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Use your old Nokia symbian phone as a music web server

If you have a Wi-Fi capable Nokia Symbian phone with a memory card and also a Wi-Fi router, you can use them to serve your music at home. This is a great way of having all your music in just one place and access it from any wireless capable device (i.e. laptops) as well as sharing it with others at your house. Also, you could still enjoy the same music on the go since it is stored on your mobile phone. This means that you can turn an old unused mobile phone into a very small and noiseless music server for free.

OK, the first step is to install PAMP. This is a web server for mobile phones. It contains Apache, MySQL and PHP, all in one nice installable sis package for your phone.
To install it, just go here and download the file named (not the SDK one).
Extract the files. Notice that there are three .sis files. First install pips_nokia_1_3_SS.sis, then install ssl.sis and finally install pamp_1_0_2.sis.
Now you should have a PAMP application on your phone. Open it. You should see something like this:

Now, click on Options and then select Start->Pamp. Answer Yes to the Start WLAN? question and select your home wireless network.

You should now see that Apache and MySQL services are running, the name of your wireless network and the assigned IP number. That number is the one you need to connect to your phone. Write it down. It should look something like this:

Let the PAMP application running on the background as is. You can do that by just pressing your Home button. Now let’s check that everything is working so far. In your laptop open up Firefox (or any other web browser) and type in the IP address from the previous step. You should see something like this:

If you see the something similar, the Apache server is working. Now follow the phpinfo.php link. It should display information about your mobile server (cool, isn’t it) like this:

The web pages that you are looking at now are stored in the phone at E:/DATA/apache/htdocs. E: represents the memory card. This is the public folder that is being served by PAMP. The index.html file is the home page being displayed, and phpinfo.php is the link you just visited.

You may edit these web pages if you wish. You can install Y-Browser to navigate your documents or create folders in your phone. Also, you can install ped for editing text files on your phone (this one requires Python for S60 to be installed first). You can also edit the files on your PC and then transfer them back to your phone.

The next step is to download whispercast which is a lightweight PHP script for music streaming, perfect for our needs (Thanks Manas Tungare for making this cool script!). On your Desktop, create a folder called music (it has to be exactly this name to make it work without configuring anything else). Extract all the files from the zip you just downloaded into this folder. Now add all the mp3 files that you want into the music folder as well. Each directory of mp3 files will be a play-list.

Now you need to transfer the entire music folder (not just the contents, the folder itself too) into the phone, inside the E:/DATA/apache/htdocs folder.

It is now time to go to your laptop and type in the IP address followed by /music. For example, if your IP is, then you need to go to You should now see the text Manas Tungare’s Music Library, with the list of your mp3 files. Navigate to the folder/play-list you want to hear and click on Start Playing. It will create a play-list on the fly and ask you to select the music player that you want to use. If in doubt, just select the default player. After that, you can just save the play-list and double click on it or create a new one visiting the same page.

If you need to tweak some parameters, just edit the config.php file. For changing the format or text displayed, you can edit the other files.

That’s it, now you can listen to your music from anywhere in your house with a small and noise free music server. It should work for Linux, Windows, Mac, or even other mobile phones or tablets.

Posted in IoT, Open Source, Programming.

Installing OpenCV 2.2 in Ubuntu 11.04

UPDATE: You can also install OpenCV 3.2.0 in Ubuntu 16.04LTS.

Many people have used my previous tutorial about installing OpenCV 2.1 in Ubuntu 9.10. In the comments of that post, I noticed great interest for using OpenCV with Python and the Intel Threading Building Blocks (TBB). Since new versions of OpenCV and Ubuntu are available, I decided to create a new post with detailed instructions for installing the latest version of OpenCV, 2.2, in the latest version of Ubuntu, 11.04, with Python and TBB support.

First, you need to install many dependencies, such as support for reading and writing image files, drawing on the screen, some needed tools, etc… This step is very easy, you only need to write the following command in the Terminal

sudo apt-get install build-essential libgtk2.0-dev libjpeg62-dev libtiff4-dev libjasper-dev libopenexr-dev cmake python-dev python-numpy libtbb-dev libeigen2-dev yasm libfaac-dev libopencore-amrnb-dev libopencore-amrwb-dev libtheora-dev libvorbis-dev libxvidcore-dev

Now we need to get and compile the ffmpeg source code so that video files work properly with OpenCV. This section is partially based on the method discussed here.

cd ~
tar -xvzf ffmpeg-0.7-rc1.tar.gz
cd ffmpeg-0.7-rc1
./configure --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-nonfree --enable-postproc --enable-libfaac --enable-libopencore-amrnb --enable-libopencore-amrwb --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-libxvid --enable-x11grab --enable-swscale --enable-shared
sudo make install

The next step is to get the OpenCV 2.2 code:

cd ~
tar -xvf OpenCV-2.2.0.tar.bz2
cd OpenCV-2.2.0/

Now we have to generate the Makefile by using cmake. In here we can define which parts of OpenCV we want to compile. Since we want to use Python and TBB with OpenCV, here is where we set that. Just execute the following line at the console to create the appropriate Makefile. Note that there is a dot at the end of the line, it is an argument for the cmake program and it means current directory.


Check that the above command produces no error and that in particular it reports FFMPEG as 1. If this is not the case you will not be able to read or write videos. Also, check that Python reports ON and Python numpy reports YES. Also, check that under Use TBB it says YES. If anything is wrong, go back, correct the errors by maybe installing extra packages and then run cmake again. You should see something similar to this:

Now, you are ready to compile and install OpenCV 2.2:

sudo make install

Now you have to configure OpenCV. First, open the opencv.conf file with the following code:

sudo gedit /etc/

Add the following line at the end of the file(it may be an empty file, that is ok) and then save it:


Run the following code to configure the library:

sudo ldconfig

Now you have to open another file:

sudo gedit /etc/bash.bashrc

Add these two lines at the end of the file and save it:


Finally, close the console and open a new one, restart the computer or logout and then login again. OpenCV will not work correctly until you do this.

