the 5.x interface though those upgrading from 4.1 will find it quite tricky to navigate through for the first time.
The phones (when rebooting) now show the new Cisco logo as part of the device pack!
After the upgrade we did have a few niggles - the CM service stopped working and the service needed a kick; our MPE integration stopped answering calls because for some reason it had changed the Route List to something other than the MPE trunk; and Presence status stopped working in Cisco Unified Presence Server 6.0 and the server needed a reboot.
The only thing we haven't been able to fix is a service URL that's on everyone's Extension Mobility device profile to unlock the front door; which bizzarely has been replaced with the Extension Mobility service. In CallManager, the device profile shows the correct service URL applied to the speed dial but the phone shows otherwise. Removing the service URL and re-adding it before logging in/out of EM also does not solve the issue.
Update: None of the help pages work! They all give 404 errors - odd.
So that's the bad stuff. The good stuff is:
- We now have syncronization between the Publisher and the Subscriber so that if the Pub goes down we don't lose functionality such as CallForward status, Extension Mobility, and others
- We have mobility and single number reach built in! Also comes with new 'mobility' softkey
- Improved SRST support
- An intercom feature has cropped up in the list (woo!)
- Directed Call Park has turned up
- VERY IMPORTANT: Pickup Group Notification is back! It was missing from all CallManager 5 versions and in alot of instances this is a must have for customers!
- Slightly improved BAT tool
I'll be configuring Mobility and Single Number Reach soon! More to come!
Monday, 15 October 2007
The best thing that struck me about the experience was that as an MSN user I logged straight in using my Passport account - Ah if only other sites were that simple!
So all in all we're going to be using this at work more and more when VPN isn't available at customer sites and we need to exchange files. Just be aware that it's generally going to be used as a file repository for techies and it's not a replacement for Sharepoint!
James returned to the office clutching a SanDisk Ultra II 2.0GB SD card, and a box of 48 Toffee Crisp chocolate bars (Don't ask!) - and I thought wahey! This device looks like it's the 'High Performance' version of Sandisk's SD cards! A stroke of luck indeed, considering it was the only SD card CostCo had in stock...
So with SD card in hand I thought I might give Microsoft ReadyBoost a go. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it's a relatively cheap way of speeding up your system by using SD cards or USB memory sticks to "add" to the system memory available in Windows Vista. Obviously it's not going to be faster than adding standard DDR2 memory but at 9MB/s write and 10MB/s read speeds (60x and 66x speeds respectively) I thought I might see some difference.
Some websites such as Anandtech have seen small differences in performance on their systems but here are my results when I timed Windows booting up. My specs are as follows:
- Asus R2H UMPC
- 900MHz Celeron Processor
- 768MB RAM
- 60GB Hard Drive
- Windows Vista Business Edition
Non-ReadyBoost Attempt 1: 1 minute 51 seconds
Non-ReadyBoost Attempt 2: 1 minute 48 seconds
ReadyBoost Attempt 1: 1 minute 52 seconds
ReadyBoost Attempt 2: 1 minute 57 seconds
Oh dear! My system has actually slowed down! Not quite the result I expected and suffice to say i'll be using the SD card for storage only in the future.
The Asus is not the kind of system that I would tend to heavily load (Such as using Photoshop with 22 photo's open at a time) or more than 4 Word documents open; so I chose not to run any kind of OS performance tests at this time. However in terms of perceivable difference in everyday operation/loading/closing of programs? None. Or negligable at best (Placebo effect?).
A shame really! I'll just have to hold out for that extra RAM now...
Interestingly enough they use rebranded OQO2's in the video ;) See, I told everyone UMPC's are the way forward!
But that aside, it looks like Cisco will be pushing their Mobile products (for Blackberry at least for the moment) and I can't wait to get this software onto my Microsoft Smartphone. For some reason (When i've asked Cisco about this in the past) they seem to be very quiet on the Microsoft front; but what i'd eventually like to do is run SCCP/SIP software on my smartphone so that when I walk into the office my phone automatically associates with the wireless and I get dual-mode operation. We're already using this on Nokia E60 and E61 phones in the office and it works great :) But at least I can get Personal Communicator functionality on my Smartphone soon enough.
I can't wait!
... from http://jed.xsi.org.uk ! This was mainly due to the fact that the page never got spidered; and therefore I was blogging to myself half the time. Thanks to the owner of the image above; I couldn't be bothered to do myself one.
Either that or nobody cares - which is also likely.
Let's get this party started!
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
Sadly the Asus R2H camera that Warner Crocker of www.gottabemobile.com didn’t seem to like, is also giving me jip.
