Tag Archives: Technology

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.


Nokia-Battery-monitor1 

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.

Compare1

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

scr000071

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.

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.

Something for my sister, Nokia X2-01

So, on her recent trip to Delhi I couldn’t help but notice that my sister is still using the now 4 year old some Nokia phone whose modal number or name I don’t even remember.

I decided to give her a new phone. I started with a Blackberry but then she told me her requirements, which were very less compared to what I was expecting.

  1. Phone calls
  2. Listening to music saved in the phone or FM Radio.
  3. Text messages.
  4. Sometimes E-Mails. She doesn’t have GPRS activated as she has access to a computer anyway when she is in her office or at home. I activated it today for her.
  5. Camera for quick pictures but nothing to brag about. She carries a Sony Cybershot W80 in her handbag all the time anyway so a camera phone wasn’t her requirement.
  6. Good battery life as she is traveling mostly due to her job so access to a wall outlet for charging a phone is limited.
  7. Ability to sync with Outlook.

I started looking & showed her some phone on GSMArena but she said to select the cheapest available phone which can fulfil her requirements. At one time I even finalized Nokia C2-00. Yeah, she needed something that much simple & low end.

But I wanted to give her something good enough for the next few years without making her lifestyle complex. I decided Nokia X2-01 which I purchased from The Mobile Store for Rs 4,000. The shopkeeper thankfully bundled a 2 GB Memory card in the same cost as there was no memory card bundled with the phone.

As always, this isn’t a review of Nokia X2-01. If you want to a review then kindly read the one by GSMArena.

Connecting to the PC was easy. The USB port is hidden behind a rubber cover which is hard to remove. I would recommend using Bluetooth more often then USB cord for this phone.

Upon installation, X2-01 is detected as a Nokia C3. So, I am suspecting that both the phone have same platform. Nokia C3 is like X2-01 but with a different look, WiFi along with a 2 MP camera. Rest all is same.

Now, you must be thinking that it is a dumb phone & I should have opted for something better but think of the requirement my sister has. Why waste money to buy a phone with features she doesn’t use.

It is a simple phone. As simple as it can get. She liked it because now she can type SMS & mails faster then before. She also wanted photo calls, ability to manage contacts and SMS on a computer (via Ovi Suite), contacts backup (via Ovi Sync), and sync capability with her Outlook account on her laptop for contacts, meetings etc.

The phone is slow when it comes to running Java apps and there is no multitasking either. But she can very well listen to music playing in background while doing some lightweight browsing using Opera Mini 5.1. That is where her multitasking needs end.

The text rendering is good. The screen lacks high DPI like other touch screen phones available today but it good for her needs. Text is big enough with ability to increase the font size which she did.

The keyboard is easy to type on. Even I liked typing on this keyboard. There are dedicated music and message buttons, which was good for her.

SMS messages have a threaded conversation view like Nokia N8. Nokia Communities application is installed using which she can chat with friends on Google talk, check Facebook/Orkut etc.

I saved some of her most used contacts on the home screen with a notification bar & some application shortcuts as you can see in the picture above. In most cases her requirements will be limited to the apps you see on that screen above only.

Music playback is good. I was able to sync songs using Windows Media Player with album art supported in the phone. You can stream songs from a web server too. I didn’t check that option but it was there.

So, that is all folks. I found Nokia X2-01 to be a very good basic phone with a dirt cheap price tag.

The new mobile theme is alive

I am happy to announce that this blog is now compatible with smart phones and other smart devices. I just finished creating a custom theme which is similar to the current blog theme in look & feel but adjusts the blog automatically when viewed on a mobile device.

GX-mobile

For this I am using on few WordPress plugins and some tricks.

