BeyondPod Tips and Tricks

  • Text-To-Speach integration - Starting with BETA build 2.9.0.6, BeyondPod can expose the content of its feeds to an external Text-To-Speach engine, so you can listen to text only feeds. One of the popular text-to-speech engine for Windows Mobile devices is available from Cepstral. This is a commercial software (each voice is about $20) and has many voices including several languages. You can download a demo voice from http://www.cepstral.com/cgi-bin/downloads?type=1152217432 to try it out. Each voice comes with an application called swifttalker.exe that is used to read the contents of any text file. Setting up BeyondPod to use it currently requires a manual modification of the BeyondPod's Settings.xml file and adding the following line there: <add key="TTSHandler" value="\Storage Card\Program Files\Cepstral\David\swifttalker.exe -f %1" /> where the "value" contains the path to the switfttalker.exe application installed by the Cepstral install. (As the voice files are quite big - about 20 MB - you probably will end up installing it on the Storage Card). Once BeyondPod detects this setting on next start, it will add a new "Speak Content" menu item in the Feed Content view. Selecting the "Speak Content" will extract the text content of all items currently displayed in the Feed Content view and give them to swifttalker to read. The quality is decent, and definitely requires some getting used to, but if you want to be able "read" your text feed while driving - this is a viable (and cool) solution.
  • Enabling GZIP compression - Many websites use compression to reduce the amount of data sent to clients. BeyondPod can take advantage of this compression to speed up some feed updates. If your device has v2 of the Compact Framework, you can enable GZIP compression, by downloading the SharpZipLib.dll file and placing it in the BeyondPod installation directory on your device. If your device has v3.5 of the compact framework, GZIP compression is already enabled by default. You can find what versions of the Compact Framework are installed on your device by running cgacutil.exe located in the \Windows directory of the device.
  • Using www.skweezer.net with BeyondPod - Skweezer provides a free service that reformats web sites so they are easily viewable on mobile devices. You can configure BeyondPod to use skweezer (or any other similar service) when you click on the feed items in the Content View. Starting with ver.2.6.10 both Skweezer and Google formatting engines can be selected using the Settings menu.
  • Configuring what Player plays downloaded podcasts - BeyondPod internally hosts Windows Media player as its internal player. By default, all file types that Windows Media Player supports, can be also played using the internal player. Starting with version 2.6.2.10, The Player page of the Settings menu has place to list of file types (extensions) played in the internal player. For all file types that are not in that list BeyondPod will launch whatever external player is configured for that file type even if the Podcast Player is set to "Use Internal" in the Tools->Settings. If the Podcast Player is set to "Use External" all podcasts will be played using their respective default player and the internal player will not be used.
  • Virtual Feeds You can create 'virtual' feeds from the content of any folder on your mobile device. Create a new feed, give it a name, leave the feed URL empty, click on "More Settings >>" and select some folder in "Podcast Download Folder". All audio/video files in this folder will appear as "virtual podcasts" and can be played using the built in player. You can use this for your music files, or voice notes (if you point it to \My Documents\Notes). If you don’t want BeyondPod to automatically delete the “virtual podcasts” when they finish playing, make sure you set the “Allow Podcast Deletions” option to “No” in the Feed Properties.
  • Playing Internet Radio stations you can use "virtual feeds" to set a list of Internet radio stations. Create a folder on your device and put some Microsoft play list files (.ASX) that point to radio stations. Create a virtual feed for that folder and the individual play lists will appear as "virtual podcasts". Playing any of those "podcasts" will stream the corresponding radio station. This is a list of some sample radio stations: BeyondPod_Internet_Radiostations.zip. Just unzip it, copy the entire folder to your device and create a virtual feed for it.
  • BeyondScheduler BeyondScheduler is a companion application that BeyondPod uses internally for scheduling updates. BeyondScheduler allows you to schedule multiple tasks that can run at specific times. It currently supports Turning Flight Mode on/off, Turning Bluetooth On/Off and Running BeyondPod updates. BeyondScheduler has also an experimental support for switching WiFi on/off (for example on- before and off- after a scheduled feed update). Given that various devices use different WiFi implementations, this task may not work correctly with all devices (works on T-Mobile Dash and probably on some other HTC devices). If you want to try it out you have to manually run BeyondScheduler.exe from the BeyonhdPod's install folder.
The current implementation of the WiFi task has a caveat that if you turn OFF WiFi using BeyondScheduler, you will not be able to turn it on using the built in Comm Manager. In this case, just use BeyondScheduler to turn WiFi ON, and then use Comm Manager to turn it OFF. As long as you turned off WiFi with the Comm Manager it will work normally. Also it looks like some devices (T-Mobile DASH for example) the device needs to be "application unlocked" to in order for WiFi On/Off task to work. To unlock the DASH I had to change only the first registry key as described in this post http://amitranjan.wordpress.com/2006/04/28/unlocking-imate-sp5/ and then I ran the SDAApplicationUnlock from
http://www.spv-developers.com/content/SDA_ApplicationUnlock.zip._

