Vectir : The only remote control you will need

When I had my old Sony Ericsson K750i  it had a feature using which I could control Windows Media Player or any other compatible media player using my phone over Bluetooth. It was quite a useful feature as I didn’t need to buy a Windows Media Centre remote to control the media players. Besides, its just one less device to deal with as K750i used to do it all.

After buying my Nokia N79, I was missing this feature a lot & was looking desperately for some application which could give me this or similar feature. I tried various application for my N79 but either some of them refused to connect or just didn’t work. Few days ago I tried Vectir & to my surprise, it worked flawlessly with my N79 & Windows  7.

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Vectir works by installing the application on your system  & installing a small Java based app on your mobile phone. All you have to do is to start the application on your PC and then start the application on your phone. Once the Phone app has started, it will search for your computer, after which you can connect either automatically or if Bluetooth serial port service is not installed in the computer then by setting a COM Port manually.

It also supports connecting via WiFi but this I wasn’t able to test as I don’t have a WiFi card in my desktop.

Once configured, you can also change the keypad shortcuts to your liking. This I liked as now I have almost same keypad shortcuts for both Windows Media Player & Media Centre.

What I like about Vectir is that it doesn’t come in your way when using. You just start the application on your computer & it can continue to work in the background. I would have appreciated if it could run as a service, as once configured, we don’t need to see the configuration part again.

Since Vectir is still quite new & considering Windows 7 was jut released, I hope the developers do decide to include some features like jumplist support in future as the entire right click menu of Vectir tray icon can come in a jumplist.

A more native UI to Windows 7 would also be appreciated though its not as important currently because once running, users will hardly see it again as it runs completely transparent in your system. The entire UI of Vectir is made in WPF & being a .net application, not only it is fast but also secure & efficient on RAM.

Currently Vectir runs with any mobile phone supporting Java based apps whether it is normal keypad based or Touch Screen. It is one app which you should sure try before buying a Media Centre remote for your PC.

You can download a trial and check how good it works for you.

Concept UI: Windows Password Center

Windows Vista lacks a good password management application by default which all other Operating Systems provide in one form or other. Since I already have a good idea for an UI, I am presenting here a concept UI for Windows Password center.

It’s a very simple application. The best password management tool available in Windows is AI Roboform but it is limited to Webpages only & can’t remember passwords for Windows Live Messenger or Outlook 2007 etc. Windows Password center acts as a single platform for all kind of passwords. Any application can save the password in this, & once unlocked, as long as it is not locked, anyone application can use the passwords stored.

This isn’t the complete UI. Just 20% infect, but the layout is final. More info & final screen shots & UI to follow soon.

Concept UI: Yahoo Messenger for Mobile Phones

I was looking at the state of Mobile IM clients out there today, & it’s not that good. None of the official companies such as Yahoo or Google or Microsoft are releasing mobile version of their IM Client based on JAVA which can be used on all phones. Yahoo has released Yahoo Go but it is not JAVA based which restricts it to only a few phones out there. Microsoft has Windows Live Messenger for Windows Mobile 6 but not for any other phone out there such as my K750i. Google isn’t any different, though they at least have a mobile E-Mail client based on JAVA.

The possibility of JAVA for Mobile is endless. It is a lifesaver for restricted OS based phones such as Sony Ericsson or Motorola. These phones don’t support third party native software but have full support for JAVA software.

I mostly use yahoo messenger, so I decided to make a concept UI of Yahoo Messenger for Mobile based on JAVA which I think what it should be like. I call upon any J2ME developer who is interested, I would be glad to help in making the front end UI part if someone can contribute to make the back end software engine. The JAVA API for Yahoo Messenger is already documented at jYMSG Sourceforge webpage & using this API anyone can make a JAVA Mobile based Yahoo Messenger client, I would be glad to provide the UI part if required. More information can be found at the DevX webpage. Here is how the concept UI looks like. This is a very basic text & emoticon only version of Yahoo Messenger which I have tried to make.

When the user starts the application it loads & gives the user the following screen.

The user is asked to enter his Yahoo ID & Password. After that he can select any one of the given options as shown below the login information section. If he selects to save the login automatically his username & password will be saved in the phone as long as the application is not removed. Next time when the user starts the application it will automatically connect to Yahoo Messenger. After entering info he clicks on “Sign In” & messenger connects to yahoo showing a progress bar.

