Category Archives: OBDMobile

Winter Break

Its winter break now, so i try to come up with a todo list for the next month or at least try and attempt to be constructive.

I had a fire sale on my BT connectors, wanted to clear out stock and i did, even threw in free copies of OBDMobile to hurry it along.

Once that was done, and now i know that WP7/8/RT/Surface does not openly allow ad-hoc or blue tooth serial port profile i told my self i would make OBDMobile free so i did.

The one on Intel’s AppUp though i still need to “free”, but i think i sold like 2 copies on there so i guess there is no hurry.

A “jail broken” ROM for my phone came out in the last month or so, and the guys of XDA has figured out, from what i know, how to access the serial port among other things so my main goal for this break is to get a home-brewed version of OBDMobile running on Windows Phone 7. Stuff like this is what i will always miss from Windows Mobile 6 is the ability to do almost anything on it, but i guess that’s the trade off for having a enjoyable UI.¬† From what i can tell Microsoft has been trying to get away from BT SPP for years now, but with all the parts already there i don’t see why they cant keep supporting it. My guess it must be a security thing, in class in the Senior Design lab i was easily able to connect and mess with another teams blue tooth thing that allowed serial port access. Which i guess was not to nice since they started freaking out and they had a big presentation the next day for it lol.

Speaking of Senior Design, my group is wanting to work on that all break and being the unofficial “tech lead” of the group might mean ill have to help ūüėõ

As for SideAmp, which i guess its a project only i seem to love, it is now pretty much unneeded anymore. MS killed off SideShow, which i have been toying with porting to Windows Phone 7/8 but there is not really a big reason to. You can still install SideShow on Windows 8 and even SideBar gadgets which i find more useful in a desktop setting than Live Tiles are but they are unsupported. After updating to Windows 8 x64 my sideshow drivers on my devices no longer work, and though i asked for updates, they are not interested. I played with updating the drivers myself but W8 has some parts that make it not particularly fun. Though i can still access it on non-sideshow ways and i might port a smaller copy of SideAmp for just that purpose for Zune and WinAmp but im pretty sure some one has already done something similar a long time ago. ¬†Thought about making a WinRT SideAmp app but if¬† Zune, i mean “X-Box Music” is still a mess then i dont see the point in it.

I am still a bit surprised that they abandoned SideShow, at least without replacing it with something better. I see plenty of apps on the marketplace that involve some sort of “driver” or a method of getting data between the phone and computer, something SideShow was pretty decent at. I know MS wants people to interact and use Azure which lead to some pretty stupid discussions with MS when WP7 first came out.¬† WP8 and its NFC communications stuff, and with Nokia actually trying things with it like in its overly expensive charger speaker dock system. Maybe someone should develop a general NFC usb connector thingy, though i know some laptops have something built in now.

Oh well, in the end i will probably just sit around drinking hot chocolate and blowing all my time and money on Steam’s Winter sale.

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Windows 8

I have been running Windows 8 RTM for a few weeks now and for the most part i have been digging it.

Metro Apps, i mean “Windows 8 Apps” are cool when they work, and very frustrating when they don’t.¬† And i know a lot of people have been giving hate over the new or lack of start menu. But for me i usually have my most used programs either pinned to the start menu, task bar or with RocketDock. So having it all nicely on the screen here is pretty handy i think for me. Now everyone is all up on the Metro apps, and like i said, when they work they are great. My hope with the metro apps is that you would get lighter, faster, smaller versions of common software. So for example instead of opening up Outlook, to the open up the Windows 8 “Metro” Mail in less time. But with me at least this is not the case at all. It took me 7.7 seconds to open Outlook 2013 preview¬† and 12.6 seconds to open the “Metro” Mail app on my Desktop. So it took me twice as long to open the “smaller” faster app than big Outlook. That’s not cool. What about Internet Explorer: 3.7 seconds for the desktop version and: 11.4 for Metro to open and load a page. Wow that is ridiculous. So i decided to try it on my Netbook running on a Atom processor, where i planned i would most often use metro, Metro Mail took about 8.2 seconds and Outlook took: 10.1 seconds and for Desktop IE: 3.7 seconds and Metro: 3.8 so that’s a bit more even, in fact metro works faster on my Atom then on my i5 desktop.¬† So that’s kind of interesting, some talk online about metro loading is saying its a bit by design so every Windows 8 Metro system feels about the same, so they make fast computers feel slower to make slower computers feel faster. MS says that metro will kill off any app that takes m0re than 15 seconds to load so at least there is a limit to the slowness.But for now it feels like Metro is good for slow computers but counter productive for faster computers. Should be fun to hear more about this as time goes on.

