Playing Catan (and other Android games) on a Windows Tablet PC

For over a year I have used a rugged Motion Computing F5t as my all-in-one laptop replacement tablet. An “Ivy Bridge” Intel Core i7, 16Gb or RAM and a 256Gb SSD makes it more than powerful enough for my work day!

Where it has occasionally fallen short is in the downtime. For example, it’s not an ideal tablet to watch movies on since there is no headphone slot and the speaker is sealed at the back because of the rugged water resistance requirements. Instead I use Bluetooth headphones or one of these Logitech laptop speakers that plug in via USB.

But with my travels I don’t watch movies or TV much. What I’d rather do is play an Android game like Plants Vs Zombies 2 or The Settelers of Catan. But, like many other games they are not yet available in the Windows 8 tablet store…

Now I’ve discovered Bluestacks. It is an Android emulator that allows me to sign into the Google Play Store and download the apps that I already have on my Android tablets to the emulator. Effectively I now have Android on my Windows tablet!


It is a little slow to load apps at times, but they run seamlessly. There are probably hundreds of applications for this little gem. For me Bluestacks equals one less tablet in the travel bag… and that is a blessing for a travelling Tablet salesman!

Written by Admin @ Brettg.com in: Tablet PC | Tags: , , , , , ,

Motion Computing J3500 arrives

I got hold of the Motion Computing J3500 this week, both the touch and Gorilla Glass models. As I mentioned in my last post I’ve been using the Fujitsu Lifebook T900, but I find that I use it almost exclusively as a slate. So I’m in the process of switching my mobile operations to the J3500.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the T900. It is certainly my first choice of convertible Tablet PCs. Fujitsu have been extremely reliable for us (less than 1% failure rates so far which is remarkable), and the T900 will continue to be my mobile video editing machine due to it’s performance profile.

I’m switching to the Motion Computing J3500 because of it’s smaller profile, dual battery setup (to be fair I could do this with the T900 too) and the Gobi mobile broadband. We don’t have mobile broadband as an option on the T900 here in Australia unfortunately.

So it’s onto the Motion Computing J3500 with touch. Here is a video that we shot to give you a little preview of it.

After using the J3500 and T900 for a few months now I am extremely impressed with Windows 7 and touch. The only drawback that I have found is that I am constantly touching the Wacom Interactive Pen Display in my office with my finger. I have to remind myself…

Written by brettg in: Tablet PC | Tags: , , , ,

If Apple is so wonderful, why do they insist on pissing me off? I have serious iPhone remorse and I’m switching back to PC!

IMG_2250 I was heading down to Wonthaggi to see a client yesterday. Wonthaggi is about 1.5 hours drive from me so I thought some new tunes might do the trick. For 3 hours in the car you need some good music!

So I plugged my iPhone in to my PC and the insufferable iTunes application opened up. I thought that I might be able to drag some music from my collection right onto the phone icon in iTunes and hey presto – new music. It was never going to happen.

It seems that the iPhone is so amazingly clever that you can’t do that. No, Apple insist that I wipe everything off the phone and fully synchronise with this PC. How long is that gonna take? I only had a few minutes.

I initially loaded the music onto the iPhone from my media centre PC (which seems logical right?) but today I was in the office using my office PC. I have 4 PCs that I might use for this task too. Just load some files on right? Nup.

You see because I have six  different PCs that I might use for this task (too many for Apple to deal with by a factor of five – oh but they will actually let you “authorise” five of them). I would have to have all six (actually five, the sixth one Apple won’t allow me to have) loaded up with exactly the same songs. That means converting my entire CD collection from wma format to Apple’s proprietary control system on six (five) different PCs. Yeah right…

But that is the only way Apple will allow me to add to my iPhone music. So now I have this useless thing that won’t allow me to add music without wiping everything off first and waiting an hour for the privilege of starting again. FFS Apple must hate me! Why do they insist on treating me with such disdain and contempt?

I say that because there is simply no valid technical reason that Apple should not allow you to drop mp3 and wma files straight onto the iPhone to play (even through iTunes). So there are only two choices left. Either:

  1. Apple can’t develop decent software
  2. Apple insist on complicating things to the point that consumers will lose all will power, give up and buy everything through iTunes.

I’m inclined to think that it’s number 2, and that’s exactly the reason that I bought an iRiver instead of an iPod for my car in the first place.

IMG_2234 I avoid buying music from iTunes like the plague. Why would I when I can download DRM free mp3 files from Bigpond for less without having to navigate using that cesspool of a program called iTunes?

So buyer beware: Whilst iPhone was once the best thing since sliced bread, don’t expect that it is a phone and an mp3 player. It is not an mp3 player, just a portal to the Apple iTunes revenue farm. Put your credit card away and don’t give it to them.

The app store kept me interested for a little while, but I can seriously say that I don’t rely on any of them. In fact apart from the facebook app, I wouldn’t use any of the 150 apps that I have downloaded on a weekly basis. I’ve even been fully rehabilitated from the games.

I am seriously regretting the purchase of this iPhone. I had a play with the HTC Android phone and the HTC Sense with WinMo on it at my customers office yesterday. The HTC sense is a very nice piece of kit that runs fast and smooth. It’s about friggin time that a Windows Mobile device offered a decent experience, and the HTC sense delivers. Bring on WinMo7 too.

IMG_3364The Windows Mobile move to integrate social media with email and contact management is just awesome. Even the HTC sense makes the Apple iPhone app concept look like kindergarten.

Sorry Apple, I’m over it. I want to load my music on my phone! As soon as I can I’m outta here! I would take a HTC sense of this any day. Making the switch back to PC.

