Archive for the ‘N82’ Category

A day in the life of my Nokia N82 – and the beginning of the end of the laptop

April 14, 2009

Some days I’m so thrilled with what my smartphone can do that I can’t help writing about it. Perhaps this short blog brag will show you a few new uses for your modern Symbian device. And for how much longer will you and I need a dedicated laptop?

06:55: I’m half-way awake from the radio on the Wake-up Light (nice invention, by the way), the N82 sounds the proper alarm, and I get out of bed – instinctively checking my Gmail account. Their Java ME client is speedy, slim and has all the right keypad shortcuts (the new Nokia Messaging client is very nice, but not tuned for Gmail use patterns and thus not fast enough).

07:10: I make breakfast while listening to news on FM radio. I hooked up a pair of Koss Portapros and put the N82 on the kitchen table – thanks to its relatively powerful speakers, I don’t have to walk around with the Portapros on (or get a stand-alone radio).

The Economist in my pocket

The Economist in my pocket

07:25: Walking down to the metro, which doesn’t have FM coverage, I switch to listening to The Economist in MP3 format, which I downloaded over WiFi yesterday. Halfway there I check the real-time metro information on the built in web/WAP browser. WAP may be ugly, but it sure is fast!

latitude

07:30: Standing on the metro, I use Latitude on Google Maps to see if my colleagues have left for work yet. (They haven’t – I’m early :) )

I also pull up my RSS feeds on Opera Mini to catch up on today’s news. This is something I do periodically throughout the day.

09:00: Having settled in at work, I decide I don’t want to listen to any of the on-board MP3s, so I hook the N82 up to the local WiFi network. It is protected by a proxy, but Web is treated like any computer and lets me log into the proxy server. I then use Mobbler – a Last.fm client for Symbian – to listen to my friends’ Last.fm stations. Here’s my Last.fm profile, by the way.

Now and then the phone buzzes, without lighting up – this indicates that GMail (which is running in the background) has received an e-mail.

11:00: I make a few photographs of the screen on the Citrix client. It is a bit cumbersome to get printscreens out of there, and the N82’s  5 mpx and autofocus will do nicely for this – just illustration photos for a sildeshow. I also make sure to catch the herd of office chairs – they have mysteriously assembled in our wing of the office over the weekend. Hmmm.

12:00: I set the alarm for 14:44 – I have to phone someone then and am likely to forget unless I set an alarm. I also check Calendar, to make sure I’m free at that time.

13:00: I tell my 5800 XpressMusic-owning buddy about SymTorrent (which does what you might expect).

I also showed him Qik – a program for streaming video live to the web from the phone.  I give him a Qik demo, starting off by telling him to check my public feed – where he could see himself from a 90 degree angle :) Take a look at my Qik page for an example.

14:43: The person I was going to call beats me to it – we’re both busy, so we arrange a new time.

16:50: I head home, continuing to listen to The Economist where I left off. En route to the store I use Opera Mini to find recipies for pancakes.

17:20: Leaving the store, I read on AllAboutSymbian‘s RSS feed that Nokia Beta Labs’ Photo Browser is now available for S60v3 devices – meaning I can give it a go. When I get home, I quickly download it via Web and WiFi and check it out. It spends quite a while indexing my photos, which makes it seem slower than it is, but the transitions are pretty nice and for an early beta product this is not bad at all. Hopefully it will be way more mature when the N97 arrives.

Sports Tracker route summary

17:30: After dumping the food in the fridge, I find my running shoes and start SportsTracker. This is a GPS-enabled exercise logger. As I run around the neighbourhood, I upload my route to SportsTracker – take a look. The photo I take during the jog is automatically included in the mashup on the SportsTracker site.

20:30: I start writing this post and transfer a aforementioned photo to my Flickr account from Gallery via the local WiFi.

Conclusion

So – I manage to go through quite an array of features and applications in a day. I love the sense of having so much computational power and so many sensors with me all the time. Of course – there are privacy and security (and sanity?) concerns when using so many services so intimately and constantly bathing in a sea of information and entertainment – but I think we’ll be OK as long as we are aware of that and just leave the phone at home once in a while.

Interestingly – I did pretty much all of this, except writing this blog post, without using a PC. Creating content will probably always be more comfortable on a big keyboard and big screen, but I still believe the N97 will make a noticable difference in my mobile e-mail/blogging usage patterns.

Also – a N82, considering all of its sensors and connectivity features, is in many ways more powerful than my vastly more expensive Macbook. Hopefully CPU, memory and I/O capabilities will develop rapidly – letting me write a new post in 2-3 years time with a full keyboard and 20″ screen hooked up to my ph… mobile computer.

Or, if I’m out and about, I’ll use the phone inserted into a laptop shell consisting of a 13″ touchscreen and full keyboard. That’ll be the end of the dedicated laptop –  unless you need to do heavy number-crunching or 3D gaming.

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Nokia N82 appreciation usecase #3: The Economist in my pocket

November 5, 2008
The Economist in my pocket

The Economist in my pocket

As a subscriber to The Economist, I get the newspaper in my mailbox every Saturday (UK subscribers get it on Fridays, I believe, but up north we are not so fortunate…). However, I can usually download the MP3 edition on Thursdays. Of course, I copy it onto my N82 right away.

Most often, I listen to The Economist while walking or commuting to work, using my Koss Portapro headphones, but sometimes my ears tire from the headset, or the headset cable gets in the way as I move about tidying the house (right..).

Thanks to the N82’s pretty powerful stereo speakers, I can put the phone in my pocket and have it play The Economist for me as I walk around the house. They aren’t powerful enough for this to work well outdoors, and the sound quality doesn’t cut it for listening to music – but for radio, podcasts or audio editions of newspapers, they work fine.

