Review: Mobirate Motogear

Today I want to make a game suggestion for the summer holidays. Motogear is a game created by Mobirate. Mobirate doesn’t have any news posted on their website since August 2007 and Motogear has had it’s last update in April 2006 so there’s a good chance you won’t have to expect anything new in the future, but Motogear is a game you can spend a LOT of time on anyway. This article is not intended as a review for commercial purposes but I’ve been playing this game so much lately that I want others to know about it as well.

Motogear is the mobile version of Elastomania and is a motorbike simulation game. You, as the biker, are instructed to reach the goal (the finish flag) and pick up any gear icons along the way (if there are any). You need to avoid the spikes and manouvre your way across/over/through the sometimes very challenging landscape.

Only the two wheels of the bike and the bikers head interact with their surroundings, so if you touch a spike with any of these you die, and if you touch the floor or the wall with your head you die as well. Gathering the gear icons and touching the finish must be done with the wheels or the biker’s head as well.

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My Today Screen – July 17th 2008

It has been quite some time now since I last updated the Today Screen page. My last post was in April and after that I took out the iLauncher today screen plugin out of PocketBreeze for a while, placing it at the total bottom of the screen so I had one row of icons in my launcher.

However, in the past few weeks I’ve found a great little utility called BatteryStatus . (There is an XDA-developers thread about it here.) The basic, free version is already quite customizable and allows you to show all kinds of information on your Today screen and incorporate other Today screens as well. The Advanced edition (currently in beta!) allows for a lot more tweaking, though. You do need to ‘code’ your skin yourself by using .xml but there are also quite some skins available (here) so you might be able to take advantage of those as well.

So what di I use BatteryStatus for? Not for the top two plugins, they are just the default calendar and tasks plugins that you can enable in Start > Settings > Today > Items.  But the two rows with all kinds of device information and the launcher below do come from BatteryStatus.

The two rows of information tell me all the important things that I often want to see quickly. It starts with the battery meter. BatteryStatus can also place a little battery percentage under the clock in the title bar, but on my device it is still buggy. It never updates, so while my my actual battery percentage is 89%, the percentage under the clock still shows 100% (from my latest soft-reset when the device was connected to the charger). To the right of that is the amount of MB I’ve used on my data connection. I’ve got a 25MB limit on my monthly contract but there’s a trick for Orange customers in the Netherlands to work around that. Orange knows this but ignores it as long as not too many people take advantage of it. So I basically do have unlimited data, but I still do want to keep an eye on my data usage. The last item on the first row shows the amount of unread RSS items in Ilium Software Newsbreak. BatteryStatus can show registry values so I simply looked up the value of unread RSS items in the Newsbreak registry section and tell BatteryStatus to show it on my screen. If I tap the “RSS: 4” section, NewsBreak is opened.

The second row starts with a meter of my internal storage space. Normally I have just above 99MB free but at the moment there’s a .cab file in the My Documents folder, occupying a few MB’s. The last item in this section of BatteryStatus is an SMS counter which tells me the amount of sent text messages this month. Both the data counter and the SMS counter are reset every month on the 27th day of the month. (BatteryStatus allows you to customize the reset dates).

The row at the bottom (well, halfway down actually, there’s a large gap in the bottom half of my Today screen) is a launcher. I’ve got about 10 items in them and I can use my finger to scroll through the list horizontally. I simply tap an item to open the program.

BatteryStatus requires quite some work if you have never worked with .xml before (like me) but if you put your will to it, you can get quite some things done. I really don’t know if this will stay on my screen as long as the PocketBreeze + iLauncher combination did. However, I’ve been using this layout for a few weeks already now and that is longer that I expected. I would love for BatteryStatus to give me some more information about my Tasks and I’d love to have a working battery meter on my top bar, but besides that this current layout is quite good!

Astraware Big Box of Blox for free during July 2008!

Astraware released a Symbian® S60® smartphone version of their Big Box of Blox, and they’re celebrating. They’re giving it away for free! But not just the Symbian version. No, you can also get the Windows Mobile (or Palm) version for free!

All you need to do is become a Club Astraware member, which is free. You get monthly discounts, and you get points for your purchases with which you can save for even more discounts.

I’m a happy Club Astraware member and today I’ve become an even more happier member, since I just registered and downloaded Big Box of Blox for free.

Club Astraware website is here.
Big Box of Blox website is here.

And the press release is after the break!

