Category Archives: Mobile Devices

Mobile Devices

Who made the .mobi domain so long?

I have been examining how I use ‘tinternet on my phone more and more over the last few months. Ownership of the N95 really has altered how I view the web, and also how I use it. I have read a couple of posts recently regarding the good (contains harsh language) and the bad of the mobile web. Most of the issues I have revolve around the limited user control I have through the phone, in particular this makes text entry difficult. So why add insult to injury by making the .mobi domain one of the longest top level domain extensions for a user to enter? Just a thought.

Bill Perry presentation availible for download, Creating and Selling Your Mobile Flash Content

Bill Perry has posted a very interesting presentation, the subject is Creating and Selling Your Mobile Flash Content. You can down load the presentation from Bills Site.

Creating and Selling Your Mobile Flash Content

I also noticed Bill has a document linked at the very top of his site, under the banner “Addressable devices for developers“.

Detecting Screen Rotation in Nokia N95 Browser

Continuing my work with Web Development for Mobile Phones and other Devices I updated my very simple early FlashLite 2 tests that I showed on in screen shots on my N95.

In those posts I discussed the problem of detecting screen rotation detection on the Nokia N95. I could not get the FlashLite player to register a change in Stage size when switching from portrait to landscape viewing modes. I have since added a little JavaScript function that I thought might be able to detect this change in lieu of the FlashPlayer not working.

Unfortunately all methods I have attempted so far to register a change in orientation have failed. The browser does not seem to support the onResize event which I assumed would provide the answer. This limitation appears similar to information I have found from iPhone web developers that have encountered similar issues.

SmugBlog Makes Reference to it on there site. There is also a couple of links to a Framework that provides a work around of sorts using an interval.

joehewitt, the developer responsible for the facebook I belive, has published the iUI as a google code project.

In addition to the resize problem it seems that the FlashLite 2 player within the browser does not offer support for the FlashVars parameter of the Embed and Object tags, it also does not appear to support appending variables on the SWF path name. These limitations would not allow values to be passed into the SWF file at run time.

A final test I performed was to export my test movie not as FlashLite content, but rather as Flash Player 6 and Flash Player 7 content with ActionScript 2 support. The thinking behind this was that this would offer me some lowest common denominator for publishing mobile flash content on a broad range of devices. Sony’s PSP of course uses the Flash Player 6 as its platform while Nintendo’s Wii uses the Flash Player 7. Both versions of the file ran within the FlashLite 2 Player. Although no the IDE did complain about using FlashLite specific FSCommand2 functions. In addition there was some issues with the image loader in the Flash Player 6 version of the swf when loaded by the FlashLite 2 player, the image was rotated through -90 degrees for some reason.

Developing Applications and Sites Accessible from Mobile Devices

Recently a large portion of my time has revolved around development for Mobile and Devices. This has predominantly been focused on FlashLite version 1.1 and also some FlashLite 2 or FlashLite 2.1 . This new area of development, and also the purchase of a Nokia N95 has bought a new appreciation of the requirements for more content that is accessible from mobile phones and also other mobile devices, for example the PSP. As part of the re-design of this blog I have begun to experiment with mobile and device specific web and application development.

The first step was pretty easy. Taking this blog mobile. Because Blog.bittube.com is published using the WordPress the first thing I did was to look for a plug in. I only found one. which rather surprised me. You can get it here.

WordPress Mobile Edition

I am no PHP master (neophyte even), but what this seems to do is to re-theme the site in a more Mobile Friendly manner. Removing all the gloss and leaving a rather inelegant simple text list version. As a result of this I began to hack around at some thing that might be a little kinder on the eyes, while still working on more limited devices. This is still very much a work in progress but I hope to find time to continue these experiments to a more complete result.

Screen shot of the current development of a mobile version of blog.bittube.com

mobile.bittube.com/blog

Is the first attempt at providing a mobile and device specific theme and presentation for my blog. The theme is very closely based on the PlainText theme, All I have done so far is to any ‘extra’ blog decorations in an attempt to learn more about CSS and XHTML,my how HTML has changed since I trotted off in my new fangled FutureWave Splash spurs all those year ago ;).

To finish this post Here are a set of links that I have dug up and Found useful as I have begun investigating development for mobile and devices further.

