Archive for category Mobile

APN Changer for iOS – when you’re abroad and in need of different mobile provider settings

When traveling you might find yourself in the situation that you get a new SIM card into your iPhone and it’ll start and do it’s automatic magic for you. And eventually you well end up with the right provider settings by default.

But there are some cases when it picks the wrong provider settings. Like in my case. It picked NTT docomo in Japan with the default NTT docomo settings. In my case I was using a reseller for NTT (as described here) and that demanded different provider settings to work.

Unfortunately in all it’s wisdom the iPhone did not allow me to set the carrier settings. It just displayed the “Automatic” choice. So I went to the APN Changer website, entered the settings and installed a custom provider setting to my device. This works without any Jailbreak with iPhones without SIM Lock.

Source: m.apnchanger.org

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How to use the Tokyo public transportation system as a visitor

Being in Tokyo as a visitor brings a lot of challenges. Since you gotta use the public transport offers to get from A to B. Now we had the same challenge this May and this is how we tried to solve it.

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Problem: How do you know which train lines you take and where they are?

Solution: Use Google Maps (you need mobile internet access!) to find your route

The public transportation feature of Google Maps works like a charm. It’s accurate as it can be and offers even walking instructions to get to the right platform or train station.

Notice the colored lines next to the different stations. That’s the color you’re looking for on the train. They are color coded! To find your right platform just take the information that Google gives you and look out for it. It will be written on signs “Rinkai towards Tokyo Teleport”.

 

Problem: Okay I know which train I have to use. But before I enter the platform I have to pass the ticket gate. How do I buy a ticket? How do I know which one?

Solution: Get a Suica card and charge it! If you’re a group travelling: Look out for cheap group ticket offerings.

A Suica card (aka “Super Urban Intelligent Card”) can be used instead of buying a ticket. You can buy it where you can buy the tickets – most of the time it’s 500 Yen + charge. Charging it with some Yen is crucical since the gates will not let you in when your card is not at least charged with 210 Yen.

You may ask: If I buy a ticket from A to B I have to pay the price upfront. When I use the Suica how does it work then? Easy answer: When you enter the train station through the ticket gate you pass it with your Suica card. It will start a journey for you. When you exit it will end the journey. The card and system is intelligent enough to calculate all steps in between, add them up and substract the fare price from your Suica balance. It always takes the cheapest price for single travellers.

If you’re on your way as a group you might want to use the ticket machines before going through the ticket gates. The Suica is a personal card and only suited for one person to be used. So you cannot pass it through the ticket gate back and enter the ticket gate again without causing panic with the service personell.

To buy tickets for groups I suggest to switch the terminals to english – most of them will offer that option. You then have to specifically know where you want to go. Sometimes it’s the easiest way to just go to the counter and buy them there.

Sometimes when you bought tickets you find out that you made a mistake. Fear not! You can give them back and by doing so get your money back. Service personell is awesome and will help you at any time! DO NOT PANIC!

Another awesome feature you get ‘for free’ by having a Suica card is that you can use it with all the vending machines available everywhere in the train stations. Just pick the beverage you want and swipe the card. Done!

Beware: fill the card up before going out of the ticket gate when you used it all up!

If you happen to have a NFC enabled device (like most Android phones) you can install the Suica Reader app from the Google Store and get information about what happened to your card so far.

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how to get mobile Internet (3G / LTE) in Japan

If you visit Japan the next time and you want to get perfectly good Internet access while there on your mobile phone I can recommend the b-mobile offer. On my last stay in Japan (May 2014) I tried their service for the first time and I was not let down.

They give you two options: The 1 GB prepaid option gives you 1 GB as fast as possible. The 14days prepaid gives you 14 days of limited speed coverage (300kbps).

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I went for the 14 days prepaid option knowing that I might get some usage depending on where I go. The 300kbps where faster than I thought – at no given time I experienced any speed problems. The coverage was awesome since it just dialed into NTT Docoms 3G/LTE network.

For just under € 30 this is an awesome option for any traveller. Even better: You can pick it up at the Airport or you can have it delivered to your hotel! We tried both and it worked both as expected. Fast delivery, perfect service!

Source: http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/product.html

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MOSH (Mobile Shell) – fixing SSH for everyone

How many times did you experience a connection loss on your terminal window in the last week? Yeah I know – like everytime you close the lid of your notebook and move to a different place. So like a dozen times every day.

And everytime you reconnect to your servers and you use things like screen to keep your terminals open and your programs running while you’re disconnected.

On the other hand – did you ever curse the internet gods while you tried to do a very important check or bugfix to a machine whilst on a train or mobile roaming network? It’s not what I would call fun-times. When there are no constant disconnects the lag is just infuriating. MOSH also solves this since it’s predicting and responding way faster then vanilla SSH. Your terminal becomes useable again!

So there’s now MOSH to the rescue:

Remote terminal application that allows roaming, supports intermittent connectivity, and provides intelligent local echo and line editing of user keystrokes.
Mosh is a replacement for SSH. It’s more robust and responsive, especially over Wi-Fi, cellular, and long-distance links.
Mosh is free software, available for GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Android.

Install it on your servers and your clients and never lose a connection again.

Source 1: http://www.gnu.org/software/screen/
Source 2: http://mosh.mit.edu

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“Compressing” JSON to JSON

JSON_logo

JSON Logo

The internet and all those browsers and javascript applications brought data structures that are pretty straight-forward. One of them is JSON.

The wikipedia tells about JSON:

“JSON (/ˈdʒeɪsɒn/ JAY-soun, /ˈdʒeɪsən/ JAY-son), or JavaScript Object Notation, is an open standard format that uses human-readable text to transmit data objects consisting of attribute–value pairs. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML.”

Unfortunately complex JSON can get a bit heavy on the structure itself with over and over repetitions of data-schemes and ids.

