Monday, August 06, 2007

Now thats punishment

"Police chiefs in the Thai capital, Bangkok, have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules - an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband."

I bet this gonna reduce the number of minor infractions drastically. :).

read the complete article here

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Flashcode: 2D barcodes in France

The flashcode service has launched in France. Flashcode(s) are basically Datamatrix barcodes that allow a user ( from SFR, Orange or Bouygues telecom) to scan the flashcode and access content situated in the Gallery portal of the carriers.

More info in french:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Intro Greeting on Tmobile's Caller Tunes

I have been playing around with Caller tunes on my phone and have had only a few complains so far about the sound quality of the music. Bet the quality will improve eventually. Found something new while managing my tunes on the Tmobile website: "Intro Greeting". This is a 5 second piece that i can record and personalize and will play before my the caller tune starts. Hopefully, this should decrease the confusion to the Un initiated ppl who call me and hang up immediately thinking it was the wrong number.

Well, the intro greeting is something interesting but I am still looking for a way to record my own caller tune or upload a mp3 from my personal collection... common T-mobile... lets take personalization to the next level.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Shopping by cellphone has a few kinks

Found this interesting review of cell phone shopping services by ANDREW D. SMITH
on Read the original post here. Services compared include Frucall, Scanbuy Shopper, Mobsaver, Froogle and Pronto. I cannot agree more with Andrew on the status of mobile shopping sites. Here is an excerpt from his post:
" Barcode-based services such as Frucall Inc. always return the right product – except when they don't return anything, which is often. Enter the barcode from a wine bottle or a cocktail dress, and they'll probably fail."
Barcode based search can be extremely affective for certain types of products like Books, Media (CD's, DVD's etc) and also consumer electronics like cameras, printers etc... but it ends there. Most of the mobile services are mashups and rely on existing shopping engines like Amazon for their data. The type of products mentioned above are tagged in these engines using the UPC values or ISBN numbers and that makes it easy to locate them and provide exact information to the user. There aren't a lot of API's out there that provide access to info on Cocktail dresses... specially since the UPC values for clothes are recycled ever so often. This is where services like could come into the picture. Like a dress at Macy's, snap a pic from your phone and the phone will show u similar dresses in the Marshalls across the street. Another issue plaguing the barcode is the absence of boxes on the store shelves, all u see is the Code 128 barcode on the label identifying the SKU not the UPC of the product. The UPC is almost always missing.

So... will mobile shopping eventually make it big... it will.. but there is still a long way to go. The final result would be a combination of barocde, text (keywords) and picture search that would not only provide the user price comparison but complete piece of mind in terms of reviews, specs etc. Another advantage that the mobile shopping service will leverage is location based shopping...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Has Open-Source Lost its Halo?

Found this interesting article on PC World about where the open source movement is heading or seems to be heading. Kinda makes you think ... doesnt it???

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ECMAScript Mobile Profile: Client Side Scripting for WAP pages

ECMAScript is a scripting programming language, standardized by Ecma International in the ECMA-262 specification. The language is widely used on the web, and is often referred to as JavaScript or JScript, after the two primary implementations of the specification. (More info on Wikipedia)

I had read about the support by WAP browsers for ECMA script Mobile Profile or ECMA MP (ESMP) about a year back but there werent many phones out there that had these browsers. The number of models with browser support for ECMA script has shot up quiet significantly since then. This makes it more interesting. I would love to be able to prompt the user about a wrong entry in a form without making a expensive (in terms of time) connection back to the server.

I searched around for documentation and samples on ESMP but couldnt find a lot of information. The best place to start would be the Sprint Developer Site, they do have a bunch of examples and tutorials to get you started. Sprint also has quiet a few handsets out that support ESMP. Search for ECMA in the documents section on the developer site. Nokia too has a document explaining the ESMP script but I did not find it useful. OMA website has a PDF that explains the whole shabang: OMA-WAP-ESMP-V1_0-20040709-C.pdf.

Detecting phones with ECMA Script Support.
I guess the easiest way is to check the HTTP Accept header of the request for 'text/ecmascript' mime type.
boolean bECMASupported = false;
accept = request.getHeader("accept");

if (accept != null && !accept.equals("") && !accept.equals("*/*")){
index = accept.indexOf("text/ecmascript");

if(-1 != index){
bECMASupported = true;

I tried out client side validation with a simple length check on a form field. I am including the XHTML code below:

Screenshots of how the page looks and behaves on a Samsung A900 included here.

This stuff is really cool. ESMP might not make a big dent as Javascript is already supported on a bunch of smartphones and also the new Nokia Web browser for 3rd edition handsets but on "vanilla" handsets, it could provide an edge to the WAP applications.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Scan Commerce: K- Merce

Check out the adverts on You tube about barcode scanning technology in use in Korea. The barcodes being used by KTF in Korea are the intercodes provided by Iconlab.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Scanbuy and Nokia

SCANBUY Signs Global Partnership Agreement with Nokia to Provide Mobile Marketing Software on Handsets.

"The Scanbuy technology will allow users of the Nokia S60 and S40 handsets to recognize and decode barcodes on products, media and advertising and to link directly to content and services from their handsets."

We are so getting close to the "My Barcode Scanner" application on mobile phones every where and not only in Japan.

CNET Mobile: Reviews and Prices from your cell phone

Played around with the CNET Wap site: Pretty cool, you now have the powerful reviews on techie products right in the palm of ur hand. The WAP site is simple and relatively well made. It allows you to access information available on the CNET website through a simple naviagation scheme.

