Bruce Keener's blog

eBook on Time Management for Technology Users

Too busy to find time to browse through the self-help books in your local bookstore, to see if there is a good book on managing your time? Wish you could find a bunch of tips on how to use your Windows Mobile device to manage your time better?

Problem solved: you can download my free eBook entitled Time Management for Technology Users. It is currently available in three formats: MobiPocket Reader, iSilo, and the popular PDF format.


Can Somebody Develop This?

On my iMac, I use Gmail notification software to inform me when I have new Gmail. I have not been able to find anything similar to this for my Smarphone, and it seems like it would be a great Smartphone utility. As it stands, to see if I have new Gmail I have to manually check my Gmail account using IE on my Dash. Sure would be nice if there were a utility to periodically check this for me.

Have any of you come across a utility that can do this? If not, any developers out there that care to take this on? Of course I get a percentage cut for having the idea :)


Nothing Wrong With The Smartphone

Regular readers of my Keener Living Blog know that I am toying with the idea of getting another phone, in addition to my T-Mobile Dash: an iPhone or a BlackBerry.

Some of you have probably read my articles along those lines and have wondered if I am a "defector."

Well, a couple of points of clarification are in order:

  • I actually am very happy with my Dash. My writeup of my first impressions of it, and my upgrade of it to WM6, are both available in my articles here at Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine.


Fixing Alarm Problems in Windows Mobile Devices

I recently addressed the following topic on my Keener Living Blog and thought it would be good to share it with the broader audience here:
  • Appointment reminders not working at all on some Windows Mobile Pocket PCs
  • Appointment reminders not having an audible alarm on the T-Mobile Dash after a WM6 upgrade (the reminders vibrate but do not produce an audible alert)
The second problem has an easy fix, thanks to Karl of Ask The


Giving yourself a recalibration

It's been a while since I've talked about any time-management-related activities, so I decided to post on this topic today.

Whether you use a PDA or paper or both to help you manage your time, good time management always boils down to whether you are working on the right things.


First Impressions of Windows Mobile 6 on my T-Mobile Dash


Although this post first appeared in my personal blog some time back, I thought it would be a good idea to share it with the broader audience here. This summarizes my initial impressions of the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade on my T-Mobile Dash.

Major Improvements

There are several significant improvements in this new operating system, some that I am probably not yet aware of. But, the ones that impress me a lot are:

  • HTML email — I love being able to view HTML email on my Dash.
  • Calendar improvements — The calendar now shows timebars on the daily view so that you can graphically see where your time is going, and the new weekly view is fantastic: it is a graphical view of your appointments, and you can see the details of each by just using the D-pad to scroll from left to right throughout the week.
  • Task application — the built in Task application is now more than just the simple task viewer it once was: you can actually create new tasks with the app and edit existing ones.
  • Mobile Office — You can now view and edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents on the Dash and you can view PowerPoint presentations on it (no editing capability for the latter). Moreover, the viewing mode for Mobile Word has a great smooth scrolling feature: makes it darned easy to read a Word document on the Dash.

The built-in Internet Explorer also seems to be much nicer, although I am not sure how to quantify the improvements in it.

I won't inundate you with screenshots, since there are tons of WM6 screenshots on the web now. But here is one to show the timebars in the new Calendar application:


How I manage memory on my devices


In reponse to this month's "Ask The Experts" question of how I manage memory on my device, my answer is simple.

For my Dell x51v, I use the following two programs:

  • SKTools, a great all-around toolkit, which includes a memory cleanup section.
  • Magic Button, a free utility that lets me fully close programs and lets me easily switch between active ones.

I periodically use SKTools to clean the internet cache on my Dell and to clean out temporary files.


Customize your Smartphone Start Menu

One of the few things that initially annoyed me about the T-Mobile Dash was its Start Menu. The operating system put stuff at the top of the menu that I didn't care about, like:

  • Communications Manager
  • Email Setup Utility
  • Other things that you use once and then pay little attention to

And, new programs that I added to the Dash, such as Agenda One and Documents To Go and SKTools Lite, showed at or near the bottom.


Great, Free Smartphone Utility


I'm finding that many of my 90 or so Pocket PC software packages do not run on a Smartphone platform. So I am searching for replacements for the software I really use (out of the 90 packages, I regularly use no more than 10 or so).

One of the fine products that I have come across is SKTools Lite for WM5 Smartphones. This utility is very helpful in cleaning out your internet cache (which can take up a lot of valuable memory if not cleaned periodically).


Actually Edit Documents on Your Smartphone

I recently posted a review on my personal blog of Dataviz's Documents To Go for Windows Mobile Smartphone, and thought it would be good to share that review with readers of Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine:

I was delighted to learn that Dataviz has released a Smartphone version of the software. Prior to switching primarily to the Pocket PC platform, I used Documents To Go on my Palm handhelds for years. This software's capability for editing Microsoft Word, Excel, and even PowerPoint documents, was something I used a lot.

In fact, the DTG software was so good, in comparison to the Pocket PC's built-in Pocket Word and Pocket Excel, that I actually switched back to Palms for a while (more than once). When Microsoft came out with Windows Mobile 5, they made worthwhile improvements to Mobile Word and Mobile Excel. But, DTG still offered more editing capability, and has always been good at syncing the changes back to the desktop without any formatting getting lost along the way.