There’s RJSON to the rescue on this. It’s backwards compatible and makes your JSON more compressible:

“RJSON converts any JSON data collection into more compact recursive form. Compressed data is still JSON and can be parsed with JSON.parse. RJSON can compress not only homogeneous collections, but also any data sets with free structure.

RJSON is single-pass stream compressor, it extracts data schemes from document, assign each schema unique number and use this number instead of repeating same property names again and again.”

Of course this is all open-source and you can get your hands dirty here.

Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSON
Source 2: http://www.cliws.com/e/06pogA9VwXylo_GknPEeFA/
Source 3: https://github.com/dogada/RJSON

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SMS Alarming for h.a.c.s.

I’ve added Alarming to hacs a while ago and I’ve now extended the built-in SMS gateway providers with the german telekom services called “Global SMS API”.

This API is offered through the Telekom own portal called developer garden and is as easy to use as it can possibly be. You only need to set-up the account with developergarden and after less than 5 minutes you can send and receive SMS and do a lot more. They got APIs for nearly everything you possible want to do … fancy some “talk to your house”-action? Would be easy to integrate into h.a.c.s. using their Speech2Text APIs.

They have a short video showing how to set it all up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caRSafzMDK0

So I’ve added the SMS-send capabilities to the hacs internal alarming system with it’s own JSON configuration file looking like this:

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And this simple piece of configuration leads to SMS getting sent out as soon as – in this example – a window opens:

sms-alarming-ahcs

Before the Telekom Global SMS API I’ve used a different provider (SMS77) but since the delivery times of this provider varied like crazy (everything from 30 seconds to 5 minutes) and the provider had a lot of downtimes my thought was to give the market leader a try.

So now here it is – integrated. Get the source here.

Source 1: https://github.com/bietiekay/hacs
Source 2: https://www.developergarden.com/de/apis/apis-sdks/global-sms-api/

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Photosynth now mobile…

It’s been some months years since the once Microsoft Research Project got public and Microsoft started offering it’s great Photosynth service to the public.

I’ve been using the Microsoft panoramic and Photosynth tools for years now and I tend to say that they are the best tools one can get to create fast, easy and high-quality panoramic images.

There is photosynth.net to store all those panoramic pictures like this one from 2008:

The photosynth technology itself contains several other interesting technologies like SeaDragon which allows high quality image zooming on current internet connection speeds.

This awesome technology is as of now available on the iPhone (3GS and upwards) and it’s better than all the other panoramic tools I’ve used on a phone.

the process of taking the images

after the pictures are taken additional stitching is needed

after the stitching completed a fairly impressive panoramic images is the result

Source 1: Photosynth articles from the past
Source 2: Photosynth in Wikipedia
Source 3: Photosynth on iPhone App Store

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Achievement Unlocked: Scaring the hell out of people

Oh boy, it seems that Apple just screwed up big time when it comes to data privacy. Obviously everytime someone attaches an iOS device like the iPhone to a PC or Mac and it does a backup run this backup includes the location data of that iPhone of the last several months. Impressive logging on the one hand and a shame that they did not talk about that in public upfront on the other hand.

There’s a great tool available on GitHub which uses OpenStreetMap to visualize the logged data – it creates a quite impressive graphical representation of where I was the last 6 months…

Source 1: http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/

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great SIP Softphone for Linux and Windows

Thank goodness I can uninstall X-Lite! At sones we are using a SIP based telephony solution. And therefore some times a SIP softphone application is needed along with the obligatory hardware SIP telephones. Till today the only half-working software I knew for that task was X-Lite. But a colleague told me today that there is a better software which not even looks better but also works better than X-Lite.

It’s called “Ekiga” and it’s a GTK based open source application which can run on Windows and Linux. It looks clean and therefore nice and works great.

A special tip from me: Abort the Welcome Wizard because the only thing it does is registering you with ekigas’ own services.

Capture

Source: http://ekiga.org/

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I am a space ship captain. Not.

So finally after years and years of hope and nerdy ideas I am able to hold a tablet device in my own hands and it’s not only as good as Picards tablet was back in that great “Star Trek: Next Generation” series, it’s better.

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Of course I had to import that particular iPad from the U.S. (thanks Alex!) – actually it was the first time I imported something that expensive. Beside some fun with the shipping company everything went fine. Since Apple just announced to delay the launch of the iPad in Europe for a month it’s nice to have a gadget just a few weeks after it was available in the U.S.

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LUA is not only for WoW

It’s also suitable for anyone who wants to develop iPhone Applications.

hello-lua

“I started investigating how I might wire up — and then write native iPhone apps from — a scripting language. Lua was on my radar already. It’s compact, expressive, fast enough, and was designed to be embedded. Took only about 20 minutes to get the Lua interpreter running on the iPhone. The real work was to bridge Lua and all the Objective-C/CocoaTouch classes. The bridge had to work in two directions: it would need to be able to create CocoaTouch objects and also be able to respond to callbacks as part of the familiar delegate/protocol model.”

Source: Announcing iPhone WAX

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Up-Grayed

Last week I upgraded my iPod touch to an iPhone… well actually I got a new iPhone 3GS aside the iPod.

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It’s a fast device – even noticeably faster than the 2nd gen iPod Touch. It’s got almost the same battery life like the touch for me and it was a plug-and-play experience to use it the first time.

What I wasn’t expecting is that the smooth experience suddenly came to a stop when I tried to plug the iPhone into my car – just where the iPod touch did the job for about 5 months (including that the touch got charged by the car along the way).

With the iPhone I got two error messages simultaneously:

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“Charging not supported by this accessory”

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“This accessory is not supported by iPhone”

Damn you Apple! What’s the problem? There’s a standard USB port which powered 2,5 inch hard disk drives previously and the iPhone just states that it cannot be charged with this accessory (e.g. the car).