Once the user logs in, he is shown the groups of his Yahoo messenger & the online & offline contacts. By selecting in “Settings” under the “Menu” button, he can select whether to show offline contacts or not.

By default Messenger sorts contacts by their status. He can click on any group name to expand or collapse that group. To start a chat he just needs to click on the name of the friend which will then give the chat Windows. The Contact List window also notifies him of the unread mails in his Yahoo Mailbox at the top menu bar, as shown in the image.

The interface is based on tabs. The current selected tab is shown in black color, the background tabs are shown in white color while any offline or unread Message he receives is shown in another tab which flashes in golden color until the user select to show that tab. The application notifies the user of unread messages in various ways such as flashing the tab, or vibration in the phone or playing a notification sound. All this can be selected in the “Settings”.

Here are how the Menus & Settings look. The menu background is plane white color, & when you mouseover a menu item, its color changes to blue & a hover rectangle is shown on top of it to notify that this item is selected. To open a menu item, either click on it or press the keypad button.

Menu at the first Sign in page, for settings

Connection Settings selected & Settings Page

Settings about how to notify the user. Just to show here I made an image for the checkbox, however in reality it will be replaced by JAVA Checkbox

Font size can be increased or decreased anywhere.

User preference to set the status & whether to show offline contacts in list or not.

Menu for Contact List

Menu while chatting to superman

Emoticons Section. You can either type in the emoticon code, or select from the list


You might say that the interface is very plane & without much images. The reason is that when we make something for JAVA Mobile, developers have limited amount of JAVA Heap size or JAVA RAM to work with. Even in my K750i the JAVA heap size in just 1 MB, due to which small file size of JAR file & low RAM requirement is essential. If I get a willing J2ME developer then we will make the Messenger first as you see here, & after that we will add images as & where required. Since this is a front end, it can also be slapped on the back end of Symbian OS version

Concept UI for Windows Viewer

Windows Vista has a new technology inbuilt called Windows Preview. Using this you can preview any file right there in the Explorer preview pane as long as you have a compatible plug-in installed.

However if you are like me, then you don’t have the preview pane turned on because it takes some desktop real estate. Now, we still have live preview of Images right there in Explorer but they are small. What if we want to preview them without opening any application which is associated with it like Windows Photo Gallery?

I present you Windows Viewer for Windows Vista. It does what it is supposed to do, just shows a preview of the file in a new window which you can exit out using escape key or just click outside anywhere or use the close button. You can set this preview to be full screen or any size you want by dragging from any side.

To activate Windows Viewer, just click on a file & press Spacebar, it will open it instantly. By default various image, audio & video formats are supported out of the box & if you have Adobe Reader 8.1 installed you can also preview PDF Files right there in Viewer.

Suppose you are in a folder with many files of different type, you can simply activate Viewer then use the toolbar arrows to navigate to any file in Viewer or just press keyboard left or right to go to next file or previous file. This is how a normal Image preview looks like in Viewer. You can navigate back or forward & zoom it or zoom out. You can also make it full screen by maximizing it.

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Same goes with Document View, here I have opened a multipage PDF but it doesn’t matter what document you open be it Word Document, Excel Spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation, it will show the page thumbnails in the sidebar using which you can navigate to any page you want. You can zoom in & zoom out too, also just click on the page thumbnails to navigate to that page. To go to any other file in that folder which can be seen in Viewer just use the toolbar arrows. This how document preview looks like.

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When it comes to previewing Audio Files, well..just select & press spacebar. It will pop open a Audio preview of that single file at one time only. Either press escape or close the window or leave the Viewer & it will continue playing the audio file unless you start to see preview of some other file or close it manually.

When you try to preview a video, the viewer gives u the same tool as before. usign the keyboard left right arrows or the toolbar arrows you can switch the viewer to show a preview of another file in the same folder. This is handy if you have a folder with multiple Videos or Images, just one of them then click on the arrows or use keyboard arrow to switch to the next image.

If you try to preview an Archive file such as RAR or Zip, well…although the size & extension etc is different but inside they all look same. You simply get the toolbar arrow for navigating to the next file in the folder where u activated the preview & an extract button which when clicked, extracts the files in the same folder where the archive is, making a new folder which has the same name as the archive.

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