Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Java Mobile Dictionary

A Mobile Dictionary application allows you to carry around a digital equivalent of a heavy hardbound dictionary in your pocket with the  luxury to look up any word, at any time you feel like it.

There are quite a few mobile dictionary applications out there, and surprisingly, a good number of java mobile dictionary apps too, but most of these high quality apps come at a nominal price.

I use Collin's Dictionary on my K800i and I think it's simply brilliant. It contains a large number of words, and the dynamic search feature that searches instantaneously as you type is a huge plus.
It also shows related words, synonyms, and antonyms, which makes it easier to remember the meaning of a particular word.
There are also audio pronunciations available, but I don't think they'll work on my phone, or a majority of other lower end handsets. But other than that, the app is perfect for quickly fishing out and looking up a word on the go.

Collin's Dictionary


Or if you're just looking for a quick free fix, there are Free Mobile Dictionary downloads available too.
I've collected a few of them here:

Aard Dictionary
A simple dictionary. It also functions as an offline reader for Wikipedia pages... clever.

Arcus Dictionary
With over 165000 words defined, this is the best a free alternative can get. It also has dynamic search, which is a more than welcome feature in a free mobile dictionary app.

 Foolish Dictionary
If you are not serious about learning the language but are just looking for a fun app, then this might be a good contender. Based on a book by Gideon Wurdz of the same name, this app contains witty and sarcastic comments about common words. Not recommended for your English test though..

Internet Radio for Java mobile phones

'More people listen to internet radio than satellite radio'

This is a true fact. Once you get the hang of it, most of you will find Internet radio more appealing. Why? Mostly because of the possibilities. There are literally millions of Internet radio stations out there, and new ones are popping up every day.
I find myself falling asleep to the ambient sounds of some classical station, or laughing myself to sleep with some stand-up comedy station playing in the background most of these nights.

You can listen to these stations in your mobile phone too. And this is where I envy the hell out of the nokia phones. Because they come equipped with a mobile internet radio client, but the sad fact is that a large part of the population is not aware of this fact!

When you are on a non-Nokia Java phone, you don't have a lot of options, the application support is limited. And though you can just go search for 'internet radio' and it returns you a dozen results, most of them wont be useful or won't work.

I've found over the years two Java Internet Radio Applications that I'm content with.

1. VirtualRadio / VRadio

My favorite of the lot and it also offers the most number of stations ( more than 1500!). The interface is simple and channels are spread across channel groups making it easier to find them.
It plays really fast with little or no buffering in between. I found no breaks in playing while being on a plain GPRS connection (with no EDGE). that is fast! Don't expect much audio quality though, it's Internet Radio.
The high bandwidth stations have a decent playback quality, though they'll require a faster data connection.

download VRadio

2. RadioBee

I used to be a RadioBee user before finding VRadio. Not that there is anything wrong with it, VRadio just kind of grew on me. The channel list is somewhat limited, but RadioBee provides you with a neat settings menu (an option absent altogether in VRadio), where you can add your own stations from the internet if you know the url.

download RadioBee

Cell Phone Benchmark

Simply put, a 'Benchmark' is a reference mark something is measured against.
 The original Benchmarks were reference marks made on a workbench to measure the length of stuff like lumber, etc. So you can see where that word comes from.

Benchmark applications are used to measure and give a performance rating for various machines like computers, processors, etc.

Benchmark applications are available for mobile phones also. While there are many benchmark tools out there, the standard one (or the 'benchmark one', if you will), is without doubt, JBenchmark.

JBenchmark allows you to measure the performance of your mobile phone with upto 86 subtests, spread across 6 categories :

- 2D Graphics
- 3D Graphics
- Composite Performance
- CPU & Logic
- User Experience
- JVM Analytics

Moreover, it has an active community of enthusiasts bent on topping each other's scores. You can upload your device's score to the community for others to see (if it isn't too embarrassing)

More than comparing with others, I've found that keeping a record of your scores can indicate drops in performance over time. You can tweak your device keeping an eye on the benchmark scores to improve performance. This is such an amazing troubleshooting tool, and a lifesaver in many cases.

JBenchmark official site

Face Warp

Surely this is one of the most memorable Java applications ever. If you're into mobile phones and mobile phone apps, there's a fair chance that you might have already heard about FaceWarp.

