Tips and trick for Nokia N8

This is an update to my previous blog post since now Symbian Anna is released. The previous tips and tips still remain valid while some new ones are added.

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I have found some cool tips & tricks from my own usage or over the internet. Here are some of them which I will update as I find more.

Keypad shortcuts (Select "Call" from home screen)

  • Bluetooth ON/OFF: Long press on ‘*’ key.
  • Call log: Press call key
  • Open browser: Long press on ‘0’ key
  • Silent profile: Long press on ‘#’ key

Keypad codes (Select "Call" from home screen and type)

  • Hard reset: *#7370#
  • Soft Reset: *#7780#
  • Show IMEI: *#06#
  • Info about phone software: *#0000#
  • Display Bluetooth MAC address: *#2820#
  • Display the WLAN MAC address: *#62209526#

Usability improvement tips -

  • Edit Home screen – Long press on anywhere on the home screen changes to edit mode.
  • Faster Home screen – turn of theme effects from Themes settings to make switching between home screens instant.
  • Forced Reboot – press power key for eight seconds simulating battery removal.
  • Screen Saver Notification – Use ‘Music Player’ screen saver to show new SMS and missed calls icon on screen. Time, Date, Profile and Music being played will also be shown if enabled.
  • Silence Calls/Snooze Alarms – Turn around your phone upside down to silence calls or snooze alarms (set it on from Settings > Sensor settings).
  • Widgets Online/Offline: select Options > "Widget to Offline mode" from home screen.
  • When in the file manager and when in the mass storage/phone memory/memory card, simply tap on the camera button (Autofocus) and it will bring up a search box.
  • Camera: use Pinch zoom to switch between 9 MP or 12 MP resolution for photos.

USB On the Go – Nokia N8 supports connecting pen drives, external hard disks with there own power source and even Wireless Keyboard & Mouse to connect via the supplied USB adapter. I have myself tested successfully this by connecting my Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000 to my Nokia N8. You will get a full cursor & you can type using a wireless keyboard too.

You can very well connect your N8 to a HDTV with the supplied HDMI cable & use a small wireless keyboard & mouse & can use it as a computer too.

Here is a video of me using my wireless mouse & keyboard in the N8.

Using my Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000 with my Nokia N8 with USB OTG

Nokia Battery Monitor – The battery monitor on default Symbian^3 doesn’t give detailed information. That is because it is not required to have detailed information in most cases for a casual user. However, if you still want detailed information then you can use Nokia Battery monitor.

Nokia Battery Monitor consists of a home screen widget and a full screen application. The widget is used for visualization of remaining battery capacity and activity estimates. The full screen application provides more details and statistics of energy usage.


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Change interface font to Nokia Pure –

Nokia has now retired the Nokia Sans font in favour of a new font called Nokia Pure. This will be the new font used in all Nokia phones now in future.

However, if you want to use the font right now then you can download Nokia Pure from here then follow these instructions…

  • Go to Ovi Store and install "Font zoomer lite" and "Xplore".
  • Rename any font in the archive you downloaded to font_temp.ttf and copy it somewhere in your phone.
  • Switch to any sample font supplied by font zoomer in the app (other than default).
  • Accept all dialogs after apply. Don’t reboot just yet.
  • The zip you downloaded above has Nokia Pure font, renamed to font_temp.ttf. In C:\FontZoomer folder a font is now present with font_temp.ttf. Replace this, with the one available in the zip you just downloaded. To do this, you can use Xplore, as it will show you fontzoomer folder, inside C:\.
  • Now Reboot.
  • You can switch back anytime using FontZoomer app to the default font and after a reboot you will get Nokia Sans back.

If you have a memory card installed in your Nokia N8, then you can use this steps instead of the above.

  • Attached your phone in Memory card mode to your PC.
  • Extract the archive you download above and copy “resource” folder to x:\ where x is the name of your memory card drive in Windows Explorer.

This is how the font looks in my phone, a comparison of old and new font in my Nokia N8.

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This is how the SMS view looks like, now with Nokia Pure.

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My thanks to Yogeshwar Padhyegurjar for this method of changing font to Nokia Pure, which also works with upcoming Symbian Anna update.

I have made a basic theme with only custom icons for some 3rd party apps and nothing else. You can download it from here. You will need to sign it with your own certificate though.

I hope you find these tips useful. If you have any of yours, then you can also mention it in the comments.

People of India, repair yourself first.

I see a lot of noise and talks about Anna Hazare and Jan Lokpal bill. It is all over Facebook, Twitter, T.V Channels, Radio etc.