There is a final step to configure Python with OpenCV. You need to copy the file into the correct place. You can do that by just executing the following command:

sudo cp /usr/local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/

Now you have OpenCV 2.2 installed in your computer with Python and TBB support.

Let’s check some demos included in OpenCV.
First, let’s see some C demos:

cd ~/OpenCV-2.2.0/samples/c
chmod +x

Some of the training data for object detection is stored in /usr/local/share/opencv/haarcascades. You need to tell OpenCV which training data to use. I will use one of the frontal face detectors available. Let’s find a face:

./facedetect --cascade="/usr/local/share/opencv/haarcascades/haarcascade_frontalface_alt.xml" --scale=1.5 lena.jpg

Note the scale parameter. It allows you to increase or decrease the size of the smallest object found in the image (faces in this case). Smaller numbers allows OpenCV to find smaller faces, which may lead to increasing the number of false detections. Also, the computation time needed gets larger when searching for smaller objects.

You can also detect smaller objects that are inside larger ones. For example you can search for eyes inside any detected face. You can do that with the nested-cascade parameter:

./facedetect --cascade="/usr/local/share/opencv/haarcascades/haarcascade_frontalface_alt.xml" --nested-cascade="/usr/local/share/opencv/haarcascades/haarcascade_eye.xml" --scale=1.5 lena.jpg

Feel free to experiment with other features like mouth or nose for example using the corresponding cascades provided in the haarcascades directory.

Now let’s check some C++ demos:

cd ~/OpenCV-2.2.0/samples/cpp

Now all the C++ demos are built in ~/OpenCV-2.2.0/bin. Let’s see a couple of them. For example, a simulated chessboard calibration:


In OpenCV 2.2, the grabcut algorithm is provided as a C++ sample. This is a very nice segmentation algorithm that needs very little user input to segment the objects in the image. For using the demo, you need to select a rectangle of the area you want to segment. Then, hold the Control key and left click to select the background (in Blue). After that, hold the Shift key and left click to select the foreground (in Red). Then press the n key to generate the segmentation. You can press n again to continue to the next iteration of the algorithm.

~/OpenCV-2.2.0/bin/grabcut ~/OpenCV-2.2.0/samples/cpp/lena.jpg

This image shows the initial rectangle for defining the object that I want to segment.

Now I roughly set the foreground (red) and background (blue).

When you are ready, press the n key to run the grabcut algorithm. This image shows the result of the first iteration of the algorithm.

Now let’s see some background subtraction from a video. The original video shows a hand moving in front of some trees. OpenCV allows you to separate the foreground (hand) from the background (trees).

~/OpenCV-2.2.0/bin/bgfg_segm ~/OpenCV-2.2.0/samples/c/tree.avi

And finally, let’s see Python working with OpenCV:

cd ~/OpenCV-2.2.0/samples/python/

Let’s run the example. This script starts with randomly generated 2D points and then uses a clustering method called k-means. Each cluster is presented in a different color.


Now let’s see the demo. This algorithm basically calculates the smallest convex polygon that encompasses the data points.


Python scripts can also be executed directly like the following example. This script reads a video file (../c/tree.avi) within pyhton and shows the first frame on screen:


Have fun with OpenCV in C, C++ or Python…

Posted in Computer Vision, Open Source, OpenCV.

Create installable applications (.sis files) from your Python scripts for Symbian

Python is great. It makes everything simple. Also, it can be run almost anywhere, even on your Nokia smartphones. In this post I will show you how to create an installable application (.sis file) from your Python scripts.

The first step is to install Python 2.5 on your computer. It has to be 2.5. If you have a newer version of Python installed, either downgrade to 2.5 or create a local folder with Python 2.5 executable on it and make sure you use that version. You can install Python 2.5 from here.

If you are on Ubuntu, probably you have a newer version of Python. Just get the source and compile it locally:

cd ~
mkdir py2sis
cd py2sis
tar -xvzf Python-2.5.4.tgz
rm Python-2.5.4.tgz
cd Python-2.5.4

OK, so now we should have a local copy of Python 2.5.4. To test that everything is fine, run the following command:

~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python --version

It should report Python 2.5.4. Windows or Linux users that installed Python 2.5.4 on their entire system can always substitute ~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python by just python. For them, the following command should report the same result:

python --version

Now, we need to get the utilities that will allow us to create the sis files. That software is called ensymble. We need exactly this file:

 cd ~/py2sis
~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python ~/py2sis/ version

You should get this result: Ensymble v0.27 2008-06-30.

Now let’s get PythonForS60 sis file that will be installed alongside your script. We need the file PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis.

cd ~/py2sis
mv download PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis

All done configuring the tools. Now we are going to create a Python script.

cd ~
mkdir myFirstScript
cd myFirstScript
gedit &

Here you can put any Python code for Symbian S60. Let’s start with something simple. Write this and save the file:

import appuifw
appuifw.note(u"Hello Symbian/Python World", "info")

Time to create your first Python SIS file. Execute the following:

cd ~
~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python ~/py2sis/ py2sis myFirstScript

It should generate a file called myFirstScript_v1_0_0.sis. This is the sis file for your script. If you already have PythonForS60 sis installed in your phone, it should work. Most of the time though, users will not have it, so let’s merge the two into just one sis:

cd ~
~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python ~/py2sis/ mergesis myFirstScript_v1_0_0.sis ~/py2sis/PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis myFirstScript_v1_0_0_with_Python.sis

Now, you can just install myFirstScript_v1_0_0_with_Python.sis in your Nokia Symbian S60 3rd edition phone (like the E71 for example) and when you open it, you should see something like this:

Great, so now let’s automate this using a script:

sudo touch /usr/local/bin/
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/
sudo gedit /usr/local/bin/ &

Write these commands on the file:

echo "Creating script sis file..."
~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python ~/py2sis/ py2sis myFirstScript
echo "Merging script sis file with Python for S60 sis file..."
~/py2sis/Python-2.5.4/python ~/py2sis/ mergesis myFirstScript_v1_0_0.sis ~/py2sis/PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis myFirstScript_v1_0_0_with_Python.sis
echo "Done."

