Oct 24, 2007

Divergence made Spectacular - Devices, Services, Tutorials, Ideas, Opinions

Ever wondered how all our devices and services fit together in one scenario? Let's rewind to this past saturday and watch it from my point of view. We'll talk IE7, Feeds, YouTube, Download.com, iTunes, iPod and Nokia 3250, so get your geeky glasses and hop-on.

Before I start, if you live anywhere there is 3G, WiFi everywhere, EDGE,... and have a mobile device that applies, you sure don't have to go through all of the steps that I went through, but read on, should remind you of the good'ol days. Also stay tuned till the end, a nice idea over there ;)

Part 1 - IE7 and Feeds

I downloaded IE7 this saturday. Too late on the wagon? I know, but I was retiscent towards the whole new Microsoft package, including Vista, Office 2007 and IE7. Nonetheless, this weekend, I decided to only go for IE7, just for tabs' sake. I had just got sick'n'tired of opening 10 IE windows on my taskbar. Now I know there are probably a 1000 fans out here shouting for Opera, Firefox, Mozilla,... I never tried any because, let's face it, I have a Toshiba laptop with 512MB RAM and 60GB internal memory, no need to slow it by putting more programs.
What I loved about IE7, beside the fact that it has lot less crashes than IE6 did, is integrated Feeds. I love that it lights up the feed icon when a feed is available on a page, which removes the need to look to see if there are any feeds (sometimes the orange icon is far too obvious, but sometimes it's nowhere to be found). I also like the fact that you can read your feeds inside IE, which is awesome. I immediately removed RSS Bandit, which I was trialling because it was taking too much RAM and HD space. I also love the immediate search funtion, just type a search in the address box and it looks for it in my engine of choice. Nice!

Part 2 - Importing OPML into IE7

What I immediately hated about IE7 was that when I tried to import my OPML file for all feeds, generated by RSS bandit, it imported nothing. A quick search on my good friend Yahoo and there it goes! Just open the OPML file in Notepad, and add << type="rss" >> (without the << >>) after each << outline >>, meaning almost at the beginning of each line, or feed address if you like.
I know that is pretty time-consuming and annoying, but it sure is faster than going to all your websites and subscribing to their feeds or inputing the address manually. Funny how the simplest program of all, Notepad, allows such a miraculous change in minutes. Now all my feeds are up and running in IE7 :)

Part 3 - YouTubing

After I got my feeds up and running, I started checking them out, and stumbled on a post with an embeded YouTube video (don't remember which one exactly). While watching it, I remembered my friends and I had a laugh just the previous day listening to "I like to move it" from the OST of Madagascar. King Julian is plain hilarious. So I searched for a video of the song and got this amazing videoclip (just check the old lady at the end, priceless):

I also found a video collection of funny clips from the movie itself, which was also very nice, so I thought "I should take these with me on monday to show them to my friends".

Part 4 - Download.com and the YouTube Downloader

I usually watch YouTube videos once and never need to download or keep them. But this time was different. I needed to get the flash video AND take it with me on some sort of portable device, which means I needed to download and convert the video. Head on to Download.com. Seriously, it couldn't be any easier to remember a web address. I tap "YouTube download and convert" in the search box, then select free in the liscence limits in the search results, and bam! I get a good list, a quick browse of each program and I settle on YouTube Downloader. Seems like a straightforward utility with everything I need. I get it and it's exactly what I expect. I can download any YouTube video just by pasting the address, I can also convert any .flv to iPod format (.mov), mobile phone format (.3gp or .mpeg), windows media player (.wmv),... And it's pretty darn fast!
I am extremely excited and I immediately grab both videos then convert them to .3gp, send over bluetooth to my 3250. But to my surprise, the quality turns out somewhat bad and I'm disappointed (my 3250 doesn't seem to grab .flv by itself nor .mpeg4). I decided then to convert them to iPod format, just to see and they turn out pretty fine. Next step: launch iTunes, add the videos to the library, sync my iPod video.

Part 5 - Nokia mobile as an iPod speaker, say what?!