But, I find it wrong. This protest is resulting in productivity loss. I see people sitting in office and writing on their Facebook wall that they support Anna Hazare, his movement etc and use a #tag for it. Here is the thing, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Sitting somewhere in an A.C room and writing a tweet or status update like this isn’t going to help anyone anywhere. Indian people have an inherent mentality of talking more and taking actions less. This mentality needs to change before we can even think of making India corruption free.

Corruption is an inherent trait of us humans. We all can easily get corrupt and do wrong deeds. It could be due to fear, greed, sex… anything. Corruption is there and we cannot remove it. We can just reduce it.

I could be wrong, but there is something I notice. The youth population of today’s India is more educated and aware then the youth population which was in college 20 or 10 years ago.

We are more aware of the problems we see today around us because in the next 40 years to come, we will be the ones facing issues in India due to corruption and not the existing crowd of elder population in the age of 40 or 50 or even more which is the general age group of the majority of our politicians. Well, they will simply die.

The youth, the college and school student today are the future of India, but we are wrong. How can we tell someone to stop corruption if we are ourselves corrupt?

I follow a simple rule in my life. I don’t tell anyone not to do something, if I am doing it myself. For example, I don’t like smoking. I hate the smell, so I advice others not to do it. I prefer to stay away from smoking zones. However, I like McDonald’s burger and that is something I don’t stop people from eating.

Let me tell something to students and grown ups which can actually make India a better place, due to which something like a Lokpal bill won’t be needed.

1. If you feel bad and cheated due to corruption happening to you then stop being corrupt yourself first. Stop paying that police man ? 100 to skip your challan when you are caught driving incorrectly. Also, stop driving rashly. Its doesn’t make you cool, it makes you look stupid.

2. Stop paying bribes to get your work done quicker than the usual time it takes. You give bribe, so people take bribe. Refuse it. All of you. If there is no bribe or no one to give bribe then officers will be forced to do things correctly themselves.

No king is a king if people refuse to accept him as a king.

3. Stop skipping college for going to movies, dates etc. There is a right time for everything and the time you are wasting by not studying is not something you will get back.

4. Give priority to things in life. Solving a mock question paper should be more important for you then drinking bear or going for a long drive with friends, unless it is a vacation or Sunday.

5. Education isn’t tough. If it was then how come 10000000 of students every year score 98%+ marks? It isn’t like they have a special DNA which makes them genius. They study. Do it.

Without education you have no future and cannot stop corruption because then a student like you will go on to work in some company where he doesn’t know how to do something properly and will find ways by hook or crook to finish the work thereby creating further corruption.

The amount of knowledge you gain in school is sufficient enough to crack some entrance exam if you are doing it properly. Here is the thing, how many kids do it properly? Coaching institutes which used to be education hubs are business now.

I remember few years ago, I went with my relative to a coaching institute in Lucknow to inquire about coaching for engineering entrance for my cousin. The teacher there said to me “We had 50 selections last year in top colleges of India from our coaching.” I left the place saying “50 out of 5000 that came here? Sorry, I am not sending my bro to study here when your track record of successfully educating students for entrance is 1%”.

6. Stop pissing in the corner of the road. There are urinals for that, use them. No one will come from outside of India to clean India. You need to do it yourself.

7. Stop taking admission/job with reservation quota. Is it really so hard for you to prove that you have the caliber to do something in education/job?

8. Stop cursing the government for everything. We need it. Without an authority above our heads, we will be under civil war in no time. Absolute freedom is not different than chaos.

9. You are not a Rajput, or a Mishra or a Verma or a Srivastava or Marathi or U.P wale Bhaiya or Hindu or Muslim. You are an Indian first. That is all. Period. Stop treating others bad just because they don’t belong to the same clan as you.

10. Give respect where it is due. I even refer to the waiter in a canteen as “Sir” cos that guy is serving me food, which I need.

The above list has just a few examples of the wrong things we do. We need to fix many wrong habits and deeds of us before supporting Anna Hazare. Even if the Lokpal bill passes, it won’t do any good because we will make India corrupt again in few years.

It is not hard to be good. Anything is possible in this world as long as there is a will to do it.

A country cannot be made the best with emotional or patriotic decisions. We have been doing this for years and nothing has changed. If you want to bring a change then think logically about what is right and then take decisions.

People of India, go fix yourself first. If you do that then corruption will automatically go away. Fixing yourself is easier and better than going in a candle light parade while leaving your studies/office/job.

Samsung P2370MS – A better view at the virtual world

I have been using a LG W203LTQ LCD Monitor for almost 3.5 years now. It served me well with very good colour reproduction, compact size and no maintenance required at all. It never malfunctioned. I initially purchased thinking that some day I will use Blu Ray players with it as it supported HDCP over DVI when used with a HDMI converter.