  1. WordPress Mobile Pack – This plugin automatically detects whether the user is viewing the blog from a mobile phone, smart device or a computer and depending on that it loads the mobile centric theme & layout.
  2. I had to disable Lightbox & Contact form 7 for mobile theme as they were loading JavaScript files which were not required in case of user reading the blog in a mobile phone. I am using a simple Wp-contactform for mobile view.
  3. You can contact me using the contact form whose link is given in the header as an email Icon. You can also find me on twitter, Facebook, Ovi, Flickr & LinkedIn using the links given in the footer.
  4. The theme is tested & working fine in Nokia browser, Android 2.1, iOS 3.0 & Opera Mini/Mobile. I request users to check my blog in as many devices as possible and let me know of any bug you encounter.
  5. The best way to read my blog is to subscribe to the RSS feed in your device using the RSS icon in the header. That will ensure that you get all my latest posts & updates delivered to your device automatically & with proper rendering for the device.

 

How I use my new toy….I mean Nokia N79

This is to inform everyone that I have shifted to a Nokia N8 & I am no longer using my Nokia N79. If you need some help, kindly look into the comments & in most cases, your problem might have been discussed before too.

alt

Since I use my phone for everything, I like to customize it. So far here is the list of all the applications I am using. I won’t be needing anything beyond these I guess. Most of these applications are freeware.

1) Opera Mini – Although Webkit is inbuilt but Opera Mini is still better & faster then Webkit & most importantly it saves lots of bandwidth & money when using over Pay-per-KB usage model usually available with Indian GSM Carriers. When I need to browser websites with a desktop like experience I use Opera 10. I use the Official GMail App for checking my GMail, and also the inbuilt mail client to check mails when I need to download attachment, send attachment etc.

2) For text chatting I use Slick & for Video Chat or Voice Chat over Skype & Google Talk I use Fring

3) For personal expanse management I use Best Expanse. It costs $12.

4) For downloading torrent files in the phone itself over Wi-Fi I am using SymTorrent.

5) I found a great application called WordMobi for managing WordPress blogs. I can write new posts, moderate comments, Delete comments, & reply to comments. It lacks the best UI out there but better then visiting the Dashboard using the inbuilt browser which is very small for this task.

Word Mobi & some other applications require the Python Runtime for Symbian S60, however, installing Python runtime on Nokia N79 is tricky so I recommend either using the inbuilt Nokia App update to download the latest version or downloading Python runtime 1.9.6 fixed or above from Maemo Garage. Keep in mind that all python applications should be installed on the same storage  where the runtime is installed.

6) Although I convert videos to native H.264 AVC based MP4 file before copying to phone, I still have CorePlayer installed in case I have a DivX encoded video to play.

7) Since I was having trouble installing unsigned applications, I installed SignSis & registered at symbiansigned.com to get my own certificate & published ID for my phone’s IMEI. Now I can sign any application in my phone itself, for my phone only.

8 ) The file manager of Symbian OS is good enough for my needs but I have also installed Y-Browser, just in case I need it.

9) For task manager, I use Handy Taskman. It’s quite good & simple & takes over when you press the Symbian menu key for some time. It costs $15.

10) Since N79 already has inbuilt search, I use it to search for information anywhere I am either on GPRS or Wi-Fi. It support searching on multiple search engines but I prefer to use Google.

11) To upload images & videos to Facebook & Twitter, I use Furtiv. It allows me to upload from the inbuilt Share online app of Nokia

12) I use Screenshots for Symbian to capture screen shots of my Mobile phone’s screen. Its quite simple & easy to use. Just start it & press the camera key for sometime & it takes a picture & saves it in memory card under a folder by the name screenshots.

13) For watching YouTube videos I use the official YouTube app for Symbian OS which can be downloaded by going to m.Google.com from your Nokia phone’s inbuilt browser.

14) If you want to use a picture with your contact which you will see when they call or you call then use Full screen caller.

You need to have good resolution pictures of all your contact if you want to use them. The screen resolution of N79 is 240X320 so ideal size which I have found for the picture is 120X160 pixel. Convert your contact’s picture to this dimension then use Nokia Ovi suite to attach the pic to a contact. On the next sync, the edited contacts will have the picture associated when they call.

15) When it comes to video conversion I use MediaShow Espresso on my PC to convert video with the following settings…

Video size = Keep the aspect ratio same, but reduce the size to 320X240. 16:9 Videos look contracted when converted to 4:3.