Now let’s test it erasing the files we just created and then generating them with the script:

cd ~
rm myFirstScript_v1_0_0*

It should create the same 2 sis files we just created before manually. Now, let’s edit the script so that we can tell it where is our source code and set other options:

sudo gedit /usr/local/bin/ &

Replace the existing code with this:


#Check that only 1 parameter is passed (the directory of your script)
if [ $# -ne $EXPECTED_ARGS ]
echo "Usage: `basename $0` [ScriptDirectory]"
exit -1

#This is the directory where your Python for S60 Script is

#Application parameters
APP_SHORT_CAPTION="Short description."
APP_CAPTION="Here you can describe your application in more detail."
#Icon path. It should be a Tiny SVG compatible icon.
#To add an app icon, just uncomment the following line and edit the path to point to your icon

#Environment variables

echo "Creating script sis file..."
"${PYTHON_PATH}" "${ENSYMBLE_PATH}" py2sis --appname="${APP_NAME}" --version="${APP_VERSION}" --shortcaption="${APP_SHORT_CAPTION}" --caption="${APP_CAPTION}" ${APP_ICON} "${PYTHON_SCRIPT_DIR}" "${APP_SCRIPT_SIS_NAME}"
echo "Merging script sis file with Python for S60 sis file..."
echo "Done."

There you can set many parameters for your app, like the name, icon, description, and more. Now you should be able to convert your Python scripts to a sis file by just doing this: ScriptDirectory

Remember to name the main script since that is the file that ensymble is looking for inside the script folder.

Let’s test this new script, erasing the sis files and then executing this script to generate new sis files:

cd ~
rm myFirstScript_v1_0_0* myFirstScript

You should see now a myApp.sis and a myApp_with_python.sis files. Note that those were the properties set in the script. Anytime you want to change these settings, just run this and edit them directly:

sudo gedit /usr/local/bin/ &

OK, now go and create some cool Python apps in no time for your Nokia phone. Check out this excellent Symbian for S60 tutorial made by a fellow Nokia Forum Champion, Jurgen Scheible.

Posted in Programming.

Nokia Developers Day in Santiago, Chile

Over one hundred people attended the first Nokia Developers Day in Santiago, Chile. The event was held at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, which is the university where I have been teaching a course about development of mobile phone applications, at the computer science department.

The first part of the event was a general introduction to the current market strategy and opportunities that Nokia is providing to the local developers. One of the most important topics covered was that Nokia supports global payment via network operators. This means that people around the world can pay for your application without using their credit cards, which makes it easier to sell for the developer. Another important point is that feature phones, of which Nokia still has a large market share, are getting smarter every day. This means that feature phones now support touch UI, have capable CPUs, and new APIs are appearing for them, such as the Nokia Maps API.  On top of this data plans are getting cheaper, so many people are getting always on connectivity with these devices.  At the end of this session, key players from local development companies presented their experience developing for Nokia handsets.

In the second half, I presented the Qt framework for software development on multiple platforms with a focus on Symbian. The idea of the talk was to motivate the use of Qt for mobile phone application development, based on the fact that it is a mature framework, with more than 18 years of development. The mixture of a powerful framework, such as Qt, with integrated sensors,  Sebastian Montabonesuch as GPS, accelerometers, cameras, bluetooth, etc…, gives the developers the ability to create innovative applications easily. Some examples of these applications are mixed or augmented reality type of applications. You can use the GPS to locate yourself broadly, then you can use the accelerometer to know where the device is pointing at. After that, you can use the camera to process what the phone is looking at since the whole world is filtered to just a small area. This is just an example of which type of applications you can develop since with these tools your imagination is the limit. Also, since Qt is a multi platform SDK, you can port your application to Windows, Linux, Mac, and others simply by selecting that platform from a drop down menu and clicking the compile button.

Posted in IoT, Open Source, Programming.

How to install Redmine 1.1.2 on Ubuntu Server 10.04

Redmine is an excellent project management tool written using Ruby on Rails. It provides everything you need to organise your workplace or personal projects. Once you see it working you definitely will want to use it on your own projects. Everything is great until you want to install it since redmine only works with very specific versions of its dependencies. There are many steps that you need to take into consideration, even if you install the outdated version in the repositories. In this guide, I will show you how to install redmine 1.1.2 (the latest version at the time of writing) on Ubuntu Server 10.04 32 bits (latest LTS version at the time of writing).

Make sure that you installed Ubuntu Server 10.04 with SSH (optional) and LAMP support. Both can be selected to be automatically installed at the end of the normal Ubuntu Server 10.04 installation. Once it is installed, remember to update and upgrade your system.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

First, let’s install some dependencies:

sudo apt-get install ruby1.8-dev rubygems1.8 libmysql-ruby libmysqlclient-dev rake libopenssl-ruby libapache2-mod-passenger imagemagick libmagickcore-dev libmagickwand-dev

Now we can install the required packages for ruby, or gems. Note that some packages will take a long time to install and provide no output, so just be patient. Also, you will see some warnings like No definition for X. Ignore those, they mean that some documentation was not installed, and we can live with that.

sudo gem install rails -v=2.3.5
sudo gem install mysql
sudo gem install ruby-openid
sudo gem install i18n -v=0.4.2
sudo gem install passenger
sudo gem install rmagick

Now we have to prepare the database. Enter the MySQL console as root:

mysql -uroot -p

Provide the root password. This is the password you set in the early LAMP installation. Now, inside the MySQL console, execute these commands:

create database redmine character set utf8;
create user 'redmine'@'localhost' identified by 'myPassword';
grant all privileges on redmine.* to 'redmine'@'localhost';

Remember to change myPassword with your actual password. This is the one that will be used for the user redmine in the database redmine at localhost.

