Wireless Euro bill tracking

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avij
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Wireless Euro bill tracking

Postby avij » Wed Dec 18, 2002 12:40 am

Hi, it's me again.

If you have been in a situation where you weren't able to enter the note data immediately into EBT and had to write down the serial numbers, this message is just for you. Now you can enter your new notes on the fly without using a computer at all -- all you need is:
  • a GSM phone with WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) functionality
  • the necessary data transfer services enabled from your GSM operator (GSM data or GPRS (preferred))
  • a regular user account at EBT
  • a link to http://wap.eurobilltracker.eu/ to access the system using your phone
Unlike my/our previous EBT enhancement project, this one is actually available and usable right now, ie. it forwards all the notes you've entered into EBT and gives you the same confirmation messages as EBT does. This system has been tested and developed using a Nokia 6310i, feedback from other phone owners would be appreciated.

It asks for your EBT email+password and after it has asked your preferences (country etc), it'll give you a web address that is suitable for bookmarking. Using this bookmark you don't have to enter your email+password any more, you can get directly to the note entering page by using that address. Here's the disclaimer that is linked from the above page:

WAP wrote:This is a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) gateway for EuroBillTracker. More information about EuroBillTracker can be found at www.eurobilltracker.com. This gateway was written by avij.
You need to be a registered EBT user before you can use this gateway. After you've created an user account at EBT, use the same email+password pair
to log in to this WAP gateway. The passwords are stored in a secure way on the web server. You will be given your own personal URL (like http://wap.eurobilltracker.eu/cgi-bin/e ... bfefcdfeae) after you've entered your email+password. It is suggested to place that link to your phone's bookmarks for ease of use. The EBT password is checked only when you're submitting your notes to EBT -- the password is not checked when doing the initial login to this WAP gateway. Please use the usual WWW interface to make sure that your bill gets entered properly to the EBT database.

In any case, if you encounter any problems, send me email to eurowap -- miuku -- net or leave me a message on the EBT forums on forum.eurobilltracker.eu.

Happy tracking!
-- avij

This can be integrated directly into EBT if the webmaster has the time to make the necessary changes (which may be non-trivial depending on the current EBT code), but if he doesn't have the time I'll be happy to keep the WAP page running smoothly at my own website as a service for other EBTers.

edit: changed the link to the official address and updated the disclaimer
Last edited by avij on Sun Mar 28, 2004 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby brunorodrigues » Wed Dec 18, 2002 5:16 am

OH YEAH!

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Postby EuroBillTracker » Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:30 pm

I'm very impressed

If you've sent me an email about this, I haven't even read them in days because I have lots of pressure at work right now. I will try to figure out what you did by this weekend so I may work on integrating it during the holidays or possibly even giving you some source code...

If it's PHP it could be added "easily" perhaps ?

Talk to you soon :!:

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Postby avij » Thu Dec 19, 2002 4:57 am

EuroBillTracker wrote:I'm very impressed

So are my friends :lol: This is also a nice way to tell people about EBT -- for example, when having a lunch:
-- "Excuse me for a moment, I'll just enter the details of this note that the cashier just gave me.. ok, there."
-- "Um, what did you just do with that note?"
-- "You know, you can see the origin country of the note by looking at the serial number, and you can see where the note is printed by looking at the other number on the other side. Did you know that some Finnish 50€ notes are printed in UK although UK isn't an euro currency country? Yeah, that's a bit strange. Anyway, when I enter those numbers to my phone, it tells me where it was printed and as an extra, it'll send me email when someone else enters this note somewhere else etc etc (tell more about EBT)"
-- "That's interesting, I didn't know that. What was the web site address again?"


As a side note, I have found that it's easier to tell people about EBT by describing it as a service that tells you where your note has been printed, as most regular people don't know how to figure that out by just looking at the note. Once they're familiar with the concept, they may be interested to know that they'll get an email whenever they get a hit. I usually compare note tracking to bird ringing -- you can never be sure when or if you get a message that your note/bird has been seen somewhere, but when you do, it'll make you glad to know that your note/bird is alive and doing well :wink: And the notes can "fly" surprisingly far away as well, imagine getting a hit from some distant country.