My next phone will need to have at least as powerful speakers as the N82 – judging by reviews, it seems the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is well equipped; hopefully upcoming Nseries touchscreen phones (and Android handsets) are as fortunate.

Nokia N82 spontaneously reboots when I receive a SMS message

June 11, 2008

I haven’t had the time to do any proper research on this, but my Google searches haven’t turned up anything sensible, so I’m creating a blog post where I’ll put any info I come across – and hopefully other people’s Google queries will wind up here.

This is what happens: I receive an SMS, and the phone does a soft reboot, returning me to the standby screen after about half a minute. I can then read the SMS. I am a bit unsure, but I believe the “SMS received” icon is shown the second before the device reboots.

This has been happening about 1-2 times per day on average, or for about every 3-5 SMSes I receive, over the last couple of weeks. As far as I can see, it doesn’t seem to be related to other apps I am running, which is mostly Opera Mini 4.1 and the Gmail Java app. It is a possibility that it is related to the latest firmware – I upgraded about a month ago – but it is strange that this should start happening after a couple of weeks of use and not right away.

Hopefully it is not a hardware issue – if it continues and I cannot find a solution, I’ll try to re-install the latest firmware.

Anyone else out there having this problem?

Uodate 09/08/08: I still have this problem, and it doesn’t seem related to the phone’s power consumption or heat. The only thing the crashes have in common is that they all occur during bursts of network traffic – after a phone call, when I send a SMS or receive one, when I download mail (that has triggered a crash just once). Weird. Hopefully a firmware upgrade will fix this, but I haven’t had time to try yet.

Make the battery of your 3G/HSDPA Nokia phone last longer by turning off 3G / HSDPA

April 20, 2008

DSC_7349
For a while, I’ve been annoyed by the rather mediocre battery life of my Nokia N82. I do use it quite a lot – especially for Opera Mini, Gmail and music playback – and I have to recharge it every night. Some evenings the phone even runs out of battery before I go to bed.

What to do?

You can turn down the brightness of your display, but that makes for a poor user experience. And shutting down applications that are running in the background is also a good idea. However, none of these made all that much difference to the battery life of my N82.

Then I tried switching off 3G / HSDPA. It turns out that – in my highly unscientific measurements conducted with Nokia’s Energy Profiler utility – the N82 draws 0.4 watts when running with EDGE, about 0.7 with 3G and 1.3 watts (!!) when in HSDPA mode. This is with the phone idling and no transfers going on. I suspect that transferring data over 3G and HSDPA is relatively more costly compared to EDGE as well.

As said – these were highly unscientific measurements, so I may be wrong, but “field tests” (ie. me using the phone) have shown that while I normally charge it every night, I can now use it and charge every other night.

In other words – if you want to make the battery last longer – you should definitely try switching off 3G / UMTS / HSDPA and see if you get similar results.

What’s the downside?

Of course, you lose the 384 kbits to 3 mbits of bandwidth 3G and HSDPA provides (and the video telephony 3G enables), and have to live with the ~ 200 kbits EDGE can deliver. For me, this is no big issue, since the apps I use on the go are not bandwidth intensive (Opera Mini and Gmail both use very little bandwidth) and I don’t use video telephony. If I do need more juice, I am normally in a WiFi zone – or I can switch 3G/HSDPA on manually.

You can try turning off 3G/HSDPA by hitting the menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> Network -> Network mode -> GSM. This might look a bit different on your phone, as I have translated this directly from the Norwegian user interface. Wait a few seconds, and you should get EDGE coverage (if EDGE is provided by your local services provider).

You can see what kind of network you are currently on in the top left corner on the standby screen – E for EDGE, 3G for 3G, and 3.5G for HSDPA.

Good luck, and do let me know what kind of effects switching off 3G/HSDPA had for your battery life!

PS: I can only conclude that Steve Jobs was not lying when he claimed they dropped 3G from the iPhone due to battery life concerns. Seems that was at least partly true.

Pairing the Apple Wireless Aluminium Keyboard with the Nokia N82

January 20, 2008

I had some problems hooking the Apple Wireless Keyboard up with my N82 and thought I’d share the experience.
The procedure should be very simple, and goes as follows:

Get the Nokia wireless keyboard support software. You want the 3.1 version, even though the N82 isn’t listed as supported by the software. Install this software on the phone (I assume you know how that part works – the easiest is to go to the site above over wifi and download the app straight to your phone, or download to your computer and transfer the install file to the N82 via bluetooth.)

Start the software. It is not located in the “Programs” folder – it is in what I believe is called “Connections” or something similar (I have Norwegian titles on my phone). That’s the same folder you have bluetooth settings in, among other stuff.

Activate the keyboard by pressing the on button. It should start looking for a bluetooth client to pair with – the status light should flash regularly. This is where I had a problem – every time I switched on the keyboard, it automatically resumed the connection with my Mac Mini, which it was paired with. To avoid this, I switched off bluetooth on the Mac (you could probably also just unpair it). The keyboard cannot pair with several units simulateneously (which is unfortunate – I would like to pair it with the mini, the N82 and the PS3…).

To be absolutely certain the keyboard was “rebooted” I also briefly removed the batteries – this shouldn’t be necessary at all, but who knows.

When switching on the keyboard again, the light blinked regularly and the keyboard showed up when I searched for it in the wireless keyboard app. After following the onscreen instructions with regards to setting a password, I can now consider my N82 a personal computer. Rejoice!

You might be interested in knowing that the left command key (apple key) maps to the left soft key, and the right command key maps to the right soft key. The central navigation button on the N82 (the “OK” key I guess?) is mapped to Enter – or sometimes shift+Enter. You can get to the menu with alt+tab. I haven’t figured out how to “escape” (red button on the N82) yet.