On some Pocket PC devices (for example on AT&T Tilt) scheduled tasks my not start reliably (or not start at all). This has to do with a device registry setting that specifies the time allowed to launch scheduled tasks while the device is in standby. The key is under:

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Power\Timeouts

If you set both: "BattResumingSuspendTimeout" and "ACResumingSuspendTimeout" to something like 60 the tasks should start correctly.
  • NETCFv35.Messages.EN.wm.cab Sometimes BeyondPod's Feed Update Log can contain a message that an error cannot be displayed because the optional resource file NETCFv35.Messages.EN.wm.cab was not installed. This file usually can be found on your PC in C:\Program Files\Microsoft.NET\SDK\CompactFramework\v3.5 WindowsCE\Diagnostics directory. or you can download it from here NETCFv35.Messages.EN.wm.cab. After you install it on the device, the NEXT TIME this error occurs the log should contain the real error message.

Versions of the Compact Framework
There are multiple versions of the compact framework in use today. Some are pre-installed in the ROM of the device, some are installed as a CAB file. BeyondPod requires version 2.0 SP1 or later to work.

You can find the version of the framework installed on your device by using File Explorer on the device, and navigate to My Device / Windows.
Find and tap the program called cgacutil and a dialog will appear displaying one or more build numbers. These numbers will tell you what version of the Compact Framework is installed.
  • CF1.0 RTM = 1.0.2268.0
  • CF1.0 SP1 = 1.0.3111.0
  • CF1.0 SP2 Recall = 1.0.3226.0
  • CF1.0 SP2 Beta = 1.0.3227.0
  • CF1.0 SP2 Final = 1.0.3316.0
  • CF1.0 SP3 = 1.0.4292.00
  • CF2.0 RTM = 2.??
  • CF2.0 SP1 = 2.0.6129.0 - Installed by default on most WM5 devices
  • CF2.0 SP2 = 2.0.7045.0 - Installed by default on most WM6 devices
  • CF3.5 = 3.5.7283.0 - (latest available)

It is recommended that you try to use the latest version if possible - currently CF3.5. When installing the Compact Framework it is recommended to install it in the Main Storage (not the SD card). The latest version (CF 3.5) can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e3821449-3c6b-42f1-9fd9-0041345b3385&displaylang=en. Keep in mind that multiple versions the Compact Framework can be installed on the same device at the same time. (For example you can have both CF2.0 SP2 and CF3.5 both installed)


Where are all Feed Settings stored?
BeyondPod uses 4 files to store all its settings:

* Settings.xml - various global (not per-feed dependent) settings, and the global list of categories
* TrackState.xml - all feed subscriptions and related feed settings such as spacesavers etc. (BeyondPod creates a backup copy of this file - TrackState.xml.bak - every time it saves it in case it gets corrupted)
* BeyondPodHistory.bin - the podcast download history for all feeds
* BeyondPodItemHistory.bin - the read/unread status of the items from all feeds

BeyondScheduler has only 1 configuration file:

* ScheduledTasks.xml - stores the information for all scheduled tasks

If you back up the files above you will be able to restore BeyondPod after a hard reset.
Keep in mind that the files above are not being removed during an uninstall (so you don't start from scratch every time you upgrade). If you want to completely uninstall/install BeyondPod - make sure you delete the files after you uninstall.

Useful Links

Last edited Oct 26, 2008 at 8:11 PM by skyntchev, version 36

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