Tag Cloud

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

First outing with Nokia 6120 Classic and Symbian

I got a $0 Nokia 6120 Classic for half a month now and so far its the most fun I have had with a phone packed with so many features. Powered by the Symbian S60 3rd Edition OS, it is essentially a smartphone since it can perform communications as well as PIM (Personal Information Manager) capabilities. The phone's processor running just above 300Mhz is snappy and responsive, almost as good as running apps on Palm OS. Multitasking is as straightforward as leaving an app without properly exiting, ie. by pressing the menu button when running the app, and switching apps by triggering the tasklist by holding down the menu button.

The included apps that come with the phone don't do justice to such a powerful device as there are quite a number of S60 apps, both free and pay, found on the web. It took me quite a while and some help through forums to finally find some good sites for good starting points to find apps. I will cover this in a later post.

Generally most of the more functional apps are payware since Symbian has this draconian DRM-ish developer signing process to access its more security critical APIs. Simple stuff like themes and basic apps like calculator or games do not require this hence are mostly free. To work around this signing barrier and to release apps fast, independent developers would release their code unsigned and users need to acquire a developer cert from symbiansigned.com to sign the apps themselves, ie. the user has to become a developer. Although there are abundant guides on developer signing, this may still turn off the less persistent and adventurous users who hate to dabble with such complications. Fortunately this is not a common practice and so far only those very experimental apps such as rotateme and gnubox require this. Developers who want to release production freeware have the option to release it via the proper freeware channel.

I have been a Palm OS user for quite a long time and I am delighted to say that Symbian S60 OS is as robust and feature rich operating system especially for the mobile platform as Palm OS have always been. Up till now, I have not had any crashes that require any battery removal.

Backed by a strong companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, Symbian has matured into something that Palm Inc. failed to accomplish. With competition heating up with the smartphone platforms like Google's open platform Android, Apple's cool iPhone, Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows mobile and Palm's update to Palm Linux, it will be an interesting time to see improvements in smartphone platforms.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Google and friends reveal Android

Google and partners announce the Open Handset Alliance and introduce the mobile Linux platform named Android that will be the foundation for these new mobile phones. With some of the top names in mobile equipment like phone manufacturers HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung supporting this alliance, this may be the next thing to shake the mobile phone scene.

Google's cutesy intro video on Android Official Google Blog: Where's my Gphone?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hotsync and internet connection with Palm OS device to Linux via Bluetooth

After much persistence, I am finally hotsyncing and surfing the Net on my Zodiac through Ubuntu Linux via bluetooth. The main references I followed are the following:

Howto: Internet on your palm via bluetooth from scratch
bluetooth and Linux
Surf the Web with Bluetooth

These settings worked for me: Run scan for bluetooth:
$ hciconfig
hci0: Type: USB
BD Address: 00:10:60:A7:27:5F ACL MTU: 192:8 SCO MTU: 64:8
RX bytes:41356 acl:533 sco:0 events:1462 errors:0
TX bytes:277041 acl:2258 sco:0 commands:108 errors:0
$ hcitool scan
Create /etc/ppp/peers/dun:
# IP address of PC : IP address to be assigned to Palm
# My DNS server

Use ifconfig to check for the IP address currently used. If possible, set it to a static IP. Substitute the IP address of your DNS server for YOUR_DNS_ADDRESS. You can find it out by looking into the file /etc/resolv.conf (look for 'server aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd' and write ms-dns aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd into the above file.)

Run test for connection:

dund --nodetach --listen --persist --msdun call dun
Set the bluetooth device to connect to internet. If test successful, insert line into /etc/default/bluetooth
DUND_OPTIONS="--listen --persist --msdun call dun"

If it connects but there's no data, check that firewall tools like moblock/blockcontrol are not blocking it. Disable to confirm.

J-pilot is a good replacement for Palm Desktop on Linux. Pilot-link is one solid program for transferring files between the Palm and PC though it needs to run from the terminal. Now its really good riddance to Windows. There's one minor quirk on my Zod though -- I need to get it connected to the network before I can hotsync or else it will crash.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mobile Daily Devotions on your mobile

Mobile Daily Devotions is a collection of Christian devotional materials available as Java midlets (both jar and jad files) which can be installed onto your Java enabled phone.

