Hi everyone! This is a place where I share my experiences with the devices I come across and use. Hopefully, you'll find the info here helpful in your search for geeky stuff...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Nokia N82 CE version...

So Nokia finally wanted the N82 prototype back. Damn it.

But good thing they let me have a consumer edition version to play with for a while, extending my time with one of my favourite devices, ever. There's really nothing new to report. It functions the same as the prototype I've been using for months now.

The only differences are that I have the full package now, which includes the box and all it's contents, and that it is a titanium white one.

Since there's nothing new to write about, I'll just post some pictures of the unboxing process. Enjoy.

It comes with a 2GB card in my country, and probably everywhere else

It's titanium white

Putting a picture of a girl to try and distract people from noticing that keypad upon opening the box

Headset and the phone are on the first tier of the box

It's a different headset from the N95 (which I've been using with the proto N82)

Without the picture of the girl, you notice everything. It's shiny and new with all the plastic protectors still intact

The colour is actually very similar to the original silver one I was using. It's now just a bit whiter at the back and the faux brushed-metal part that houses the camera module is of a slightly darker shade. More boy racer. The fronts are identical.

On the 2nd tier of the box, you can find the rest of the stuff: charger, micro USB cable, TV out cable, install DVD, warranty card, manual...

And of course, more literature to persuade you to part with more money

I still love it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Calcium's good for you...

Here's a question for all you S60 3rd edition Nokia phone users:

Do you like the calculator?

If you answer yes, then you must be in the minority. Everytime I have to use the calculator, I keep wishing I brought my iPhone instead.

Ok, I know there are huge bugs in the iPhone's calculator (here and here), but I'm a neither bright or rich enough to run into them. My calculations usually circle around 4 digits. And everyone knows Apple ripped Braun off for the calculator application (picture from core77). But for simpletons like me, there's simply no better calculator.

The problem with the built-in calculator is that you need to scroll around just to get to the major functions if you didn't read the manual. Yes, there are keyboard/keypad shortcuts to get to them but it's just not intuitive. When you're in a rush to do a calculation, it's just downright frustrating.

Then I came across mtvoid's CA60 calculator for S60 phones. Finally, a calculator application that just gets on with it. The simple iPod like interface is easy to understand on the first use. Each side of the D pad square ring does a major function. You don't need to scroll around the screen just to get to the plus function.

This is more like it.

Opera Mini: I love it!

Yeah, I know I know, it's been around for quite some time already. I somehow didn't find the time to install it on any of my phones until now. Now as in 30 minutes ago.

30 minutes of usage so far has compelled me to write this blog entry despite the fact that it is 2:52AM and I really should be in bed.

What can I say? Whatever people have been raving about is true. It's blazingly fast for one and the simple, clean and elegant interface is a pleasure to use.

Here's how the home page looks on an E61i and E90:

You might see less info on the bars above and below the browsing window when compared to S60's default browser, but I prefer the cleaner look.

I love that fact that they give you plenty of space to enter any kind of text.

When you click on the address bar, this is how much space you have to type your web address:

When you reply to a post on some forum, this is what you'll see:

I also like the computer like menu layout. Makes the browser easier to use and much less fussy than S60's default browser. Also the back button simply means back, and not a selection of previous windows. Yes, it may not present as much info as the multiple windows layout, but I much prefer it for it's cleanliness.

For those who have not tried it, I highly recommend it, except for E90 users. I find it doesn't quite work properly on an E90.

Simply go here to get it using your phone's built-in broswer.


Symarctic ExtGPS

Ever wished that you can use your phone's built-in GPS as a bluetooth GPS module?

It's a great idea. It's another device that you can leave at home, your standalone bluetooth GPS receiver, that is. Well, now you actually can.

Why in the world would anyone want to do this? One scenario is, for people who have installed computers in their cars. The computers run GPS navigation software and the device that feeds the GPS satellite data to the computers is probably a bluetooth GPS receiver. Now they can, if they want to, choose to use their E90 or N82 or N95 or 6110 built-in GPS receivers instead. Not that it would be a better solution. But the point is they can.

