back to article Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

We have all seen them: people who wander around with a phone glued to their ear as if their entire world depended on it. And we have all worked with people for whom eye contact means sitting with head stooped peering at texts, emails or, occasionally, videos of real people. This got us wondering: can normal people actually run …

  1. Graham 24

    Everyone apart from me, obviously...

    >>> "I am sure everyone reading this has their email delivered to their phone already. It is just such a no-brainer, and it took me less than five minutes to get my Hotmail, corporate and private email all configured on the Lumia email client."

    How does this work? Let's say I have a corporate Exchange Server behind a firewall, and a personal e-mail account accessed via POP3.

    How does the phone even get to the Exchange Server?

    When the phone connects to my personal ISPs POP3 server and downloads email, it's gone from the POP3 server. If I then connect later on from a desktop home computer, any new mail is then on the computer. Does that mean that half my personal email is on one system and half on the other?

    1. Khaptain

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      It probably means that it is an POP3/IMAP crossover installation rather than a full blown POP3 or IMAP server. Most of the ISPs seem to provide these solution for their clients.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      We have users here that use ipads for activesync through our own exchange servers, they don't really need the BB phones others use.

      Like ways there's users who do most of their tasks via laptop and VPN.

      it's not that everyone can run a business from a phone, but some people can, as can some run from a tablet without needing to use a phone much...

      Good article about your particular business style

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      You have your eMail server forward a copy to a separate mailbox for the phone, if you have two things that do POP3.

      Also most POP3 clients have a "Leave messages on server" option.

      Many solutions.

    4. Brian Miller

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      The phone will get to the Exchange server if it is allowed outside, i.e., like https://your.mail.server.com. Then just specify that you're connecting to it. As for the POP3 mail, some clients will allow you to just read what is currently on the server without downloading it. In the POP3 protocol, downloading and deleting the mails are separate operations.

      It's not really a question of whether you can run your business on a phone, but how well it can be done. After all, not long ago paper and pen was how business was done, and we got by.

      If one must do a good bit of typing, then a Bluetooth keyboard is the only way to go. Your productivity can only be severely hampered by thumb-typing or correcting all of the errors in voice recognition. Also, you will be zooming in and out of those documents a lot. Unless you have a big magnifying glass in front of your screen like in Brazil or Twelve Monkeys, your eyes can only resolve just so much, and you'll be trying to look at how something is laid out, and then trying to edit that. Not fun.

    5. Slacker@work
      Windows

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      Because every one man band / IT contractor has a fully licensed Exchange server running in (and probably heating) their home.

      That's the beauty of Office365 for the small business - for less than £100 a year I have the full office suite, 1 TB of file storage, Lync, Exchange On-line, a public website and a private SharePoint site (all of which is constantly backed up) giving me the full corporate business persona. All of which I can manage from my Android phone should I wish.

    6. Calum Morrison

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      The best way to keep an old POP account going is to filter it through gmail (or Hotmail etc). It's crazily simple when you think about it, but these guys filter spam a lot better than your free ISP will, have decent apps for most phones etc and you can send with your original POP address as the reply to, but using their SMTP servers...

      It's a teeny bit of a faff to set up - but not beyond most Reg readers' abilities. First of all tell gmail to download from the POP server (leaving existing messages on it as discussed above if you wish - I don't) then, when this is working nicely, there's a setting that allows you to send as that address - in gmail, it ensures you have access to said address for security and gives you the option of using their SMTP server if you prefer (as a lot of ISPs only allow access to their SMTP from their IPs, you want to do this). Next tell it whether or not you want this as the default From address and bingo, you're done.

      Aside from having Google rifle through all your mail, you now have the advantages of easy access from anywhere, bulletproof (ish) hosting and excellent spam filtering, tagging, searching etc. I've been using this for years, even setting it up for a few clients purely as a spam filter and archive - it's great.

    7. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      "How does the phone even get to the Exchange Server?"