The compare prices section also allows you to enter your zip code and then displays the pricing along with the taxes and shipping.

I initially got interested in the CNET shopping service after reading about the launch at Next Generation Shopping. They have recently launched an API (Beta) for accessing 3 of their sites. Integrating the API into existing applications sounds cool due to the type of products these sites carry. Check out the CNET API

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Orkut goes Mobile: SMS a Scrap

Just got this off Google's blog:

"orkut SMS will become available to orkut members in Brazil who use Claro as their mobile service provider."
"So next time you want to scrap your friend Sergio about a party, just text message orkut with "scrap Sergio it's party time man!"

Users in Brazil using the Claro service will now be the first to try out Orkut through SMS. If it works there, then the rest of us mortal soles will get to use it too.

Was checking out another application from GetJar yesterday that launched the browser and used the tinyURL service to open the orkut WAP page. SMS is a nice step but i would love to see a WAP site come up for Orkut. hmmm... this gives me ideas...

Note to self: Find out if Orkut has a developer API?

Official Google Blog: SMS on orkut

Saturday, January 27, 2007

iMapia: Mapping Application

"iMapia is a mobile mapping application designed specifically for mobile devices. It enables you to get maps, driving directions and local points of interest such as banking, restaurants, shopping centers etc., directly from your cell phone, Treo, Blackberry or other Java enabled mobile devices. iMapia is free to individual users"

A free application with Maps???... how does it compare to Google Maps ??? ... what got me really interested in the application was the "real" cost of using the app in terms of data service charges. Get the complete description here.

The data presentation is pretty good in terms of maps. I couldnt get the directions to work at the time I was playing with the app but the maps came out all right and fast too. Was using a Moto L7 on Cingular's network. I do think this application will work fine on Sprint PCS handsets too specially since they are using High level controls.

Maps look strikingly similar to the ones available from Maporama... wonder who they are using as their provider.

All in all a neat application.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

NY Times: An article on ordinary phones and the apps they can run.

"You might just be carrying around a poor man’s BlackBerry — minus the keyboard."

Read this interesting article in todays NY Times: Plain Cellphones Overachieve, With a Little Help. It provides commentary on the current situation mobile applications space and what a user can expect from his or her ordinary phone.

The part I loved was that Mr Magid mentioned a number of applications from smaller or lesser known companies along with offcourse the bigger (read huge) ones.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Windows Live Search for Mobile

Windows Live Search is available for both Java and windows based devices. The stress seems to be in providing location based data to the user bundled into a neat UI. The search is very powerful, I havent been able to check out Yahoo Go yet but I was blown away by the results from Windows Live search. The maps are awesome ... they really are. I have been a fan of the google maps app but the Windows live search now takes the first spot. This is truely an application that I would love to use regularly.. well not the J2ME version but the windows mobile version.

Tried it out on a windows mobile 5.0 ppc and it works awesome with a verizons connection. Would love to see how the app performs on TMobile's network with a similar phone :). The j2me version is pretty neat but they could have done a much better job with the UI. The Map screen is the best (very similar to google) but the other screens are ... not what I expected from Microsoft.

Try it out for yourself, download the app here:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Came across this from Lifehacker. Pretty neat service for people who actively manage wish lists. I dont... so really cannot appreciate the value. The thing that got me interested is the use of SMS to get prices.

All in all the wish list synchronization feature seems to work pretty well, atleast they good reviews over the web. Might be a site to look at in the future.

Loved the About section on their website.

Almost every website these days has a mobile presence. SMS implementations are everywhere and the bigger ones also have WAP sites... I wonder how many people are actually using the SMS service on these sites? Why would I wait for minute to get minimal info? hmmm... need to think on this.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yahoo ! Go 2.0

Was all gung ho about trying out the Yahoo ! Go 2.0 service. They support a limited number of phones and I guess I spent a little more time getting the Samsung A900 :(... Will just have to wait till their beta slot opens up.

The features look awesome on the website ... cant wait to try the application out.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Gmail for your phone

Just downloaded and played around with the gmail j2me application on the Fusic. Looks awesome, just like the web version. Couple it up with Sprint's network on the fusic... its a real sweet experience.

Though, I would have liked the ability to use the application when I am not in network coverage like the subway. The application keeps connecting to the server... :(... so ... its really not much of a use to me. If I have to stay connected while using the applcation then why wouldnt I just use the WAP site... hmmm.. but another solid application from the google mobile team, love the ui: neat and simple.

Friday, January 12, 2007

scanR Applications

Found a couple of applications (downloadable) for scanR on GetJar. The scanR website does not mention any downloadable applications or at least I couldn't find any information.

It is interesting that they are coming out with apps for 2 platforms: Symbian (3rd edition) and Windows Mobile. I haven't played with the apps as yet but will do as soon as I can get the right device. From the screen shots it looks like an application that scans the images directory on the phone and list all the images out. The user then selects the image and sends it over to the server. But screen shots can be misleading so will write more once I play with the application.

I remember talking to a scanR rep in CTIA last year about them thinking of putting an application on the phone to make the whole process easier. I believe they were also targeting BREW at that time. To me, you cant get any simpler than a MMS. Having the end user download the application can be a pain.

To me having a downloadable application makes sense if they do some sort of processing on the phone before sending the image out. A sort of Triage of the image. Another reason could be to allow the user to shoot pictures from within the application... though I am not sure this approach would work, you get good results from scanR only if you have a decent resolution. Most of the programming platforms do allow the app to access the camera but the resolutions returned are usually lower than the native camera app.

Addition (From Noah):
Download the applications for Palm, Windows and Symbian here: