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Saturday, January 19, 2008

MP3Editor for Python S60

I found this Russian MP3 Editor that's based on Python S60. It can trim and join MP3 files and even edit some info of the ID tag. I found it very useful when trying to trim music already in the phone to create ringtones. The great thing about it is that it always saves the edited copy without overwriting the original file. I poked around and found the source packaged within so I decided to translate it from Russian into English with some help from Altavista's Babel Fish translator and removed the time wasting splash screen on load.

Things to do if I have the time: Translate the original manual from Russian to English.

Update: (21/1/2008) I have repackaged the files to include the icon. Due to my previous poor handling of the program's UID, please remove all prior versions before installing the latest else you will have duplicate copies of the installed app.

Install BOTH of the following .sis files:

MP3Editor 0.3 English localisation

Python S60 interpreter. Download and install the file PythonForS60_1_4_3_X.SIS where X corresponds to the version of your Symbian OS.

You need to place the MP3 files for editing in E:\Sounds directory in your memory card prior to running the program; the program will quit if it is unable to locate the directory.

The basic keys to crop files are as follows:

Use left soft key for menus and right key to cancel or exit. 1/3: Move start point to right
2: Reset start position
4/6: Move end point to left/right
5: Mark end point at current position
7/8: Adjust timing steps
Up, down keys: Volume control
Left, right keys: Move position mark

Test out the keys and it should be quite obvious what they do. For questions or feedback, post them in the comments of this entry.

After trying this app on some MP3 files, I found that it has some accuracy issues when handling sound files at certain bitrates on my phone. It happens on my Nokia 6120 so I am not sure if this occurs on other Symbian phones. The bug is prevalent when saving a cropped file; it will offset ending mark of the track by a few seconds. The workaround is to manually offset the crop by the amount missing from the track.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Singapore Bus Guide for iPhone and iPod touch

Update: Transit is available in modmyifone installer repository and in the installer repository at potty.peeinmypantz.com. (New site seems to be offline for now)

There is now a free Singapore Bus Guide app for iPhone or iPod touch based on the Singapore Bus Guide data.

Transit is an iPhone native application that functions as Singapore Bus Guide. http://code.google.com/p/iphone-transit/

There is also a Singapore MRT guide for iPhone or iPod Touch.

Unfortunately I don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch to test them out.

Check out the app in this blurry and shaky video:

Symbian programming doodle

I decided to play around with the Carbide.c++ IDE from Nokia during the weekend to mod a few open source apps I found. I used the basic Express version since its free.

Having absolutely no prior programming experience with C++ though I did dabble with very simple C programming stuff, I found that it was quite easy to use the Carbide IDE which is based on the Eclipse IDE. The included tutorials are pretty useless and I think I learnt most of it through trial and error. I never did get far with Palm programming even though it was using the same IDE though.

The first program source I tried out was CMans SaySMS. This is a Flash SMS app where the SMS message will display immediately on the recipient's phone like a nag screen. I had two major nagging problems with this app that need some changing.

First is a cropped icon when viewed in the task manager which I had to compare the SVG graphic file with a Carbide sample app. It took a while before I found it was missing the viewBox attribute. This wouldn't be considered as changing the code since I could have extracted the original sis package and done it without the source. The other irritating thing is that it loads "Hi" as default in the input area and I have to clear it every time. I only had to search for the "Hi" string and remove it. I also tried to find a way to increase the font size for the SMS input text since they were ridiculously small but I couldn't locate the appropriate settings for these.

The next app I tried was horlogeParlante or simply a talking clock. It speaks the time when you press the volume key but the app is in French. This too was quite straightforward as variables used by the author were very clear which made localising it to English an easy task.

You can download my versions here:
Talking Clock
Both are S60 3rd Edition programs.

Note that you will have to sign them with your developer certs in order to install successfully. Since the codes are released freely by the original authors and one is even licensed under GPL, you may request for my source code of the changes by posting your request in the comments. All requests in the comments are moderated and will not be published so you do not need to worry about exposing your email address to spam harvesters.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Using SIM Directory Contacts by default on a Nokia S60 smartphone

Symbian S60 SIM directory screenshotSIMply troublesome

It has been a convenience to store my contacts on the SIM card since this allows me to swap phones without worrying about maintaining consistency of contacts on any make of phone. The way the contact list is stored on the SIM card is standard and any phone is able to access it readily. Having used phones from Motorla, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, I have never encountered any problem with my contacts until I switched to a new Nokia S60 smartphone.

