...stuff I do and things I like...

Wednesday, January 12 2011

My public research TAC Database

I've decided to setup a TAC (Type Allocation Code) database for research purposes. I do this because there is no such thing right now. Every TAC database I know is not public and just allows queries instead of just downloading the whole thing to use it with your own software.

My database is available here: www.mulliner.org/tacdb. The database is just a collection of CSV files, to make it really easy to use. Further the database relys on YOUR contribution, so please consider sending new entries.

Right now the database has about ~27K entries. But most of them only contain the TAC, Manufacturer, and the Model name. What I would like to have in addition is the Type of hardware (smartphone,mobile phone, modem, devices, ...), the OS, and the manufacturing date.

I hope this thing enables some new features in projects like osmocom. It will defently help my own research.

Saturday, April 18 2009

Android Rant!

so I've been using my Android phone (ADP1) as my primary phone for a week now here some things I have noticed.

    Keyboard is really good for writing emails (the current version of K-9 is actually usable)
    IM always on, works really nice, this is what I want.
    Maps is not as good as on the iPhone.
    Headset is to big and ugly, sometimes function is not everything.
    Can't use headset while charging (e.g. while you sit on the train).
Stuff that needs to change or need to exist (also 3rd party stuff)
    Headset use while charging!
    Headset that has a smaller mic and button (like the one from the iPhone) or headset adapter for the iPhone headset (mic and button need to work!).
    K-9 mail should not download the attachments by default.
I want sync without Google or any 3rd party. I know about Funambol, does it work well? I want to import vCards/.vcf files, I have tried ImportContacts but it couldn't import my test contact.

So far I don't really miss my iPhone but rather have cool new features that I didn't have with the iPhone.

Wednesday, March 11 2009

Samsung SGH-X700N NFC phone

I had the chance to play with the Samsung SGH-X700N, one of Samsung's NFC mobile phones. The hardware is OK not as crappy as the Motorola L7. The software part is rather sad since there is no NFC support in the basic phone applications this seems to be something only Nokia manages to do. The only piece of NFC software I found was a simple demo application. Sadly the demo application could not read my NDEF formated Mifare tags. The demo app shows an access error so I guess they haven't implemented NDEF and therefore they don't know the NDEF Mifare-keys. I haven't bothered looking at their SDK.

I gladly borrow NFC phones from anybody (and any company who is not afraid about honest reviews).

HTC Touch 3G

yesterday I got a HTC Touch 3G that I bought to play with a recent version of Windows Mobile (Windows Mobile 6.1 and WinCE Kernel 5.x). The Touch is my first encounter with TouchFLO the HTC specific user interface for Windows Mobile. TouchFLO is a nice idea but the device is way to slow to make usable, otherwise this could really be something. Behind TouchFLO everything else is still the old WinMobile where you need to use a pen to be able to hit the small buttons.

Sunday, January 25 2009

Got an ADP1!

since Wednesday of last week I'm the proud owner of an ADP1 Android Dev Phone 1 (the developer version of the T-Mobile G1). Actually I wanted to buy a Kogan Agora Pro but since the device was canceled at the last minute I decided to buy an G1. I simply bought the dev version because it was cheaper then the G1 without contract. I guess people will tell me this is not true but since I haven't found a cheaper way of getting an G1 I bought the ADP1.

So far I have just played with the device not using it as my regular phone that I use every day. I really like the background processes thing especially in combination with instant messaging and apps like Twitter (if something happens I get notified through the status bar). I know this is not new or anything I just think this is done especially well in Android. Having a keyboard is nice, but I really need an on-screen keyboard for stuff like writing SMS and instant messaging. I hope the new OS release is coming sooner then expected.

One thing I'm quite disappointed about is the email capability. The build-in mail client is no competition for the one on the iPhone. Some issues are: speed, I can't move messages to other folders, and I had plenty of email display problems (some plain text messages could not be displayed). The instant messaging client only supports GTalk. They could really have made this just a plain cool XMPP/Jabber client. Sadly all other IM apps suck. Android is quite new compared with the iPhone so I can forgive these first issues.

Now the good stuff. I totally like ShopSavvy this is a bar code scanner that directly looks up prices online and in shops that are close to you. I did a few tests and it really works but it needs better support for Germany (they say this is work in progress). Wikitude is a also a very nice app that shows you information about the place you are currently at. It has this cool mode where it shows points of interest as an overlay of the area currently captured by the device's camera. This app also uses the digital compass build into the G1 (something the iPhone doesn't have). Both applications use the possibility to directly access the camera of the G1. I guess this is the reason why both applications are not available on the iPhone.