Video bit rate should be 384 kbps, H.264 AVC, keep the frame rate as original.

Audio = 128 kbps MP4 unless the source is having lower bit rate.

16) For Music sync, I simply use Windows Media Player which automatically syncs the song to the phone when connected in Media transfer mode.

17) Using Vectir I am able control my PC over a Bluetooth connection & control Windows Media Player, Media centre, Desktop etc. There is no need to buy a Media Centre remote now.

18) There is a great handy software called JoikuSpot Premium using which we can connect a PC to 3G internet of a Mobile phone. JoikuSpot turns your phone to a secure mobile WLAN Hotspot. No need for USB dongles, cables or Bluetooth. The light version is pretty much useless so premium is all you should buy if this is what you need. However, if you have Nokia Ovi Suite, you can also tether the connection.

Get more out of Windows Live Essentials : Photo Gallery

I have been using ACDSee for all my lite image editing tasks & management of over 4000 pictures since 2006, when I got my first camera Phone. But, the need for ACDSee reduced once I moved to Windows 7 with an evolved version of Microsoft Paint, a simple yet effective & good enough tool. I removed ACDSee as for my heavy Image editing tasks I already use Photoshop & for image management I now use Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Windows 7 has a simple Picture Viewer application inbuilt which supports basic image formats like JPG & PNG. Nearly four years ago, Windows Vista introduced a modern and extensible imaging framework called Windows Imaging Component (WIC). WIC made it possible for 3rd parties to add support for additional image formats to the operating system, complete with thumbnail views in Explorer, previews and slideshow in Windows Photo Gallery / Photo Viewer and on Window 7 Home Premium and Ultimate, also in Windows Media Centre.

Since I moved from ACDSee to Windows Live Photo Gallery for all my image management needs I was missing the ability to preview Photoshop PSD files. With ACDSee, such codec was already available, but there is no such codec available for Windows from Adobe due to which we cannot preview PSD files in Windows without having Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Bridge.

Preview helps, as most of the time I don’t want to edit the images, I just want to see which PSD is for what. I want a small preview, that’s all. If you have Photoshop installed then by default the PSD files will open in it which takes time to open such a big application & opening it just for a 10 second preview is again, useless. Thankfully, there is a way.

I found that Microsoft Expression Design 3 has the ability to import Photoshop PSD files in it, which means it has a compatible decoder codec. By using a simple trick you can enable preview of PSD files in Windows Explorer & Windows Photo Gallery.

  1. Expression Design 3 comes with a compatible PSD Decoder codec called PSDCodec.dll which can be found in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Common\Imaging\3.0.269.0
  2. If you do not have expression blend then just download the trial from here. Then Using 7-Zip, open ‘Blend_Trial_en.exe’ and in the ‘Setup’ subfolder, open ‘BlImp.cab’ then extract ‘PSDCodec.dll’. You can also download the codec from my skydrive.
  3. Keep the codec file somewhere safe in your PC. I recommend keeping in C:\program files\Codecs\
  4. Now register this dll by going to command prompt with Admin rights & run command “regsvr32 C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Common\Imaging\3.0.269.0\PSDCodec.dll”. The file path can depend on your installation of Expression Design.
  5. Right click on any PSD file & click on “Open with –> Windows Live Photo Gallery” & check the box below the application selection which says “Always use the selected program to open file of this type”.
  6. Now, when you will double click on the PSD file, it will open with Photo Gallery app & you will also be able to see each layer of the PSD file individually.

If you want even more codec support, consider buying FastPictureViewer Codec Pack 2.1R2

Now, that was just one trick. These days, people use many social networking services like Facebook & Twitter. How about uploading images to Facebook directly using Live Photo Gallery application? You can do that by using Live upload to Facebook. Once you install this plug-in, you will be able to upload to Facebook, by clicking on Publish in the toolbar & then “Live Upload to Facebook”. You will need to authenticate your account though which is a requirement of using Facebook.