      I put my email address and password in the phone, and thanks the magic of Exchange Autodiscover, it sets everything up for me.

      As for your personal email account, upgrade your email service to something that offers IMAP or Activesync.

    8. d3vy

      Re: Everyone apart from me, obviously...

      Personally I use pop on my PC with it set to leave mail on the server for 5 days.

      Mobile devices get IMAP set to sync the last few 5 days emails, that way I get the mail on both devices, my phone doesnt get clogged up with years of old email and all of my emails are on my PC.

      Simple set up really.

      As for exchange behind a firewall, well if you can't get to it you can't get to it... Maybe VPN onto the network?

  2. Khaptain

    160 Characters

    I was surprised that the article was longer than 160 characters and did not include hashtag or the mention of a social networking medium. Why because it seemed liek the kind of thing a 14 year old might try. [Don't read that last remark as being negative, it was not intended to be].

    The article was interesting developing into solutions, albeit not very solid ones, of daily tasks that for me at least are not obvious. Let's not talk about the risk of using this medium.....

    I honestly can't imagine anyone running aroung like this for more than a week without screaming and shouting to be let then into the madhouse. Mobile working from a tiny office such as this would be akin to putting a Big Game Hunter into a barrel and asking him to chase the ants out of the corners.

    I do not beleive that it would be sustainable, or not for me it wouldn't, unless of course you are selling some illicit substances.

    1. Vector

      Re: 160 Characters

      "I do not beleive that it would be sustainable..."

      Here's the key to the whole thing: Stop thinking of them as phones. They stopped being that when the first iPhone was released. Treat them like the small computers they are and your life becomes much easier.

      As mentioned earlier in this thread, a bluetooth keyboard will make typing much more tolerable and productive. With the right device, you can also hook up (wired or wirelessly) a larger screen instead of peering into the tiny one in your hand. I've used a mouse with many of my mobile devices with no problem (because trying to do even simple photo editing with your finger is a fine route to insanity).

      The fact that the phone is the source/portal to your data and applications should by no means limit you to just using it in its native form factor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: [phones] "treat them like the small computers they are ..."

        So do please tell me how I can install* slackware** on my MotoG, then, eh? :-)

        [*] really? you say there are other things people do with computers? well I never...

        [**] ok, actually any old linux distro will do.

        1. Vector

          Re: [phones] "treat them like the small computers they are ..."

          You could start here: arm.slackware.com

          Sez it'll run on any arm5te or higher.

          Though why you'd want to shoehorn slackware on to a phone is beyond me...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re:why you'd want to shoehorn slackware on to a phone is beyond me...

            well, I recall putting slackware on a 386 laptop twenty years ago or thereabouts, and my motog has way more grunt and is way more portable than that ever was. Also, I mainly use my moto as a pda/mini-tablet, and have a phone for when I want to use a phone :-)

  3. fruitoftheloon
    Thumb Down

    And now for some words from our sponsor...

    Come on, at least put a bit of effort into it, couldn't this advertorial be a little more subtle??

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn right, you can

    as long as it conforms to your carefully selected requirements. Alas, in my world you need a little more than just an xls.

    p.s. can you parachute with your bike strapped to your left ankle? I bet you can!

  5. Mage Silver badge
    FAIL

    I stopped reading when he said "Windows"

    Too niche a Smartphone platform.

    Like testing the possibility of running business on an OS/2 Laptop rather than NT4.0 or Win95 instead of the VAX (or AS/400 or Netware Server), back in 1996.

    The only valid test is to use the most popular platform, Android. With about a 4" screen.

    Using WinPhone smacks of MS Marketing even if it's the best Solution. An iPhone smacks of cosying up to a one trick pony. How many companies make iPhones? A least a few different people make Winphones, still.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I stopped reading when he said "Windows"

      Windows phones manage business contacts far better than stock Android. The People Hub is excellent. I admit there's likely to be an Android app that's as good, but I've not found it.

