Friday, September 19, 2008

BT747 Beta for Java Phones

With the I-Blue 747 having no display, certain information and functionality is only available to you when you have the device connected to your PC at home. Being out in the field it often would be nice to check on the memory status of the device, download the log file if the device's memory is full and erase the existing log file to make room for new data. For me using the I-Blue for geotagging my pictures, the current position and time would be a very valuable information to have. The latest software from the bt747 hackers comes to the rescue: bt747 for JAVA phones, turning your phone into the display the I-BLUE so very much lacks.

I have talked about the regular bt747 software which runs on various OS's thanks to the JAVA technology. It is available in two versions, new and old with the new one not having all the functionality of the old one. I was thrilled though, when I read today (check it out, the site has much nicer screen shots than I do...) about the latest branch of the software which would allow me to control my I-BLUE using my Java capable mobile phone (I own a Sony Ericson k800i).

The mobile phone application is in beta right now and is not complete yet. According to the website of the project, the following functionality is available:

- Download the GPS log over bluetooth
- Erase the GPS device memory
- Get the memory status:
° Memory used
° Records used
° Records free
- Change log condition settings:
° Time interval
° Speed trigger
° Distance interval
° GPS Fix Period
- Read the GPS position
- Conversion to GPX output format:
° but slow because all fields are written.

So these steps I took to make this work:

1. Download the application from here. The file as of right now to download is

2. Unzip the archive:


3. Install the included jar file on your mobile phone. I use a special version of the windows application MyPhoneExplorer under wine to ger the application transfered. Read the howto here if you are interested in getting MyPhoneExplorer to work using wine under Linux. If you have it installed, connect to your phone, navigate to the files section of your phone and click the "install Java application" button. In the next windows, navigate to the jar file from the archive and click OK to upload the file to the phone. IF asked, save it in under the applications folder on your phone.

4. Turn on your phone and activate bluetooth. I did a search for devices before in order to see if my phone would be able to see my I-Blue as a bluetooth device and already had provided the password in order to connect to it. The default password is "0000", them being four zeros. I suppose the bt747 app will ask for the password if the device is not yet known to the phone. If you have problems, just do what I did and do a basic device search in the bluetooth section of the phone and try to connect to the I-BLUE there, before using it in bt747.

5. Turn on the I-BLUE and wait for the device to set up a satellite connection. I found, that without a proper satellite connection the I-BLUE is completely unresponsive to any connection requests from any software that I have used with it so far. So even if I just want to download a log file it has to connect to satellites first which, depending on the weather and your current location, can be quite annoying...

6. Fire up bt747 on your phone, and it will search for nearby bluetooth devices:

Hopefully it will then find your I-BLUE and present you with the option to connect to it on the next screen:

Choose the iBT-GPS device and press OK. This will then give you another screen asking for permission to connect this particular client to the phone.

Once you have successfully connected the GPS device device you will be presented with the application default screen, showing two main menus on the bottom:

The App Menu allows to exit the application and choose some logging options. I only used it to exit the app so far. The Logger Menu is the interesting one as you can actually download log files, erase them, set logging options and check for the status of the device. Very nice is the screen where you can check for you current position and the satellite time. A snapshot with your camera of this screen makes the syncing of image and device time for later geotagging of your images quite easy.

So far this app has some rough edges but the basic functionality is there.

- I downloaded a log file to the phone.
- I was able to see my current position and device time
- I was able to erase log data from the device's memory
- The phone becomes unresponsive when I choose to have the device's status displayed. This might be due to the fact though that I am rather impatient.

So far so good! I very much recommend this app to have on your hopefully java capable phone!

Cheers Juergen

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