This one you'll like! I have been doing this trick for quite a while and everytime it sizzles everyone around me.
So I had my 2 videos (the video clip and the funny moments) on my iPod. I have more than 2 friends wanting to watch. How do I show the video to all, picture + sound? I can try to show it to them 1 by 1, or 2 by 2, using each earphone for one person, but it's not practical. I have everyone else looking at the display, wanting to hear and eagerly waiting for their turn. And everyone will laugh at the video alone. NO. We need something more interactive. Speakers you say, right. The iPod doesn't have built-in speakers, I didn't buy external ones (yeah my iPod accessories have already costed me as much as the iPod itself so far), but my Nokia 3250 has speakers. Hm. And I have an iPod FM transmitter *glowing lamp over the head please*.
1 - I get my iPod FM transmitter, connect it to my iPod. Set it on 90.7 FM (free frequency here).
2 - I get my 3250, pop in the remote-control part of the headphone (not the earplug part)
3 - I open the radio on my mobile, tune to 90.7 FM.
4 - Loudspeaker please on the mobile.
5 - And now you've got the video playing on the iPod and the sound coming out of the 3250 as loud as it can get, as clear as it can get, for everyone to hear. No string ... euh earphones attached.
Now everyone is around the table looking at the iPod, enjoying the sound through the phone, laughing together, yet feeling quite disturbed by how genius you are with all those ideas you have. I know it's a simple trick, all you have to have is an FM transmitter. Some people do, some don't, but recent music players are coming with built-in FM transmmitters, so that trick could become even easier. I have searched over the internet to see if it has been posted somewhere, didn't find it so I thought let's go and write it down. Should give people some ideas instead of buying speakers for their iPod (I know the Apple Store won't have bankruptcy issues because of me).

Final Word

That was just an example of how complicated things can get when you don't have an internet connectivity on your device and can't play YouTube or internet videos immediately. The new S60 Touch UI will play YouTube through Flash 3. This post will sure make you think of how far we've come in term of convergence vs. this spectacular example of divergence I showcased using a device that was as hot as volcano lava just 15months ago.

Oct 23, 2007

Fever and Chills

Just a quickie to say that I came home yesterday night from my Photoshop course with chills and a fever of 39 celsius degrees (around 102 fahrenheit) and i've been in bed all day. I don't know if it was the freezing AC in the classroom or some sort of jinx for the good results I got over my Master1 exams, nonetheless I am still feeling like crap.

Oct 21, 2007

Finland the land that brought Nokia ... and Raikkonen

I'm litterally in tears because I've been a Raikkonen fan ever since he joined McLaren (I was a Hakkinen fan before) and saw this amazing driver with huge potential loose championship after championship because of his poor luck, his poor car or many other reasons. Just now, he made it! Champion of the 2007 formula one season! I love this man! He deserves it! He finally made it, finally grabbed luck by its face and told it "you won't crush me over anymore!". And when? During the most amazing and suspense-filled season, where for the first time ever since I started watching formula1, 3 drivers could grab the championship during the last race. I'm so excited for Raikko. Exceptionnal season, exceptionnal winner :)

Edit: I was just reading on the FIA website that Kimi Raikkonen was born in Espoo, Finland. Ehm now why does that region's name sound familiar? Oh yes, that's where Nokia's headquarters are! Sweet :p

Oct 19, 2007

Correction about Red Five Labs' Net60

I guess I jumped fast on the wagon and assumed Net60 wouldn't allow users to install windows mobile apps right out-of-the-box on their Symbian. Seems like that's not the case. Filip over at Red Five Labs replied to this post where I praised the StyleTap innovation, and said that some apps for WinMo should work right out of the box with Net60.

One thing I liked about his comment is that I REALLY appreciate developers who care enough about their products to watch out blogs writing about them, even though bloggers of said blogs aren't in any sort of connection with them : I never contacted anyone @ Red Five Labs, yet Filip found my post, which means he was out there looking. This kind of support where developers seek users and not the opposite proves to me that they care, even if their solution isn't out yet!

The other thing I liked is that in 2008 we should have 4 formats compatible with our Nokias *bounce* : symbian, java, palmOS and WinMo. The more the merrier. That means more compatibility and less "i can't decide on a platform, i like both" typical indecisions. I can't think of any platform out there other than Symbian that could allow this sort of versatility! One platform to rule them all! Add to that the touch UI, the amazing hardware packed in Nokias, the new NGage,the Ovi doorway, and you've got yourself more than you can ever dream of. I believe 2008 will be the year everyone will remember in the mobile world, a landmark for innovations, and I believe Nokia will have a lot of roles to play on that scene.

