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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Fast-Broadband-Internet on a Pocket PC!

Fast-Broadband-Internet on a Pocket PC!

Verizon's new XV6600 Phone Edition device sports a slide-down thumb keyboard and supports Verizon's high-speed EVDO network.

By Rich Hall and David Ciccone
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Verizon XV6600

I recently read a news announcement on that got me excited. It said that Cingular, Sprint, and Verizon were going to carry branded version of the "Blue Angel," the hot new Windows Mobile Phone Edition device from the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC.

The relationship between HTC and the Windows Mobile end user is a little complicated. HTC designs and manufacturers devices for Siemens, Audiovox, HP, and other companies. These companies may market the device directly to the end user, but in the case of Pocket PCs with phone capability, they usually work out a deal with a wireless carrier and have the carrier market and support the device. In the case of this device, Sprint and Cingular will market the Siemens version of the Blue Angel-the SX66. Verizon will market the Audiovox version-the XV6600. Other than the branding, these are nearly identical devices. However, there is one important difference. Verizon's XV6600 supports Verizon's new EVDO data network. That was a deciding factor for me so I took the plunge and joined Verizon.

Verizon BroadbandAccess based on EVDO

Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess is one of the fastest, fully mobile wireless Internet data solutions available. Based on the EVDO (Evolution-Data Optimized) standard for CDMA phone networks, it will increase data rates for CDMA phones to as high as 2 megabits per second. Typical speeds are more on the order of 400-700 kbps-still plenty fast. Currently Verizon is offering BroadbandAccess service in the US to more than 75 million people in 35 cities, plus 24 major airports. Verizon plans to expand service in the US to 150 million people by the end of 2005. For more information on BroadbandAccess, visit Verizon's Web site (http://www.verizonwireless.c...).

The Verizon XV6600 is capable of accessing Verizon's BroadbandAccess data network as well as the slower but more widely available NationalAccess network. The XV6600 is priced at $549 with a two year contract and $599 with a one year contract. The plans are decent but not as cheap as some of Verizon's competitors. As I mentioned, however, the big deciding factor for me was the BroadbandAccess service bundled with the XV6600 for only $44.95 per month. If you want data speeds similar to Wi-Fi, (and even home broadband Internet connections like DSL and cable), the XV6600's BroadbandAccess is definitely for you!

Tip: Using XV660 as an EVDO modem for a laptop PC

The $44.95 BroadbandAccess plan is available for the XV6600 but not for laptop PCs. If you want BroadbandAccess for your laptop, you'll have to purchase an EVDO card and pay $79.95 a month for the service. Verizon does not support using the XV6600 as a wireless modem for another device. However, instructions on how to do it and the necessary software are available online from independent sources such as

What's in the box?

The Verizon XV6600 is powered by a 400MHZ Intel PXA263 processor and is equipped with 128MB of RAM and 64 MB of flash ROM. It incorporates digital 800/1900 MHz CDMA phone technology, as well as IrDA and Bluetooth wireless capability. It has a clear 3.5" diagonal QVGA 64K color transflective touch screen and an SDIO-compatible expansion slot that allows you to add storage memory and peripheral devices. Sorry, no Wi-Fi. But with BroadbandAccess speeds up to 750kps and beyond, you don't need it in the coverage areas, and if you want to add it, you've got the expansion slot. Versions of the XV6600 with or without an integrated digital camera are available. I tested the one without a camera.

The unit ships with a charging/synchronization cradle: it has an extra slot for charging a spare battery. Also included is a wall power adapter, a nice stereo phone headset, an extra stylus, and a Companion CD with a more detailed manual in PDF format and additional software. It ships with a leather pouch case similar to the one that came with the older 36/3700series iPAQ's. It also comes with Verizon's Manual for Wireless Sync, which also shows you how to check your voicemail and minutes used, and lists emergency numbers. One great feature: Verizon placed a removable plastic adhesive on the screen that directs the new user to dial *228 to program their phone. Dialing this number downloads the latest roaming database and any software upgrades needed. What an easy and great feature!

