Friday, May 6, 2011

MayDay +6

It is now day six of MayDay. As a standalone unit, the Smartbook is great, once better software is installed. One of the first things I did when I originally received the tiny netbook was to look for a source for PocketWord, the stripped down word processor that normally comes bundled with Windows CE. With that installed, the search for other useful software began. If you locate the Windows CE 6 Programs zip file, you will find a number of useful applications (a good source is the Sylvania Netbook group at Yahoo; you will need to join, and I recommend doing so).
If you need more productivity software, though, you start to run into issues. The best source is SoftMaker and their suite of applications for Windows CE. They all work fine, if a little sluggish. The trial version of the software runs for thirty days. The price for the suite, though, is pricey compared to the device it's running on; almost $80 USD. For now, contenting myself with PocketWord.
Internet access is another matter entirely.
The built-in browser is supposedly Internet Explorer 6; at least that's what a number of sites say. Based upon the experience I've had with my Jornada, I get the feeling that IE6 for CE is nothing more than Pocket Internet Explorer with tweaks. Regardless, Internet Explorer 6 for CE reports itself as IE6. A few years ago, that would not have been a big deal.
It is now, however; there is a very active pogram underway to rid the Internet of the final vestiges of IE6 support.
The sheer number of sites that do not load properly in the browser is now staggering. These were sites that I could access with Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh that IE6 should have been able to handle with ease. Not the case anymore. Even Blogger has joined the fray; my own blogs do not load properly.
There are two other browsers I've played with, both varying degrees of success. One is the Iris browser. This lightweight browser uses the WebKit engine and renders most sites adequately enough. But it lacks features that I need.
The best browser I've used on my Smartbook has been Opera Mini. Even this is not perfect, but it has far greater utility for me than the others. It is an acquired taste; it is meant for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. It does render pages well enough, though many sites tend to load in their mobile versions.
At least Blogger Dashboard loads, if in stripped down form.

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