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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

 

Does N900 Pixelpipe support flickr uploads that are visible only to your contacts who are "family" on flickr like ShoZu does?

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-09-06 21:55

Does Pixelpipe support flickr uploads that are visible only to family like ShoZu does? Does Pixelpipe on the N900 support flickr uploads that are visible only to your contacts who are "family" on flickr like ShoZu does? It doesn't appear to. My observations (check out my previous post on Pixelpipe with the N900):

  1. PixelPipe doesn't appear to support flickr's privacy level of "family". It does support totally private and totaly public which map to the equivalent in flickr but that's not what I want.
  2. Luckily the built-in  N900 Share Online does support family on flickr. So that's what I am using.
  3. My theory: PixelPipe on Symbian and other operating systems supports Flickr's "family. Just didn't bother to implement it on N900
  4. With the number of people who use the N900 being low, I can see why such a decision would have been made. So no harsh feelings Pixelpipe :-)

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 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.

Why do I continue to use the N82 instead of the N900 for my cameraphone photos? A: ShoZu

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2010-07-27 22:20

Tnkgrl brought up a good point today at lunch at Nuba. Why do I continue to use the N82 when the N900 is better (e.g. faster shot to shot, great macro, etc.) ?

The primary reason is ShoZu! There is no solution as far as I know on the N900 that will upload dozens of photos at once to flickr. If anybody knows of such a program for the N900, please let me know and I'll switch (I can't handle doing 12 at a time, it's a waste of time when you have taken 20-50 as I usually do!).

50000 photos & 6 years with a Camera Phone

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-07-19 06:35

Inspired by Jen's 2,045 Days with a Camera Phone:

  1. I have over 35000 (35823 as of this writing) public photos tagged "cameraphone" on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roland/tags/cameraphone since I bought my Nokia 7610 1 megapixel cameraphone back in June 2004
  2. Over 90% of those were with Nokia Cameraphones
  3. most of them were with the N95 (7643) and N82 (20, 554 as of this writing)
  4. Combine the 35000 public plus over 10000 on my private kid flickr account plus the ones that I didn't download and I have over 50000
  5. Needless to say I love my N82 :-) and its "triumph of the lofi" sensor
  6. I also love the non blurriness of my digital SLR and Lightroom but hate the fact that WiFi and GPS are not built into DSLRs (they both should be! All cameras including cameraphones and SLRs and point and shoots will be social cameras in 10 years or less!!!!)
  7. And like Jen I have tried the N8 under NDA and it's fantastic
  8. Therefore even though (like Jen), Symbian is not my fav operating system anymore:
  9. N8 + ShoZu + gravity = a winner so I am getting one (and an iPhone 4 as previously blogged; it would be silly for me not to use the awesome cameraphone power of the iPhone 4)
  10. And Jen, I assume when you write:
    1. " I will be purchasing a Nokia N8 and then tracking down a QT developer to help me flesh out the code of my mobile app idea. Here's to 2,045 more days of camera phone photography. ;o)"
    2. that python is ok? Right Jen :-) ? If so I'll help you write a prototype. I don't do C++ :-)

Nokia could win big with a social camera

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2010-06-30 07:36

Dave Winer has been writing for many years about a social camera. I have been writing for years about how ShoZu + Nokia Cameraphones are killer apps and built-in ShoZu would be a killer app (e.g. Nokia should buy ShoZu).

My current thinking is:

Canon or Nikon's sensors and lens +  Nokia phone with "comes with world wide connectivity and built-in easy to use app for uploading photos and HD video to all popular social sites e.g. flickr, facebook, picasa" + sideload to your Computer and OVI files (i.e. Eye-fi done right, not as an aftermarket kludge - don't get me wrong, unlike Dave I love my Eye-Fi card; it's done well but at the end of the day it's a hack!) for backup in real time using ShoZu-like technology to do it in the background and auto-resume if connectivity lost  =

an awesome social camera that would sell well

The current Nokia solution is Share Online which is:

  • a) hard to use 
  • b) hard to configure 
  • c) doesn't work in the  background and auto-resume like ShoZu  
  • d) requires folks to figure out the whole "3G/WiFi don't automatically switch to 3G when I am roaming" dance

As Dave points out if Nokia doesn't do it (and Nokia is the only company with all the pieces including camera hardware and software, ShoZu-like tech, etc) and the biz dev clout to do something like a "Comes with bandwidth" partnership like Amazon did for the Kindle), somebody else will do it e.g. Apple or Google or some social camera upstart.