Stylish and functional design

The XV6600 has a stylish and functional slip-down QWERTY thumb keyboard (Fig. 1). The keyboard is responsive and the keys are easy to press. It even comes with a special Pocket Internet Explorer key to launch the browser. All the keys on the keyboard are backlit with blue light, which is bright enough to allow use in very dark places (Fig. 2). In addition, the XV6600 has a full set of four application launch buttons above the navigation pad, as well as the Call and End flanking the pad. By default, the application buttons launch Calendar, Contacts, Internet Explorer, and Internet e-mail. As with other Pocket PCs, these can be reassigned to launch other applications. The thumb keyboard is very easy to use, but I have not had the device for very long, and therefore can't comment on how durable it is over the long haul. You might consider purchasing the insurance Verizon offers for $4.99 per month.

Unlike Windows Mobile Smartphones, which are designed for single hand operations, Pocket PC devices rely mostly on the touch screen for data entry and device control. However, given the fact that the XV6600 has Call and End keys, a thumb keyboard, and application launch buttons that can be reassigned, you'll probably be able to use this without the stylus in some cases.

Better get a spare battery

The battery life on this unit definitely needs some improvement. I used this device hard each day and noticed I was at 50% power in no time. Verizon says the unit should have an estimated battery life of 3.6 hours talk and 6 days of standby, but manufacturer estimates tend to be based on best-case scenarios. If you intend on using the device a lot, you should invest in a spare battery ($59.94) and car charger kit ($24.95).

Built-in software from Microsoft and Verizon

The device is based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition software for the Pocket PC Phone Edition. This suite includes the Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition OS and "Pocket" versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player. In addition, it includes a Phone Dialer to interface with the phone technology, a variety of configuration utilities, and a few other apps. A user-installable version of Microsoft's desktop PC synchronization program ActiveSync is found on the Companion CD.

In addition to the standard software from Microsoft, Verizon included a sparse set of add-ons with the device, including a digital photo album and a backup/restore utility. In addition, the XV6600 comes with Wireless Sync, a "push" e-mail technology that lets you receive e-mails and real time calendar updates automatically. Wireless sync checks for new e-mail (and retrieves any new ones) every 15 minutes. The user also has the option of checking e-mail manually if they aren't sure they received all their e-mail. Wireless Sync is built into the unit, but to use it you have to register your phone on the Verizon Web site (http://www.wirelesssync.vzw....).

Fig. 3: Verizon's Wireless Sync service gives you 164 MB of online storage.

The service will also work with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes-a huge plus for corporate users. Each user has almost 164 MB of storage space on Verizon's server (Fig. 3). Compare that to the 10 MB I had available for my Blackberry on the T-Mobile or Nextel servers-another plus for the corporate user!

Broadband access in a sexy package

Verizon could have included Microsoft Voice Command with the device for hands-free operation, and I'd love to see Pocket Informant ( bundled with the device to provide an alternative to the Outlook interface. In addition, I had some problems pairing my Bluetooth headset with the XV6600 (which I hear will be addressed in the next software update). However, these are relatively minor complaints.

Overall, I love this device: it's fast, it's sexy, and it gets the job done. It's also a bit of an attention getter. I continue to hear comments and questions about the device from people walking by. If you want fast Internet access from a phone and have Verizon's BroadbandAccess available in your area, you may want to take a closer look at the Verizon XV6600. It's available directly from Verizon Wireless (http://www.verizonwireless.c...).

Why more women aren't "geeks" | | CNET

Why more women aren't "geeks" | | CNET News.comWhy more women aren't "geeks"

Where are all the women who forsake social outings to stay up all night writing computer code and read science fiction?

Most of those computer "geeks" (as the stereotype goes) live in countries that mandate math and science courses through the teenage years.

That's one of the conclusions of a new study exploring the gender gap in computer science, a profession dominated by men. Professors of sociology at the University of California at San Diego and Western Washington released a study Friday that showed that women are vastly underrepresented in computer science in 21 nations--Germany, Czech Republic and Belgium being among the top countries with few women in tech.