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Review: Triforce Touch Screen Pointer

A little while ago I read a review on TiltSite.com about the Krusell Touch Screen Pointer, and I was intrigued by the product. It’s a plastic pointer attached to a lanyard. Using the this pointer you’ll no langer have to take the stylus out of your device because the lanyard with the pointer is attached to your device, and always withing reach. I wondered how useful it would be for me, so I did some further investigation. The review didn’t mention the price of the product, and neither did the Krusell website (they just let you locate a store in your country). One of the few stores in my country that had the Touch Screen Pointer (Expansys) sold them for 18 euros (about $28 according to Google Conversion), so I thought: “That’s quite expensive, can’t it be any cheaper?”. Luckily, the TiltSite review mentioned that the Touch Screen Pointer was actually created by Triforce, a Swedish company. And, surprisingly enough, they sell them for just 6,95 Euros! Shipping is 2 Euros, worldwide. So no matter where you live, you’ll pay 8,95 Euros which is only half of what it would cost me to purchase it from the local Expansys store. This proves that it’s good to do some searching when you’re planning a purchase.

Anyway, read on after the break to find what this Touch Screen Pointer is all about (the name should reveal it already though), and if it can help you in your Pocket PC (or any device with a touch-screen) usage.

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GadgetMix.com relaunched

To be honest, GadgetMix.com is not a site I’ve been following in the past. There are many interesting PPC related blogs and websites out there, but everyone has his/her limit when it comes to the amount of RSS feeds you want to handle. However, I recently received a press release about a relaunch of GadgetMix.com and since a few sites have left my RSS reader in the past few weeks, I immediately added GadgetMix to the blogs I’m following. Here is the press release that I found in my inbox:

Welcome the all new GadgetMix.com, launches June 19, 2008!

On June 19, 2008, GadgetMix.com is re-launched after a whole month was spent on re-coding the whole website to bring to the users a refreshing, pleasant experience.

GadgetMix.com is all about gadgets; gadget news and expert reviews, views, rants about them. We cover topics of windows mobile, UMPCs, NetBooks, MIDs and anything related to technology.

At GadgetMix.com, we’ve a qualified team of computer engineers and other experienced bloggers, who all have the capability to explain, review and even rant about the news or any other software or hardware product in layman’s term.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to the GadgetMix.com and enjoy the great array of giveaways they are giving to their visitors including free cases from PDAir.com and lot of free applications too!

So, head on over to GadgetMix.com or add the RSS feed to your RSS reader.

Resco Explorer 2008: New features review

In the beginning of June, Resco released a new major update to their award winning Resco Explorer for Pocket PC, this time version 2008 (v. 7.00). Many people consider this the best commercial file explorer available for the Pocket PC, and therefore whenever a new update is released many people will want to know if they should update.

Updates are free within a year after purchase, if you’ve purchased Resco Explorer more than a year before you’re trying to upgrade, you’ll have to pay 50% of the full prize which is $29.95 (so the upgrade is close to $15). It’s a fairly pricey program, and that might make it attractive to get one of Resco’s suites here. That’s what I did: Resco Explorer, Photo Viewer and Keyboard Pro for $44.91. So you pay for the two cheapest programs and get the most expensive one for free. Or, in other words, pay for Resco Explorer Pro and get the other two for $15 instead of $45. The only disadvantage here is that after a year, you’ll need to upgrade the entire suite also if you want to continue to update only one program. (But perhaps the Resco team can help you here, I haven’t informed about this).

I’m now in the final weeks of my Law studies (if all goes well, that is), so in this review I will limit myself to only reviewing the new features of Resco Explorer 2008. I’m going to assume that you’re either familiar with the previous version(s), or you’ll let yourself get convinced by the fact that Resco Explorer won the Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine’s Best Software Awards every year from 2001 to last year.

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Review: PDAMill Tower Mogul

People who have read more of my reviews may know that I also like to review older games which I’ve discovered on my journey over the internet. One of these games which can be considered as a classic, is Tower Mogul by PDAMill. When I searched for some top 3 or top 10 lists where people answered the question what their favourite game was, Tower Mogul popped up quite often. Most of these lists were, like Tower Mogul itself, not very recent, so I thought it would be good to take a look at this game and see how it can compete with games that are released today.

In short, we will find that this simulation game, in which you have to construct a tower, attract people (called “Virts”) to your tower, protect it from disasters such as bomb threats and fires, as well as ‘simply’ balance the hotel units, offices, service units, shops and other available units, is still a very recommendable game this day with good graphics, efficient (menu) navigation and interesting, strategical gameplay.

By the way, in order to fill up the space to the left of the screenshot it may be good to mention that PDAMill has recently ported several of it’s games to the Windows Mobile Standard platform (SmartPhone devices without touch-screen). Tower Mogul is not one of these games, but there are many Gamebox games on the list as well as their new games Pachinko Go! and Glyphos.

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