Windows Phone 7 Launch Event in NYC

This morning’s Windows Phone 7 Launch Event, while appearing in a somewhat subdued fashion, ended on such a very high note that I considered the launch a rousing succcess!  

The lack of an impressive Microsoft presence in the Windows Mobile field over the last few years has kept the fanboys and girls from becoming overly excited at the event, like Apple fanboys are with just about any Steve Jobs announcement.   Heck, even Antenna-gate showed a lot more Apple fan enthusiasm than this launch event.   However, I really think that Windows Phone 7 is such a different OS that it will quickly gain mindshare with consumers who have yet to purchase an iPhone.   It *may* even convert a few existing iPhone/iPod users.

I also appreciated Steve Ballmer’s enthusiasm, and Ralph de la Vega provided some very interesting details on AT&T’s future device line-up!

Joe’s presentation, with all the demos and live interaction was a complete joy to watch.   I especially enjoyed watching his bravery and true faith in taking a second shot at connecting to the Tell Me servers to complete his online search for Alaskan Airlines flight number 7.  VERY IMPRESSIVE.

In all honesty, I can truly say that I cannot wait until November 8 to get a new Windows Phone 7 device!

Presented with Microsoft MVP Award 3rd Year in a row

mvplogo160I received notification earlier today that I have been presented with another Microsoft MVP Award for the 2010 year.   This makes my 3rd consecutive award-year!   

This year, I am one of 79 MVPs in the Windows Phone category, and one of just under 5000 MVPs (across all disciplines) worldwide this year, so sufficed to say that I once again find myself in good company.

This also means I’ll be able to attend the 2011 MVP Summit in February, which is always a blast.  

This totally makes my day, and my weekend to boot!   Woo hoo!

A wonderful discussion about Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is a very confusing subject, mostly because it means different things to different people.  

At the heart of the whole debate is whether a company who has the responsibility of providing the internet infrastructure (or the “Internet Backbone”) has the right to sell higher speed access to the backbone to those client companies that might want their website to display faster.

There are two ways to look at the this situation, in more or less black and white terms.   Unfortunately, this is anything but a black and white situation, so I admit that this breakdown of terms will be rather simplistic.  Here is the nutshell version of each:

  • If you are for the continued lack of regulation of the Internet, and opt for more of a laissez-faire angle, then you are considered to be AGAINST Net Neutrality.   You join the ranks of large companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc.   Just recently, Google has announced a desire to work with Verizon, so they are now changing sides.
  • If you vote to regulate the Internet, then you are FOR Net Neutrality.  You join the ranks of groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge, Amazon, and Yahoo.  Google used to be on this side, but because they are now in talks with Verizon Wireless about a bundling deal, they have concievably changed sides…

People who are AGAINST Net Neutrality want to be able to sell the Googles of the world a far superior connection to the Internet compared to the small business websites.   The major argument here is that allowing these backbone companies to charge more for faster connections gives these companies the necessary incentives to continue to invest in their own networks and infrastructure.

People who are FOR Net Neutrality want the Amazons of the world to have the same visibility on the Internet that the average Small Business website has.   They say that regulations to prevent (or at least restrict) any possible discrimination are required to keep the big businesses of the world from conspiring to limit options of regular users.

For a really good list of articles on the issue, please visit the New York Times Room for Debate topic of “Who Gets Priority on the Web?”  There are articles from 9 different Contributors available for your perusal, so you’ll get both sides of the story.  Highly recommended read.

It’s Free App Friday at Handango!

Free App Friday


Today is Free App Friday at Handango.   Today’s free App is Chess Pro II:

Ready to unleash your Chess skills? ZingMagic’s multi-award winning Chess application is renowned for its superb playability for players of all levels, from beginner to expert. Whatever level of Chess you play at, you can be sure that ZingMagic’s Chess Pro II will give you a stimulating and challenging game. Chess Pro II allows you to play against the computer or another human player. Do you have what it takes to be a Chess master? Download Chess Pro II for FREE using 100% off code FAF730.

Features include:

  • Award winning artificial intelligence engine
  • Multiple player and multiple game support options
  • Full undo and redo of moves
  • Find Hints
  • English, French, German, Spanish and Italian support

EFF Wins Legal Protections for Cell Phone Jailbreakers/Unlockers

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won a critical exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions on Monday July 26th.  This exemption provides new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones in order to make them more operable for their own personal use.   Previously, these actions could have been used as grounds to sue them for their non-infringing or fair use activities.

Read onward after the break to see the rest of the article!

Continue reading

Seen a .menc file before?

If you’ve ever seen a .menc file before, you probably saw it on an external memory card that you pulled out of your Windows Phone device.  

Essentially, .menc (Mobile Encryption) files are just your personal data (the PIM.VOL file that contains all of your Contacts for example) that are encrypted.  The extension of .menc lets the Operating System (OS) know which files are encrypted, and whether or not they can be opened by the user.   To do so, the previously recorded key (user password) must match the key provided by the user when unlocking the device.  But you won’t see those .menc files, because they are typically hidden by the OS so as not to be visible to the end-user during casual browsing.   If you ever chose to encrypt the files you store on your external storage (external memory card, etc), then they may be visible if you took that card to another computer or device for viewing.

If you’re trying to recover those files, then you have to meet some rather special requirements in order to proceed.  Unfortunately, if you have Hard Reset the device, or have a different device than the one that the files were originally created on, then the encryption/decryption keys are now lost or no longer the same, then sadly your files are totally inaccessible. 

However, if you have access to the same device that the .menc files were originally created on, and you have NOT performed a Hard Reset on the device, then you can still salvage the files:

  1. Turn the storage card encryption off: Go to Start > Settings > System > Encryption (varies by your Operating System version) and uncheck the “Encrypt files when placed on a storage card” box. From this point forward, all NEW files created on that card will be unencrypted, but existing files will still be encrypted.
  2. Next, bring-up your favorite File Explorer, then browse to your Storage Card. Make a new folder on the storage card, and call it “OLDData”.  This folder will, of course, be unencrypted.
  3. Now, find whatever files you want to decrypt and copy them into this folder.  Those files will be decypted as they copy into the new folder.  You can now read these files on any other computer or phone.

Congratulations, you’ve just saved some data.   Hopefully it will turn out to be highly important data, which will make your victory taste just a little bit sweeter…

It’s Free-App-Friday at Handango

 Free App Friday

Head on over to Handango to grab your weekly FREE Application!   This weeks App is:

“NetworkAcc – Mobile Network Accelerator”

Accelerate all your mobile-network based activities using NetworkAcc, a 2009 Handango Champion Award Nominee! Speed up browsing, downloading, uploading, streaming, online gaming, sending and receiving email. Optimization technology is applied to fine-tune several key network parameters to prevent data fragmentation and to improve data throughput to make your device faster than you ever imagined. Don’t be limited by your device’s configuration again!! Download NetworkAcc Mobile Network Accelerator for FREE using 100% off code FAF723.

Features include:

  • Absolutely hardware free: 100% software solution, no additional hardware needed.
  • Easy-to-use: One click to speed up your mobile network performance without forcing you to understand a bunch of network jargon.
  • The ultimate in convenience: Runs in the background, automatically analyzes and optimizes your mobile network on-the-go.
  • Options: Multiple accelerator gears available to accelerate your mobile network on demand with advanced ‘Settings’ support.