Saturday, 24 March 2007

New toy

Having built up loads of upgrade brownie points with T-mobile, I decided it was time to get a new phone-pda. I've used Palm devices for quite a while so I regard it as a bit of a backward step to have to go to windows mobile. I got the MDA in its all-singing, all dancing version (though I have gone into settings/dancing and permanently disabled liturgical dance.)

The trouble is, being windows and all, setting it up is a major investment of time - something I don't have much of. Several re-installs of the utterly useless activesync later, I have downloaded a new version which has worked following a couple of hard resets of the handheld device. That being said, this is the first handheld I have had that actually does the internet in any convincing way. I'm trying out a few browsers on it and will have a look at opera's pocket version.

To be of any use, it needs an SD card - Amazon do 2Gb cards for less than a tenner so I got one of those in the post. But actually it needs a mini-SD card so if anyone (esp. poor student) wants a standard 2Gb SD card, make a claim in the combox (first come first served), then send me an email and I'll post it to you.

For a diary, an alternative to the ghastly and useless "Outlook" is Calendarscope (another possiblity would be Mozilla Sunbird but that probably needs a few months more and a few more builds.) I downloaded the Calendarscope sync softward for pocket pc only to find it would not work. Their tech guys replied to my email with a step-by-step windows mobile registry hack to sort it out. So I downloaded a windows mobile registry editor and did the hack. They were right - and I'll probably need the registry editor in the future so that's a plus. For the contacts, I've got various ideas for getting my own patent letters-and-contacts database onto the thing but will have to think that through a bit.

The MDA also works with a bluetooth satnav gadget. That came with another wrong-sized storage card but I am most of the way through working round that. It should also act as a mobile modem for my laptop - setting that up will be a google fest for another day.

Microsoft - doncha love it! When I next get a new computer, I must learn to leave Windows alone with all its own settings and defaults, a bottle of milk and a teething ring.

One real killer-app for a mobile device: the London Tube map with toggle between tube and roadmap. I see that the whole London A-Z is also available. That's going on the storage card.

Another great app that I recommend for users of these gadgets is Pocket e-sword. I have long used the desktop version. This is a free electronic bible put together by a chap called Rick Meyers. The pocket version was just recently put up, I think. Most of the versions of the bible that he lists are protestant ones but I have download the Vulgate, the Greek NT with variants and the Greek NT with Strong's numbers, Strong's dictionary and the Douay-Rheims bible. (Must remember to get the Septuagint also.) The Catechism can go on as a Word file, together with the Code of Canon Law.

Any other tips for good Catholic software for these things?

Do I recommend it? If you are happy with searching tech support boards for error messages, finding workarounds and downloading hacking software, yes, it can be made into a really cool thing eventually. But don't get one if you need to rely on it working by "plug ner play" and doing what it says on the tin.

(BTW if you do get one, you're on your own. I don't do tech support.)
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