Google latitude blip – I’m not in Liberia.

I was sat in Frankfurt airport late on Friday evening when I fired up Google’s latitude to see where folks were. When I fired the app up, i tend to use the network location feature as opposed to GPS to preserve battery, but I had a bit of a shock when it located me in Liberia, West Africa.

Apologies for the rather fuzzy pic, but I didn’t have a screenshot app installed so use the N95 to snap the E71.

Crapberry replaced by N95

A while back the wife wanted to her replace her ageing Sony Ericsson with a new phone that could sync her calendar and get emails instantly. I wanted her to have a Nokia but she wasn’t bothered and the only device that could sync emails instantly and sync Google calendar without manual intervention was the Blackberry.

So she got a Blackberry Pearl,yes it syncs emails instantly but it also alerts you when you send email The sync of contacts from ZYB was a disaster and the menu system on it is just horrendous.

I have to confess that I’d never had a Blackberry and having try out every other Mobile Phone OS was keen to give the much vaunted Blackberry a whirl. I spent a considerable amount of time setting the device up and exploring the menu system. Once click and your into text only menu systems with no clear structure or clarity.

Well the device lasted about 3 months, we were travelling home when I received a text, whilst I was driving and the good wife was the passenger, she read the message to me. Whilst reading the message she explored the menu’s on my N95 8GB and declared that this was a proper phone and the crapberry had to go.

So the Crapberry has been replace with my old N95-1 which has been tweaked to a rather lady like theme and twinkly ring tone. I’ve asked Squemster to write a review of her experiences with the Blackberry. I know my experience with the device was horrendous I sure hope the latest devices have moved forward from the stinker that this the Blackberry Pearl.

E71 new firmware – the camera still poor

Nokia released new firmware for the E71 Euro, v200.21.118 last week, there’s a change log here. The new firmware makes the browser much much faster and adds a couple of new themes which are nice. It looks like a major upgrade and worth the effort of the upgrade.

But there’s still one major flaw with the E71, the camera, it’s shocking, there’s still a purple tint to photo’s and they are still very very grainy in low light. The E71 has a 3.2mp camera just like the N73 had, but the N73s camera was aweome, truly awesome. I read a while back that the 3.2mp unit in the E71 is a much lower spec unit and used to keep the costs down.

My devices must perform three functions well, take calls and not crash and last for 2 days without charging, be good at messaging and emails and replace my point and shoot camera. The N95 still performs all those tasks well, with the battery being the weakest point. The E71 performs the first two requirements really well, but the third requirement of being a decent camera, it just fails.

I’ve just picked up an N95 8gb to address the weaker battery of my N95 classic, so I’ve got 4 devices on the go right now, my N95-1, my E71 and my E61i, but I expect the N95 8gb to be the device that I never put down.

Connection Managers for S60

I’ve been playing with the two main connection managers for S60, Psiloc Connect and Birdsteps Connect. The idea of these apps is that they manage the connection your apps use, for example when at home they will prefer the faster wi-fi, but when there’s no wi-fi i.e. when you’re out and about, they switch to 3G.

So they make chosing which connection a set and forget expierence and they also help when you travel as you can remove the GSM access point from the list and only use wi-fi thus reducing the cost.

The Birdstep app is available for free in Downloads on the e-series devices, which is where I first found it. Birdstep’s app let’s your create an access group and uses that to manage your connections, so if you set your home wi-fi as your top access point it’ll allways try that first.

The plus point with the birdstep app, smart connect has an advantage over Psiloc’s app, in that it appears in the access list group as a GSM access point. Psiloc’s app appears as a wi-fi access point in the list, this causes a problem for those apps that only allow GSM access points to be used. The S60 Jaiku app for one, doesn’t work with the Psiloc app as it doesn’t use wi-fi access points. The jaiku S60 app uses the birdstep app just fine.

So with Birdstep you can set all your apps to be managed and use the quiker and less power draining wi-fi whilst at home. Whereas the Psiloc app can only manage those apps that can use any access point.

As regards roaming across access points, I’m not sure if this works for the Psiloc app, but I know it doesn’t with the free birdstep app. I was hoping that it allowed my device to roam seamlessly from wi-fi when I stepped outside and the back to wi-fi when i returned. That doesn’t happed with the free Birdstep app, it just sticks on GSM.

I’m going to try out the full birdstep app, smartroam on my phone in the next day or so see how that deals with roaming. The web site indicates it roams seamlessly and doesn’t require any intervention interms of network selection.