SIM versus Phone contacts

It is good that Nokia have included some basic copy features so you can manage the contacts between the SIM card and phone memory and even backup to the memory card. However they have also deliberately made accessing the phone's memory the default and tucked away the SIM directory access in one of the menus. There is no option to choose whether you want to use the phone or SIM card memory by default; you MUST use phone memory. Nokia probably thinks that forcing us to use the phone's memory to store our contacts is the only way to take advantage of the PIM features of a smartphone which is quite true since it allows more fields to store PIM related data such as addresses, birthday and more phone numbers.

I have searched through a number of Symbian forums and the general consensus is that you cannot run SIM directory as default. There are workarounds which generally requires you to either copy all your contacts over to the phone memory and updating the SIM card's contact list every time you add or delete contacts or go through the menus to reach the SIM directory every time you need to make a call. Other then that, I guess the obvious least troublesome solution is to force yourself to use the phone memory. But there is actually one other way; write a program to load the SIM directory. And that's what I did.

A SIMple solution

Having spent some time playing around with Python for S60, I happened to find out from the developer forums a way to access the Sim directory. The SIM directory is actually a native executable app that can be launched except that there is no icon to load it directly. The code is so trivial and contains only 2 short lines that I am a bit embarrassed to post it here. :P

I have included the SIS which you can install. Python for S60 interpreter is mandatory.

Download Sim Contacts SIS (for S60 3rd Ed)
Download Python for S60 interpreter.
Choose "PythonForS60_1_4_1_3rdEd.SIS" assuming you are using a Symbian S60 3rd Edition phone.

Install both SIS files into your phone memory using PC Suite or other means. After installing, you should see the Sim Contact app in your phone where new apps usually reside. You can then set it to your softbutton or Active standby buttons for quick access.

The drawback to using this is that the SIM directory is only able to perform voice and video calls. There is no direct access to send SMS or messages. This is yet another feature Nokia conveniently omitted.

The storage cost to get this working is quite heavy considering the required Python for S60 package itself is almost one megabyte in size. Somebody with Symbian C++ programming skills would be able to do this more efficiently.

Anyway I hope this app will be useful to somebody.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Freeware for Symbian S60 3rd Ed

Being spoilt for choice with thousands of apps available for the Palm OS platform, its quite a chore to find equally fascinating titles on the Symbian S60 platform. I am a cheapskate who prefers not to spend a dime on software and especially not on a "throwaway" device like a phone. So it was quite frustrating in the beginning when I didn't know what exactly is available and wasted a lot of time searching the web.

After taking a while to become accustomed with my Nokia 6120 Classic and testing a wide selection of free programs, I've decided to make this list which I hope can serve as a starting point for new users of a S60 smartphone device. All the apps listed are legal freeware and native S60 apps. I have personally tried out each one and most have a permanent place in my phone. I have also included it with links so you can easily download the programs and even discover other apps on the respective sites.

Nokia software
Nokia has its own Symbian apps which may not be included on their phones.

Nokia Maps
Free vector maps on your phone with satnav capabilities using GPS. It works well even without GPS.

Nokia Search
Search your phone for almost anything using any keyword.

Nokia Energy Profiler
This program is meant for software development purposes but it can be useful to see if you have any rogue power hungry app installed.

Nokia Beta Lab
Nokia has its own beta lab where it lets users try out some apps they are developing for its phones.

Nokia Device Status
A self-diagnosis tool that allows you to collect detailed system information both from your PC and your S60 device. Your device configuration and phone settings are presented in a neat detailed summary. Available as PC and phone versions.

Nokia Audiobooks
Carry your audiobooks while on the go. The package includes a highly efficient audio compression technology optimized for voice (AMR-WB), a player application for S60 (Nokia Audiobook Player), and an audio converter tool for PC (Nokia Audiobook Manager). Whereas traditional music player applications are optimized for music, Nokia Audiobook Player is optimized for audiobooks, enabling you to browse chapters, set bookmarks, and automatically continue from where you last time stopped listening.

Wellness Diary
Monitor and track a range of everyday well-being parameters, including weight, eating habits, exercise, blood pressure and others. Works as a health journal for you to take an active role in the daily and/or long-term management of your health.
This is not really useful to me since I am not a very fitness conscious person. :P

Enables grouping of messages in a threaded messaging view. I find that it doesn't display the sender names for SMSes received that have the country code prefix.

