Sunday, March 21, 2010

Samsung Android phone does not work with Samsung software

Yesterday I wasted half a day trying to figure out why my brand new Samsung Galaxy Portal (called a Spica in the rest of Europe or the GT-I5700 for the geeks) phone would not connect to the software provided with it called New PC Studio. It turns out that for the software to detect the device as being a phone you need to go (in Android) into Settings / Applications / Development and enable USB Debugging. Hardly intuitive. Even with the software recognising the phone, most of the basic functionality is not supported - I'm talking little things like syncing contacts and uploading or downloading media such as photos. The only thing that is supported is "Update Device".

This is actually important since the phone runs Android 1.5 but an upgrade to 2.1 is promised soon. Unfortunately when you check for the update it is more disappointment!

If you do want to transfer content then it can be done. Once you have connected the phone via USB you will see a device called "UMS Composite (F:)". This is actually the micro SD card inserted into the phone. If you try and open it you get this error.

However, the rather geeky solution to this is that when the phone is connected a USB logo will appear in the upper status bar on the phone. If you drag this down you will see a notification that "USB Connected". Clicking this message will result in the following message "You have connected your phone to your computer via USB. Select "Mount" if you want to copy files between your computer and the phones SD card".

Mounting disks is something I associate with 80's computer rooms - not connecting to mobile phones. What I find particularly disappointing is that none of the help I needed to trouble shoot all these issues came from Samsung. There was no notice in the packaging that the supplied software was incompatible with the device and nothing helpful on their web site.

This is a real shame because the phone itself is very good especially for the price - free with a £20 quid contract. Having already got an iPod Touch I was not interested in an iPhone and I already have a Blackberry for business purposes and whilst I have no doubt that the Nexus One will be superior it's not $529 better so this mid range Android phone is perfect for my personal needs. I just wish that Samsung had treated it's customers with some respect and documented the limitations and workarounds so that the experience of purchasing this lovely little phone would not be spoilt

Friday, March 05, 2010

LCTY: Bridging the Digital Divide - Demonstrating Enterprise Social Tools

I'm lucky enough to be presenting at Lotusphere Comes to You again this year. This is the abstract of my pitch for London and Edinburgh.

Today, employees are divided into digital natives, those who have grown up with the web, mobile devices, always on broadband connectivity and internet social networking and digital immigrants, those who grew up working in a fixed office with more traditional tools like email.

Through a series of demonstrations, see how IBM's social and collaborative portfolio seamlessly bridge between these worlds bringing social capabilities to traditional users and bringing robust security, reliability and integration to the social world to produce true enterprise ready professional networking.

This empowers organisations to maximize their success by realizing the potential of their people through collaboration, communication and social technologies and mining the collective wisdom of their staff for more accurate and effective decision making.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Grayed out hard disk password on a Thinkpad

Every 3 months or so I have what I call password day. This is when all my corporate passwords expire and I need to change them. Despite most of IBM's internal services being authenticated against our intranet ID and password, I still need to manually change things like OS Passwords (two Windows and one Ubuntu clients), VPN, Boot up and hard disk passwords, Blackberry, Sametime, Activities, FTP and a few others relating to non standard sites and services.

Whilst this is quite irritating to have to do, it is a necessary evil and normally quite straight forward. But today I hit a snag I haven't come across before. When I went to change my hard disk password in the BIOS it was grayed out. This was especially annoying because I had changed my power on password successfully. The last thing you want is to have two different passwords on boot up.

My initial thought was that it must be something to do with the supervisor password - but it wasn't enabled. Turns out that the problem was that the hard disk password was set on a different machine, a Thinkpad T60p but I had upgraded to a T61p. As luck would have it, I hadn't got round to returning the old T60p so I could swap the drive back - remove the password and then put it back in my new machine and pop the new password on. I don't know what I could have done if I had returned the old machine. So a warning to Thinkpad users - it is incredibly handy being able to use the same drives across different models - but if you are transferring a drive then remove the password first - otherwise you might find that you are stuck with it!