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Another reason to turn off the touchscreen on the N8: I have often switched WiFi & 3G off by accident

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-06-03 09:49

subject says it all: Symbian is prone to accidental touch screen disabling of WiFi & 3G while moving. Touchscreen interfaces assume you will be using them while stationary. Not true :-) Especially for cameraphone picture taking you don't want inadvertent touch screen touches while moving!

(this blog post is aimed at the 3 people in the world who still use N8 as their main cameraphone :-))

Nokia NOT Apple set the mobile phone industry back by not shipping a mass market phone until the N8 w/enough RAM to multi-task ShoZu and other apps

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-04-29 13:02

I disagree with Ewan :-) !

Nokia not Apple set the mobile phone industry back 10 years by not shipping a mass market phone until the N8 with enough RAM to multi-task ShoZu and other apps and to take full advantage of the great technical features of Symbian.

Prior to the N8 no mass market Nokias had enough RAM to run ShoZu in the background continously and upload dozens of photos per day. I know because I had an N95-1 (the N95 8GB had enough RAM but it didn't ship at iPhone scale), N82 and many other N series phones and only the N8 has enough RAM to multi-task. ShoZu  on the N95-1 and N82 regularly crashed (I worked around the problem by rebooting the phone every day something I don't have to do with my N8 or iPhone 4) and it crashed even more if I tried to run other apps simultaneously. Perhaps that was a ShoZu error but wouldn't have been awesome if Nokia had bought and bundled and made ShoZu bulletproof ? Much better than iCloud's rigid photo syncing solution!

Boy oh boy I loved ShoZu (I uploaded over 44000 photos using ShoZu) and used it until I got the N8. ShoZu doesn't work on the N8 :-( so I now use PixelPipe (which barely works because the developers have pivoted and the program is starting to bit rot and just barely works i.e. functionality that used to work no longer works: e.g. you can't enter tags from a list, you have to manually enter tags, you can't change which flickr account you are uploading to, etc)

Here's Ewan's argument in a nutshell

QUOTE (read the whole thing especially the comments)

Take yourself back to the days of the Nokia N95 8GB. It was a terrific handset: An excellent camera, super form factor, nice keypad — a true ‘Multimedia computer’.

Perhaps the best thing about those Symbian devices was that they could multitask properly. Hardcore Symbian developers could access almost every inch of the operating system’s plumbing to bring phenomenally useful services to users.

My most frequently used function on my Nokia Symbian devices was ShoZu. I wouldn’t shut up about it. This was (and still is!) a service that ran in the background on-demand. ShoZu would get your images off your Nokia really quickly. Many of my mobile friends had ShoZu doing an automatic upload. Snap a photo and boom, you’d see the little data indicator briefly switch on and off as the service sent your photo up to the ShoZu servers and then on to whatever services you’d configured (Flickr being a popular one). I opted for a little bit more control — so whenever I took a photo, ShoZu would immediately ask if I wanted the photo sent up to the internet. Again, if you pressed ‘yes’, that was it. Job done. Everything happened in the background.

You could get on with your day. I loved it.

Back at this point — 2005/2006, the mobile industry was looking incredibly exciting.

END QUOTE

 

If it's about flipping the switch rather than quality of the product, you will lose; it's just a matter of time

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-04-29 12:07

Glad this dude is no longer at Nokia; I hope the rest of the flip the switch folks have been fired or left.

QUOTE from a not too clueful Lee Williams

"When I was at Nokia and we shipped a Symbian product and it was bad, in its worst incarnation we knew that if we just flipped the switch, we could move 2.5 to three million units -- overnight, no matter how bad the product," he tells me. "That was Nokia. That was Nokia's brand, we knew we could count on that.

"And now look at it -- they flipped the switch and oh, 200,000 [Windows Phone] units out of the gate. Huh? Only selling in the US, under AT&T's moniker. If you can't flip the switch like that, Nokia's dead and devalued."

END QUOTE

WANTED: Two N8 Cameraphone apps with settings locked: default + hyperfocal street photography

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2012-04-08 07:33

I'd like the following N8 Cameraphone Apps to avoid all the problems with accidental key presses and screen touches that I encounter every day:

  1. The default cameraphone app but with the default settings locked to still photo (not video), auto-focus, auto-white balance, no zoom, touch screen off.  And with no way to exit other than by killing it. This would be the app I'd use most of the time!
  2. A cameraphone app like #1 but with the settings locked to hyperfocal instead of auto-focus, no preview and again no way to exit other than by killing it. This would be the app I'd use for "cameraphone street photography"

Ms. Jen, can you write this for me? Or can we write this together?

