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May 1, 2008

Chris Rue’s Device Emulator Guide: Getting Started

Windows Mobile 6.1...yea-uh!

If you’re interested in getting familiar with Windows Mobile without having to shell out any of your hard earned cash nor becoming a total vendor whore to score some free hardware, then Device Emulator could be the answer to your prayers.

I could go on and on about the many many ways you can use Device Emulator for fun & profit. Here are just a few I’ve run across since writing my very first Device Emulator guide in 2005:

  • Application development
  • Remote support
  • Troubleshooting
  • Training
  • Mobile web design
  • Free platform to run GPS software on custom-modded PCs mounted in cars (what up Hungary!)

But enough of that, let’s get to installing this bad mamma-jamma. I’ll fully detail the installation process, including screen shots, for the less bravely-endowed in an upcoming section, Installing Device Emulator and Images. Since all of the installs are pretty much simple click-throughs, those of you capable enough to brave it on your own can use this Getting Started section as a Quick Install. 

One thing to keep in mind: If you get prompted to reboot after any item is done installing, reboot before proceeding to the next item.

Here’s the bare minimum you’ll need to get started with the standalone version of Device Emulator:

Here’s the order to install everything:

  • Install Virtual PC 2007.
  • Install Device Emulator.
  • Install the Windows Mobile Emulator image(s) last. You can install as few or as many images as you want.

After your desired image installations are complete, you can test your installation by launching one image for each of the WM versions you installed. You’ll find the images at the following locations:

Windows Mobile 5 (I recommend using “PocketPC – Coldboot”)

Yes, this is where WM5 lives. Quite a fantastically streamlined naming convention and Program menu location, huh?

Windows Mobile 6  and 6.1 (I recommend using “Professional”)

OK...so the new naming conventions aren't completely horrible. They're just mostly horrible.

Once all three versions are running side-by-side, then you know you’ve got a solid installation.

This is WM5, BTW.And this would be WM6, naturally.And this would be WM6.1. Altho there's not as much to see as there is on Standard devices. Keep reading, and you'll see what I mean in a just a couple more lines..

On Windows Vista, after installing the Windows Mobile 6.x images you may not see any images listed under the Windows Mobile 6 SDK folder in the Program menu.

Which way did they go?

If this occurs, then open the Programs Control Panel and execute a “repair” on each of the Windows Mobile 6.x standalone image files.

Yes, this is all still FREE!

Once each finishes the repair, the respective images will appear under the Windows Mobile 6 SDK folder and you launch them as outlined above.

So if you want to get your grubby little mitts on the hot-n-sexxay new interface for Standard devices in Windows Mobile 6.1 without paying an arm and a leg for a new device…

I'll admit, this is a damn good interface for Standard devices. But why oh why didn't they include it on Professional devices? Touchscreens need love too!

Device Emulator could be your best and only chance!

|| posted by chris under freebie, it pro, mobility, utility belt, virtualization || comments (1) || ||

April 25, 2008

If You’re Like Me, You Like To Be Near The Action

And when there isn't any action...then ya gotta make your own!

April’s Action Pack drop has just about the most new stuff I’ve ever seen from the mothership in any AP release.

Check this out…

Dynamics CRM 4.0 (all 3 of its users will be so happy)

Exchange Server 2007 Standard SP1

Accounting Professional 2008 (U.S. only. Everyone else can start their whining now)

OneCare Trial

System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 64–bit

Virtual Server 2005 R2 Standard SP1

Server 2008 Standard (32–bit and 64–bit)

Vista Ultimate with SP1 (Woohoo! Don’t spend that single copy all in one place!)

Terminal Server 2008 CALs

I know what I’ll be busy doing here at the Funcave when all this finally arrives. Rolling the server up to Server 2008 and making the move to Hyper-V.

Nothing like the sweet sweet candy that is a completely virtual environment.

Hyper-V loves ya, baby!

|| posted by chris under business, it pro, migration, nostalgia, utility belt || comments (1) || ||

April 20, 2008

Going Topless At MVP Summit

Find the mobile guy in the room. C'mon...it's not a trick question.

Last week at MVP Summit, I went totally topless the entire time.

Now, before anyone within arm’s length of me decides to commit justifiable homicide, here’s what I mean by that.

I had seen something about companies issuing dictates against takign laptops into meetings. That they were too distracting. I thought that was a pretty good idea, but for a different reason. I simply hate lugging all that weight around with me all the time. So, thanks to some recent additions to my trusty utility belt, I pulled off a feat that some folks might think impossible.

I didn’t take my laptop out of the hotel room AT ALL! That’s right, (lap)topless baby!

Now, think about that for a minute. Being at an intensive, uber-deep-diving tech conference for a full week, and never dragging a laptop around with you even once.

This mission was a super-secret skunkworks experiment I codenamed  More Mobile Than Mobile AKA MMTM.

And it was a resounding success! As in…

Hoo-RAH! Who’s your mobile daddy NOW?

Here’s a list of stuff that made MMTM possible:

I also had the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 with me for capturing all the images and video I wanted. That camera is playing at a whole other level of awesome, but was ancillary to MMTM, really.

There was really only thing that truly SUCKED about MMTM.

