Ben Stanley's blog

Anyone know anything about Dreameesoft & PPCUtils

Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about either Dreameesoft or PPCUtils. Both companies have a ton of software on Handango and related outlets. Most of their software looks to be of decent quality but there are no demos for any of their programs (a bad marketing tactic if you ask me). I was wondering if anyone knew anything about them or their programs.


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Improving the Magazine's Annual Awards

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I know this won't be a popular suggestion, but I think the magazine's annual software awards would be much better if each year's nominees were limited to the previous year (or maybe two years). The fact is that in many categories one or two programs have risen to the level where they almost always win. For example, I'm not interested in the Remote Host Controller category anymore because Pocket Controller wins every time. That's just boring. Nor is it interesting to have two programs always competing against each other (see e.g., the dictionary category).


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Why I Chose Windows Mobile

I chose Windows Mobile for many reasons. Initially, the lure was that most of the files I had on my laptop could also be used on my Windows Mobile device, which I could carry around with me wherever I went. I remember being particularly awed the first time I watched a movie on my Pocket PC.

Since my initial exposure to the OS, I've discovered many more reasons to love Windows Mobile. Having said that, I'm only going to mention the most important reason that I've stuck with Windows Mobile, and that is the continually expanding number of programs that are being written for the OS.


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Have Your Windows Mobile Device Give You a Wake Up Call

Some of us were born to be Windows Mobile geeks. But if you aren't numbered among us then perhaps you purchased a Windows Mobile device because you're always on the go and need to keep in touch with your home base via phone, email, etc. If you belong to this latter category of Windows Mobile users you might also be the sort of person who travels a lot and spends a fair amount of time in hotels.

If so, you may want to consider adding Wake & Watch, from NoviiMedia to your Windows Mobile arsenal.


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True Connect Pro: How Did You Ever Live Without It?

If you're a power user, you probably have a program that lets you access your Windows Mobile device from your computer without having to actually have the device in hand. The most popular of these programs is probably Pocket Controller Professional, but my own personal favorite has always been Desktop Rover from Neslo Software. But when I upgraded to Vista I learned that Desktop Rover isn't Vista compatible yet (although it will be eventually).

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I can't speak for everyone else but I know that when I find a program I really like, I tend to stick with it for a long time and often don't even bother looking for alternatives. Every now and then, though, it's good to see what else is out there. So I decided to take this opportunity to see what other programs may have cropped up since I started using Desktop Rover. I'm glad I did, because if I hadn't I never would have discovered True Connect Pro from Raspberry Software.


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MyPersonalDiet: The King of PPC Diet Programs

A little more than four months ago, I embarked on what I call a "health plan" and told you all that I would post about my experiences using my Pocket PC to assist in my weight loss efforts. The goal had been to provide a useful blog entry about the various great pieces of software out there that can help you lose weight and stay healthy. But, not surprisingly perhaps, two things happened: first, I gave up on my first health plan pretty quickly; second, I found the first piece of software I used to be so good that I never even tried any others.

Now that I've reembarked upon the health plan path, I've decided to tell you about the tool that's going to help me actually make it through this one: It's called MyPersonalDiet from developer VidaOne.


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Windows Vista: Cutting Off the Connection Between Your PC and Your PPC

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A few days ago, David over at Pocketgamer posted a complaint about Windows Vista:

It's not often that something really annoys me. For a variety of reasons, I detest Outlook 2007. I dislike the way it slows the entire computer to a crawl when it downloads email. I dislike its enormous memory footprint. I dislike the fact that it automatically flags all email from my mother as spam. However, this rant is not about Outlook.

When I bought a new laptop and installed Vista, I had hoped that Microsoft might - might - have put the two rocks together and made it possible to sync with the calendar and contacts tool built into their new flagship operating system. Did they? No. Once again, I'm forced to use Outlook to keep my calendar and contacts in sync, and disliking every second of it. I appreciate that this post has absolutely nothing to do with games, but I'm not sure if I'm the only person who feels this way!

At the time I first read his comment, I didn't really know what he was talking about, but having just installed Vista myself, I'm afraid I now understand what he was saying all too well. And what's more, while the crux of his complaint was that he didn't like having to use Outlook to sync his Windows Mobile device, my complaint is even more basic: while this OS is still new to me and it's VERY possible that I've overlooked something, I'm pretty sure that unless you buy Microsoft Outlook 2007, you can't sync your PC's contacts, tasks, emails, etc. with your mobile device!


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Orions - Legend of Wizards...Best Game of the Year?

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More than a year ago, I made an unprecedented endorsement of a PalmOS game, something I have never done since. That game was a fantastic work of strategy known as Fantasy Realms. At the time, I bemoaned the lack of anything comparable for Windows Mobile devices. And when I first learned that Orions: Legend of Wizards was in development, I hoped that it would finally fill this void in the Pocket PC game world.

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Now that I've had a chance to play it, I can say that it is all that I hoped it would be and much, MUCH more! I think this might just be THE game of 2007! Read on for a full review!