EuroBillTracker wrote:If you've sent me an email about this, I haven't even read them in days because I have lots of pressure at work right now. I will try to figure out what you did by this weekend so I may work on integrating it during the holidays or possibly even giving you some source code...If it's PHP it could be added "easily" perhaps ?

It's actually Perl, but the language is mostly irrelevant. If I had written it in PHP you'd have to rewrite most of it anyway as most of the code deals with user preferences and user authentication, which are already handled at EBT. I haven't sent you email about this, but I think I'll send you an email or PM shortly.. I'm quite busy myself too, so I won't have that much time to deal with this in the next few weeks..
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Postby Edwin » Wed Dec 25, 2002 8:33 am

It must be very usefull, but since I don't have a WAP phone, I hope someday there will be some programm to input the notess on a Palm and then sent the data once in the dock.
One step done, many more to go

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Postby avij » Sun Dec 29, 2002 7:59 pm

Edwin wrote:It must be very usefull, but since I don't have a WAP phone, I hope someday there will be some programm to input the notess on a Palm and then sent the data once in the dock.

Well .. some people are never satisfied :lol:

I do have a Palm m505 myself, but I don't think I have the time to learn how to write programs for it. Are there any freeware/opensource compilers for PalmOS, any experience with those? If it's easy, well, why not..

On a more general note, it might be nice to have some kind of an "application programming interface" for EBT so people could freely implement their own ways to insert their notes into the database (someone would have to take care of the abusers though). Currently my WAP thingy downloads two 28k HTML pages for each note that gets submitted and it seems a bit wasteful, considering that the actual data to be transmitted is quite short. Something based on SOAP might be cool :wink: (see also Google API for an example)

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Postby EuroBillTracker » Sun Dec 29, 2002 8:53 pm

avij wrote:On a more general note, it might be nice to have some kind of an "application programming interface" for EBT so people could freely implement their own ways to insert their notes into the database (someone would have to take care of the abusers though). Currently my WAP thingy downloads two 28k HTML pages for each note that gets submitted and it seems a bit wasteful, considering that the actual data to be transmitted is quite short. Something based on SOAP might be cool :wink: (see also Google API for an example)

yes yes, I was thinking of that but I want to prevent making fraudsters' lives to easy and so I'm waiting for other "projects" to complete first

And by the way, SOAP is way overkill for the task, a simple GET will be enough ;)

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Postby avij » Fri Jan 03, 2003 11:19 am

OK, this is a bit offtopic, but I thought I'd post this thing in the WAP thread anyway.

I was testing to make sure my WAP gateway survived the recent changes to EBT. I picked up a note from my wallet and entered it with my phone. You can imagine how surprised I was to see this on my phone:
WAP wrote:Submitting note ..
avij login OK.
CONGRATULATIONS, THIS NOTE HAS ALREADY BEEN ENTERED -- YOU GOT A HIT!
(yeah, the text is slightly more yelling than the one on EBT website).

Initially I thought that there was an error in my Perl script (actually there is, it doesn't display the note properties as it should, will be fixed), but when I checked the bill report on EBT -- http://www.eurobilltracker.eu/index.php ... &id=553170 -- I figured out that it was for real. Boy I'm glad, not just because it's my second hit, but the way it happened :D

Looking further at the bill report, there are some interesting things to be seen. First of all, the user who first entered that note on 2002-12-31 is named Skoude (or "cop" in English) and the grocery store where I got the note has a police station (Pikkuroba) right next to it, a funny coincidence? Also, Skoude has entered exactly TWO notes -- a 50% hit ratio sounds pretty good :lol:

I'll have to make sure everybody understands that this is a genuine hit, although it sure LOOKS like a faked hit (very short time period and the number of notes entered by him/her). Beware my wrath if you moderate this note... It was my 2499th note, btw. Too bad it wasn't the 2500th, it would have been perfect :wink:

Oh, I think I'll have to breathe again .. huh.
Last edited by avij on Fri Jan 03, 2003 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby EuroBillTracker » Fri Jan 03, 2003 11:30 am

That's awesome ! Congratulations :)

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Postby avij » Fri Jan 03, 2003 11:54 am

I think I'll have to frame this and put it on my wall or something ..

