Sunday, December 30, 2007

LCMinutes 1.05 Is Ready For Windows Mobile 5

This is a rebuild of version 1.04 for Windows Mobile 5. It also change the initial position of Today Plugin.

It has not been verified on a real Windows Mobile 5 device, but it does works fine on a Windows Mobile 5 emulator - It doesn't before this rebuild. If anyone has LCMinutes works on a WM5 device, I will really appreciate if you can comment here to let me know.

Existing 1.04 users don't need to upgrade to this version, if they are working.

LCMinutes 1.04 Is Ready

This edition fixes a big bug that the rates in Rate Plan setting is not correctly saved. Check its change history for details.

For existing users, upgrade to this version is strongly advised.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

LCMinutes Reviewed By Eten Blog

Eten Blog write a very detailed review about LCMinutes. Please check to see what they think about LCMinutes.

And they have many reviews and comments about other popular Windows Mobile tools too. If you are interested in maximizing your pocket pc phone, it's a site to keep an eye on.

LCMinutes 1.03 Is Ready

Check the LCMinutes Change History for the details of changes.

Previously I plan to add data usage support, but then I found it's quite hard for me:

  • First, there's no easy interface to get the data usage information;

  • Second, the data rate charged by my operator Rogers to my prepaid plan is prohibitively high: 5 cents per page, or per kilobytes? I doubt it's per HTTP request.

While I am still looking for ways to track data usage, I am for now focusing on free numbers (service number, myFaves, etc), roaming, and long distance support.

LCMinutes Change History

Version 1.55:

  • Bug fix: Fix double counting of SMS sent out when threaded SMS application is used.

Version 1.54:

  • Bug fix: Change default Roger prepaid plan.
  • Bug fix: rate plan changes sometimes are not reflected in balance info.
  • Bug fix: extra weekday and extra special minutes, weekend, evening and extra weekday SMS allowance rollover are not handled.

Version 1.53:

  • Bug fix: SMS is charged with evening rates when no evening is defined.

Version 1.52:

  • Feature change: Per call start minutes comes before per day start minutes.
  • Bug fix: SMS is counted to used weekday SMS even when it's not set to share with weekday SMS allowance.
  • Bug fix: Free weekend/evening SMS setting is not saved.

Version 1.51:

  • Feature change: Change Today/Home Screen display setting from flags based to display format string based.
  • Bug fix: Fix memory leak for rates string without numbers.
  • Bug fix: Matching numbers saved in call/SMS rates string will fail sometimes.
  • Bug fix: Weekday minutes is counted for numbers that are not set to share weekday minutes.

Version 1.50:

  • Feature change: Support rates string based charge mode for all calls (normal rates and special rates) and SMS.
  • Feature change: Add support for call minutes allowance for extra weekday, extra special: their usage is defined with rates string by users.
  • Feature change: Add support for weekend and evening charge rates for SMS.
  • Feature change: Add support for SMS allowance for weekend, evening and extra weekday.
  • Bug fix: Update trace code so it support re-entrance.

Version 1.45:

  • Bug fix: Sometimes daily and/or monthly counter are not cleared.
  • Bug fix: Clear data records doesn't work.

Version 1.44:

  • Feature change: Add more traces for day and month change.
  • Bug fix: change free minutes or data allowance is not updated to balance info when user choose to apply new rate plan to existing usage.
  • Bug fix: +/- sign in special rates not handled correctly.

Version 1.43:

  • Feature change: Time based charge mode for data usage.
  • Feature change: New sharing flag for special rates string to support free long distance minutes is shared before free daytime/weekend/evening minutes.
  • Feature change: Maximum length of special rates increased to 2048.
  • Bug fix: Support new service message format for balance info from Rogers.

Version 1.42:

  • Feature change: Character "+" now supported for number in free number and special rates string, along with character "*", which is already supported.
  • Feature change: Data allowance unit changed from MB to KB.
  • Feature change: Correct misc setting display for call minute warning.
  • Feature change: Add more trace for importing phone calls.
  • Feature change: Add more trace for GetCellTowerInfo in case of failure.
  • Feature change: Remove trace for signal changes.
  • Bug fix: call connection fee is charged even when free minutes is still available.
  • Code optimization: Use constant for bytes per kilobytes definition.