If I install the drivers my MSN messenger refuses to load, and the PC refuses to shut down.
All else is well, apart from the GPS - maybe i should RTFM.
Monday, 8 October 2007
The experience in Vista doesn’t seem too bad though, with nice clean graphics (Aero doesn’t work - not that it’d be a good idea on this spec anyway…), and suprisingly speedy performance. I managed to successfully grab all of the patches from http://uk.asus.com and after a few hours it was all good. Still have more to go though!
One amusing problem that keeps occurring is that the touch screen stops working - no doubt driver related.
Overall though things seem to be working better - the Bluetooth was picked up straight away; the wireless seems more reliable, and all the buttons work.
It still says “configuring updates” as we speak though. Lame.
Sunday, 7 October 2007
And yes, in writing this using handwriting!
Initial feeling is the coolness factor but I do have a few immediate gripes - what can I say I’m hard to please! But overall i’m rather stoked. I’ll be using this device in the future as the heart of some of my posts in attempting to use it in my arsenal of enhancing my productivity.
Plus I get to look so chuffing cool in front of customers - yay.
Initial bad stuff though:
Yes it is correct what everyone says, performance is not a strongpoint
With the extended battery on, battery life seems acceptable for my needs, but the device gets quite heavy after a while
I can’t seem to get Blue tooth or GPS working…
One of the buttons doesn’t seem to do owt
OK so a few niggles but largely i ‘m pleased. I got a DVD drive working with on external HD caddy so tomorrow i’ll be putting vista on. I only have 768 mb of RAM so it’ll be a bold move, but id like to try out Ready boost and a few other interesting things!
More to come…
Saturday, 6 October 2007
- Orange SPV E200
- Motorola MPX200
- Orange SPV C500
- Orange SPV M500
- Orange SPV M600
- Orange SPV E650
Wow - Orange certainly have had their money off me!
There were certainly alot of rave reviews about the E650 (Which is already being replaced with the newer version) at the time I purchased the phone. I liked the form factor (And was perhaps a little tired of the bulkiness of the M series range from Orange) and wanted to get my hands on Windows Mobile 6.0 because i’d hoped that it would have quite a few more improvements in terms of Office, Messaging and other funky little tools.
I soon found out that the majority of these ‘nice’ features were in the ‘Pro’ version of Windows mobile software, so the version I have is fundamentally inferior, and therefore loathsome.
My major gripe with the phone ended up being that it wasn’t the fairytale I expected it to be. Phone features such as RDP, Proper ink Notes, and the ability to easily turn GPRS off are gone. The T9 is so unintuative that I end up using the sidewards keyboard all the time (It’s a good job it’s there!), and build quality is also slightly suspect.
So all in all, this ‘geek’ phone has lost all of the major features that actually made it useful!
Activesync is utter crap - it only seems to allow me to sync my exchange email, but not my calendar or contacts. I’ve never had a smartphone do this before but it seems that hardware resetting the device doesn’t solve the problem.
- RDP is missing - ok the screen’s probably to small anyway.
- T9 is awful.
- GPRS comes on by itself, repeatadly, and is somewhat cumbersome to turn off.
- The camera is still rubbish - when will HTC learn!
- The screen sometimes does odd things, and requires me to open and close the keypad to refresh the UI. Bizarre…
- I miss inking…
- I was just about to say that I couldn’t find Notes or Voice Notes at all, but it just appeared that Orange had moved the interface around. Annoyingly.
- There’s no MSN live package on here - Orange :s
- I can make calls
- The phone is small (ish)
- It still has that cool factor
- It has wifi! And SIP support! Sort of…
- Battery life is pretty good.
So if you’re really going to miss any of these features, this form factor is not for you! I’ll be going back to ink based products I think. That LG Pradary thing looks nice :)
Friday, 5 October 2007
OneNote is something I want to get into more and hopefully with the use of a Tablet device I can sell it into the business more - and generate more demand for Tablet based devices.
I did some googling regarding OneNote plugins and I came across this chaps site, and it seems pretty good for helping stay productive and leveraging the advantages of OneNote for business.
Thursday, 4 October 2007
http://www.asus.com/ doesn’t seem to have any UK retailers listed that sell the device either which is odd - and therefore it does mean that realistically you’ll be paying the full price for the R2H over here knowing full well it’s an inferior product.
