Archive for April, 2006

Gmail on my W800i mobile phone

April 26, 2006

I had a slight struggle making Gmail work on my mobile phone, and thought I should tell the world about it.

In short, I’ve used the e-mail program on the W800i for a long time without problems, but when I added a Gmail account and tried to use that instead, I got a TLS/SSL certificate problem. Gmail requires that you use a SSL connection, but this means that the certificates stored on your phone must recognize Gmail as a trustworthy source. The certificates already on my phone didn’t, so I had to find a new certificate.

This thread about the K750i and Gmail on the Esato forums was really helpful – it’s got all the information you need. In brief though, you need to download this certificate, which is issued by Equifax, and transfer it to your phone. You’ll probably need to right-click on the link and save it on your drive somewhere.

Then, using the Sony Ericsson File Manager application that comes with the phone (and can be downloaded off the internet) you drag the .cer file onto the phone. I dragged it from the explorer window onto the W800i icon in the SE File Manager. Then, your phone will ask you if you want to install the certificate. Confirm, and you should be good to go. Naturally, you’ll need to connect the phone and the computer to do this :)

Of course, there are other things that could be wrong. Remember,

  • The settings for data traffic on your phone must be correct (check with your service provider)
  • The e-mail settings on your phone must be correct (Gmail settings here)
  • POP must be enabled in your Gmail account (under Settings => POP/Forwarding)

E-mail everywhere – yeah!

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More SingStar Rocks! problems

April 23, 2006

A few days ago, I posted about my faulty SingStar Rocks PS2 disc. I thought I’d post an update, as I have been to my local EBGames and bought a new copy – which didn’t work. It had the same problems with the music video freezing, at exactly the same places in the songs. I went back and swapped it, and the disc has the exact same problems.

Meaning: I’ve now tried three different discs and they all have the same problems. I’m wondering whether this is just the PS2 we have here, or if it’s a manufacturing defect. Hopefully Google will have indexed my original post soon, so that people searching for information about this issue will find my blog.

Congratulations, Funcom!

April 20, 2006

You guys pulled it off! GameSpot gives Dreamfall: The Longest Journey 8.1/10 (“great”), while GameSpy rates it 5/5 and an Editor’s Choice. Wow.

So, since when did I become an adventure gaming fan?

Well – this is more about being a little bit patriotic and appreciating it when game designers manage to live up to huge expectiations. Funcom is the only major Norwegian game studio, and The Longest Journey (2000) was widely hailed the best adventure game in years. It’s simply impressive that they managed to get this kind of critical acclaim for the sequel. The kudos they get for the storytelling really want to make me try out this game!

I’ll quote Gamespot:

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is, first and foremost, a great work of science fiction. Such a complex plot, endearing characters, and imaginative settings and situations are highly uncommon to gaming, or any medium for that matter.

Yeah!

Singstar Rocks! skips!

April 19, 2006

I got Singstar Rocks! in the mail yesterday, from BlahDVD. Unfortunately, there’s a problem with my disc – some tracks play just a few seconds before the music video stops playing. Others work until the end of the song. The notes and lyrics continue, but the video freezes and the sound loops. Apparently there’s a problem with accessing the information on the disc. Restarting the song, the game or the PS2 doesn’t help. The disc looks fine, and the PS2 doesn’t have any problems playing other (Singstar) discs.

In addition to having problems with some of the tracks (among them “Everybody’s Changing” and “My favourite game”), the menus are very slow in places, especially when starting the game. Before I get to the main menu there’s an approximately 30-second pause when the screen’s just white.

If someone has any good suggestions or has experienced this themselves, I’d appreciate it if you let me know. I’ve had problems with humidity and DVDs before, where just letting the discs “dry” made them work again, so I’m going to wait a few days before I return the disc to Blah DVD. Just in case it was stored in a very humid place somewhere during transport. Fingers crossed. (Yeah, I’m optimistic now, I know.)

The game itself is exactly like Singstar 80s, except the ping-pong mode is missing. There might be a few other minor differences as well that I haven’t noticed yet. I like the song selection quite a lot, and that’s what it boils down to; if you like the songs (and enjoy Singstar) you’ll like the game.

7% to charity

April 17, 2006

I handed in my tax returns yesterday, so I got a decent overview over how wealthy I am. Unsurprisingly, I’m not very wealthy, the loans that are financing my studies are really showing on the bottom line. There were two good things about the tax returns, though. First, I’m getting back some money. Maybe enough to justify buying one of the new MacBooks from Apple.

The second thing was the field where they list how much money you’ve given to charity; that amount is deducted from your taxable income. It turns out I gave about 7% of my income to charity last year. I didn’t earn that much, so I’m not Bill Gates in the philantrophy department just yet, but it’s still enough that I take some pride in it.