Now it is time to get the redmine code. Execute the following commands to get redmine 1.1.2.

cd ~
tar -xvzf redmine-1.1.2.tar.gz
cd redmine-1.1.2

Now setup the database configuration file to match our current environment:

cp config/database.yml.example config/database.yml
nano config/database.yml

Put the details of the database on the specific fields, in particular username and password. Username should be redmine and password should be myPassword or the one you provided before. Make sure that you change both, production and development sections. When you are finished, just hold Control and then press X. This is the command for exiting nano. It will ask if you want to save the changes, just press y (as in yes) and hit enter. That’s it, file saved and back to the console.

Now do the same for configuring email:

cp config/email.yml.example config/email.yml
nano config/email.yml

For this example, we are going to use gmail, but you can use any email settings that you need. Make sure that address is, port is changed to 587, domain is set to (or your host if you use google apps) and that the user_name and password are your credentials. Also, make sure that you add a tls: true line. And finally, the most important part, is that you change login with plain in authentication.

 delivery_method: :smtp
 port: 587
 tls: true
 domain: # or your domain
 authentication: :plain
 user_name: # or your domain
 password: secretPassword

For gmail to work, we need to install a script. Let’s get it:

sudo apt-get install git-core
ruby script/plugin install git://

Let’s proceed with the installation:

rake generate_session_store
sudo mkdir /opt/redmine
cd /opt/redmine
sudo cp -r ~/redmine-1.1.2 .
cd redmine-1.1.2
sudo RAILS_ENV=production rake db:migrate
sudo RAILS_ENV=production rake redmine:load_default_data

Press enter to accept the default language (English) and then execute the following:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data files log tmp public/plugin_assets
sudo chmod -R 755 files log tmp public/plugin_assets
sudo nano /etc/apache2/mods-available/passenger.conf

Add this line inside the <IfModule mod_passenger.c> tag:

PassengerDefaultUser www-data

Now let’s configure apache:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/default

Just before the closing tag, </VirtualHost>, add the following:

RailsEnv production
RailsBaseURI /redmine

Now we put a link to our application to be accessible from apache and restart it:

sudo ln -s /opt/redmine/redmine-1.1.2/public /var/www/redmine
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Some clean up…

cd ~
rm -r redmine-1.1.2
rm redmine-1.1.2.tar.gz

The installation process is finished. Open a web browser in another computer and go to yourServerIP/redmine and you should see the initial page of redmine. If it does not show, then something is wrong in your installation. Go back and carefully follow the steps from the beginning. If you do not know your IP address, just run ifconfig from the server.

Click on Sign-in. Enter admin for user and password. Now you are logged in as the redmine administrator. Go to Administration and then click on Information. You should see the following:

Note that Redmine 1.1.2 stable is installed correctly with RMagick and the directories that it needs are writeable. The only thing left to do here is to change the details of the administrator account (that is why there is one error sign), and start creating users and projects and manage them with this great tool. Once you change your administrator account, you should see no errors on the information page:

And now you can enjoy all the features of this great project manager: Gantt charts, Roadmaps, wiki, file repositories, multiple project support, forums, and much more…

Posted in Open Source, Programming.

40 great apps for the Nokia E71, or how to do cool things with your symbian phone

I really like my Nokia E71. And I am not the only one saying it. It has many fans around the world, so it is not surprising that it has more than 300 positive reviews on Amazon. It also comes with a nice price tag. The only problem I had was that I spent a lot of time searching for useful applications for this phone. This post is the result of my findings: 40 great applications that cover my needs(and hopefully yours) in many different areas.

The E71 is powered by Symbian OS, specifically S60 3rd edition. This version of the Symbian OS is currently the oldest one that can run most of the software that is out there, including applications developed with the new Nokia Qt SDK. This means that if you have a phone with a newer version of the Symbian OS (S60 5th edition or Symbian^3), you should be able to run all the applications that I am going to list here as well.

OK, here I present you 40 great apps for the Nokia E71:

  1. Y-Browser
    This is a file browser for your phone. The nice thing is that it shows you hidden directories and files, so it is better to use this one instead of the built in browser.
  2. JoikuSpot Light
    Share your phone’s internet connection via WiFi. Connect multiple devices (laptops, other WiFi enabled phones, etc) to your phone and browse the internet everywhere.
  3. SportsTracker
    If you do any type of outdoor exercises like jogging, walking, cycling, etc, download this app. It logs your position using GPS, and then uploads your exercises to an online server that shows your average speed, distance covered, map of the region, etc. It also can be connected to social networking sites such as facebook to encourage your work outs. Highly recommended.
  4. Nokia Maps
    The nice thing about Nokia Maps is that the maps data can be downloaded to the phone’s memory and then you can use it without any connection to the internet. Ideal when travelling abroad and you don’t have a local sim card or when you don’t want to pay for data plans. Also, it comes with turn by turn voice directions in many languages. And all of this for free, for ever.
  5. Google Maps
    Some times you may need extra information that is not available on Nokia Maps. On these rare occasions it is always handy to have the Googls Maps application installed. The good thing is that you can use the places that you saved on Nokia Maps (Favorites) in Google Maps (Starred Items). Note that this app does not come with turn by turn voice directions and it uses internet to get the maps.
  6. Metro
    This application tells you the shortest route from one station to another in your local metro (subway), as well as the one with fewest connections. It uses offline data, so no internet access is necessary. Cities from all over the world are supported. Highly recommended.
  7. cCalcPro
    This is a powerful yet easy to use scientific calculator. It contains many functions such as simple mathematical ones, as well as trigonometric,  financial and base functions. You could actually just use this calculator for every calculation you make, even for the simple ones since it is so easy to use, every key in the keyboard is mapped to a specific function, so it is like using a real calculator.
  8. MobiReader
    This app turns your phone into a nice e-book reader. For managing your e-books, and changing them to the format that this app understands, you can use Calibre, a great software for managing e-books on the PC.
  9. Photo Browser
    This app displays your photos in a nice grid gallery with an easy to use interface. It looks and works better than the built in photo viewer.
  10. Snapper
    If you want to make time-lapse movies, this is the app you should get. It allows you to take a picture every second, minute, hour, or any time interval that you need, up to one picture a day. It is simple to use and it works great. All the images are stored in a single folder. You can transfer that folder to the PC and then just drag and drop the first image into Avidemux and with a couple of clicks you can create a video out of them.
  11. ScreenSnap
    This is for taking screen-shots in your phone. It does the same thing as the Print Screen button on a PC.
  12. SmartCam
    This application allows you to use your phone as a web-cam. It can use Bluetooth or WiFi for connecting to the device.
  13. m3DCam
    Have you ever seen a 3D image using a Red and Cyan lens?, well this app lets you create those images. Take an photo, move the phone and take the second one. This app then creates the image that you can see with your lenses in 3D.
  14. BeatEd
    Do you play any instrument?, if you do, you should check this app out. It is a drum machine. Ideal for accompanying your training sessions. You can create your own rhythms with its 16 channel audio mixer. It is really easy to use and you can download many samples from the website to get you started.
  15. Chromatic Tuner
    If you need to tune your instrument, this is the app that you are looking for. Simply go to a quiet place, start the application and play a note on your guitar (or any other tunable instrument). It will tell you which note is being played.
  16. eBuddy
    Instant messenger. Chat with your friends from msn, yahoo, facebook, and many others in just one application.
  17. Opera Mobile
    A great mobile web browser, with support for tabs and many other features.
  18. Skype
    Call and chat worldwide with your friends, cheaper than using regular phones.
  19. Fring
    This application integrates all your contacts from your phone contacts, msn, yahoo, etc, and allows you to chat, call and video call them using internet as well as cellular calls. It could be used to replace the native contact list, as well as the log of the calls.
  20. Gmail
    Read your email everywhere.
  21. S60SpotOn
    Use your camera flash and the LCD screen to illuminate your surroundings. Nice to have when the lights go out.
  22. Compass
    This application uses the position of the sun and moon to indicate you where the north is. You only need to put the phone facing up, aligned with the shown diagram and you will know where the north is. Also, it gives you extra information such as sunrise, sunset and moon phase.
  23. Sideralis
    If you like to watch the stars, this app is for you. Once you configure it for your location, it will show you the stars that are in your view. You can freely navigate the 3D display of the stars to match the part of the sky you are looking at. Information about the stars is available as well as some astronomic terms explained.
  24. RemoteWitch
    Control your PC with your phone. Specially useful for presentations or media playback.
  25. PyS60
    This is the Python port to the S60 phones. Install it to add the ability to run python scripts on your phone. You need to install both, first PythonForS60_1_4_5_3rdEd.sis and then PythonScriptShell_1_4_5_3rdEd.SIS. Note that there is a newer version of PyS60 here that features Python 2.5, but some applications need the older version installed. Well, you can actually have both versions installed without problems.
  26. Ped
    This is a Python IDE as well as a general text editor. You need to install PyS60 first in order to install it. Also, you need to install it on the same place that you installed PyS60 (phone memory). It has many features, in particular auto completion. You can access the auto completion feature by holding the green button (call) and then pressing the enter button (center of d-pad). This app is also great for text editing in general.
  27. JBakTaskMan
    This is an advanced task manager. It has many nice features, such as launching applications by typing their name, among many others. A must have app for the power user.
  28. FreeTimeBox
    This is an awesome and simple application. It simply displays the current time at the menu bar, always. Now you will never need to go to the Home screen just for knowing the time when you are in the middle of something. You can configure it to disappear when certain applications are running (games for example), as well as the appearance and position. This app is a must.
  29. vHome 4.2
    If you want to change how the Home screen looks, you can install this app. It is a task manager that allows you to change the Home screen with many features. For example, if you need more than the normal 6 apps shortcuts, you can add up to 14 with this app. You can also add weather information or RSS feeds to your home screen. Recommended for the power user.
  30. GPFCe
    Nintendo emulator. This emulator supports sound. Re play your old NES games while you wait for the bus, or anywhere!.
  31. AntSnes
    Super Nintendo emulator. It does not support sound though, but the idea of having the ability to play your old Super NES games in your phone is awesome.
  32. DOSBox
    DOS emulator. This is the port of the DOSBox project to the S60 platform. With this, you can run DOS on your phone, so you can use all your old DOS programs in your phone. You can even run big applications such as Windows 98.
  33. Pamp
    Personal Apache MySQL PHP. Really. You can have a whole web-server on your phone, with databases,  and dynamic pages. You could be hosting a whole CMS or a forum from your pocket. You could for example show a live feed from the camera without needing any external services. The possibilities are endless.
  34. SICFTP
    This is an FTP client. Transfer files back and forth from any server.
  35. Putty
    Good ol’ Putty. Telnet and SSH client on your phone. Thanks to this you could be working on the bus ride to/from work.
  36. CpuMon
    This application displays the usage of CPU and Memory. Good for measuring performance of applications on real devices.
  37. Energy Profiler
    Nokia released this nice application which shows the energy consumed by the device. This can be useful to developers and normal users. Developers can use this app for measuring the energy used by their applications to try to minimize it. Normal users can see the effects of applications and usage of the phone for extending battery life.
  38. Device Status
    This app, developed by Nokia, shows you detailed information about the phone, such as the model, IMEI number, software version, memory available, installed applications, and network information, among other things.
  39. CellTrack
    This application shows you information about the cell that you are connected to, such as the cell id and signal strength, among others.
  40. FreeUnRar
    This application allows you to open rar files.