      There'll be fewer apps, but then if you're going with Exchange Active Sync (or even Office 365) and Office anyway, the most common business tools - all of the 4 main phone players will do the job.

      I admit that even as a fan of Windows Phone, if I were forced to do my work from a phone, it would almost certainly be a Samsung Galaxy Note. Because although I prefer Win Pho to iOS and Android, I'm perfectly happy with all 3, and having a stylus would be the best compromise for text input.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I stopped reading when he said "Windows"

      In 1996 we were running a business using OS/2, although not on a laptop and not seeing any problems.

    3. Ken 16 Bronze badge

      Good luck buying an Android with only a 4' screen

      I'm trying to replace my Sony Xperia Ray with something similar and can't find much under 4.5" these days.

      For an office suite, try WPS Office. I find it works well on Android (Linux, Windows too) and it integrates with a range of cloud storage providers, so you can keep your work stuff on one, your finance on another, pictures of kittens on a 3rd, etc.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Good luck buying an Android with only a 4' screen

        Ken 16,

        Maybe have a look at the HTC One Mini? It's got a 4.5" screen, but it seems to be longer and thinner like the iPhone 5, so shouldn't be too hideously enormous.

        Actually I didn't think the Moto G was all that large. Again a 4.5" screen. But I do have quite big hands.

        I now find my work iPhone 5 screen to be a bit small. Despite having been a fan of smaller smartphones in the past. My favourite size/ergonomics/feel was the HTC Desire and (smaller) Wildfire.

        I'm torn between a Galaxy Note of some description or going back to Windows Phone. I'm not willing to shell out much more than £200.

  6. wolfetone Silver badge

    Speaking as a Linux user

    This article is spot on.

    Android is not suitable to use for business. It just isn't. The email client is crap. It has always been crap, and it continues to be crap. I had the absolute misfortune of using an Android 4 device for 2 weeks while my BlackBerry was being fixed. It was so bad at emails I ended up bringing my laptop with me and leaving it in the car, then replying to emails on that, but then that was a faff so I bought an older BlackBerry and everything was right again.

    I have also signed up to the Office 365 service for my emails and OneDrive capabilities - it just works! It really does. And I'm not being paid by Microsoft for saying this.

    Fact is, when you're in business you have to use what "just works" for you. Time spent faffing with small things to enable you to do your job costs you time and money.

    1. fruitoftheloon

      @Wolfetone - Re: Speaking as a Linux user

      Couldn't agree more re the stock Android crAPP email client, hence I use a different one..

      1. an it guy

        Re: @Wolfetone - Speaking as a Linux user

        k9 perhaps? Works well for me

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: @Wolfetone - Speaking as a Linux user

          When I left BlackBerry and switched to the Samsung Galaxy S2, I downloaded K9. It was alright, but not a patch on the BlackBerry email way. When I had this awful Android phone the other month for two weeks I installed K9 within the first 3 days. It hadn't changed, which isn't a good thing, and I just thought it was crap as well. Just less crap.

        2. fruitoftheloon

          Re: @Wolfetone - Speaking as a Linux user

          an it guy,

          funnily enough yes, k9 is the dogs gonads...

          J

    2. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      Re: Speaking as a Linux user

      "Android is not suitable to use for business. It just isn't. The email client is crap."

      I find K-9 onto our own IMAP server perfectly adequate. Everything is where it should be whether on desktop or smartphone.

      My management style was foundered on "Up the organisation" by the guy who brought back Avis from the dead. No secretaries, no writing - just annotations to stuff received and sent back - so email is the creation medium. Otherwise its the Cloud - in our case ownCloud on our own servers which has a useful Android client. So all Linux - no paid licences or ceded control to anyone and we can do precisely what we want ;-)

      The hardest bit is SysAdmin-ing. When WHM/CP is inadequate and you are SSH-ing in to sort our stuff at command level all the escape and ctrl functions are available via connectbot and hackers keyboard but they are a pain.

