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Find My Phone Saved My Butt

November 23, 2010 00:30 by ckincincy

So as I’ve blogged about previously I have a new Windows Phone.  Though, I did trade in my model from the HTC Surround to the LG Quantum.  I wanted the keyboard.

Today a feature that comes with every Windows Phone 7, saved my butt.  It started out with leaving a practice for my son’s 4th grade basketball team that I coach.  I put my phone and wallet in a bag that my assistant coach brought to return some items. I was thinking I’d keep the bag for a few days while I got the stuff home.  So the assistant walked out and started unloading the bag in my trunk and we went our own ways. 

Then I realized I didn’t have my phone.  I started back tracking my steps and I was worried that I put my phone on the top of my car before I started driving.  So I turned around and drove slowly, looking back the 2 blocks I drove.  No luck. 

Then I wondered if it was in my assistants bag and I rushed home because I know of the feature in the phone… I got home and logged into WindowsPhone.com and clicked the “Find my Phone” feature.  Within 30 seconds a map was displayed showing the phone was in my assistants driveway! 

I called him and told him what was up, and I went and got my phone… and my wallet Smile.  What was his reaction?  “Man, you’re like somebody from the future.”

It saved my butt!  Here is what it looks like showing the phone at my house:


A bug in WP7

November 13, 2010 21:54 by ckincincy

So it didn’t take me long, but I found my first bug in the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

It is a simple bug to reproduce.  It comes down to programming pauses and such into a contacts phone number.  Lets say you work at XYZ LLC.  Who’s number is 555-555-1212.  You program your coworker, Charlie’s number in as follows: 555-555-1212,2,222.  What this number will do is dial the main number pauses, hits “2” for entering an extension, pauses, and then enters the extension.

So now you have those two contacts.  Now somebody calls you from the office, which comes through as 555-555-1212.  You’d expect for it to display a call coming from XYZ, LLC.  However what happens is you are told the call comes from “Charlie” because he comes up first in the list. 

I’d hope the caller ID could be fixed to do an exact match search before it does the partial match search.

Almost a week later

November 13, 2010 21:43 by ckincincy

So here I am almost a week later with my HTC Surround.  Overall my impression of this phone is improving as time goes on.  It just works. 

In my prior post I mentioned that one of the features I liked was the ability to sync wirelessly.  Well, that didn’t pan out to well.  The software seemed to hang a bit.  So the Zune software needs some work.

I found my first bug in the software, and saw some areas for improvement. 

I’ll cover those in specific post because I don’t want it lost in the noise of one long blog post. 

However my overall thoughts are positive.  I love the speech recognition, it just works well.  The responsiveness of the phone is awesome.  The applications for the phone is still a bit weak, but its early.  It takes time to build out a great eco system.

The one thing I did notice is that WP7 apps cost money.  Not many free, high quality, applications out there.  A lot of, what appear to be OK quality for pay apps.  I think this will also change over time as the eco system builds up.  Right now you have a lot of early developers trying to make a few bucks off the early adapters.

I’ll follow up with three post in the near future, one more tonight.

1. The bug I found.
2. Improvements I’d like to see.
3. Applications I miss from my iPhone.

Check back soon.

First Impressions

November 9, 2010 00:01 by ckincincy

imageSo I finally fully representing my license plate, I AM A PC.  I am the proud owner of the HTC Surround, a Windows Phone 7 device.

Having spent the last two years on the iPhone 3G I got to know that device very well.  It wasn’t all bad, but there were things about Apple and its phone that drove me nuts.

I was eagerly waiting for the WP7 launch, and today was the day.

I looked at the two current devices available at the AT&T store.  The Surround and the Samsung Focus.  The Focus felt cheap in my hand.  Just seemed like it would break rather easily.  So I went with the much sturdier phone, the Surround.

After a night of use my first impression is… “Why’d they mimic the iOS 3.0?”  This phone has everything my iPhone had… last year.   No ability to copy and paste, and no global inbox.  Now the good thing is that both of those will be taken care of in updates, copy and paste has been confirmed… and I can only assume the other.  My next impression is that the phone is a lot like any Windows PC you buy, a lot of crap loaded on it.  Thankfully, it is very easy to remove all of the adware provided by AT&T.  Just hold down on it and click ‘uninstall.’  My third impression is that the contact management needs work.  The iPhone struggled here as well, but they gave me the ability to just use my Windows contacts and I was able to easily organize that. 

