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Windows Client UPDATE--PDAs: To Buy or Not To Buy--March 17, 2005

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Overview of Native XML Web Services for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (Royalty)


1. Commentary
- PDAs: To Buy or Not To Buy

2. News & Views
- MSN Joins Google, Yahoo! with Paid Search Results

3. Peer to Peer
- Tip: Diagnosing a System Upgrade Failure
- Featured Thread: Who Do You Trust To Protect Your Privacy?

4. New and Improved
- Centralized System Administration for Windows
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: PDAs: To Buy or Not To Buy ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

About 4 months ago, I wrote that I was once again taking a foray into the world of PDAs. Today I give you an update on that venture. The short version is this: I'm using the PDA far more than I expected, but I'm still not sure whether the total investment (more than the cost of an inexpensive notebook computer) is worth it.

To briefly recap, I selected a Dell Axim 50v as my PDA of choice ( ) because of the broad feature set, built-in wireless connectivity options, and the VGA screen. I added a 1GB Secure Digital memory card and the Dell Bluetooth GPS Navigation System, plus a few other options such as the extended accidental damage warranty, extra batteries, and a spare power system so that I didn't have to disconnect my desktop setup when traveling. The entire system cost about $900.

That's a serious investment so I'm determined to give the PDA world a serious shot. Much to my surprise, I find that I use the PDA almost everyday, although not how I originally envisioned using it. I'm still not sure it was worth the money, but if I'm still using the device after a year or so, I'll consider the money well spent.

I had expected to use the PDA for basic contact information tasks, but I'm also using it to read books. Fortunately I'm able to find hundreds of titles online, including new releases from publishers such as Baen ( ), and having my PDA at hand all the time means I always have something to read, which is a big deal to me because I always carry around a book or two to read as the opportunity presents itself. With the PDA, I have 30 or 40 titles with me at all times. Also, the PDF reader lets me put technical documentation on the device so that I can have it available while I'm working on products or to peruse while I'm on the train to customer sites in the city. The convenient availability of documentation and spare reading material goes a long way to making the PDA a useful device for me.

The second surprise is how useful the GPS system is. The included car kit lets me enter an address while at my desk, then take the PDA to my car, turn on the GPS hardware (which connects to the PDA via Bluetooth technology), and get directions spoken to me while I drive. The ability of the PDA software to find restaurants and other venues during my travels has also come in handy, and I expect it to be even more valuable this summer while I travel by car looking for property to buy in central Pennsylvania.

So far the PDA has enhanced both my personal and business life, and I'm beginning to believe it's worth the expense. My other Dell portable device, the Digital DJ, has been useful but has died twice. Dell did send me a replacement unit within 3 days in both cases, but putting 5000 tracks back onto the replacement device isn't fun. I haven't had to deal with replacing the Axim yet, but the device supports single-click backup of its contents, and I've been obsessive about backing up the data I store on the PDA. I'll let you know in a few months whether I'm still pleased with the device.


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==== 2. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

MSN Joins Google, Yahoo! with Paid Search Results
Microsoft executives will unveil a new MSN Search paid search-results feature that the company says is dramatically more sophisticated than anything offered by Google or Yahoo!. The company made the announcement at the sixth annual MSN Strategic Account Summit at the Microsoft campus today. A pilot program of the new service, dubbed MSN adCenter, will run in France and Singapore over the next several months and will provide advertisers with valuable demographic information about users. Microsoft will use feedback from the pilot program to improve the service before it's rolled out worldwide. You can read the complete article at the following URL:

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==== 3. Peer to Peer ====

Tip: Diagnosing a System Upgrade Failure
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

This tip might seem obvious, but I've received an unusual number of email messages about the topic. I'm hearing from folks that want to upgrade to Windows XP from earlier Microsoft OSs, and even they're running supported hardware and OSs, the upgrade fails. In nearly every case, I've solved the problem by asking whether the user is running antivirus software, CD-ROM burners, or any type of system utility software that launches at startup. Many of these utilities can prevent the upgrade process from working. Uninstalling the offending applications allowed the user to successfully upgrade in almost every case.

Featured Thread: Who Do You Trust To Protect Your Privacy?
Nearly two million people recently found their privacy invaded in ways they probably didn't image would happen. Trust isn't all its cracked up to be. Visit the following URL to read the latest post on the Security Matters blog:

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==== 4. New and Improved ==== by Gayle Rodcay, [email protected]

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