Monday, November 14, 2011

Windows Phone 7 and ringtones

My wife has the Winphone7 and although it is a fine phone, if Sprint had the iPhone 4S when we were out looking, I probably would have gotten that one...

Anyway, my wife likes the Fur Elise by Beethoven. Her first basic phone from years ago had that as one of the default choices, and she stuck with it through the next phones.

The first one was just a normal electronic version that a phone could generate. Her next phone (well really next two) was a win6.5 phone that could play certain audio files. (I don't remember what format it needed, but it wasn't obscure)

So now a few years later, with all modern phones playing MP3s and her new WP7 smartphone with that ability...surely it would be simple to add that Fur Elise MP3 as a

The original WP7 did not have that had a bunch of ringtones, and it could play MP3 files, but you could not add to the ringtone list.

The greatly anticipated Mango WP7.5 was supposed to have that capability, and finally was pushed out (without problems) to the users.

So I already had that MP3 on her phone...pulled up the ringtone list, and couldn't find an option to add I went to the list of files on the phone...but found no option to make a song a ringtone (like you can with most other phones).

Off to the internet.

Ok it is a simple process to put an MP3 as a ringtone...but not straightforward like in every other smartphone.

First your MP3 has to be under 40 seconds, next it has to be less than 1Meg in size, finally in its properties you have to ID it as a ringtone...

I pulled up Audacity to edit the ringtone length (and while I was at it, compressed it a bit, did a high pass filter on it, and raised the volume...for extra credit).

Then I had to pull that file into Zune (the WP7 uses Zune exclusively for everything sync related, updates etc).

Within Zune I looked at the properties of the file, and went to the Genre and had to type in Ringtone.

At this point I didn't think it would work. But I sync'd her phone, and sure enough that file showed up on her ringtone list, and from that point was a normal ringtone.

So she is happy now! Therefore I am happy now!

But I honestly would think that in this modern century, a 'smart' phone could use any file as a rintone...

Mozilla Thunderbird and Google calendar.

A few months ago I got fed up with my other email software (I don't even remember what I was using) so I started using Mozilla's Thunderbird, another open source application from the Firefox folks.

I hadn't used a calendar on my pc except to upload my work schedule to Google Calendar. I hadn't really looked into using calendar software...the last one I used was with Outlook about a decade ago.

I have been using Google calendar because it easily syncs with my iPhone and Android phone.

So fast forward to today. I start up Thunderbird, and the autoupdater goes through its thing, and as usual an additional tab opens up to announce what is new with Tbird. (it uses tabs a lot) This time I happen to actually read the tab, and it says there is a calendar plugin called Lightning. So I installed it (download file from Mozilla, open it with the Tbird Tools-Add On- menu.

I restart Tbird, the calendar tab is there with my email tab (it is all about tabs). I right click on the calendars to add mine...and oh, iCal etc are supported, but those are read only. So I can view the calendar but not sync it...

A quick search leads me to Calendar:GDATA Provider . It is compatible with the Lightening calendar plugin of course.

The only hard part about the setup is for any calendar you use, you need to get the web address of the actual calendar...for that, if they are part of your Google Calendar, Google will supply the address. Just log into Gcalendar, go to the settings (gear icon) get to the tab with the list of calendars you use, click on the appropriate calendar on the left side, then click on the XML icon to use the sync option of a calendar you own, or click the iCal icon to use a public calendar. the popup will give you the web address you need.

It is straight forward, copy paste at this point.

I will admit I haven't yet synced a calendar, but it should work.

(no screenshots because all they would show is personal data...but if necessary I can add some sanitized pics)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Google Ruined Google Reader!

My Google Reader was just updated to the 'new and improved' version. (31 OCT 11) (and I hope it is only a Halloween prank)

It sucks.

I normally don't complain about free stuff, I use Gmail, and Google Calendar, but I only use the data, not the website I don't care they also changed those UIs.

But GR has replaced the old Google page as my default web page displayed. And the old interface was simple to move around, and see what was read/unread, and the articles were well placed. I didn't have a complaint- from my Desktop with 22" screens, to Laptop with 13" screen, to 9" netbook, to Nook...the UI was just fine.

But now they had to 'improve' it.

If they do not change it back, or at least make it look similar to the old version, I will have to use something else for my reader...and probably Mozilla Thunderbird.

...think about all the lost Ad revenue Google, if everyone switches to another reader...