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Mourning the death of my…..TILT

Today is a sad day, its a day of separation, of death (tech people call it “end of life”) and severe sorrow as I accept the death of my TILT. For a little over a month now I’ve had an at&t TILT and really enjoyed it. I loved the crisp call quality, and sturdy feel of the well built phone. The Windows Mobile 6 features and cool apps and customizations I had were really something special.

I called at&t and they won’t replace the phone since it was physically damaged. I then called HTC and they said they were not yet prepaired to repair the TILT since its so new. They couldn’t even find my part numbers in their database yet. So at this point in time, I have a $1000 phone thats functioning as a paper-weight.

Microsoft Windows Steady State

Microsoft has recently released Windows Steady State. Its a free application that lets you lock down a windows computer and make it usable in a public environment. It reminds me of my fortress or zenworks days, but its much easier to work with. You can download Steady State from Microsoft and give it a try. This would be great for mall kiosk computers or other types of publically accessible computers. It can even reset all your settings and configuration after a reboot in the event someone does hack the system.

review – at&t TILT

I have had the TILT with at&t for about a week now. I have to say this is the best phone I have used to date. Here are some highlights of why I like this device..

1. Its sleek and visually cool looking, coloring is modern and glossy.

2. The weight of the phone is indicative of being well built, it feels sturdy and tough.

3. It has plenty of onboard memory; you can customize the device, install apps and have plenty of onboard memory left without the need of a storage card.

4. Onboard GPS radio is neat; this is my first phone with true onboard GPS. A perk is that both Google maps and windows live search work with the onboard GPS radio for free.

5. The speed of this device to a data network is amazing. Over HSDPA I can download at nearly 1mbps which is not bad, although this connection is theoretically capable of much faster sped, but it’s still way better than EDGE!

6. You can use this device as a wireless modem, so when you travel or go somewhere that doesn’t offer free internet access, you can connect over Bluetooth to a laptop and get on the internet for free using your phone’s data plan.

7. Windows mobile 6 pro seems much more stable and visually attractive.

8. Battery life is not bad, in one day I am only using less than 50% of the battery with normal to light usage.

9. You can be on the phone and receive e-mail and use the data connection at the same time. No longer does using the phone disable all other radios on the device. You can now get important e-mail while talking on the phone.

10. Mobility! I can browse the web, make a blog post, track my position with GPS, take pictures, connect to wifi, use bluetooth devices, conect to VPN, run Citrix applications and sooooo much more, all while on the go.

There is more I will post about this device later, but those are the main points…

New RSS reader for me

I stubmled across this today and gave it a try. Its a very slick RSS reader. It integrates with Outlook, the Windows common feeds list, and more. Its visually appealing, has good performance (faster than what I was using) and has some good configuration options available. Check it out at www.attensa.com/products/readers/overview/

Another hard drive crash

Well it happened again. Over the weekend my brand new Seagate FreeAgent 500GB external USB drive crashed. Saturday morning Liz said it wasn’t showing up in Windows. So I tinkered with it and got it working. So I started to copy stuff off of it just in case. Well we had this thing pretty full, so I had to spread our stuff out over 3 machines and its pretty tight on space now at my house (hard drive space that is).

Near the end of copying things off the drive, I moved my leg and my foot caught the power cord which was dangling under the desk. This casued the drive to fall to the floor from the top of the computer where it was sitting. This is not a huge distance, but was enough of a fall to permanently crash the drive (probably a head failure), and I ended up losing lots of software I had collected over the years and some misc stuff. I got all the pictures and most of the important stuff off before it crashed. So it wasn’t terrible, but still no fun. This thing was brand new! So I am getting an RMA from seagate and they will replace the drive, which was in a failing state before it even had its little fall 🙂

A family of singers

The other night, while tinkering with Adobe Audition 2.0 and my Blue Snowball mic; I managed to talk the girls into recording something. They don’t usually let me record them for some reason, but once they get going they don’t want to stop. I setup the snowball as one input and the windows audio channel as another input. I played a song (High Hopes sung by Frank Sinatra and a children’s choir) and got the girls to sing along. Liz and I sang along too, so don’t laugh too hard 🙂 Its cute though and was fun to record. Its a little tricky to get the audio setings just right as the snowball tends to be a little quiet, but Audition gives great controls for adding amplification and input gain to the mic input. I applied a few filters and amplified the mic gain so we wouldn’t have to sing right into it. We were able to place the mic on the desk, and all sit around it and sing normally. It picked us up pretty well and the kids had a blast. Its cute to hear them sing along and do their parts. That same night, we played a bunch of other songs and they danced all around the house and had a good old time. I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this online, but I’m getting over the embarassment of knowing people will hear this. Hopefully you will find it as cute as we did. We’d love to have your comments on what you thought about this in the comments section of this post. So go ahead and listen and let us know what you think.

Copernic Desktop Search

I really love Copernic Desktop Search, and wanted to post a personal recommendation for this software. I’ve tried several other desktop search applications, including Windows Desktop Search, Yahoo desktop search, Google desktop, X1 and more. Out of all of these, I found that Copernic had the most attractive user interface that made for a better end user experience, ease of search and I like the way it displays the search results.

The best thing about this software, is not only that its fantastic in appearance, functionality and ease of use, but its also totally FREE for personal use. Its been around for a while, and I can’t wait to see what improvements are made to it over time, but I can’t immagine it getting much better than it already is.

I use this software for searching my personal Exchange mailbox, PST files, internet favorites, and local documents. You can also index files on a network drive. You can save your searches for handy future use. This is top notch software, that has a very attractive interface, great features comperable to the other big names in search and costs nothing! There are no pop-ups or annoying advertising, its just great free software. Click the link at the top of this post and download Copernic Desktop Search today and try it for yourself.

Nice lightning show

As I sit at my desk on the 6th floor of my office building, surrounded by glass windows; I am getting a very good view of some amazing lightning striking all around the area. We are having some early thunderstorms today, and the lightning is frequent, long and really amazing.

Issue with Public LAN in Windows – Exchange Clustering

Yesterday I began a demo of a Windows Server 2003 Cluster running an Exchange 2003 virtual server. This is a 2 node active/passive cluster. Everything was fine until I got to the part where I was showing hardware failure and the resulting failover performance. I unplugged the public LAN ethernet cable from the active cluster node. To my dismay and embarrasment the cluster administrator locked up and failover never happened. I was sure I had tested this particular scenario before during the initial setup. After thinking about this a little more I probably tested this with the default cluster during setup, and not after Exchange was up and running. Why would you want to disconnect the public LAN cable right? Well, when tested I discovered that Exchange in a cluster is very sensitive (as it usually is) to losing its public LAN interface. Anytime Exchange (clustered or not) loses connection to AD and DNS, it can hang. Well my problem was cuased by the Exchange 2003 services hanging once public LAN connectivity was lost. I found that the cluster was trying to stop the Exchange services but they were hanging. The cluster can’t failover to the second node until the core Exchange services are stopped and Exchange cluster resources are marked as offline. So because the services were hanging, my cluster would not fail over to the second node.

Read the rest of this entry

Windows Live Writer (Beta)

This post is about the Windows Live Writer (Beta) for posting to a blog.  I am actually using this application to make this post.  I found the Windows Live Writer to be more than adequate to make blog posts, it has some rich features and more XP-Like interface than most of the other apps I’ve tried.  Its a bit slower to load than any of the rest as well.  However, its easy to use and if you are familiar with MS word, then this should be no problem for you to learn.  Here you can find the Windows Live Writer