That is because those as well as most countries are influenced by the notion that men and women are naturally suited to different occupations. But what's different is that their schools do not require curriculum in math and science, and therefore encourage fulfilling those roles, according to the findings.

In South Korea, a nation with the highest number of women in computer science, math must be studied through 12th grade, and science through 11th. Ireland, Sweden, Turkey and the United States were also among nations with the highest penetration of women in technology.

Posted by Stefanie Olsen

Friday, August 12, 2005

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and Raves

Pocket PC Thoughts - Daily News, Views, Rants and avesHARDWARE Kingston Unveils Their 2GB Ultimate SecureDigital Card
Posted by Ekkie Tepsupornchai @ 01:00 PM
"Fountain Valley, CA -- August 9, 2005 - Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the further expansion of its Secure Digital (SD) Ultimate Card product line with the release of a new ultra-performing 2-GB capacity card. With super-fast 120X transfer rates, Kingston SD Ultimate cards offer significant performance benefits over current Standard and Elite Pro lines of SD cards. The greater storage capacity of the 2-GB SD Ultimate card meets the rigorous demands of professional digital photographers."

Very nice! Now at a list price of $219, this isn't cheap, especially when compared with the current market price of 1GB SD cards. I would expect this price to come down once it's been on the market for a bit and the other manufacturers start to release competing 2GB offerings. At this point, there is no word yet on when we will see the card in online stores or who will carry it (the "Buy Now" links found here on their site lead to empty information at the moment).

Company News |

Company News | Reuters.comReuters Summit-DirecTV to stop marketing TiVo
Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:14 PM ET

NEW YORK, Aug 10 (Reuters) - DirecTV Group Inc. on Wednesday said it plans to stop marketing digital video recorders from TiVo Inc. this year, as part of a broader plan to replace them with News Corp. -created technology, a top executive said on Wednesday.

DirecTV is TiVo's single largest customer and accounts for two-thirds of TiVo's total subscribers.

"The product we will market is our product," DirecTV Chief Executive Chase Carey said at the Reuters Telecommunications, Cable and Satellite Summit in New York.

The move could be a blow to TiVo, the Alviso, California company, whose name is synonymous with digital recorders that let users pause live television broadcasts and pre-record shows.

By October, the top U.S. satellite television operator plans to begin selling a new digital video recorder and set top box that will feature technology made by NDS Group Plc , a company that shares a controlling shareholder with DirecTV in News Corp.

News Corp. owns a 34 percent stake in DirecTV.

DirecTV's decision to use News Corp. technology is part of a broader plan to replicate video-on-demand viewing, which has been a defining competitive advantage of cable operators.

Satellite television technology only provides for a one-way broadcast of video programming, unlike cable TV, which also lets users send requests back to the cable system.

Cable customers are able to order up movies and shows at a click of their remote.

By next year, DirecTV will begin offering higher capacity digital video recorders using NDS technology that will automatically store frequently watched encrypted programming and movies onto the recorder's hard drive.

While it is not considered a true two-way video on demand system, such distinctions could be vague to viewers who find what they want to watch automatically stored.

"If you don't have a (digital video recorder) from us, you won't be getting the DirecTV experience," Carey said. "TiVo will only be available to the people who would ask."

Ahead of the new digital video recorder launch, DirecTV is currently offering new customers a free TiVo recorder through a $100 mail-in rebate.

Last week, Carey told Reuters that the company had no immediate plans to purchase more inventory from TiVo, but did not specify a time frame.

TiVo's contract with DirecTV ends in 2007. Carey declined to comment on whether it would be extended beyond that time and said it was contingent on whether TiVo could find a way to serve a part of DirecTV's market.

Brighthand — Windows Mobile Treo Expected Early Next Year

Brighthand — Windows Mobile Treo Expected Early Next YearWindows Mobile Treo Expected Early Next Year
By Ed Hardy | Editor-in-Chief
Aug 11, 2005

Full-scale production of the first Treo running Windows Mobile will begin during the first quarter of next year.