 

Speakout Wireless no catches, unlimited but slow 3G data for $10/month, no voice plan required

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2011-11-26 23:48

Speakout Wireless no catches, unlimited but slow 3G data for $10/month, no voice plan required is my conclusion after a month. Slow means under a 1Megabit sometimes  64 kilobits! But more than good enough to run GPS and do maps and geotag photos. Recommended if you are cheap :-) and want pay as you go data! Or just want a second phone with data and don't require voice! Only tested with a Nokia N8 with Nokia Maps and Pixelpipe but other folks have got it working on Android and iPhone. (see my previous speakout post for setup details).

 


Speakout Wireless Nokia N8 Internet access setup details

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2011-10-22 16:25

(should work with Android too if you are technical enough to map Symbian to Android; this post describes how to do it for the iPhone)

tl;dr: N8 auto config sets up a WAP access point. All you have to is copy the WAP Access Point to your Internet Network Destinations group and setup the Positioning Server to be that WAP access point and you are done.

Detailed Steps:

  1. Settings
    IMG_20111022_153428.jpg
  2. Connectivity
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153444.jpg
  3. Settings (yes Settings | Connectivity | Settings i.e. a 2 level settings menu is something only Symbian has :-) !)
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153457.jpg
  4. Internet
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153522.jpg
  5. Create a WAP Access point under Internet configured as (or if you are lazy just copy the WAP access point from WAP Services to Internet)
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153534.jpg
  6. I was lazy and copied the N8 autoconfigured one called "GoRoger"s so Symbian called the copy "GoRogers(01)"
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153647.jpg
  7. Databearer: Packet Data, Access point name:goam.com, Username:wapuser1, Prompt pasword No, Password:wap, Authentication:normal, Homepage none
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153656.jpg
  8. Advanced Settings: IPV4, Phone IP address:Automatic, Proxy Server address:010.128.001.069, Proxy port number:80
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153726.jpg
  9. Next configure the GPS Position Server under Settings|Application Settings|Positioning
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153759.jpg
  10. Positioning Methods
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153810.jpg
  11. Check: Assisted GPS, Integrated GPS, Wi-Fi/Network, Network based
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153819.jpg
  12. Settings|Application Settings|Positioning server|Server settings
  13. Tap on supl.nokia.com
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153829.jpg
  14. Change Access point to: GoRogers(01) or whatever you created the access point in step 5
    N8 Speakout Wireless Settings - IMG_20111022_153846.jpg

Nokia is behind Apple in overall cameraphone user experience and that's what matters - A response to cameraphone expert Damian Dinning's great comment

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2011-10-06 01:09

(in response to Damian's comment)

Nokia is behind Apple in overall cameraphone user experience and that's what matters! Sure Nokia is still king when it comes to technology as Damian pointed out (f2.2 on N9, 12 megapixels on N8, Xenon flash on N8, the size of the sensor and microphone technology) but in terms of overall cameraphone experience, I believe with the iPhone4S, Apple has passed Nokia.

It doesn't matter how great the cameraphone technology is if the overall cameraphone user experience isn't great!

Overall cameraphone user experience = great image quality + great cameraphone apps that take advantage of that image quality like Slow Shutter, Camera+, Pro Camera and a dozens of other great  iPhone-only cameraphone apps that don't exist on Nokia cameraphones at the moment; Nokia is now severely lacking in great cameraphone apps and falling behind in video cameraphone technology. That's the lesson of Steve Jobs and Apple I think, great user experience trumps the technology no matter how great the technology underneath.

And nothing lasts forever; I believe Apple could be dethroned in overall cameraphone leadership and I believe you, Damian :-) and your team's great cameraphone technology combined with Windows Phone 7 Metro UI  or a post Meego user experience and developers that develop great cameraphone apps on top of this great user experience could dethrone Apple. I'm rooting for you and for an ecosystem of great cameraphone apps to develop in the future for Nokia; after all Apple cameraphone users can't have all the awesome cameraphone app experience forever to themselves :-) ! Competition will re-assert itself :-)

 

iPhone4S overall beats the N8 & N9. Unbelievable but true that Nokia the cameraphone leader in 2007 is behind Apple in all fronts except the Zeiss lens

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2011-10-04 22:09

With the iPhone4S, Apple is now the leader in cameraphones. The only advantage left to Nokia is the Zeiss lens. They have fallen behind in everything else! Sad but true! I hope Damian Dinning and his fab team at Nokia have an even better Nokia cameraphone waiting to be introduced before the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

The iPhone4S has a camera processing chip, the so-called image signal processor aka "ISP" and it has over 6000 cameraphone apps and a f2.4 lens and HD video. The N8 and the N9 lose in all areas except when it comes to raw megapixel count (the N8 has 12 megapixels) and perhaps in the lens quality: the N9 has 8MP and f2.2; the N8 has 82MP and f2.8; both are Zeiss optics which are better lens (methinks) than the iPhone4S 5 element "no-name" design.

