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Communications Connecting - internet cafes, laptops, Palm devices, cell phones - how to connect, use, which one, and Bike to Bike and passenger intercoms.
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Old 4 Aug 2009
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Bike to Bike by WiFi

I recently upgraded my cellphone to an HTC Trinity with Windows Mobile 6.5




Amongst the any other features, it has built in WiFi. Today I stumbled across a some programs which use this WiFi in Ad-Hoc mode to give you a "walkie-talkie" 4Talk, SQZSoft and MSPortrait and enable you to connect your wifi enabled device to any other and use that link for full duplex voice transmission.

I started by downloading 4Talk's trial version, and it's very good, I was able to establish a multiple connection between two pocket PCs and my Netbook and could talk between all three of them all in full duplex mode. Range was about 500m line of sight which while not as good as a full radio system isn't bad - how often do you get more 500m line of sight anyway?. The major reservation I have is that it doesn't appear to be voice activated. This means you'll either need your PDA out in the open, or of course you can only use it when you're stopped.

Then I moved onto SQZSoft's version and to be honest it's pretty much the same. The interface is slightly different but other than that you wouldn't notice the difference.

Finally I downloaded MSPortrait. this is slightly different kettle of fish. For a start it only appears to allow two way communication, no building networks of bikes to chat to as a group. BUT there's one toy which might interest people and that's video. Yes, I know you're supposed to be looking at the road and not a teeny screen, but I taped my PDA to my bike so that the rear-camera's pointing fowards and sure enough I can broadcast what's coming up to the bike behind me. Whether it's of real use I don't know, but it's quite fun.

All of the above worked fine with either wired or bluetooth headsets on Pocket PC. Obviously the lack of voice activation means your device has to be out in the open, but tuck it in a tank bag and it's easy enough to reach.

So if you have a Windows Pocket PC already this could be a way to get bike to bike comms on the cheap.
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Old 4 Aug 2009
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Nice work. A voice activated microphone would be an interesting idea to explore, if it's possible.
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