Posts Tagged ‘windowsmobile’

Apps I install on my phones

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I noticed a thread running on Jason Langridge’s blog about “What are the first 10 applications you install on your phone?“, and thought I’d join in.

As always, conciseness is not my strong point – instead of trying to figure out which would be the first ten apps I’d install, I’ve ended up listing all the Windows Mobile apps I use regularly. (Ah well, if nothing else, it’ll be useful to have all the links in one place the next time I have to hard-reset one of my devices!)

I’ve tried to sort the list roughly in order of how much I use the apps.


Capturing Bluetooth events in Windows Mobile

Friday, May 30th, 2008

I wrote on Sunday about writing Bluetooth code for Windows Mobile for a location-based reminder app I hacked together.

At the time, I wrote about two main approaches for finding nearby Bluetooth devices:

  • searching for discoverable devices
  • registering for notifications for when paired devices connect and

For the location-based reminder app, I went with the first approach, and played with how to search for discoverable devices.

This afternoon, I tried out the other way – writing an app that registers with the OS for connect and disconnect notifications from paired devices.


Writing C++ code to run from C# for .NET Compact Framework

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

I mentioned earlier that I decided to write a DLL in C++ to invoke from my C# app for Windows Mobile. I’d not done this before, so thought I’d jot down a few quick notes about it.

I found a few detailed articles about this on MSDN that made for a good introduction to the topic:

There is a ton of information in these articles, so there isn’t much to add. Instead, I’ll give a quick, high-level overview.


Programmatically searching for nearby Bluetooth devices in Windows Mobile from C#

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

As part of my plan to write a location-based reminder app using Bluetooth devices, I need a way to know what bluetooth devices are near me.

I’ve not done any Bluetooth development before, so I’ve had to learn a few new bits and pieces tonight.


Custom properties in Outlook Mobile

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

As part of my plan to write a location-based reminder app using Bluetooth devices, I need a way to assign tasks to people, and people to specific Bluetooth device IDs.

I’ve decided to do this using custom properties in Outlook Mobile – the default PIM that comes on all Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs.

I’ve not used this API before, but after a little playing, I’m impressed with how straightforward it all is.

The idea is that items in the Outlook Mobile PIM have pre-defined properties – so Contacts have fields such as ‘First Name’, or ‘Postcode’. But you can programmatically add new fields, and then store whatever you want in them.

For my purposes, I can add a “Bluetooth Device IDs” property to Contact items in my address book. I can also add pointers to Contact items to Task items in my to do list.

As this is just meant as a quick hack / proof-of-concept, I’m doing this in C#. The code looks something like this:


Writing a Bluetooth-based location-based reminder app

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

My bad back means that I’ve not spent too much time writing code for the past week or two. Tonight, I’m in the mood to try and hack something together.

I should probably try and do some work on my CurrentCost setup – now that I’ve got the new home server connected to the CurrentCost meter, I could write a script to start collecting data and do something with it.

But that can wait for another night – for tonight, I want to get back to doing something mobile.

One idea that I’ve had kicking around since last month is a location-based reminder app based around people – using Bluetooth as a way to know who is near you.

The idea was to have an application which lets you assign tasks in your Tasks list to Bluetooth device IDs for mobile phones and laptops. Then, when your phone sees that Bluetooth Device, it could remind you about that task.

For example, I could know that I want to talk to Will about a particular project. I can put this in my To Do list, but unless I’m actually looking at my To Do list when Will is around, it’s not very helpful.

But with this app, I set my To Do list to remind me to talk to him about it the next time I am near him – the next time his phone and/or laptop is within Bluetooth range, my mobile can prompt me with an alarm.


But, I like transcoding!

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

screenshot - Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMobile transcoding – services which turn a webpage into something better suited for a mobile web browser – is an often contentious topic. It’s a topic which has come up several times recently, and at best people will begrudgingly describe it as a necessary temporary evil.

Don’t get me wrong – it hasn’t been without problems. It has been used in inappropriate ways, and I know web-developers whose sites have been broken by poor (and inflicted!) uses of mobile transcoding.

But as a practical, day-to-day tool – I kinda like it.

I started using Google’s transcoder (GWT) because when you use the mobile version of Google’s RSS reader, any links you click on are transcoded by GWT for you. And I find it very useful.

It creates efficient pages which render well in Pocket Internet Explorer. Plus it stops my phone trying to download some ridiculously large webpages over GPRS (argh… curse web-developers who have 1MB webpages on the front of your sites!).

It also adds a link to any RSS feeds it finds in a page at the top – clicking on which will take you to the feed in Google Reader (my RSS reader of choice at the moment), from where you can subscribe to the feed. (Slightly roundabout, but the only way I know to subscribe to new feeds from Google Reader Mobile).

I like.

But it’s a bit of a faff getting a page transcoded by GWT if you aren’t already given a link to a transcoded page. So (in the tiny window between tonight’s screaming fits… gah – when will the baby start sleeping through the night?!) I added a new tool to my set of Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE) extensions: one that will re-open the current page using Google mobile transcoder.


Mobile translation – an unfinished hack!

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Fourth of the random ideas for Over The Air hacks – a mobile service that lets you translate foreign text that you come across from your mobile phone.

The plan was to:

  • reuse some old code from last year to control my cameraphone and take a picture
  • upload the image to LeadTools, using their OCR web service to get the text back from the picture
  • translate the text into English using the Google translate API web service
  • display the English text on the phone screen

Unfortunately, too much time spent drinking beer, listening to talks, and generally slacking, meant that I didn’t finish this one.

But I thought it still might be interesting to share my experiences with the LeadTools service.