Version 1.41:

  • Project configuration change.

Version 1.40:

  • Feature change: font customization for both main window and plugin item partially supported, through 3rd party registry editor.
  • Bug fix: rate plan setting display incorrectly in editing state for some htc Touch phones when using some fonts.
  • Bug fix: daily used minutes is not correctly updated when updating balance by user setting or detecting from service messages.
  • Bug fix: detecting T-Mobile used minutes from service message now working correctly.

Version 1.39:

  • Feature change: setting for display calls, SMS, data, and balance in main window is now saved.
  • Feature change: data usage charge unit can be set by user to any number of kilobytes.
  • Feature change: add network id for rate plan to support monitoring balance info in service messages from Kuwait Zain and T-Mobile USA.
  • Feature change: support displaying expire date or effective date without year info.
  • Feature change: add more traces for debugging rate plan displaying problem in some htc Touch phones.

Version 1.38:

  • Feature change: Monitoring balance info in service messages from Kuwait Zain and T-Mobile USA is supported, along with Canadian Rogers and Fido.
  • Feature change: used data display format changed: now decimal places or fractional digits is changed to 2 or 1 or 0 based on the size of the used data.
  • Feature change: add more traces for debugging.
  • Bug fix: currency symbol with multiple characters supported.

Version 1.37:

  • Feature change: support simultaneously data connection and phone call.
  • Bug fix: rate plan change (free minutes, data/SMS allowance) is not reflected in balance.

Version 1.36:

  • Bug fix: trace setting not saved.

Version 1.35:

  • Bug fix: used data of balance is imported incorrectly.

Version 1.34:

  • Feature change: charge for multiple recipients and concatenated SMS supported.
  • Feature change: trace for LCMinutes today/home screen plugin.
  • Feature change: special rates length increased from 512 to 1024.
  • Feature change: Precision of rates per KB for data usage is increased by one digit.
  • Bug fix: after shared units for call minutes and SMS is all consumed, SMS usage will not add up to used minutes. It will now only add up to the usd SMS count.

Version 1.33:

  • Bug fix: data traffic monitoring now works on Samsung CDMA phones.

Version 1.32:

  • Feature change: free long distance minutes supported: now user can use free long distance minutes before applying long distance rates for their phone calls.
  • Feature change: new special rates format: now it's possible for special rates numbers to share free numbers before applying special rates. This should be helpful for some Polish and Australian users.
  • Feature change: data traffic is now dynamically updated on today screen before it's disconnected and charged.
  • Feature change: used minutes is now displayed with seconds if the charge interval is not exact 60 seconds.
  • Feature change: start minutes is now second based in stead of minute based, so user can set a start minutes like 1 minute plus 20 seconds.
  • Bug fix: the call minutes is now rounded up to charging interval for start minutes if the call is shorter than the start minutes.
  • Bug fix: call time calculation error for phone call surpass two days and using special rates.
  • Bug fix: exporting balance before opening balance tab will export garbage data.

Version 1.31:

  • Today / Homescreen display customization: now user can choose what to display on their LCMinutes Today / Homescreen plugin.
  • Minute beep support: timing and period are both user defined, incoming call and outgoing call can have different timing and period. So user can define a half minute (or whatever seconds he wants) beep period if his/her charging unit is 30 seconds instead of 1 minute.
  • The data allowance limit can be 4T bytes, instead of 4G bytes, in maximum.
  • New data connection type support: this should fix the problem that data traffic is not recorded on some phones, or some operators.
  • Effective date support when importing balance: this enable user to set a balance for a past date.
  • Data traffic sample timing now can be changed by user.
  • Trace mode support.
  • Some minor code optimizations.

Version 1.30:

  • Feature change: support for data traffic, user can set monthly data limit and rates per kilobytes for extra data traffic, and whether to round up to the next full kilobytes when calculating charges.

