Dictionary distribution: A workaround for Bluetooth block

As in the previous blog entry from David Thompson, David and I are working with Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u speakers in Lockhart River (up in the Cape, QLD) to make a Wunderkammer dictionary. A great resource for the community’s mobile touting younger gens! An unexpected and pretty big obstacle that we’ve faced in Lockhart is difficulties installing the dictionary on community mobile phones via Bluetooth transfer. The solution we’ve come up with might also help other people out there stuck with various Bluetoothy hiccups holding up dictionary distribution.

Because of the remote location of Lockhart in Far North QLD the only telecommunications company is the national carrier Telstra. The majority of the mobile phones in the community are Telstra phones on Telstra contracts. Unfortunately we found out that Telstra restricts some of the functions of the phone, in this case preventing installation of java applications via Bluetooth (or via a USB cable). This was a great shame as the easiest way to propagate the dictionary across the community would be through simple Bluetooth transfer between phones. The solution we’ve found to workaround this is to host the dictionary java file on a secure webpage and download the java file using the mobile phone’s internet browser. However, few of the phone contracts in the community have a data component and therefore cannot access the webpage. This second obstacle has been overcome simply by using a project sim card with a data component. The sim card can be swapped with the community member’s sim card allowing the dictionary to be downloaded and installed. Once installed on the phone, the original sim card can be swapped back. Voilà, a working Wunderkammer dictionary! Some phones might generate a message asking if you want to download the file to the phone or the sim, select phone of course, so that it’ll remain behind when you switch the cards back. Each download of the Umpila/Kuuku Ya’u dictionary (V1.0) is a small 2MB and only takes a few minutes to install.