Feb 272016
 

I was one of the lucky few who were able to pre-order a Microsoft Lumia 950XL when orders were first available. I received it late 2015, and absolutely love it. I’ve been a Microsoft Insider (on the Fast Insider Build track), and I’ve been keeping up to date with testing new firmware, software, etc…

Today, I’m writing to talk about a new platform called “Continuum”. Microsoft developed this as part of the Windows 10 landscape for mobile devices. To describe Continuum in one simple short sentence: Continuum provides a desktop like Windows experience with your phone.

No, the desktop experience does not render on the phone screen itself, but when connecting to a Microsoft Display dock, or Miricast wireless projection device, Continuum provides you with a full screen “Windows-like” environment where you can run Windows 10 universal apps, Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, etc…

Desktop and Start Menu on Continuum

Desktop and Start Menu on Continuum

This essentially turns your phone in to a fully functional computer, allowing you to connect peripherals such as keyboards, mice, USB drives, printers, the list goes on… This is the ultimate tool for the road warrior, you can hook up to any display (or TV), keyboard and mouse (or use the phone screen as a track pad), and edit word documents on the fly, surf the internet with a full screen browser, or Remote Desktop (RDP) in to your corporate computer. Another awesome capability is to use the Microsoft Wireless Display adapter on a projector for presentations to wireless stream PowerPoint presentations from your phone to the projector.

Word New Document on Continuum

 

Word on Continuum

Word on Continuum

 

Excel on Continuum

Excel on Continuum

 

Now here is where things get interesting! I always hear about new technologies, and while most are gimmicks, I find that Continuum is something that can very much be used regularly in real world scenarios, benefiting those who use it.

For most corporate mobile users, they often rely on their mobile laptops to check e-mail (Outlook), work on documents (Word, Excel) while most of their other work is actually performed through Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Services, some other terminal services based remote access solution, or even PCoIP access to virtualized desktops. These remote solutions enable access to a companies LoB (Line of Business) applications, which could be for sales, inventory management, CRM, ERP, SAP, you name it!

In order to access a Terminal Services Server (Remote Desktop Server), or a Virtualized Desktop, you need a basic device that can connect to these services.

Here comes Continuum to save the day. No longer is a laptop required, or the licensing that comes along with it. You now have the entire Microsoft Office suite, an LTE hotspot, VPN client, and a fully functional Remote desktop client in your pocket that you can access anytime.

Server list on Continuum

Server list on Continuum

Active RDP session using Continuum

Active RDP session using Continuum

I loaded up the “Remote Desktop (Preview)” app on my phone to test it out. Right now we are using the Preview as it fully supports Windows 10 for mobile both on the phone display, and inside of Continuum. I’m able to connect to my corporate VPN remotely (using the phone’s VPN client), and initialize a Remote Desktop connection to my work computer. I am now completely using my work computer remotely, using any application, and even routing sounds back to my display on Continuum. The uses for this are endless.

I have to say I’m very impressed. With this technology just being released, it performs surprisingly well. Believe it or not, I’m actually writing this blog post using Microsoft Edge on Continuum using my Microsoft Lumia 950XL. All while the phone is still available and can be used separately, as long as the Continuum link remains open.

I think there is going to be some interesting times ahead, and I’m hoping that companies like VMWare develop a VMWare View client for Windows 10 as Continuum could be a perfect PCoIP client for a virtualized desktop.

I’ve attached some extra screenshots below, and a few links providing information on Microsoft Continuum and the Microsoft Lumia 950XL running Windows 10 for Mobile.

 

Screenshots of actual use:

 

Pictures of Devices:

 

Informational Links:

Continuum
https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows/Continuum

Microsoft, on Continuum for phone
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows-10/getstarted-continuum-mobile

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/lumia950-xl-dual-sim/

Microsoft Display Dock
https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/accessory/hd-500/

Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter
https://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-ca/p/wireless-display-adapter

Windows Continuum for Phones (Provided by Youtube: Windows)

Universal Remote Desktop App (Provided by Youtube: Microsoft Lumia US)

Mar 192015
 

So I picked up my new Lenovo X1 Carbon 2015 Gen3 laptop yesterday, and I absolutely LOVE it… I’ve been waiting for it to come in for a couple months now, and wanted to add WWAN as it wasn’t available as a preconfigured unit with the WWAN built in.

The unit I purchased was the 20BS0035US part number, which essentially is fully loaded with the exception of WWAN.

One big things for me is that I need to have LTE availability as I hate using USB data sticks. I did a bunch of research, and while waiting I went ahead and ordered the Sierra Wireless card that you can order as a configure to order.

I called IBM parts and placed an order for FRU Part# 04X6014 (Sierra Wireless Gobi5000 EM7345). When I received the laptop yesterday, I opened it to install the module, and thankfully the unit DID ship with the WWAN atennas built in. Installed the card, connected the antennas (orange is the main), popped in a SIM card and I was good to go!

