Highlights Mobile Newsroom tech Open source PC productivity

Get things done faster on your mobile phone and PC with FMA

If there’s one application responsible for an exponential boost in my productivity at the news copy desk it’s Float’s Mobile Agent (FMA). I wrote a short post about FMA earlier. FMA is an open source application that allows you to manage and operate your mobile phone through your PC via a data cable, infrared or Bluetooth connection.

Float's Mobile Agent

With FMA installed in your computer, you can just leave your phone in your desk and do all your mobile communications in your PC-from sending, receiving and archiving SMS messages, managing phone contacts, to-do lists and calendar entries to (for some phone models) taking and making calls using your regular PC headset. The program also allows you to easily back up important phone data like messages and contact numbers.

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Using yet another blog message board

I took down my earlier shoutbox, which was using Wordspew, after two people used it as their personal chatboard-writing close to 200 exchanges on their personal lives. The only option for moderation in Wordspew was to require registration, which I do not want to implement because this is a single-author blog and I do not want other users registered in the system.

When I deleted the entries, I could no longer recover the earlier messages posted by readers because these had apparently been overwritten, Worspew stores only the last 35 messages.

I looked for other shoutbox programs and found a link to Smiletag, an open source PHP message box that also uses Ajax. I immediately installed and used the program (see sidebar). The program isn’t a WordPress plugin but it’s very easy to install and configure to work with WordPress.


Web-based interface for Google Talk

Check out if you want a browser (Flash-based) interface to Google Talk. Gtalkr allows you to use Google Talk in any Internet connected PC.

Web interface for Google Talk

The service, however, goes beyond providing a browser interface to Google Talk-it enhances it by making conversations searchable and adding an interface to label and star your conversations. GTalkr also provides you with a window to your GMail inbox.

And as with browser interfaces, you wouldn’t know if you receive a new message if you’re working in another window because the icon in the taskbar won’t flash (unless you download a client). If you want a browser interface to other IM clients, check out Meebo. (From