Gosh, I just luv S60! I would like to see another existing touch interface (you know where my thoughts are headed) compete with that. Haha, they're doomed :)

Oct 18, 2007

StyleTap - Connecting Peop... ehm Devices

I first read it over @ SlipkornSaad's Symbian 9.1/9.2 applications blog and I couldn't believe it:

Styletap have announced a new emulator that allow users to install and run applications and games meant for Palm Treo devices on Symbian OS 9.x based Nokia S60 v3 Officially called "StyleTap CrossPlatform for Symbian OS", the product is planned for release early in 2008, the software is working now in "alpha" mode – most of the APIs are working, most applications are running well...You can read the full details over here...

We had already heard about Red Five Labs' to-be-released beta of Net60 a couple of days ago, a solution that helps developers produce apps for s60 3rd using .NET compact framework, instead of symbian's SDK, but seriously this one is NOTHING like it! In fact, like Zach from SiMo reported from Red Five Lab's stand @ the Symbian Smartphone Show this week (following my constant nags), Net60 is merely a developer tool, meant to make it easier for developers. It didn't mean a thing to end-users, unless developers decided to use the .NET CF for Symbian Developing. In other words, we were still relying on their good wills *sigh*

[Update about Net60: read the 3rd comment on this post and the correction made here]

On the other hand, the StyleTap concept is totally different and is everything I needed and thought Net60 would promise and deliver. In simple words, it's an application that you install on your device and that allows you to run almost any PalmOS app, without porting, without modification, right out-of-the-box.

Does it work?
Sweet you might say, but does it live up to its expectation? I asked myself the same question, and i got the answer *drum roll, people* YES it does! How did I find out? Ehm, well I would like to say the haughty "I have my sources" but no, that's not it, I've been in the blogging business for only a couple of months and I don't have any source whatsoever. I only have my wits.

How did I test it?
Since StyleTap had already released their product for Windows Mobile, I decided to give it a spin on my Qtek. Downloaded the trial of StyleTap and installed it: piece of cake. The app consists of 2 components: the StyleTap Launcher that installs to the WM and the StyleTap Application Installer that installs on the pc. The latter allows you to choose which installation files (they are in .prc and .pdb for PalmOS) you want installed on your WM. After figuring this out, I went to Skyscape's website and got myself a trial version of Evidence-Based Diagnosis (EDB) for Palm (just coz it was the smallest app I could find :p ). After going through a mere-suicidal state because of Skyscape's installation process (I thought I had to install Palm Desktop Software, which is like ActiveSync for WM, but then figured out a way past it), I managed to grab the .prc and .pdb files, added them on the PC's StyleTap Application Installer, chose to install and grabbed my heart for a couple of seconds. When the process was finished, I ran Start - Programs on the Qtek, and found the EDB in the programs list. Launched it and there it was! Working!!! This emulator is a one good piece of software. In a word: it promises and it delivers!

I just can't express how excited I am. If the process worked for Skyscape's abracadabral installation system, there is no wonder it would work on almost everything else! They already have a list of apps certified to run on StyleTap on their website, Skyscape's solutions aren't on the list but they work. I'm litteraly jumping off my feet here.

What does this mean to the end-user?
I'll explain it in a very easy way. A week ago, a friend of mine specializing in Medical Lab came to me and asked me what device would I suggest he buys. He was very confused between Symbian and Windows Mobile (more specifically iMate JasJam and N95). His point was that the N95 is smaller, nicer, has a great camera, but doesn't have lots of medical capacities which he needs, but does have WiFi so he could search for information online, read PDFs and Office Files so he could put all his info on. On the other hand, the JasJam was bulky, had a horrible camera, but benefited from full support of medical software and had WiFi. First I told him that if he got the N95, he'd be paying for features he'd never use in Lebanon (GPS and 3G) but suggested that if he settled on it, he'd better get the 8GB version or I would kill him. But then I even confused him more by telling him about the love'n'hate relationship I had with my Qtek. He was close to deciding not to invest in anything for the time being.

When I found out about StyleTap (which was like 3hrs ago now), I instantly SMSed him and told him I might have a solution for his problem. After getting it to work, and seeing the result on the Qtek, I SMSed him again and said "it works on Windows Mobile, I don't see why it wouldn't on Symbian".

There you go: StyleTap solved this guy's problem as I'm sure it'll solve many other people's. He is now much more likely to go for the N95. Most medical apps are available for both WM and PalmOS, and most applications in general, available for one platform are also for the other. Which in other words mean: if you have a Palm or a WM and want to switch to Symbian but are afraid of losing some apps (esp the ones you paid for on Palm), you can now do it and benefit from the plethora of features an S60 phone comes with, from cam quality to phone utilities, stability, smaller size and endless software lists.