The WWAN module is working great with Rogers on LTE in Canada!

Again, this laptop is SLICK!

For those of you that want to add it, place an order for the FRU Part# 04X6014. IBM notified me that this is a Wi-Fi adapter, however I can confirm this is in fact a WWAN adapter.

Sep 052010
 

One of the most annoying things I’ve had to deal with is installing BES Express on SBS 2008. Way back earlier in 2010, I was mostly dealing with the 5.0.1x release. There were soo many bugs, so many issues, registry hacks, SQL queries that had to be run, it was just ugly!

 

One word of advice, always download the latest version of the software. Do not take ANY shortcuts on installing it. Either use the video tutorial that RIM has on their BlackBerry site, or use the guide from http://www.smallbizserver.net/Articles/tabid/266/Id/343/How-to-install-BlackBerry-Enterprise-Server-Express-on-a-SBS-2008.aspx

 

I don’t know how much is fixed, however after installing a 5.0.2 this weekend it worked flawlessly after the first install (keep in mind I always use “Blackberry Administration Service Authentication” instead of Windows Authentication because of an old known issue).

Aug 292010
 

A really cool feature of Microsoft Office 2007 and Office 2010 is that you can post directly to your blog right from the application. Using Word, you can configure your blogging accounts (which includes WordPress, Windows Live Spaces, Blogger, SharePoint Blog, Community Server, and Typepad), type up a blog, and then submit it your blogging account right from Word!

I’m actually writing this right now inside of Office 2010 configured for my personal blog (http://www.stephenwagner.com).

To get to the section of Microsoft Word to configure you accounts:

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Select the File Menu
  3. Select “Save & Send”.
  4. Select “Publish as Blog Post”, and then select “Publish as Blog Post” on the right hand side.
  5. You can now start to configure your Blog accounts and publish directly from Office.

Later on, if you need to modify your accounts, select the “Manage Accounts” button on the top after going into the “Publish as Blog Post”.

Aug 252010
 

Quick rant!

We need a pimped out version of Microsoft OneNote which sync’s with exchange, a dual screen tablet from Microsoft, and handwriting recognition on the tablet.

1) Go to a business meeting, whip up a OneNote note using the tablet instead of laptop or paper.

2) Attach a “Category” to the notes page you just made, then using the stylus drag and flick it over to the other page which “symbolizes” adding/indexing it on to your exchange server. Now the notes are organized and added to the client file on your server! Handwriting was recognized and you just saved yourself a bunch of time!

3) Log on to desktop at office, retrieve notes and work on proposal!

Microsoft, you have the potential! Let’s make it happen!

Aug 232010
 

Well,

Received my FREE (yes free) HP Mini 210 today from HP BlueCarpet (rewards program for HP Partners for selling stuff). I have to say this device is SHAWEET. Way better than my Acer One.

Anyways, to cut to the chase, I’ve got info, I’ve reviewed every service manual, and PDF doc there is. I beleive I can get 3G running on this puppy using the PROPER equipment (utilizing the built in SIM slot, all HP).

Two seperate things are required. HP 3G/HSPA/HSDPA/GSM modem, and the WWAN antennas to be mounted in the display. I’m ordering the parts soon, I’ll post a how to and keep you updated on my progress.

And this device is definitely worth a review (it’s amazing)! Keep posted for that as well.

Aug 202010
 

Well, it was time for me to get a new phone. I needed something that ran Windows Mobile (for Exchange ActiveSync, and other business reasons) so I went ahead and purchased an Xperia X2.

After ordering, I received a unit that looked like it was a repack. Went ahead and sent it back. Here’s where things get interesting. The company where I purchased it from took back the first, ordered a second (from Sony Ericsson), and wouldn’t ship that unit to me saying that it looked like it had been tampered with. Finally a 3rd unit came in which they did send out to me and WAS factory sealed.

Upon receiving this unit, after breaking the factory seal on the box, it looked as if the phone had been tampered with (the internals of the box had been ripped, battery package was crinkled, and the phone packaging was crinkled). Obviously someone at Sony Ericsson had opened the package to do something, and re-sealed it. I’ve come to believe this was probably to perform a firmware update on the device.

After getting everything out, I noticed that the phone felt very cheap. The phone felt mostly like very light plastic and slips on the skin very easily (instantly I had a vision in my mind of me walking down the street and having it slip out of my hand and crack into a million pieces on the ground). This scared me even though I have never damaged a phone as a result of my own doings.

Before I did anything, I downloaded the SE update utility to upgrade it to the latest firmware, there was one update available. After the update was complete, it took around 30 minutes for all the customization to take place.

After this was all complete and it was finally time to use the phone, I noticed how buggy the firmware was. Programs would freeze, they would open and instantly close by themselves, you have to use quite a bit of force on the resistant screen to trigger anything (which often cause accidental triggers when scrolling).

