Exchange 2007: Disable iPhone Passcode Requirement August 6th, 2010
If you are using your iPhone with Exchange 2007 you’ll notice that Exchange now forces a remote policy which requires you to have a passcode on your device (of course this also applies to other mobile devices and not just the iPhone). I’m sure for some this is not an issue but for those users who do not need this security feature enabled and/or simply do not want to have to enter a passcode every time, there is of course a way to disable the feature.
Firstly, you’ll need to have administrative rights to the Exchange 2007 server, so if you do and you’re able to either access the box locally or remotely via RDP, read on.
Assuming you are now sat looking at the desktop on your server, do the following (I have based this guide on a standard installation of Small Business Server 2008, but of course still applies to a stand-alone build of Exchange 2007, just follow the same steps):
- Click through Start>All Programs>Microsoft Exchange Server 2007>Exchange Management Console
- You’ll be greeted with a Windows needs your permission to continue dialogue box, select Continue
- Once in the console, expand Organization Configuration and highlight Client Access
- There should only be one policy active, which is the Windows SBS Mobile Mailbox Policy <servername>, right click this and select Properties
- Click on the Password tab
- Next uncheck the Require password checkbox and hit Apply then OK
- You can now close all of the open windows
You should now find that the forced passcode is no longer required.
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Living with the HTC Desire May 4th, 2010
Well I only kept the HD2 for around a month; absolutely nothing wrong with the phone itself but after a few weeks, I just found Windows Mobile was lacking that something to keep my interest alive. The hardware itself was great, arguably the best built phone I have owned to date, it had a fantastic screen and the body was very well put together but no matter how well HTC have integrated Sense into WM, it just couldn’t hid its shortcomings and I found myself only using the phone to make and receive calls, not exactly what a smartphone is destined for.
So, ironically I have found my way straight back to Android only this time with the HTC Desire. In fairness, when my G1 broke previously had the Desire been available I would have probably gone for it straight away being that I love the Android OS and, it ticks all the boxes out of the box. It might be the Nexus One rebadged, but this is a behemoth of a phone in its own right; it would seem HTC have finally produced the ultimate Android handset for the UK market.
The finish on the Desire initially felt cheap compared with the HD2, with the Desire you get a slightly more low-key brown case albeit with a huge 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. But while the screen is large, the phone itself doesn’t seem gargantuan. The screen fills the chassis nicely and the four buttons on the front are almost flush and set in attractive aluminium. If you’re looking for comparisons between the Desire and the Nexus One, the first is immediately obvious: the trackball is gone. The Desire has been given a redesigned optical trackpad instead which registers finger motion over the sensor. While some people may have been more happy with the trackball (certainly, I had no issues with mine on the G1), ultimately the trackpad should prove longer lasting and less susceptible to dirt ingress; I guess only time will tell. The phone itself is very slim given the multitude of hardware that is crammed within, with dimensions of 119 x 60 x 11.9 mm and a weight of 133g making it very pocket friendly. It has a rubberised chassis which feels nice in the hand similar to the Nexus One although early reports would suggest that if the finish of the Nexus One is anything to go by, there could be issues with this coating wearing off around areas of contact, such as the corners. Another difference to the Nexus One is the way in which the Desire follows on from the Hero with a slight curved chassis whereby the buttons on the front subtly jet out, I’ve found this makes it easy to press the buttons with the thumb when using the phone one handed so personally, I like the design and have no complaints.
There’s actually very little button-wise on the Desire, with only six in all. The front four buttons are standard Android – Home, Menu, Back and Search – and the optical trackpad also clicks in as an impromptu enter key. The up/down button on the left-hand side of the phone is flush to the chassis, as is the power button on the top which sits next to the 3.5mm headphone jack. The power button also functions as the lock key and is very nicely placed to press whenever you need to protect the screen from accidental key presses. Unlike a lot of other handsets, HTC have chosen not to include a dedicated camera button which is a shame; instead you use the trackpad to release the shutter which somehow feels unnatural when trying to frame a shot. The microUSB slot is hidden at the bottom; no cover to keep the dust out but that suits me just fine as I found the cover either fell off or over time, would not seat back in properly on previous G1s and XDAs that I have used. There’s also a microSD card slot for extra memory (The Desire comes complete with a 4 GB microSD card which is nice but an 8 GB card would be even better) but that’s hidden below the battery, which is a bit of a pain if you need to take it out for any reason such as to take a large number of files off using a card reader.