StyleTap hasn't released their beta yet for Symbian, but stay tuned because I am sure gonna apply for beta testing once it's out (which should be soon if they plan to release the whole thing in Q1 2008).

A final note before I go dancing on the roof again: I first started this post by saying I learned it through SlipkornSaad's blog. I want to mention that this guy is awesome, I don't know how he does it, but he's almost always the first on my RSS to announce new apps or app updates! Definitely worth adding to your rss reader :)

Oct 16, 2007

S60's Touch UI - A Smile to the Future

Unless you're living on Planet Mars, you must've caught someplace that S60 has announced today, at the Symbian Smartphone Show it's S60 Touch UI. For more info, you can read the Press Release reported by Darla here, or hear the Voice of S60 Podcast with Minna Karvonen here or even better, since showing is better than telling, you can watch the video taken by AAS during the showcase:

I've been watching this vid over and over and here are some comments:
1 - I sooooooo wanna be the girl holding this phone, does she know what treasure she has?
2 - The phone showcased seems hardware-wise like the illegal child of a one-night-stand between the N81 and the iPhone, or am I just imagining things?
3 - I love the eye bling at the end (and so does the person who took this video) but I hate the music throughout the video.
4 - The interface seems neat and easily used, especially with such a huge screen.
5 - I was afraid S60's Touch would be an iPhone's UI rip-off, I see that it's not the case: we still have our beloved landmarks: active standby, softkeys, menu,... so I like it even more than I thought I would.
6 - I just LOVE the idea of the flip to silence the alarm/ringing. So innovative! It's almost like "oh I don't want to answer" and you flip and bang! Simply genius.
7 - Why did they show the current Nokia phones (S60 3rd) on the screen at the end? Aren't these supposed to be the phones that won't have the Touch UI?
8 - What the 'eck did roll down when the girl pressed the operator/date on the standby, right after the "Direct access to all key functions" text and before the "with physical feedbak". Could that be the profile switcher we normally have when pressing the power button, or a connection (BT, IR, WiFi, 3G)? I can't tell from the low-res video but I hope it's a mix of both.
9 - I hate that S60 hasn't learned yet that they need to implement a static consistent menu bar. Look at all the screenshots, in every one the top menu bar seems of a different color and size, sometimes it's not even there! Why oh why?! S60 pleaaaase, learn from your mistakes: consistency is more eye-candy.

Oct 14, 2007

Hat-Trick Freebie by Chua Welic

Usually, when someone says "free" you first think "awesome" then "what's the catch?" then "it sure ain't as great as it sounds". That is the case until you actually try the thing and go "I knew so" or "it's good but not great" or "oh my god, is this truly free?". Rare are the apps that make you reach that 3rd state. Still we won't complain if developers keep on trying ;)

I recently came across 3 great freebies by Chua Welic that made me go to the "is that really free?" state : cClock, cCalc and cCam . Let's proceed step-by-step, shall we?

Note: head on over to the official site for the screenshots (I won't post everything here) and to download the apps. And care to donate to keep him going!

This is a screensaver wide-clock for S60 3rd. Basically instead of that small line on S60's screensaver, you get something so huge I'd almost swear a blind person could see it. Yet this ain't the most amazing part! The app is totally configurable so you can show the date, the day of week, the week number, the network and battery status, indicators for email, sms, missed calls, with numbers count of each event, a chinese calendar and many more, all while being able to adjust the font, size and position of almost everything. Add to that the fact that this little thing doesn't burn your battery power and you've got yourself the First Goal. Way to go Chua!

Sure Calcium is a nifty little treasure but it was made for basic math, so for more complex executions, we only had BestCalc to chew on for quite some time now. Not anymore. cCalc doesn't have the good graphics of Calcium or BestCalc, but it does combine the best of both worlds: keypad shortcuts + complex math operations. Users of Calcium will find a known territory with the same directional basic math shortcuts (+ - / x). Math geeks will rejoice over all-you-can-eat sin/cos/ln/e/sqrt/deg/rad/grad... that are only a couple of clicks away. All you have to do is press * repeatedly and the keys will toggle from numbers to math to trigonometry to base to financial. All functions are keypad mapped and once you've got hold of it, you'll be mathing away in milliseconds. It also has a special version with key mapping for the E61's QWERTY! If that's not enough to make you drool, you'll sure do when you find out it has a built-in converter (that's Formula on the right softbutton) with preset conversions from feet to meters, calories to joules, ounces to grams, celsius to fahrenheit,... As if that's not enough, it's totally configurable. Clicking repeatedly on Formula will get you to the converter then the "edit function" then the "edit label" where you can input your own conversion rates and rename the buttons. Add a nice copy/paste trick which is more handy than MR M+ M- and you've got yourself Goal Number Two!

