Monday, February 12, 2007

Opera Mini midlet

As many of you already know, I carry a Windows Mobile device (Pocket PC) as my work cell phone, since I provide support for these 'hip computers' (hip as in body part, not 'ultra-cool').


I found Mini Opera when I was looking for an alternate internet browser for my Cingular 8125, as I was having problems with one particular webpage loading correctly. To be truthful, once the page loaded correctly in Mini Opera, I bookmarked it and didn't use the app any more, until I needed to visit that site again.


Last week I was looking for an additional POP3 email reader and found one that was a midlet.  When I installed it, it was right next to Opera Mini (OM).  After I was finished with the email client, I decided to play around with OM for a little while.  I soon realized I had been missing out on a great little app!


I didn't get a stopwatch out to confirm this, but I do believe that webpages are loaded somewhat quicker, and I know they are easier to deal with than Pocket IE (the default browser that comes with WM5).


I know that navigating websites is easier and quicker with this application because using the d-pad below the screen has a method to scroll line-by-line (using either up or down) or the entire screen (using either right or left).  When using the up or down, each available link is highlighted as it is approached, allowing for the center button of the d-pad to be used to 'click' the link.

Another ease in website viewing is the fact it collapses long series of related links.  The screen capture to the left is from Law & Disorder, a blog maintained by Brent, a Des Moines police officer. 


If you will notice, Brent has 11 links in his "Cop Related Blogs" and 68 in his "My Daily Reads" section. (Q: How do you find time to get any work done Brent?)  Instead of displaying at least 79 lines of links, both of those sections are collapsed and have a plus sign which allows for the section to be expanded, if desired.  As mentioned above, if I were using the d-pad to navigate, once either of the plus signs were highlighted, clicking the center of the d-pad would expand the section for viewing.


Two additional "great deals" within OM is a speedy "back" option and an RSS subscription feature.


Speedy back:  It caches previous pages so nicely that they load almost instantly upon hitting the back button.  I haven't found any memory problems with my device lately, so I assume (we all know what that means) that OM clears the memory cache when it is exited.


RSS Subscription: If the page being viewed has an associated RSS feed link on the page, there is a 'subscribe' link presented at the top of the page.  Once subscribed, it will provide information concerning how many articles/posts have been created since the lat visit.


The only drawback that I have found so far with using any midlet interface is the inability to do any copy/paste within the text entry areas.


In short, while I will continue to use Pocket IE for limited uses (I have the start page give me the local weather forecast and has a Google search option on it), when I plan on doing any extended web surfing with my 8125.

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