So if you’re always switching networks and want an app to manage the connection selection for you give either one of these apps a try.

Nokia Music app is a fail

I installed the Nokia Music App v1.0 a few days back to give it a try and see if I could manage my music on my E71 using it.

The clue here is version 1.0, that’s the key point, it’s the first version and it’s shockingly bad. The music sync is so slow and constantly fails. So updating the E71 with new music was a painful experience.

The killer reason it’s been wiped from my Netbook is I when fired up my booted yesterday, it got stuck in a hideous loop and wouldn’t load or install the new version it stated I needed to install. A trip to the Nokia web site and a download of the latest version fixed it.

The whole experience has further tainted my experience of Nokia software. The Nokia PC suite is about as flaky as it gets, it used to be good now it’s rubbish. The best app ever from Nokia was lifeblog, which was great, but that’s been sidelined. Nokia is going to have to shape up if it’s going to move into software. The PC software is an important part of the experience these days, so a badly implemented solution is going to turn people off from Nokia, just look at Apple’s iTunes integration.

There are some other Nokia software horror stories bouncing around, messing up people’s OVi sign on’s, the whole OVi strategy is a mess though.

Anyway, I’ll just sideload music directly onto the E71 from now, on come on Nokia sort it out.

Nokia FM Transmitter CA-300

You may have noticed I’ve been offline a little of late, well it’s been my Birthday so I’ve been taking it easy. One thing I have been testing (besides the E63) is Nokia’s FM Transmitter the CA-300. I already have a Belkin iPod transmitter that I use for my iPod, which I prefer over the built in iPod doc of my car.

Having been recently downloading podcasts to my E71, I thought it’d be great to be able to listen to them in the car and get new podcasts while out and about and away from the desktop with iTunes on.

The CA-300 is a little bigger than the Belkin iPod FM transmitter due to the retractable lead casing at the top of the power connector. The leads are pretty straight forward, one for power, so it’s nice to have a fully charged device when you step out of the car, and the other plugs into the 2.5mm headphones jack, there’s an adapter so it can fit both 2.5mm and 35mm.

It’s a little messier than the simple Belkin device as that just has the phone connector, compared to the CA-300’s two, but it works just the same. The sound quality is fine and setting it up was a breeze, I tend to use 105mhz, seems to work best in most parts of the country.

So if you’re going to pick up a car charger and you listen to podcasts, go one step further and pick up the CA-300 and tune in to podcasts or your music on your car stereo.

E63 your questions answered

Following on from the other E63 posts I’m going to answer the questions in one go…

First up from sarvajeet does the E63 support 8gb, the answer is yes see the photo below.

The next question I was asked was again by sarvajeet and it was related to the speaker on the E63. The speaker is as good as the E71, I wouldn’t say it was an improvement but it works well on speaker phone calls, the voice is loud and clear so now problem there. I wouldn’t less to music through it on the E63, but I wouldn’t listen to music through the speaker on the E71 either.

The final question asked was does the E63 let Nokia email and Jaiku play nicely by Bernie Goldbach. I was interested in this too. What I’ve noticed and its why Bernie was asking was that on the E71 ( and I think Bernie has an E90) Those apps don’t play nicely, they refuse to use the same data connection. What I find is that whilst the two are running on my E71, jaiku won’t update, so when you open the native S60 app it takes some time while it updates itself using the data connection. Alternatively, the Nokia email wont sync even when it’s on the push setting, you notice this when you go to your desktop and there’s new mail in gmail, but it’s not on our phone.

Well, during my testing both apps have played nicely on the E63, I’ve been running both apps full time, Email on push and Jaiku on ‘most up to date’ so both are busy synching at minute intervals, there hasn’t been any issues. Both have worked flawlessly, I never experienced either of the issues I have on the E71.

I can only speculate that the E63 has a slightly different firmware to the E71 which prevents the problem from occurring. The E71 is about to get a new firmware any day now, it’s published but it hasn’t hit the NSU yet, well not for me any way.

So, I’ve answered all the questions left on the blog posts, I still like the device and the keyboard is still a real winner. I’m not having mush fun with wi-fi right now, but i dont know it that’s because it’s a pre-production model or something I dont know. I can’t get Truphone to install either, I really don’t know why, so can’t test the VoIP functionality of the device which is a shame, maybe some one from Truphone will get in touch.