Coming from the HD2, I found the screen initially was a huge disappointment. Not only is it smaller (don’t get me wrong, it is PLENTY big enough, coming from almost any other handset) but the overall colour representation is not great, contrary to many preconceived thoughts certain colours do not reproduce well and can be very oversaturated; red in particular. A lot of owners myself included have also noticed a pink tint to certain greys, the same issue which seems to have affected the Nexus One AMOLED displays. I think this is less to do with build quality, and more to do with the technology and price point of the display technology itself. If you’re interested there is an interesting article here (also, further discussion here). That being said, after the first week or so you forget all about the slight niggles and the screen becomes a joy to use, whether this is because it gets better after the initial burn in phase I have no idea, a thought that has been discussed at length over on the XDA forums, but regardless it just seems much better now. Given the size and colour reproduction of the screen it’s great for media playback and internet browsing.
As usual, HTC is very good at keeping its packaging minimal, probably due to cost constraints but hey, it looks cool too. Just like the HD2, the Desire comes in a smart box that is well protected. Inside the box you’ll find all of the standard kit, a microUSB cable and associated wall charger (I wish they would supply both a separate charger AND microUSB cable, as a few times now I have left my Desire charging overnight only to find I hadn’t plugged the cable into the charger quite right, frustrating) and the standard HTC headphones which double as a hands free kit. Notably missing is any form of pouch but these are readily available; I use my old G1 pouch which works well, if a bit loose.
The Desire is running the latest Sense UI on top of Android 2.1 so you get the latest versions of both; this in its own right is a great reason why the Desire is a better phone than the Google Nexus One (lacking Sense UI of course). The latest version of Sense simply works; the premise is simple – seven home screens (three each side of the default home screen) which can be fully customised with widgets and icons as you see fit meaning that you can create your very own, truly unique UI. In fairness, it’s the same principle as a standard Android 2.1 phone but with the Desire HTC has added a number of its own widgets and options to make the overall experience that little bit better. The large display clock is included by default, below this sits the weather forecast for your area (which is pulled via aGPS rather than true GPS to save battery and is actually, quite accurate). The weather will also animate itself across the screen too (as in the HD2) which is cool – if it’s sunny the screen will shine, rainy and windscreen wiper clears the water drops, foggy the screen will be cloudy, OK so when it boils down to it it’s a gimmick, but it’s still cool and creates that wow factor when showing people the Desire for the first time.
HTC’s widgets include Favourite Friends and the Friendstream app; which draws in info from Twitter, Flickr and Facebook simultaneously to give a truly syndicated source of information. These widgets like most of the others are offered in various sizes and looks to allow you to prioritise space on your home screen and choose your favourite look. If you want to get rid of any of the widgets, you simply long-press on them and the rubbish bin icon appears at the bottom of the screen enabling you to drag and drop to get rid of it. Another cool but pointless feature in Android 2.1 is the addition of Live Wallpapers. These are backgrounds to the home screen that react to a number of stimuli be it your finger, music or simply the time of day. My favourite is called Nexus; basically, it’s a set of coloured lights running across a grid (in a kind of ‘Matrix’ style) – tap the screen and dozens more explode out under your finger. You’ve also got the option of having a live map display, so that your location is centred on the screen at all times. Utterly pointless and certainly battery draining but no doubt you’ll find yourself enabling them every now and then just because you can. Searching throughout the phone be it music tracks, text messages or emails, or any other file type is available simply by hitting the search key twice to call up the Quick Search application which is very similar to iPhone’s Spotlight.
Finally, we have Leap View. Basically pinch the screen using multi-touch (which is fully supported and works extremely well) and you’ll be able to see all seven screens at once, allowing you to quickly jump to any of them. Very handy if you’re over on the far left screen and you want to switch to something over on the far right. Leap View demonstrates the power of the Desire and the Snapdragon processor really well. From the simple swipe to web page panning, the Desire will react to any touch you throw at it no matter how hard you push the OS. Even the weather widget rotates through the different cities on offer with speed; the HD2 with the same processor was nowhere near this quick. So far, I have yet to find an instance where I can notice the Desire slowing down.
Basically, the interface on the HTC Desire is really good; it just does what it says on the tin combining the already tried and tested elements of Android with the latest Sense UI, a winning combination for both new and advanced users.