One thing that always annoys me about my 3250 is the cam shutter sound that tells everyone "A pic has been taken". The 3250 has the ability to snap pictures sideways, which means you can take the pic of someone on your left or right without looking and by pretending you're fiddling with your phone. No one would suspect a thing until the cam shutter goes and you're the only person standing with a phone in your hand. cCam relieves you from the awkwardness of this situation by providing a silent pic snapping solution. I had been waiting for something like that ever since I got my mobile. cCam doesn't come with bells and whistles like the previous apps but it does what it needs to do and it does it well. Hat-Trick to Chua Welic!

And if all of the previous haven't convinced you yet, maybe you will be if you knew that all apps are frequently updated and improved. Be sure to check out Chua Welic's page every now and then. Great additions are always on their way. I'm crossing my fingers for some cCal (calendar) or cCall or cContact apps: all fall within the "cC" naming scheme :p

My Madness Makes Sense: .NET for S60!

Usually I don't pour every news I read on the blogosphere over here, because, well, you don't want to read the same thing 10000000 times, but forgive me: this is H.U.G.E!

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with Darla and I asked her a question that even for me sounded mad : "is there or do you think there will be an application or an implementation that will allow symbian to run windows mobile applications?" At that time, I was furious with the lack of medical apps for symbian and was thinkin about getting a WM device. The question had been running in my mind for a while and it kept on popping up every now and then, but I eventually came to the point where I convinced myself it was total madness and got myself the Qtek.

Now this came a little bit shocking, but I just read on AAS that a company called Red Five Labs was about to launch the Beta of its Net60, a .NET compact framework implementation for S60 3rd. What does that mean? Just read this sentence from the press release:

Net60 enables managed Windows Mobile applications to run unchanged on S60 devices. Using C# and Visual Basic .NET in Visual Studio, developers can now use the .NET Compact Framework environment to build applications for Symbian devices.

Now tell me: how huge is that? I know it's just the beginning and probably it won't work right out of the box, will have limitations, will cost a fortune,... But can you see the possibilities? Can you see the future? Can you see yourself buying an S60 device without ever regretting it because almost every single application on the planet runs on your handset? We've already got .sis files working, iPhone web apps run quite well, and now WM apps (which are almost the same over RIM and Palm)...

That's why I love symbian. Because no matter how mad you can be, thinking about a feature or a trick or an implementation that you want to add to it, there's always a way to do it.

P.S: Red Five Labs will be exposing their product over at the Symbian Smartphone Show so if anyone reading this is going (nudge @ Zach) pleaaaaaaaaaase make sure you check their stand.

Oct 10, 2007

Mac'alicious Standby

Installing themes is one of my favourite hobbies over my 3250. A sleek theme is something that makes browsing through the phone, using applications and listening to music really enjoyable. That's why I always love to have a fresh new look on my mobile, because it's something that I'll have to bear no matter what I am doing with my mobile. One of my favourite theme providers nowadays is Luca, not that Babi is detroned but I've gotten quite used to her style and her icon packs so Luca brings this new sparkle into my mobile. I love his iTunes theme. I find that it has the clarity, simplicity and colors that I love to have in a theme, while still being very graphical. Yet today, I decided to keep the theme and try some different wallpaper. One wallpaper pack grabbed my attention as to what it would fit Luca's iTunes theme very decently : it's Mac by Matalo which I found over at Pasco's latest Sunday Themes edition. I tried most wallpapers, and they all looked quite nice, but the one that struck me with an amazing marriage was "wall003". And the result: just look down. I think this is the wallpaper that was MEANT to go with this theme. I'm in LUV.

Oct 9, 2007

First Device : Must-Read Editorial

The interesting part about RSS is that you can sometimes subscribe to sites you never knew about, just because they exist in the channel support of your reader and have a title that seems interesting. Most of the time, you don't even know what to expect so you give the feed a couple of reads then decide to dump it or keep it. When I purchased my Qtek, I was mostly annoyed by the fact that I didn't know any blogs / sites in the WM domain, yet needed to be informed and kept up-to-date, so my unique solution was RSS channels.