Please let me know if you think there is a cool application for the E71 that is missing from this list.

Posted in IoT, Open Source, Programming.

How to control the orientation of an application in Qt

By default, S60 applications choose the current orientation automatically based on how the user is holding the device. This is convenient in general, but in some cases the developer needs more control regarding the orientation of the displayed content. In this post I will show you how to override this behavior and set the preferred orientation for your application: portrait, landscape or automatic at run time.

The first thing that we need is to include a couple of libraries: cone, eikcore and avkon. This can be done by editing the Symbian specific part of the .pro file:

symbian {
TARGET.UID3 = 0xe9507491
TARGET.EPOCHEAPSIZE = 0x020000 0x800000
# We need these libs to change the orientation
LIBS += -lcone \
-leikcore \

Now we have to include the specific headers wherever we want to change the orientation of the device:

//These are the headers needed for changing the orientation
#include <eikenv.h>
#include <eikappui.h>
#include <aknenv.h>
#include <aknappui.h>

Now we can just call to this function and the orientation will be changed to portrait, no matter how the user holds the device:

CAknAppUi* appUi = dynamic_cast<CAknAppUi*> (CEikonEnv::Static()->AppUi());
    if (appUi) {

You can do the same for Landscape or Automatic mode. Just change EAppUiOrientationPortrait to EAppUiOrientationLandscape or EAppUiOrientationAutomatic accordingly. Automatic is the default mode, that is, it will change the orientation depending on how the user holds the device.
Make sure that you do not remove the Symbian OS checks (#ifdef Q_OS_SYMBIAN) because these libraries will only be available for the Symbian device, and not for the simulator for example.
Feel free to download the source code of an example that I made for controlling the orientation in Qt.

Posted in Open Source, Programming.

How to easily sign a Nokia S60 unsigned application

Sometimes you try to install a cool application on your Nokia S60 phone but you can’t do it because it is an unsigned application, or the signature has expired. This is to keep your phone and personal information safe from evil software developers that want to harm your phone or steal personal information, among others.

Although, there are some cases where you trust the developer and want to install the unsigned software anyway. In this post I will show you how to sign it very easily (in less than 5 minutes).

The first step is to download and install a very useful software called SISContents.

For this example, I will be using a very nice unsigned application that allows you to disable the camera sound when taking pictures. Once it is installed you only need to disable the warning tones in your profile (or enable and then disable them again) and your camera will be muted. You can download this cool unsigned application from here. Now you need to drag and drop the application you want to sign into SISContents. You will see all the details of the application.

The only thing that we need to do here is to change the Package UID so that it lies inside the Test Range defined by the Symbian Signed guys, which goes from 0xE0000000 to 0xEFFFFFFF. Basically, we want the UID to be an 8-digits hexadecimal number starting with E and the rest does not really matter. In this example, I just changed the original UID 0x10202BE9 to 0xE0202BE9. You can do the same, just change the first number of the UID to E). Then go to File->Save As and write a new file name to save the changes.

Now we need to sign the file you saved. The Symbian Signed guys offer a really easy to use Open Signed online service. You only need to provide the IMEI of your phone, your email and the application that you want to sign (the file you just saved). You can access their online signing service here. You can get your IMEI number easily by just typing *#06# in your phone.

You will then receive a confirmation email where you have to click on a link. Then, just wait and you will receive a second email with a download link for the signed application. Easy.

Posted in Programming.

How to Create Your First Application for the Nokia N900 using Qt

Nokia’s N900 is a great smartphone. Actually it is a mobile computer running Linux. It has a touchscreen and a real keyboard as well as many embedded goodies: proximity and ambient light sensors, tri-axial accelerometer, camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and IR. This makes the N900 the perfect device for your next hacking project or cool new application.

The first step for creating apps for the N900 is to download and install the Nokia Qt SDK. Qt is a very powerful SDK for creating applications for many environments, such as Windows, Linux, Mac, Maemo (this is what the N900 runs), Symbian, and Windows CE. That means that you only need to code once and you have native applications for all those environments. Nice.

After Nokia Qt SDK is installed, open Qt Creator which is the IDE included with Qt. You should see something like this:

Nokia qt sdk for windows

Now, you need to create a new project. Go to File->New File or Project. There, under Qt C++ Project, you need to select Mobile Qt Application and click Choose.

Now you need to input the name and path of the project. Make sure that you do not use any spaces or special characters in either the name or the path of the project.

In the next window you will define the targets of your project. The options shown will depend on the specific SDKs that you have installed on your computer. At least you should have Maemo, Qt Simulator and Symbian Device since all of them are part of the Nokia Qt SDK. Select Maemo and Qt Simulator. Maemo is the platform for the N900 and the Qt Simulator is useful for design and debug on the PC.