On the other hand everything else just works as it was working with the iPod. I can browse my music library on the iDrive I can listen to music – everything works, beside those two error messages and the not-charging iPhone. Thank you Apple B-) Maybe I need to up-grayed my car too?

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new GPS track analyzer found

My beloved GPS analyzer “GPS-Track” has been discontinued 🙁 I wasn’t able to locate an old version of it so I had to find a new tool which does the trick. On the other hand I upgraded my Windows Mobile phone to a newer version – resulting in the not-running of my previous gps logging tool. So I had to find another new tool.

First the GPS Logging tool:

It’s freeware, written in .NET and worked out of the box with my bluetooth gps. It’s called “GPS Cycle Computer” and has a lot of cool features like Google-Earth KML export, the obligatory GPX support and a great several display modes.

GPS-Cycle-Computer

The GPS Logger exports an .GPX file which then is imported into the Analyzer called “GPS-Track-Analyse.NET”. This tool – obviously designed to analyze hiking – allows you to view the data in different ways, edit waypoints and export it to several other formats.

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Source 1: http://www.gps-freeware.de/Vorschau.aspx
Source 2: the previous GPS Tracker Tool I used
Source 3: the new Windows Mobile GPS Logger tool

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der bi-em-double-you !

Ich fahre ja seit 2000 privat diesen wunderschönen SEAT Arosa. Nun ist das Auto Ende 1999 gebaut und damit auch nichtmehr das jüngste – eine kleine Excel Tabelle hat aufgezeigt dass das Auto de-facto durch die verschiedenen Durchsichten und Reparaturen mehr als zweimal komplett bezahlt wurde. Auch machte sich ein verstärkter Öl-Durst in den letzten Monaten eher unangenehm bemerkbar – unter anderem bekam ich erstmals die “nicht genug Öl”-Lampe zu sehen.

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Das Auto meiner Frau ist da noch viel schlimmer dran gewesen – als Baujahr 1997 und mit dem Geburtsfehler “Opel” ist es ein Wunder dass es überhaupt bis ins Jahr 2008 durchgehalten hat. Nicht ohne Blessuren: die gesamte Elektrik tut mehr oder weniger das was sie will, die Rad lager hören sich an als wären ein paar Stahlkugeln in einer Waschmaschine unterwegs und die Lenkung an sich zieht so böse nach rechts dass man sozusagen die ganze Zeit nach Links lenken muss um geradeaus zu fahren. Und da ist dieser Geburtsfehler: Die Hütte rostet dass man glaubt das wäre ein Hochseeschiff ohne Lackierung. Nun ja.

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Den Opel haben wir schon frühzeitig in 2008 dem Gebrauchtwagenmarkt zugeführt und auch – wie ich finde (meine Frau ist da etwas anderer Meinung) – reichlich Geld dafür bekommen. Für den SEAT Arosa haben wir uns ein anderes, endgültigeres Schicksal ausgedacht:

Im November 2008 klapperten wir die verschiedenen Autohändler in der Umgebung ab – all die üblichen Verdächtigen mussten befragt, begutachtet, bewertet und letztlich ausgewählt werden. Prinzipiell stellte sich die Frage: Ein Japaner oder ein deutsches Fabrikat?

Wir hatten einen Honda Civic im Auge – aber aufgrund glanzvoller Ignoranz der Händler und dem doch extrem schlechten Preis-Leistungsverhältnis haben wir uns schon frühzeitig entschieden: ein deutsches Auto soll es sein. Genauer gesagt ein BMW.

Die ersten Erfahrungen mit dem ortsansässigen BMW Händler haben dann auch recht schnell Herz und Brieftasche geöffnet. Schon nach dem ersten Besuch war die Probefahrt klar gemacht – wir hatten uns nämlich recht schnell auf einen “Einser” eingeschossen. Den gab es in der richtigen Größe und viel wichtiger: Mit der gewünschten Gadget-Dichte.

Am 08.11.2008 ging es also mit einem blauen 3 türigem 1er in den Thüringer Wald – gerade noch rechtzeitig vorm ersten großen Schnee. Wir haben natürlich die Gelegenheit für ein paar Fotos genutzt:

BMW_1er_Panorama_Steinbruch_2IMG_3556 IMG_3551 IMG_3552

Die Kaufentscheidung war getroffen – nun ging es an die Planung. Der BMW Konfigurator ist da ein ganz nettes Spielzeug, wenngleich ich mir da noch die ein oder andere Verbesserung gewünscht hätte. Über Weihnachten und im Januar wurde das Wunschauto konfiguriert und dann am 13. Januar mit der Hoffnung dass der Winter ein Herz mit uns haben möge gleich mit Sommerreifen auf den baldmöglichsten Termin bestellt. Abholen wollten wir das Auto nicht beim Händler sondern direkt in München in der BMW Welt.

Den Termin bekamen wir ein paar Tage später vom immer noch sehr zuvorkommenden, engagierten und überaus netten Händler – ja das ist nicht übertrieben, der Mann ist auf jede unserer Fragen eingegangen und hat sich speziell beim Rätsel-Thema “iPod-Integration” extra nochmal kundig gemacht.

Nun ging die wirklich anstrengende Phase des Projekts “BMW kaufen” los: das Warten.

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Da trudelten dann im Wochen-Rhythmus die Bestätigungen, die finalen Rechnungen und so wichtige Dinge wie Kennzeichen-Tragetaschen und Informationsmaterial zur Abholung ein. Alles in allem hat das die Vorfreude natürlich enorm gesteigert.