      I find it a great discipline controlling my organisation and clients on a day out from a smartphone. Trouble is - its too much like hard work to type out witty and withering replies on the Register Forums. So I don't. Or as some downvoters have noted, I can't.

      1. styx-tdo

        Re: Speaking as a Linux user

        Android: Hacker's keyboard.

        tab, ctrl & so on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Speaking as a Linux user

      > The email client is crap.

      I could not tell, since I installed K9 from F-Droid as soon as I bought the phone.

      That and ownCloud for calendar, contacts, files, and Firefox sync, plus KDE Connect for integration with my computers make for a rather usable mobile phone experience. No Gurgle account necessary, which is a bonus in my book.

  7. zaax

    and the point is? us sysops have been re-coding servers from the beaches of the world for decades.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Choose your weapon, SSH or XLS

      Yes, but there is a subtle difference, you deal with machines, not with people.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I RAN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS FROM MY SMARTPHONE

    Selling a very profitable and popular product. Orders came via a (now defunct) website, were paid for in BTC and were despatched via Royal Mail.

    The downside was spending most of last year locked in a small room with bars over the window.

  9. AndrueC Silver badge

    As long as your phone's Skype client is connected to the internet and is in touch with the Skype server, your calls will be delivered to the Skype client on your phone.

    Sometimes. Maybe. Depending how your phone feels. I can always initiate a Skype call but it's pot luck whether an incoming call will be seen by my phone or not. I've also had funky things happen like my phone taking the call when I actually picked up on my desktop (?!?). Same with chat messages. This morning my phone was chirping as IMs came in. Then it stopped. No doubt it'll catch up again at some random point :-/

    It could of course be an issue with my S3 but from various searches I've done on the web I'm not the only one. I wouldn't want to rely on Skype for incoming calls. Not Android any way - maybe that's the point now that MS own it.

    1. cambsukguy

      Also happens on my WinPhone

      But, I think it is meant to do that.

      In previous versions of Skype, every message I got on the laptop for instance would also notify on the phone - to the point that I would have to silence the phone.

      Now, the phone does cheep but stops if I type messages on the laptop. Occasionally, depending on whether I respond to a message quickly or not.

      My surface also displays this behaviour.

      I imagine the algorithm has quite a few gotchas with multiple clients connected at the same time (unlike WhatsApp) and multiple members within conversations etc.

      FWIW, the WinPhone Skype client is now quite good, added sending photos as well as video messages, you can draw on the photos and/or send a drawing or location etc. It also starts and resumes more quickly. Took their sweet time but the result is not too shabby.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: Also happens on my WinPhone

        But, I think it is meant to do that.

        Hmm, that does sound plausible. I suppose a similar logic could be causing the phone not to ring at certain times.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I've got enough problems getting Skype to talk to family on my computer, it must take a special kind of devil-may-care attitude to run a business on it from a mobile. As soon as it drops to 2G your Skype conversation will be over but at least you'll be handsomely billed for your data usage and SkypeIn number.

      This is a bloody advertorial isn't it?

  10. Franco Silver badge

    Interesting the number of comments about bias, when the writer lists himself as an iPhone/iPad user who picked the Lumia specifically for this task for it's screen size, and the conclusion states pick your device based on what you need.

  11. pilotpirx

    Damn right!

    I am using a 6-inch Lumia 1520 and can only agree with the author, works like a charm.

    And I do fully concur with the slight complain about the size... a 6.8 inch ThinkPad Windows Phone by Lenovo, that would be my dream device!

  12. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

    No.

    Odd little bits maybe, but completely? No.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

      The local crack dealers in my area seem to manage very well; marketing, asset management, CRM, logistics - even revenue protection and enforcement.

      1. Manolo
        Joke

        Re: Can you really run your business on a smartphone?

        "even revenue protection and enforcement"

        Yes, these big six inch phones are big enough to bludgeon someone with.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting article. Just one question

    Are there any Microsoft products you would like to recommend? :-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those tiny few, and not for the general public....

