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Use DejaOffice to sync Outlook with your Android

In my recent change to the Google Android from a Palm, there were two main functions I required. The second one was to be able to synchronize my Android to Microsoft Outlook. I have been using Outlook as a PIM (Personal Information Manager) for years now, as it's sort of the 'de facto' standard in the corporate world. I was pleasantly surprised to find DejaOffice by CompanionLink.

Being on the Palm platform for years, I became kind of pampered when it came to synchronizing data with Outlook. This really was one of Palm Pilot's strong points. So when I found DejaOffice, it was just the perfect replacement for the conduits from Palm. With the ability to sync Contacts, Tasks, Calendar and Notes, this is a 'must have' if you use Outlook. Here's a quote from their site:

Data from the PC syncs to DejaOffice, a mobile office application suite for Android. DejaOffice features robust contacts, calendar, tasks and notes apps that provide enhanced functionality over the native Android applications. Contacts and calendar automatically sync with the native Android databases to allow for full functionality with other apps.

I highly recommend you give this program a try. It's available from the Android page at CompanionLink.

Enjoy,
Scott

Work with Office files on your Android with Documents To Go

In my recent change to the Google Android from a Palm, there were two main functions I required. The first one was the ability to create, edit and view Microsoft Office documents on the Android. I was please to see that DataViz, the creators of Documents To Go, had a version for the Android platform.

Documents To Go on the Android platform

I have used Documents To Go for around a decade now on the Palm platform. The basic features are the same between the platforms, with a few minor changes. There is Word To Go (Microsoft Word), Sheet To Go (Microsoft Excel), Slideshow To Go (Microsoft PowerPoint) and PDF To Go (Adobe Acrobat). I like to create documents on my workstation, sync them with SyncToy to my Android and then be able to view / edit them when I am away from the office. Plus you can also open up documents you have downloaded too. (like PDF's). Here's a quote from their web site:

Whether you’re an organization looking to mobilize your sales professionals or an individual looking to increase personal productivity, leaving your office or laptop behind does not have to mean leaving your crucial files and work behind.

Now you can get your work done no matter where you are by using Documents To Go to view, edit and create Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well as view Adobe PDF files on your Android-powered smartphone. And since it is full featured yet easy to use, Documents To Go is one mobile office suite that makes good business sense.

There is a free version of Document To Go and it's available on the Android page at DataViz.

Enjoy,
Scott

Synchronize files & folders between devices with SyncToy 2.1

I recently migrated to a Google Android and needed a program to sync files between it and my personal workstation. I had used SyncToy 2.0 from Microsoft on Windows XP (32-bit), so I decided to give SyncToy 2.1 a try on Windows 7 (64-bit).

SyncToy 2.1

Once the installation was complete, I created a new folder on my computer to synchronize the Android with. I then opened up SyncToy and created a Folder Pair between the memory card on the Android (via USB cable) and the new folder on my computer.

SyncToy 2.1

Clicking on the Preview button will show what files and folders are being sync 'd, type of operation, last modified, etc. Here's a quote from the SyncToy page:

There are files from all kinds of sources that we want to store and manage. Files are created by our digital cameras, e-mail, cell phones, portable media players, camcorders, PDAs, and laptops. Increasingly, computer users are using different folders, drives, and even different computers (such as a laptop and a desktop) to store, manage, retrieve and view files. Yet managing hundreds or thousands of files is still largely a manual operation. In some cases it is necessary to regularly get copies of files from another location to add to primary location; in other cases there is a need to keep two storage locations exactly in sync. Some users manage files manually, dragging and dropping from one place to another and keeping track of whether the locations are synchronized in their heads. Other users may use two or more applications to provide this functionality.

Now there is an easier way. SyncToy, a free PowerToy for Microsoft Windows, is an easy to use, highly customizable program that helps users to do the heavy lifting involved with the copying, moving, and synchronization of different directories. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without additional complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. Unlike other applications, SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the synchronized folder.

I have used SyncToy over the years without any issues and recommend it to anyone who needs to synchronize files between devices. SyncToy runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. It can be download from Microsoft's SyncToy page.

Enjoy,
Scott

Migrating from a Palm TX to a Google Android

With the purchase of Palm by HP, I am reminded that the Palm Pilot is dead. For years I had been using a Palm Pilot, starting with a Vx, then a M505 and finally a TX. It was all of the applications available for the Palm OS platform that keep me there. So when my cellular phone provider, Verizon Wireless, had a great deal on a Google Android, I decided to go for it.

Palm TX & Google Android - Side by side (vertical view)
Palm TX and Google Android side by side (vertical and horizontal views)
Palm TX & Google Android - Side by side (horizontal view)

The first thing a had to look at was getting the same functionally from the Android as I did from the Palm. I started with the existing applications I used on the Palm. Sure enough, Dataviz, creators of Documents To Go had a version for the Android. It has almost all of the same functions as the Palm version.

Next was synchronizing Micorosoft Outlook with the Android. I was using the conduits in the Palm Desktop to sync with Outlook, so I had to look around to see what I could find. I came across CompanionLink, makers of DejaOffice. It has all of the same functions as the Palm conduits.