Finally, my last reaction is that I will grow to like this phone a lot.  It is a newer processor so it is certainly faster than my old iPhone.  One feature that I really like is the wireless sync.  No longer do I have to connect my phone to my PC to sync.  I just have to plug it into a power source and let it sit on my home network and it will sync all of my new songs, pictures, and podcast.  As the application choices grow this phone will be much better, it may even take care of the global inbox issue before an official fix is in place.  The UI is certainly different than the iPhone.  More sliding, less tapping. 

I’ll check back in in due time with a follow up, but that is how I feel after a night of use.

Where to buy cheap and affordable ink

March 9, 2010 00:01 by ckincincy


Buying ink for your home printer is always a huge pain.  It is where the printer manufacturers make their money.

However after needing to buy ink for my Cannon Pixma MP620B I found InkForSale.net.  I bought two cartridges on my first order, a black and a magenta.  The black went in without a hitch, the magenta however would never take. 

So I contacted InkForSale.net and they, slowly, replied and said they would send me a replacement.  At this point, I also needed a Yellow cartridge.  So I told them I would go ahead and order that and they can ship them together to save some money.  Unfortunately when my package came it only had the Yellow cartridge in it.  So I emailed them again and never got a reply, however the magenta cartridge did arrive and work as expected.

So three out of four cartridges worked fine, and they did replace the broken one. 

So will I purchase from them again?   You better believe it.  The savings is well worth it.  The big difference is that I will order more than I need and store the new ones. 

Canon Pixma MP620B Blue Edition

August 8, 2009 11:34 by ckincincy

image A few weeks ago my sturdy Dell desktop computer from 2001 decided to finally die.  The unfortunate part of this is that it was my only real PC with XP on it, to host my Lexmark X6170 printer on my network.  The Lexmark X6170 has been a faithful member of my house for around six years. With no issues until we started upgrading our computers with Vista.  The X6170 was only partially upgraded to work on Vista and even then was fairly unusable.  Even though I was a key member of developing the drivers that ran the X6170, and many of the first few generations of Lexmark’s All-In-One printers, while at Jetsoft Development… it was time to replace it.

While my family was out one night, we were fairly close to Best Buy and I figured I would stop in and price a few printers.  One of the first ones I saw was the Canon Pixma MP620B Blue Edition.  It supported ‘wireless printing.’  Which was intriguing to me, as my house is networked by wireless.  After reading over the box I saw that it also supported USB and wired printing.  It was on sale for just $99.99, a savings of $50.  Setting it up was not trivial but the directions that came with it made it pretty clear. 

Once I had the printer configured on my wireless network and on my personal computer it was time to install it on my wife’s.  Any installs after the first one are pretty trivial and went pretty smooth.  Now all the computers in my house are able to talk to this printer without issue. 

When I bought this I assumed that only printing was able to be done over the network because scanning is not a simple thing to program for on a local connection, much less a network connection.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this machine actually does support scanning and printing without having to be directly connected to a computer.  I was also surprised to find out that the machine also supports ‘pushing’ documents to computers.  So if my wife wants to scan a document to her file system she can do it from the printer and does not have to be around her computer.  The printer will scan and save the file on her hard drive.

The next added benefit is the numerous memory card slots on the box.  Not only can you access those from the printers 2.5 inch LCD screen but you can access them as a shared drive on any connected computer.  This saves battery life on the camera as it doesn’t have to put the power out to copy the files from the memory card to the computer.

My initial ratings on this computer is certainly a 4.75/5.00.  The software is a bit clunky, but most software bundled with these devices are.  Which leads me to my final point on this machine.  When I figured out that it was also a scan over the network printer, I made another assumption that my third party scanning applications would work with it.  That they didn’t have valid TWAIN drivers to allow for that.  I was wrong again.  I opened up my favorite application, again one that I had the pleasure of developing for several years at Jetsoft Development, Art-Copy.  Sure enough I get the simplistic interface and advanced features of Art-Copy and the convenience of a network scanner

I certainly recommend this product if you are in the market for an affordable, and flexible all in one device.