Not much new from Windows Phone 8 but some RTM SDKs and emulators have been leaked, the overview i keep hearing is the hope that the sdk is locked and MS has some big reveal still because there is nothing all to new on it. Yea they added nfc and a wallet, and some other minor stuff but nothing to amazing. Nothing really worth a complete platform release. My guess is there is a lot of back end code change because it is said to be running a variation of Windows RT and no longer Windows Embedded 6 and that it is pretty much just a port over. Of course they are saying it cant be ran on older WP7 system, but i am sure XDA will figure that out. Sprint of course is still the only carrier to not announce a phone yet. Still looks like there is no Blue Tooth SPP support, there might be wifi ad-hoc, there might even be usb host support. I guess the big reveal is this Monday so we should know more then.

As for software i do have some projects i am working on, i need to see if OBDMobile on RT or Metro can be done, seeing if i can port MS SideShow to Windows Phone 7/8. I know sideshow and sidebar (kind of) still work on Windows 8.¬† I then need to decide if i should work on SideAmp, it was designed as a SideBar/SideShow plugin but if there is no longer either then i might just let that one die off. I have spent a lot of time on updating it this last month so i might release that as some type of “beta” for 1.3 but if i decide to work on it anymore its going to need a whole rewrite so i need to make sure its worth the time. So now that i am running Windows 8 full time i should be able to make some small proof of concepts¬† to at least have a decent plain for the next few months. Im going to try and post more here on the development side of things as well.

OBDMobile WinRT/Metro/WP8?

Bit of a ramble…

Ok, been doing a bunch of research for my senior design project which just so happens to run along OBDMobile research and i am coming up with some future issues for OBDMobile on Windows 8 Metro side, WinRT and Windows Phone 8.

Now the desktop section of Windows 8 on non-ARM processors run just like they would on Windows 7 but Metro which is said to be using a form of WinRT, well, depends on who you ask, some say its not true WinRT but whatever the truth is doesn’t matter (some say it might be possible to port it back to Win7). Metro (WinRT) is said to be a sand-boxed environment much like Windows Phone 7/8 almost to where during development you should imagine it as being two separate systems. So you have Metro and like Windows 7.8 sitting behind it.

So with Metro sandboxed, what all can we access? Well not blue tooth SSP (serial) which i would guess means we wont be able to access it in Windows Phone 8 as well and probably not in WinRT proper. The lack of serial blue tooth access is of course making a lot of people a bit upset. A lot of things use BT SSP that are still using Windows Mobile 5/6 who was hoping to move to WP7 to then 7.5 to now 7.8 to finally WP8 who are now looking towards alternatives (Android/iOS). This includes me, what made OBDMobile work is that BT connectors are cheap, well are cheap now, and they run off simple BT serial. WiFi ones are still $100+ and there is talk of some proximity APIs but i would bet that any connector using that wont be cheap either. Now at least with Windows 8, it looks like you can still connect to ad hoc networks, and it seams that metro can still use sockets so there is a chance for OBDMobile using Wifi using Windows 8. But i dont know about the dedicated ARM tablets using “pure” WinRT. Can that connect to ad hoc? Can Windows Phone 8 connect to ad hoc? Guess once i get my replacement ram ill work on a proof of concept for OBDMobile Metro this weekend or so.

I would think that once Windows 8 and WinRT is truly out there, there will be (and has already started) a big outcry for BT SSP in Metro, with WP7 its easy to ignore because of its user base, but i dont think that will work on a much larger user base that Windows 8 and WinRT tablets will bring in.

If WinRT is made for ARM processors then what is Windows Embedded Standard 8 for? Is it running Win32 and WinRT? Is it going to be metro only? Is WinRT metro only? I keep hearing different things from different places. Another weekend project is to get WES8 up and running to see what it is.

So i guess in short, OBDMobile might be on metro for WiFi connectors only, which means it might be on WP8 for Wifi only. But who knows all of this can change in a few months once W8 hits retail.

Spring Semester

Best laid plans right?