That's how I got to WMExperts. What I really love about this site are the very-well written editorials, one of which grabbed my attention today. It's called "The First Device". In this writing, Dieter Bohn explains the concept of the first device:
That, in a nutshell, is that the "First Device" is: your go-to gadget that you grab first when you want to "do something." That "something" is different for everybody : a quick search, YouTube, SMS, getting directions, checking your To Do list, jotting down a quick note ... these days it could be pretty much anything.

That is a very interesting concept indeed, he also continues to state that the First Device isn't about speed and immediacy, but also about how well it does execute the job we need it to do. There's also some iPhone luv 'n hate, together with a comparison with WM devices and a nice story about coffee and spoons. Definitely worth reading.

But the idea that blinked in my head was this one:
It's not enough to make a Smartphone that's able to do anything. What a Smartphone needs to do is be a compelling First Device in the category that matters to you most.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was the N95. The N95 is able to do anything, 'eck it's able to be a console for a Wii remote! But how does it perform when it comes to the First Device concept? I haven't had one, so I can't judge. What I do know, about the Symbian platform in general, is this:
Having an iPod, a Nokia 3250, a Qtek 9100, a Toshiba laptop, every gadget has its usage when it comes to First Devicing.
1- The 3250 is an amazing phone call / sms First Device
2- The Qtek is very handy when it comes to web surfing in WiFi zones and to reading mobibooks
3- The laptop is my one solution for web surfing for more than an hour, storing photos, chatting, creating powerpoints,...
4- The iPod stays in the car for road music.
5- The 3250 remains my first choice when it comes to taking a song with me instantly: turn BT on and send, while the iPod takes years of turning iTunes on, adding the song to the library, getting the connection cable, sync'ing, removing
6- The 3250 and the Qtek share the spots for First Device medical utility: 3250 is a good fast concise medical information, Qtek with skyscape apps is an amazing in-depth info provider
7- They also do share the spot for gaming utility because both have different games installed on.

I think that Dietler is right-on with his concept. I don't want my 3250 to do everything, because it can't. Even if it had GPS and WiFi like the N95 and QWERTY like the E61i/E90, it still won't be able to run Skyscape's medical apps, provide me with an instant way to navigate through mobipocket books, connect instantly with my laptop, give me a basic free Word/Excel editor or have room for my >40GB music collection. So it won't replace neither my iPod nor my WM. Yet I love it, like it is, for what it does, because it does it well and quickly.

What do you think? Is there any wisdom behind these words? Do you believe a device can be a top-seller just because it's a First-Device in one specific area? And do you think the iPhone falls into that category, which partly explains its huge success? And what appeals to you more: a good First-Device at only a couple of things, or a joker device able to do everything but not as well as the stand-alone gadgets it's meant to replace?

Oct 8, 2007

What everyone I know (me included) love about Nokia :)

We all love Nokia, don't we? We can't help the ever-changing menu organisation, the forgotten shortcuts, the not-so-advertized OS, the unkown and undiscovered beauties, the countless amount of devices advertized, the unavailability of medical apps, yet when it comes down to stepping into a mobile shop, we first and foremost check Nokia devices and we first and foremost buy Nokia devices. Why? It's something probably that has been so emphasized about and hence so taken for granted it's almost forgotten.

So what do we ALL love about our Nokia? We love the fact that it can drop, hit, break open, fly, turn, swim, swirl, skate, and yet when we take it off the floor or put back together the several pieces or dry the wet parts, it Still Functions. Isn't that awesome? I have been coming through several examples these days, my attention was drawn back to this mere fact:
- a collegue of mine, at uni, dropped her 7610 on the classroom's paved floor. After she put the battery back in and closed the lid, she pressed power and it turned on, she didn't look that surprised and said "it's the 3rd time it drops today". The fact that, to her, a phone that drops thrice a day and still functions is nothing of a surprise proves how Nokia has changed our conception of built quality.
- it was 7:45 am and i was walking in the parking toward my car, carrying my laptop, my handbag, my paper folder, my 3250 and my keys. Somehow the 3250 managed to slip through my fingers and, since I was walking, before it hit the floor, it hit my foot which was moving, which make it more like a football shot, so it flew a couple of meters away then hit the concrete. The screen did get a little scratch but nothing that damaging. I picked it up, noticed the scratch, got annoyed, but didn't even feel surprised that it didn't even turn off. It was still running :)
- amazed by the quality of these devices, I was talking to a colleague of mine, praising what we've forgotten, so she answered back "you reminded me of a funny story: my neighbor once dropped her Nokia into the elevator's case (you know the big whole in the building where the elevator is supposed to move up and down) from the 7th story. After a couple of days, when the repair man came by, he got the pieces out of the lower level's floor. She took them to a mobile shop where they put it back together and it worked!"