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Monitor Your Phone Use with Phone Dashboard

I recently replaced my iPaq hx2755 and cell phone with the Samsung i730, a Pocket PC Phone Edition device. At the time, I thought I would miss having separate devices but, as it turns out, I've never looked back. Having said that, when I bought the device I also had to purchase an unlimited data plan from my carrier, which in turn meant that I had to switch to a plan with fewer phone minutes to save money. I quickly found myself needing to constantly check how many minutes I had used to avoid going over my monthly allotment. This can be done online or over the phone but constantly calling or logging on to check became REALLY annoying after a few days.

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I figured there had to be some kind of software that could help me keep track of my minute usage and I soon found Phone Dashboard, from developer Hudson Mobile. Thanks to this handy little program I no longer have to constantly call my carrier to keep an eye on my usage.


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Allen Gall: This Year in Games (2006)

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The magazine's own Allen Gall has posted some very interesting comments about games that came out for the Pocket PC in 2006. Check them out here.

The only thing he said that I really disagree with is his comments on Undercroft, which I found to be a really fun game.


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Basic4ppc Receives Another Major Update

As recently as a few months ago, it seemed like there was a dearth of Pocket PC programming tools out there. Excellent development tools like ForwardPass and Pocket C were no longer supported by their creators. And most alternatives were either really expensive or really complicated, leaving NS Basic as the only real option. Thankfully, between Basic4ppc and PPL, would be programmers now have several capable tools to choose from.


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Tilelander: A Breath of Fresh.....Tiles!

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In the world of Pocket PC games innovation of ANY sort is to be highly praised. However, just because something is original doesn't mean it's necessarily good (case in point: John Cage's 4'33").

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Thankfully, Tilelander, from developer Ludimate, is both original and fun to play!


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Meltdown Isn't Always a Bad Thing!

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I've known about Meltdown, the new offering from the Pocket PC gaming veterans at Momentum Games, for a while now. And I've been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to review it. While Werner may have beat me to the punch, I feel compelled to offer my own thoughts on this wonderful game.

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PocketGear's Parent Company Lays Off Workers

PocketGear's parent company, Motricity, plans to lay off 16% of it's workforce. Details can be read here.


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Turn Your Pocket PC into a Book with uBook Reader

Tens of thousands of books are now available for free on the Internet and more are coming online everyday. But just because the technology of books and reading has changed doesn't mean that humans have: many of us are just too accustomed to the tangibility of a book of bound pages. I bet that most people who consider themselves to be readers have never read a whole book on their laptop or Pocket PC. Largely for this reason, I suspect, a number of file formats (e.g., the .lit format) have been created to make reading etexts easier and give the experience that "book" feel.

The problem is that many of the ebooks available online (most notably those at Project Gutenberg) are still in the good old .txt format, and how many of you have read a whole book in Notepad? That's what I thought. The .txt format has many virtues but it is not ideal for reading book length texts for long stretches at a time (if you don't believe me, just try it).

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Thankfully, there are a number of Pocket PC programs out there that will transform standard text files to give them that "book" feel. After testing several of them, I've decided that uBook, from Gowerpoint, is the best choice for me. I use uBook primarily to read large .txt files, but its numerous features make it ideally suited to perform many other tasks as well.


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Sploit! Letting Yourself Be Exploited Has Never Been So Fun!

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I've decided to take advantage of my Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine blog soapbox and repost some of the posts from my old blog, Pocket PC Gems. The first such repost will be of the phenomenal, and yet much neglected game, Sploit! from Winsor Software.

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Don't be fooled by the "simple" graphics: this masterful work by Winsor Software is a great strategy game.


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I've Taken the Phone Edition Plunge!

Ever since I discovered the world of Pocket PCs, I've watched the trend towards cell phone/pda convergence warily. I've always enjoyed having separate devices and was very skeptical that the two could be combined in a way that made sense.

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Well, my contract with Verizon recently expired and it just so happened to do so at a time when they were offering a discount on certain phones. This, combined with another discount Verizon offers when you've had the same phone for two years, afforded me with an opportunity to purchase this Samsung SCH-i730 for only $99!

This phone is a slightly older model, but I've been very satisfied with it so far.


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A Gift from Me to You!

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Looking for a little diversion courtesy of yours truly? Then check out my oddly-named freeware game "Quest of the Styli":

qots


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Master of Orion on Pocket PC!!!

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As long as I've owned a Pocket PC and known that there were emulators for it, I've longed for the day when I would be able to play Master of Orion on my Pocket PC (I discussed this a little bit here if you're interested).

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Well, I just learned that you CAN play Master of Orion on your Pocket PC! Let me say that again: you can play Master of Orion on your Pocket PC!!! The miraculous piece of software that makes this possible is called PocketDOS.


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Breathe iPAQ, BREATHE!

I was using my Pocket PC yesterday when all of a sudden it froze up for no apparent reason. When I attempted to perform a soft reset. The screen did something funny. I honestly can't describe what it looked like...it was as if every other pixel turned off while the remaining pixels remained as they had been (kind of like the way the screen does when you beat the old NES game Contra). Then I heard a weird fast sizzling sound and the thing shut off. When I pressed the soft reset button again, I got the dreaded welcome screen that told me my device had just been hard reset =(.


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