Monthly Archives: June 2016

IM+ IPhone App Review

This is a nifty little app for the iPhone. This works just like a normal messenger service and you can have a number of accounts on this, including Facebook (but only for the premium version).

You get a choice of status’ as well (Online, Away, Invisible and Offline). The UI is pretty straight forward and intuitive. There are some nice touches, eg. to toggle between conversations, you flick the page to the right or the left, and voila – you can chat to another friend! It’s also quite well designed, so it looks pretty and even comes with emoticons. I really like this app as it doesn’t just work using a wireless connection (yes, that’s you Skype!) but it even works on Edge and 3G. Connection can be a bit patchy at times, particularly if I’m out and about, but if you’re just staying put at one place it’s fine. There are some limitations, eg. you can’t update your status, can’t upload a profile picture, patchy connection when you’re on the move, etc but I would definitely recommend this, particularly the Free version!

Dell Axim X51v Pocket PC Review

Today I am reviewing the Dell Axim X51v Pocket PC.

I have been using this device for about a year. At the time it came out, it was far more advanced compared to most other pocket PC devices due to its fast processor (624MHz), versatile connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth, IRDA, USB), expandability (CF, SD cards), and high resolution screen (480×640 pixels). I purchased the device from Dell on sale at a price that was better than other devices at the time. When making my purchase, I considered a Pocket PC phone device, but ultimately chose the Axim due to it’s powerful features and large 3.7″ screen. I am able to use my Verizon EVDO phone for data access so the only downside of not having a PDA phone is having to carry 2 devices. The advantages of the Axim’s power allow me to use it for many tasks including GPS navigation, music, video, web browsing, email, games, and much more. There is also a active user community of other Axim users who are able to help me with any problems I might have. I highly recommend this device to anyone considering a powerful PDA device.

Does WebEx Meeting Work

Recently, I have been working with a company that makes extensive use of WebEx meeting. (A Cisco product) This is is a virtual meeting place site.

The company/host establishes a virtual meeting room. Payment is based on number of attendees and length of time. We have kept a meeting room open for over 4 hours, but I imagine that the time could be much longer. Many of the sessions I was involved in were training oriented.

This service allows for many functions of a normal training session to be completed on line. The instructor can post an agenda, other class materials and links to other site. Multiple tabs or pages are provided for this. There are several interactive features which are also provided. These include attendance, polling, surveying and chat. Attendees entering the room automatically are identified and the instructor can check them off against the master list. Attendees can “signal” to the instructor via various symbols, such as a raised hand for a question.

They can also indicate completion of a task by also adding a predefined symbol, ie a smiley. A testing function also exists for this service. Tests (multiple choice) are prepared in advance and then released to the participant when the instructor desires. Once completed the test is submitted and graded automatically. Both the instructor and the individual participant see the results. A test can be retaken, if that is allowed. Participants can also share their own desktops with the class. This is particularly useful when training on the use of other software tools. The class can follow keystrokes or observe screen output to better understand functionality. Voice communication can be done either through a conference call feature or through WebEx own VOIP system. The only limitation to the VOIP system is that the instructor must give the “mike” to a participant before they can speak. This can be accommodated by using the signals discussed above to request a mike.


I am currently using StanPak for my Distributing Company’s operating needs. StanPak offers great versatility in the way of customer service.

However, it lacks reporting capabilities and most accounting functions. Applications such as Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable are not so user friendly, and require hours of work to correct mistakes. I must admit however, that in the 5 years we have been utilizing this system (we came from QuickBooks) the Development Team has made leaps and bounds in GUI, and user friendly-ness. Reporting is still a problem. Information is not easily retrievable and without SQL knowledge you will have difficulty getting exactly what you need. They have all kinds of programs you can run to generate multiple reports from which you can pull the information. Most any program needed is an extra “module” or a Custom Report (ie: billable). Don’t get me wrong, StanPak is, as far as I’m concerned, the cream of the crop in JanSan Software. The other available software packages pale in comparison. The support is great and very obliging. And I will repeat with each upgrade they make leaps and bounds in all lacking areas.

Use Your PC As An Alarm Clock

You can use your computer to wake yourself (or your neighbors!) each morning. This is done by using the windows Task Scheduler in conjunction with an MP3 playback application.

In this case, we use Winamp and Windows Media Player. Here’s how you go about creating the loudest and most effective clock in your house. First create a playlist of your favorite songs using Winamp, Windows Media Player or any other MP3 playback application. Export your favorite playlist as an M3U file. The M3U playlist format is generally accepted by almost every player. Next, you will need to create the trigger for your alarm. Go to “Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled” tasks. Create a new task and choose the program as Winamp and click Next. Enter an indicative name for this task and choose “Daily” under the “perform this task section”. Next, select the time and the start date. It will now ask for a password- leave it blank in case you don’t want to enter one. Right click on this newly created task and check the “run only if logged in” check box. Now click on Properties and append the path to the playlist you created in the “Run” text box. It should now look like: “C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe” K:\Playlists\smoothies.m3u. This will cause Windows Media Player to call up that particular playlist when it starts. That’s it- all that is left is to remember is to leave your computer on and logged in before you go to sleep!

MediaCoder Batch Converter

Recently I had to transcode a batch of music from one format to another. A friend of mine recommended MediaCoder, a free media conversion utility for Windows XP and up.

At first boot the interface looks daunting, but newer versions have apparently made the transcoding process much easier. When MediaCoder starts, it opens a web form in Internet Explorer which guides you through a set up wizard. This wizard asks simple questions regarding what you would like to convert and how you would like to convert it. When you’re done, the application itself pops up behind IE and goes to work. Users who would rather dive right in to the application are free to do so without having to go through the wizard. MediaCoder supports such audio formats as MP3, Vorbis, AAC, FLAC, WMA, and RealAudio. It supports video in H.264, XviD, DivX, MPEG, Theora, WMV, and virtually anything else you can think of. It gives you full control over how you format your media. Among the options you can change are the target bitrate, the number of audio channels, and whether you would like your video to be cropped. There are also predefined templates available for certain devices. For example, if you want to convert a video to an iPod-compatible .mp4, you open up an iPod template, set the desired quality level, and watch MediaCoder go to work. It will resize and re-encode the videos automatically, so all you have to do is move them to your device. All in all, it’s a very cool utility for transcoding anything from an mp3 file to a full length 1080p movie.