Have you ever wanted to live like a real spy, even for just a little while? You know what I mean – traveling to exotic destinations using a handheld navigator, remotely bugging conversations or escaping peril by the skin of your teeth thanks to your trusty motion sensor gadgets. You may go to work everyday and sit at your desk working your 9 to 5, but you and I both know that buried deep down inside you there’s a skilled spy just waiting to break out.
Just to help you inch just a little bit closer to that cloak and dagger lifestyle, I’d like to offer 4 Windows Mobile downloads that you can use to transform your regular mobile phone into an honest-to-goodness cool spy gadget.
Cool Spy Gadget #1 – A Room Bug To Record Conversations
In many countries and in many situations, it may be illegal to record a conversation without the knowledge of those involved. This is at least true if the conversation is being transmitted over the phone. If this is illegal in your country, don’t do it! Otherwise, if you just happened to leave your cellphone laying around in a room where there just happens to be an interesting conversation going on, that’s not really your fault now, is it?
NoteM is a Windows Mobile app that is supposed to serve as a voice note-taking tool, but left recording in an inconspicuous place, it could pick up some very interesting conversations.
This software is a simple recorder, and it doesn’t do anything fancy like ftp the file to your web server or email the audio to you automatically, but if you install a 2GB or larger storage card in your SD (or micro-SD) slot, you’ll have plenty of storage to save hours of recorded audio without a problem. The screen on the left is before any recordings are created. Just press the red “record” button and walk away. Recordings are stored in MP3 format in whichever directory you choose.
Cool Spy Gadget #2 – See In The Dark With Sonar
It may seem like science fiction, or something you’d expect to see on Ghost Hunters, but with SonarCE you can transform your Windows mobile phone into your own personal sonar device. The way this application works is that it emits the sonar signal from the device speakers, and reads echo to the microphone. It’s pretty impressive, and according to the programmers it is accurate at, ” around 5-10 cm at distance of 10 m.”
During my own testing with an older model Cingular 8125 running Windows Mobile 5, I found that it was a little difficult to get used to, but what I really liked was the cool screen.
The one annoying thing about this mobile app is that it requires a little bit of tweaking in terms of scale. However, there’s an automatic “search offset” feature that goes through a cycle of pings and calibrates the device for you. The website features a useful setup guide that’ll help you at least get the sonar working to the point that when you move close to an object, you’ll notice the difference on the sonar display (even if you don’t really know anything about how sonar works).
Whether or not the tool would ever be very useful is debatable, but I suppose if you ever find yourself in a completely pitch-black room and you don’t want to crash into any objects, this cool little mobile app could help. Beyond that, it’ll at least be a very neat feature to show your friends and family how cool your phone is.
Cool Spy Gadget #3 – Disk Encryption Software
Every spy needs a safe place to store sensitive data, and the best way to store your critical files that you don’t want anyone tampering with is in a hidden, encrypted “virtual disk” that no one can find or access but you – with the appropriate key.
To accomplish this task, a neat free application called FreeOTFE4PDA will do the trick. The software supports a long list of encryption algorithms and supports various cypher modes and security tokens. Your volume will be created without a signature – virtually invisible to anyone looking for it.
Configuration is fairly simple, as you can see from the screens above – and it works well by simply using all of the default settings. However, for security experts who understand and are looking for a product that offers deeper security, the functionality is there. This is one of the best free applications out there for completely encrypting any data that you want to store and transport on your trusty mobile device. If you don’t understand data-encryption though, skip installing this app because you could make entire folders disappear without being able to retrieve them again.
Cool Spy Gadget #4 – Remote Video Streaming
Recently, I wrote about using VZOChat to integrate videoconferencing into your blog. One of the items in that article that I touched on was setting up the videoconference with your Windows Mobile device configured as a webcam, transmitting your end of the video while you talk to your blog visitor face to face.
However, another very cool use of this software is to convert your mobile device into a video and audio surveillance gadget. This may not be very practical over the cellular data line because first of all, you could rack up some crazy data use charges, and secondly the quality of the video won’t be that great (as you can see from my example in the blog article). With that said, you could configure your phone with VZOchat and then set it up with the camera pointed at the room that you want to monitor.
The software will pick up sound from the microphone, so you’ll be receiving and transmitting both. All you have to do is make sure your phone is connected to the Internet through your Wi-Fi network and that the VZOChat software is running (it doesn’t have to be connected yet).
Just make sure the software is configured on your phone to automatically accept incoming calls, as shown above. Then, go to another room or anywhere else where you have an Internet connection (it doesn’t have to be on the same home network), and go to your VZOchat account. Keep in mind that you’ll need two VZOchat accounts – one account for your remote connection, and a different account for your cellphone. Go to the video call page for your cellphone profile, and you’ll see the call button as shown here.
The moment you select “Start videochat“, you’ll establish a connection with your remote mobile device that will trigger both the camera and the microphone to activate – recording everything that’s going on in the room and streaming it over the Internet directly to you. Here, I’ve set up my cellphone as a remote webcam in the living room to keep an eye on who keeps stealing the TV remote control. Looks like someone already stole it…
The screen you see above is what I saw on my PC across the property in our other building. I could keep my cellphone running in this room in order to watch and listen to everything that’s going on. With a cellphone just left lying around somewhere, no one would ever know that you’re using it as a surveillance device. Again – make sure that this sort of activity is legal in your area and in your situation!
All four of these gadgets offer some cool ways that you can transform your Windows Mobile device into a fun and exciting gadget that you can use for far more than just making phonecalls and checking your Facebook account. Do you know of any other cool Windows Mobile apps like these? Have you tried any yourself, and what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit : Dunechaser