IRC on the Nokia 6820

Whilst the SSH clients I found for my phone were an interesting gimmick, to be honest they weren't actually much use because of the small screen on the phone - a simple 'ls' fills up screen after screen, even on the tiniest (i.e. unreadable) font setting. I thought IRC might just be doable, and in fact there are several Java IRC clients available for phones. I tried WLIrc and jmIrc. jmIrc was originally a fork of WLItrc, and the shared heritage is evident. I couldn't load either of the clients over WAP onto the phone, but they both installed fine after I downloaded them and squirted them into the phone via the IR link. Once on the phone, both clients were configured as detailed in step 5 of my SSH client post.

WLIrc proved to be less than usable as it kept dying with a Java null pointer exception. jmIrc however seems to work fine, with just one minor quirk that I've been able to find so far - If you modify a connection profile and then quit rather than saving the entry it loses the entry, and the next time you start it it dies with an array bounds exception, the only fix is to reinstall.

Once you have started up the client you can set up profiles to connect to your favorite IRC servers, specifying which channels you want to join, your nick etc. When you connect to a server each channel is indicated by a small coloured square on the screen. Backgrounded channels that have had traffic since you last viewed them are highlighted by changing the colour of the indicator square for that channel. You can switch channels with left and right with the joystick, and you can scroll up and down with the joystick as well. The number keys can be used to page up/down a screen at a time, home/end etc. When entering text with the fold-out keyboard closed you can use the phone's predictive text feature to compose your messages in the same way that you would if you were composing an SMS message. All in all it's an impressive illustration how careful interface design can yield a truly useful application even when the platform it is running on is limited. If I had any boring meetings to sit through I'd certainly be using it to chat to people I'd rather be communicating with, but one of the benefits of being a remote employee is that I very rarely have to sit through any such meetings :-)

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Categories : Web, Tech

Filming finished

Well I've finally finished the filming for my video diary for the BBC Countryfile programme, and the courier came today to take the camera and tapes down to BBC Birmingham. After two failed attempts (due to the weather) I finally got some footage of the Moors For The Future airlift onto Bleaklow. When I turned up yesterday morning at Windy Harbour the cloud was down over Higher Shelf, so it didn't look like we'd get onto Bleaklow. We shifted over to Kinder to see if it was any better, but in fact it was even worse, so about 11:00 we got back to Windy Harbour, and the cloud had lifted just enough - a couple of hundred feet - above Bleaklow Head so we set to and drove up to Glossop Low and were helicoptered up from there to Wain Stones - thankfully I didn't need to leg it onto the moor carrying the BBC kit this time! There were plenty of us there so I got to wander around filming the helicopter, plus a very cooperative hare that sat still for me for long enough to get some good shots. The weather was pretty marginal and quite windy - in fact when I was filming with the camera at right angles to the wind I had to hold it down as the wind would have otherwise have blown it over. However it held off and only started to spit with rain as we were lifted off at 3:45, so at last I managed to get the last part of my video diary completed.

I spoke to Rachel yesterday to arrange for the kit to be picked up, and asked her what would happen next. The slot is only 4 minutes long so she's got to edit the 2 1/2 hours of footage I've taken down to fit - hopefully there will be enough that's useable to fill the time ;-) I don't know when it will be transmitted, but I'll post something as soon as I know. I enjoyed making the diary, and it's given me an insight into how much effort is required to fill even a short amount of airtime. On the other hand I won't miss lugging all the kit around with me, it got a little wearing towards the end, lugging a camera in my hand, festooned with the microphone cable around my neck and the tripod strapped to my rucksack.