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Postby Skylimit » Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:52 pm

Guess what, I appear to have a Nokia 6310i GSM :lol:

I'm used to the advanced form and don't know if I'm gonna use this every day, but I have been thinking how on earth I would input bills when I'm on holiday ... Writing them down seems like an awful waste of time +
you don't know if you have a hit right away ... + I takes you maybe 3 to 4 weeks you have to write down notes, and all this time you are biting your fingernails because you're hooked to EBT (Is there something like an EBT-rehabilitation-center available yet ? )... AND maybe you will lose the list, or your kids will draw an ugly picture on it and then throw it awy ... :cry:
So this WAP technology would come in very "handy" (=German for GSM I think)

I may trie it out one of these days ... (I take holidays in March)
Time is on our side ...

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Postby avij » Fri Jan 03, 2003 3:47 pm

Skylimit wrote:I may trie it out one of these days ... (I take holidays in March)

Guess what was one of my motivations for writing this? I'm going to Canary Islands (to some place which I can't remember right now) this spring with some family relatives, and I thought it'd be horrible if I had to write down the serial numbers (shudder). Not entering the notes at all is not an option. Seems like GPRS is available in the Canary Islands, although the price per megabyte is about six times higher than what my GSM operator charges me now (12,81€ vs 2,14€, the Spanish Airtel/Vodafone price includes the 5% billing fee). Well, the data that needs to be transferred is rather small, so I'd have to pay some 5 cents per note when EBTing from Spain. I guess I could live with that cost, at least for short periods of time such as holidays.

Inputting the notes does take some more time than with a regular computer, but once you get used to it, entering the notes goes quite smoothly. I speak from experience -- I had taken a dozen of 5€ notes for payment of some computer things I bought for our company, thinking that I'll submit them to EBT a bit later. Well, I forgot to enter them while I was at work and realized that I'd run out of EBT-tracked notes in the middle of Christmas shopping. Hell no I'm going to give away untracked eurobills, and I'm not going to pay with plastic either. So what's a man to do -- I located a nearby cafeteria and while slowly sipping the hot chocolate (I can't stand coffee) I inserted the notes to EBT with my phone. The sales clerk must have wondered why I smiled so much when I went back to the store and handed her the nine freshly-tracked 5€ bills that were required for the payment :D

Try it out, it may save your day some day :wink:

For the record, it looks like Nokia phone models 3510i, 6210, 6310, 6310i, 8310 have been working nicely with my WAP gateway. There are tons of other models that should work just as well, it might even work with a non-Nokia phone 8O

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Postby Petri6 » Fri Jan 03, 2003 3:59 pm

Too bad that I don't have wap, but fortunatelly in Crete (where I take almost all my holidays) there is an Internet cafe near our usual hotel. Haven't used it though, because in the summer I didn't know nothing about this site.

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Postby brunorodrigues » Fri Jan 03, 2003 5:45 pm

avij, besides the data required to send/receive the note data, you'll also have to account the data needed for the initial GPRS authentication, which is about 15Kb.

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Postby avij » Fri Jan 03, 2003 8:16 pm

brunorodrigues wrote:avij, besides the data required to send/receive the note data, you'll also have to account the data needed for the initial GPRS authentication, which is about 15Kb.

OK, I'll have to admit that I'm not intimately familiar with GPRS, it wasn't quite ready yet when I was studying data communications.

I assume you're talking about the GPRS connection parameters, such as encryption, WAP access point and IP address setup, username+password etc. It may be true that it takes about those 15KB to set up the connection, but those bytes do not seem to be taken into account when the GSM operator bills the GSM user. Looking at my latest GSM bill for December, there have been 58 connections, totalling two seconds short of 4 hours and the data transmitted is 274 KB. When you divide 274 by 58, you'll get about 4,72KB which looks pretty much like the payload data per connection that I'd expect. Also, the sum of total data transmitted matches roughly with the data transfer counters provided by my Nokia phone. YMMV.


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