FaceWarp is simply a cool way to have fun with your mobile phone camera. Trust me, it's a great way to kill time, especially on an exam's eve.

Just launch the application and point your mobile phone camera at an unsuspecting victim. FaceWarp has a built in library of Warp Filters, which distort the subject's face and produces a result that will simply make you want to do it again and again.

Enough talking, I'll just post a couple of sample pictures that were produced with facewarp on my phone..

Please note that these were captured on my old Sony Ericsson K750i mobile phone (hence the small size), on which I'd installed facewarp the day I bought it itself. 'cause I regard this tiny piece of software as one of the 'essentials'.

...well, essential, if you've got too much time in your hands. :|

Download FaceWarp here

Mobile Doc Viewer

There may arise a time when you have to check office files on the go, and a laptop or similar facility may not be available. So why not utilize the potential of your mobile phone and view that file right in your mobile phone screen?

Viewing MS Office files on Mobile isn't a problem on high end devices such as the Nokia E-Series. These come with QuickOffice pre-installed, that allow office file viewing capabilities right out of the box.

However, for mid-range handsets, those that doesn't run on a specific OS, but supporting Java applications and sporting sufficient memory (Java heap), a memory-efficient third party software is desired.

There are a few DOC file viewers available right now, and most notable of these is DocViewer.

It is published by Zesium Mobile (the same company behind MobilePDF), and offers the ability to open:
- MS Office Word files (.doc)
- MS Office Excel files (.xls)

However, note that the file sizes of the files to be opened are somewhat small. For larger size files, the software may just hang or load the pages really slowly.

Transfer the office files to your mobile phone using bluetooth or the USB cable. Open MobileDoc and navigate to the folder where the files were copied, and open the files. MobileDoc displays the document or spreadsheet file in the most efficient manner with the phone's limited memory and screen size.

download mobiledoc here

Java Mobile PDF Reader

Reading pdf files is not a big hassle when it comes to high end phones.
Most symbians come equipped with a lightweight version of Adobe Reader that allow PDF viewing capabilities right out of the box. The case with the newer androids and iphones is no different.

However, reading PDF files on a java mobile has always been a big pain in the rear.
There are a few pdf reader applications floating around right now, but most of them, they just don't work.

However, I've found that a certain piece of software that works pretty well out of these, and that one is:

Zesium MobilePDF

MobilePDF from Zesium is a Java Application that is able to let you view pdf files on your Java mobile handset.
I've tested it on my K800i and it works pretty well. It even loads up the images!

However, the size of the pdf file puts a cap on the abilities of the software. This is purely based on the processing power and memory considerations of the phone, so no blame on the publisher. MobilePDF works pretty good when you try to open relatively smaller PDF files on your handset. But if you try to open a larger file,the application could hang.

Requires JSR-75 to open files.

Main features :
- font size adjustment
- fullscreen mode
- Zoom
- Search
- AutoScroll
- Display headers and footnotes
- Save User Settings

Cons :
- Slow

download MobilePDF here

K800i Secret Menu

In this post I will write about a few hidden features of the K800i.
These codes should work on most Sony Ericsson models though, try for yourself.

Service Menu

The Service menu can be accessed by pressing the following sequence while in the standby screen:

right, *, left, left, *, left, *

The phone now shows a menu titled 'Service' with 5 menu items:

  • Service info : Here you can view information regarding your handset such as the model number, software versions (firmware as well as other versions, like camera driver version, etc.)
  • Service Settings : Here you can switch USB charging on or off
  • Service Tests : Allows you to test every component of your phone, such as the keypad, microphone, speaker, LED, Display, etc. Any fault can be found out easily with this method.
    In this section, You can also check the Total call time, the number of hours you have called.
  • Text Labels : Better leave this section alone.
  • Discharge Flash : To discharge the camera flash fully.
 In addition to the Service Menu, SE's also offer a 'Personalize' menu.
It can be accessed by the sequence
left, *, *, left

But unlike the Service Menu, the Personalize menu is for trained experts only. So it's better not to tinker with these settings. Still, it's cool to know your phone's got all these things under the hood right?


Want to see something cool?

Access the ServiceMenu. Now Navigate to Service Info > Model Info.

While the Model is displayed, press the folowing key sequence :
2, 4, 6, 8

\m/ SE \m/