This smartphone will be manufactured by HTC, which makes a number of other cellular-wireless Pocket PCs. This company also manufactures Palm, Inc.'s Treo 650.

This information was in yesterday's Chinese-language Commercial Times, according to Taiwan's DigiTimes.

Rumors of a Windows Mobile-based Treo have been making the rounds of handheld- and smartphone-oriented web sites for months, but this is the first time a mainstream newspaper has talked about it.

Reportedly, HTC isn't just going to manufacture the new Treo, it's also taking part in the design process. This might be because it has far more experience developing Windows Mobile devices than Palm, Inc. does.
What the Rumors Say

Recently, several pictures and a short video of a Treo running Windows Mobile were given to Engadget.

This model, which will supposedly be called the Treo 670, is close to the Treo 650 in shape, but not exactly the same.

It will reportedly include a camera with flash, Bluetooth short-range networking, and use the same connector as the Palm OS version of this smartphone.

Thanks to PDA 24/4 for the tip.

HTC is building the Treo 670 for Palm - Engadget -

HTC is building the Treo 670 for Palm - Engadget - www.engadget.comRemember how back in March a pic leaked out of a Treo 670 prototype with an HTC logo on its screen? Well, the word out of Taiwan is that HTC just scored a major contract to build the first Windows Mobile-powered Treo (aka the Treo 670) for Palm, with volume shipments set to begin in Q1 of 2006. Not that it really could have been anyone else but HTC, not only do they pump out more Windows Mobile-powered Pocket PC Phones and Smartphones than just about any other company on the planet, they’re also the contract manufacturer for the Palm-powered Treo 650, too.

Garmin Rino 530 combines two-way radio, GPS, weather tools - Engadget -

Garmin Rino 530 combines two-way radio, GPS, weather tools - Engadget - www.engadget.comGarmin Rino 530 combines two-way radio, GPS, weather tools

Posted Aug 11, 2005, 11:55 AM ET by Marc Perton

garmin rino 530

If you’re off trekking through the wilderness (or just the local oversized water park), two pieces of gear that could really help you out are a two-way radio and a GPS unit. So, why hasn’t anyone combined the two? In fact, Garmin has with its Rino series, which now includes the Rino 530, a version that adds an electronic compass, barometric altimeter, and NOAA weather receiver. The radio has a 12-mile range and the GPS includes a color TFT display so you can get like, really freaking lost. You can also use the GPS unit to locate other Rino-toting cohorts, which could make those group outings a lot less stressful. Of course, all this outdoorsy goodness comes at a price; the 530 has an MSRP of $535.70. A similar model, the 520 ditches the compass, weather and related functions, and comes in at $482.13.

Ipaq HQ Forums - HP iPaq 65xx Series Initial GPS Report

Ipaq HQ Forums - HP iPaq 65xx Series Initial GPS ReportPlaying with built in GPS

OK, HP has not let us in on what GPS software will or ill not work with the "Built In" GPS receiver the 6500 houses, so I decided to throw a few programs at it myself.

Before I share my findings, I want to point out that the comments I am making are from my own experience. I did not investigate all possibilities. If it worked fast, it worked...

* The first package I tried was an older version of Ostia, from Pharos. This version works WONDERFULLY with my Pharos BT GPS. Ostia was not able to detect the internal GPS. Like I said, It was an older version and I made no efforts to seek support for this.
* The next package was Microsoft's Pocket Streets 2005. Man, I loaded the software in 2 minutes(including maps for areas around me) and had a GPS fix (off the current map) within 10 minutes of piddling. Only problem is my town is not in the online downloadable maps list, BUT IT WORKS!
* The next package is a new GPS Package from Akron called, MobiNavigator. No Dice, the display was off and it didnt seem to want to look for an internal solution, only Bluetooth. I made no efforts to seek support for this, so there may be hope, just not at this moment.
* Last, but not least, OCN (On Course Navigator). Installed, auto detected internal GPS, sat in window for 5 minutes... FIX. I have grown with and loved Ostia, but this may be my new champion of GPS Software. The 3d mode is wonderful. I got this fast fix and decided to map my way to lunch. I chose Jack's on the University of Alabama Campus and let it chart my course. From where I am, there are 3-4 direct routes that would work fine, but it chose the best. (right through the Quad on Campus) When setting up some of the features, there were some minor flaws that are a result of the non-standard 240x240 pixel screen the 6500 has, but they were not that bad.

