Norway, and RSS feeds on your Windows Mobile Device

Last week I was on vacation in the northernmost part of Europe: Norway and the North Cape. In addition to the fjords and the midnight sun, what I really like about Norway is its Internet hotspots. At every hotel where I stayed, Internet access was available for free. Most of the bars and restaurants also offered free Internet, so I was even able to connect to my email on the top of a mountain in Tromso and in a restaurant at North Cape. Isn't this a great country, where you can always be connected for free?

You might wonder why I write about Norway's Internet access in my Outlook column. Well, during my holiday I found out how easy it is to synchronize RSS feeds with your mobile device running Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.0. Synchronization works both on PDAs and smartphones. I know I said I'd write about the Common Feeds List (CFL) this month, but Norway changed my mind for me; look for CFL next month! Now let's see how you configure RSS sync with your mobile device and what some of the limitations are.

First of all, your RSS feeds need to be located in your Exchange mailbox; if your RSS feeds are stored in a PST, you won't be able to synchronize them to your mobile device. Then, you need to configure which folders to synchronize to Outlook Mobile. If you're using a PDA with either Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.0, open Outlook Mobile on the device, click Menu and select Tools, then click Manage Folders. You'll get a complete list of available mailbox folders, including all RSS feeds that you've created. You can enable mobile synchronization of any RSS feed you want with you on the road by selecting the checkbox next to the folder.

The procedure on my smartphone, an HTC S730 running Windows Mobile 6.0, was a little bit different. You click Menu and select Folder to bring up a list of all folders that are currently synchronized to the smartphone. Then you need to click Menu on the folders screen and select Manage Folders. VoilĂ , here you can enable or disable synchronization for your folders.

Enabling synchronization with your mobile device doesn't mean RSS feeds are updated directly to your mobile device. You've synchronized your mobile device with your mailbox, which is where your RSS feeds are delivered. If your feeds aren't getting to your Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 client correctly, naturally you won't get updates to your mobile device. Also, you should check all RSS feeds on your mobile device to make sure you can read them correctly. Some feeds provide their content as attachments, which makes it more difficult to read on a mobile device.

Here are some other things to watch out for that I discovered when reading RSS feeds on my mobile device. First, RSS items are downloaded using your regular email download configuration. So if your mobile access is configured to download only the beginning part of each message (typically 1KB), you might find that your RSS items don't include enough information. With an email message, 1KB is generally enough to understand what the message is about and decide if you need to download the rest, but RSS feeds, which usually include full text of an article, probably don't give you all the important topics in that first 1KB. Also, any pictures included with an RSS item won't be shown on your device. Finally, the size of most RSS items is too large to display on a mobile device screen. Without proper text formatting, it can be quite hard to read RSS items.

Now, whether you're going to Norway or a business conference, you're ready to experiment with RSS feeds on your mobile device. Let me know how it goes so we can share your experiences in a future column.

Sigi's Outlook Internet Site of the Month
In my regular search for great Microsoft Office Outlook add-on freeware, I came across a tool that's really interesting if you've ever had management problems with Outlook profiles or other Outlook items. The tool is OLfix from Quester Software. You use OLfix to repair profiles and contact links, for example, and you can call internal Outlook repair command-line switches from a button on the tool's UI. OLfix lets you search for duplicate items in your folders and has some other nice features. The tool supports Outlook 97 and later; you can download OLfix from Quester Software's website.

As always, if you find a link for an interesting new freeware tool or add-on for Outlook, let me know! Send me a message at [email protected].

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