    **** WARNING --- RANT BEGINS --- WARNING ****

    If you are one of the few with the time and the geekyness to do this, then go ahead but for me, if any of the locals decided to do this, I would have to be available minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day, for as the old saying going, the more idiot proof something is, they just keep making better idiots. (I think there is a hidden college somewhere that shows them how to excel at this).

    This whole business of using mobiles for everything is a disaster in the waiting. You have this shiny toy in your pocket that is supposed to link to the cloud (if you can even get online that is), and everything is stored up there until the cloud has a failure, and they do fail. Plenty of articles on here about that. So now you have lost access to all your emails, documents, diary, etc and have no way of finding out what it is your supposed to be doing unless you have a backup copy stored elsewhere. Now you have to get the phone to connect to that instead and most of Joe Public would not have a clue / idea on how to manage that. You could have it stored locally on the phone, but why then have a cloud if it is "just there" (believe me that is what Joe Public will be thinking and now just imagine what happens if the phone becomes unusable - all there lovely data / information will be lost - read bills, invoices, documents, etc).

    Also missing from the equation here, is this shiny toy has to be sturdy enough to withstand the Children (if you have any), the dogs (if you have any), drops, knocks, bruises, visits to the hard surfaces from only who knows what heights, the odd dunking, and the odd time being driven over, and not to mention being lost. And only who knows what could happen to it in the pubs, restaurants, disco's, theaters, airports, seaports, planes, boats, ferries, trucks, cars, bicycles, motorbikes, mountains, lakes, seas, rivers, parks, playgrounds, etc. Do not forget, it is your phone and where you go, it is going to go. So take a look around all the places you go and then tell me that putting all your business on a mobile phone is a "wise" idea.

    No thanks, please kept it simple. Phones are for making calls and texts, everything else is just eye-candy and time wasting exercises. Yes you can connect to the cloud, supposedly read and write files (documents, etc) but on the screens most people have, even business guys, not going to happen. For the few that do have large enough screens, it is still not going to work.

    If this is the way forward for Joe Public to run his business, then you need to factor in a big dose of idiocy, thickness, stupidity and general pigheadedness. If you do decide to go down this route, you need to make sure that the phone is backed up to the cloud, real-time, the cloud is backed up somewhere else in real-time and that when the phone cannot connect to the cloud you selected, it can automatically fall over to your backup (where ever that is). And if all connectivity is lost, the data has got to be also stored locally. With all of it syncing backup when you do get back online.

    You need to make sure that all details are never stored on the phone (unless the security is enabled and enterprise grade which Joe Public cannot afford), but in the cloud and you have to make sure the tablets and PC's are all linked to that because as sure as hell, now that all is on the phone, they will want to do the invoices on the PC. Or if they get a bit bigger and have somebody else join (the business or) in on the fun then all hell breaks loose as now you need to sycn the phones so that everybody knows what it is they are supposed to be doing. Ha ha, good luck on that.

    As a marketing exercise, this is just pure BS. Give it maybe 10 years, make sure what is on the phone can connect automatically to both cloud and your own networks with minimum fuss, that phones can "throw" a desktop like experience onto screens with keyboards/mice attachments (without any physical connection from the phone), easily and quickly, and then maybe this might be a possibility as the phone is now just a commodity item that can be lost, broken, destroyed and if the designers / developers have gotten it right, buying a new phone and logging in, would restore all that was on the old phone. Then this can be used by business as their main communication tool. Currently, not happening.

    Yes, I know you can (on Android) log into a new phone and all your contacts will be downloaded (those stored in the cloud anyway), (not sure of Google Docs) but for Viber, Dropbox, Skype, ect, you need the userid and password and most people will not know these unless they are written down somewhere. (Never used a Windows Phone or iPhone, so do not know about these). Everything that was on the phone as such is lost, anything on the SD card is gone. Until all this is stored *elsewhere* and backed up, there is just too much of a risk of losing important data. Not happening until we have low cost connectivity, fast low cost connectivity and devices that can store their data locally, automatically backup to the cloud, which can then replicate to another system. Get the redundancy done right, simplicity of setup, then you can do this. Until then, advise all to stick to what they have and use the mobile for what it was originally designed for, making calls and texts.