Third Party Freeware


Playback your DivX or Xvid videos. This is however a limited time version. It has decent playback but still not as polished as Coreplayer. A signup is required at Divx site before you can download but you may be able to find the file hosted elsewhere.

Stream and save Youtube video or play your Flash video (.flv) files stored on your phone. The playback of stored flv video is very smooth and can only get better as the author has been actively improving this app. Now you can watch any lame Youtube video over and over while on that dull commute.


Like emtube that can stream and playback Youtube videos but with nice eyecandy UI like a revolving menu. I prefer emtube to this since I like a simpler no-frills menu and I am not forced to turn my phone sideways just to use the menu. Some N95 users might prefer this though.

Phone tools

Call Filter or CallFilter
Filter your calls with blacklist or whitelists. There happens to be two apps with the same name. The first one you can get free from S60.com after you sign-up and the other one. I have yet to test both out but the former looks a bit more polished and does not have ugly icons.

FreeCaller is an open source symbian application that displays a full screen caller photo on incoming calls. The screen displays a pre-attached full scale photo of the caller, its name and phone number.

Kaywa reader
Read those mobile barcodes with this app. It supports decoding and showing the text directly on the screen without connecting to the Net. This is one of the better readers since it can decode QR codes.

Capture screenshots of your phone. This app supports hotkey activation with the "C" or camera button so works well on my 6120c.

Send Flash SMS, an SMS message that pops up on your recipient's phone immediately. It is good for that one off blasts to a friend. It lacks integration with the built-in SMS app and loads with the word "Hi," which is quite annoying since you'll need to clear it every time you don't want to start out with that salutation.

SMS Export
Export your SMS to text files on your phone. Good for creating backups if you hate to sync with Nokia PC Suite.

Theme Scheduler and Profile Scheduler
From the developer of the excellent free file manager Y-browser comes these two scheduler apps for theme and profiles. You can now change themes and profiles as often as you like automatically.

Total Patrol

Nokia left out the missed call/sms alert feature. Now you never have to miss another call/message with this app.

Python for S60

Develop programs with the efficient Python programming language. This is an excellent rapid application development environment to create working apps with little effort.


I am not a religious fanatic but its nice to see a Bible on a phone. As usual, the more mainstream Bible versions like NIV and NKJV are not free but there are free ones available.

Biblereader screenshotMobipocket screenshotPydict screenshot
Biblereader, Mobipocket & Pydict

Mobipocket Reader and Qreader
Mobipocker reader is an elegant ebook reader and has better support especially ebooks purchased from its site. But Qreader offers more configurable options and find features. Install and use both if in doubt.

A dictionary running on Python for S60. So far free dictionaries on the S60 are quite hard to find.


Flash Lite 3
This version is a beta release. I hardly use it since I have no need for Flash apps. However I find this is very neat as Palm OS doesn't even have that capability.

GnuBox is useful if you don't have unlimited 3G/GPRS or a free Wifi enabled phone but want to surf the web via BT to your PC's internet connect sharing. The setup is quite a challenge but worthwhile once it works.

Gnubox screenshotFlash Lite 3 screenshot
Gnubox & Flash Lite 3

Tools and Utilities

Display a nice big clock when your phone goes into screensaver or powersaver mode. Very configurable and low power footprint. I never wear a watch; this is my watch.

Add a bit more calculation function with this simple scientific calculator with basic programmable conversion functions. Now you can log and root your digits.

Some Nokia phones do not allow you to shut off the shutter sound for the camera for discrete photo taking. This camera app allows you to do that.

A calculator with a gorgeous UI with simple and easy input. It is similar to the calculator found in Motorola phones where the four main operators are entered with the D-pad. If you need to perform fast calculations without a running list like the default Nokia calculator, you will love this.

Active notes
Create notes and embed objects like photos, audio and videos.

Y-Browser plus all plugins
This is by far the best explorer app to manage your files on your phone.


Frozen Bubble
A Puzzle Bubble clone. 100 levels of gameplay. Its a great time waster and is quite easy to complete.


An old Nokia classic game revamped in gorgeous 3D gameplay. Hours of fun to complete 42 puzzle levels in great music and sound.

The Snakes is a whole new level based world of gameplay, containing over 40 stages of complex mazes with colorful and brilliant 3D graphics, not to mention the impressive gameplay generated soundscapes. Quick reflexes are needed in making those sharp turns and collecting scattered power-ups, shields, teleporters, and other specialities.
Final notes

This is a non exhaustive list of freeware I have found. I may omit and include more apps in future as I discover them. If you have any good freeware to share, do post a comment.