Mobile Daily Devotions is dedicated to create Christian daily devotions for the cell phone, mobile phone and handphone. Most of us with a cell phone, carry it with us all the time, so it is a very convenient device for reading daily devotions. Our Daily Bread, Streams in the Desert, Daily in Christ and Global Prayer Digest are popular daily devotionals that you can now read on your cell phone. These mobile devotions will run on most cell phones that support Java applications.
Mobile Daily Devotions Downloads

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How to install Java midlets on Samsung phone

I just got a Samsung D830 and was wondering why I could not install Java midlets. Its great that Howard Forums has the answer.

From Howard Forums:

1) Type in the code *#9998*52824678255# (which reads *#9998*JAVAINSTALL# )
2) Your phone should return with 'Activated'
3) Now using Bluetooth or USB cable, connect to your phone (IR probably works too)
4) If you have a game as .jar, but don't have a .jad file, use JadMaker to create one (draw the .jar file to it and it will generate a .jad file for you).
5) Copy the .jar AND .jad file of the game into the map called "Other Documents" on your phone.
6) Now on your phone under 'My Files' browse to the 'Other Documents' map and doubleclick on the just copied .jad file.
7) The phone will ask you if you want to Install the game.
8) After Install you will find the game under Games on your phone.
9) You can now remove the just copied .jar and .jad file again (they were only there to install the game onto your phone).

PS: If it doesn't work on your Samsung phone even if its same as mine, either you did it wrongly or its telco locked. All I know is it worked on mine and a few others

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cheap Nokia 770

From a tip at SPUG forums, Expansys is selling the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet at an attractive price of S$199.22 (~US$130). I reckon Nokia is clearing our their inventory of this product hence the low price. Also Nokia has apparently dropped support for this product since the introduction of the much improved Nokia 800 that supersedes the 770.

The Nokia 770 is a decent Linux based device for mobile internet surfing especially if you are in a Wifi hotspot. This device has been on the market for quite awhile so there's already quite a substantial user base for support and hacks on the internet to enhance its capabilities. The main issue I find is that 770 only accepts the less ubiquitous RS-MMS card which might be a bit harder to find and cost more than the usual SD cards.

Nonetheless it is still a good deal at S$200 if you like something affordable with a good looking screen to surf the Net when on the move.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Maths on your phone

Math4mobile has some interesting maths midlets for use on your Java-based phone. Currently they offer five different midlets for various graphing and learning purposes.

Graph2Go is a special-purpose graphing calculator that operates for given sets of function expressions. Solve2Go supports solving equations and inequalities conjectures based on visual thinking. Conjectures can be refuted or supported by examples provided by the tool, and should be proved using symbolic manipulations on paper. Sketch2Go is a qualitative graphing tool. Graphs are sketched using seven icons representing constant, increasing, and decreasing functions that change at constant, increasing, or decreasing rates. Fit2Go is a linear and quadratic function graphing tool and curve fitter. Students can view a phenomenon, identify variables, conduct experiments and take measurements in order to construct models of the phenomena. Quad2Go is a handy tool for learning about quadrilaterals by generating examples, observing, and experimenting with examples with a view toward forming generalized conjectures.
They include Java emulators so you can test them out in your browser before you decide to download to use on your phone. http://www.math4mobile.com/

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Save your ears

During my recent trip to Japan, I bought myself a pair of Sony MCR-NC22 Noise Cancellation earphones to improve my in-flight entertainment experience. The low drones of the plane engines were really getting on my nerves on the flight over especially when I was unable to listen to the conversations in the movies clearly. So I thought these earphones would help, and they did amazingly well.

Now that I am back home, I realise that I can still use these noise cancellation earphones during the commute on public transport such as bus and trains. No doubt the noise is not as substantial as on the plane, it helped by making listening to music on the commute more enjoyable and comfortable.

I usually use a Creative Muvo MP3 with a pair of Sony in-ear earphones and the volume turned to level 10 which tends to sound quite soft on the MRT and bus. I was always tempted to up it a few notches to drown out the background noise but I know it would cause irrepairable damage to my ears in the long run.

