Thursday, June 4, 2009

Save Office 2007 documents as PDFs

Ok this isn't even close to being new but its new to me ... I recently discovered that you can download a free add in for Office 2007 that allows you to save documents as PDFs - a great feature and it might just save you the cost of Adobe Acrobat.

Grab it here:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

10 Things you should know to develop Windows Mobile 6.5 applications

1. The 6.5 Developer Tool Kits has been released:
(don't forget to install the WM 6 SDK(s) first)

2. You need to include gesture.h, GesturePhysicsEngine.h & WindowsAutoGesture.h to handle gestures in your apps and games (touch screen devices only)

3. Gesture samples projects get installed with the 6.5 Dev Tool Kits - C:\Program Files\Windows Mobile 6 SDK\Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit\Samples\PocketPC\CPP\win32 by default

4. WM 6.5 Supports Widgets - since its already explained here I won't re-write it:

5. New Start Menu icons are 45x45 pixel PNGs (90x90 for hi res and 60x60 for 128dpi). 32 bit images and transparencies are supported.

6. PNG "icons" can be placed anywhere as long as you have the appropriate registry key: "HKLM\Security\Shell\StartInfo\Start\MyCoolApp.lnk" In that key create a string value named "Icon" that points to your png (ie \Windows\MyCoolApp.png). You'll need to be clever about supporting multiple resolutions during installation.

7. The only professional square emulator provided is a 128dpi 320x320 resolution. So hopefully no more 240x240 touch screen devices.

8. The new Today Screen is just a plugin so it can be turned off if you're trying to make today screen plugs (although this might upset your customers).

9. Windows Mobile 6.5 is still built on CE 5 so you can use the WM 5 SDKs to develop if you don't need the new features. (and honestly you can still use the 2002 & 2003 SDKs if you want but its a hassle if you need to debug on newer devices).

10. If you're feeling brave and don't mind bending the law you might be able to upgrade your current WM phone to 6.5 by searching on (at your own risk)

** Update **
There was a mention of 36x36 and 64x64 png icons needed for 96dpi devices and some of the other sizes will be used on multiple devices. I'll post further details as I find them.

Redfly Mobile Viewer Beta

RedFly by Celio Corp has recently released a 60 day trial of their Mobile Viewer software. This essentially gives you the same functionality as their RedFly Mobile Companion without the custom hardware.

In a nutshell, the Mobile Viewer application connects to your Windows Mobile device, turns off your device's screen and shows the screen content on your PC. Now the interesting part: you're not limited to your devices screen size, you can choose from four resolutions (800x480, 800x600, 1024x600, & 1024x768).

The website warns that display resolutions may be limited by the amount of memory available on your phone. I tested the software with a Palm Treo Pro and it worked very well.


To get up and running you'll need to download and install the desktop component. You'll also need to download their "firmware" and the "driver" that go on your device. Its not exactly clear what the firmware is needed for but it may be emulating their Mobile Companion hardware.

Installation is straight forward and once everything is installed you can easily connect your device by syncing to your desktop PC and pressing the "Connect" button on the PC software.


Is "ok", its much like using a remote desktop connection over the Internet. Its good enough to work on but animations and videos are best avoided. My Palm Treo Pro was also much more responsive when using the lower resolutions.

Now because there are no Windows Mobile devices yet available with screens larger than 800x 480, some of your favorite applications may not work. The good news is, most, if not all of the default applications work quite well including Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, and the File Explorer. Your millage will vary with 3rd party apps.

I am happy to report that the software I tested from Panoramic Software Inc and Implicit Software Solutions Inc all worked very well. There was a minor menu issue with Calc Pro and the background doesn't scale for Panoramic Blackjack but everything was stable and usable.

Final Thoughts:

I love the technology but I personally don't have a big need for this software. I think it would be ideal for road warriors that do a lot of emailing on their mobile devices. However its free to try and I'd recommend experienced users give it a try. Final warning though - it is beta software so you'll be installing at your own risk. There is always a chance something will go wrong so you're best off backing up everything on your device before installing the Mobile Viewer.