    **** END RANT ****

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For those tiny few, and not for the general public....

      So, basically, you're saying if you have to travel a lot carry a laptop?

      By your argument the PC should stick to what it was originally designed for, running standalone programs in DOS.

      If people are using phones as general purpose terminals and as a result even Apple has had to make them as big as the customers want, the thing to do is fix the problems, not moan about them.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    get a folding keyboard...

    ...with one of the old pocketable nokia keyboards or a current one and chuck that in your jacket pocket. Typing even relatively long docs/emails becomes pretty easy. It also means you can have the screen at an easier reading distance while you're typing. It's transformed my ability to move most of my work to my phone.

  16. ecofeco Silver badge

    Phone for biz? Too small

    Small screen and even smaller keyboard. No thanks. I'll stick to a laptop.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Phone for biz? Too small

      The greatest asset to productivity? A second 24" screen.

      Also, who thinks its a good idea to trust your business to phone security?

  17. Gannettt

    My old boss certainly tried. She did everything on her iphone. One of my jobs was to put together email blasts. She insisted on HTML because it looked nicer. she also insisted on 100% accuracy in everything, spelling, grammar, layout. Almost every day, usually about 4.30pm, she decreed another blast had to go out. I would slog away at getting the HTML together, and send it to her for her approval. she always came back saying it looked wrong...that's because she was looking at it on her phone. She didn't quite get the idea that different email clients rendered the email differently. That was just one example, she did EVERYTHING on her phone!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      She insisted on HTML

      Oh God. Crystal Reports server. The non-technical types wanted all the reports designed to the pixel. Their designs in the desktop version were so precious that a box slightly mis-sized "had to be fixed". And they were using several different versions of IE and one Mac.

      I stayed, but our web designer didn't. He went to a high-pressure advertising agency and later reported that it was like a Buddhist monastery after our shower.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yup, my last boss refused to accept my explantion that not all devices would be capable of rendering her lengthy HTML signature with HUGE fucking logo , [this was 8 years ago ].... She actually asked if we could change our email server, Domino, in order to get things working correctly i.e. the way that she wanted them to work.....

  18. G R Goslin

    I suppose it depends on the job

    Since most people now have non-jobs, I suppose you could do it on a smart phone. It sounds a bit like the old quote (They toil not, neither do they spin, but Solomon in all his glory was not clad as one of these). Or a variation of the joke about the two men marooned on a desert island for five years. When rescued, they were both millionaires from selling each other palm leaf hats. Nowadays, they'd be millioaires from expenses, going to each others meetings.

  19. John Tserkezis

    Is it just me, or does this article smell like a Microsoft ad?

    There are some very specific Microsoft products highly recommended and used, with a mere passing mention of some other very generic systems.

    After reading the "Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD STANDS" story, I can't help thinking this is another Microsoft ad gone wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me, or does this article smell like a Microsoft ad?

      Definitely not you. I came the same route and wonder if the (excruciatingly painful) Hawaii 5-0 clip has permanently damaged my 'product pimp alert' filter.

  20. Christian Berger

    Well if you allow "cloud services"...

    ...you can also run your business on a VT100 or an ASR-33, as you can just log into a real computer.

    Using "cloud services" is no option for companies in countries with meaningful data protection laws.

  21. Christian Berger

    Actually thinking about it...

    If you look at your typical business software, like CRM systems, it's already amazing what kind of crap many people endure. I mean I once worked at the archive of a hospital, and if the e-mail program and the archival software would have been scriptable, half of my job could have been automated.

    So yes people will probably use their cellphones for that... even if it just means scratching paper with a corner of it to leave marks.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'It just works'? Really?

    There is one key thing about Office on handhelds: it just works.