Now with the noise cancellation earphones, I find that I can turn it all the way down to level one without any loss in clarity. In fact the sound is even louder and clearer than I had originally experienced with my old earphones. Now not only am I enjoying my music better, I am saving my hearing by not blasting the volume to drown the background noise.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Singtel MobileM@il: Free mobile email access

Singtel Mobile is offering its push-email for free with ad support. You need to subscribe to the service and download the Java midlet to access emails. Accessing the WAP portal to subscribe to the service will incur standard GPRS charges but after that GPRS access via the email app is free - this is the attractive part of this service.

The setup is pretty painless if your device is supported. I tried it on my Motorola E398 which is not on the supported devices list but it works well although its a bit slow which is due to my phone's poor processor.

You can access emails from SingNet, GMail, Yahoo and a few other supported accounts for up to 5 email accounts. You can perform the usual simple email tasks such as composing and checking emails. A major annoyance would be the ad space takes up almost half of the screen space when in email view which is a bit of a pain when reading emails. Alas there's little to complain since its free.

You can subscribe to the Singtel MobileM@il service here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Opera Mini Vs iPhone

Cheeky take on the Apple iMac ads with Opera Mini versus the iPhone.

Opera Mini 4 beta

The next version of Opera Mini is big in features such as zoom-in and virtual mouse control. It is currently in beta and your feedback to the Opera development team will help make it even greater.

Check it out now : www.operamini.com/beta/

You may download the jad and jar files here:

JAR: http://mini.opera.com/global/opera-mini-4.0.8462-advanced-int.jar

JAD: http://mini.opera.com/global/opera-mini-4.0.8462-advanced-int.jad

Friday, June 15, 2007

Opera Mini Dimension

Opera Mini Dimension is set to release on Tuesday, June 19th

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here comes the NextBus

Last Sunday, I decided to try out the SBSTransit's IRIS NextBus service. Those who don't already know what this NextBus is, it is SBSTransit's online bus information system which provides live tracking of bus arrival times.

The first test for the day was in the morning when my family and I just arrived at the bus stop. I started by logging on to the mobile version of NextBus on my phone. As my phone is over 2 years old, it took some time just to load the browser. I keyed in the URL manually since I had not bookmarked it on my phone prior. Before I even reached the site, mum had flagged down a cab as we were already quite late.

Lesson learnt, Part 1 - if you are late, you won't even bother using NextBus.

Later on in the afternoon after having lunch, we were heading to the temple and columbarium for our Ching Ming visitations. This time there wasn't even an opportunity to use NextBus, our bus came just within minutes of waiting.

Lesson learnt, Part 2 - You don't need NextBus when you can see your bus coming.

After we had completed our visitations, it was time to take a bus to go Cold Storage Jelita for some grocery shopping for dinner. While walking to the bus stop, I proceeded to log on to the NextBus page and then keyed in the bus service number.

Upon reaching the bus stop, I referred to the bus stop number on the bus stop's info board to key into the remaining field on the site. I submitted it and looked at the screen eagerly awaiting the results. The page refreshed and showed that the next bus will arrive in 15 minutes. I then looked up away from my phone and within a stone's throw away my bus was approaching. In usual situations, I think I would have really waited 15 minutes if I missed this bus while text messaging a friend.

Lesson learnt, Part 3 - NextBus works when the situation allows it.

Overall, I find the NextBus is not practical since you will be waiting at the bus stop regardless of how long the bus will take to arrive. It may or may not test one's patience since it will either show how soon or late your bus will come. This is not to say its a totally useless service but it just doesn't work for me.

Palm announce Linux-based platform

This is more good news for Palm OS fans. Your favourite mobile OS is getting an overhaul and to be powered by a Linux core. I hope it delivers on time this time round and not become another Cobalt vapourware.

Today at Palm Inc's Analyst Day, Palm CEO Ed Colligan officially announced that Palm will deliver a new Linux and open source based mobile computing platform combined with Palm OS Garnet technology on new products later this year. The new platform was just announced at the Palm Analyst meeting and details are light at this point and still coming in. Read on for some slides and more information from the presentation.

