2008/07/23

Skype and Google on i760; MadDUG Meeting

Two good things in the past two days:
  1. Skype and several Google services are usable on my new Samsung i760 phone.
  2. Attended the Madison, Wisconsin, USA, Drupal Users Group (MadDUG) meeting.
Learning new things about my i760. In spite of repeated attempts to get Skype installed and working on my new phone, I couldn't make that happen. Read lots online related to Skype and the i760, with a few items indicating it's possible to use Skype on this phone. The vast majority of comments indicated that people couldn't make it work.

I was lucky enough to have a phone/computer wizard work his magic on my i760. At the NEW NET meeting on 22 July, Andy M. fiddled with the phone for a bit, then asked me to type in my Skype username and password. After I did that, lo and behold, the normal Skype interface popped up and I was online and in business. Made me very happy, since being able to use Skype for calls from wifi hotspots was one of my major hopes for the i760. Thanks, Andy!

Although using the web through Internet Explorer via wifi on the i760 has been painful, meaning "not fun", some of the Google web tools are worth the effort. Google search works fine, although the quality of the experience leaves much to be desired once you go to the various sites suggested by Google. Gmail isn't fun, but it's workable, and it felt good to have free Gmail access whenever I have my phone and an open wifi connection. Gcalendar was even better than Gmail, at least in terms of seeing what my schedule looks like. It's likely to be less fun entering in new items on my schedule, but it was very easy to check where I have openings if I want to schedule a new meeting or activity.

Andy and I both tried repeatedly to make Google Maps for mobile work, but have not yet succeeded. He suggested I download it to my laptop, then put it on the i760 through ActiveSync. That is on my list for today or tomorrow.

Tried to install Opera for Mobile to see if that browser was better than Internet Explorer. Couldn't get Opera installed -- got an error message related to Java, so I'll have to do some research regarding Opera Mobile on an i760.

I might be enjoying the web on my new phone more if I hadn't had the pleasurable experience of using the web on an iPhone. The iPhone web experience absolutely blows away other phone web browsing. The i760 on the web is functional -- the iPhone on the web is Fun!

One other annoyance I've discovered for mobile web use is entering secure passwords. Unless you use the very-long-passphrase approach, secure password strategy generally includes using some upper case and some non-alphanumerics. On a laptop or desktop keyboard, that's not a huge deal. However, if you manually enter a mix of lower case, upper case and non-alphanumerics on a mobile phone, because the entered password characters are usually indicated on screen by a dot or an asterisk, it's difficult to be sure you entered the correct character. I need to get my KeePass or other password wallet set up so I can cut and paste passwords, assuming Windows Mobile and the site password functions will let me cut and paste.

On a non-phone note, I went to the Madison, Wisconsin Drupal Users Group meeting on 23 July. Thanks to the graciousness of NetConcepts, a search engine optimization (SEO) company with offices in both Madison and New Zealand, the meeting was held in a spacious and well equipped conference room. Due likely to the nice summer weather, the 14 people who participated in the meeting were on the low end of the 15 to 20 that usually show up. A nice size group, though, with a chance for everyone to share ideas, knowledge and opinions and the opportunity for people to ask questions. After general introductions of the meeting participants and a few announcements by Blake, Chris(sp?) D. gave an overview of Drupal Daze in the Minneapolis area last weekend. She thought there were about 50 people at the event, and she got all the Drupal she could handle. Met some interesting Drupalers and learned new stuff about Drupal.

Blake did a demo on 'beginning module development', with a quick and 'easy' approach to doing event registration. A good way to learn programming for Drupal stuff.

One result of the discussion about Drupal Daze and the module development demo was that people got a chance to contribute and suggest ways to do things. We also learned a bit about what Drupal areas various meeting participants had experience, interest or knowledge in. The discussions will likely lead to one or more of the July meeting participants leading a presentation at a future MadDUG meeting, possibly on Eclipse, Subversion or other Drupal-related topics.

Blake mentioned the Chicago Drupal group plans to do a Drupal camp in mid-October 2008, so be on the lookout for that if you have an interest in Drupal.

All in all it was a friendly, knowledgeable group of people, and I was glad they let me attend in spite of my almost total lack of knowledge about Drupal. Hope to increase that knowledge level tremendously over the next few months.

After the meeting, Blake, Andrew and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for a light supper and some continued discussions about the tech world and life in general.

Oh yeah, Blake sorta talked me into coming down to Madison this weekend for BarCampMadison. I knew it was on the calendar, but with other things going on, and not having anyone else from the Appleton area to ride down with me, I didn't have firm plans to attend. With Blake's nudging and with Luke's availability now to drive down with me, it looks like I'll be making it down to BarCampMadison. If you haven't been to a barcamp and have some time Saturday or Sunday, 26 and 27 July, head to Madison. Lots of tech fun, and it's all free. You'll meet some great people, guaranteed...

Sign up for it here...

*****

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