However, the movie distribution scene for me took a detour and all of my video content is digital now. Also, HDMI took off in the industry due to which my Nokia N8 came with a Mini HDMI port and my Dell Latitude E6420 also comes with a HDMI port so I needed a monitor with native HDMI so that I can output audio as well as video over the same cable.

My search started for a cost effective LCD Monitor with a full HD resolution display. I saw many but Samsung P2370MS caught my attention due to its feature to cost ratio. It just fit for all my requirements.

This is not a review of Samsung P2370MS. For that, I recommend that you read various available online. This blog post is to show my take and why I selected this monitor over other models available.

Playing Crysis 2 at 1080p

Now, why this?

  • I was looking for a monitor with 1080p resolution.
  • HDMI input as the must but the connectivity options of this monitor caught my eyes. This monitor supports HDMI 1.3.
  • I am not someone who likes very big screens and not someone who watches T.V so 23” screen size is sufficient for me.
  • It has inbuilt 2×3 watt speakers, good for casual videos or T.V shows. I use headphones though so this feature did not matter a lot to me.
  • Ability the tilt the display 20° up. This solves lots of issues with vertical viewing angles.
  • It even comes with a full fledged remote control as visible in the picture above
  • Wall mountable as well as a stand.

This monitor supports all connectivity options you can think of, except for Display Port which I think never took off at the PC side. It is mostly found in Mac only. Here is a picture of the rear, input panel.

rear

As you can see, everything is taken care of.

  • RGB, DVI, HDMI, Component Video Signals
  • Separate H/V, Composite Sync Signals
  • D-sub, DVI-D, HDMI, Component, Composite, Optical Out, Audio In, Headphone Out

You can directly connect any gaming console, handy cams, digi cam, most mobile phones supporting HDMI or some sort of TV out to this monitor without requiring a computer at all.

What I really liked about this monitor that I can connect an regular 3.5” Audio In cable from my PC’s rear audio output to the monitor and the audio will come from the monitor’s speakers. But, here is the best part. You can also output this audio again via another 3.5mm Audio Out point to connect to a regular 2.1 channel speakers setup. You can also select to switch the audio output on the fly with the bundled remote.

Not just this, if the input is HDMI then you can also use the Optical out to connect a 5.1 channel or 7.1 channel speakers setup, provided that your sound card supports. If you are using a PC, then it is recommended to use PC’s sound card’s optical output. Since I use headphones, I am not able to test this feature set. But this should be self explanatory to those who are looking to make such a setup.

The speakers are nothing to brag about though. Maybe since I have never been a speakers guy but a headphone guy, I am not able to judge the quality of the audio. I recommend that you listen to it when buying the monitor. In my usage, for casual movies with friends the monitor was good enough. For serious usage, I recommend separate speakers though.

Colour reproduction was good, once properly calibrated to my taste. The increased resolution helps while multitasking on Windows 7, as 1080p is the ideal resolution to use with Windows 7.

You will require a big table though as on my previous small table, this monitor was not very stable. I recommend a 3X2 feet table for this, at least.

Monitors are usually long term investments. I am sure I will be using this one for a long time to come. I got this in new Delhi from Samsung authorised dealer after negotiating a price of Rs 10,500 in Nehru Place. This monitor also won the Digit Magazine best buy award for Monitors.

Ovi Chat 3.1 – The chat app Nokia N8 was missing

If you don’t know, Ovi Chat is the official chat client from Nokia supporting multiple chat networks such as Google talk, Yahoo, Windows Live etc.   

Currently, it is not officially available for Nokia N8 It is now available officially for Nokia N8 and other phones running Symbian^3.

It is good that Nokia is taking time to fix the bugs and optimize it. Currently, I found the following problems with this in my N8   

  • No Facebook chat. Although there are other apps available for this but Nokia included MySpace chat which is a dead service instead of Facebook for some reason beyond my understanding.
  • Runs a little bit slow because it is based on Widget runtime. An app based on Qt/QML would have been better, but I can understand that Nokia opted for WRT for maintaining compatibility with older phones.   
  • The whole interface is two tap based and not single tap which fits more to Symbian^3’s UI. Single tap UI in Ovi Chat 3.1 on Symbian^3 phones.

When launched for the first time it will install a home Screen widget from where you can directly change your status or read any latest chat message to you.

Once the app is running, you can either close it from the task manager or select to hide in the menu. This way, the app will eat less resources and still be running in the background till someone sends you an IM.

Here are some screenshots…

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Here is a chat I was having with my surprised friend Yash (@alsiladka) when I told him about this.