When I made a decision last week to get a Smartphone (the T-mobile Dash), I knew upfront that it would not have any built-in capability to edit documents. But, since I do not have as much need for such editing as I did at one time, I figured the benefits of a Smartphone outweighed this one downside. Turns out, though, that with Dataviz's release of DTG for Smartphones, I can have my cake and eat it, too.

In the following review, we look at DTG's abilities for editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents and its ability to view PDF documents and documents within zip files.


Tuning a Guitar with a Pocket PC


One of the ways I try to keep some sanity is to unwind from time to time with a guitar. Since I always keep my Pocket PC close at hand, it seemed like a good idea to me to find a guitar tuner that I could load onto it for those times when I want to unwind.

I tried out a couple of different makes of tuners and decided on Perfect Pitch.


A Strange DST Glitch ???

I have a recurring appointment to give heartworm pills to my dogs, set for every 4 weeks on Saturday at 3:30pm. But, despite the fact that my Outlook Calendar is showing the time correctly, and that my Pocket PC shows the time correctly for Future appointments (NOT for this upcoming Saturday), it is showing for this Saturday as being at 4:30pm instead of 3:30pm. This is what shows on my Today screen, and what shows when I view it in the actual calendar.

Interesting thing is that when I select this Saturday's appointment to edit it, it shows up as being set for 3:30pm.


Speeding Things Up With Access Panel

In a previous post, I mentioned a number of time-saving tools: macro capabilities within Calligrapher, the Power Text feature of Agenda Fusion, the My Text feature of Pocket Informant, and Microsoft Voice Command. Today I'd like to add to that list with the time-saving text entry tool of Access Panel.

This neat tool adds shortcut capabilities in three areas: general text, date-related text, and contact-related text. When you first start it, it gives the option of importing a number of samples for each of these areas. Many are usable as they are and the remaining ones, such as an email signature shortcut, can be easily customized to fit your specific needs. You can also add new shortcuts.

The following screenshot shows off Access Panel's interface and an example of what it can do.


NewsBreak: Great for News Reading and Pod/VidCasts

The newsreader NewsBreak has been updated to version 2.0, which adds a lot of new features:

- Full support for audio, video, image, and attachment podcasts: Listen to your favorite podcasts, watch vidcasts, and view attached files and images
- Individual download criteria for each channel that supports podcasts: Schedule podcasts to download when and how you want them to -Built-in support for Microsoft Live Search helps you find all the channels you're interested in
- Save podcasts for later use
- Schedule when and how to download podcasts separately from channel updates
- Choose the maximum memory usage for podcast storage
- Store podcasts in main memory or on a storage card
- Improved menus for one-handed navigation
- Set the maximum number of channels to save
- New keyword icons plus 6 additional icons and an updated appearance

It is available for both Smartphones and Windows Mobile devices.

Below are a few screenshots. I especially love the podcast and vidcast features.


PI 2007 Rev 3 in Public Beta

Pocket Informant Rev 3 is now in public beta. The enhancements include the addition of a Today plugin (which works great!), a reworking of the Contacts displays (a very nice reworking: I like the displays much better), 400 high quality icons, and much more.


Organizing Your Notes

After seeing a post within the David Allen Getting Things Done forum questioning how one can organize Notes on a Pocket PC, I thought it might be good to revisit this subject. (I first touched on it in a September 2006 blog herein.)

In the previous blog article, I talked about the built-in Pocket PC Notes application and also about PhatNotes. I'll do the same here, although with a few additional points.

One of the things I most like about PhatNotes is that it lets me organize my Pocket PC Notes by Category, as indicated below:


Weekly Planning On The Go

Most of us have learned over the years that weekly planning is a key to successful time management. But doing it is another thing, especially when you travel a lot. I've found that I could use my Pocket PC when traveling to help me do my weekly planning. Sometimes I've even been able to almost complete a weekly planning session while on a Friday flight back home.


Project Management with Pocket Plan

Pocket Plan is a neat Pocket PC application for helping you manage and keep up with complex projects. It has many of the features normally found only in high-end desktop project management tools: Gantt Charts, Resource Graphs, Filterng Capabilities, and more.

The following screenshot shows a Gantt Chart view of a sample project:

You can edit the project directly from this view (by tapping on and holding down on an item until a context menu appears), or you can do the same with the Task View, which is shown in the following screenshot:


My Hat's Off To Lifehacker

On a typical day I spend maybe an hour, max, surfing the web. Yesterday was different, though, because I visited the site Lifehacker for the first time in a few months and now I think I am addicted to it. The site impressed me so much that I spent at least three hours paging through its tips (and putting many of them in place). Gina and her partners do a fantastic job of scouring the net for hacks that save time and take great advantage of available technology.


Passing of Textware Founder

Pocket PC Thoughts has reported that Jean Ichbiah, founder of Textware Solutions (makers of FITALY) passed away on January 26, 2007.

FITALY is one of my all-time favorite text entry tools. It reflects genius in its concept and implementation, paying a bit of a tribute to Jean's genius.

I trust you will join me in putting Jean and his family in your prayers and thoughts. He will be missed.


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