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PocketPrimer & Me

Hello Readers,

I created the PocketPrimer blog more than 10 years ago to write about my experiences using a Pocket PC that ran an early version of the Windows Mobile OS. At first, I only wanted to create a place where I could organize and document for myself the information I gleaned from the forums, blogs, and websites that I’d visited, so I bought a domain name and started writing blog articles. Later on I started sharing links to my articles in the forums that I frequented. Over time the collection of articles that I published on the blog expanded into other areas and the reader base for my articles grew.

Since then I’ve used many different makes and models of mobile devices. The mobile operating system changed from Windows Mobile 2003 to Windows Mobile 5, 6, 6.1, 6.5, Windows Phone 7, 8, 8.1 and finally Windows 10 Mobile. By the time Microsoft scrapped the Windows Phone operating system I had already made the switch to Android and was using my second Android phone.

When I started the blog I was teaching business classes at a large university. But my formal training is to be a data scientist and about five years ago I left teaching to resume a professional career. Now I work as an informatics analyst for a biopharmaceutical company that develops regenerative and therapeutic products from human placental tissue. I spend most of my time mining large databases.

My passion for mobile devices has faltered and waned – I still use mobile devices, I’m just not so captivated by them. And as my working life has changed, so have my technical and professional interests. My focus and attention has turned towards learning about and pursuing these new interests and I haven’t devoted any time to writing articles for the blog.

Lately, I’ve thought a lot about what I want from a mobile device, how I want to use cloud services, how much time I want to spend on social media. I’ve taken some action to move my use of these technologies to align better with my technical, professional, and personal goals as well as my core values.

I’ve straightened up and reorganized PocketPrimer, and I’m ready to start writing articles again. The articles I plan to write will be focused in 4 areas:

  1. Mobility: My current phone runs the Android operating system so I’ll be writing about the Android OS and the apps I use on my phone.
  2. Cloud Services: I love how the cloud is device neutral and facilitates device independence by allowing easy access to our data as we move from device to device to device. Not all cloud services are the same, and I’ll write about and critique the several different cloud based services that I use.
  3. Microsoft Products: I use Microsoft’s mobile and desktop apps every day in both my personal and professional life.
  4. Analytical Tools: As a data scientist, I use SQL as well as other analytical tools every day. I’m learning new things about these tools all of the time and I’ll use the blog once again to help me organize and document the techniques I learn when using these tools.

I imagine many of your lives and interests have also changed over the years. What devices and technologies are you using today? How are you using these tools to help you achieve and further your technical, professional, and personal goals?

I hope you’ll continue to find useful and relevant information here and that you’ll want to stick around as I take the blog in a new direction.

You can connect with me in different ways:

PortoDB: An adequate database for my phone

One of the most used apps on my Windows Mobile devices was ListPro by llium Software. It was one of the first apps I installed to any Windows Mobile device I used. I even purchased the desktop version of ListPro that I still use. I waited and waited for Ilium Software to make a version of ListPro that ran on Windows Phone, but it never happened, and then I waited some more for an Android version, but I’ve given up waiting (there is an iPhone version of ListPro). I really wanted a simple app that I could use to manage and reference all of the various lists I make from my phone.

I looked around for a list keeping app that would work on Android and decided to try out the PortoDB Database app. This app has been around for a long time and I remembered fiddling around with it several years ago when I was using a Windows Phone so I figured the developer was committed to the app and would continue supporting it.

PortoDB isn’t as feature rich as ListPro and it’s “relational” capabilities are questionable, I haven’t found any useful documentation for the app, but I’ve created some lists and am finding it easy to use and good enough to meet my immediate needs.

So far I’ve created a grocery shopping list, a book inventory list (I have a lot of books), and a fitness tracking list with the app. (The Misc list is where I’m trying out features and not a real list or database).

I create most of my lists on a desktop computer and I wish there was a desktop version of PortoDB, but the app provides a CSV import and export function which makes it easier to transfer lists that I create on a computer to the app on my phone:

Import: This function allows me to import CSV files from the PortoDB/Export folder in the device memory or from another source, such as another location in local device memory or from cloud-based storage such as Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.

When I created my Book Inventory list, I used a CSV file that I created from a desktop application I’ve used for years to maintain my book inventory. Then I uploaded the CSV file to my Dropbox account, created an empty PortoDB database on my phone and imported the CSV file into the database.

Export: This function allows me to export all the rows in a list to a PortoDB/Export folder in the device local memory.

PortoDB also provides a backup/restore feature. Since I have more than one Android device, I’m glad to have the option to backup a database on one device and then restore it to another device:

Backup: This function backs up lists to the PortoDB/Backup folder in the device local memory. From here, I can share the file to my preferred cloud-based storage account (i.e., Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive)

Restore: This function allows me to backup/restore from a local folder on the phone or from a cloud-based storage area such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.

PortoDB has several other features that I’ll explore and document in future blog articles, so stay tuned….

PortoDB is free and ad-free and you can download it from the Google Play store.

Trip to Pittsburgh to learn about Markov Analysis

I spent the day learning all about decision trees, incremental cost effective ratios and deterministic & probabilistic sensitivity analysis and afterwards went for a walk on this lovely Fall day in lovely Pittsburgh. Tomorrow I am excited to learn about building Markov models and running microsimulation on them.

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Bookmarks, RSS feeds & email subscriptions

Thanks for visiting PocketPrimer! I hope you find some useful tips here and that you’ll check back frequently for updated content.

To be sure you stay informed of updated content and new articles, you can bookmark the website, subscribe to its RSS feed, or receive new articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Bookmark the website

Bookmarking websites has been my modus operandi for almost as long as I’ve been on the internet.  However, bookmarking is not an ideal method for keeping track of websites and blogs for several reasons:

  • Bookmarks can become unwieldy in a short period of time.  You can easily wind up with hundreds of bookmarked URLS scattered across numerous folders on several different computers.
  • Switching back and forth between browsers complicates things.  If you switch back and forth between a couple of different browser (i.e., Internet Explorer and Firefox) you can waste a lot of time looking for bookmarks in your different browsers.
  • Switching back and forth between home and work computers as well as mobile devices like phones and tablets also complicates things.
  • Bookmarks are static and don’t notify you when new material is available.  You’ll probably wind up opening lots of different bookmarks only to find that the content hasn’t changed.  For some dynamic websites where content changes frequently, you might miss interesting content if you’re busy with other things and don’t get a chance to review the site.

To improve your current situation and gain some efficiencies, think about subscribing to your favorite blogs’ RSS feeds.

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Export Contacts from the People Hub of Outlook.com

Exporting the contacts that are stored in the People Hub of an Outlook.com account to a CSV file is fast, easy and convenient.  All you need to do is:

  • Log into https://people.live.com/ from a computer browser – you will use the email address and password that is associated with the outlook.com account to log into the account
  • Click Manage > Export for Outlook.com and other services

export contacts

  • You will see a prompt on the bottom of the screen, “Do you want to open or save OutlookContacts.csv from people.live.com?”

export contacts Save

  • Click the Save button to save the csv file to the computer’s download folder.