 

N900 Review Part 1 - Great potential but Maemo 5 still a work in progress

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-05-03 00:39

[thanks to WOMWORLD Nokia for the N900 review unit, the following is my usual stream of consciousness; conclusions later :-) !]

Things I like:

  1. Eye Candy - Great Effects
  2. Audio - Fun sound effects
  3. The truly open potential of Maemo since Maemo (now Meego) is a "normal Linux" not some half open / half proprietary b*stardized Linux like Android. This means out of the box I can install with minimal effort and do all the normal Linux things like install Ruby, python, use SSH etc
  4. Firefox ! Yes. Being able to write Firefox add-ons and HTML5 webapps is (eventually once the speed is improved and Firefox has some time to iterate and improve)) going to be very very good thing
  5. Camera while not as great as the N82 is much better than the iPhone

Things I don't like:

  1. Phone is an app and seems like a half baked app at that. Not sure how to invoke it.
  2. The media player app doesn't multi-task with the camera app. If I am playing music and switch to the camera app, the music stops
  3. Touch Screen is unresponsive
  4. UI performance seems to lag and the latency of the UI is often too slow. Seems very sluggish in other words
  5. No real twitter client, give me something like Gravity please
  6. No ShoZu - the built in sharing programs and PixelPipe are not my cup of tea; I prefer my multi-media to be uploaded automatically (or at least not 1 at a time; need to be able to select unlimited number of photos and videos and upload them)
  7. Maemo UI is non-intuitive but it has potential (to me Meego has more potential in the long run than Symbian!)
  8. Camera is sluggish when processing photos and is also slow to power up and auto-focus and to take a shot when compared to the N82

E75 Review Part 5 - Cost reduced E75 w/built in Qik, ShoZu & Gravity would be a killer multi-media creator phone aka buy the C6

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2010-05-03 00:11

The Thrilling conclusion: Archaic OS + wonderful 3rdparty apps (e.g. ShoZu + Qik + Gravity) = mobile multimedia creator happiness iff:

  1. You can get this phone at a good price (since it's now over a year old, maybe you can get the E75 at a substantial discount e.g. $200)
  2. You don't mind the user unfriendliness of S60V3 and the puny 320x240 screen. S60 V3 is unfriendly and archaic compared to iPhone and Android and other modern mobile operating systems but Symbian has some excellent free or cheap 3rd party programs for mobile multi-media content creators i.e. Gravity + ShoZu + Qik are all free or under 10 Euro each which means that with these programs you have a multi-media creator's powerhouse.

But since the Nokia C6 was introduced does it make sense to consider the E75? Not for me. the C6 is cheaper, has a bigger screen and more up to date software!

C'mon Nokia bundle ShoZu, Qik and Gravity with the C6 and pitch the phone to multi-media creators, students and journalists! It would be a killer combo.

Boris & Roland pontificate on iPhone 4.0, Meego, qik, Drupal,Aegir, Acquia, etc. aka "Mobile and Web Pontifications w/o borders"