* I have been using fire fox to test some content in lieu of my N95, its just quicker and easier than testing on device ALL the time. In order to do this, I have simply used the User Agent Name of Nokia, this seems to be sufficient for testing. However if you need the full user agent string for the Nokia N95 then the consensus seems to be:

Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.2; U; Series60/3.1 NokiaN95/10.0.010; Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 )
AppleWebKit/413 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/413

A break down of an example of this user agent string can be found over at allaboutsymbian.com the breat down is at the bottom of the page in the ‘Flash and User agents’ section.

Using the N95 as a Bluetooth Modem on OS X

I wanted to take full advantage of my T-Mobile Web ‘n Walk package on the move by using my shiny new N95 as a 3G BlueTooth Modem for my MacBook Pro. I had to hunt around for a few bits and pieces for this to work so thought I would Collate them here, both for when I need to re-find them, and for others that may also want use there N95 as a G3 modem.

  1. Download the Nokia 3G Modem Scripts from Ross Barkman’s Home Page the scripts that I used are listed as Scripts for Nokia 3G (EDGE/UMTS) phones and can be found here Nokia 3g modem scripts
  2. The download does include instructions on use in a read me but for completeness… Unpack the .sit file and copy or move the files named “Nokia 3G CID1″and “Nokia 3G CID2” to your “Library:Modem Scripts” folder on your MacBook Pro
  3. Next pair your device to your Mac. Make sure your N95 has bluetooth switched on, then in the System Preferences > Bluetooth panel select the devices tab, hit “Set Up New Device…”.
    Hit continue on the first information screen.
    Select that you are planning to pair to a Mobile Phone and continue, the search should begin
    Once you have your N95 showing up hit continue.
  4. Your Mac will look take a shor time to look for information on your N95’s bluetooth services and then ask you to enter a Passkey into the N95. You will then be shown the following screen.

    bluetooth_setup_1.jpg

  5. Ensure you select to “Access the Internet with your phones data connection. Also select the option to “Use a direct, higher speed connection to reach your Internet Service Provider (GPRS, 1xRTT)”. You will then be shown the following screen.

    bluetooth_setup.jpg

  6. I collected the user details again from Ross Barkman’s Home Page, he has a lot of information for other service providers but it took the information relevant to T-Mobile in the UK and the Web ‘n Walk Package I am using. I did try the “Nokia 3G CID2” modem script but had that did not seem to connect via the N95. Instead I use the “Nokia 3G CID1″modem script
  7. Once you have completed this step you should see a confirmation screen and a little phone icon appears in your status bar (assuming you asked for it to be displayed).

    connect_icon.jpg

    When you want to use your N95 to connect simply click the little phone, select the connection you have just created and then click connect. You may need to authorise the use of the N95 on the device. If all has gone well when you connect and select “Open Internet Connect…” from the menu you should see something like this.

    bluetooth_connect.jpg

One thing I have noticed when using the N95 as a 3G modem is that images on the web seem to have an additional level of compression applied to them.

To make the whole connect seamless in future it you can set your MacBook Pro to be an Authorised Device on your N95. this is done in the “Tools > Bluetooth >Paired Devices” tab on the N95. Select your MacBook Pro and in the menu select “Set as authorised”. Now when you try and connect you will not be asked to allow the connection.

This is a minor thing that I have not worried about, how this extra compression would affect video streaming or VIOP I am unsure. If anyone knows what causes this then it would be great to know how to fix this….

Nokia N95 FlashLite 2 Browser Support Screen Shots

Following my initial post last night detailing some of the player information of the FlashLite 2 support in the N95 web browser, and also one of the issues. I thought I would take a quick look at the files from last night with fresh eyes over lunch. I have included a couple of screen shots to show the rotate issue more clearly. The page that is in these screen shots is at the following location.

http://www.bittube.com/flashlite/index.html

In the file I am simply reporting to screen the Player version, the stage width and height, and then also loadin an image thumbnail from my new gallery of animal themed photography

The bottom 2 fields are reporting the FlashLite players fscommand2("GetFreePlayerMemory") and fscommand2("GetTotalPlayerMemory")

In the first screen the FlashLite movie from this URL loads has loaded in the Vertical page format at a resolution of 240×320 (wxh).

Nokia N95 FlashLite 2 Browser Support

In the second screen shot below the browser has been rotated into its horizontal format. This operation does not seem to cause the Stage.onResize event to fire, and the flash movie still reports a resolution of 240×320 (wxh).

