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

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

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/

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

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/

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!

Bild 1

“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

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

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

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/

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

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.

Photo-0071

The interior.

Photo-0072

Handy.

Photo-0074

Now it’s a mobile phone…

Photo-0073

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

Photo-0080

E.g. the mentioned “Spiderman”.

Jens Heymann

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

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

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

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/

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

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

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/

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.

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/

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)

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

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

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

the world championship live…in your telnet terminal…

When you don’t have the chance to watch the football world championship live on tv, you can watch it on a very nerdy way: ascii-art telnet livestream.

You cannot deny the similarities to the actual tv picture…but you need to be very nerdy and/or very desperate to watch it this way…

Source: http://www.ascii-wm.net/#

ActiveSync 4.2 beta preview available…

As of this weekend the beta version of ActiveSync 4.2 is available for download.

“Microsoft ActiveSync provides a great synchronization experience with Windows powered PCs and Microsoft Outlook right out of the box. ActiveSync acts as the gateway between your Windows powered PC and Windows Mobile powered device, enabling the transfer of Outlook information, Office documents, pictures, music, videos and applications from your desktop to your device. In addition to synchronizing with a desktop PC, ActiveSync can synchronize directly with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 so that you can keep your e-mail, Calendar, Notes, and Contacts updated wirelessly when you’re away from your PC.”

No change-log so far. So please try for yourself on a non-production machine with a non-production Windows Mobile device. Thank you.

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/downloads/activesync42.mspx