Perhaps, my usage of this software is a little bit more useful. It all started when I got my N810 internet tablet.

As some of you already know, the GPS module found in the N810 is erm, not too effective. It's frustrating just waiting for the thing to get a satellite fix. It's kinda like the old N95 without the AGPS software update.

I kept wishing that I could somehow use the very effective AGPS of my E90 or N82 to power the N810 map software instead.

And now, my wishes have come true, thanks to Symarctic's ExtGPS software.

Now I can have the power of AGPS in my N810. What bliss...

Picture of my E90 internal GPS module driving my N810:

From not really usable to bloody usable:

Thursday, January 3, 2008

SMS: a good way of life...

Text messaging.

What a wonderful thing indeed. Instant, concise communication that spans the world, without the need to expose your voice or face. It's the last part that makes this way of communication so attractive.

Yeah yeah, it's gonna squash whatever humanity there is left in this world, yada yada... But there is no denying, text messaging has a very important place in life.

SMS (short message service) communication gives you time to think. You don't have to answer someone immediately like a tele-conversation on the premise that you were "busy". Even if you encounter a difficult situation, it is much easier to project an image of calmness in wisdom beyond your natural capability.

Maybe that is why people in my country are addicted to it. It has become the default method of communication. Of course the telcos help in throwing hundreds of free SMS's a month to consumers. For example, I'm on a plan that gives me 2000 SMS/MMS per month. But of course, I exceed that limit without fail. My monthly SMS count is 3 to 4000.

I know in certain countries, text messaging costs an arm and leg. People in these countries tend to be resistant to the idea. I met up with a friend who has migrated to Australia and he says over there, he never sends any SMS's because it costs 50 cents per SMS. 50 cents for one SMS?? Who can blame them? I'm so glad that I'm living in Singapore, where it costs next to nothing to use this wonderful way of communication.

90% of my mobile phone usage is text messaging. 4000 SMS's per month works out to be 133 SMS's per day. I spend around 12 hours a day being active on my phone, which means I am typing out one SMS every 5 minutes that I am not in bed.

So, you can see why the SMS interface on a phone is so important to me. That is why for many years, I never touched an alpha numeric keypad phone. In my eyes, Palm Treos gave us the best ever SMS device. I have not come across a simpler and more effective device that I can SMS on. 

The thing that was crucial to me was the chat thread style of organising SMS's. I don't have to keep saving SMS's as drafts and going back to the inbox to look at the points I have to address while typing out an SMS. Then after that go to Drafts and reopen the saved SMS to continue typing. Bloody irritating. Hence I owned every Palm platform (no Windows rubbish, sorry Windows users) there was.

The combination of a QWERTY keypad, touchscreen and elegantly simple interface made this the best SMS device ever. Alpha numeric keypads with T9 cannot even come close. Before Apple released the iPhone, I was hard pressed to find a device with a similar text input interface. The iPhone came close, but that touchscreen keypad isn't very nice to use. But the most glaring omission on the iPhone is the inability to cut, copy and paste text.

So, for the past 2 years, since I switched over to alpha numeric keypad phones due to Palm's inability to keep up, I have been living with, what I'd call, CRAPPY, texting interface of mainstream phones,


sometime in September last year, Nokia Beta Labs released an application called "Conversations" for S60 phones that provides chat style SMS'ing.


It's a decent piece of software. It integrates with the Address Book and creates a new tab where all your SMS are arranged according to contact. But as usual, Nokia being Nokia, the implementation ain't too great. Some things that bother me are:

1) it does not display full SMS's but scrolls to let you read them. I'd rather have the text in smaller fonts but be able to see the whole SMS at a glance.

2) no instant access to predefined replies like "Can't talk now". On a Treo, it is one single touch away.

3) it's a bit buggy and slow

4) no emoticon support

5) it only displays SMS from 4 contacts at once

6) it's easy to confuse my own SMS's with the SMS's that I receive with icons that are almost identical to differetiate them

Oh c'mon Nokia! You are the largest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world! Surely you can come up with something better than something Palm came up with more than 5 years ago?