Well as i was hoping wouldn’t happen, XMAS got me into holiday mode and with a mix of good Steam Sales and a back log of Netflix and Anime i pretty much did nothing constructive over break.

I spent a whole week just marathoning games, such as Crysis (and warhead), SW: Empire at War(surprisingly fun!), FEAR 2, Bullet Storm, Homefront (was lame), Chantelise, Battlefront 2, Red Faction G, and others. To then spent the next week marathoning anime: Air, Air Movie(better than the show), Kanon, Clannad, Clannad AS, Hen Zemi, Hurahi-chan, and a few missed specials from Elfen Lied, Clannad, K-On and caught up with Wafku, good times but none productive.

So now school is starting back up, had planned to have a OBDMobile for Android and SideAmp for WP7 running by now but nope. Now i have about 16 hours of classes set for this semester. Good thing is that most of them are related to projects i am working on or interested in so that should be very helpful. In fact some can be used for extra credit.

Of course school comes first but other than that i should be able to become productive again. Im sure some of these i said last time but my first goal now is to get a decent “demo” disk to ship out to replace the crappy factory one with the OBD Connectors. Then i want to revise the debugging and licensing stuff for OBDMobile and try and make it officially “Windows 7” certified. Then have a Android version running around (one school project is to basically convert a C# program to Java how convenient) then with a Windows/Android/Whatever else base is to then advertise it everywhere to get feed back and reviews. Then use that data/feedback to do OBDMobile 2 over the summer. Along that time i will have some smaller WP7 and .net projects every now and then. If i keep on it right then i can do the projects along the school projects and get two birds with one stone.

On another good note is that i have noticed more and more Windows Phone 7’s on campus. I can only think of one out in the public, but i have seen quite a lot on campus.

So should be a good semester, with a slight chance of graduating in the Fall.

OBDMobile on Intel AppUp

You can now download and install OBDMobile through Intel’s AppUp marketplace.

This week is midterm week and ALCS for baseball (Go Rangers 3-1) after that i have some plans to work more on the Windows Phone 7 platform. Mango is out and is nice, but it is still missing Blue Tooth API and Ad-Hoc WIFI support so OBDMobile is at a stand still for now. I am planning on porting a form of SideAmp to Windows Phone among other apps planned for it. Unless something changes on the WP front i might let OBDMobile simmer for a while.  I do have a road map for OBDMobile 2 planned out which kind of relies on WP and Windows 8 working themselves out and it will be a major update. That probably wont be released until next year, i still have more update plans for OBDMobile 1.x

The WP version of SideAmp is kind of going to decide on what way that will go in the future.

I also have a new major project planned, which is more like a lot of smaller related projects.

I also want to port these all over to Android eventually but who knows if i will ever have time.

Code Signing

Yay yesterday i got approved for my code signature, so now everything has my name on it. I went and signed i think all the software downloads here. For those who are interested a good guide is: http://www.wintellect.com/cs/blogs/jrobbins/archive/2007/12/21/code-signing-it-s-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-thought.aspx he walk you through the process. Now the calling aspect is out sourced and took about 2-3 weeks. So when they ask for a good time to call to verify they dont mean today or tomorrow its more like the next few weeks. Also there is a simple GUI Wizards for code signing that makes it very easy. Also know that Microsoft doesnt except Comodo signature for Certification, but the word is they want you to use verisign for personal verification, and doesnt care what signage you use.

Also means i can, and did, submit OBDMobile to Intel’s AppUp once that goes through im hoping to have at least enough of a footprint to get a hold of some hardware to work on a Windows Phone 7 version. Im also going to then start rounding up updates for OBDMobile depending on how it works with Intel. I am wanting to make it more touch and tablet like for Windows 8 which should work smoothly with WP7/8 development.

Intel showed some interest in SideAmp but i dont think they fully understand it, its a plug in for WinAmp and Zune, not a stand alone Media Player. Now right now it is dedicated to just SideBar and SideShow, which are not big successes for Microsoft and Sideshow for example has been pretty much killed off. I might roll SideAmp into say a more touch based, tablet media base but i bet MS already has that covered for Windows 8, but as long as my PicoLCD device works ill keep using it (drivers doesnt work on x64, though by then ill get desperate enough to roll my own) I even played with the idea of making some WP7 port of SideShow and still might (wheres my BT API Microsoft!)

Ether way it should be a pretty interesting semester with all of this and school plus other projects.