I didn’t have anything to use to carry the A/C cable and the headphones around. So my pockets were about to burst from all the junk crammed into them.

Obviously, cargo pants coming back into style would fix that, at least for a while. But a longer term solution would be some sort of small case.

Kinda like the one being given at the Mobile MVP dives, for which I was fortunate enough to receive an invite to attend. But as a guest, I didn’t think it would have been proper of me to receive one, instead of someone who was a Mobile or Mobile Dev MVP.

Even with that one little issue, everything else about More Mobile Than Mobile was AWESOME! I didn’t have to worry about where I was gonna stash my stuff. No bootup/shut down stuff to deal with. I could setup in even the tiniest of spaces. Just plug in for a little bit of juice here and there.

Well maybe moreoften than that. Battery life with Windows Mobile is beyond atrocious, and needs to be on the planning doc for the next version.

The part of MMTM that ROCKED? Nearly everyone who saw it wanted to know how well the keyboard worked. Once I showed them how fast and awesome it types and controls the Treo, I saw quite a few raised eyebrows.

I did notice some difficulty using the Bluetooth keyboard to type while simltaneously using the Bluetooth headphones to play music. Typing responsiveness would slow until it was basically unusable. I chalked that up to bandwidth limitations of the Bluetooth receiver on the Treo. As soon as I paused the music playback, the typing returned to normal.

Also, I found that changing the screen orientation to Landscape (right-handed) allowed the Treo to sit comfortable on the keyboard pop-up stand, while still being connected to whatever type of charging cable I happened to have at the moment, and without blocking or otherwise impeding access to the side volume and action button. A faster (as in one-tap) way to do that screen re-orientation would be nice, however.

All in all, a smash success. More Mobile Than Mobile is now my new standard way of attending conferences.

As soon as I find a decent mini-case, that is.

|| posted by chris under hardware, mobility, more cowbell, rx, thumbs up, travel, utility belt || comments (5) || ||

April 4, 2008

What’s On Your Mobile?

I get asked all the time what kinds of stuff I use with my Windows Mobile device. Here’s a quick list of the hardware and software I’m currently rocking on the Treo 750…

Live Search Mobile (Microsoft, really needs a better UI to keep up with the iPhones)

OneNote Mobile (Microsoft, prompts to install if you have OneNote loaded)

Pointui (Pointui, free for now & a good look at what a modern interface for Windows Mobile devices could/should look like)

MyMobiler (MTUX, wickedly awesome piece of freeware remote control software that will even connect via Bluetooth, which I can’t get SOTI to do at all, even with the help of tech support)

Deepfish (Microsoft, uber-tight beta so don’t even ask for a copy)

Palm Bluetooth Keyboard (Palm, awesome awesome tool but for specific Treo models only)

Pharos iGPS-BTII external GPS unit (Pharos, would be much better if the Treo 750 had a built-in GPS receiver)

Motorola HS850 Bluetooth headset (Motorola, but looks like one of those wicked evil scarabs from The Mummy is trying to burrow into my ear canal)

SanDisk 1 GB MiniSD card (SanDisk, and I store absolutely everything I can on that card)

Feel free to post up your preferred hardware and software for Windows Mobile, and I’ll add it to the running list.

|| posted by chris under freebie, mobility, utility belt || comments (6) || ||

April 4, 2008

Tethering For Dollars

Tether your mobile device...cash a check. Basically.

There are a lot of awesome features in Windows Mobile 6.x.

The interface of Windows Mobile didn’t get a big hot-n-sexxay makeover in 6.x, not at all. Nowhere near it.

But the era of WM6 has ushered in some seriously great stuff over WM5.

Top of my list, without a doubt, has to be the dead simple tethering that Windows Mobile 6.x provides.

That’s the feature that lets me use my Treo 750, connected via either Bluetooth or a USB cable, to get an Internet connection on my laptop anytime I want, no matter where I am.

So for an extra $15 a month, I’m covered. Peace of mind. If I need it, it’s there.

Also, it frees me from paying the ridiculously exorbitant daily price that certain hotels, airports, coffee shops, and massage parlors want to charge for WiFi access.

With the amount of traveling that somehow materialized seemingly out of nowhere this year…I’d estimate that a year of tethering equals about what I’d be shelling for WiFi service, just while I’m travelling on major trips. But the tethering service covers me a full 365 days a year, 24×7.

And since tethering uses my mobile device, I’m not paying anywhere near the amount a completely separate wireless data card and account would. In fact, I pay a fraction of what something like that normally costs. Which works for me, since I’m not typically needing separate voice service on my cell when I’m connected.

But looking at it another way…

Adding the tethering service gave me more options for getting more work done, and staying more productive, while removing the uncertainty of a decent Internet connection. Enough so that it not only recoups its cost, but actually generates revenue. At a minimum, roughly 20x-50x what it costs me per year.

That’s working money, folks. The kind of expense that turns itself into more money.

Which I think is the secret to successful businesses.

Is it important to keep a lid on expenses? Absolutely.

But do I think it’s just as important to recognize expenses that are actually working money?

You better believe it!

|| posted by chris under business, mobility, more cowbell, rx, thumbs up, utility belt || comments (3) || ||

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