Am 12. März war es dann soweit. Unser BMW war gebaut, poliert und fertig zur Abholung. Wir sind an dem Tag extra früh aus dem Bett da die Abholung selbst auf 14:20 Uhr angesetzt war. Das ist natürlich reichlich spät wenn man hinterher noch eine BMW Stammwerksführung machen will. Deshalb haben wir die Werksführung vor die Auslieferung gezogen und mussten so recht früh (4 Uhr, urks!) raus und nach München. Wir waren rechtzeitig da und natürlich war wie erwartet ein wirklich schöner Tag für uns vorbereitet worden. Der Empfang, die Werksführung, die BMW Welt selbst, die Präsentation unseres Autos – da fällt einem nur ein “WOW!” ein.

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die Abholer-Premium-Lounge

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die “BMW Welt”

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die Treppe für die Abholenden – da geht man
gaaaaaanz langsam runter

Auf den Bildern ist ja auch diese Treppe zu sehen – da geht man nach dem Fahrzeug-Briefing – also dem Teil wo dem Abholer sein neues Auto in Theorie und Simulations-Praxis erklärt wird – gaaaanz gaaaanz langsam hinunter. Um dann direkt vor seinem Neuwagen zu stehen. Und ganz ehrlich, bei der ganzen Show ist das schon ein erinnerungswürdiger Moment wenn das Auto dann endlich vor einem auftaucht.

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Außen weiß und innen ganz in schwarz.

Endlich war das Warten vorbei! Wir haben uns dann direkt auf die Sommer-Socken gemacht. Die Fahrt versprach nämlich spannend, oder doch zumindest interessant zu werden: Schneeregen und Nebel war angesagt. Das kam dann auch, war aber nicht die Spur eines Problems – schön langsam und sicher sind wir nach einem ewig langen Tag wieder zuhause angekommen. Die Nacht war dann aber auch nicht besonders lang – denn nur zwei Tage später sind wir umgezogen. Ja da ist sozusagen die “Coole Sache Nummer 2”. Den Bericht gibts dann aber in einem anderen Artikel.

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clicking to fast

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gnaaaaa 100 requests per hour…

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new toy for the new toy: Manfrotto 190XPROB + 460MG

Not many new toys come with this: A justification to buy even more shiny new toys. In this case the 450d was the cause to buy a tripod + head.

It’s dark in here but I wanted to make a picture of it:

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new toy: Canon EOS 450D

Finally a DSLR landed at our premises: the Canon EOS 450D is as of now in our toy park – perfectly timed for the holidays and christmas.

 

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(made with the “old” SX100 IS)

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DIY Photo Frame (with a twist)

I got these two quite old Windows Mobile Professional phones (with touchscreen and everything) and beside the fact that they are my phones I am using them just to display my calendar entries on my desk. Now I thought it would be a great thing if those two QVGA devices would display personal pictures in a slideshow.

And it would be even better if they would get their pictures from the internet. And even better if there would be an application that would allow me or my wife to upload/delete pictures from the slideshow playing on all devices.

Thought said, and done. I did a little afterwork project today, taking me approx. 3 hours with everything from scratch.

So I made these parts:

  1. a webservice to upload, delete and retrieve the pictures

    This really is just a webservice very similar to the one I used in my DropBox application. It’s hosted on one of my machines and makes the pictures also available to the mobile clients.

  2. an upload tool to upload, delete the pictures comfortably

    I took the DropBox Application and customized it – it now resizes the pictures automatically before uploading and it can display a preview in the file browser.

    photoframe_upload_1

    photoframe_upload_2

  3. a small application running on my phones that displays this pictures using the webservice

    This one was made from scratch and consumes the webservice from above. It asks for the next picture URL, downloads this picture and displays it… and so on.

    photoframe_app_1 photoframe_app_2

Since it’s already up and running and looking great on my desk I wanted to share it with you. Don’t expect everything to work out-of-the-box but it’s a start for everyone who wants to have something like this. Oh – of course your windows mobile device needs to have internet access…

So as usual here’s the sourcecode of the whole package for your pleasure. Use it where ever and in what ever whay you want as long as you’re crediting.

PhotoFrame.zip (639,87 KB)

P.S: There’s a fun fact I did not know: I accidently double-clicked the windows mobile application on my Vista machine and guess what: It just runs! Yes, manage Windows Mobile Application running natively on Windows Vista:

funfact

Source 1: PhotoFrame.zip (639,87 KB)
Source 2: DropBox

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How to create an m4b iTunes compatible audiobook from a cd

Let’s say you’re like me: You got several audiobooks on CD over the years and you even ripped several of these to listen to them in your MP3 player/car.

So what I have is a number of audiobooks ripped as mp3s on my harddisk looking something like this:

crnan1

If you only have the CD what you would like to do is rip the whole CD as ONE large m4a AAC encoded audiofile. We need it to be an m4a because we later want to inject chapter marks. If you have this big AAC file just skip the next few steps. But if you got those several small mp3 files – one for each chapter you want to merge them together and reencode them as m4a AAC.

There is a great free tool to merge these mp3 files together. It’s called (who would have thought) Merge MP3 and is available completely for free. It’ll create one big mp3 file out of your several small ones.

mergemp3nan

After you got that huge mp3 file you want to convert it into a m4a file with AAC encoding. I recommend using iTunes.

itunesconvertnan

When you got that one huge m4a file you want to load it into a tool called Chapter Master. It’s not free and will set you back $15 but it’s worth as I did not find anything else that was a) that cheap b) that comfortable c) working.

chaptermasternan

Load the m4a file into Chapter Master, add the chapters in the right order and at the right time. Eventually you want to add an album art picture. Click save and you’re done.

The resulting file is a m4b file recognized by iTunes as an audiobook with chapters.

Source 1: http://www.shchuka.com/software/mergemp3
Source 2: http://www.rightword.com.au/products/chaptermaster/download.asp

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We got us an iPod Touch…

After the last update and the fact that I am locked into iTunes (using it for more than 5 years…having rated almost 70% of my huge library…) I decided to buy an iPod at the beginning of this year. Sadly there was only the big and heavy iPod classic that looked promising since the touch was way to expensive.

