Hacking Windows Live Search Mobile – Collections feature to provide crippled Favorite locations list

Here we go, as a proper response to my own rant – Google Maps Mobile 3.0 for Windows Mobile, or what Live Search Mobile forgot to do, again.

Windows Live Search Mobile client for WM6 has a feature called Collections, this feature let’s the user look up RSS content and map it. Hmmmm…

Sarah Perez has found an article a while back on how to open up your collections in Live Search Mobile here: Make Your Live Maps Collections Mobile
The tutorial linked is actually really nice: Live Maps Collections Mobile – Create a collection and add it to your phone 

So you can check out my test collection, here: http://tinyurl.com/WLMNPFave

But it’s still not exactly what most people would want. One reason: Privacy.
I don’t want everyone in the world to know my favorite bar or my home address…even if it’s not linked with to my real name.

So would one go about creating a private collection?

NOTE: This is only feasible if you are technically inclined user that can host and build their own RSS feed. This is NOT easy for average user, hence I call it a hack.

Taking a close look at my sample collection, in Internet Explorer you will need to Right Click –> View Source. Now you know the RSS format.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<rss xmlns:georss="http://www.georss.org/georss" version="2.0">
  <channel>
    <title>Nikita Polyakov's Faves</title>
    <link>http://www.bing.com</link>
    <description />
    <item>
      <title>MICROSOFT Corp</title>
      <link>http://www.bing.com/?cid=153154D6F7D12177!223</link>
      <description>&lt;img src='http://byfiles.storage.msn.com/y1pIhl0fFeMIJIrz0oiLWrm3-oEfL8YCS1yndsmhaWI4pWGpk3ONKAP6zlrEY2DFWOTxTBqrfqAuT04tBEvEYRYJg'/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;5426 Bay Center Dr, Tampa, FL</description>
      <guid isPermaLink="false">ef9e2df66a2eb8d8</guid>
      <pubDate>Mon, 01 Jun 2009 21:49:18 GMT</pubDate>
      <georss:point>27.94417 -82.537292</georss:point>
    </item>
  </channel>
</rss>

All you have to do is create a a hidden RSS feed with same format and create your own collection.

Unfortunately WLSM does not seem to have access to a protected Feed, if you were to add Authentication to this file.
I don’t have a way to test this right now, but make sure to exclude the RSS from Search engines using robots file, if you want to hide it.

So I wondered maybe if I simply provide a link to a RSS list of addresses and WLSM will figure out the rest when it pulls up the feed? Read on.

Windows Live Calendar Web Scenario:

Simply adjust your calendar to be shared, with a read-only link, and enable RSS feed.

http://tinyurl.com/WLMNPFaveLiveCal

Now, unfortunately just this feed will not work as a Collection. So you will have to tinker with it using XSLT.
Loooong solution to code, but will not need a mobile client on the device to keep this updated.
There is another way, connect your Windows Live account to your phone to show your calendar on the phone, and read on.

Outlook Mobile Scenario:

Create a web application to keep list of locations for you on your own server. With publicly hidden RSS feeds.

Now for real Windows Mobile integration, this is the crazy solution:

1. WM .NET application reading your current Outlook Mobile calendar location field of your appointments for day or week, you decide.

2. Clear your “My Appointment Locations” RSS feed. Post updated locations.

3. Then WLSM would pull it down in RSS feed. And Voila!

This is soooo backwards, but simple enough for a small project and get the job done of getting your locations for upcoming appointments in your Live Search Mobile Client, the long way, to the moon and back, solution. 

Anyone interested in building this micro app with me? Drop me a line in comments or @NikitaP me.

Print | posted on Monday, June 1, 2009 6:43 PM

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