Written by brettg in: Technology | Tags: , , , , ,

200,000 Tablet PC views on YouTube

Thanks to Apple iPad madness, my Tablet PC YouTube channel goes over 200,000 views tomorrow… At the start of the year (only one month ago), I was celebrating 100,000 views. Most of the traffic has been aimed at one video I did showing off the Motion Computing F5 with windows 7 on it.


I filmed this video before the release of Windows 7 showing it alongside another F5 with Windows Vista on it.

I wanted to show off the improvements for tablet PC users in windows 7 as well as the Motion F5 hardware… I think that I’ve certainly succeeded in both! This video itself will account for 100,000 views in a couple of days.

The thing that strikes me is that there are so many people who still don’t even know about Windows Tablet PCs, even though they have been around for 10 years in their current form (20 years really on Windows).

Sure 200,000 views is nothing compared to the dizziness that surrounds an Apple product launch, but I’m still proud of what we have achieved so far here down under… All part of a days work for me to get the message out about real, useful tablet PCs that will make your job quicker and easier – not just Apple richer. Swipe!

Written by brettg in: Tablet PC | Tags: , , , , ,

Tablet PC – why you need to be patient…

Microsoft MouseEvery article I read about Tablet PCs in mainstream IT press seems to want label the Tablet PC as a failed concept. As I watch significant numbers of Tablet PCs walk out the door every month in our business, I chuckle every time I hear about it… Of course, even I’m old enough to know that it’s all happened before…

Into Personal Computing History…

In its current form, the PC mouse is now 42 years old, but it is really only 25 years since it went mainstream with the Apple Macintosh – 1984… Here’s what a respected PC journalist had to say about that:

"The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple (or anyone else for that matter). Apple makes the arrogant assumption of thinking that it knows what you want and need. It, unfortunately, leaves the “why” out of the equation – as in “why would I want this?” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I dont want one of these new fangled devices."

John C. Dvorak – Commenting on the mouse that came with the Apple Macintosh, San Francisco Examiner, 19 February 1984

Tablet PC Meeting With Paper And ScissorsThat pretty much sums up the way the tech journos  write about Tablets and UMPCs today…

Like the switch from keyboard to the mouse, most people will initially resist the change… I still know people who hate the mouse so much that they continue to operate completely without one.

That said, even I was still using PCs without a mouse well into the 90’s (we had PCs at home, not Macs). Nowadays, it would be practically impossible to work without a mouse (barring touch and pen input of course!).

I believe that the adoption of Touch and tablet technology is similar. Digital pen technology has been around in a commercial form for 20 years now, but it really hit the mainstream in 2001 (2006 for UMPC). So it’s been 9 years and things are getting exciting for a couple of reasons:

  1. Better hardware – outdoor / indoor screens, capacitive touch, low power processors, mobile broadband access.
  2. Better software – Windows 7, multi-touch, Android, better handwriting recognition and ink enabled apps like Microsoft Office.

HP TC1100 Convertible Hybrid Tablet PC with Docking StationSo the Tablet will continue to gain ground as  an accepted mainstream form of computing.

However, it won’t play out exactly the same. That’s because tablets are most useful in mobile scenarios, whereas the mouse could be used practically on a desktop. Practical Tablet PC use also has much higher software and processing requirements – like handwriting recognition and virtual keyboard input.

That means that unlike the mouse which is now attached to practically every PC, tablets will probably never gain that sort of presence. Additionally, they will take longer to gain mainstream acceptance.

Apple will have a good crack at it this year… like they did with the mouse, with the release of some sort of Tablet. But like the much like the mouse, they probably won’t be able to change the market overnight.

Also, if Apple do adopt touch input on a PC – as the mouse has taught us – it does not mean that Apple will ultimately own the market.


Can’t open WAV file attachments in Outlook 2007 on Windows 7

Syndey Opera House I recently found that I couldn’t open WAV file attachments in Outlook 2007 on Windows 7. It was harder than it should be to find the answer to this problem, so I thought I’d publish the answer…

Outlook keeps a temporary folder for opening attachments and it is hidden in Windows 7. If a file in that folder becomes locked or corrupt, you can end up as I did… unable to listen to your voicemail messages.

The solution is simple, jump into the temporary folder and clean it out. But…

Even though I had switched off all of the “hide protected operating system files” options in windows, I still couldn’t find the temporary internet folder called outlook.content. 

It should be somewhere like this:

C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\F2OLM1OC\

But this last part “F2OLM1OC” is system generated. i.e. it won’t be the same on your computer. And, the folder \Content.Outlook\ is not shown if you simply go to your temporary internet folder.

So the easiest way to get to the folder and to navigate straight here… remember to replace “%USERNAME%” with your computer user name (the name you logon with).

C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook

You’ll find the folder in question inside that one. Or, you can go into your registry to find the location of that folder directly. You’ll find the entry here:



Written by brettg in: Technology | Tags: , ,

Installing Windows 7 on Viliv S5 without a USB hub

s5_2I’ve been attempting to install Windows 7 on the Viliv S5 tonight via USB memory key. I don’t have a USB hub so I had to pull out the USB memory key and plug in a USB keyboard when needed.

When I got to the installation drive options screen I still had the keyboard plugged in  and I kept getting an error when l selected the drive:

"Windows cannot install to the selected  location error 0x80300001"

After a fair bit of hair pulling I discovered that I could get past the problem by plugging in the USB memory key and using the Viliv buttons to get through that screen.

Problem solved and lesson learned:  Remember to have a USB hub and keyboard handy before installing Windows 7 on a Viliv S5

Written by brettg in: Business | Tags: , , ,

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