I thought about things like: Would I need my whole library or would it suffice to have 8/16/32 GB of it? Do I want to have additional applications or just a music player?

After the last update several things came together to a conclusion:

  • There’s not a 160 GB iPod anymore. Since my library is almost that I wouldn’t be able to put my library on a 120 GB classic.
  • The touch is cheaper now
  • mostly I am listening to podcasts, which I do need to by in sync all the time, that means: remaining playtime sync and syncing without manual work

Since my wife doesn’t like the look of the new nano we decided to get the 16 GB Touch.

ipodtouch

It was delivered today and I am hugely impressed with it so far. It’s what I wanted and the way I wanted it. The feature of having my podcasts and audiobooks start/stop positions synced is just fantastic (listening to the first 20 minutes on the go and the rest at home is now possible because the position where I stopped listening on the iPod is synced to the iTunes).

Did I mention that we took the engraving option?

ipodtouchback
Yo Ho!

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And this Airfoil thing even works with my remote control…

… oh even more joy!

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Rumor of today: Skymarket is the AppStore for Windows Mobile 7

So..in 2009 Windows Mobile 7 will start and some things point towards an AppStore equivalent called Skymarket for the Microsoft mobile operating system… hmm… Why not… earlier? Like before Apple… way to go Microsoft.

Source: Skymarket @ Computerworld

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Spacetime Math tools

If you searching a tool for Windows, Linux, OSX and your windows mobile device…you may want to take a look at this:

“SpaceTime 3.0 by SpaceTime Mathematics is a revolution in mathematics software with 2D, 3D, and time graphing with MobileCAS® for algebra and calculus. With features only available in Mathematica and MATLAB, SpaceTime is the most powerful cross-platform mathematics software ever developed for computers and mobile devices.

spacetime

Source: http://www.spacetime.us/

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Writing an application a day keeps the doctor away… a new Windows Mobile application each day

Chris Craft has did a very interesting project – He wrote a new application every day. The “Application Calendar” is now available:

“I have put together a calendar of applications for the 30 Days of .NET [Windows Mobile Applications]. Here you can get a quick feel for all the applications we’ve created so far, and will write in the coming days.”

anappaday

The best is – these are actually useful applications – like Trippr – a tool that displays all Flickr pictures that are tagged with your current location (gps based)… how cool is that? There are many more… Callblocker, GPS Clock, GeoCash and there’s one I sure will take a look at:

speedo

That’s a GPS based Speedo! 🙂

Source: http://www.cjcraft.com/blog/default.aspx

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german Citizens’ band radio over the internet…Freies Funknetz!

The internet makes things possible some people dreamt of for years. One of these things is the possibility to stream live-voice-chat over the internet. Many people used the citizens’ band radio – CB radio – for the last decades:

Citizens’ Band radio (CB) is, in many countries, a system of short-distance, simplex[1] radio communications between individuals on a selection of 40 channels within the 27 MHz (11 meter) band. The CB radio service should not be confused with FRS, GMRS, MURS, or amateur (“ham”) radio. Similar personal radio services exist in other countries, with varying requirements for licensing and differing technical standards. In many countries, CB does not require a license and, unlike amateur radio, it may be used for business as well as personal communications.”

For several years now there is a group of people from virtually everywhere in germany who connect their CB radios to the internet – they link their “gateways” together using a software normally used by online gamers called “TeamSpeak”. All you have to do to take a look is to read this short how-to and follow the steps.

Here’s a sneak-peak at the current status of the server:

There’s even a livestream available (but sometimes not working):

Source 1: http://www.freiesfunknetz.com/
Source 2: http://www.goteamspeak.com/

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publish your iTunes library on your network without actually using iTunes on the client

There’s a new version of Dot.Tunes out which is now available for free. That’s good news and if you ever wanted to access your iTunes Library and you were not in Bonjour range…try this great tool!

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“DOT.TUNES is not some lightweight iTunes utility. It’s a fully developed web server application that supports MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, MPEG, MP4, and MOV files, allowing you to share your iTunes library contents with your friends in other cities, your classmates across the dorm or the coworkers scattered throughout the building. DOT.TUNES contains a custom web server designed specifically to serve the audio tracks from your iTunes at lightning fast speeds. Through seamless integration with your iTunes base, DOT.TUNES easily handles large libraries without missing a beat.”

I tried it and it’s working quite well – especially if you consider that there’s a bunch of plugins available.(which you have to pay for)

Source: http://www.dottunes.net

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How big is the difference between QVGA and VGA PDA displays?

My personal Windows Mobile device I use as my PDA and phone is a QVGA device… I am using it for over 4 years now and I don’t have any cause to buy a new one… and that’s for the most part because if I would buy a new device it would have to be smaller and have a higher screen resolution…(and run all programs I am using right now…) – such a device does not exist…but here’s a comparison available:

“The advantage of a VGA screen is not limited to information it can show. Everything looks way better. Fonts are smoother. Also on QVGA screens, images lose detail. Just look at the diagram above.
VGA screens are better for reading ebooks. I don’t think the text is too small to read, you can zoom in as you wish.
The drawback is, VGA screens consume more power and they make the device slower. At least my x50v is slower. And its battery life is terrible.”

my-qvga-vga-08

Source: http://mobilyazilar.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-is-difference-between-vga-and-qvga.html

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real great and smooth Today Screen replacement for Windows Mobile

Just minutes ago I was pointed to an application that replaces the Windows Mobile today screen (and many other features) and comes along with all sorts of next-gen Touch Controls:

pointui

“After grinding our teeth with enterprise mobile systems, we came to the conclusion that end users need applications that focus on usability, performance and consistency.

