Monday, July 30, 2007

Our Preferred PDA Phone Spec

Many today want a full-featured PDA, but are tired of carrying that and a cell phone. Some of our clients have asked us what we recommend, and one recently commissioned us to research and find the "right" solution!

We've identified a PDA Phone spec that works well and synchronizes easily with Outlook and other files. It is the Treo 700wx from VerizonWireless, Sprint, and AllTel. Like all devices it's not perfect, but we think it's the best device that does what a person who relies on their PDA wants-- and who wants to combine that device with a good phone.

Some of our parameters were:
• The PDA Phone needs to have the options of using a keyboard or a stylus because some PDA programs are best used with a stylus rather than having to navigate from field to field with a navigation button.
• The PDA Phone needs to run a full version of Windows Mobile, not a watered-down subset. Many PDA phones run a limited version of Windows Mobile that won't allow the installation of many programs one could want on their PDA (these are often referred to as SmartPhones).
• Because our clients are nationwide and many also travel nationwide, the carrier needs to be one with a solid network that works well in most markets. VerizonWireless has proven itself over and over as the best.

A limitation of the Treo 700wx is that it runs Windows Mobile 5 even though version 6 has been released. At this time, it is the only device that met all of the above criteria, though there should be some new options available by winter.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MS Office 2007 Article Interest

Today I published an article in Christian Computing Magazine entitled Microsoft Office 2007 that included some of my previous comments from this blog and more. In the first four hours since the magazine hit the digital streets I have gotten more email than on any previous article. That's good! And it's not surprising!

Office: A Love / Hate Relationship
A lot of folks LOVE Microsoft and it's products! There are things about Office 2007 that I really like, I didn't detail them in the article. Some are:
  • XML files are smaller
  • Office 2007 has a better calendar
  • All the suite modules seem to integrate better
  • It's nice being able to pin an oft-used file to the office button
  • The Excel Function Library is a big help
  • PowerPoint's animations and transitions are better
  • Videos, graphics, and pictures are better in PowerPoint
  • and more!
The Highest Priority
When I look at computer technology-- both hardware and software-- I evaluate it from the primary perspective of whether it will help those using it to be more productive than they previously were. This priority is important because I consult with churches and ministries nationwide, and I believe their mission is the most important there is!

Any technology that slows them down translates to people in ministry being less effective at fulfilling their mission. I'm not opposed to learning curves... improvements always require an adjustment period. But there are things that, even though I've been using Office 2007 for more than four months, still take me longer such as designing a new PowerPoint file (unless I merely modify an old one, using its template), working with our family's website, or anything I can't find quickly in the Ribbon.

Yes, there are things I like less in this version of Office, and they definitely slow me down considerably. Overall, I like it and believe it'll become the standard. I just wish I could be more productive in the interim.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Some Fun Technology

We got to spend the first part of our sabbatical in Hawaii! It was wonderful.

While there we visited with some friends who live there, and they showed me a website that lets you know when satellites, etc are viewable from any location! The site is called Heavens Above (, and it's free and easy to use!

Putting in our GPS coordinates, it let us know when we could see with the naked eye, for instance, the International Space Station (ISS)! That's what this blog's picture is... taken from our camera in Hawaii!

I hope you have as much fun with this as we have,