This built in GPS works well and gets a fast fix. I had some problems getting a fix inside, but was able to by a window. I do not have documentation for the 6500 as of now, but I hope it has the Com port and baud rate the GPS is operating at in it. ( Com7 / 5400b )

Record Quarter For Dell Sends Stocks Up -

Record Quarter For Dell Sends Stocks Up - Forbes.comBusiness News Bulletin
Record Quarter For Dell Sends Stocks Up
Annalisa Burgos, 08.11.05, 5:35 PM ET

In the headlines this afternoon, a record second quarter for Dell.

Earnings jumped 32% for the computer giant on record shipments of computer systems, software and peripheral products. The results met expectations, but revenue fell short of analysts' estimates.

U.S. stocks ended higher, as investors focused on good news from Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) and Target (nyse: TGT - news - people ) and ignored surging oil prices. Crude futures hit an all-time high of $66 a barrel amid disruptions at U.S. refineries. Gasoline and heating oil also rose to record highs.

The record oil prices is bad news for the airline industry. United Airlines, which is held by UAL (otc: UALAQ - news - people ), Delta Air Lines (nyse: DAL - news - people ) and Continental Airlines (nyse: CAL - news - people ) are all boosting fares as they struggle with rising fuel costs.

United raised fares $2 to $5 for each one-way leg of a trip. Delta raised fares $10 for each leg of a trip, except in markets where it faces low-cost competition, where the fares will rise by $3 to $5 per leg. Continental said it's matching Delta's fare hikes.

In other news, the former financial chief of WorldCom, Scott Sullivan was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the company's $11 billion accounting fraud.

And check out Albert Bozzo's interview with attorney Marvin Pickholz about his thoughts on Sullivan's sentence.

That's it for today. Be sure to check out our special reports, and stay logged on to

Tuesday, August 09, 2005 - Nigeria cracking down on e-scams - Aug 8, 2005 - Nigeria cracking down on e-scams - Aug 8, 2005Nigeria cracking down on e-scams

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Day in, day out, a strapping, amiable 24-year-old who calls himself Kele B. heads to an Internet cafe, hunkers down at a computer and casts his net upon the cyber-waters.

Blithely oblivious to signs on the walls and desks warning of the penalties for Internet fraud, he has sent out tens of thousands of e-mails telling recipients they have won about $6.4 million in a bogus British government "Internet lottery."

"Congratulation! You Are Our Lucky Winner!" it says.

So far, Kele says, he has had only one response. But he claims it paid off handsomely. An American took the bait, he says, and coughed up "fees" and "taxes" of more than $5,000, never to hear from Kele again.

Festac Town, a district of Lagos where the scammers ply their schemes, has become notorious for "419 scams," named for the section of the Nigerian penal code that outlaws them.

In Festac Town, an entire community of scammers overnights on the Internet. By day they flaunt their smart clothes and cars and hang around the Internet cafes, trading stories about successful cons and near misses, and hatching new plots.

Festac Town is where communication specialists operating underground sell foreign telephone lines over which a scammer can purport to be calling from any city in the world. Here lurk master forgers and purveyors of such software as "e-mail extractors," which can harvest e-mail addresses by the million.

Now, however, a 3-year-old crackdown is yielding results, Nigerian authorities say.

Nuhu Ribadu, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, says cash and assets worth more than $700 million were recovered from suspects between May 2003 and June 2004. More than 500 suspects have been arrested, more than 100 cases are before the courts and 500 others are under investigation, he said.

The agency won its first big court victory in May when Mike Amadi was sentenced to 16 years in prison for setting up a Web site that offered juicy but phoney procurement contracts. Amadi cheekily posed as Ribadu himself and used the agency's name. He was caught by an undercover agent posing as an Italian businessman.