The phonebook on the Desire contains a wealth of information. You can link entries with your contacts Google account, Facebook, Flickr, Exchange… and of course, basic phone and email details too. When you turn the Desire on for the first time, you’re asked to log into Google, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr. Not only does this give you access to your Gmail and populate Peep (HTC’s inbuilt Twitter application), but it also adds all the names from Facebook and Google contacts into your address book. The purpose of this is that you can then link all of this information together. The Desire will search for common phone numbers and email address, and link these profiles automatically which is pretty cool. From the linked profile you get to see call history, Facebook updates, Flickr and Facebook photos, and email conversations you’ve shared. Again all of this is done smoothly and there is never even a hint of the Desire slowing down, even when updating and populating.
Call quality is decent too with quick connections and easy dialling. The Phone tab is prominent on all of the home screens and when pressed, pulls up the most recently called contacts as well as the number pad. Of course this is partly owing to the latest incarnation of Sense but it is a lot easier and nicer to use overall than dialling on either the HD2 or G1. You can also use the dialler as a T9 dictionary to tap in a contacts name and it will be pushed to the top of the list. Like calling, messaging can be a less than exciting experience on some phones, but on the Desire there are a number of ways to stay in touch with your friends, no matter which way you want to chat. First of all, let’s talk about the keyboard – the HTC touchscreen and keyboard combination are really good to use, I thought I would miss the slide out keyboard from the G1 (the HD2 uses essentially the same system as the Desire) but I simply don’t. It’s frighteningly intuitive, and it learns as it goes along; if you use a word often it will remember it and default to it when the relevant keystrokes come along. You can deviate miles from the intended buttons, and nine times out of 10 the Desire will work out the word you wanted correctly with no fuss.
Messaging is handled in a number of intuitive ways from threaded conversations for SMS text messages to native high end Exchange support. If you want to convert a text into an MMS you simply add in elements like pictures, sound or a contact card; far better than having to remember a number and tap it into a new message. Twitter is also well catered for through the Peep application although personally I prefer the official Twitter application since it has been released. Google Talk is included as standard allowing you to chat to your friends online. Sadly there’s no integration for Windows Messenger or similar by default, I’m sure I’m not the only one frustrated at this owing to most of my friends not using Google Talk. Email of course is a big part of this phone too be it Gmail, POP3/IMAP webmail accounts or Microsoft Exchange. All three are easy to set up, with a few details all that’s necessary for the Desire to sniff out the relevant settings automatically in most cases. Exchange email is set up in the traditional inbox format, but sliding the finger along the icons at the bottom takes you to files with attachments and conversations making it easy again to see what’s been said in the chat so far. Email addresses are highlighted within the mail itself so you can tap and use them; you can do the same with phone numbers too, but these aren’t highlighted. You can choose the speed at which mail is pushed to your device from all these accounts, from Push email to timed downloading to only updating when manually forced to do so. There’s no lag at all with push email, as with most things on the Desire it just works. Needless to say Gmail integration is flawless. A minor irritation with the messaging system is that you can’t save SMS messages to the microSD card (although you can to the SIM card) which is I think, a slight oversight.
HTC has been working long and hard on its Android internet browser, and has continued to update it to keep it in line with the best on offer in other Smartphone’s. The Desires browser is definitely up there with the best; pinching and zooming takes you in and out at superb speeds, and the text reflow software on the Desire is brilliant. Basically you can keep moving in further and further on the words, and the phone will keep reformatting the columns to fit the screen, it makes reading the longer articles really simple and easy on the eye. Of course with the 3.7 inch WVGA screen, when zoomed out you can see a lot of screen real estate which adds further to the overall experience. The browser also has copy and paste as standard too; simply long press on any bit of text and two little draggable pins will appear to select the text you want. Flash is also present and works well although there are a few niggles. Sometimes on some of the higher end sites, Flash doesn’t seem to want to play ball; I can’t seem to get it to support iPlayer for example and some video on the BBC website is very jerky. In all probability however this will be resolved soon – Flash 10.1 is on its way for Android and should make all Flash video work correctly. Bookmarking on the Desire is also pretty cool; the visual thumbnails are based on the latest website content from your last visit, and are a nice way of navigating through your favourites.