But as they say, some beer is better than no beer...


King of Cool: Salling Clicker...

When Apple launched Front Row and the Apple Remote, everyone as usual went gaga. Sure, using your computer as a media consumption device is cool, but hardly ground breaking. Making a neat little remote to control your computer is cool, but not nearly as cool as using your mobile phone to control your computer via bluetooth or wifi.

I recently stumbled upon this software called Salling Clicker that turns your mobile phone into a remote control for your computer. A seriously cool remote control. See here: http://www.salling.com/

Intsallation, implementation, user interface are all very well done. Here are some shots of the installation process on my Apple Powerbook and Nokia E90:

With the softwares installed on your computer and your phone, you're ready to roll. On an Apple computer, you can use your phone to:
1) control iTunes
2) control presentations (Keynote and Powerpoint)
3) all your media players installed on your computer. I have DVD player, EyeTV, VLC and Quicktime
4) check and read email, on you PHONE!
5) control iPhoto and see the photo thumbnails on your PHONE!
6) use it as an Apple Remote
7) put your computer to sleep
8) control your mouse, means you can surf the net using your phone's D pad as the mouse!
9) control the balance of your sound output
10) control the volume of your sound output

I don't know whether you can see how mind bogglingly cool this is, but it IS mind bogglingly cool.

It means I can lie in bed and navigate around my laptop, which is hooked up to my plasma TV, without using a mouse (using my phone's D pad). Very cool.

It means I can see and control my whole iTunes library through my phone while I'm in the toilet. Very cool.

It means I can put my computer to sleep with my phone while starting my car before I leave for work. Very cool.

It means I can read my emails on my phone without wifi and without launching the Mail application on my phone (via bluetooth). Very cool.

It means I can look for a specific photo in my photo library while watering my plants. Very cool.

Here's a little video of my Nokia E90 controlling my iTunes:

This is the King of Cool.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

emTube: prayer answered...

As everyone knows, Nokia gave us this application called "Video Centre" in some of their latest devices, and inside this application are plugins that stream./download videos from different sites. Of all these sites, the most notable one is of course, youtube.

But anyone who has used Nokia's youtube plugin would know that it's a joke. Somebody in youtube land or Nokia land or wherever it is, somebody who apparently has superior taste in video content as compared to us mere mortals, decides what we can and cannot watch (mobile youtube). And we mere mortals have a superb selection of TWENTY-FIVE, yes, TWENTY FIVE videos.

Ok, let's go through today's selection:
1) Goals for first year as president
2) Salsedo - "Yeah Yeah:"
3) Some japanese cartoon
4) How to make a candy Christmas wreath
5) Crazy acting contest 1: You vs Bad Guy
6) Ocean village - James Martin
7) Moj kot lubiu wode/my crazy cat, lovces water
8) World free hand drawing champion
9) Some Japanese video
10) Wojciech Jaruzelski oglasza wprowadzenie stanu wojennego
11) Cussin'
12) Opening weekend at Shawnee Peak
13) Paint your smile
14) The guild: a Christmas raid carol
15) December 14, 2007
16) Another Japanese video
17) Alle vrouwen versieren met 1 smsje
18) Long haired dachshund puppy in the snow
19) Wakeing fat fat
20) Un africain incroyable mais vrai "choc"
21) All we want for Christmas 2007
22) Doubletake
23) Another Japanese video
24) Even Fools Know LIVE in Washington Square Park
25) Have yourself an alternative (merry) Christmas

So, out of the whole selection, which one would you voluntarily have looked for? My personal answer is: none.

But have no fear. Thanks to people like Sebastian Jedruszkiewicz, who wrote the software emTube, we are free again. Free to choose whatever we want to watch. 

With a brilliantly simple interface, it is a fine conduit for playing youtube videos on S60 phones.

emTube playing a youtube video in action on an E61i:

Thank you Mr Jedruszkiewicz!