This month the biggest international scam of all -- though not one involving the Internet -- ended in court convictions. Amaka Anajemba was sentenced to 21/2 years in prison and ordered to return $25.5 million of the $242 million she helped to steal from a Brazilian bank.

The trial of four co-defendants is to start in September.

Why Nigeria? There are many theories. The nation of 130 million, Africa's most populous, is well-educated, and English, the lingua franca of the scam industry, is the official language. Nigeria bursts with talent, from former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon to Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka.

But with World Bank studies showing a quarter of urban college graduates are unemployed, crime offers tempting career opportunities -- in drug dealing, immigrant-trafficking, oil-smuggling and Internet fraud.

The scammers thrived during oil-rich Nigeria's 15 years of brutal and corrupt military rule, and democracy was restored only six years ago.

"We reached a point when law enforcement and regulatory agencies seemed nonexistent. But the stance of the present administration has started changing that," said Ribadu, the scam-busting chief.

President Olusegun Obasanjo is winning U.S. praise for his crackdown. Interpol, the FBI and other Western law enforcement agencies have stepped in to help, says police spokesman Emmanuel Ighodalo, and Nigerian police have received equipment and Western training in combating Internet crime and money-laundering.

Experts say Nigerian scams continue to flood e-mail systems, though many are being blocked by spam filters that get smarter and more aggressive. America Online Inc. spokesman Nicholas Graham says Nigerian messages lack the telltale signs of other spam -- like embedded Web links -- but filters are able to be alert to suspect mail coming from a specific range of Internet addresses.

Also, the scams have a limited shelf life.

In the con that Internet users are probably most familiar with, the e-mailer poses as a corrupt official looking for help in smuggling a fortune to a foreign bank account. E-mail or fax recipients are told that if they provide their banking and personal details and deposit certain sums of money, they'll get a cut of the loot.

But there are other scams, like the fake lotteries.

Kele B., who won't give his surname, says he couldn't find work after finishing high school in 2000 in the southeastern city of Owerri, so he drifted with friends to Lagos, where he tried his hand at boxing.

Then he discovered the Web.

Now he spends his mornings in Internet cafes on secondhand computers with aged screens, waiting "to see if my trap caught something," he says.

Elekwa, a chubby-faced 28-year-old who also keeps his surname to himself, shows up in Festac Town driving a Lexus and telling how he was jobless for two years despite having a diploma in computer science.

His break came four years ago when the chief of a fraud gang saw him solve what seemed like "a complex computer problem" at a business center in the southeastern city of Umuahia and lured him to Lagos.

He won't talk about his scams, only about their fruits: "Now I have three cars, I have two houses and I'm not looking for a job anymore."

Monday, August 08, 2005 - Samsung i730 very popular in USA, Samsung boosts marketing of this Pocket PC phone - Samsung i730 very popular in USA, Samsung boosts marketing of this Pocket PC phoneSamsung i730 very popular in USA, Samsung boosts marketing of this Pocket PC phone
August 08, 2005 [Pocket PC phone]
Just imagine: a small Pocket PC phone with built-in QWERTY keyboard and mobile Internet access for a low flat rate fee - access through CDMA EVDO technology - data transfer speeds: 1 megabit per second!

Samsung boosts marketing efforts of Samsung i730:

Pocket PC phone from Samsung: i730

... and this phone is increasingly becoming a hit in USA! And yes, Skype client works perfectly well in this phone over EVDO - we have tested it!

Take a pocket-sized office with you on the road. With the i730, send and receive e-mails or check your calendar via Outlook. Review and make changes to Pocket Word and Excel documents. Use the large touch-screen display along with the QWERTY keyboard for fast and easy text input. The built-in Wi-Fi lets you surf the Internet and dash off e-mails anywhere there is a compatible hotspot. Stream video and send e-mails at ultra-fast rates with broadband access. Or, just relax and listen to MP3 files or play a game. The i730 Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone. The perfect companion for the road warrior.