The platform is described as a "new foundation for Palm." It will combine aspects of Palm OS Garnet and a Linux core. Palm plans to "evolve" the Palm Developer community to the new platform.

Colligan highlighted and stressed a few points about the new platform. He continually stressed the importance of the user experience citing the ability to have an instant on, highly portable device with great battery life. Other highlights included greater hardware flexibility and the ability to handle simultaneous voice and data, two key ares which have hampered the traditional Palm OS in recent years.

Another key aspect would be the device's web browsing experience. Colligan said Palm is focusing highly on connected web applications and web services built around mobile devices. He cited the ability to easily backup and restore over the web, delivering software and device updates over the internet and wireless software distribution. The recent Opera brower licensing agreement is likely tied to this new platform.

Colligan also revealed that this was a new platform that Palm has been working on, in house for a number of years. He stated that Palm would not license this new OS to outside hardware companies, meaning this will be a Palm exclusive platform.

This is a separate project from Palm Inc and is not related to the ACCESS Linux Platform, which is being developed by ACCESS, formerly PalmSource. Many of the technical software and hardware details have yet to be announced.

Read more at PalmInfocenter.com

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jeff Hawkins and his Treo

Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm Inc, tells PalmAddicts about his Treo 700p and how he uses it.

Here's the extract 'link-ified':

Sammy, I have a Treo 700p on Sprint. My usage is probably typical. Major applications for me are Palm email via Palm’s VersaMail and push EAS, Numenta email via Snapper Mail IMAP, of course I use our SMS app constantly, and I am a big web user on my Treo. I browse everywhere but check news (Yahoo, BBC, and International Herald Tribute mobile which is pretty much the New York Times) and Google often.

Some less typical apps are TomTom navigator while driving, AcidImage for image viewer, TideTool a very cool app for tides and currents (I sail), Google Maps, On Demand for weather, Leonard Maltin Movie Guide, Klondike solitaire, TCPMP for movies, pTunes for audio Spanish lessons, plus a few other apps.

My typical day starts in bed checking my calendar, a quick scan of email to see if something important needs attention, and quick read of news.

Throughout the day I use my Treo for email, voice calling, sms, and other miscellaneous things. I often watch movies on my Treo while traveling on a plane. I have a 4G SD card which can hold 6 full length movies. With a stereo headset and a pair of reading glasses it is quite good. My family often take pictures and we email them to each other as a way to stay in touch. As you might expect, I use my Treo all the time.

Source: PalmAddicts

Monday, March 12, 2007

When is the bus coming?

SBS Transit has an online information service known as iris (Intelligent Route Information System) which can help you plan your bus trips. One of these services is the NextBus, which the name itself describes, estimates the time the next bus will take to arrive at a particular bus stop. This is especially useful for mobile users as this can be easily accessed on a mobile phone that has a web browser.

iris NextBus is our latest iris service and it offers bus arrival time estimation on a real time basis. You now have the convenience of knowing how many minutes away your bus is from your bus stop or how long more before the next bus departs from the bus interchange. iris NextBus is on trial at the moment and we would like to invite you to be among the first to try out the service and give us your feedback. This will help us enhance iris NextBus to serve you better.
Overview of iris (Intelligent Route Information System) | iris NextBus @ mobile devices

You can easily access the mobile page at www.sbstransit.com.sg/mobileiris. You enter the bus service and the bus stop number which can be found on the bus stop pole. It will then display the number of minutes expected for the bus to arrive.

Unfortunately the information is limited to SBS Transit's fleet of buses so SMRT bus users will have to continue to wait patiently at the bus stop.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

iPhone UI for Windows Mobile

We have seen the mock-up program launchers mimicking the iPhone for Palm and Windows Mobile. Now a Malaysian programmer has gone one step further and made the slide lock and flick scroll features seen on the iPhone.

