Dare to Dream Different Contest

Microsoft is having yet another embeded development contest.  This ons is cenetered on the .Net Microframework.  For more details see the contest web site.  The contest has three phases with each phase eliminating contestants.

  • October 8 – December 15th : Present your idea
  • January 15 – May 15th : Build your idea
  • April 15 – May 31: Present your idea.

The final round sounds tough; has to be presented before a board of industry experts.  But if you survive the first round Microsoft will provide for you the hardware and the software that you need for the next round.  The prices are worth over $100k.  I don’t know what they are but if nothing else the community recognition would make the contest worth the effort.



Windows Mobile Licensing

I saw a posting on WMExperts.com about Microsoft’s licensing fees for Windows Mobile (the information cam from Reuters).  In short the posting said that Microsoft will continue to charge licensing fees for Windows Mobile and also brings attention to the functionality packaged with Windows Mobile that isn’t available with some of the free mobile operating systems.

  • Built-in Exchange push e-mail support.
  • Support for remote device management, application deployment and device policy management.
  • Support for full device encryption (including external memory cards).
  • Free sync with Windows Live Hotmail and Live Contacts.
  • Windows Live Search.
  • Live Messenger IM Client.
  • Software for simple Internet Sharing.
  • Office files reading and editing.
  • A pretty good e-mail application with built-in smart filtering search.
  • A pretty good Bluetooth stack.
  • Access to 18000 + applications already out in the market.
  • Support by carriers and a wide developer community.
  • Security certification by recognized accreditation bodies.
  • Indemnification for the technology used.

I hadn’t considered this before. but after reading it I have to wonder whether or not I should really consider the other OSes to be free.  I see quite a few features in the above that I would really hate to be without.


Cell Tower Rejection?

I make business trips to Scottsdale, Arizona about once ever two – three months.  When I came to Scottsdale on Monday I brought my AT&T Tilt (HTC TyTn II) with me.  This is the first 3G phone that I’ve owned.  The phone has been fitting my needs well for the past couple of months.  Before I got on the plane to Arizona I made a few phone calls, turned off the phone, and boarded the plane.  After landing my coworker and I caught a taxi to the hotel and I called home to let my family know that I had safely arrived.

Some time later I was looking at my phone and noticed it was searching for a signal.  It found one and showed 5 bars for about 15 seconds then went back to looking for a signal.  I watched it do this for about 30 minutes writing writing down the times the device went from having a tower fix to searching for a tower. It would get a fix 15 seconds after the devices clock changed to a time that had an even number for minutes.  In this state the device was almost useless; I could send a SMS as long as it was sent during this 20 second window, but I could do nothing more.

I spoke with AT&T and a representative told me the problem was with my SIM card and that the 64k AT&T SIM cards could not be used in 3G devices.  Not quite believing this I removed the SIM from the 3G data card for my laptop and saw it used the same type of SIM card.  I swapped the SIMs and found that the problem followed the phone and not the SIM.  After a lot of web research I found other customers that had experienced the same problem and some one pointed out that the problem was specific to phones acting in 3G mode. The theory was that some phones were being inexplicably rejected by some towers in 3G mode.

After hearing that I began searching for programs that I could use to disable the 3G mode in my phone and stubled on something I had seen a few weeks ago but had ignored. It is called CommMgrPro. I used the program to disable 3G mode depending on what tower the phone was connected to it afterwards I was able to make phone calls again.  I don’t have confidence in the theory I received from the AT&T rep about the problem being caused by the type of SIM card that I am using.  I can’t completely accept compromising the functionality of my phone as a solution to the problem.  I’ve forwarded the information I have on the problem to Mickey at The Cell Phone Junkie (http://thecellphonejunkie.com). He will be recording his next podcast on Sunday night and hopefully he will be able to give insight to the problem with his podcast is made available on Monday morning.