Considering that most people I know contribute small amounts to charity, and usually do it on a random basis (as opposed to giving a set amount every month, like I do) I thought this is worth mentioning here. If they all gave 5% of their income to charity – it would make a difference. So this goes out to everyone who doesn’t contribute to some worthwhile cause on a regular basis: You should consider it.

It doesn’t have to be much. I don’t know many students who couldn’t afford giving 10$ or even 20$ each month. My 30$ go to Medecins Sans Frontieres, because after reading up on their work, I was convinced that they use my money well. If you need inspiration, you could check our their website, the Red Cross website, Amnesty’s website, Save the Children, or just do a web search for “charity” and whatever particular cause that appeals to you. I favour organizations that try to do something about world poverty, because poverty on the level seen in the third world (Africa, mainly) today is something we should do without. Freedom – in all of its guises – freedom from oppression, freedom of speech, religious freedom etcetera is a good second. And then there’s the environment to worry about.

In other words – there is no shortage of causes you could be supporting on a regular basis. Giving 1 music record’s worth of money every month to a good cause won’t dent your finances much, but it’s an investment you make in a better world. If we all do it, it makes a huge difference. If only you do it, it makes a small difference. And it might make you care more about the world as a whole than you do today, which is a good thing in itself.

Foxit Reader – an alternative to the Acrobat Reader for PDF files

April 6, 2006

About a week ago, I decided to try an alternative to Acrobat Reader. I’ve used Foxit Reader once before, but just briefly, and stopped using it for some reason. Since I’ve been using it frequently for about a week now, I thought I should give it some publicity.

Why use an alternative PDF reader?

Acrobat Reader is a bloated application. Just trying to start it proves that; it easily requires 5 – 10 seconds to load the average PDF document on my computer with 1 gigabyte of memory. A glance at the toolbars, with lots of functionality you never use, is another significant hint.

Foxit Reader loads the PDF instantaneously and is much faster at browsing through pages. Also, it doesn’t have features I don’t need, meaning it can view the PDF, print it, and search in it. The search functionality is the only negative thing I’ve experienced with Foxit thus far – it works, but it’s not as intuitive as Acrobat’s.

And (almost) best of all, if you use Windows’ grouping feature on the taskbar, Foxit works like any other application. That means you can right-click on a group and close all of the programs in the group with one click. That’s something you can’t do with Acrobat Reader – maybe there is some setting somewhere that enables you to do it, but I haven’t been able to find it. I’m the kind of guy that opens four or five PDF documents at a time, and having to close them one by one is just a pain in the rear.

There’s also another, non-technical reason for trying Foxit Reader. The PDF format has become pretty important in the computer world, and for a format that important, we shouldn’t rely on one vendor for the associated software.

So – I suggest you try the free Foxit Reader. It also comes without any sort of adware/spyware as far as I know.

Aerobics 1 at SiO Student Sports (briefly)

April 4, 2006

Last Friday, I joined Margrethe for an aerobics 1 session at the student sports centre, Domus Athletica. She’s been doing a series of reviews of their various training classes, but said she wouldn’t do one for aerobics 1 – I can see that now she has, but I’ll share my point of view anyway.

I’ve never done aerobics before, so I expected a steep learning curve, and that’s what I got. Usually at starter classes (those with a “1” in the name), the instructor will ask the class if anyone there are completely new. Unfortunately, this one didn’t, and just got straight into the routine.

Now, my eyes are only slightly worse than the next guy’s at the ranges we are talking about here, so I was able to follow the instructor’s moves… In a very rough fashion. However, watching and following only takes you so far, so when the instructor started off with “four steps forward, four steps back; mambo and chassé!” the only natural reaction on my part was what the f…!

With hindsight, I realise that I could’ve done a better job at reading up on aerobics jargon; I guess I thought the basics would be explained considering it was a starter class. The instructor did comment after the class that the difficulty level was a bit harder than what’s normal for aerobics 1, which was a relief.

The class itself was pretty OK, considering that I didn’t have a clue about aerobics. I found something resembling a rhythm eventually, which made it more fun, and the exercise was good. My sense of rhytm and my arms/legs/body-coordination is horrible, so this is definitely something I’ll consider doing again.

In conclusion, I’d like the instructor to be more considerate of complete newbies, but overall it was still a varied and satisfying way to exercise.

PS: If you’re male, you should be prepared for the pretty uneven gender balance – about 95% female. Let’s translate that to “twenty-five girls and one other guy — maybe”. And that other guy might be a guy whose main identifying characteristic isn’t his masculinity. So if you’re feeling sensitive about your manhood and prefer not to be the victim of about 43214 witty remarks concerning it, you might want to think twice before attending an aerobics session ;)