AIM On Cingular Cellphones

Last night I was poking around with my online and playing with my Motorola V600 cellphone. I’ve been curious about doing IM on my phone. I saw that the V600s from T-Mobile come with AOL Instant Messanger software preinstalled, but I’m with Cingular. So I looking at the various ways of getting that software installed on my phone. Most of them seemed a bit more involved that I cared to try. Then I noticed a chart (I think I found it at AOL’s AIM site) that listed the phones from Cingular that supported AIM. Now I’m not just talking about the AIM Forwarding which you can do with basically any cellphone. You can’t started IMs with that, only respond. I was interested in full AIM service. The chart didn’t list the V600 (I think Cingular has already stopped offering it) but it did say that AIM software could be downloaded for the V400. That got me intrigued.

After a lot of poking around I discovered it was so much easier that I made things to be. If I’d only done the simple, logical thing, I wouldn’t have had to spend hours on it.

  1. Bring up the MEdia Net homepage on your cellphone’s web browser. On the V600 select “Web Access” in the upper-right-hand corner and then select “Browser”.
  2. Select item 5, “IM & Chat”, from the list on the homepage.
  3. Select item 1, “Mobile IM”, from the IM & Chat page.
  4. Select the Free Download link and follow any onscreen instructions that come up.

That was pretty rough, I know. So silly. I spent all that time and it was sitting there right in front of my nose. A java application, Mobile IM, will be downloaded and installed on your phone. It gives you access to AIM, Yahoo Messanger and ICQ. I would imagine that being a java application, it could be run on any phone that supports J2ME—not just my V600.

After installing, I was able to log in with my .Mac account. It even listed all my buddies from iChat. The big downside is that it seems to sometimes have difficulty with receiving messages. I’m not sure if that’s because I was using a .Mac username and not a regular AIM one. Or maybe I was just experiencing some network difficulty from Cingular. The messages that I sent out seemed to be received ok. So I’m not sure what the deal was. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

But it’s certainly cool that I can do AIM from my cellphone now.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Sometimes the serendipity of things startles me.

After my recent exploits into the world of the Motorola V600 cellphone, bluetooth and my PowerBook, imagine my surprise to go online this afternoon and see that Apple has released iSync 1.5 which supports lots of new phones from Motorola and Sony Ericsson, including the V600.

Now it isn’t quite as cool as it could be. You do need a USB cable to sync any Motorola phones. It’s part number SKN6311 and available from Motorola for $30. So no cool bluetooth syncing there. (I do find it interesting to note that the bluetooth setup for the V600 I talked about in my earlier post needs to be configured to “Support Non-Conforming Phones” and that iSync doesn’t support bluetooth on Motorola. Is there a connection? Is there a problem with Motorola’s implementation of bluetooth?)

Thankfully my previous phone was a V60 which I’d set up for iSync so I already had the cable. It works great.

iSync 1.5 and Motorola V600

See that “Cellphone” group I had you make in Address Book comes in handy now. The contacts come over “First-name Last-name” via iSync instead of “Last-name First-name” like with the “Send This Card” method in Address Book. Make sure you go into “Options” and tell it which email address and fax number to send (if any). It’s too bad you can’t get all. You might also want to uncheck “Only synchronize contacts with phone numbers” if you’ve setup any email-only addresses.

Syncing with iCal works as well. Unfortunately it doesn’t correctly handle multi-day all-day events. They show up as colored bars across two or more days in iCal. I use lots and lots of these for work. On the V600 they show as being all-day but only on the first day. Nothing for any other days. The phone supports multi-day all-day events. When you’re editing an event on the phone, set the duration to “Custom” and you can choose how many days it lasts.

So we have iSync with the V600 and it’s good.

There are still a few things that don’t seem to work correctly between the phone and my PowerBook. In Address Book if I click on the Bluetooth button, it wants to Pair with my phone—even though it’s already been set up. And if I tell it to pair with my phone, the connection is immediately dropped. So I’m unable to use the “SMS Message” and “Dial With Cellphone” options in Address Book.