Time will tell if Nokia can regain its cameraphone crown but back in 2007 (the time of the "laughable" iPhone 2G; I didn't laugh; I had an iPhone 2G as well as my Nokia N95 and N82 which combined I used to take tens of thousands of photos and I loved the original iPhone web browser and knew back then the iPhone wouidn't be a toy cameraphone in 2011) nobody in the land of Nokia watchers and enthusiasts would have thought that that Apple would produce the iPhone4S that overall beats Nokia cameraphones and not only that will ship in volumes that dwarf the N95 and N82 sales: Every single deficiency that the original iPhone had compared to Nokia cameraphones in 2007 has been corrected and surpassed by the iPhone4S in 2011

X7 review: It's hard to use another cameraphone after you have used the N8

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2011-08-03 23:02

At Nokia Unfenced II in Canmore, Alberta, Canada at the beginning of July (a fun event consisting of horseback riding, a challenging ropes course and other mayhem and hijinx which was impeccably and beautifully organized by Donna Suffling and Tom Hall of Womworld Nokia; my thanks to Donna, Tom and Womworld for paying for the whole shebang and providing us review Nokia X7s!), I received the Nokia X7 for review. I tried to love the X7 but after the N8 I think it's really impossible for me to love another cameraphone fully unless it beats the N8's picture quality. It's all about the pictures for me and the N8's pictures are the best in spite of Symbian's many unfriendly eccentricities (check out the my X7 pictures for yourself: X7 Set 1, X7 Set 2).

Loved:

  • X7 build quality
  • Symbian Anna is getting easier to use (the eccentricities are very nearly all gone) but is it too little too late? Probably in my estimation but time will tell;

Not loved:

  • No lanyard slot (but I realize that most people don't carry their cameraphones around their neck for quick camera access)
  • Probably no lanyard slot because it's too heavy for wearing around your neck :-)
  • The EDoF EOF i.e. fixed focus  camera. Sorry but when you can get an iPhone 3GS with macro and real focusing for  free on contract, why would you settle for a fixed focus camera ?
  • Disappointed to find that the Symbian Anna Browser doesn't run my HTML5 map mashups made using the CloudMade API e.g. my map of Vancouver flickr photos taken the day the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks to advance to the 2011 Stanley Cup final (but Android Web Kit browser, Firefox Mobile and Mobile Safari do and my guess is Opera Mobile on the X7 would work). When will Symbian get a real HTML5 modern built-in browser? Symbian Belle?

Ovi store purchase of CameraFX failed I believe because there's no SIM card & it's trying to do carrier billing

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2011-06-18 10:22

Would have been nice to have a proper error message like "Purchase failed because there's no SIM card and therefore we don't know who to bill. Please insert a SIM card or add a credit card number to your OVI account and try again". Tyranny of the SIM card and tyranny of the carriers all in one!

I will add a credit card number to my OVI account and try again and post a blog post on what I find. (hopefully not a case of the #maplesyrupcurtain :-) !)

N8 video & flickr not working - symptomatic of both Flickr & Nokia irrelevance?

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2011-05-03 08:09

5 months later and Nokia N8 video still doesn't work on flickr. Interestingly, N8 video works fine on YouTube. I think this is symptomatic of both the decline and irrelevance of both flickr and Nokia that they can't get video working with Nokia's flagship phone.

Oh well ! Onwards! I have 200 N8 videos that I'd like to batch re-encode so that they *do* work on flickr. what's the best way to do this on Mac OS X. FFMpeg?

p.s. Nokia N8 and flickr: I still love you both :-) Luckily I can handle this video issue; I couldn't handle it if there was a similar issue with photos!

