Free Mobile apps for LEGO fans

In my endless pursuit of different ways to enjoy LEGO products, I found the following free mobile apps in the Android app store (a.k.a. Google Play).

  • LEGO Creationary – Excellent series of build and guess games, created by the LEGO Group themselves. A bit heavyweight in terms of performance though.
  • myBrickset: LEGO Set Guide – Allows you to search for LEGO sets by number and create a catalog of the ones you own (or want to own).
  • LEGO Instructions – Lots of simple LEGO sets for younger children, complete with interactive step-by-step instructions.
  • LEGO Scans – Quickly peruse through over 4,000 LEGO sets by name or theme (but no instructions included though).
  • LEGO Minifig Collector – Search and browse through the full series of Minifigure collections. You can also tell the app which ones you have and it’ll then tell you which ones you’re missing (a potentially expensive feature).
  • Lego Mini Figure Identifier – Very clever app for helping you identify which minifigure in inside the package before you buys it. However, LEGO have made it a lot harder to use this app since Minifigure Series 5 onwards so bring a microscope with you if you intend to use this app.
There are loads more, some of which are just mobile games inspired by the LEGO brand and others are for much younger children or for specific LEGO sets.

Converting Mobile Audio (AMR) to MP3

If you have a mobile phone that supports audio recording, then it most probably stores the recordings in Adaptive Multi-Rate format (AMR). If you want to convert these to other formats (e.g. MP3) then I found that Mobile Media Converter by MIKSOFT works quite well. It also supports conversion of 3GPP video files to other popular formats including WMV and MPEG.

It’s available for both Windows and Linux but no sign of a version for Mac (yet).

TWUIK from Tricast Media

TWUIK is the name of a UI technology developed by Tricast Media that claims to bring flash-like graphics, animations and advanced user interactivity to mobile application development. They have provided a very good website containing lots of impressive screen shots, demos and a good tutorial on how to create a Media Center Application using TWUIK.

It looks to be a very interesting product and I’ll certainly be downloading a trial copy …

Alert after Alert in J2ME

I just discovered a very nasty restriction in J2ME concerning Alerts whilst developing a MIDP 2.0 application for a Nokia E70 Mobile Phone (running Symbian 60 3rd Edition). As has become common now, the code I had worked find in the Sun Wireless Toolkit emulator but not so on the E70. Anyway, here’s the deal …

If you display an Alert object (e.g. a Yes/No dialog), and then (as a result of the user selecting Yes or No) try to display another Alert object after that, the phone will generate an IllegalArgument exception. This is because of the default behaviour of the Display.setCurrent(Displayable) method which assumes that you want to return to the object that created the Alert after the new alert is dismissed. Now, in my view, this is a reaonable thing to want to do. However, the exception that is thrown suggests that an “Alert cannot return to an Alert” which is not documented anywhere that I’ve seen.

So, the solution was to use the Display.setCurrent(Alert,Displayable) method and ensure that the second parameter is never another Alert.

Thanks to Naomi and Brian for their help on this.