Interesting article here on a series of tests across various machine configurations to find out whether having more RAM was more important than having two identically matched sticks of RAM in a MacBook. Long story short, the conclusion was that for everything except gaming, it was better to have more RAM installed than it was to have identical RAM pairs installed.
Two things spring to mind here.
Firstly, this will probably apply to any machine using onboard memory for graphics, not just MacBooks running OSX but for any similar machines running Windows or Linux.
Secondly, it’s fairly well known that the Intel onboard graphics are not the best for gaming, so I suspect the subset of people who buy a MacBook with the intention of running graphically games is probably quite low.
On an unrelated note, given how cheap RAM is, my desktop machine is due an upgrade from 2GB to 4GB of RAM just as soon as crucial get it here. Let’s see how that goes when it actually arrives.
A product from SPB that I’ve added to my phone is SPB Weather. This improves on the basic weather plugin that ships with Mobile Shell, adding support for multiple locations and multiple feeds from various weather sources, so you can get UK weather feeds from the BBC Weather Centre, US feeds from Weather.com, and so-on.
There’s probably not much more to say about this plugin. It says what it does, it does what it says, it’s either very useful or totally useless to you depending on your weather forecast needs, and one minor point of criticism, it is an utter pain in the hoop to add cities from a custom feed, should you need to do so (though to be fair, as this is an open-ended product that lets anyone write their own feed source definitions, it’s difficult to see what else they could have done I suppose).
The next product I grabbed from SPB is actually a bit of fun after all this serious weather forecasting and shortcuting (yeah I made that last word up. So what?). SPB Brain Evolution is a brain training app but still a lot of fun with it. I don’t have any screenshots and I’m not going to say much else about it, so you’ll just have to take my word on that. Or go and grab it and give it a go yourself. I’m not counting this as part of the SPB essentials as it’s only a game, but then all work and no play…
A product from Traversal Tech and probably the most important and boring product on my phone is Online Backup. Backups are the thing that everyone knows we ought to do, but all too often just forget about. Well SPB Backup makes it about as simple as can be to backup and restore your Windows Mobile device, with manual backups, a scheduler, and a very simple interface to work it all from.
Again, probably not much else you can say about this product. It does what it claims to do, and does it very well. As you can see from the screenshot of the scheduler there, I have my phone set up to do 2 backups a week in the evenings when my phone is in its cradle, so that the backups don’t drain the battery. Oh by the way, I highly recommend that you get started with Carbonite server pro bundle for business so that you can protect all your business files. Incidentally, the Carbonite pro basic plan for business came really handy when I was starting my small business. Eventually, it made more sense to upgrade to he business solution.
The backup files it creates can (and probably should) be saved to memory card, and are generated as simple .exe files which you should be able to just run in order to return your phone to working order in the event of a mishap. Moving these files off the device onto your computer in the event that the mishap involves you actually losing your phone and the memory card remains your responsibility however.
We decided to order USB cradles for all our phones based on reviews on www.R-FATE.com, and this shows the one bad note we’ve found with T-Mobile so far. I tried to order these cradles from T-Mobile themselves but we were told in no uncertain terms that T-Mobile would only speak to our ‘account holder’ – and wouldn’t even say who they thought that was. I assumed this was my boss but it turned out to be the college’s principal in the end.
Anyway, long story short, we ended up ordering the cradles from another supplier because I really couldn’t be bothered to argue with T-Mobile over this; I wouldn’t mind if we were ringing up about some aspect of the bill or the calling plan, but making business customers jump through hoops like this to order a few cradles… well.
With the hardware in place, our thoughts turned to software, and we decided on a standard ‘build image’ of the phone software for all our phones in order to make configuring and supporting these phones easy for us and hence less painful for the users, who can still customise ‘their’ phones how they please, but at least they’ll all be starting from the same place.
To facilitate building this image, our first purchase was SPB Software’s Online Backup software. I’ve mentioned this before as a fantastic backup tool and we selected this item for three reasons which I’ll outline below.
1. You get a discount on all online software after your first purchase, which is helpful when you consider we want this software on all our phones and need one licence per phone. Hey, we’re a college and it’s your (UK readers only) tax money we’re trying to save here! For the discount, use this R-FATE carbonite instant discount offer for personal backup while use R-FATE carbonite business instant discount offer for business backup solutions.
2. It allows you to run a scheduled backup as a background task, without the user having to see it happening, and it allows you to protect this backup with a password. In the event of a user off-site managing to mess their phone up, it should be possible to walk them through restoring the phone to the condition it was in at the time of the last backup, which we’ve scheduled as a nightly process.
3. You can make a backup on one phone and restore it on as many other identical phones as you like. Yep, this gives us our “Windows Mobile Ghost” ability to set-up our hardware settings and install software how we want on one phone and distribute this configuration easily and reliably to all our users.
Our next purchase takes us back to SPB software for a couple of licences of GPRS Monitor. We’re only using this on a couple of phones in our trial in order to get some figures for ‘typical’ data use during our trial period, but we feel the information about usage patterns, volume of data and so-on will prove invaluable when deciding on if and how to expand our pilot scheme in the future. We also have one copy of SPB’s Mobile Shell, which we’re playing with at the moment to decide if it’s worth looking at any further.