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
So you decide a UMPC is for you - or you just want to try it out as a new gadget! It became apparent to me that there weren’t a great deal of sites out there willing to put all the device reviews together to give advice to consumers such as myself in terms of pro’s and con’s of each device option out there. While i’m the sort of person that looks as much he can at all the facts before making a purchase, I still appreciate a nice summary of what options there are out there from opinions of others who’ve taken the plunge. I’ll tackle the devices that grabbed my attention after I go over my requirements and hopefully you’ll see how I came to the conclusion of a device to purchase! This shouldn’t be used as a guide for yourself though realistically as you’e requirements are likely to be different to mine! I’ll put links to the guides I find useful at the bottom.
After using the Tablet PC I realised the following requirements:
Less weight! Holding a tablet PC like a notepad is terrible for arm strain - The C200 a prime example!
Better battery life! Ok this is a tough one for a UMPC as the architecture is shocking for battery life at present. BUT - Why have battery life sucked away driving a power hungry graphics card or CPU that’s powerful but generally gets used for web browsing?
Ink functionality! Nobody can deny the coolness factor of writing on the screen. The problem is that i’d like to do more inking in terms of notes at work, yet moving to a UMPC produces issues because as you’re probably aware - it’s a touch sensitive screen rather than a resistive pen, so leaning on the screen is likely to get ink all over the place - yuck!
Useable performance! While all the above device requirements are really important to me, there’s not much point if it takes 30 seconds to open word or OneNote is there? It’d be nice to watch DivX movies on it too…
Ok so with all the requirements set in place, let’s go over the devices that I have seen satisfactory reviews of:
Samsung Q1 and it’s variants: The Samsung variants did quite alot to confuse me and I found it difficult to find the variant I wanted to purchase on the Internet. The new version is the amusingly named Samsung Q1 Ultra Ultra Mobile PC. While it seems to have better battery life than it’s predecessors due to it’s new A110 processor, some silly bugger decided that an 800MHz CPU was a good idea and therefore this system is unusable for watching films on and will soon reduce most people to tears in the performance stakes. The other (older) variants are the Q1 and Q1P, which were big contenders for my purchasing decisions; and the reasons being that they had acceptable performance, acceptable battery life, good looks and there were plenty about on Ebay to get a decent price! The major problem was though was that the device has a soft screen which might well be a problem for inking alot - not great… Btw there are video’s on YouTube showing this device running FEAR! Let’s stay sceptical about that one for now.
Tabletkiosk eo: One of the first examples of UMPC’s on the market, and it shows! It seems to have ok performance from what many reviewers are saying; yet it suffers from horrendous battery life (I remember 1 hour 39 minutes being a number banded around…) and it looks like it was designed by a blind monkey. None around on the market either except for full price…
Asus R2H: Features a 1.3MP camera, Celeron 900MHz CPU (Oh dear?), and a GPS unit. There seems to be quite a few accessories out there for this device and also it’s fairly popular on Ebay. While the performance of this machine is likely to be pretty slow due to it’s processor, it does have a harder-touch screen, better for inking on. I am not likely to use the GPS function whatsoever, though it is a nice feature…
Amtek T700: Seems like a well rounded device overall, with snappy performance and average battery life. It has good looks too but it does have a soft screen…
Is it worth wating for new UMPC’s to come along? Up and coming devices include:
HTC Shift: Hugo Ortega got suitably excited about this device, and quite rightly so! It’s small, light and has a keyboard tucked tidily away into the small platform! The problems seem to be that it uses that same A110 processor as the new Q1Ultra, and that for me, it’s a little too small.
Amtek T770: Seems to be shaping up to be a well rounded device but doesn’t seem like anything special. The major problem is that I can’t afford £700 (at least) for a new device when at the end of the day it doesn’t get me much more…
So overall considering the features I require and from what i’ve seen in terms of hardware reviews I eventually settled for an Asus R2H for purchase, which is currently on Ebay sporadically or is on www.laptopsdirect.co.uk for a nice price of £599.99. The reason for choosing this device is that it looks really cool, feels light (Though apparently feels slightly heavier than a Q1), has a harder screen, and seems to be acceptable in terms of performance in all the video’s i’ve seen.
If you don’t want to pay alot for a UMPC then the Samsung Q1 is for you, and available on Ebay for around £450ish with a nice keyboard and foldaway case.
The eo is a bit of a dud really, stay well away!
The Amtek is a serious competitor to the Q1 but availability is scarce - I would guess just due to branding and marketing. Keep your eyes peeled for a cheap one out there!
The places I used for reviews were:
www.gottabemobile.com - Awesome site for inkshows, just need a phat pipe for downloading the high res videos
www.google.co.uk - Obviously…
www.engadget.com - Does rather nice reviews of all sorts of devices, and a good excuse for finding ways of spending money.