    No, not really, at least on ios. The Office app on iphone is fine, actually pretty well done, to my great surprise. Problem is you need Onedrive to get anything in and out of the app, and since Onedrive login was clearly though up by a deranged sociopath with a hatred for everything, it all becomes a bit harder. Almost every time I try to open or save a spreadsheet, I am, asked for the hundredth time today for my login. If I'm really lucky it will only reject it as invalid two or three times before begrudgingly moving on to ask for an Authenticator code. Five minutes later the whole thing is off again, and no amount of install/uninstall/dance round the maypole on the full moon makes a blind bit of difference. Plenty of others seem to have the same problem, and I get the same on my ipad and my girlfriends iphone/ipad.

    Since MS decided to make it a closed system, the least they could have done was come up with something that actually worked. Even small developers seem to manage this titanic feat, so whats the issue?

  23. Leeroy

    Just works

    Or only just works?

    I can do the majority of work from my mobile, exchange sync for email calendar and contacts etc. Works really well with a bluetooth headset so I can talk to customers, suppliers or engineers while I'm under a desk or getting dirty fixing a copier etc.

    The problem comes when you need to view some complex information related to a call you are on or need to make. Eg you can't remember a 10 digit serial number, customer name, phone number etc to log a service call with a support provider. My solution is to have printouts in my 'manbag' (that I absolutely hate btw), laptop case or toolbox. It's a right pain in the arse keeping it all up to date, searching through it etc. What takes 30 seconds in front of a proper pc and phone sometime takes 10 minutes when out of the office or gets left for several hours until I can get back in front of a pc.

    Ok if you can't avoid it or palm off work to other staff but a pain in the backside compared to a proper pc*.

    * I say PC but you can probably do it with a mac if you want to look swish.

  24. Wintermute

    SIP clients for WP8.1

    The author seems to suggest that there are plain vanilla SIP clients for Windows Phone 8.1. After lots of fruitless searching for my new and shiny Lumia, I can assure him that this is not the case. If anyone has ever found one, I'd like to know.

  25. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    a) Treating a phone as a small computer sure didn't start with the iphone; in fact, the iphone is a big step back in this regards due to it's being so heavily locked down. Nevertheless, indeed, treat the phone as a small computer, that's what I do most of the time (although I don't pretend my phone doesn't have phone functionality -- I don't have call quality and coverage issues so I don't feel the need to use SIP.)

    b) "So do please tell me how I can install* slackware** on my MotoG, then, eh? :-)

    [*] really? you say there are other things people do with computers? well I never...

    [**] ok, actually any old linux distro will do."

    There are apps like "Complete Linux Installer". (I can't find the app I used on my D2G back in the day....but there are several like this.) In short, it downloads a Linux distro for ARM, prepares somewhere to install it, installs it, and you can chroot into it and run your Linux apps and so on. I tested this on a Motorola Droid 2 Global years ago (single core 1.2ghz processor) and not only did it work, I tested libreoffice (using a remote X display -- obviously the 3" screen or whatever that had wasn't big enough) and it actually ran snappy.

    In slightly less short, you either need a ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystem, which could be on your sdcard -- FAT doesn't have enough features -- or they'll use a disk image file, it'll format that image with an appropriate filesystem, and loopback mount it somewhere. I did find it to be impossible on one phone I had, they stripped support for any good filesystems out of it (and no modules either.) Usually the phone has to be rooted, but apparently in some cases it doesn't. You're not dual booting, and you're not running the distro kernel -- most distros just are not that picky about what kernel is running (within reason), so it doesn't matter that the distro and Android will probably have quite different kernel versions.

    That said, I didn't find anything all that useful to do with this. I started up ssh and ssh'ed into the phone to play with this; even if it was a 10" tablet I would think using most desktop interfaces would be pretty rough, and it'd crimp my style to not have the proper 3-button mouse (or 2-button with scrollwheel) and real keyboard on what is otherwise a desktop at that point.

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