Posts filed under Gadgets

Nokia N95

The Nokia E61i is old. Well, ever since I got a Nokia N95 from my boss. So no longer a privately owned phone (with a company SIM), but a new shiny N95 :).

First impression; plastic fantastic, but a fast plastic fantastic phone. A faster CPU, HSDPA instead of 'regular' UMTS, and a 'normal' keypad instead of a QWERTY keyboard (which is not an improvement!!)

The OS (Symbian S60) is the same as the OS on the E61i, so no real surprises on that part. Even the backup with Nokia Phone Manager restored on the N95. New features were also included;

  • upload images to Flickr
  • nokia maps
  • built-in GPS

The only real bummer is the lame Nokia Phone Manager software. That application just won't work properly (it could also be that the crappy Windows OS is helping a hand).

Posted on June 10, 2008 and filed under Gadgets, Hardware, Software, Symbian.

Nokia E61i Firmware Update

Early this week, I found a new firmware for my Nokia E61i (out since October 2007). The version I had was v1.x, and this one was v2.0633.65.01 (press *#000# on your E61 to see the current firmaware version). Updating goes through a separate application, but it should also be possible through download over the mobile network (I haven't tried this). All you need to know is explained on the Nokia website, but there are some thing you don't want to forget;
  • Use the Nokia Datasuite to create a FULL backup of the phone, because during the upgrade the phone goes back to factory defaults.
  • Have lot's of patience (and some deodorant handy)
  • Make sure the PC isn't doing anything else that might interfere with the update.
The first attempt failed for me. Even with all the warnings (DO NOT INTERRUPT THE UPDATING PROCESS OR DISCONNECT THE PHONE!!!) I rebooted the PC and disconnected the phone. Result, the phone didn't respond (this is where my deodorant came in). After this I restarted the upgrade process, and the phone got recognized (thankfully). After 10 minutes, the phone rebooted with the new firmware version. First action was to restore all data and settings on the phone. Since I had some issues with my network connectivity I decided to remove the Access Points and reconfigure them.... Well, don't. First of all, I wasn't able to receive the configuration parameters from the mobile operator (SMS 'ja' to 1300), so I had to reconfigure them manually. Their website has a step-by-step manual on configuring the E61i, but this didn't help either. MMS functionality remained absent, and none of the applications was able to connect to the Internet by itself. I had to initiate the connection manually before browsing the web. E-mail was even worse. Every time I had 'Packet Authentication' errors. So after a day I decided to restore the Access Points from my backup, and guess what... Everything worked again. And now for the thing that have changed (at least the ones that I've noticed);
  • the e-mail application seems more stable
  • camera and video are still crappy (the time between the snapshot sound and the actual capture is still multiple seconds)
  • Idle connections are terminated. This is a bad thing (for me at least), because I had my UMTS connection open all the time, and this way I received mail throughout the day. Now I have to connect each time I want to check my e-mail.
I haven't tried VoIP yet, but will try to do so soon (that's what happens when you don't pay for your own bills :-) ) Conclusion is that the phone didn't get better. There are some improvements, and there are some new annoyances. But my e-mail is stable at this moment.
Posted on March 15, 2008 and filed under Annoying, Gadgets, Software, Symbian.

GPS Logger Put to the Test

We went to the Hoge Veluwe in Gelderland last weekend for some 'serious' photography. This would be the first real trail for my GPS Logger (Qstarz BT1000).

At the 'start' I switched the logger to 'Log', and forgot about it completely during the day. The device did its work during the day. The real challenge came at home. Linking the GPS info to the photo's.....

The software for adding the GPS data to the photo's was 'GPSPhotoLinker' (remember that I use a Mac). Unfortunately, the software kept crashing when I tried to combine GPS data and the images. Possible reason could be the large NEF (Nikon RAW) files, because the crash happened every third image.
So the search for an alternative started, and I quickly found 'PhotoGPSEditor' (also DonationWare). This tool could also manipulate NEF files.

Adding the GPS info was relatively easy with this software (GPSPhotoLinker is more intuitive IMO). After that I imported the photo's in Adobe Lightroom, which showed the GPS data in the Metadata section of Lightroom (you can see the map location when you click on the arrow behind the GPS coordinates.

Just click on the following picture, to see when and where it was taken.

Hoge Veluwe Panorama

The complete set can be seen here.

Posted on February 18, 2008 and filed under Gadgets, Photography, Software.