A sample chat

The good thing about Ovi Chat is that it also integrates with the phonebook. You can link any contact on say, Google Talk to anyone in your phone book, Then, you can call that person from within the app.

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Once running, it also shows those contact who are linked and are online from within your Phone Book. So your phonebook becomes one place for contacting anyone by all means possible, whether it is Chat, SMS, Phone/Video call, Facebook or Twitter. 

This is how new message notification shows when the app is hidden in the background.

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On Symbian^3, the app supports right click context menus which open when you long press on a contact or running conversation.

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Overall, other then the speed issue and lack of Portrait and Split screen Qwerty in N8, this chat app is very good and does all the basic tasks. Officially, it is available at the Ovi Store.

Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11–The best just got better

If you are using Symbian OS on a Touch Screen phone then you most likely hate the inbuilt Nokia browser due to its bad user interface and experience on a touch screen device. Thankfully, Nokia allows us to use any web browser we want on our devices.

Opera has just released Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 for Symbian phones.

Opera Mobile 10.1 was already a very fast browser on mobiles phones which when combined with newly released 3G services in India from Vodafone, Airtel etc result in desktop like webpage rendering and loading on your mobile phone. Opera Mobile 11 increases the performance even more.  

Official homepage of Opera Mobile 11 and Opera Mini 6

Opera Mini 6 and Opera Mobile 11 on Touch, non touch and Tablet devices

The new features of Opera Mobile 11 are (taken from All about Symbian)

  • Modernized new user interface
  • New UI optimized for tablet devices
  • Faster framerates when panning and zooming
  • No checkerboard, ever
  • Text stays sharp during zooming
  • Improved text-wrap on zoom
  • Smart-tap, auto-zoom and highlights links if ambiguous link click
  • Incremental zooming for devices w/o multi-touch
  • Buttons for jumping to the top/bottom of the page
  • Haptic feedback (if supported in hardware)
  • Share URL on social networks, email etc
  • Improved Geolocation support
  • Session restore
  • Support native clipboard on Symbian 5th ed and Symbian^3
  • Support for half-screen keyboard on Symbian^3 phones

Full feature list is available here.  

Opera Mini is available as a native Symbian application now which means it has more RAM to access compared to the regular J2ME version. Opera Mobile has always been a native application.

Upon installation, it automatically detects the old version you have installed and saves all previous settings. I had to configure nothing, everything was already there.

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Opera Mini and Mobile now support Multi touch along with text wrapping when text is zoomed. It is now on the same level as iPhone browser.

I can share any webpage link on Facebook and Twitter now from within Opera. This is a really big time saver and I don’t have to copy paste links first to bit.ly mobile and then Gravity.

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Opera now supports split screen text input. In Symbian^3 currently it opens the regular T9 keypad but once PR2.0 comes out, we will have full split screen qwerty for text entry.

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When scrolling through long pages, during scroll a small button shows up clicking which you can scroll to the top of the page or bottom immediately.

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You can download Opera Mini and Mobile for your phones by going to m.opera.com in your device. The website will automatically detect your device and provide you links to download proper versions.

Picsel Smart Office: A better alternative to QuickOffice

If you are a user of Nokia phone, chances are that you are using QuickOffice to read your documents & PDFs which came bundled with your phone and you never bothered to look at anything better.

However, it looks like that QuickOffice is no longer paying attention to Symbian OS. There current version is very badly designed for touch screen devices. I wanted an application to read my files so I started looking at alternatives.

While looking for alternatives, I came across Picsel Smart Office. They have done a complete revamp of there application since the last time I used it in my Nokia N79. It is now available for Symbian^3, Android, iPhone, Bada and Windows Mobile.

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By far, it is the only Office suite I have found worth using in my Nokia N8. It reads PDFs as well as Office 2007 compatible files which is what most of us use anyway.

It also supports basic editing although that is tough on a touch screen phone due to the fact that there is no separate keyboard on N8. On Nokia E7, editing will be easy due to more precise keyboard & arrows keys for pointing exactly where you need.

There were some problems I faced though.

  • Multi touch doesn’t work in my N8 yet.
  • Few PowerPoint presentations with animation don’t render properly.
  • I cannot set it as the default viewer for Office documents as QuickOffice is default. I need to open the app first and then open the document from it.
  • The top toolbar should vanish when I am reading a document or PDF giving some more vertical space but still leave an icon overlaying on the top left side to bring it back to the screen.

Picsel Smart Office is better then any other office suite available for Symbian OS right now. I strongly recommend Picsel for reading purpose only unless you have a Nokia E7, Or Nokia N97 like phone with Keyboard.

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