SideAmp 1.2

SideAmp 1.2 is out, it adds Zune support and also can display and save album covers from the mp3tags.

Right now i am trying to finish up my major projects, SideAmp is done for now, OBDMobile is up and running, all that is really left is finishing up RingTimer for WP7.
Oh and code signing everything when Comodo finally approves it (going on week three now of waiting). Which is funny because Intel would have given it to me for free, and its not even the one Microsoft wants for its Certifications.

Im trying to get all that done, not only because i need to, but mostly to get “ready” when school projects start adding up. I have a bad tendency of getting fixated on a project, and only one project at a time. This last month has been OBDMobile, today was SideAmp, tomorrow will probably be RingTimer. Then hopefully it will move over to school work, but probably back to new projects, like Adding Windows Phone 7 support to SideAmp, adding Windows 7 Sensor API and other such things to OBDMobile, finishing the GUI for OBDMobile for WP7 for when BT or AdHoc is ready. Plus a list of others. Its funny you can tell where i am by my weight. When im fat then you know i am working on a bunch of projects either for school or for me. When im skinny then i caught up and have nothing new so i work out all the time, your talking i can go +/- 30 pounds in a year easily. Take a guess what side i am on now (poor Wife)

OBDMobile for Windows 1.0

Well OBDMobile for Windows version 1.0 is done, it has been tested and can now be purchased at http://www.rklenka.com for $14.99 it even has a 3 day trail period to see if you even like it.

It will soon be available on Intel’s AppUp as soon as i get my code signature verification. Which i started a few weeks back, man its a bit of a pain. I got it through Comodo via tucows for those who are interested. To then find out that Microsoft prefers VeriSign, and also that Intel would have paid for the processing fee for Comodo. Which means to qualify for all the fun Windows certificates i get to do it all again through VeriSign. Microsoft does give you a discount, but the catch i guess is you cant use it to sign code. In other words they are using it to verify identity not to sign.¬† So it i would just end up in the same place anyways.

One plan for this blog was to use it a bit like a developer blog. Ill do a write up, kind of like a “Making of” OBDMobile some time soon if any one is interested.

So go try it and buy it and let me know if there are any problems.

OBDMobile for Windows

Here are two preview pictures of OBDMobile for Windows. Im still playing with the GUI so it could all change. Right now it shares about 95% of the same code as with the WM version. That means that any update for one could be easily added to the other. The only difference right now is the GUI and Graphing sections. There rest are interchangeable.

As for Windows Mobile version, its stuck in Limbo. It was submitted before the deadline  but was approved after. I have been sending tickets to MS to get the update on the catalog but with no luck, they have not responded. There it is a huge update from OBDMobile 1.1 so its well worth the effort. Soon you will be able to get it off the website and maybe even other app stores.

The Windows Phone 7 version is even worse off. Even with Mango there is still no Blue Tooth API or decent Socket APIs so there is no way to directly access the OBD Connector.

Summer Time

Well it is now summer time, finals are over and i think i did OK, official grades will be announced next week.

Summer classes isnt for a few weeks so im hoping to get a lot of development work done.

Most of the next update for OBDMobile is done, mostly final touches and GUI optimizations because its a bit of a mess.

The netbook version of OBDMobile should come out quickly after words, i dont know if i want to wait until they are both done and have some way of integrating the two since they will run off like %90 of the same code or what. I will then start working on the ground work on the Windows Phone 7 version, the problem with that one is that they have not released a blue tooth API for it yet, meaning it might only work with the WIFI version if at all so that’s kind of a downer. I can think of a few ways of getting it to work but none of them are all to pretty. I also want to update Ringtimer, FlickPick and the others and get them out on WP7. People keep asking me for the P90X app so i guess i should release that too. I need to figure out what to do with SideAmp since Microsoft abandoned SideShow. I know a guy who worked on a android/WP& plug in but i have not heard anything from him in a wail. Intel though who have contacting me at least once a month since like forever to get SideAmp on their AppUp marketplace i keep saying that SideAmp is nothing to special and that OBDMobile is better for netbooks but he doesn’t seam to agree. When i gave him a little test demo which i knew i should not have done on both SideAmp and OBDMobile for Netbooks (not connected to a car or gps or anything) it was a huge fail for both programs, lessons learned i guess. Oh well.

Its summer, i should have passed everything and i have some cool projects to work on so im excited, at least until summer classes start.