Steve Presley

Rantings of DSaxman

  • RFID tag readers/links

    I was recently discussing a project with Dave Wanta to using RFID technology.  Here are some of the links I have gathered during the discussion to various products/SDK's:

    (do note these are in no particular order, and I do not endorse any of these products)

    Intermec's PC Card Line:

    Syscan (check out the Mobile & CF readers):

    Intel RFID Reader Project (hardware by Skyetek):
    SDK (Java and Visual Studio 6):


    Texas Instruments Line:

    RF-ID Handhelds:

    Intersoft ($199 for the demo kit)

    Nokia Mobile RFID kit utilizing the Nokia 5140:,,55738,00.html

    The readers are more expensive (they are handhelds that you plug in to a base to sync it looks like)
    But the cool part about these guys - in Q3 they're supposed to have a
    Bluetooth enabled wireless reader - so no more syncing.

  • My smartphone(s) were replaced and then summarily deprecated.

    Well, after many months of having two silver paperweights on my desk, and many calls and emails to Everlink to get them serviced, I finally received an email from someone at Everlink to get them replaced.  So, I box up both phones, ship them off and a few days later, two shiny new Red E SC1100 Smartphones running Smartphone 2003.  One I turned on to make sure it worked and put back in the box.  The other, I used for a week or so before decided that the battery life just plain sucked (and I couldn't get the Internet connection working as I had on the previous SP's I had), so I want a new phone.  Well, I decided on the Nokia 6820 because of its cool flip-out keyboard and bluetooth.  It also has a camera, but that's just fluff for the most part.

    Why you ask, did I get a non-SmartPhone and why am I blogging about it?  Well, first of all, to express my disappointment in the whole Everlink experience.  If you are going to pay $500US for a developer kit, the bloody thing needs to work as a cell phone.  That's the primary function.  A battery that lasts 15 minutes before it is dead is just not acceptable.  Yes, I know this is a pre-production phone and for “development purposes only”, but if I'm developing an app that uses GPRS and need to test it in the field, it needs to work for more than 15 minutes without having to plug it in.  I was *so* disappointed, I didn't even bother putting any .NET CF apps on the thing after waiting 8 months to get a copy on a real phone.  Secondly, I'm really impressed with the form factor and business-applicable use of the 6820.  I'm halfway thinking of seeing if I can get part of the CF to run on the 6820 somehow (maybe a ROTOR port or something??)  Lastly, if MS really expects to sell SP as a corporate enhancement, you have to be able to show something that a> works and b> has a wow factor.  The dev phones had some of the wow factor, but no where near the 6820 (which most exec's want because of the “promised” BlackBerry support - another issue for another blog), so in my book, that's a double loser. 

    So moral of the story is - the support wasn't there when Everlink's own ROM upgrades broke both of the phones I paid for (although they were replaced for just the price of me shipping them back), the battery life was horrible and the wow factor just wasn't there for a phone that couldn't function as a phone.  I'm a staunch MS supporter and if I have ditched the product, imagine what the brand loyalty for the common folk are.

  • Cool XSL tool..

    Just wanted to say a big thanks to Rob Chartier for helping me out with an XSL issue I had earlier today.

    He turned me on to a tool called "XSelerator" by MarrowSoft   (not XSLerator by IBM)... awesome tool that will let you do XSL/XPath queries on the fly and let you see the rendered output.  It has an XPath Query Builer that will let you run an XSL pattern or XPath query, give you the resulting nodeset, and if you click on one of the nodes in the set, it will take you to the spot in the tree of the XML... WAY COOL!

  • Smartphone in my hands!

    Well kids, this isn't entirely DotNet related as my SmartPhone still has the 2002 OS, not the 2003 OS with the .NET CF installed - haven't figured out which ROM set I need to get it to 2003, or get the .NET CF installed on it.  While I've had it nearly 14 hours, haven't had that much time to play with it.

    First impression: I like it.  I had an iPAQ when they first hit the market -- the 3650 I think it was.  Loved the device.  Don't get me wrong, every device has its drawbacks - the iPAQ did, so does this device, but overall the WOW factor is right up there.  This phone is actually the Compal AR11 (Avenger) - which is also labeled the “red e SC1100”.  (Not sure why it's called “red” because it's actually a pewter color ;-) ).  It's very PocketPC-esque.  It has a joystick instead of a stylus, which doesn't take much getting used to.  One thing I find myself constantly doing is using the “Done” softkey as an “enter” button instead of pressing in on the joystick.  On most WAP browsers, the left softkey is the OK button and the right is the Cancel/Context/Option button.  Just have to reprogram my head to realize that I'm in a real OS again, not a browser shell.

    The other big thing I love.. COLOR!! 65k worth (well, maybe not 65k - not sure exactly how many colors it has, but it's a sharp looking device).

    I'm sure I'll be ranting and raving in the near future once I figure out how to get the .NET CF on here.. but in the meantime, some good links I have come across:

  • Last week at the Microsoft Campus

    I had the pleasure of spending last week at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA.  We were hosted by Rob Howard,  Scott Guthrie and various members of the ASP.NET, WebMatrix, Mobile Controls and the Web Developer experience of Visual Studio .NET, C# and WebServices teams from the MS organization.  While DataGridGirl  has echoed most of the sentiment of the MS aura, there is one big thing she failed to mention.  After a long day of presentations, we took the walk across campus of the building where most of these teams live.  When I say 'live', that was the impression I got.  It was nearly 7:00 pm, yet people were still in their offices - happily coding away, taking a break for a healthy game of ping pong, coming back from the gym to work more.. and no one was complaining about working late, rushing about, fussing or even had a mild grimace on their faces.  Most folks even took time to say 'Hi' to the 40+ people making a ruckus, shuffling through the halls.  It was amazing.  I once worked for a consulting company that had a similar culture and persona about it, but it was short lived.  For some reason companies tend to think that employees who take 10 minutes to relieve stress on a ping pong game or a walk around the building is not productive.  It certainly seems to be working for MS.