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2010-04-09 00:51
More shaky backlight video from the fantastic combo of the E75, Qik and 3.5G. this time mobile and web related pontifications from Boris Mann of Bootup Labs (and fellow co-founder of Bryght). Check out the video after the jump or read my stream of consciousness pseudo-transcript :-) !
  1. Please port Maemo to Qik, and Nokia please buy Qik; just like Nokia should have bought ShoZu :-)
  2. Miss604's Denial of Service of Attack
  3. Bryght - the first hosted Drupal, first Drupal as a service, 5 years ago
  4. Bryght partnership with Workhabit - 50 servers, Cisco routers, pre cloud, we had DOS attacks and Workhabit's awesome Gary, Aaron and Jonathan fixed the routers
  5. DOS cannot be fixed completely but it can be minimized through various means including taking out the DOS IP addresses at the router level, taking your site down is not a solution, shows that real hosting companies need to own their infrastructure or have DNS separated
  6. Drupal Gardens aka "Bryght done right" aka "Bryght in the cloud is not using Aegir
  7. But Drupal Gardens does use Drush
  8. Bryght didn't use Drush, we used python for lots of historical reasons To upgrade 1000 Drupal sites e.g. from Drupal 5.1 to Drupal 5.2 sites I ran hmupdate.py (or was it hmupgrade.py? it's fuzzy now!) in a for loop over the 1000 Bryght Drupal web sites
  9. Aegir has commoditized Bryght (former Bryght guy, Adrian Rossouw, developed Aegir; Adrian rocks)
  10. The entire Bryght Drupal as a service is available in a box i.e. commoditized
  11. The awesome Emma Jane Hogbin has advocated a web infrastructure e.g. a Drupal cloud for every town
  12. A Drupal cloud for every town is a way to attract businesses because you can spin up a free (government pays for it, far better than bogus tax breaks) scalable, modern, SEO optimised website for a business or non profit in 5 minutes
  13. Dreamweaver doesn't cut it - Technologists have failed because there is still no Dreamweaver for 21st century but wordpress.com is close and Acquia Gardens when it's 1.0 will be even closer
  14. Does Qik have a business model? Yes bundling with handset
  15. Schmap is annoying and irrelevant
  16. Iphone 4.0 is highly relevant :-)
  17. Apple Gaming network is huge - Could Tiny Speck use it for Glitch? Yes! How porous will Apple make it? i.e. will it play nice with other social networking sites? probably not in the near term but maybe in the long term
  18. iAds - based on HTML5! Big ! Will make HTML5 "the voice of the new web dev generation"
  19. Multi-tasking - it doesn't matter, it comes down to UX; area where Nokia is lost (except possibly Maemo! go Maemo go! p.s. I hate the name Meego much prefer Maemo!)
  20. User Experience of multi-tasking is what's important and having to install a 3rd party task manager to make Symbian multi-tasking work is a really, really bad user experience
  21. Yet another shout-out to Jan Ole Suhr for the awesome Gravity Twitter App - best mobile Twitter app on ony platform, only available on Symbian for the moment
  22. Took Boris "83 clicks" to pay for Gravity, sad but true :-) ! Nokia, please fix!
  23. Maemo potential is so much greater than Apple iPhone and Symbian because it's Linux and because it's truly open from the get go rather than openness being bolted on like Symbian :-) !

Shaky pontifications without borders video

N97 Review - Can't recommend it to others but I would buy one with my own money

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2009-07-21 20:30

N97 Review Thrilling Review Conclusion - only recommended for S60 geeks

If I had money which I don't due to transitions in employment and the need to pay $8000 for a new roof, I would buy an N97 NAM with my own money. But, unfortunately (it pains me to slag Nokia since I desperately want Apple to have viable competition longterm and slagging Nokia is like slagging my first love since I loved my first cameraphone, the 1 megapixel Nokia 7610 I bought in 2004!)  I can not  recommend the Nokia N97 for other people i.e. people who are not already S60 geeks.

Buy an iPhone 3GS instead. Sure the camera on the 3GS s*cks compared to the N82, N95, N97, N86, etc but the software is a joy to use and the touch focus is something that Nokia should have done first. and there is a viable useful app ecosystem for the iPhone unlike Nokia (sure it may develop but there is no sign of it).