Also the whole “file sending” thing doesn’t work in every way I’d like it to. I’ve been able to drop MP3s into my audio folder on the phone ok and copy pictures that I’ve taken with the phone camera back to my computer fine. But other things give me errors. I’ve read about others using other phones who can select a chunk of text and use “Send File to Bluetooth Device” from the Services menu to have it sent to the phone and show up in the message inbox. Or taking J2ME applications and send them to the phone to install. In the Device Browser the error is “The file transfer failed: unsupported media type.”

It’s a little annoying because in the information about the device pairing in the Bluetooth Pref Pane, it claims the phone supports OBEX Object Push and OBEX File Transfer. From everything that I’ve read, this is the key to making certain files go where they should. It would really be nice to be able to quickly leave text files like driving directions or other notes on my phone. And even though installing Java software by FTPing it to a directory on my website and downloading it with the phone isn’t hard, it would be much easier if I could just drag and drop.

So if anyone has been successful with any of those things I would love to hear about it.

Installing J2ME Software On Your Cellphone

Ever gone to a website with your cellphone and had trouble installing the J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) software from there? Do you find that it’s much easier to download the files on your computer?

Here’s an easy way to fix that:

You’ll either need access to your own website on the internet or you’ll have to turn on the web server that’s probably already installed on your computer if you’re using the lastest system software like Mac OS X or Windows XP.

  1. Create a directory on your website for your J2ME software. You can call it whatever you like. The simpler the better. Something like “/j2me” might be good.
  2. If you don’t have a .htaccess file in the root level of your website, create one with a text editor.
  3. Add these MIME types to your .htaccess file:
    AddType text/ jad
    AddType application/java-archive jar
  4. Enter the URL for your website and new J2ME directory in your cellphone and save it as a bookmark. Probably something like “” for a server on the internet or “” for a local server on your own computer. Obviously “” and “” should be the name of your website or your IP address.

Then when you find J2ME software on the web that you want to install on your phone all you need to do is this:

  1. Download the J2ME application .jar file and it’s descriptor .jad file to your computer.
  2. Open the .jad file with a text editor.
  3. Make sure the line MIDlet-Jar-URL: is simply AppFilename.jar. Or whatever the .jar file is called.
  4. Upload the two files into the J2ME directory of your website.
  5. Surf to that directory with your cellphone by selecting the bookmark you setup.
  6. Select the .jad file from the directory listing to download it and install your J2ME software.

Phuture Phreaks

Since I’ve been on the subject of cellphones recently:

Here’s the one for l33+ h4x0rz with m4d sk1llz, the Motorola A780. It’s supposed to be coming out at the end of the year. It supports IMAP4 and POP3 email and WAP2, WML, XHTML and HTML web browsing. Supports the EDGE network. Plays MP3s, WAVs, WMAs and AACs. Has a camera, SyncML, pretty much everything you’d want. And it runs Linux! All it needs is a little QWERTY keyboard and you’d be totally set.

Mobile Fun

In honor of getting my new phone setup, I present you with some goodies:

Buster checks out my new phone while I take his picture.
The first picture I took with my phone.

In fact I’ve been playing with Gallery as an online photo album. I’ve set one up and even got it interfacing with my phone, so now I can send out an email with a picture attached to it and it is instantly posted to my photo moblog album. (That’s why I was so interested in getting email to work on my cellphone.) The interface is still pretty ugly on the backend. I need to clean it up more, but it works. These guys will do it for you but it kept bouncing back at me with password errors when I tried to use their service.

[Update: I would recommend not using the scripts at the “interfacing” link above. There’s some problems with them. I found a better method. Follow the link in my trackback section below for more information.]

I’ve been using iPhoto and a .Mac account to setup my photo albums. It’s so freakin’ easy it’s hard to say ‘no’ to. But it’s also a one-trick pony. I can’t do that whole moblog thing with it. Plus I have a lot more space on this server.

Now I just need to setup Gallery to interface with Movable Type. I love my job but it would be cool to figure out a way to get paid to tinker as a side thing. 🙂

Oh, and if you’ve got a cellphone that plays MP3s, here’s a sweet-ass little jingle for your ringtone. Those of you who know me and the cellphones that I’ve owned over the years, know that there’s one particular song that I have always programmed in for my ringer—not the one I’m giving you—I have to stay somewhat unique. I am very excited that now I can actually use a bit of the real song on my phone. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will say, “I pity the foo’ who don’t love my ringtone!”