A Couple of Design Changes to MobilityDojo.net

This isn’t exactly newsworthy, but if you’re a frequent flyer on this site you’ll notice that the design has changed ever so slightly. I upgraded the theme, and re-arranged a couple of page elements. While it’s still very similar to the old design, it feels a little bit fresher to my eyes.

Now, if I just moved around a few labels I probably would not have bothered writing up a post. The main thing that has changed is that I’ve now added a banner ad, and thus many would consider this as cluttering up the design. (I don’t know if there’s someone who considers it selling out in general to use advertising.)

I know the feeling. And it’s an experiment I’m doing. Does it make the site less appealing? Maybe. Do you just mentally block it out and ignore it? Maybe. (I tried to not make it ovecr the top flashy.) Why did I put a GoDaddy ad there specifically? Well, and don’t take this as me putting on my marketing hat; I’m really happy with the SSL certificates they offer. I use them both at home and work – they work on pretty much all devices I test, and they cost a fraction of a VeriSign certificate. Might not be the right choice for everyone, but works for me. So while I agree that it’s still an ad, it is at least a product I can recommend. With Google ads I’d have less control, and would probably need to generate way much more traffic to get any noteworthy amount paid out. (If GoDaddy pays off I do not know either of course.)

I did not start this site to make big money. And I’m making good on that premise so far 🙂 Web hosting doesn’t cost all that much, and there’s no doubt the main investment is the amount of hours I put into it. Not much up-front cost in other words. The other cost is the hardware I use to test/develop and document my articles and utilities on. And I’m the kind of guy who would undoubtedly have a computer or four at my home whether I’m running this site or not 🙂 I could of course make do with even more gadgets and stuff in my lab.

I might perform a few other minor tweaks the next couple of days too, so don’t worry if it looks a little different one day, or there’s a new page or something.

I’ve also contemplated adding a PayPal donation button for those who feel like giving. (Does it make me sound needy? It would be completely optional.) Don’t worry though – I’m not going out of business, and I’m not changing this to a commercial site. If you enjoy my work please continue doing so.

I’m open for input, and feel free to post your thoughts in the comment field or ping me.

This service announcement was brought to you by the benevolent host of MobilityDojo.net 😀

Oh, Me So Mobile

I’ll gladly confess that I have an interest in gadgets which might be deemed above average. Two weeks ago this manifested itself when I bought a “netbook”. It’s a snazzy little thing called Asus S101 – the “design” member of the eee family:

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Now why am I telling you this? Apart from the fact that’s it entertaining to veer off-topic every now and then, and it feels good to tell other people you’ve got new toys to show off?

Arguably those are good reasons, but I don’t throw money into the hands of e-merchants based on those reasons alone. I have been thinking about getting a netbook for a while now. I have a laptop (13.3″ Dell XPS), and although I’m happy with it it still feels a little bulky from time to time. And you certainly don’t want to sit in bed watching dvds on it unless you have asbestos thighs.

I’ve never seen a computer hibernate as quickly (technically it’s something between sleep and hibernate). The SSD means it just doesn’t make any noise at all. The battery easily lets you work a couple of hours. And even though the LCD is only 10.2″ it doesn’t feel cramped. It runs XP Home, but when Windows 7 hits RC I might do an upgrade. I’ve installed OneNote, and I really get the notebook (as in the analog kind) feel with this application on this hardware. One of the better things to come along since sliced bread indeed 🙂

Up until now one of my favourite sub-laptop devices has been the HTC X7510. While still a great device, my netbook almost matches it in portability. (And as much as I love Windows Mobile desktop Windows has some advantages.)

A funny thing, and the reason I decided to turn this into a blog post was an article I came across yesterday:
http://www.pcworld.com/…/cheap_netbooks_inspire_more_wireless_gadgets.html

Now apparently the carriers are readying up for a new round of “let’s try to fool unsuspecting customers to believe there is a thing called free lunch”. I can recall those 1$ mobile phones hitting the stores years back. Turned out they didn’t really cost 1$ all in all… It did turn out to be a great way to increase the number of people running around with mobile phones though. Do you remember how everyone wanted the Nokia they were using in “The Matrix”? If all of these netbooks are equipped with a SIM card I sense a couple of potential changes in the mobility space.

Here in Norway stores are required to print the total price of the device including the cost of the plan you subscribe to. So the ad doesn’t say 1$ anymore…

Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention it; the Asus was 33% off as a weekend special. I would never have bought it at full price 🙂

Geek Gift – Mobility Style

Now I’m not a big fan of Christmas. Well, sure, I get time off work, get to eat good food, etc. But a lot of it is more of a kid’s thing in my opinion. That does not mean that I’m off the hook when it comes around to gifts however. I had the opportunity to be creative though, and do it in a proper Mobile Geek fashion 🙂

My girlfriend wants a new laptop. The one she’s using now is an HP Pavilion I used before. A few years old, but ok specs for her needs – only problem is the flex cable, (connecting the LCD to the graphics card), is almost worn out (flickering display), and there’s some other sporadic hardware issues as well. Time for a replacement. Now I’m not giving her a laptop, but I can help her along the way. She actually said to me that she wanted a gift certificate at our preferred online retailer. (How great is that – no chasing through stores looking for stuff I have no interest in:) )

So I could have just purchased a gift certificate, and printed it out on a piece of paper. Let’s make it more sexy 🙂 I have an HTC Diamond I’m not using at the moment, so I decided to turn it into a delivery tool. No, she doesn’t get to keep it. She gets to boot it up and learn what her gift is. First thing I did was create a png file with the logo of the retailer, the words “Gift Certificate” in a fancy font, and some Christmassy looking trees. You’ll either want to make it 640×640 or 480×640. Save it as “welcomehead.96.png”.

I made a second png with a picture of a laptop I recommend as good value for money (Lenovo N500), and the amount/value of the certificate written below. Save it with whatever name you like and transfer to the Diamond. I disabled the TouchFlo plugin from the today screen, but kept the HTC Black theme. Chose the png I just created as the background image, and I’m done with part one.

Now on to part two which is transferring the first png to the \Windows folder on the device (replacing the file currently there). HTC has been clever on the Diamond, so all the files in this folder are write-protected system files. Which means you can’t just overwrite/delete files. This means it’s workaround time. I created a cab with WinCE Cab Manager, (you can download a trial, it’s a great utility), and added the png file to this cab. By setting the system and read-only properties you can install this on your device even though you can’t do it through file explorer. You’ll need to soft-reset, but that’s hardly a problem.

What you get now is a device that displays a custom boot splash screen, (resembling a gift certificate), instead of the green Windows Mobile logo, followed by a background image displaying the gift the certificate helps acquire. Since there was a test SIM-card in the device that I didn’t bother to remove, I rounded it out with setting the PIN to 2412 🙂

I don’t think she reads this blog, so hopefully she will be impressed tomorrow night 🙂 Maybe your guys out there are already finished with your shopping – then you can keep this trick, and use it on another occasion instead. Oh, and I’ll be bubble wrapping the device along with some nice Valrhona chocolate which probably won’t hurt either.