The N97 works for me because of these apps (in no order):

  • ShoZu - Sorry Pixelpipe your service is unusable until Nokia fixes Share Online, sharing only 30 items at a time is a non starter for me.  The unreliable Share Online which has no cues about whether a photo has been uploaded already is a major annoyance.)
  • Gravity - Gravity rocks, it's one of the best Twitter clients on any platform and is continually being improved! Gravity makes the N97 QWERTY keyboard useful instead of a frill. Without gravity, I'd be content with the superior camera of the N86 8MP and pecking away in g*d aweful T9)
  • Nokia Sports Tracker is a must have for tracking your bicycle rides, walks,etc. It is full of annoyances like not remembering any of your preferences (I always want to share my Maps with everybody, please don't ask OVER AND OVER again) but works well and is very useful and works in the background unlike the iPhone trackers all of which are useless because the iPhone doesn't allow 3rd party apps to multi-task
  • QIK, video streaming need I say more. It just works and keeps getting improved!

If you love the above apps or any of the other few (there are about 50 good apps on S60, on iPhone there are several hundred good apps!) good apps on S60, then that probably means you are an S60 geek and then the only choice in 2009 is either the N86 8MP or N97. However once a 5 megaxel iPhone with decent video comes out in 2010, then I fear Nokia at its current rate of stagnation won't even be able to keep S60 geeks like myself happy.

Why normal people should NOT buy  the N97:

  • the UI is impossible to use for non S60 geeks, hand the N97 and iPhone 3GS to a newbie and may G*d have mercy on your soul :-) ! Can't stand S60 constantly nattering at you asking whether you want to connect or not, of course I do ! touch inconsistently works from screen to screen, app to app and a host of other UX issues
  • the whole thing feels like a work in progress e.g. widgets are a great proof of concept but in reality aren't really that useful, e.g. the twitter and facebook widgets don't display enough useful info and autoscroll, they just display the last 10 or so status updates, these widgets feel like "hello world" rather than actually useful
  • instability - e.g. I reset the phone via *#7370#, set the camera to sequence multiple shot mode and take 16 pictures and the camera app freezes; if Nokia can't get their camera app to work in 2009 no wonder ShoZu also has stability issues
  • there's not enough RAM - even if you install all the apps on the built in 32GB mass memory you still run out of RAM

 

N97 Review Penultimate Installment - Camera forgets its GPS setting, etc

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2009-07-19 21:14

The N97 has to go back to Womworld in England on Tuesday so here are my penultimate observations:

  1. There's a bug in the camera app which causes it to forget the GPS setting occasionally. This is annoying because this means I have to re-enable GPS every time I start the camera app (or at least double check that it is still on). Easily fixed I bet in a post V11 firmware update
  2. The speakers are tinny but loud, great to listen to while riding my bicycle! Far better than iPhone mono sound!
  3. The keyguard lock issue came back today so it's not ShoZu or Sports Tracker causing it!
  4. Needless to say multi-tasking with S60 (e.g. playing music with the music player, tracking your bicycle ride with Nokia Sports Tracker and taking photos) works great until you inevitably run out of RAM or the camera app crashes.It's ridiculous that you can run out of RAM with the N97 in 2009 as it is supposedly a "flagship" device. C'mon Nokia please put 256MB RAM or greater in the N97 successor
  5. The GPS lock is faster than the N82 and N95 but I don't have time to measure how much faster. It seems a bit flakey compared to a dedicated GPS unit like the LD-4W which is disappointing but to be expected

N97 Review Day 10 and 11 - Pixelpipe and Share Online woes continue

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2009-07-14 10:46

Pixelpipe has been very responsive for tech support via twitter and comments on this blog (thanks! i have done technical support in the past and appreciate the speedy service!) but unfortunately I am still having problems

I. Routing Tags not working

Summary: routing tags are not working, if i tag something "@f" without the quotes in the title or tags field or the body, it incorrectly gets posted to flickr.com/photos/roland instead of flickr.com/photos/wongtanglao

Here are the answers to the questions asked by Pixelpipe support:

  1. pixelpipe support: "Try uploading to the 2nd account directly from Quick Post to verify it's been configured, if the upload goes to the 1st account log out of Flickr and add the 2nd account again."
    • Roland's response: I deleted "wongtanglao" which is the second account in pixelpipe and re-added it and then did a quick post from the web app i.e. firefox on my mac  to "wongtanglao" and it worked fine i.e. it went to the 2nd account which is wongtanglao!
  2. pixelpipe support: "Are you using Share Online 4.30 (beta)? The latest version supports resume, background uploads and even has an Outbox which includes a status of your uploads."
    • Roland's response: I am using Share Online ver 4.3.09.19 S60 Version 5.0 (which I believe was installed when I updated my N97 to the V11 firmware which came out on July 1, 2009)