Next you will see the details of the classes that will be generated for you. Leave everything as default. It will create a  class called MainWindow derived from QMainWindow. Nothing to worry here, basically it is a class that represents a window. There are three files that will be created for this class; the mainwindow.cpp which holds the implementation of the methods of the class, mainwindow.h which defines the class itself and lists the methods, and mainwindow.ui which generates the UI based on the graphical designer inside Qt Creator. Just press Next.

Now you will see the summary of the project. Click on Finish.

Now you have a blank window and different controls that you can drag and drop into it. You can add buttons, text edits, combo boxes, calendars, and many more. Try dragging a couple of controls and looking at their properties on the right side. You can erase any control by just selecting it and pressing the Delete key.

Let’s create a very simple application, something that sums two numbers. First, we need to add a Layout. A Layout brings order to the application’s items, and makes sure that it will look good on any platform. There are different types of layouts: horizontal, vertical, form and grid. Vertical and horizontal layouts are straightforward since they represent just a list of items on each direction. If you want to put two items per row, you can use the form layout. This layout is perfectly suited for aligning each text label with its corresponding text edit. If you have a more complex application UI, you can use the grid layout which is more flexible. For this simple application I will use the Form Layout. Just drag it to the window. A red rectangle should appear.

Now lets put some controls on the layout. I will be using three Text Edits, one for each number and one for the sum of them. You can find them under the Input Widgets category. Also, I will be using two Labels, found under Display Widgets and a Push Button, found under the Buttons category. Drag and drop them inside the red rectangle so that you see something like this:

Now lets configure each item. You can double click on each of them to change the text or to input default values. If you click on an item it will be selected, and all of its properties will be shown on the right side. Select each line edit and change its objectName property to number1, number2 and sum accordingly. Change the push button objectName to sumNumbers. The last thing that you need to do here is to set the sizePolicy for each item. Select every item and under sizePolicy, for horizontal and vertical select Expanding. This means that the items will expand to the correct size for any device. If you do not set these policies, probably you will not be able to see the items on the phone due to their small size.

OK, lets do some coding now. What we want the application to do is to sum number1 and number2 and output the result when the users clicks the Sum button. An easy way of accessing the code is to right click on the push button and select Go To Slot…. This will open a dialog with all the slots of that object. We are interested in the Clicked() slot, so select it and click OK. If you ask yourself what a slot is, just think of it as an event. Although if you really want to use Qt you should learn about signals and slots.

Alright, now we are in the Edit tab of Qt Creator (before we were in the Design tab). This is where you can see all the source files and the actual code for the application. If you selected the Clicked() slot from the previous paragraph, a function will be created for you. Note that the function name, on_sumNumbers_clicked(),  has the name of the item (sumNumbers) and the slot (clicked()). This is the actual function that gets called when the sum button is pressed. Here is where we will do the actual coding.

void MainWindow::on_sumNumbers_clicked()
 //anything from the user interface that we created is inside the ui object.
//first, get the two numbers as ints
 int number1 = ui->number1->text().toInt();
 int number2 = ui->number2->text().toInt();
 //now sum the numbers
 int result = number1 + number2;
 //finally store the result as text in the sum line edit

OK, now the coding is done. Lets see it running on the emulator. Make sure that Qt Simulator is selected on the left side, above the green play button. To run it, just press the green play button. You should see something like this:

Note that this is the actual N900 simulator. If you see a different phone, you can change it in the simulator window: Under the View category you will see a Device selection, just select Maemo Freemantle and the N900 should appear. Now you can use the application, input some values and after you click Sum, the result should appear correctly. If the application does not work properly at this stage, go back to the code and correct any mistakes.

Once you have your application running in the simulator, it is time to compile it for the real N900 device. For doing that first close the simulator. Then, select Maemo above the green play symbol. Wait a couple of seconds until the Parsing, Scanning and Evaluating processes are done. After that, go to Build->Build All. Do not press the green arrow as you did before with the simulator. Wait until the building process is finished.

Although the application was built successfully, there are a couple of things that we need to do before we can send the application to the device. First, go to the directory where the project was created. You should see the source files as well as the compiled application, myfirstmobileapp_0.0.1_armel.deb and a debian folder. Go inside that folder. There you will find a file called control. We need to edit this file. Drag and drop it inside Qt Creator (or use any other editor). The contents of the file will be something similar to this:

Source: myfirstmobileapp
Section: unknown
Priority: extra
Maintainer: unknown <>
Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 5)
Standards-Version: 3.7.3
Homepage: <insert the upstream URL, if relevant>
Package: myfirstmobileapp
Architecture: any
Depends: ${shlibs:Depends}, ${misc:Depends}
Description: <insert up to 60 chars description>
 <insert long description, indented with spaces>

The problem is in the Section: unknown statement. You need to change it to any valid section different than unknown. For example Section: user/development or Section: user/other or any other valid section. If you don’t change this, you will receive an “incompatible application package” error when you try to install your application.

Now we are going to add an icon for the application. Inside the Debian directory, you will see a folder with the name of your application, in my case myfirstmobileapp. Go inside that folder. There you will see two folders, DEBIAN and usr. Go inside the usr folder. There you will see three folders: bin, local and sbin. Create a new folder there called share. Go inside the newly created share folder. There, create two folders: icons and applications. Inside the icons folder, place the icon for your application, in png format and 64×64 in size. Name it myfirstmobileapp.png or your specific application name. You can use this image as a template.

Now, go inside the Applications folder that you just created. There, create a folder called hildon. Go inside that folder. There, you have to create a text file called myfirstmobileapp.desktop. It should have the following contents:

[Desktop Entry]

Make sure that you change myfirstmobileapp with your application name. Note that the icon filename does not need to have the PNG extension. After doing that, you are ready. Delete the application (myfirstmobileapp_0.0.1_armel.deb), go to Qt Creator and build it again. Now the generated application should install without a problem in your N900.