Nokia N95 FlashLite 2 Horizontal Browser Support

A side effect of this rotation of the flash movie is that it seems to get scaled down in order to view it in the new format. This means the text becomes unreadable. Very frustrating.

The N95 does support JavaScript in its browser, next step i suppose is to see if that can be used to detect the change in format.

Useful Flash Lite Development Tool

For those of you that are developing Flash Lite applications and games you will be well aware of the issues of Memory leaks in the Flash lite player. One area where this can occur is in the creation of “crossed references”. These result in objects that are effectively locked as far as Garbage Collection is concerned, and so result in memory ‘leaking’ over time.

Continue reading Useful Flash Lite Development Tool

Further Flash Development for PSP

So over the long weekend I spent some more time plugging away on the PSP version of my portfolio site. And despite my best efforts I have stumbled on an issue that continues to upset the PSP version of the flash player�s limited memory.

First a little background to the site. The first version of the site was a journey into a completely code generated flash movie. That is to say, every possible aspect would be generated using ActionScript 2. The rational being to learn some more about the Draw API and also get clarify the ideas of OOP and MVC that i had heard so much about all over the web, but had yet to apply to flash properly. That first development has also offered a great focus for development in terms of learning Flash 8 and more recently both Flash 9 or Action Script 3 and now this latest version for the PSP version of the flash player.

Continue reading Further Flash Development for PSP

Portable Apps Updates and Links.

This morning while burning a little time I did a quick scan over the Portable Application I have been carrying around with me on my USB drive and did a quick compare with the latest versions that are available. PortableApps.com carries allot of the Portable Apps that I use but not all of them so this is what I “wax my stick” with right now.

  • KeyPass – This is a password manager that runs very nicely from a USB Key; It�s just recently been updated to v1.05. One lovely thing this Free Portable App allows is the ability to attach and encrypt files into the password file. So it also acts as a bit of a back up program as well 🙂
  • Portable FireFox – No real description required here, other than to say I find there are some key extensions worth using with Portable FireFox from USB. Sage, MozImage and Calendar. I like them just because I don�t have to install alternative, RSS readers, Image Viewers or the Portable SunBird. Simple really.
  • Portable ThunderBird – Again it�s a no brainer, a great free Portable email client. And now available with. OpenPGP/GPG Support. See now? KeyPass is an ideal place to store your PGP Keys 😀
  • Portable AmbiWord – This got updated to v2.4.4 and I missed it. I have had compatibility issues with some of the styling, but it�s a useful word replacement all the same, and not as bulky as Portable OpenOffice
  • Portable ClamWin – This is an Portable version of the Open Source Antivirus/Virus Scanner and has just been updated to v0.88.2.3
  • Portable FileZilla – Portable FTP Application, now on v2.2.23a
  • NotePad++ – Great portable NotePad Replacement, also great code editing tool. Plus it has native Support for ActionSctipt Syntax Highlighting. Bonus.
  • Portable Gaim – Portable version of the Gaim chat client. It has been updated to v1.5, also there is a test for Portable Gaim v2.0. Gaim has support for all the major networks. The more Security conscious of you may be interested in how you can also se SimpLite from USB as well
  • Ifran View – Ok when I recommended MozImage I said I didn�t need another image viewer, not entirely true as Mozimage only does Web Image formats. Ifran view does pretty much EVERY Format.
  • IZArc – This compression tool can be installed and then copied to a USB Key to run portably. Alternatively….
  • hjZip – can just be unzipped to your USB to be run
  • Foxit PDF Reader – Does what you would expect. A Portable PDF Application

And just because I like to think I am security more inclined(/paranoid) I also make use of these additional Portable Apps

  • SimpLite – This is a chat proxy that allows your Chat conversations to be encrypted. Not a true portable App, but I have found a way to run it in a portable manner. Instructions Here
  • Blowfish Advanced CS – I use this mainly for cleaning up after myself on any given system, it has up to 35 pass data deletion. In addition it is a nice quick way of encrypting files if the need ever arises
  • TorPak – This is a modified Portable FireFox that automatically runs a Tor Privoxy to mask/anonomise your web browsing I.P. This has the added benefit of bypassing some web filtering software that gets run.
  • TrueCrypt – TrueCrypt is a great encryption utility that offers mountable encrypted files/drive. The portable aspect comes from the traveler mode that this program offers

couple of links….

PortableApps.com

Also this Blog has a great set of Freeware application Alternatives.