The Desire shows another huge step forward for HTC; the camera is now streets ahead of its predecessors. The 5MP camera on the Desire is as good as you’re ever likely to need on a mobile camera albeit not quite as good as what you might find on a Sony Ericsson. The camera interface has been overhauled for the new version of Sense as well, with a number of options to tweak to improve your photos. Options for brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness are all altered by spinning dials on the screen. You can also change the ISO setting, geo-tagging, face detection and more as well as sepia, negative and posterise effects. The camera automatically keeps refocusing on the scene in front of it, which negates the need for a half-press on the shutter key to bring the picture into sharpness, great for lazy snapping. The video recorder comes in a variety of formats, both resolution and recording codec. You can take video in QVGA (320 x 240), CIF (352 x 288), VGA (DVD quality, 640 x 480) or WVGA (800 x 480), and all four can be recorded to MP4 or H.263 formats with the resulting file appearing as 3GP.
The music player is the same as see on other HTC phones, it features large, easy to hit buttons on the main player and cover art that you can swipe through in both portrait and landscape modes. Navigating through tracks is segmented into Artists, Albums, Tracks, Genres, with the option to look at your purchased tracks as well. You can select the different methods of track navigation by simply sliding your finger along the bottom the screen. The HTC Desire has a 3.5mm headphone port, but this is curved and not flush to the chassis which leaves a section of the headphone jack uncovered; it doesn’t affect the performance of the phone but it does leave your headphones exposed to possible damage. The main music player is easy to use and works quickly on the Desire with the Snapdragon processor powering things along nicely behind the scenes meaning again that there is no sign of track stutter or skipping when trying to browse through the phone’s library. The photo and video gallery is easy enough to navigate too, you can see your files as images, camera shots and downloaded pictures, and the video is divided up into recorded movies and those you’ve put onto the memory card. Swiping through your photos is a really pleasant experience too thanks to the processor; it renders the images without a hint of slowdown, so you’re not looking at a pixellated version of your photos for too long. The video is predictably good on the Desire as you can imagine – if you add widescreen VGA resolution to a 3.7-inch AMOLED display with a 1GHz processor the movies will look just fine.
The Desire packs the usual range of Android connectivity – Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, aGPS, 7.2Mbps HSDPA – pretty much everything we’ve come to expect. The Wi-Fi is as good to set up as ever and whenever you walk into range of a remembered network the Desire will automatically connect. Bluetooth is similarly good, with both methods of connection offering the same easy to use UI; basically turn it on and a list of connections pops up. Simply tapping on these will link you in, no messing about with separate screens for passwords or codes, it’s all done on the same screen and once connected Bluetooth will also auto-connect with devices in range.
There are a variety of applications offered on the phone from the start, such as Facebook, a desk clock, PDF and QuickOffice, but the Application Market is becoming a real force in the mobile applications space; it may only have 25% of the applications that are present on the Apple App Store at the moment, but Google has promised that it will have 130,000 apps on its books by the end of 2010; let’s hope that in trying to achieve this goal they do not sacrifice quality for quantity. One of the problems is still not being able save applications to memory card, this means developers have to make applications small and therefore low function; worth noting though that Paul over at MoDaCo has now rooted the Desire and managed to get Apps2SD to work although I have yet to try this and of course it is not an official update. I’m sure to give it a try soon though.
I like almost everything on the Desire; it just works whether for business of fun. The Sense UI, Leap View and social network integration is all seamless and useful, the Live Wallpapers are cool (if pointless) and the browser with pinch to zoom is more than sufficient for my needs. Music and video playback are fine and the camera is probably the best I’ve used so far in a mobile device. It goes without saying there are a few niggles too, the most noticeable of which is the battery life (out of the box around a day); but if you get rid of some of the widgets running constant background data transfer, it soon improves noticeably, you’ll need to ditch the Live wallpapers too of course to stretch it further.
In short, this is a phenomenal phone, unquestionably the best I have used; the design is slick and the processor makes everything happen in a flash. The Desire is all you’d want or need in a smartphone. Sure, some people will still want a slightly nicer design (which for example I think the HD2 is) or a simpler screen layout and fuller app store (in which case, buy an iPhone) but at the moment, as a piece of hardware it’s without equal in my opinion. A fantastic phone and one that will show the world that Android isn’t just for the hackers and phone geeks any more.
Go and buy one, you know you want to.
Goodbye Android, Hello Windows Mobile March 24th, 2010
As some of you may know if you are following my Twitter updates, last week I broke my G1.
Now I had been thinking for a while that it was getting a little left behind in terms of technology with all the newer handsets on the market, so the obvious choice was to replace it with something newer and stereotypically of me, something totally different (what is it they say about a change?).
