One of the programs I use a lot is a little app called Maxivista, its got several features of particular merit, the ability to use another laptop/desktop as an extended display for your main computer and in another mode use the same mouse and keyboard to control several computers, with monitors using the network connection for them to talk to each other. This is accomplished simply by dragging the mouse off the side of the screen at which point it appears on the other computer, the keyboard follows the mouse. Its probably easiest to have a browse through the Desktop Extension and Remote Control sections of the Maxivista website to get a better idea what I’m talking about here. There’s also the obligatory open source offering called Synergy2 which sods law dictated that I would only discover after purchasing Maxivista!
Typically when I’m at my desk I have my main computer and my laptop next to it on a dock, with dual monitor on the desktop already I have a fair amount of real estate to work from (albeit not in quite the same league as Stefan Didak!). I might typically have two instances of Opera running, one on the laptop and one on the second desktop screen, using the primary screen as my working area and the other two as reference windows, the key point however is that I prefer to use the laptop in remote control mode so that I can take advantage of its processor and resources while the main computers working on other things.
Anyway, heres the point of the post (finally I know): in this sort of set-up I’ve found its useful at times to be able to “transfer” tabs, between the browser windows on the two machines and it took me a while to work out how, to be honest its really thanks to an Opera Watch post about opening tabs in firefox and ie that I got an idea for a slightly bodged but workable solution. I thought I’d share it below in case anyone else finds it useful, its nothing revolutionary but its useful all the same.
- Two networked computers running Opera (obviously)
- For this to work both ways you will need the PsExec.exe file copied into the “c:\Windows\System32″ folder, you can the PsTools package from the sysinternals website, check against point 2 on this forum thread that everything is ready to go.
- Download this batch file (zipped), extract and open it and change all the parts marked <ike this> to the appropriate values, note that the remote computers username should be the same as the one you logon as otherwise it’ll open a fresh opera window instead of using the existing one. Save the batch file to “c:\Windows\System32″
- Drag the below Opera button to any opera panel, click and it should work!
Things to note, you will get a console window opening for a second on the source computer, without compiling everything into a binary there’s little way of totally hiding the action, also, the above button is set to also remove the tab from the source computer.
So I’ve just got around to having a play with PointUI which surfaced earlier this week. The iPhone crowd have come out and laid into it on other blogs, ignoring the fact that the 3rd party apps which have to be bodged into the iPhone are the lifeblood of a windows mobile device and the reason why many choose Windows Mobile over the iPhone.
Anyway, rant over. I must say for a free and from nothing attempt, Pointui is pretty good, its slick for the most part, its let down at the moment on two (significant) counts (imo):
- a) when you want to do anything as it then opens that application in the standard windows mobile shell.
- b) Its not customizable and has no real settings which can be changed for user preference
I havn’t mentioned any of the bugs beacuse its in beta and this is to be expected and I’m sure the features and flexibility will be expanded in due time.
Of course these guys arent the only one creating nicer interfaces for Windows Mobile, HTC for one have for a while been supplying plugins and apps to extend Windows Mobiles functionality although it seems to be a bit of a lottery sometimes as to which ones are installed on your device (down to network whims most of the time it seems). They’re not as slick and iPhone like as Pointui for the most part but they provide added functionality with most of them being finger compatible. There’s a fairly comprehensive list of HTC apps on the XDA Developers site.
The one thing I keep wondering is when Microsoft will catch up, not to mention whether they are always going to be playing catch up with Apple, HTC and the mass of individual enterprising developers around the world.
Windows Mobile 6 was for the most part a let down and not much of a change over version 5, it still has the abomination that is Pocket IE (not a big deal thanks to Opera Mobile), still uses buttons which require a stylus and still looks like all they did was attempt to shrink down the desktop windows interface without any new thought put into it.
Small changes are promised in the upcoming 6.1 and therafter but I for one am not holding out much hope of them making any significant advances. Dont get me wrong, in many ways Windows Mobile is fantastic, as I said before, the plethora of 3rd party applications mean you have a tool for any job and if not then Visual Basic isn’t hard to pick up and develop it yourself .
But they could do better and with 79,000 employees at Microsoft (Source: Wikipedia) its hard in some ways to see why all the interesting things are always coming from small players.
At first I thought this was just a bug on the latest v9.5 build of Opera, but no it seems that I’m not alone. When Google finally added search to Google Reader the whole thing has sort of stopped working in Opera, thank goodness for OPML and Bloglines (which has improved quite a bit since I last commented on it). I’m still trying to understand why search was’nt built into Google reader in the first place, seeing as its what Google is good at and all and also how they managed to release without testing in Opera. Now I’m not going to go on a ‘mines better than yours’ rant over it as I am aware of the market figures for Opera desktop, however the mobile version has a very strong following and this has stopped working on Google reader as well. Quite a short sighted move, seeing as its taken so long to add search as a feature one might have thought they would of had time to test it!