Development. So far I only wrote a very small demo project using the SDK. Since this is Java I feel more at home compared with Objective-C. Over the weekend I followed the various guides and downloaded the gcc toolchain to build native executables and kernel modules. For testing purposes I compiled the tun/tap module and iodine both seem to work well. In order to get a minimal acceptable shell environment I of course installed a statically liked version of busybox which brings me to another rather bad part of Android, the Linux system. The Linux system is really really small with just the most necessary binaries (that's why you need busybox). Also many standard files are missing such as /etc/resolv.conf. Once you find the getprop binary you find many of the missing information such as the current nameserver and such.

Finally, I really like the Android platform and the G1 and I plan to do a lot of hacking on it.

Sunday, November 23 2008

Random Phone Stuff

...from the weekend. On Friday I got my new Nokia 6212 classic Nokia's next NFC-enabled mobile phone. I haven't played much with it yet, but I will during my vacation before the 25th Chaos Communication Congress (25C3) where I will do a talk on attacking NFC mobile phones.

I also finally jailbroken my iPhone after using it for two month. I must say I should have done it earlier but I wanted to check it out in the state most consumers use it. I actually only started looking at the whole iPhone software scene today after the jailbreak. The funniest part was to realize that I kind of know the guy (Jay Freeman) behind Cydia (the apt-based software installer) from going to the same University (of California Santa Barbara). Playing with all the free stuff will keep me busy for the next weeks I guess.

Of course I also updated my iPhone to OS version 2.2 to verify that Apple fixed the bug that I reported. As far as I can see they fixed it. Google Street View looks cool, but seems slow, also it doesn't cover either Frankfurt nor Darmstadt. Being able to switch of keyboard auto correction is great. Podcast download on the device is the best new feature of course.

Last but not least I'm looking for a place to buy a unlocked (no sim/net-lock) Android-based G1 without a contract. I'm in Germany so I need some online shop that will ship to Germany. I want a good price of course. Any hints will be highly appreciated.

Saturday, October 25 2008

Fantom Calls??

since a few days I get fantom calls on my cell phone. It rings and as soon as I pickup the call is gone. Some times I manage to pickup after only one ring but still the caller is gone. No number is displayed so I guess it is not a call-me-back-scam. I'm on EPlus/BASE here in Germany. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 09 2008

I got myself an iPhone 3G

...black 16Gigs if you need to know. I got the phone on Sunday afternoon and went on a business trip right afterward - so I had some time to play with it. First app. I installed was Twitterific (yes I'm a Twitter addict). I mostly played with Twitterific, the maps app, safari and mail. All in all a good first experience.

Since I have other things to do now I'll wait a little before I start messing with it (jailbreak etc...).

Btw. I got my iPhone 3G from Vodafone Italia. My good friend Sergio imported it for me. THANKS again! Right now I'm using it with my Fonic (a O2 reseller) prepaid card. Prepaid is nice since it will help me not to ruin myself in a week :-)

Thursday, September 04 2008

The OpenBTS Project

The OpenBTS project's aim is to build a open Base Transceiver Station (BTS) that is a mobile/cell phone base station. The project uses a software defined radio specifically the well known USRP. The project seems to be going well since they already had a field trial at Burning Man this year.

This project should be really interesting. Also using this will be rather impossible because of license issues with the wireless spectrum that is used for mobile phone.

Link: openbts.sourceforge.net

Saturday, July 12 2008

iPhone 3G

I was at Media Markt (in Weiterstadt) this morning to buy some stuff and not only they have a Apple shop now they even had an iPhone 3G for everyone to play with (black version). I had 5 minutes with the device and I must say I kind of like it. Maybe I really buy one with out contract and sim lock from Belgium.

Friday, June 27 2008

So the OpenMoko FreeRunner is available now...

I was kind of excited when the OpenMoko was originally announced so I thought I would of course buy one but somehow the OpenMoko can't compete with current phones. Especially the fact that it only has GPRS is really sad/stupid. I would pay up to 50 Euro more for UMTS and maybe even 100 Euro more for HSDPA. This is because the phone (voice) functionality for me is secondary only. I want data connectivity like I have with my Nokia N810 but just with one device. I'm carrying multiple devices now to have good connectivity and there is no reason to switch out the phone part. I know having a completely open source mobile phone is really cool but people are not willing to make sacrifices the FreeRunner is big and bulky and has bad phone connectivity.

Actually I'm really thinking about moving to Apple hardware maybe even an iPhone 3G.

OpenMoko FreeRunner shop.