Pointui (pronounced point-you-i) has been built from the ground up and sets the benchmark in pioneering the delivery of total user experience, never before achieved on a Windows Mobile device.

Our main focus is structured around simplicity and usability while extracting the most out of your current Windows Mobile device. All products we develop forge stability and dependability while maximising performance.”

 

The thing is – these guys deliver on their promise:

 

 

If you’re a Windows Mobile user, go and try this piece of software – it’s free and small.

Source: http://www.pointui.com

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another try to bring news and services to Windows Mobile phones

There is AvantGo and several other news and widget services for Windows Mobile but now there’s another try by Zumobi. This one the user interface is kind of cool but …

zumobi

“Zumobi is new and free mobile widget application that lets you enjoy entertainment and information content delivered to your phone in an innovative and fun way.”

Take a look at this short demo/review:

I installed and tested it. But since it really does need an unlimited data plan (which I don’t have on my phone right now) I uninstalled it shortly afterwards. Actually I suggest using EDGE or better UMTS because it’ll speed up things significantly.

Source: http://www.zumobi.com/

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we got us a Canon SX100 IS

Since the old PowerShot died we bought a brand spanking new Canon SX100 IS in black…:

canon_powershot_sx100is

  • 10x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
  • 8.0 Megapixels
  • DIGIC III and iSAPS
  • Face Detection Technology with Face Selector button
  • 2.5″ wide-view LCD screen
  • 18 shooting modes and My Colors
  • User-friendly control dial
  • ISO 1600 and optional high-power flash
  • Smooth VGA movies

Hmm… quite a leap forward compared to the old PowerShot A400 – not only the 10x optical zoom but also all the other little things you can play with … great digital camera!

Source: Canon UK

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Nokia, but nice

Recently I could lay my hands on a new piece of hardware – a Nokia N95. Nowadays you can do a lot with those shiny new mobile phones – so much that you’ll never know about everything.

Photo-0070

This is the special “Spiderman 3”- version.

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The interior.

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Handy.

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Now it’s a mobile phone…

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…and now your personal mp3/video/whatever-player.

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E.g. the mentioned “Spiderman”.

Jens Heymann

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"He’s dead Jim"

My beloved Canon PowerShot A400 digital camera just left us. It was a great camera that only served 8764 pictures in it’s too-short life. Bought in March 2005 and now gone forever.

powershot

Source: new camera

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a replacement software for your UMTS/3G card…

With every UMTS/3G card comes a tool that tracks your connection information, your traffic and everything… and it looks like this for a Vodafone UMTS card:

That’s not even close to cute and well useable. So someone took the task and created this:

screenshot3

A small tool that is compatible with almost any available UMTS/3G hardware on earth and has these features:

tiny executable: 0.3 MB, very little CPU load

  • permanently displaying:
    • up- and download speed in kBytes/s, used data volume in kByte (with round option), used online time (with round option), mode of operation UMTS(3G)/GPRS, signal strength in percent and dBm, network name and cell id (if provided by pc card), homezone status
  • movable mini window with information display:
    • sitting on the task bar, at upper screen border, in front of the start button, as dynamic tray icon with gauges
  • warning when exceeding data volume or online time
  • optional beep output for signal strength,network change and cell change
  • manual or automatic selection of network and mode
  • optional warning when using not listet networks
  • determination of receivable networks
  • retrieve and charge prepaid credit
  • automatics:
    • start/terminate connections,start extern programs such as Browser or Ping, reconnect after errors/freezes, generate network entry, dynamic com port determination
  • adjustable connection error tolerance
  • connection test by “smart Ping”
  • SMS reception can be activated
  • PC remote-control by SMS
  • SMS transmission by batch job
  • logging of data volume and connection information
  • connection statistics as semigraphics
  • timer for program end or shutdown
  • deactivate graphics compression (some networks)
  • scriptable
  • service terminal for data card commands
  • shows data card netlocks
  • service log for data card control communication
  • for Windows 2000/XP/Vista/embedded

And the best of all is that this is a freeware tool. Unfortunately it’s not available for OSX.

Source: http://www.mwconn.com

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WLAN’s Labyrinth

So the Telekom finally managed to bring DSL to my home region. Immediately new stuff was bought to establish a WLAN-network inside the house. When I went home of course I wanted to add my laptop ( a Medion MD 41100, 4 years old) to the net to gain access. But after never having used the WLAN-functions before (yes, there are such people…) no one could know that this would end up in such tremendous trial and error.

The router was a Speedport W 900V and working. It took me about an hour to find the add-new-user-option in the router-menu. After filling in the MAC of my Intel PRO/Wireless LAN 2100 card and creating a new WLAN-connection I was ready to go but nothing happened (yet).

Speedport W 900V

From now I tried several ways to get it done:

1. Get your drivers updated

This was strongly recommended because my card didn’t know the WPA-coding yet, only the older WEP-standard. OK, done. Now I was able to type in some data required by the router. But still no connection.

2. Get your Windows updated

Somewhere I read that there is a support-patch for WPA by Microsoft. Downloaded and installed. Still no access.

3. Use the cards firmware

Intel programmed a software called Intel PROSet for doing some adjustments if needed and adding a new connection which I did. But again without any success.

Here an important thought crossed my mind: Maybe the card is deactivated (The problem had to be clearly somewhere in my laptop because I was using another one for researching in the Internet, so there was a WLAN available and it was working.).

Some clues:

PROSet-configuration (hardware deactivated)

Tray-icon (no network, no connection, transmitter OFF)

Good! So I narrowed down the problem. But how to activate the transmitter?

4. Try the Windows-network-configuration

Many options but nowhere the one I was looking for.

5. Try the firmware

Look above to the PROSet-configuration image: The option to activate the transmitter is simply disabled. Hmm…

6. Try the tray-icon

No, not here.