Version 1.25:

  • Feature change: load call & SMS logs not automatic any more. Application start up is fast again;
  • Bug fix: duplicate phone calls when importing now are avoided;

Version 1.24:

  • Automatically load call & SMS logs in phone, automatically calculating related charges;
  • Support re-calculating charge for past call & SMS after updating rate plan or balance;
  • Balance effective day can be any prior date;

Version 1.23:

  • Update the support of charging units concept: now user can set SMS to share the free units with call minutes, and user can set how many seconds equals a SMS.

Version 1.22:

  • New special rates format: now support different rates for weekday, weekend, evening and incoming calls. And rates for phone call and SMS is now combined together.

Version 1.21:

  • Support treating SMS as one call minute: so one SMS is sent, it's counted into the free minutes as one minute until all free minutes are used, and then it will be charged with SMS charging rates.

Version 1.20:

  • Windows Mobile 5/6 Smartphone is supported, but only verified on emulators.
  • Import/Export rate plan and balance is now supported.
  • Call and SMS display in main window is changed: now 2 digits is used to display year, e.g. year 2008 is displayed 08. And the direction of call and SMS is moved to the second line, while "Out" is replaced with "<=", and "In" is replaced with "=>".
  • Now rates for weekday, weekend, evening, and starting minutes have one more digit after the decimal point than balance. So now if the balance has 2 digits after the decimal point, then rates for weekday will have 3 digits.
  • Balance setting screen is scrollable now if the screen is too small to display all contents.
  • Exclude special rates minutes from minutes counting when the rates is zero.
  • Some minor code optimization.

Version 1.14:

  • Support special rates for outgoing and incoming calls and SMS: special rates format changed.
  • Today plugin now compatible with Spb Pocket Plus.

Version 1.13:

  • Record phone call & SMS into balance database even its charge is $0.0.
  • Limit special rates for outgoing calls only.

Version 1.12:

  • Support special rates:user can use this feature to support long distance rates, pay per call service numbers (like 900 service numbers), or even different rates for different type of phone numbers, like the different rates based on phone number types seen in Australian operators. Check LCMinutes FAQ for the details.

Version 1.11:

  • Support free numbers:user can now input their free numbers into the rate plan to get them excluded from charge calculation. This should help the users with features like myFaves, My Five, free in network calls, etc.

Version 1.10:

  • Support user defined charge interval, from per second to many minutes;
  • Support different charging interval & rates for starting minutes (user defined) for every phone call, or every day;
  • Support per call connection fee, can be both way or outgoing call only;
  • Support using only starting rates: which means a phone call started in daytime is charged as daytime minutes entirely, and vice versa;
  • Support tax calculation;
  • Support weekday definition: e.g., define weekday from Sunday (0) - Saturday (6) means there's no weekend;
  • Support unused minutes, SMS rollover;
  • Better support for postpaid monthly plans;
  • Some codes and UI optimization;

Version 1.05:

  • Recompiled for Windows Mobile 5 Professional: it still works fine on Windows Mobile 6, and it works on Windows Mobile 5 now;
  • Changed the Today Plugin initial position to the last.

Version 1.04:

  • Fix a bug that rates in rate plan setting is not correctly saved: now the biggest number can be saved is 429496.00;
  • Fix a bug that sometimes a call is not charged.

Version 1.03:

  • Support 4 digit precision for rates & balance: this means rates like $0.1225 per minute can be input;
  • Support different currency format based on Regional Settings: so user can choose different currency symbol (instead of just $), and different precision;
  • Default name for the generated rate plan changed: active operator name and owner name are used;
  • Fixed the today plugin bug: now the today item can be moved to any position;
  • Some minor code optimizations.

Version 1.02:

  • Change the format of minutes & SMS usage information display in Today Plugin and the balance bar in main window.

Version 1.01:

  • Support of VGA screen;
  • Support displaying of minutes & SMS usage information on Today plugin and the balance bar in main window for postpaid plan;
  • Fix a bug that when updating rate plan, the balance is not updated accordingly.

Version 1.0:

  • The initial version.

      Thursday, December 27, 2007

      LCMinutes 1.02 Is Ready

      Based on suggestions from a Not-To-Disclose-Here user in, I changed LCMinutes a little bit and  uploaded the new version.

      Following is what it looks alike.


      Change History:

      Version 1.02:
      • Change the format of minutes & SMS usage information display in Today Plugin and the balance bar in main window.

