Just like SMS – only cheaper

When surfing around on my-symbian.com, I came across myBuddies, a free ICQ client for the P800. Most surprisingly it works quite well (I did my first testing with an active link to my desktop PC to avoid senseless GPRS charges).

What may look like a little toy is quite useful actually: GPRS connections are payed for transmitted data not for connection time so I can stay connected to the network without much cost and reach most of the people I usually send SMS to via the internet.

So let’s do a little calculation how many caracters I can send via ICQ to be as expensive as an SMS:

Swisscom currently charges CHF 0.20 for a SMS (max. 160 characters as you know). According to the current price list you get 10KBytes GPRS transfer volume for the same price which corresponds to 10240 Bytes. Subtract a protocol overhead of about 20%, you still get 8192 Bytes for the same price as an SMS – that’s 51 times cheaper than an SMS!

Drawback: Swisscom charges at least 10KB for every connection, so I will try to stay connected ;-)

Of course, if I’d switch to Sunrise it would get even cheaper: There is no 10 KB-Limit and it’s just CHF 7.50 per MByte (CHF 0.07 per 10 KBytes) so it’s 3 times cheaper than Swisscom [note to myself: I really should switch! NOW!] which means 8192*3 = 24576 Bytes for the same price as an SMS.

You get the idea how cool this seemingly senseless ICQ-Application for the P800 can be ;-)

If only someone would release a Jabber client allowing me to connect to my own pet jabber-server… Or maybe it’s time to really begin brushing up my Java-knowledge?

Mail for Windows as I like it

I had a problem.

My Problem was to still utilize Windows (I have customers requiring me to build windows-programs for them) but having a decent mail program anyway. With decent I mean that it must at least support the following featureset (in the order of decreasing importance):

  1. IMAP-Support. Not just IMAP-Support, but a good one with things as storing Sent-Mail on the server, using the server to search for messages (although I doubt the efficiency of this as long as I am using Courier on the server side. Searching through 10’000+ textfiles without any index whatsoever is not what *I* call efficient), but also some kind of local caching so that opening folders does not require to get all headers again (which disqualifies Mulberry [and Mutt on Linux]).
  2. Threading Support. I want to have nicely sorted message threads and I want to see a real tree structure
  3. Correct formatting of messages. I absolutly don’t want a thing like Outlook Express that does not allow proper quoting, mime-headers, line-breaks and so on…
  4. Multiple Identities. I have a corporate email-adress I use for customers and a more private one, I used to subscribe to some mailinglists. At least I need to be able to enter more than one Email-Adress per Account (Mullbery does this) or even better to tell the program to use different sender addresses depending on the currently opened folder.
  5. Adressbook synchronisation. As a reader of this weblog you may have seen that I am quite a “synchronization guy”. I want the addresses from my P800 to be in my Mail program. How does not matter for me.
  6. Checking for new Mail in subfolders. I am subscribed to a whole lot of mailinglists and I filter them already on the server (using Exim as MTA, this can be done even without spawning many subprocesses for every message). Many Mail Programs insist on just checking the “INBOX”-Folder for new messages despite the fact that Courier would provide a new message count for every folder.
  7. Color Coding of Messages (Quotations ins different colors).

    I’ve been using Mozilla Mail so far and it fails to support items 4, 5 and 6 in the list above. Mulberry which I tried for a month or two did even fail so support item 1. Calling mutt via ssh on the mailserver also worked, but I had problems with 1, 5 and 6.

    No the point of this article is, that I’ve finally found what I was looking for for the last three years. A Mail client for Windows supoprting the whole list above! The tool is called “Becky!” and comes from a japanese company called RimArts. Only the import of my adresses required a bit of hacking, but everything else (and even more like the “Mailinglist Manager”, the excellent editor, the possibility to use external editors, …) is there.

    Importing the adresses involved a tool called OutPod which is thought for getting a vCard-File out of outlook to store it on the iPod. Becky! has an import-filter for vCard-Files, so this worked nicely (Mozilla *does* have an import-tool for Outlook, but it did not work on my system).

    Just go and give Becky! a try. It’s great!

SonyEricsson did it again…

I’ve read that SonyEricsson today announced another phone, the T610, thich should be the successor of the really cool T68i. The site is not very specific about the size of the device, but it seems to be a bit larger than the T68. It has a built-in camera, bluetooth and all the other thing you like on those advanced phones.

It seems like it uses the same OS, the T68 did (no Symbian), has just 2 MBytes of Memory and comes in various design-flavours. Unfortunatly, the specifications page is not as detailed as I’d like, but I suspect, the T610 is optimized for not-so-advanced users that like having a phone and not a difficult-to-use PDA.