7. Check your BIOS

Yes, there is a WLAN-entry. But my Phoenix-BIOS has only two modes: card always deactivated on every start or card activated only if activated prior to the system shut-down. So no solution here.

8. Remove the card from your profile

Done and the same as before.

9. Deep-looking in windows

As you know there is a life under the desktop. Typing in %systemroot%\system32\services.msc brought up a nice menu about the systems local services. Here you look for network-connections as follows:

The way to start already has been “automatic”. OK.

10. Look for a hardware-button

Some of you might mention here that this could have happened much earlier: simply looking for an activation-button. And you are right, this button exists. However, pressing it changed nothing.

The solution:

The hardware-button proved to be a good hint. Next I checked the program for controlling the programmable buttons (EzSystem).

Hey, there is an option for WLAN. Activated and one system restart later it was like it was before: the card still deactivated. Then I checked out the directory of this EzSystem-Software.

wbutton.exe –> nothing happened

wirelesscontrol.exe –> peng! WLAN activated and access to the Internet.

Finally it worked. Let’s review it: Obviously you cannot activate WLAN neither through Windows nor the cards firmware; you need a third party’s software. This is (in my opinion) a very weird way.

So I guess that simply some links between components got lost and you have to re-engineer that. A hard task, especially if you have formatted the harddisc right after the purchase, do not knowing anything anymore about the original state and with the support disc hundreds of kilometers away.

Jens Heymann

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sitting on the Roundtable…

FeM is in need of a decent conferencing system for years now. And it seems that there’s something really cool showing up in the next days. As of now Microsoft is going to put it’s Roundtable on sale.

“Microsoft RoundTable is a very cool videoconferencing system featuring 360° panoramic views powered by its 5 built-in cameras.”

“The RoundTable actually installs two USB camera devices. The first is the Active Speaker which uses the RoundTable’s 6 microphones to locate where in the room the active speaker is and then focus one of the 5 cameras onto that person. I suspect it may actually use 2 cameras to focus on a person, since it always appears that the speaker is “centered” which probably would require at least 2 camera images and then the images are “spliced” together, processed, and then transmitted over the USB cable. The second USB camera device is the panoramic camera which combines the 5 camera images into a single panoramic image.”

Source: Roundtable Review

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my girl got a new mobile phone…and we wanted to sync it with a mac

After about a week of “thinking about it” she bit the bullet and got herself a Nokia 5300. She wanted to have something that has some dedicated buttons for music playback control and she needed a new mobile phone. So the 5300 seemed the perfect match.

She wanted to sync her new phone with our Mac so we had to look for something that would allow that to happen. Apple iSync does not support the 5300 out of the box but there are several plugins available on the intertubes. One of them is free and does the job just like all the other ones that need to be bought. It’s called “iSync-Plugin 2.4” and is available here. Just grab it, drop it to the ~/Library folder and restart iSync. iSync should now recognize the phone…just like it did in our case:

Source: http://www.s60themes.co.uk/

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Remote Control your presentation… or music … or …

It’s almost a year now since I bought a tool named Salling Clicker. Since Salling Clicker is available for OS X and Windows and the fact that I am maintaining my Music Library on my Mac I went with the OS X version of the tool. Sad but true: You have to pay twice if you want it for Windows and OS X.

I now stumbled across a tool for Windows called “Bluetooth Remote Control for Windows Mobile” which seem to does the trick – not as cute and extensible as Salling Clicker but useable.

“With this software, you will be able to control remotely applications like Winamp, the Windows Mixer, the Windows Media Player, PowerPoint, Media Player Classic, PowerDVD, with more coming… such as the Vista’s Media Center.”

The downside is that the author says it’s not working with the WIDCOMM Bluetooth stack at the moment – but maybe in the future he’ll/they’ll update the support.

Source: http://jaylee.org/RemoteControl/

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you are a X-COM Enemy Unknown Defense fan?! read this.

SMKSoftware has something free to play with:

“The Pocket UFO is a remake of the popular game of the last century X-COM Enemy Unknown (UFO Defense) for the Pocket PC devices. The game is a turn-based strategy with the RPG elements. The excellent graphics and exciting gameplay are attracting the gamers all over the world till present. This game is absolutely FREEWARE!”

Source: SMKSoftware

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the .NET Micro Framework is out

“The Microsoft .NET Micro Framework combines the reliability and efficiency of managed code with the premier development tools of Microsoft Visual Studio to deliver exceptional productivity for developing embedded applications on small devices.

The .NET Micro Framework brings a rich, managed-code environment to smaller, less expensive, and more resource-constrained devices. Requiring only a few hundred kilobytes of RAM and an inexpensive processor, the .NET Micro Framework was built from the ground up to let you build applications using familiar Visual Studio development tools.

With .NET Micro Framework SDK, you can develop your embedded solutions in C# using a subset of the .NET libraries focused on embedded applications. Your development environment is Visual Studio, where you can take advantage of its powerful editing, object browsing, project management, and debugging capabilities. These capabilities are available when using the .NET Micro Framework SDK’s extensible device emulation system or on real hardware.”

Source 1: more info
Source 2: Download

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9.6 kbit/s video conferencing for Windows Mobile 5

“Microsoft Portrait is a research prototype for mobile video communication. It supports .NET Messenger Service, Session Initiation Protocol and Internet Locator Service on PCs, Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs and Smartphone. It runs on local area networks, dialup networks and even wireless networks with bandwidths as low as 9.6 kilobits/second. Microsoft Portrait delivers portrait-like video if users are in low bandwidths and displays full-color video if users are in broadband. In low bandwidths, portrait video possesses clearer shape, smoother motion, shorter latency and much cheaper computational cost than do conventional video technologies. Microsoft Portrait pursues providing presence notification, chat/voice/video functions anytime, anywhere, on any device.”