Herewith screenshots of my pixelpipe config:

My pipes

Pixelpipe - Destinations (for tech support)

roland account

Pixelpipe - settings for flickr account roland (for tech support)

wongtanglao account

Pixelpipe - settings for flickr account Wongtanglao (for tech support)

II. Photos not uploaded to flickr from Share online and pixelpipe

I seem to have found a bug in the share online/pixelpipe combo

Thee following two photos were uploaded to pixelpipe but never made it to flickr, could pixelpipe support please look into this?

  1. http://pixelpipe.com/item/577a5744-56f4-4a62-bd94-9d639c9571e9
  2. http://pixelpipe.com/item/f46e524c-9e0f-43d1-9c7f-c4b0449ba240

III. Suggestions for Share Online and Pixelpipe for improvement

  1. implement a global upload status indicator (i.e. an icon that shows up and has two states: upload pending, and upload complete) for photos in the gallery app (which seems to be called "Photos" on the N97) like Shozu, otherwise if you take more than 30 photos in a day (which I do daily) it becomes impossible to track which photos you have uploaded and which you have not. The outbox doesn't work well.

N97 Review Day 8 and 9 - No Keyguard lock issues but not impressed by pixelpipe and share online

Submitted by Roland on Sat, 2009-07-11 22:10

OK, I am voluntarily living without ShoZu to see if it is causing the "N97 keyguard switch not unlocking the phone" problem, so I have tried using Share Online and Pixelpipe (running V11 firmware, unlocked N97-1, Fido SIM) but I am not happy (pretty hard to be happy with another solution after using ShoZu to upload over 28000 photos, I guess!):

  1. Share online doesn't resume when you lose connectivity and re-gain connectivity (which Shozu does very well)
  2. Share online doesn't show you transfer status so you never know when/if your upload works unless you check the flickr or pixelpipe website (pretty sure this is a Share Online bug not a pixelpipe bug)
  3. Pixepipe routing tags don't work for two flickr accounts. I have set up my account (roland@rolandtanglao.com) to route to my family account (wongtanglao on flickr) when the routing tag "@family" is added. But that doesn't work. The photo goes to my public account (roland on flickr). I have tried putting the @family in the title, body and the Nokia Share Online tags field for the photo but it doesn't work, the photo still goes to flickr.com/photos/roland instead of flickr.com/photos/wongtanglao. HELP, please! All assistance gratefully received and if I fix it of course I will blog a followup!

 

N97 Review Day 7 - Return of the Keyguard / Lock Switch Problem

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2009-07-09 14:53

Twice now in the last 24 hours, my N97-1 running the V11 firmware has auto-locked and subsequently pressing the keyguard aka lock switch on the right side and trying some N97 unlock voodoo from the last time this happened didn't work. I'm am going to do a hard reset and not re-install Nokia Sports Tracker and ShoZu (both of which are unofficial 5800 versions) and if it comes back, I can then definitely blame the hardware and firmware. Stay tuned!

N97 Review Day 5 - Camera app crashed & Lock Switch wouldn't unlock so I did a hard reset

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2009-07-07 00:11

N97-1 camera app crash 070620098264

 

Today was a wee day of frustration (which could be attributed probably due to the early V11 firmware or less likely the the fact that I am running the 5800 i.e. unsupported version of ShoZu) in trial N97 review land:

  1. At one point, the N97 lock switch aka "keyguard" stopped working, i.e. it wouldn't unlock and the only way I could fix it was to do a *#7370# hard reset which meant I had to re-install all my apps (ShoZu, Nokia Sports Tracker, etc which was very annoying for me, imagine if a non S60 geek had to do this!)
    1. Hmmm, looks it might be fixed as follows (hat tip to The Definitive Nokia N97 Bug List):
      "Unlocking the phone via lock switch will not activate the backlight most of the time. This happens on the first unlock after an idle period – subsequent unlocks will activate the backlight until the phone goes into idle mode again. Seems to be a pretty universal problem. Extremely annoying because I have to hit the unlock switch a minimum of three times, usually more. No fix yet. Workaround: Hit the Menu Key [thanks Jasz] or Camera Key [me] to turn the backlight on before hitting the unlock key."