I actually ended up going to “Remove Programs” and removed a lot of the software installed on the phone, along with a lot of the panels which did help, but the device is still in an “ugly” state.

Although I’ve finally gotten the phone to a point where I can use it to send and receive e-mails I still regret purchasing this device.

Pros:

-Larger keyboard than X1

-Very nice display

-One of the few Windows Mobile 6.5 devices that operate on 850Mhz for HSUPA internet.

-HSUPA is FRIGGIN FAST!

-GPS connects VERY quickly to get a fix on your position (using google maps)

Cons:

-EVERYTHING

-Sluggish OS

-Backlight stays on sometimes even after powering off the phone (YES, you turn it off, and the backlight on the screen stays on! WTF???)

-Battery usage is HORRIBLE

-Operating system is glitchy (although I think this is because of the firmware and customizations built in)

-Text Messaging (SMS) timestamps can’t be fixed using WM 6.1 registry key (TrustTimeZoneField)

-Feels cheap

-No Up/Down/Right/Left keys on front of device, they are now on keyboard

-No “Ok” button on keyboard

-Scrolling must be done using optical track pad, or dragging the stylus/finger (often glitchy)

-Microsoft Tag (application) rotates camera view 90 degrees for some reason.

-After installing “Qik” (application), when launching it presents a black screen and then crashes (I’m guessing?)

Ultimately I wish I could return this device, however it’s performing the way it should be therefor it’s not the resellers fault.

I’ve checked all over the internet for bug fixes, user input, etc… on these issues, and it’s amazing how full the internet is of hatred for this device.

They really need to step up to the plate and release a firmware update to resolve all these issues… Why not remove all the fancy stuff and just put a typical clean WM 6.5 install on it? I feel like crying!

Aug 182010
 

So, the question I ask myself today is “What happened to Windows Mobile, and where is it going?”

Back earlier this year I got a corporate Rogers account setup for my company. Got a bunch of Xperia X1’s comped under the contract. I’ve had an old Xperia X1 for years (bought it from europe) and loved it back when it was considered one of the newer Windows Mobile phones, but hey, if you can get the same phone free again, why not right?

Anyways, to cut the story short one of the phones on my account got run over, and then mine just mysteriously died out (issues with the ribbon cable). Both were not repairable. Called Rogers, got one replaced under “Out of Warranty” (it’s been weeks since the order was placed, still no sign), then they ran out of stock (for my phone).

So here I am, this was the perfect opportunity for me to go ahead and see what’s new on the market in regards to Windows Mobile devices. I figured I’d just go ahead and buy a new device unlocked straight out (NOT from the local providers).

In my search I’ve come to the following conclusions:

1) All the new sweet phones don’t support the local HSPA frequencies in North America (high speed internet). I’m guessing there’s not enough interest in North America for WM phones.

2) Not too many companies are selling WM phones anymore in North America.

3) Turns out they released WM 7 and it sounded like it was horrible.

4) WM is still super popular in Europe.

5) People are obsessed with the iPhone, and anything that has the word “Google” or “Android” in it. (I bet they couldn’t even explain why they like the products).

Sure the iPhone is great for consumers, and for the simple professionals who don’t rely on their phone to often, but WTF??? And BlackBerry’s are not an option for me. I don’t have the time, patience, or want to setup my own BES server, maintain it, and learn the BB interface and run into limitations I wouldn’t if I was running Windows Mobile.

I’ve been a long term user of Windows Mobile devices. I love the layout, the way they work, the Exchange Push/Sync capabilities. Even the application development possibilities are sweet! But where are the stinking phones? I’m going to have a breakdown if they become extinct!

Anyways, bought an Xperia X2a since it’s one of the newer (actually not so new) phones that you can buy that work HSPA on 850Mhz. I should be receiving it tomorrow. I’ll probably be posting a review, and notes on configuration, etc…

It’s too bad I couldn’t get my hands on a HTC HD2, or a HTC Touch Pro 2.

I’m finishing this off with a question to Microsoft! What happens next? We need to put more dough in to marketing and development, we need to push this product out the ying yang! Outsource to me, I’ll be able to advise on what needs to be done to get a sweet ass device that has a potential to make some HUGE dough in both business markets and consumer markets.

Jul 082010
 

So, here’s a quick rant…

Last week my brother video calls me. My friend butts in to the conversation.

Friend: OMG dude do you have the new iPhone???

Me: No dude, this is an Xperia X1

Friend: Uhh dude, are you sure. Only the iPhone 4 has video calling, I saw it on a video from their public announcement thing.

Me: Uhh not true, I’m pretty sure what phone I have, haha. Video calling has been around for years and years.

Friend: No dude, it JUST came out.

Epic Fail!

The conversation went on and on. Why do people think video calling is a new thing? And why do people think only the iPhone 4 can do it? From what I heard the Video calling on the iPhone requires Wi-Fi and can’t do it over the cell network. All my phones I’ve had in the past 4 years supported video calling.