Source: http://research.microsoft.com/mcom/portrait/

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next dotnetcommunity event is coming up [german]

Heute um 18 Uhr findet das zweite .NET Usergroup Treffen in Ilmenau (Campus, Haus F, Rechnerlabor) statt.

Agenda:

  1. Begrüßung, Neuigkeiten bzgl. der Usergroup (Nico Orschel, Microsoft Student Partner)
  2. .NET Compact Framework (Daniel Kirstenpfad, Microsoft Senior Student Partner)
  3. Mobiles Web mit ASP.NET 2.0 (Nico Orschel, Microsoft Student Partner)
  4. Networking und gemütlicher Ausklang des Treffens

Die Teilnahme am Treffen ist kostenlos, unverbindlich und nicht anmeldepflichtig.

Das ganze kann man auch nochmal auf www.dotnetcommunity.de nachlesen. Dort und hier wird es dann auch nach der Veranstaltung die Slides geben.

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Speed Camera Database

“At locations that are particularly subject to accidents, speed cameras are erected specifically to catch speed offenders, to call them to account, and thereby to teach them a lesson. This should also reduce the number of accidents.

We are of the opinion that there is also another way to reduce the number of accidents.

With the help of our database, we hope to achieve the following for our users:

  • to warn them in good time about high accident area
  • that they check their speed and adjust it if necessary
  • that they can fully focus their concentration on what is happening in the traffic

The goal of our project is not to promote “racing”! “

Source: http://www.scdb.info/en/

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new Mediaplayer for Windows Mobile…not.

What once was free is now for sale. Yes, the well known TCPMP player for Windows Mobile is now called “CorePlayer”. And it’ll set you back $24,99. Quite an amount for this app…

Decide for yourself it some new codecs and a new UI is worth the money…it’s not for me.

Source: http://coreplayer.corecodec.org/

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802.1x with certificate based authentification in Windows Vista RC1

I had this very very annoying problem that Windows Vista since the July CTP refresh wasn’t able to connect to my home 802.1x certificate based wireless network. It just did not work as supposed…

But with the help of the RC1 Wi-Fi support specialists I got it working. If you run into the same problem, just do the following to solve it:

  • delete all manual set-up profiles for your 802.1x wireless network (if there are any)
  • download the Wireless Network Connection-evilgate.zip (,63 KB) and edit the included .xml file. You have to edit the SSIDs,…
  • open a command prompt and run:

netsh wlan add profile “profile.xml” “Wireless Network Connection” all

  • you have to change “profile.xml” to the filename of your .xml file and “Wireless Network Connection” to the name of your connection

Et voilá! A message should show up asking you for the certificate…

UPDATE: well you could also create a manual profile for your wireless network and export it to an xml file:

netsh wlan export profile “SSID”

Download: Wireless Network Connection-evilgate.zip (,63 KB)

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browse the web with the iLiad

The iRex iLiad e-ink e-book reader is such a fantastic device, a friend of mine is willing to put the >600 euro down to get one. And if he reads this, he’ll be even more motivated to bite the bullet:



“From the factory, the Iliad only uses and maintains Internet connectivity for a very short time and for one specific purpose; to connect to the Rex site. Some enterprising device owners put a little hack together with a PDF file and some http for an address bar and they’re now surfing the web as long they like on the Iliad.”


Source: http://www.irextechnologies.com/products/iliad/specs

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Microsoft released the Windows Mobile Device Emulator (ARM CPU) Sourcecode


Once again an very interesting piece of software made it to the Shared Source family.



“The Device Emulator is a software simulation of a CPU and motherboard, that runs the Windows CE and Windows Mobile operating systems. The emulator is a single Windows .EXE file that contains:



  • A CPU emulator that executes the ARM instruction set by JIT-compiling to x86
  • An MMU emulator to support virtual memory and page protection
  • A motherboard emulator that contains emulated RAM and NOR flash memory
  • A collection of peripheral devices attached to the motherboard: serial ports, LCD controller, touchscreen, keyboard, interrupt controller, programmable timers, real-time-clock, network cards, audio, etc.
  • A “DMA” interface which allows a Win32 application running outside the emulator to communicate with a WinCE application running inside the emulator, using a simple socket-like programming model. “

Source 1: Device Emulator Sourcecode Download
Source 2: License

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Say “hello, antenna!”

And now I can present my new neighbour: Kathrein 742215 UMTS Antenna! With 300 W it

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Windows Mobile 5 Starter Kits available…

“Windows Mobile Starter Kits are fully functional sample applications. Each sample is complete and contains its documentation, so you can get started right away.”

And the Starter Kits for Windows Mobile 5 is available for download. Featureing this three samples:

DexMobile, a game. A tabbed web browser and a today plugin that displays the mediaplayer status. Go and grab it and start coding.

Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/mobility/windowsmobile/howto/starterkits/default.aspx

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my next phone

Hurray! The specs of my next phone is final and public:
  • 400 Mhz
  • Windows Mobile 5
  • GSM/UMTS/GPRS/802.11b/g/Bluetooth 2.0
  • 64 MB RAM and 128 MB FLASH
  • microSD slot
  • keypad and real wheel jogdial
  • QVGA screen (I wish it was a VGA…)

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Wireless Camera Hunter

We like surveilance cameras, don’t we? Well sort of: Only if we can use them for fun purposes. Dalini sent me the link to this great piece of having-fun-technology:

Wireless Camera Hunter
  • Full range frequency scanning from 900-2520MHz
  • 2.5 Color TFT high resolution monitor
  • Full range video protocol auto switching for PAL/NTSC, CCIR/EIA
  • Dual internal power (4 x AA batteries not included)
  • External power supply
  • Auto and manual scanning mode
  • LCM indicator shows the frequency allocation and setting details
  • Alarm signal out put for more extended applications

Source: http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/dd9000.html

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