And last but not least, since the SD card in the Android appears as a removable disk in Windows 7, it is just a matter of synchronizing between the two. For this I am using SyncToy 2.1 from Microsoft to work just right for me.

Scott

Using Virtual Machines to run old programs in Windows 7

I this article, I an going to show one of the uses for Virtual Machines in Windows 7. More and more often I am asked 'How can I get an old program to run on Windows 7?'. I ran into this issue a few years back when one of my favorite search programs (WebCompass) was discontinued. The last operating system it was released for was Windows 98. So when I when over to Windows XP, it ran fine, until Service Pack 1. It lost functionally when one of the system DLL's it depended on got upgraded. That's when I started to use Virtual Machines (Virtual PC 2004 & 2007).

There are a few different Virtual Machines out there. I have used the top three (VMware Player by VMware, Inc., Windows Virtual PC by Microsoft and VirtualBox by Sun / Oracle). For this article, I will demonstrate Windows 7 Virtual Machines and Sun VirtualBox. Instructions on how to create a virtual machine in Windows 7 and install a guest operating system follow.

Note: The following demonstration was done using virtual machines originally created in Virtual PC 2004, upgraded to Virtual PC 2007 and then upgraded to Windows 7 Virtual Machines.

How to create a virtual machine in Windows 7 and install a guest operating system

A guest operating system runs in a virtual machine. If you do not want to use Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3 (XP Mode) as the guest operating system, you can create a virtual machine. You will use a wizard to create the virtual machine and customize it by specifying details such as the name and the amount of memory to assign to it. Before you create the virtual machine, consider the following questions:

  • How much memory will you allocate to the virtual machine? Be sure to allocate enough to run the guest operating system and all applications that you want to run on the virtual machine at the same time.
  • Where do you want to store the virtual machine and what do you want to name it? For example, you might want to use a name that identifies the guest operating system, or describes how you want to use it. You can use as many as 80 characters for the name.
  • What type of virtual hard disk do you want to use?
    - Dynamically expanding virtual hard disk. This type requires a minimum of 8 MB free space on the physical storage media. The size of the disk (and the .vhd file) grows as the disk is used, up to the maximum size specified when the disk was created.
    - Fixed virtual hard disk. This type of disk requires as much physical storage space as the size you specify for the disk when you create it. The size of the .vhd file is the same as the virtual hard disk size and remains unchanged.
    - Differencing virtual hard disk. This type requires a small amount of physical storage when you create the disk, and requires more storage as the size of the disk grows. The maximum size of a differencing disk is restricted by the maximum size of its parent hard disk.
  • And where do you want to store it?

After you create the virtual machine, you can modify it as needed.

To create a virtual machine

  1. Open the Virtual Machines folder. From the Start menu, click Windows Virtual PC. If the menu item is not visible, click All Programs, click the Windows Virtual PC folder, and then click Windows Virtual PC.
  2. The Virtual Machines folder opens in Windows Explorer. From the menu bar, click Create virtual machine.

    Note:
    The Virtual Machines folder provides details about all the virtual machines created by the current user, as well as access to the tools for creating and modifying virtual machines and virtual hard disks.

  3. The Create a Virtual Machine Wizard opens. Proceed through the pages of the wizard, choosing the options that are appropriate for the guest operating system.
  4. After the wizard finishes, the virtual machine appears in the file list in the Virtual Machine folder.

After you create the virtual machine, you can install the guest operating system. The procedure varies slightly depending on the type of installation media you plan to use, such as physical CDs and DVDs, .iso files, and network-based installation servers. The following procedures describe how to use each type.

To use a CD, DVD, or .iso file to install a guest operating system

  1. To use a CD or DVD, insert it into the drive and then skip to the next step. To use an .iso file, do the following:
    • Right-click the virtual machine in the file list, and then click Settings.
    • In the left pane, click DVD Drive. In the right pane, choose Open an ISO image. Click OK.
  2. Start the virtual machine. In the file list, select the virtual machine and click Open. Windows Virtual PC opens and displays the video output of the virtual machine.
  3. The virtual machine searches for bootable media. Setup begins after bootable media is found.
  4. After the installation is complete, install the Integration Components package. From the Tools menu of the virtual machine window, click Install Integration Components.

To use a network-based installation server to install a guest operating system

  1. Start the virtual machine. In the file list, select the virtual machine and click Open. Windows Virtual PC opens and displays the video output of the virtual machine.
  2. The virtual machine automatically starts the PXE boot agent and attempts to contact the remote installation server. Watch the screen for instructions. When prompted, press F12.

    Note:
    If the remote installation server does not respond, you will receive the message “Reboot and Select proper Boot device.” Check the virtual machine settings to make sure the network adapter is connected to an external (physical) network. If it is, check with the administrator of your network for instructions about using a network-based installation server.

  3. Select an operating system from the choices offered by the remote installation server.
  4. Use the setup utility for the operating system to complete the installation. If you need to restart to complete the process, press CTRL+ALT+END, or click Ctrl+Alt+Del from the virtual machine window.

Enjoy,
Scott

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