Monday, January 26, 2009

Mirror's Edge

I got sucked into this pretty heavily over the weekend, and started playing the time trials.
The story itself is not good at all, but the time trials are sort of like a racing game.
You find the quickest route through a course, much like racing, only you're a free runner.

Here's the same thing in HD
Which actually looks awesome. Anyway.

It's pretty intriguing, more so if you have a mild case of OCD, like me, and evokes all the same frustration that driving games do when you're trying to beat your Personal Best.
Lots of screaming at the TV and throwing my controller around, which is the best way to spend a rainy sunday.

Apart from being forced to watch the Hills, obviously.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mirror's Edge

It's a bit like Portal meets Exit. it's growing on me. (phone blog)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From my tellingbone

Mike (who, by the way is genius) has built a blogger app for android. I use it now. Search for A-Blogger and play.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A story of Nokia and the Android contact merge

EDIT (April 2010): A number of people have been leaving comments at the bottom with hints and tips - many are less technical than what I've written, so don't forget to check them too! And thanks to everyone who's left a comment.

I just managed to transfer all my contacts from a Nokia to the G1. It's not too hard. Here's how to do it.

But first, some background. (you can skip ahead if you like)

So, uhh, I used to be a Nokia fan boy.
I loved their menu system, and their sleek designs. And they seemed to fix little things about their OS with each iteration.

And then they released the N70, and the N76. And I started to realise that actually, they had no clue whatsoever.
Why's that?
Well, let me tell you.

The N70 is a really really bad design. Everyone I spoke to agreed on this.
Basically, to lock the keypad, you slide it shut. But, it can easily open in your pocket, and start making calls, and destroying your battery.
Or, it could just hit the camera button, which isn't lockable, and starting taking pocket pictures. Again, destroying the battery.

The N76 isn't much better. It's a clamshell, so at least the keys are protected, but there are 3 'media' keys on the front, for controlling the music player, which can't be locked. So, again, it's in your pocket, and boom, music starts playing. You look around, trying to spot the annoying person on the tube playing loud music, only to realise it's you.

So, when Google gave us all G1s for Christmas, I couldn't have been happier.
Now, there's been a lot of crap in the press about how we've been skanked, because we got a phone instead of cash.
However, I can honestly tell you that for the 3 months leading up to Christmas, all people have been saying is "They should give us all G1s". In fact, if I had shiny pound for every time I'd heard that comment, I'd be a very rich man indeed.

Anyway, on to the problem at hand.

Transferring contacts from Nokia phones to G1.

It's actually pretty easy, but (unless you don't have many contacts) you will need a computer.

Before we begin, be aware that you can just copy them to the Sim card, and then just stick the sim in the G1. But you'll lose a lot of data.

There are 2 options here.
1) Import contacts directly to the Android.
2) Import contacts into Gmail, and let it synch.

Whichever you choose, the first thing you need to do is get the contacts off your Nokia.

Here's a good explanation of that, with pictures. However, don't do all the steps. Stop when you've copied them over.

Basically, if you can't be bothered to click that link (weirdo), you do the following
Go to contacts on your Nokia.
Click options -> mark -> mark all
Click options -> copy -> to memory card
remove the memory card.

Ok, you can pretty much throw away your Nokia now.

Next, if you don't have many contacts, you can just copy them one-by-one into Gmail.
To do this, put the SD card into your Android phone, and then go to menu -> settings -> SD Card -> and tick 'use for USB storage'.
NOTE: Your computer and phone CANNOT talk to the SD card at the same time. You must go into these settings change the tickbox according to what you're trying to do.

Then plug your phone into the computer USB cable. You should see a box that looks something like this

Click 'Open Folder to view Files'.

Then, browser to 'Others/Contacts'.
Open Gmail, go to contacts, click import, and then choose file. Select a vcard file (it'll be something like bill.vcf) and hit ok. The contact will import.

However, if you do have a lot of contacts, this is really boring. So you need to merge the files.
If you have a unix box, you can just type
cat * >> ALL.vcf
If you don't, you'll need a program like this

Once you've merged your files, you'll need to copy the resulting file to the top of your SD card.
To do this, locate the ALL.vcf file you've just created, and drag it to the top level of the SD card.

Then, open gmail, and import this file.
Alternatively, download this app
and do it directly on the Android phone.

Now, there's one last thing. The pictures won't have come across. So, for this, you'll need some jiggery pokery (and a bit of programming knowledge, I'm afraid).

Here's a Perl program I wrote to extract the images from the VCF files.


use MIME::Base64;

$name = "";
$live = 0;

while(<>) {
if(m/N:/) {
@a = split(/:/, $_);
$name = $a[1];
$name =~ s/\r//g;
$name =~ s/\n//g;
$name =~ s/;//g;
$name =~ s/ /_/g;

if(m/X-CLASS/ && $live) {
$live = 0;
$img = decode_base64($base);
open(A, ">$name.jpg");
print A $img;
$base = "";

if($live) { $base .= $_; }

if(m/PHOTO/) {
print "Got $name\n";
$live = 1;

It's not wonderful, but it works. Run it in the directory where the the ALL.vcf file is located with something like < ALL.vcf
This will generate one file for each contact who has a photo, called something like bill_jones.jpg

Then, just edit each contact, and add a thumbnail back in (do this on the phone).
There's probably a quicker way to do this, but it worked ok for me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home for Christmas

I went home at Christmas to see my Mother.
Here's a picture of her and me.

I'm sticking my tongue out on purpose. I don't normally walk around like that.

We're walking around Rutland water , which, if you emailed me over Christmas, you'd know is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in Europe, and almost certainly the biggest in England. I could probably do some searching to confirm that, but I'll leave it to you to work out.

I did a couple of other things, too, but there aren't any pictures online yet, so I'll write about those when they happen. One was snowboarding in Switzerland, though, which was pretty sweet.

Anyway, I got back to work to around 3100 new emails. Lucky me.
I'm slowly plodding through them.

I'll let you know when I make it out at the other side.