So that left me with a few choices, either another Android device (I’d already thought previously about a Nexus One), an iPhone, the Palm Pre or, a Windows Mobile device. Logically knowing my love of all things Android it would have made sense to go with the Nexus One, but somehow I found myself being drawn to the sheer lushness of the HTC Leo, or as we know it in the UK market the HD2. In terms of design, I think it’s a fantastic phone, technology wise too it ticks all the boxes with the latest Snapdragon 1Ghz processor and that huge 4.3 inch screen but, and there’s a catch, it runs on the Windows Mobile platform. After being a very happy Android user, my head told me not to go for another Windows Mobile device after having many previously, and yet it didn’t take too long until I saw the words ‘thank you, your order has been successfully completed and should arrive shortly’ appear on my screen.
Now I’d like to take this opportunity to say I am well aware that the basic Windows Mobile platform is not a patch on the Android, however HTC have ported their very successful ‘Sense’ interface for the very first time onto a Windows Mobile device with the HD2. In doing so they have effectively removed (visibly) the Windows Mobile interface for all but the most backend of tasks giving the platform a much needed new lease of life. There will be those who at this stage will be cringing and telling me what a mistake I have made but there can be no arguing that of all the mobile platforms, Windows Mobile ‘just works’ when it comes to seamless office integration, by that I mean push email with Exchange and the ability to view, edit or create documents on the go; put simply, Windows Mobile is in my opinion, the best business solution for mobile users, it always has been. Sure, Android can do all these things too, but unless you want to port all of your business needs to Google Apps (which is not as stable or reliable as they will have you believe, I know this through my own experiences), it’s a little ‘clunky’ getting things to work seamlessly as you need 3rd party applications and workarounds.
Having said that it’s not all great, I haven’t used Windows Mobile for a few years but in terms of application support it’s not a patch on Android, or the iPhone for that matter. Social integration and the ability to download useless applications for fun is where the money is at these days. How I’ll miss the ability to make rude noises or hold my phone to my mouth as if it were a glass and watch the ‘beer’ level go down. OK, perhaps not. Still, I will have the ability to run the social networking applications I have been used to using such as Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare so all is not lost. Also worth remembering is that what the Windows Marketplace (which let’s be honest is a joke compared with the Android Marketplace or the iPhone Apps Store) lacks in terms of applications, is somewhat made up for by the work of developers over at the XDA Developers Forum.
For my needs though, I think – indeed I hope – Windows Mobile 6.5 with Sense on the HD2 will be just fine. I guess only time will tell; watch this space for updates over the coming weeks.
iPhone Sync To Windows 7 Issue November 2nd, 2009
There have been a lot of reports recently by numerous people around the internet, that there seems to be ongoing problems with people syncing their iPhone to iTunes in a Windows 7 environment. The official Apple forums [Link] have got a number of threads related to the issue so it does appear that this is definitely a problem and this is not just a bunch of die hard Apple fans trying to add a negative taste to what has been otherwise, a successful launch for Microsoft’s latest operating system.
Now, looking at the problems people are facing, there does seem to be some common similarities; most people who are reporting the problem are using a motherboard with an Intel P55 chipset and the problem seems to be affecting more people using Windows 7 x64. Both of these are not conclusive though, as it is also affecting people using other chipsets and Windows 7 x86, although certainly, less so.
The official advice – as always – seems to be a workaround, suggesting that you should use a USB hub or PCI USB card for connecting your iPhone, and disabling Power Management for each of the USB root hubs on your machine, but none of these seem to work universally for everyone which to me would suggest that neither Apple or Microsoft still really understand what the problem is and that there isn’t an imminent fix.
Fortunately, I don’t have an iPhone so am not affected by this, how about you? Have you had problems with iPhone/iTunes syncing with Windows 7? If so, have you been able to fix it or come up with a workaround? Share your thoughts!
Android Vs iPhone Ad October 18th, 2009
You all remember the Windows vs. Mac ads don’t you? I guess in fairness Apple always knew they were on to a winner with those. The humble pc and Windows may well be the winner in the corporate IT world but that’s not who the adverts were targeting, no they were targeting the average home user who wants an all in one solution that just works, and I have to admit the Mac does, and it does it very well.
So when it comes to marketing brilliance, it seems Apple are all over Microsoft. But could it be that they have new competition?
Being an Android user and fan, I just had to smile when I came across this earlier today, further details can be found here.