  2. The camera app hung as shown in the photo above in the "Processing Image" state. Holding the menu key and trying to kill the camera app didn't fix it (instead the phone just showed a blank menu of apps). I had to turn the phone off and then on to make it work.

N97 Review Day 2 - Photos photos photos

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2009-07-03 23:28

This N97 photo would have been blurry on the N82 - 03072009116

More stream of consciousness this time focused on photos (after taking about 50 from a bicycle today):

  1. Sure would be nice to be able to turn off the touch UI. Many times I accidentally touched the screen and switched to the secondary camera, accidentally engaged the digital zoom or  changed some camera setting that I didn't want to change.
  2. Would be nice to have the 'touch the screen' focus that the iPhone 3GS has. Unbelievable that Nokia didn't come up with this first!
  3. The new camera chip and software is fast! The new 1/1000 shutter speed means it's very difficult to take blurry photos in sunlight which for me is a drag (but admitedly  my obsession with taking blurry photos of passing trains, cars and buses is not normal :-) !) I want my blurry photos back, anybody know how to do this? I tried night mode and setting the ISO to the lowest setting to no avail.
  4. ShoZu crashed but this is not a surprise since I am using the 5800 version i.e. an unofficially unsupported version.
  5. Would be nice to have a mechanical latch to prevent the keyboard from sliding out while taking pictures during my bicycle ride!
  6. All in all I like the camera for taking stills (video is next thing to try) but I think that if you are focused on photos then a more traditional form factor phone without touch like the N86 8MP would be the way to go.

N97 Review Day 1 Stream of Consciousness

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2009-07-03 00:45
  1. The N97 touch UI is a wart on top of an S60 wart. The S60 touch UI  works  only if you are an S60 geek like me or sloanb. For the mass market aka "humans" as Marc Canter calls normal people :-), S60 and the S60 touch UI are unusable. Please Nokia (speaking as a friend who wants Nokia to thrive instead of merely surviving the iPhone juggernaut):
    1. fix the S60 UI as per Rui's suggestions
    2. start a separate stealth division or company to re-do the UI (as I  previously advocated after Nokia Open Lab 2008 and as Alec Saunders advocated today  or just buy Palm :-)  (yes I know buying Palm is unrealistic, but in the long run it's just as valid as Maemo (which I like but is just for geeks at this point) or even worse trying to revamp S60 to make it usable)
  2. Having said that, I am strangely enjoying using the N97 (the Touch makes perfect sense if you have been living and breathing S60 since 2004 like I have!). I love the beautiful big screen (the N82 screen seems tiny and dark by comparison) and the camera seems faster shot to shot and the pictures are not bad in regular light (e.g. this photo of Dane from the N97 looks better than this photo of Dane with the N82 (need to view both at original size) wouldn't you agree?).
  3. Nokia not having full Mac support for the N97 at launch time in 2009 is inexcusable. The days of the Microsoft hegemony are over. Get over it Nokia, the 1990s are over :-) !
  4. Even if Ovi Maps supported the Mac, I doubt I'd like it. I bet I'd feel the same way as Stefan i.e. I'd still use Google Maps instead of Ovi.
  5. Over the air update of my trial N97 (which is European) firmware worked flawlessly. Unfortunately as per Ms Jen, the same can't be said of the N97 NAM, again inexcusable for a flagship device.
  6. Still not a fan of widgets:
    1. Rather have the weather widget use the official and best Canadian forecast which is Environment Canada's
    2. The facebook app doesn't show enough info and doesn't show Notes
  7. Surprisingly email works better than expected with my gmail account. Major bug is that tags don't show up as IMAP folders which they do in a proper email client like Thunderbird.
  8. Qik, ShoZu and Nokia Sports Tracker (Sports Tracker still has a bad website and inexplicably doesn't upload all the photos you have taken during a ride but that's not an N97 exclusive bug) all work just as well as they do on the N82 and E71 even though none of them except Qik support the N97 officially yet.
  9. Gravity rocks! it's one of the best mobile twitter clients on any platform! Beautiful and fun with the kinetic touch scrolling.
  10. The Web Browser still feels pokey and outmoded compared to the iPhone web browser. Please fix!
  11. As many others have pointed out, the keyboard is fine except that "long" key presses should result in numbers or the other symbols instead of auto-repeating the key.This works fine in the E71! Please fix in a future firmware update.

