Do almost everything with your smartphone (Part 4/5)

Recap:  I am trying to do almost all my work with my phone and I am slowly getting there. This series of articles (this is the fourth part) is intended to document my findings and opinions about the process.

Here is where I am with my little project.

VOIP / International Long Distance
I live in Palm Beach, FL with my wife and son… but the rest of my family is in abroad, 6000 miles away. Long distance is expensive if you go with the regular phone company long distance services. I could go with a long distance card for more affordable international long distance rate, but the killer application for my particular situation  is Skype (click [here]). My calling rates are less than $0.02 per minute… yes, there are other VOIP services… but Skype is the all-SkypeLogo in-one solution for my particular situation. I use Skype on the PC while I am working, I use Skype over the air when I am with my phone. Additionally, I can chat with my contacts, or if I cannot find them online, I can call their phone numbers from right where I am. I like the ability to also be able to have absolutely free conversations from Skype to Skype when they are on their computer and I am either on the phone or my computer. There are lots of services that allow some variation of this type of VOIP service, but call quality has never been an issue for me so I am happy to keep the service. You can get a phone number and use Skype as your always with you phone number or simply a Skype account and use it to call out… heck, you could even use it for calling Skype to Skype only if you wanted… but I think that the feature rich environment that Skype has to offer is exactly what I need for my VOIP needs… Installing Skype is simple, if you have an account already created it takes a second and the application will remember your credentials, so you don’t need to type in your password every time (although you could if you wanted to sign out every time you exit the application).

Skype is available for Blackberry, Android, iPhone, Symbian, Sony PSP, custom hardware such as the Skype WiFi Phone and some SkypeLitefeature cordless phones (get them [here]). Unfortunately, the latest version of Skype for Windows Phone is not available from Skype itself. You can either find a vendor that still has a downloadable copy of Skype Lite or use an existing copy. The service is still available throughout 2010, but Skype Lite will be disconnected at the end of the year… the official explanation is that Skype Lite cannot offer the same experience that the other versions have to offer. A lot has been speculated about why Skype Lite is not being offered and some people assume that the cell carriers preventing the service from working. However, what has not been announced yet is that before the end of the year, we will have a Skype for Windows Phone. This release will come in with the same features offered in the other mobile platforms and will come in right in time for Windows Phones coming to the market at that point.

Writing Code
Part of my work is to write code. I need to do this on my desktop. I CEditEditCSharp found no way around it. Testing and compiling is just part of what I do when I write code and there is no way around it… or is there?  I’ve been using a tool to write simple code snippets in multiple programming languages. This tool is called CEdit v4.0 by Callisto Systems (you can see it [here]). This tool is just a few steps short of a full development IDE for Windows Phone. They support from the early versions of Pocket PC to Windows Mobile 6.x. You can edit code in this tool in multiple languages: C#, VB .Net, Java, ASP, C++, C and PHP. It also supports editing  HTML and XML files. If you are used to using Visual Studio, it also lets you open Project files that group several code files. The tool does a fine job highlighting the code with the CEditProjectWindowappropriate colors just as Visual Studio (or any other current IDE) would. CEdit will not compile your code as your smartphone lacks the CPU power needed for that. Just have in mind that the actual goal for this tool is to help you write your code on the go and not have to wait till you are back in front of your computer. This is a great stop-gap measure for writing code. It is very hard to replace a full blown sit-down-and-code experience that can produce applications, but this tool makes it pretty close. I do find myself fixing the unexpected web page, JavaScript or bug if I find one and I am able to upload it on the spot. Web pages can be uploaded immediately because they don’t require being compiled, any other code that needs to be compiled, can be fixed on the spot, but it obviously needs to be sent to the desktop in order to be compiled.

Now with the help of CEdit and RDP for a remote session to the desktop can allow you to code in mobile mode, send to the desktop, remote to it, compile and release. Even though I still feel this is somewhat closer to cheating when saying that this would be all mobile work; the truth is that you still need to have a desk-bound computer while being mobile. That is not the 100% mobile solution I was shooting for.

About Diego Samuilov

Editor in Chief/Founder Diego Samuilov is an executive, consultant, IT strategist and book, e-book and web published author. Diego has worked in Microsoft’s environments since 1990. Since then, he has successfully filled many positions related to the Software Development lifecycle. Having worked as a developer, analyst, technical lead, project lead, auditor and, since 1996 a project manager, manager, director and VP in the Software Development, Server, Desktop and Mobile environments. Diego is very passionate about the software development process, which has played a great part in his skills development. Since the introduction of the first ever PDA (the Apple Newton MessagePad) in 1994 and Windows CE in 1998 he has pioneered and pushed the envelope in the field of mobile software development. He has developed many solutions used in mobile markets, desktop and server environments. He participates in public and private developer community events. He actively collaborates with the community at support forums and blogs. Diego is the author of "Windows Phone for Everyone" available [HERE].