Friday, April 22, 2005

Skype the Limit

A few weeks in, my then Manager handed me her Dell Axim X5 PDA, explaining that she had no real use for it. Delighted with this first major prize from the workplace, I tried to make the most of my new toy. Even purchasing a Compact Flash Wireless Card from eBuyer. Only one man could dent my dreams and it was only a matter of time before Hussein gave me his fifty pence of wisdom. Without bluetooth or built in wireless, "Andrew you have nothing more than a large glorified mp3 player." :(

While I cannot doubt the device was from a bygone age, it did still serve a purpose and was adequate with surfing simple web pages and using my MSN Mobile. There are times when even I, get bored of sitting on a desktop machine and want to switch to something more portable. :)

This Thursday, without warning one of the founding fathers of the company, came upstairs, a rare event, which meant something signficant was about to happen. He mentioned X30 and then, in the next instant, two boxes were bought up, with DELL in bright blue printed on the side. My face lit up. My birthday had come almost exactly eleven months early. with wireless built in, bluetooth, the possibilities were endless. The improvement from the X5, was clearly visible from the overall design, size, weight and packaging.

To describe our development team, as just a group of programmers, staring ot their PCs, and rummaging through line after line of code, would be disrespectful. Therefore, it is more fitting to refer to the whole downstairs team, minus a few managers, as our R&D section. Here, working with the cutting edge technologies, to roll out the next wave of mobile solutions of our product. I came down and saw some of the new software, currently in development and was amazed. GPRS would be utilised, as well as WiFi if within range of a hotspot. The killer features though, are the ability to transmit automatically, whenever either one of this transmission modes is available. If not, data is queued and sent as soon as connectivitiy is obtained. From a support perspective, a whole new architecture has been considered, which is unique for portable CRM solution. Self installing software, from standard media (such as CF or SD) which also include the data for the user. Should anything happen to the device, everything can be easily transfered to another device, with no need to have the software reinstalled on handheld by a member of the support team. Oh joy! Yet, before I get carried away, all these projects are pending and not near the finished article and everything I have mentioned is still very much a theory or concept. The reality, will be far from the beautiful plans in the minds of our R&D team.

On Friday morning, one of the directors came over to my desk and told me to download Skype for my new handheld. Explaining that he had been using it on his Dell laptop, but it was far from practically portable. Taking this advice, I downloaded the program, installed and ran it, creating myself an account. For some reason, I was not able to gain access to the wireless network in the office. So it would have to wait for me to get it sorted at home. Thankfully, it did not take me long to connect up to my wireless network, if with the guidance from the web. So, here I am, about to begin a new adventure, care to join me?

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