Tuesday, October 16 2007

Dual-SIM Adapter in Nokia 6233

Today I got my Dual-SIM adapter I bought for my Simyo UMTS card (very cheap UMTS service in Germany). The Dual-SIM adapter is one of the NoCut kind (see image) since I don't want to cut my SIM cards. It was a real tough fight to get the adapter in my Nokia 6233 while being able to close the battery cover. I managed it by fixating the 2nd SIM card in the middle of the battery with a small piece of sticky tape and using some force to push the cover onto the phone. It took me about 10 minutes before I had it done but the whole point of a Dual-SIM adapter is that you don't need to disassemble your phone every time you need to switch the card.

The bad part is that the adapter I bought only works in GSM mode. UMTS cards work but only in GSM mode. So now I'm searching for a adapter that works in UMTS mode. at least I know that this kind of adapter will fit.

Thursday, September 13 2007

iPhone Unlocked

one hour ago one of my colleagues unlocked our iPhone using this method. The iPhone then worked with his T-Mobil and my E-Plus (Simyo) SIM. Voice quality sucks but this is not new.

So I guess Apple is not able to convince any German mobile phone operator to do an exclusive now? Hope the contract is not in Apple's favor :-)

Tuesday, July 31 2007

iPhone hands on

today I had about 30 minutes to play with a iPhone. Here is my impression: The device actually looks really good once you have it in your hand (better then I expected), it is slim, light and has nice rounded edges (real nice look and feel). The screen is really bright for a touchscreen (the best I have seen so far - also I only used it indoors). Surfing the web is also quite fun as long as you don't need to enter any URLs by hand. For a first impression the keyboard kind of sucked - I know that it should be better after using it for a few days. The web browser seems quite fast, but it couldn't handle some of the websites I've tried. I really like the zoom feature (double tap). Since I spent most of the time playing with the web browser I can't say to much about the rest. But the overall impression is rather good (much better then I expected). The user interface concept seems really good; on exceptional good idea is the big button at the bottom of the screen that all ways takes you back to the application screen. Palm devices have a similar button on the Graffiti area, but having a real hardware button is it much better.

All in all it was a rather positive experience. Also I would still not buy a iPhone because of it's lack of certain features.

Saturday, July 14 2007

Quick look at the Nokia N95

I got my hands on a Nokia N95 so I can play with it over the weekend. It turned out that I don't like it, here is why.

First, I really don't like moving parts on any mobile device. Because these will either break or will allow dust to get into the phone. Second, I tried to surf the web using wireless (WiFi) this was a really bad experience. It took 15 minutes until it finally connected to my WPA-PSK network (the router was about 2 meters away from the phone). Also the user interface for this kind of sucked (this was the first time for me using a Symbian device that has WiFi). The web browser seems fast, but the website don't look good at all. It is like I remember web surfing on a mobile phone a few years ago. Not having a touchscreen doesn't help either (navigating with the 4-way button isn't fun).

I don't care about having a camera in my phone, but this one is soo big. I really think the camera makes the phone 3-4 millimeters thinker. This is stupid.

Some good stuff: USB and stereo jack (I like standard connectors).

Lets hope there will be a new phone with all these (impressive) hardware features but without the moving screen and buttons. Instead reduce the number of hardware buttons give it a bigger screen and use a touchscreen. Making it thiner would also help.

Just my 2 cents...

Wednesday, June 27 2007

The iPhone is a good PDA and a bad phone

reading reviews linked from OSNews I get the impression that the iPhone is a OK or maybe a good PDA and a bad phone. Also calling it a smartphone is just exaggeration, you can't install 3rd party software so it is not a smartphone, period! Web widgets don't count. EDGE is just a joke - the reviewers basically say that web and email is unusable using EDGE.

Comparing the iPhone UI to WindowsMobile is a really cheap move since the WindowsMobile UI always sucked.

Apple claims to have the best smartphone that is currently available but the iPhone lacks very basic features found in other top devices like: an expansion card slot (e.g. SD/MMC) and GPS receiver.

iPhone I DON'T want one!

Wednesday, November 29 2006

Nokia 6233

I just got a Nokia 6233 GSM/UTMS phone with my new phone carrier (BASE). From what I can say after a half day is that it seems quite nice. The first thing I did was to play with Bluetooth of course - it supports EDR (ACL 2 and 3 Mbps, and eSCO 2 Mbps) thats really cool. It has all the usual Bluetooth services found on current phones. But the best thing is that is syncs just find with Evolution using syncml via Bluetooth using opensync (a quick howto can be found here). I still need to try out my Bluetooth headset and a few other things but it looks real good so far.

I'll keep you posted...