Now you need to send the application deb file into your phone. You can do that easily by transferring the file via Bluetooth from your computer. You can select in the N900 to automatically open the file once the transfer is completed. That will launch the installation process. Also, you can use other methods such as an USB cable, or using internet and then use the file browser to navigate to the deb file and launch the installation process. That is all you need to install an application in the N900.

If you are having problems following this tutorial, or if you just want fast results, you can download my sample project and use it as a template for your applications. This way you can focus more on creating cool applications instead of trying to compile them on the N900.


First, download the project and extract it. Then, double click on This will open Qt Creator. Select Maemo and Qt Simulator on the Project Setup window. Then, select Maemo as the target (above the green arrow) and then build the project (Build->Build all).

Now you need to make the corrections so that it installs on the N900. Download this and extract it. Put the share folder you just extracted inside the debian/myfirstmobileapp/usr folder . You should now see four directories under usr: bin, local, sbin and share.

The next step is to overwrite the control file. Download the corrected file from here and copy it into the debian directory. Overwrite the old control file.

Now go to Qt Creator and select Build->Rebuild All. Enjoy!

Posted in Open Source, Programming.

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Free Photo Editing Software

Do you want to start editing your own photos?. You do not have to pay for it, you can do it for free!.
There are many free and open source image processing, or photo editing, programs out there. They are great in what they do and they cost you nothing to try them out. Their main problem is that most people do not know what they are capable of. In this post, I will show some of the cool stuff you can do with them.

General Photo Editing

Most of us need software for every day image manipulation. This covers basic stuff like resizing, cropping, adjusting contrast and brightness, and so on. Also, many people often need software for retouching their photos, reducing the red eye effect, or removing objects from their pictures.

Gimp is one of the most versatile open source software for general photo editing. This software can be used for general purposes, such as resizing, cropping, adjusting color, brightness, red eye reduction, noise reduction, and many other usages. Also, you can install plug-ins to Gimp, adding even more functionality.


Sometimes the angle of view of your camera does not cover the entire object that you want to photograph, like a tall building or a wide landscape. In these situations you can stitch a panorama from a bunch of normal pictures taken with your camera.

Hugin is an excellent software for creating panoramas. It is easy to use and the results are incredible. You just give Hugin your pictures, select what type of panorama you want and it creates an awesome panorama for you.

For example, it is hard to get the world’s largest pool in just one shot, so I took a bunch of pictures of it.

And then I used Hugin to create a panorama using these images.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

The human eye is capable of discerning a high range of tones of light in a given scene, from dark shadows to bright highlights. Regular cameras, on the other hand, normally produce Low Dinamic Range (LDR) images, such as jpgs, which only allow you to capture details from shadows or highlights, but not from both at the same time. This is because jpgs only use 8 bits per channel to represent the scene.

HDR images use more than 8 bits to represent the scene, so they can capture more highlights and shadows compared to a regular shot. The problem is that only expensive, specialized cameras can capture HDR images. Here is when Luminance HDR (formerly known as Qtpfsgui) comes to save the day.

Luminance HDR is a software that allows you to merge pictures with different exposure settings to create a single HDR image containing all the relevant information from these images. The generated image has more than 8 bits, usually 16, and because of that it cannot be presented in regular monitors (they only use 8 bits per channel). When you have an HDR, this program allows you to tonemap it into an 8 bit image. Tonemapping is a technique used for generating a LDR from a HDR conserving the most information possible.

In other words, just as in the case of a panorama where you can generate a picture of the complete scene by merging pictures that cover different regions of the scene, here you can merge together pictures taken with different exposures so that you can cover the entire range of lightness of the scene.

For example, here is a bench that had a single light on just one side of it at night. You can see that the first shot does not show the details of the highlights or the shadows, but the rest of the picture looks correctly exposed. On the second picture, only the details of the highlights are presented and on the final image, only the details of the shadows are present. As you can see, it is not possible to present all the information of the scene in just a single shot.

I used Luminance HDR to create a HDR image from these three pictures. Then, with this HDR image, you can tone map it into a new LDR image that contains the details from the shadows and the highlights in a single image. Here is an example of a tone mapping operator that produces realistic images, such as Reinhard or Durand.

You can generate more artistic images by using different tone mapping operators, such as Mantiuk or Fattal.

Raw Photos

A Raw photo is just the information about the amount of light that the camera gathered during the capture. It is not tied with any color space or image format. Actually, every camera manufacturer has their own Raw format. Because the white balance has not been set yet, the photographer can set it later using a special software instead of letting the camera set it on site. There are many discussions about Raw vs Jpg on the web, but I will just assume that you are interested in processing a Raw image :)

UFRaw is great software for dealing with Raw photos. It is installed as a stand alone application as well as a Gimp plug-in. This way, you can import any Raw image into Gimp easily. With this software, you can read Raw images, change the white balance, exposure compensation, demosaicing algorithm used to generate the colors, and even more options.

Batch Processing

Sometimes you need to apply the same operation to many photos. This can be time consuming if you apply the operation to each one of them independently. A common case is resizing, but you may need to apply a different operation.

You can use imagemagick for processing all your images with just one command. It is an extremely powerful image editor, and it is run on the command line, so you can even run it on your server. It covers all the basic features that you may need, such as resizing, cropping, changing image formats, etc, as well as more advanced ones.

The Book

A book about free photo editing softwareI wrote a book about using free tools for editing your photos. If you are interested in it, you can check it out from your local library or browse the preview at Google Books.
It is called Beginning Image Processing: Using Free Tools for Photographers. The idea of this book is to present many typical scenarios where you need to edit or process your images and then explain how to achieve that effect using a free tool. There are many screen shots in the book that help you to understand how to use these programs in an easy way.

Posted in Open Source, Photography.