I’ve read on Slashdot that the T610 will be iSync-compatible from the beginning which worries me a bit as my P800 is not. This does not really matter for me as I am more a PC-guy (but more and more thinking of muying me a Mac just for fun), but it matters for Richard who I’d really like to see buying a P800 too… Possibly, the P800 will never be supported on the Mac, as all the other phones are and there may be no need for Apple to implement another protocol just for one phone. I really hope that’s not the case.

Another note: I really think, SonyEricsson is currently doing the right thing: They release quite a lot of devices for quite a broad range of possible users. This combined with the high quality those devices have (Richard recently put his T68i into the water and it’s still working…), they really may be able to beat Nokia where tey belong to…

got it…

If only I’d check my mailbox more often…

When I was writing my article about getting Xenosaga today, the game was already lying in my mailbox for some hours. Anyway: When I found it, I’ve started up my beamer and the playstation and began playing the game. Be prepared for a first kind-of review (nearly no spoilers – I could not really give some as I’ve only played 8 hours so far):

First of all: I like it.
Second: I don’t like it as much as I liked Xenogears (which is not very surprising given the fact that Xenogears is the best RPG ever created ;-)

As usual I am first providing you with the things I dislike:

  • Story: Please: You can do it better than this. The whole thing is much to clear in the first place. Where is the slow unfolding of events I liked so much in Xenogears? And: Misterious Plate floating through the unsiverse – androids freaking out – lunatic professors working for the goverment: That’s nothing new at all. I hope there is more to come and I hope it’s less obvious.
  • Loading times: Too long. It’s not that there are loading screens all over the place – there are no screens at all. I am currently on this ship of space trash collectors (what have I told you about the story??) and where the loading times when changing rooms in previous games by Squaresoft were not really noticable, in Xenosaga, they are: About 30 seconds waiting before a black screen just for entering the passengers cabins? That’s too long.
  • Stupidity: This is related to my complaint about the story and actually I’ve only once came across the problem: On said spaceship, the sequence of events is as follows:
    • From the citchen, go all the way down to the cargo bay where KOS-MOS and the commander are.
    • From there go all the way up to the bridge just to learn that there may be a problem with the catapult which of course is again all the way back down in the ship.
    • When I’ve finally reached the damn catapult (that’s no spaceship. It’s a labyrinth), there seems nothing to be wrong, so I am ordered all the way back up to the bridge where the next story sequence awaits me. Note: Till’ this point, going back and forth did involves nothing more than going back and forth – no enemy encounters at all, so no fights, so: boring.
    • Of course, although nothing seemed wrong, the catapult actually malfunctions during the story sequence (talk about non-obvious story) and I’ve once again to go all the way back – but this time *with* enemy encounters.

      This is boring, stupid and not what I expect from a successor of the best RPG ever.

    • Movie or game? I really like story sequences. I also like long ones with much content. But those in Xenosaga are too long. Many times in those 8 hours the play counter is displaying me, I sort of forgot that I am playing a game instead of watching a movie.
    • Camera perspective: No. It’s not nearly as annoying as in Kingdom Hearts for example. After all, the camera is fixed. And this is so much good at it is bad: Many times I am thinking that I don’t see something and I wish to rotate the scenario – but unfortunatly that’s not possible. However, I think, this is about getting used to it. Before Xenogears and FFX the camera has always been fixed.

      So. That’s it. In all other aspects, the game is just great. Especially I’d like to note the following points:

      • Music. Just Great. Mr. Yasunori Mitsuda did a wonderful job once again. And this time it’s even better as the Soundtrack is played by a real orchestra.
      • Voice-Acting: We are not quite there yet, but it’s waaaay better than FFX or Kingom Hearts.
      • Graphics and Animations: Great. I like them very much.
      • Battle-Time-Counter: On the victory-screen after a battle there is a timer that shows you how long it took to finish the opponent off. This is nice (I’d never have thought that killing a boss may well take 20 minutes)

        If you can: Go and get the game. I’ve not yet rated it relativly to the other RPGs I’ve played so far, but it will certainly occupy one of the top positions just because of the athmosphere, the good music, the balanced gameplay and the really good leveling-up system which is quite sofisitcated but understadable anyway (and does not have the same strange side-effects as the system of FF8 had where leveing up was actually a bad thing


I have just been on my favourite game importers website and I have seen that Xenosaga, which I have pre-ordered on January the 13th has been shipped yesterday.

You cannot beleive how much I am looking forward to monday when I will receive the game!