Cisco Flip débacle: Social Cameras must have wireless connectivity & magic fairy dust won't turn Enterprise companies into consumer companies

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2011-04-14 19:42

Cisco Flip débacle lessons:

  • Social Cameras must have wireless connectivity (I like Dave Winer's crazy good Social Camera idea but there's lots of room for innovation here that Cisco, Nokia and many others have missed and that companies like Color, Eye-fi et al are trying)  &
  • Magic fairy dust won't turn Enterprise companies like Cisco (or the late lamented mismanaged Nortel) into consumer companies :-)

Nokia execs believed it couldn't do 21st century mobile phone experience hence Nokmsft & the move to Windows Phone 7

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2011-02-13 21:03

We will never know for sure. But that's my theory and if you look at the failures of Nokia Software [Symbian, Meego, Qt (sure Qt has made compelling apps like Skype and VLC but nothing mobile and when has anything cross-platform beside HTML, CSS and JS produced compelling experiences? and QML had potential but was beta), etc. ; only Ovi Maps is great, IMHO all other Ovi services and software were failures] it makes sense to believe that.

I choose to believe that there were and are Nokia folks who can do 21st century mobile experiences but they were let down by upper management and leaders (all leaders who were involved in the total Nokia mobile experience prior to February 11  should go in my armchair CEO opinion).

Perhaps Nokia with this WP7 aliance can pull it off. But just like Nortel whose leadership never really moved from their circuit switched and transmission mentality to the Internet mentality, I don't think the Nokia leaders can pull this one off. Love to be proven wrong by a resurgent "non RF, non embedded software" mindset Nokia that somehow manages (after a dark "interregnum" of WP7) to surge forward with something that is truly a compelling and unique mobile experience that I would pay my own money for.

Until then my money will go to other platforms like iPhone, Android and in the future hopefully WebOS.

February 11, 2011 shall henceforth be known as #Nokia #Microsoft Co-Dependence Day :-)

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2011-02-11 00:13

My Blink Reactions to the Nokia Microsoft Windows Phone 7 announcement today:

 

N8 Review - Nice Camera, Shame about the Total Experience which hasn't progressed since the N80 of April 2006

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2011-02-10 23:25

N93 video camera app screen of death - Roland in Vancouver 054

tl;dr If you are the 1% who value a cameraphone with fantastic photos above total experience (user experience, dev experience, apps experience, etc), then the N8 is for you. For others who only require a decent camera and are  not cameraphone camera obsessed like I am, there are plenty of  alternatives in 2011 with better user, dev and apps experiences which I won't bother to name!

On the eve of Nokia's February 11, 2011 announcements, it seems appropriate to review the Nokia N8. For those who don't know I have taken over 50,000 photos with Nokia cameraphones (7610,N70,N80,N73,N93,N85,N82,N900 and now the N8) since I first bought my first Nokia cameraphone back in 2004, the Nokia 7610 a 1 megapixel cameraphone.

What I love about the camera:

  • The photos the photos the photos. Can't believe how great they are! Thanks!
  • Fastest shot to shot of any cameraphone I have ever used. faster than our Canon point and shoot.
  • Fastest auto-focus. Until the N8 I almost never used Nokia cameraphone focus, because it was too slow.
  • Best Sensor

In other words the hardware and the sensor and the embedded software of the N8 camera are unparalleled. Thanks to those at Nokia responsible for the hardware and the sensor and the embedded software. A+ !!!!

What is substandard about the camera is the software i.e. the Nokia camera application:

  • basically unchanged since the N80 in 2006.  Menus and user experience hasn't changed much since the N80 and N95 days back in 2006 and 2007. Over 5 years of wasted user experience improvement potential
  • Sometimes the camera app appears to crash and gives you a deceptive error message very similar to the one pictured above i.e. implying you need to restart the N8 to get the camera app working. This is deceptive and broken because you don't have to restart the N8; you simply have to quit and restart the camera app. Unacceptable that this has been appearing in Nokia camera apps since 2006

Substandard experiences of the current N8 pre PR 1.1  (I still haven't been able to upgrade to the newly released PR1.1):

  • Dev experience: doesn't work on a Mac or Linux as smoothly as Windows and there is no grassroots, innovative developer energy going forward with Qt. Get rid of the Mac and Linux versions or get them working properly and as smoothly as Windows. Qt is confusing and old school C++ without any of the refinement of other platforms. QML has great potential but is still not mature enough.
  • User Experience - Symbian^3 is much better than any previous Symbian on a touchscreen phone but it is still feels cobbled together and like a wart on a wart (power management and voice quality and true multitasking are the only exceptions which like awesome cameraphones nobody really cares about unfortunately!). And the primitive out of date web browser built-in to the N8 (I am aware that for PR 2.0 in March or April there will be an up to date browser, but "real artists ship" :-) !)  is an embarassment and very frustrating for users.
  • Apps Experience - I could go on and on about this but here is one example close to my heart: given Nokia's ridiculously large lead in cameraphones (at one point, Nokia was at least 3 years ahead of Apple and Android in cameraphone technology and software), it would stand to reason that there would be lots of great camera apps but there are none. It's really hard to use the OVI store and it's not built into the pre PR 1.1 firmware!

