Monday, July 09, 2012

CalDAV for Android

I've been looking for this since my first Android last year, but at that time there was no CalDAV support for Android. So I had to use the Notify Active Sync solution my company provided. This basically allowed to sync the calendar (and email, ...) as ActiveSync (from the handset's point of view) to our corporate calendar/email/...

With the re-installation on my new HTC One S I found that there is a ("native") CalDAV sync for Android, and luckily our corporate calendar supports CalDAV.

With CalDav-Sync beta from the Google play store you create - as expected - an additional calendar and set up a new profile in "Accounts & sync".

You can change the sync interval, the range of events to sync (past and future) ...
There are also some kludges and fixes for weird calendar or phone behaviour, e.g.  that some Android phones seem to create events only as tentative.

The default mode is a one-way sync from server to phone only, but all you need to do is disable this option, and - voilĂ  - you have a two way sync from server to phone and vice versa.
I have had this running for about a week now and it works like a charme... Although I have to admit that I did not try any synchronization conflicts yet.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


For almost exactly one and a half years my son was the owner of a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini pro. To be precise, he had two of them, probably three - since we had the first replaced immediately. With all three of them, the Sony showed huge problems with charging the battery after a while. We already went through an external charger, which worked fine. So it was never a problem of the battery, or the USB cable.

So about a week ago, I decided to get myself a new phone and pass the HTC Desire Z on to my son.

At first I could not really make up my mind between
  • HTC One S
  • HTC One X
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
So I want to a A1 store, where they had all three of them on display.  The S3 and the One X are of almost exactly the same size (in all three dimensions; or four if you include weight :) ). Although the display of the One S is significantly smaller, the whole body of it is only marginally smaller than those two.

Since I still don't like the Samsung skin, and I - quite frankly - love HTC Sense, the choice was only between the two HTCs.
Or in other words:
  • Do I need 1280 HD on my phone? - No
  • Do I need NFC? - No... not yet, not sure if ever.
  • Do I need a 4.7 display instead of 4.3? - No
  • Is the One S display sufficient ?  - Yes
  • Do the One X features justify 100 EUR more? - No
There. I ended up with a HTC One S and I'm totally happy with it.
Android 4.0.x (Ice Cream Sandwich)  and dual core are just ... wow.

I'll continue to report on my love for this gadget in the weeks to come.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Thunderbird left alone

So it appears that the Mozilla Foundation decided to no longer support, i.e. fund, Thunderbird.

There will be only security updates and patches, and the community is of course free to continue developing Thunderbird.

I guess email - and thus Thunderbird - is not innovative enough for Mozilla, and in a way I can see that. but then again, I've been using Thunderbird even as my corporate email client for about 10 years now and never regretted it. Or even envied the Outlook users. Quite on the contrary.

At least since Lightning, the Calendar add-one, got mature. For a global search (indexed, of course) I find Thunderbird even superior. Ctrl-K is (after Ctrl-Shift-K and Ctrl-M) probably the most used short cut for me in Thunderbird.

Well, let's hope the community continues to support it - I'd hate to go back to Outlook.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Finally an SSD

In the last two weeks I enjoyed two BSODs on my ThinkPad T500 with Windows XP. Each took me about 15min to recover, i.e. from reboot to getting back into our corporate VPN and Thunderbird and Firefox running again. And guess what, I did not really have the time for this...

So I decided time was ripe for a solid state drive (SSD). Although XP does not optimally support SSDs (e.g. no TRIM), there is still a huge improvement.

So I bought a Corsair Series 3 Force 120GB for only 100 EUR...
and a cheep USB/SATA external enclosure, so I can connect both the old hard disk and the new SSD at the same time.
Also, since I'd have a spare 160GB hard disk after the swap, a USB box for this would serve me well.

Well, day #1: the enclosure I got for 9.90 EUR, the Fantec Alu-2503 with USB 3.0, was a crap. I tested it on two different computers with two different drives, but it would only show up as a USB device for about 10 seconds, and then only the bridge itself, but never the drive. Regardless what I did. I gave up then.

Day #2: Bought 9.23 EUR Revoltec enclosure with only USB 2.0 and this worked fine.
I kept the harddisk on the internal SATA port and the SSD on the USB.
With my Acronis DiskDirector I copied my XP partition from the hard disk to the SSD, copied the MBR and then ... tried to boot from the SSD.... failure.
Moved the SSD to the native SATA port, still nothing.

Problem was, I could not find my XP recovery/install CDs... So I had to work with my Win7 DVD which has a different boot mechanism and MBR... etc etc...
So I was fighting various BSODs, NTDETECT, BOOT.INI BOOTMGR and NTLDR error messages.
Swapping the SSD and HD on USB and internal every 20minutes ...

To cut a long story short: On Day #3 with a lot of partitioning tools (diskpart.exe, ...) and the help of the Ultimate Boot CD, I found the problem to be in the partition order with the service partition on the SSD... I manually edited BOOT.INI and voilĂ  it finally worked.

And wow, this is amazingly fast. XP now boots to being fully usable in below 2 minutes instead of about 10. The CPU goes to 100% for about 30secs when everything starts up at once, and with an SSD services and applications really start up all at once.
Thunderbird, Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice... they all start instantly.

To quote a friend: "SSD FTW".