The N97 ain't my N999 concept but it's closer

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2009-07-01 23:15

On the night before I receive my N97 from Nokia WOM World for a brief trial, just for fun I looked back at my N999 concept/vision from December 1, 2008. And what the heck here's the N999 concept updated for July 2009 (notable updates are in bold):

  1. screen with as many pixels as the 5800 Tube or iPhone (sorry but QVGA doesn't cut it in 2009!)
  2. S60 simplified and fixed as Rui describes
  3. 5 megapixel camera with cover and Xenon flash with 3x optical zoom and 640x480 30fps video (basically re-use the awesome N82 camera hardware and software and combine with the N93 optical zoom)
  4. Quad band GSM and 3G (i.e. works on Rogers and AT&T in North America AND European 3G out of the box just like the N85, no funky North American model)
  5. Built in ShoZu (with 10MB limit removed for 3G and WiFi, make the limit 50-200MB for 3G and WiFi) - killer app for photographers and videobloggers - Qik is built  into the N97 why not ShoZu? (I can't stand Share Online's limit of 6 photos at a time since I take over 50 a day; hope it's removed on the N97)
  6. Bult-in Qik (killer app for videobloggers!) - Qik is built  into the N97 can't wait to try it!
  7. Awesome web browser (Nokia's Web Kit browser was great in 2006, it is now far behind Apple's)
  8. Lots of available RAM (as much as the N95 8GB please!), 8GB storage on built-in card - Reviews are mixed on the N97, sounds like it has a lot of RAM (more than the N95 8GB)  but with widgets it takes up a lot more. - I doubt I will use widgets!
  9. Built in Nokia viNes to take advantage of Nokia's great GPS hardware (killer GPS app!) - viNes apears to be dead. Nokia Sports Tracker appears to be alive, so I'd rather have that built-in
  10. Built in Twitter App i.e. built in Gravity

Now I know the above list is not possible given today's processors and batteries but in that case I can live without optical zoom! Everything else is doable as far as I can tell.

I still don't need:

  1. QWERTY keyboard - I'd rather have an awesome camera and flash than a touch or QWERTY keyboard. And for me touch keyboards are just as good as QWERTY.
  2. Email (Email is dead to me (ok email isn't dead but my resolution is to take any email thread  that I need to keep that has more than 2 replies to a wiki or blog); I continue to use it  for work and to communicate with "normal" folks!) - If the browser is as good as the iPhone's, then webmail clients work just fine.
  3. Touch (would be nice, but not convinced Nokia has the software chops for this; I am not interested in S60 transmogrified with touch, I would prefer touch to be part of a totally revamped user interface that's NOT S60.) - Unfortunately it appears that Nokia's current touch interface s*cks. I hope I am proven wrong by my N97 trial.
  4. Micro SD card slot
  5. Calendar (would be nice but that's what my laptop is for :-) !) - Again with a good enough browser a web client would be good enough)
  6. IM (Twitter is IM enough for me and I am fine with using it in the browser)
  7. VOIP is dead to me except for Skype
  8. MMS - I am not convinced I need it, I can always use ShoZu email photos :-) but I was wrong about SMS (so maybe I am wrong about MMS) - I am pretty sure I am wrong about MMS and I am pretty sure (unfortunately) I will be MMSing my relatives with pictures since they all finally seem to have MMS plans and devices and none of my luddite :-) relatives still use flickr or any of the other public or private photosharing sites!


 

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