Wednesday, 19 September 2012

HTC One X Review

So I have taken possession of my new phone, bidding a fond adieu to my beloved Nokia e72. Originally I was considering getting the One S, not the One X - as a cost thing more than anything else. At any rate, I've chosen the One X on a new plan only marginally more expensive than my previous plan, with slightly more included calls after some excellent selling by an uber efficient sales lass.

Rather than re-type all the specs you can find them here:

Key things to note are are the Quad core 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The device itself is quite large - much bigger than the iPhone I use for work and it makes the iPhone seem quite a small phone. It makes the e72 even littler by comparison. The speed and the gorgeous screen make up for those slight detractions though. 4.7" Super LCD2 - oh so very bright, clear and lovely to look at. Reviewing photos taken by the 8 mega pixel camera is a joy, and taking photos with the camera has been excellent, apart from a small issue I have where the camera won't focus. After I leave the camera app and come back in a couple of times it seems to come good, but this can be annoying when I'm trying to get a quick action shot.

The phone is light and thin, it easily sits in a top pocket of a business shirt, or in my case, the side pocket of my cargo pants. Sound is clear and vibrant, music sounds great from the little speaker at the back. For the first time I've actually gotten a top of the line phone and now I see what the hype is about. Although the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a very similar beast in size etc, I find the HTC Sense interface to be comfortable and easy to use - I've used it before with my HTC Aria.

The bad aspects of this phone are as follows:

  • the camera focus thing - perhaps this an update or it's something I'm not doing correctly but this irritates the hell out of me
  • the size of this phone renders all my accesories obsolete - which while it's good to buy new stuff means that my old faithful phone case is no longer usable.
  • Facebook doesn't ding on notifications
  • Occasionally I miss the dings of emails etc
  • I can automatically tell it not to receive emails/Facebook updates and the like between a given period. The one thing the Nokia e72 has all over this phone, for me, is that it only checked emails between given time periods. Neither the iPhone 4S I have, or the One X do this - always on email means you either manually have to turn the auto-sync off (which is what I do now) OR put up with email dings throughout the damn night. NO. I like to sleep peacefully, but I also rely on my phone as my alarm clock.
All in all, I'm very pleased with this new device and I recommend that if you want a great Android phone - consider it very seriously!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Exchange 2007 Send As from a different domain

Imagine this scenario, it may be one you've come across:

  • the organisation you're working for / consulting to has a single Exchange Server (be it standalone or part of SBS)
  • You have it receiving multiple domains e.g. and
  • Users would like to send from and from
Exchange does not support this without either adding an additional mailbox for to each user's Exchange account or implementing some expensive third party software. 

There is an easier way to do this and it has two separate parts to it: creating a relay for via the Exchange server, and setting up a dummy POP3/SMTP client in outlook to send as the second domain using the "From" drop down in the create email window in Outlook.

Part 1 - Setting up an additional SMTP Relay to avoid the dreaded 550 5.7.1 Unable to Relay

The Exchange server won't necessarily allow mail from a different domain to be relayed through it to the outside world. In Exchange 2007 you don't add a an extra SMTP relay, you have to add a New Receive Connector (because the server is receiving the mail to then send it on). 

Firstly add an IP address to your Network adaptor - don't try to re-use the existing IP address, this will over complicate things. Simply add an extra address - increment your existing address by one, or find a free one. This will be the outgoing SMTP server address we set up later in Outlook so note it down.

Open the Exchange Management Console and go to Server Configuration. Hit Hub Transport and choose "New Receive Connector"

Name it, and choose Custom as the intended use for the Receive Connector. Hit Next and on the Local Network Settings page, click the Add button and type in your new IP Address. Leave the port at 25 - most mail programs don't like this to be messed with.

Remove the "All Available" Local Network address and hit Next again.

The next window should be the Remote Network Settings window - use this to control which addresses can relay through the server. Ensure you put in a range that is meaningful and allows for some security. If you put in too large a range, or do to you have created an Open Relay and spammers love these - probably not the best plan to do that. Pick your DHCP range or something similar to lock it down to.

Choose Next and on the Summary screen click New to create the connector. OK so now we need to alter the permissions.

On the properties page of the new Connector (right click and choose Properties), choose the Permissions Groups tab and select the checkbox next to "Exchange Servers" and hit Apply.

Go to the Authentication tab and select the checkbox next to "Externally Secured (for example, with IPsec)", and hit Apply and OK.

Now we can relay through our server.

Part 2: Configure a Dummy Outlook Account to get access to the extra "From" option in Outlook

Open Outlook on your desktop and go to Options, then Accounts and create a new POP account.

Put in the User's name, their email address and then for the POP3 Server address put in a dummy address pop.local for example. Put the IP address you configured above in to the SMTP server and click finish. The Test button won't work - the POP account will fail every time. Because we have only a single mailbox with multiple addresses assigned to it in Exchange, we don't have to worry about where emails sent to land - the Exchange server will automatically put them in the correct folder.

Open Tools again, Options and go to the Send/Receive section and disable "Receive email items" from our new dummy account. Restart Outlook. 

Now when you open an email to send to someone, you'll see the "From" button beside the sender's address at the top and you can select your account.

I hope you find this useful - I've cobbled it together from two separate issues that ended up being interrelated.

Samsung Galaxy Tablet 2 Review

Recently, through sheer blind luck, I was able to get a hold of one of these excellent little devices. A friend sent it down (he prefers his iPad) so I was able to play with it a bit before handing over to the wife for her amusement. The Galaxy Tablet is a 7" tablet, much like the Google Nexus I recently reviewed and use almost continually. At first blush here are the differences I noted:

  • the user interface is different (naturally). I feel that the Galaxy's is more polished, looks crisper but is a lot more busy. The QWERTY keyboard interface for example has the numbers above it and the keys are smaller on screen than the Nexus.
  • SD Card slot - upgradeable storage is a nice thing indeed.
Weight, size and battery life appear comparable. My wife loves it. She wasn't convinced initially about a tablet and didn't think she could find a use for it. As a non-technical person it seemed like another gadget to her. Now though she uses it for Pinterest, Facebook, eBay, email and generally web searching.

The Galaxy Tablet is a fine piece of hardware, but I have to criticize the interface. It is not as user friendly as the Nexus and this was actually a factor that led me to purchase a HTC One X over the Samsung Galaxy SIII recently. Navigating through some of the menus has been a pain, and initially finding in the Yahoo Mail app the Create Email option was not straightforward at all. That being said, now I've played more with it it's quite good.

I recommend the Galaxy Tablet to anyone who needs 3G or LTE connectivity as the Nexus doesn't appear to offer this. WiFi connectivity is very good on both devices and the Galaxy has a bright easy to read screen. Occasionally the light sensitivity gets a bit annoying as it dims the screen unnecessarily, or makes it too dark, but otherwise it's very good.