      Version 1.01:
      • Support of VGA screen;

      • Support displaying of minutes & SMS usage information on Today plugin and the balance bar in main window for postpaid plan;

      • Fix a bug that when updating rate plan, the balance is not updated accordingly.

      Version 1.0:
      • The initial version.

      Wednesday, December 26, 2007

      LCMinutes 1.01 Is Ready!

      I just uploaded LCMinutes Version 1.01. This is a minor version change, adding 2 new small features and fixing a bug.

      Change History:

      Version 1.01:
      • Support of VGA screen;
      • Support displaying of minutes & SMS usage information on Today plugin and the balance bar in main window for postpaid plan;
      • Fix a bug that when updating rate plan, the balance is not updated accordingly.
      Version 1.0:
      • The initial version.

      Monday, December 24, 2007

      What LCMinutes Is About

      Basically LCMinutes is an application that keeps track of phone calls and text messages (SMS), calculates their charge based on user defined rate plan, and thus keep user informed of the up-to-date balance information: like current charges, used free minutes, used free messages, expire date for prepaid plans, etc.

      Main features:

      • Monitoring all phone call and text messages: all incoming and outgoing calls and messages are traced;

      • Calculating every phone call or text message charge: depend on rate plan, this could mean real charge,  reduction of free minutes or free messages, or nothing;

      • Support time based monthly charge and daily surcharge, and reset of counter for free minutes and free messages;

      • Support user manually adjusting of balance, expire date;

      • Provide today plugin for easy checking of balance;

      • Support very flexible rate plan: prepaid or not, different rates for weekday, weekend, evening, different rate for starting minutes every day, different rates for incoming and outgoing messages, etc;

      • Support importing existing phone call logs and text messages;

      • Support deleting single call/message/balance record and deleting all the records.

      Features to be implemented:

      • Data plan & MMS charge support;

      • Free number support: like free service number, like myFaves feature of T-Mobile, etc;

      • Roaming charges;

      • International long distance.

      • Making notes for any phone call, message, and balance record.


      To try LCMinutes:

      1. Click the Download LCMinutes link at the right sidebar to download it;

      2. After download, copy it to the target pocket pc phone and click the downloaded file to install it;

      3. After installation, reboot the phone;

      4. After phone is rebooted, the LCMinutes today plugin should be displayed on the today screen, click on it to start LCMinutes main application;

      5. Choose Menu -> Setting to setup the rate plan;

      6. Choose Balance setting to setup an initial balance;

      7. Done.


      Check the slideshow below to see how it looks like.



      This application is provided as a free tool to monitor phone plan balance. It's just for reference. There's no guarantee that the calculated charges are accurate, and they should not be used to dispute the service charge by operator.

      And while this application runs fine in my own htc TyTN, there's no guarantee that it will run well in any other Windows Mobile 6 Pocket PC Phone. Please use it at your own risk. No responsibility will be taken for any damages caused by using this application.

      Sunday, December 23, 2007

      LCMinutes Is Online Now!

      After learning, designing, and coding for 3 months, most of which I went to sleep only in the early morning, the application I have invested so much of my energy and passion is at last ready to be tested.

      LCMinutes is an application to monitor mobile phone plan balance: unused minutes, unused free SMS, charge for every phone call, SMS, and the up-to-date balance, etc.

      It can also be used as a phone call history and message manage tool. You will no longer be limited by 300 phone call history.

      Currently it runs on Windows Mobile 6 Professional mobile phones. And I have verified it on htc TyTN only. But it should run well on all htc series Windows Mobile 6 Professional phones.

      If you have often wondered how many free minutes or free SMS for this month has left, when your prepaid balance will be expired and what the balance is, or how much you have spent on your mobile phone this month, (so not to get shocked like this poor guy), this application may be interested to you.

      If you have a htc pocket pc phone, you can click LCMinutes.CAB to download and install it. Just remember to reboot your phone after the installation, and then start the application to setup your rate plan.

      Saturday, December 22, 2007

      About This Blog

      This blog is about the tools I designed for Windows Mobile phones, their releases, feature changes, their bugs, and everything I feel worth of writing during its development.