Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Just wanted to let everyone know that all the pages linked by this blog are optimized for Firefox. Am working on fixing all the IE issues.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Plain Vanilla Directions!!!

I have a relatively simple cell phone which is great for making calls and sending/receiving messages. A lot of times, I copy driving directions from Google or Mapquest, paste it in Textpad, clean it up and then email it to my cell phone. I find its much easier than carrying around a piece of paper and since my phone stores a ton of messages, I can look up the directions whenever the need arises. Its not a very fun task to copy-paste, cleanup and then email, but there are advantages to it.

To counter the drudgery of all that work, I developed this website where you can get the directions in plain text. There is also functionality on the website that allows you to send the directions to your phone as an SMS or a MMS. Give it a try and save a tree :D


Feedback is always welcome :D

UPDATE: I uploaded an older version by mistake, check the site now, there are a few improvements to the UI. I yet need to implement the back-end properly. Presently it uses the normal php mail() function, the next update with use the PEAR Mail package

UPDATE 2: The backend now uses the PEAR Mail package, you will receive the messages from directions at shamikshah dot com

Monday, November 27, 2006

401(k) woes .. Believe me, this has to do with code!

My 401(k) wasn't doing really good the last few months and I wanted to pry into the details of my investments and see how each one is growing and performing. To my dismay, the financial providers website was of little use to me as the tools they provided hardly helped me perform any analysis. I needed the data on my machine to analyze it better. They provided only QIF files for download and my need was a CSV file that could be easily imported into Excel. Thats when I wrote developed a webpage with this nifty little script to convert and QIF file to CSV.

The best part is that you don't need to upload/download any files, simply open your QIF file in your favourite text editor, Select All, copy and paste into the left panel. Press Convert at the bottom of the page and the CSV is ready on the right. Click anywhere in the right pane, Select All, Copy and then paste where you require the data!

Experiments with Google Maps

In my current job, I need to plot various lat/lng's and find distances and routes between them. I was using Google Earth, but it really drains the resources on my comp (it runs Weblogic, Oracle and Eclipse), so I wrote made this page that would help me out. If you want to use it, click here

Friday, June 24, 2005

GMail Midlet

Ever been stuck in a traffic jam with no good music and nothing to do and wondered, "man, i wish I can check my gmail account" ? ok, that may be stretching it a bit, but it would be cool to check your gmail account on the go. Nows that possible using the Gmail midlet for j2me enabled phones. Just download the jar file and install it on your cell phone and you're good to go !!

Since i have a Nokia, I normally use the Nokia PC Suite to install the applications on my phone. I am unsure how it would be done on other phones, but its hard to believe there isn't a similar software for other vendors.

This is my first release and have used my preferences to design the GUI and the interface. I would appreciate all your comments to better improve the midlet.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Y! Local Search Midlet

The yahoo local search application that I mentioned in the previous post consists of two components. The first component is the midlet, which works on any java enabled cell phone. The midlet does not directly communicate with the yahoo webservice, instead it communicates with a servlet (the second component) which in turn forwards the queries to the yahoo webservice.

The decision to have a servlet-midlet pair was deliberate. I wanted to experiment to see what issues I would face when having a servlet communicate with a midlet. So far I haven't run into any problems and its been smooth sailing, though it has to be noted that the communication only consisted of simple strings being exchanged. The real test would be when things get more complicated.

The alternative to using a servlet-midlet pair is to have the cell phone communicate with the Yahoo service directly. This isn't really complicated, but it would entail parsing XML on the cell phone itself. I have another application with which one can access the Yahoo News service, which uses the KXML library to parse the xml returned from Yahoo. I will get around to posting that application soon.

I will try my best to post instructions to get the servlet and the midlet working. In the meanwhile you could try to use the nokia PC suite (which I have used, since I have a Nokia) to upload midlet onto the phone. On the server side I use tomcat to host the servlet. I am sure there are a lot of sites which would provide instructions on loading a servlet into tomcat. I simply use the sysdeo plug-in via eclipse to use the servlet.

The link to download the applications are:

midlet component

Servlet component

The code for the midLet

Feedback is always welcome

Note: The midlet has the address of the server hardcoded into it. In order to use the midlet, you would have to edit the code. After you unzip the file, open and replace the line private static String url = "http://localhost:8080/testJ2ee/servlet/yahoo.local/";
to reflect the location of your servlet.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yahoo Local Search

Created a new set of programs that interact with the Yahoo Local service to provide the results on the cell phone. The program(s) are split into two parts, the first is a servlet that performs the call to the yahoo service and parses the XML returned by it. The servlet then sends the data to the Midlet on the cellphone which displays the results.

This is work in progress and I plan to continue updating the program to increase the features on it. If you guys have any suggestions please let me know.