 

Why I have stopped using ShoZu, Sports Tracker and the N82 and use N900 + PixelPipe + RunKeeper on iPhone 3G

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-08-11 01:44

Until I get an N8, I have stopped using ShoZu and Nokia Sports Tracker am using the N900 + PixelPipe + RunKeeper on the iPhone 3G. Why?

  1. None of my friends use Nokia Sports Tracker (On Nokia Sports Tracker, I recorded over 700 activities (90% bicycling, the rest cross country skiing)  and many people use it but not one of my friends around the world uses it on a regular basis anymore)
  2. A fair amount of my friends and people in Vancouver use RunKeeper
  3. Up until today despite many attempts, Nokia has been unsuccessful in creating a popular social network which is what Nokia Sports Tracker and RunKeeper are. And although I love Nokia Sports Tracker and I'll try it on the N8 in the future, I doubt Sports Tracker now that it's spun off Nokia will be successful! Love to be proven wrong
  4. All in all the N900 camera is better than the N82 (except for the flash which I don't use)
  5. I don't have to carry my Bluetooth GPS, the N900 GPS is good enough
  6. PixelPipe is not nearly as great as ShoZu but it's good enough

What's wrong with RunKeeper

  1. On the iPhone 3G, it doesn't multi-task so if I get an alert or phone call, the tracking stops. Hopefully fixed on iPhone 4
  2. There's no way to lock the touch screen so it's easy to inadvertently stop RunKeeper while you are bicycling. Of course this wasn't an issue with N82 which is an old school candybar phone without touch screen

PixelPipe observations

  1. No connectivity re-transmission unlike Shozu. So as I blogged before, if you lose connectivity in the middle of PixelPipe uploading  your photos you have to manually figure out which photos were uploaded and upload only the missing ones. This is very painful for a crazy :-) person like me who uploads dozens of photos ; not so painful for the normal person who only uploads 1 or 2 photos per day
  2. No automatic tagging on a per account basis. In ShoZu you can set it up to tag differently based on which flickr account you upload to
  3. No multiple accounts unlike ShoZu
  4. No way to upload friends only or family only i.e. no way to use flickr permissions like ShoZu does only public or private. A pain if you again are a crazy :-) person like me and use flickr permissions  like "friends only" or "family only" which I gather less than 1% of flickr users do
  5. No way to select multiple photos unlike ShoZu. This is a Maemo limitation I guess since there is no system UI gesture to select multiple photos or files. You have to laboriously select one photo at a time until all are selected.

N900 Camera App Nits

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-08-11 00:21

I have switched over to the N900 for the moment for my cameraphone pictures. All in all the N900 seems better than the N82. Some comments and nits:

  1. Would be nice to be able to switch off the touch screen because sometimes in the middle of bicycling I realize the GPS has turned off or the setting is wrong for some reason:
  2. Does this happen because of a glitch / bug or because of an inadvertent touch while bicycling? I think both!
  3. The N900 camera is not much faster than the N82 (in fact the N82 might be faster). Anybody done any timing?
  4. The N900 lens is clean. After 3 years, the N82 has dust under the cover
  5. In silent mode, the N900 camera app doesn't make a noise. This is different from the N82 and N95 which didn't allow me to turn the camera sound off even in silent mode
  6. The N900 built-in GPS is faster than  the N82 + Bluetooth GPS that I was using before

N900 Pixelpipe allows unlimited photo upload but doesn't retry

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2010-08-01 09:20

I was wrong. The N900 version of Pixel Pipe *does* (yay! my apologies to the PixelPipe folks!)  allow sharing of unlimited number of photo as follows:

  1. In the Photos app, touch the top (where it typically says "All Images")
  2. Tap "Share Images"
  3. Select as many images as you want to upload
  4. Tap "Share"
  5. Tap "Share via service"
  6. Under Account, select your PixelPipe service
  7. Tap "Share"

It works great except when you lose connectivity. Then PixelPipe due to no fault of their own but due to Nokia's brittle sharing infrastructure doesn't retry when you re-gain connectivity. This retry "seamlessly when you re-gain connectivity" is what ShoZu does so well. It's not a big deal if you only load 1 or 2 photos. It is a big deal when you upload dozens ; then you have to figure out which photos were uploaded and then go through the above 7 step process for the remainder of the photos.

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