From the developer's (tzywen.com):
For a few days before Chinese New Year, I've actually been quite busy developing my very own iPhone interface for the PocketPC. After looking at the functions and interface on the iPhone, I was keen on bringing it over to my Eten M600 PPC. The iPhone interface was pratical, looked neat and it was way cooler than any wm5 theme. And it was unique as well. "Slide to Unlock" The iPhone home screen. The iPhone iPod scrolling effect. Watch the video below to see it in action. Everything is written using PPL1.20. PPL can be downloaded for free from http://arianesoft.ca Although this looks like an iPhone, it will never be an iPhone. But until it is released in July this year, all we can do is to try and imitate. I posted the video on youtube.
See it in action: iPhone UI for Windows Mobile I can hear Apple's lawyers knocking on his door... :D

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Let Google make your website mobile-friendly

I suppose this is old news but I found an entry over at PalmAddict where a Palm user had an app called Moxy which is a proxy launcher based on Google's mobile to access the web on his Treo 680. Intrigued, I decided to check it out. One link led to another and I found out you don't even need this app. The Moxy site even has its web version.

The URL is http://www.google.com/gwt/n and bookmark the page since its not a straighforward URL. The page loads a form with a space for your URL to load, a checkbox option to omit images and of course a "Go" submit button. It will then load a mobile-friendly version of your website and all the links on the page are appended with the proxy redirects. Actually it does exactly what Skweezer does but I prefer the Google's no-frills start page.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Move to new Blogger template complete

After much hesitation, I have migrated the old template to the new Blogger. The change is not drastic since I have retained the theme and most of it is in the back-end with the use of layout elements. Most obvious change would be the use of labels and collapsible archive list which are prominent features in new Blogger.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Motorola to axe 3,500 jobs

The result of Razr thin profits? Hope their Scpl can cut through the bleeding margins. :P

Motorola, the world's number two mobile phone maker, will shed 3,500 jobs in an effort to stem falling profits. The fall in profits reflects price cuts in mobile phone prices and tougher competition among premium products. Motorola blamed "an unfavourable geographical and product-tier mix" for the decline in profits.
Read more: BBC, Bloomberg

Friday, January 19, 2007

Going mobile with Opera Mini and GMail

It is getting easier to get on the web with your mobile phone thanks to great connectivity software that will allow you to surf the web and check email on your Java-enabled phone. You don't need any fancy high-end expensive smartphone to do it as most new phones come with Java support out-of-the-box. Now all you need is to install Opera Mini by Opera and GMail app by Google by simply loading the following URLs into your phone's webbrowser. It will check your phone's make and prompt you to download the correct version for your phone.

Best thing of all, the apps are free.

Opera Mini by Opera - http://www.operamini.com/
The default phone browser on your cheap phone is usually horrid. It is slow and navigation is a pain. Opera mini is an excellent browser for viewing on the tiny screen of your mobile phone as it reformats the webpages via its server. It also cuts down the unnecessary bits of code usually required to render on a standard web browser on your PC and this can save you time and money if you are on a data plan that charges by time or volume.

GMail app by Google - http://gmail.com/app
It is actually not necessary to have the GMail app but it is especially useful if you have a GMail account(Everybody should have one. :) ). The Opera mini browser is still able to access the GMail Mobile site or any of your favourite web emails easily.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple iPhone revealed

Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs unveils its highly anticipated mobile phone named iPhone at MacWorld Expo 2007. It incorporates a 3.5" wide touchscreen with multi-touch capability, auto-rotation for screen orientation, built-in iPod features for music and videos, widget integration and running on the robust OSX architecture which are among its many features with over 200 patents filed for it.

MACWORLD SAN FRANCISCO—January 9, 2007—Apple® today introduced iPhone, combining three products—a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod® with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, searching and maps—into one small and lightweight handheld device. iPhone introduces an entirely new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and pioneering new software, letting users control iPhone with just their fingers. iPhone also ushers in an era of software power and sophistication never before seen in a mobile device, which completely redefines what users can do on their mobile phones. “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We are all born with the ultimate pointing device—our fingers—and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”
Press Release Apple iPhone Product site

Availability is expected in June 2007 for the US and 2008 for Asia.

It looks like Apple sets a new benchmark for other the major phone makers to strive for, especially for those with smartphone products.