You probably encountered the first or second situation at least once in your device's life, so the only story that still manages to drop that jaw of yours down must be the third one. Now put these together with the fact that I only once dropped my Qtek 9100 from less than a 1 meter height and it took me something between 5 and 7 reboot attempts to finally manage to reboot it completely, that my friend who recently bought an HTC Touch carries it like she's carrying a newborn or a diamond necklace, that my colleague who has the very slim Motorolla (don't know the exact device name, don't care) says he's afraid of putting it in his back pocket because it can bend,... and you get the bigger picture.

We have the most amazing device manufacturer ever because it makes devices that can last years, no matter how we treat them.

Oct 5, 2007

Free App Friday @ Handango!!!

I just came across this amazing news and it's a MUST to share. Handango have started a nice new giveaway called Free App Friday. Basically this means that every friday we'll be able to enjoy a free app courtesy of Handango. How awesome is that?

This week's freebie is CodeWallet Pro 6 Mobile for PPC2003, WM5/6 which is a password/security utility, normally priced at around 29$! Just click on the link, fill your info, create a Handango account if you don't have one, and you'll have a 100% discount on the application. They are also offering 25% discount on selected apps during the week. Hurry on, grab yours, offer lasts till 11:59 CST!

P.S: I wonder if there will be any symbian apps and what would they be...

Note: For further referal, I've added the Handango widget on the left column of my blog...

What I seriously love about WM

I know I have been going on about Windows Mobile for quite a while now but bare with me, this one is actually going somewhere. Windows Mobile is probably one of the most hated yet most loved platforms ever. I can't express how excited I am when I find a new thing I can do over my Qtek, yet I also could go on for hours talking about the disappointments I had.

One of the most amazing things about WM (besides the ones I already cited here) is something I found out recently : when I connect my WM to a computer with a running internet connection, using ActiveSync, I can actually use the connection on the WM device. No settings, no barriers, no questions, no answers, no add-ons, no applications, no nothing. It just works. I love this feature because I still haven't gotten a WiFi Router for my ADSL connection, so I'm pretty stuck with cables and laptops, which isn't very portable or very bed-friendly. So what I do now when I just want to chat with a friend or check a couple of small websites is that I put the laptop on a table beside my bed, turn it on, connect my Qtek via mini-USB, then lay in bed and do whatever I want. That's as portable as it gets right now. And I'm pretty satisfied, especially that I don't need to go through a hundred steps everytime I do it.

As far as I know, the only way to do so with Nokias is through GnuBox, which I haven't tried and won't ever think about trying. I only read it twice and it seemd as complicated as a heart transplant surgery. There's no way the average user would do it!

So that leaves me to wonder, shouldn't Nokia add this feature to their mobiles? Easy connection, no setups, no hassle. It's a must.

Oct 3, 2007

Thank you feed subscribers : the "hundredstone"

This is just a quickie to say thank you to everyone who subscribed to my RSS feed. I just decided today to add the Feedburner subscriber count widget to my blog and to my surprise it's a 107! With 2 subscriptions being mine (through RSS bandit on the PC and NewsBreak on the Qtek) just to see how my feeds look like to you readers, I have a gross amount of 105 subsribers. That's almost twice the number of posts I made here! I also have readers in the USA, Morocco, Turkey, Brazil, Canada, France, just in the last 40 minutes! Seriously?!

I never thought I would have reached the hundred milestone, and never expected to reach it. So a big thank you to everyone. Hope you find here what you come looking for. Suggestions, tips, comments, anything is welcome. I do this for you first, to share what I experience and what I love about symbian, about mobiles, about technologies and about life. It's all about Connecting People :D

"Die you 1069" by SMS Spam Manager

For over 2 or 3 months now, I have been frustrated, bothered, angry, and all because of SMS. A certain company keeps on sending me silly and stupid messages in arabic that go mostly on this template: "show your love to your sweetheart with a nice poem, send T3 to 1069", and since I'm neither in love nor in a relationship, it's seriously frustrating. Not that I would actually follow their strategy if I was, but I wouldn't probably be as annoyed as I am now. So a couple of weeks ago, I said (or more likely yelled) "NO MOOOOOORE", hit www.handango.com and typed SMS in the search box. I fell on a couple of results, one of which was SMS Spam Manager by Webgate. Downloaded the trial and here I went. 3 minutes was all it took, from downloading the trial to getting it to work in the background and forgetting about it. Really simple. Really efficient.

