Archive for August, 2007

Why am I still on Windows Mobile 5?

Friday, August 31st, 2007

My blog post after my first day with the T-Mobile Ameo still gets a surprising number of views, and has raised some interesting questions.

I got a good question this week that is worth a separate post: with Windows Mobile 6 out since February, what am I still doing on Windows Mobile 5?


Looks like we have competition…

Monday, August 20th, 2007

I’ve mentioned v (the independent charity and grant-provider that took over the running of Millennium Volunteers from DfES) a few times before, as they’ve grown out of the Russell Commission recommendations to a major figure in youth volunteering.

Last week, we submitted our funding bids to v – four separate bids totalling over £1.7million over three years. Nothing much to do now but wait for the next stage of the selection process on 10th September.

But I was reading this morning that we apparently have a lot of competition.

The youth volunteering charity v has received nearly 800 expressions of interest from organisations that want to apply for shares of the £70m funding available through its new National Youth Volunteering Programme.


Still, I think we have submitted strong bids, in consortium with other local providers, so I am hopeful.

Business + Charity + Connexions

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Apologies for cross-posting… this post originally began life as a post for my work intranet blog, but thinking about it there wasn’t anything confidential in there so I’ve tweaked it a little for posting here.

The inspiration

Last February, I got invited to an IBM volunteering celebration event at South Bank (because of an event I ran for some local charities). I am on the board of trustees for a local youth charity, so I brought along Andy – the chair of the board of trustees of my charity. (I don’t often go up to London so I thought it’d be more fun to take a mate with me.)

The day included presentations – some from IBM employees talking about what they had got out of volunteering, and some from charities and community organisations saying what a difference IBM had made to them. In some ways, I found it a bit of an eye-opener – I often see the volunteering that I do as being separate to me at IBM. With a couple of exceptions, I’ve generally approached my voluntary work as an individual, rather than as “Dale from IBM”.

Listening to the presentations, I started to question my approach. One headteacher talked about the difference that his local IBM lab made to his school when an IBM employee called upon people from his lab to support them. This was a common theme in many talks – the potential to make massive differences to the local community when IBMers work together.

It’s not like I’ve not seen that at Hursley – I’ve seen it in things like Blue Fusion. But still, in many ways, it did get me thinking, and Andy and I spent the train ride back to Eastleigh thinking about ways that IBM could add value to the work that we do at SYA to support local young people.

That ideastorming, inspired by the work from IBM sites around the UK that we’d been hearing about, led to an idea – and the creation of a new project.


TinyURL plugin for Windows Mobile

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I was surprised by the reaction to my plugin for Pocket Internet Explorer – between my blog post and the download page, I got something like 70 links and over 1,000 downloads in a couple of weeks. Wow.

If I’d known so many people would read it, I might not have made the blog post quite so moany 🙂

I got emails asking for versions of the plugin for their own favourite web service, but had to leave it for a bit because something else came up. Now I’m back, I thought I’d give one a go.

I’ve started with my next most used web service: TinyURL.

If you’re not familiar with it, TinyURL turns long web addresses into shorter, easy to share ones. It’s particularly useful when you’re trying to cram a link into a 140 character twitter update!

And – similarly to – using it on the Windows Mobile web browser is fiddly and long-winded. So here is a plugin for Pocket Internet Explorer to help.

It adds an entry to the Pocket Internet Explorer menu that gets a TinyURL for the webpage you are looking at, copying it to your clipboard so you can paste it into an SMS, email, tweet, IM message etc.

As always, anyone is welcome to give it a go – and any feedback would be gratefully received. It should run on any Windows Mobile 5/6 device, shouldn’t need any pre-reqs, and you can download it for Pocket PC (touchscreen) or Smartphone.

Read on if you are interested in a bit more ramble about how it works. 🙂


Why doesn’t Windows Mobile have a mobile Notepad?

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

I’ve been relying on my PDA quite a bit while I’ve been travelling, and it’s frustrating when you have a file that you can’t open. MS Word on Windows Mobile is an okay text editor, but it’ll only open files with extensions like .doc .rtf .txt and so on.

I don’t want anything fancy – just the ability to view and make minor edits to text files! If I get emailed a file with an obscure extension, want to make a quick tweak to a settings or config file, view the source of something like a webpage, or anything like this, I’m basically stuck. You can’t click on them – you just get an error message that no application is associated with them. You can’t change the file extension to something MS Word will open because the Windows Mobile file explorer hides file extensions (you can rename files but not change their extensions).

My Internet access is a little limited at the moment so I’ve not had a chance to search if this has been done already – I figured it’d be easier to throw together my own version. It’s basically a TextBox control with File-Open and File-Save dialogs bolted on the front. It only took about 20 mins to write, and (as I’ve already got .NET Compact Framework 2) it’s very lightweight.

If anyone else thinks they might find it useful, you’re very welcome to give it a try. If anyone has any recommendations for lightweight Windows Mobile text editors, it’d be interesting to hear what people like.

Arriving in Manila

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

I’m not a travel writer. If I was, I’d be rubbish at it – writing code is one thing, but my attempts at stringing together anything vaguely like an engaging narrative are basically rubbish. And even if I thought I was good at that sort of thing, I’ve been in Manila for about three hours, so any conclusions I might come to now are massively premature.

Still, why let that stop me, eh? Because it’s been an interesting arrival, and without blogging, I’ve got noone else around to talk to about it. 🙂