SMS Spam Manager runs in the background and can show you an icon on the main screen right below the network coverage, option that can be changed in the preferences.

It presents 3 windows. In the Mode window, you choose your rule setting (allow all, block all, allow phonebook, block blacklist) and you can view how many SMS have been allowed or blocked since the last time you opened the app. In the Rules window, you see all blacklist rules and you can add a new one by telephone number, prefix number and text match. You can't say there is a certain SMS type you can't block with those options! In the Log window, you can read the blocked SMS and delete them.

What I like about SMS Spam Manager is that it does what it needs to do, neetly and very simply. No bells and whistles. The indicator it shows on the main screen lets me check very quickly and make sure it's running. The settings are exactly what you would expect them to be in this kind of application. The autorun option is flawless, no matter how your phone was turned off : battery removal, normal turn off, reboot by an app, crashed then rebooted.

What I hate about it is that it shows in the task manager (long menu keypress) which is annoying. There should be a way to make it invisible, especially when the main screen icon is set on. While they're at it, there should be a way to multiple select items in the log. I'm too picky I guess but it's just to say that no app is perfect ;)

Seriously, if you are flooded by spam SMS, just click through to SMS Spam Manager. I guarantee that in less than 5 minutes, your app will be up and running, and spam will be a thing of the past. Just once in a week, open the app, check the log, delete.

Oct 2, 2007

Happy Birthday - 3rd Dimension - In Your Eyes

This is another one of my personal posts (becoming frequent now, ight?) so if you're only interested in symbian and apps, don't waste your time and close the window or switch the channel in your RSS reader ;)

Happy Birthday To Meeeeeeeeee

Today is my 22nd year birthday. Getting older (not wiser apparently). So if you won't be able to sleep without getting me a gift, an N95 8Gb would be good, or if you can't afford it, I'll step down to the N81, which btw I won't even express how much I love.

The 3rd Dimension

So by now, you know me, Dotsisx's author as 1 - a tech/symbian addict and 2 - a pharmacy student immersed in the medical field. The 3rd Dimension, or the 3rd aspect of my personality is a poet or well, I don't know if I deserve that calling yet, so I'd say poem writer instead. I am not that much experienced in life to write about many topics, but you'll find an assortment of subjects in my collection. Just today, on my birthday, I reached the 50 poem milestone, apart from the 30 poems I once threw in the garbage (I was 15 and needed to move on) and the series of Funny poems (5 poems) and the A Poem A Day project (48 poems). I don't count them, don't ask me why.
For those of you interested, you can check out my poetry page on PoemHunter here or for an even easier solution, you can download my whole poetry pdf here.
[Be aware, the link for the pdf changes everytime I update my book, so if you will be reading this post in a couple of months time, there'd certainly be another link, you can then check my main page on poemhunter and download the pdf from there]

In Your Eyes

This is the 50th poem, the milestone. It was inspired by Jana, a young female patient I met at the hospital during my internship in the oncology department (aka cancerology). I like it because I've never dealt with such serious topics in my poetry and because I love the girl so much, though I've barely talked to her.
You can say that the poem falls under the "religious" category, I'm a christian but I respect everyone's beliefs so you can just replace Jesus by God, and the Bible by the holy book of your own religion. If you're an atheist, well, don't bother to read.

In your eyes

You've searched for Him through pain,
Through punctures, needles and agony
Through drugs running in an IV or drain,
Through life's laughs of sarcasm and irony.

You've searched for Him in nurses,
In doctors, pharmacists, technical employees
In people's refusal of your personal curses
In the righteousness you failed to seize.

You've searched for Him through despair
Through the loneliness you felt in company
Through the abandonment you couldn't bear
Through destiny's insensitivity and tyranny

You've searched for Him in your mom's face
In the pittiful looks of family and friends
In the idea of death you refused to embrace
In the miracle on which your survival depends.

You've searched for Him through tears
Through joys you missed or never felt
Through deceptions, guilt, silence and fears
Through a soul that died before the body melt

You've searched for Him in the Bible
In stories you read and those you'll never read
In the smile of which your lips weren't capable
In the constant wish of your soul to be freed.

You've searched for Him through time
Through unfulfilled dreams in your heart
Through a body and mind that couldn't chime
Through muscles, bones, hair that fell apart.

You've searched for Him in every place
In whispers around you and unveiled lies,
Didn't it occur to you that by looking at your face
You would've found Jesus in your own eyes?