Google Maps and Nokia e61i

A couple of weeks ago, I was pointed towards Google Maps on my Nokia e61i (I got a download link when I visited on my mobile). After downloading and installing it (which was very easy), I started the application (which was hiding under Menu -> Installations -> Google Maps). Most basic features are available on the phone app (directions, searching for restaurants etc., Zoom in and out), and there's the possibility of positioning yourself on the map by using cellular positioning. Thankfully, this is done for you by the application. Downside is that it's not that accurate. In my case, I could be anywhere in a 1.7 mile radius circle. It's also possible to use a GPS mouse (which I recently bought) for your location. The neat thing is that you can see yourself walk across the map (or drive if you're by car). This is an excellent application. These is one downside... Google Maps is using a constant Internet connection to update the maps, so make sure you have some sort of flat fee data service (or use wifi when available). Otherwise you might be in for a surprise when you receive your phone bill.
Posted on February 5, 2008 and filed under Fun, Gadgets, Personal, Software, Symbian.

GPS Travel Recorder on Apple OSX

A while ago I started a search for a GPS Data Logger which I can use for adding GPS coordinates to my photo's. The current status is that most of those devices are Windows only. The few that might be OSX compatible aren't sold in the Netherlands (yet). So I had to find an alternative. There is a sourceforge project called 'MTK GPS Data Logger Device Control' which facilitates certain GPS (chipset) devices to function on multiple platforms. So my best guess would be to buy one of those 'supported' GPS Data Loggers. Due to availability, I bought the Qstarz BT-1000. It's a GPS mouse with navigation and logging capabilities. First I had to make sure that the device was actually working properly, so I installed the driver and software in a Windows XP Virtual Machine. This was quite easy, and the unit seemed to work properly. Next thing was to install the opensource program to allow communication between the GPS unit and OSX Leopard. To get it to work on OSX you need to follow a installation manual. Something I'm not used to :). Needless to say that it took a bit longer than expected. First of all, you'll need the software from the sourceforge website. Second, you need SuperWaba files (free registration is required) [these files seemed to be present in the download package from sourceforge], and the USB driver. After that you need to follow the instructions in the README.txt provided in the sourceforge package. Note that the script information on the forum has been superseded by the README.txt in the downloadfile (use the provided bt747_macosX.command from the sourceforge download package instead). Eventually, you'll end up with a directory structure whick looks something like this:

Applications / GPS Folder layout

Run the bt747_macosX.command file to start the application. One thing I must mention is that somewhere along the lines is the mention of using TextEdit to alter (script)files. Do NOT forget to remove the formatting on the files before saving. You might end up with scriptsfiles containing some markup stuff.... And this means that you might be getting some weird error messages.


Anyway, the interface is still very simple, but you have access to lots of features. The actual manual for the application is available on Google Docs.
Posted on February 5, 2008 and filed under Apple, Gadgets, Hardware, Photography.

GPS Loggers and Macs

I've been looking for a GPS logger for a couple of months. A GPS logger can be used for attaching GPS information to your digital photos. This way, you can display your photos on publicly accessible maps in Flickr or Google Earth. More and more of those GPS loggers are surfacing on the market [Sony GPS-CS1 / GPS-CS1KA, Globalsat DG-100, Qstarz BT Q-1000, GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr, WBT-201]. But they all have one problem; None of them seem to work (natively) with an Intel Mac running Leopard (source). Some of them require open-source drivers to function. The downside of that is that an update from Apple or an updated firmware in the GPS logger might cripple the functionality. Why is it that GPS manufacturers won't create a GPS (logger) device that simply works on both platforms. It couldn't be that hard. Just create a GPS device that is also recognized as a external drive, containing the raw GPS data in the most common format (e.g. NMEA). This way even the Linux users are not left out.
Posted on December 28, 2007 and filed under Annoying, Apple, Gadgets, Hardware.

iPhone Bricking. Who's to Blame?

Still, it's not official if the latest update is bricking the iPhone. Reports are mixed on the several Apple related sites. This might mean that even less people than you might think had converted their iPhone. One would think that if thousands of people had removed the simlock, that the reports are pooring in. But they don't (so far). Another possibility is that everyone is waiting to see what really happens. Apple could have avoided this be making sure that everyone who buys an iPhone also gets a carrier subscription before they leave the store. But somehow this wasn't the case. It was possible to buy the iPhone, take it home, and choose the subscription when you activate it. This leaves lot's of room to find way around the AT&T carrier service. And this is what's happening. Apple (and AT&T) wouldn't mind as much if every unlocked phone had an AT&T carrier subscription with it. Hell, they will get their (monthly) money anyway. No matter what SIM is inserted. So, I can't blame the users for unlocking their phones. And I can understand the measures Apple is taking, cause they might be loosing money on those unlocked phones. But they somehow let it happen by releasing unactivated phones into the wild. Knowing the nature of the average resident of the United "I will see you in court" States this hasn't ended yet :-) B.t.w., here in the Netherlands, it's quite normal to sign a contract before you get the 'sponsored' phone. After that they don't care what you do with the phone. The carrier gets his money for the next (couple of) years no matter what.
Posted on September 28, 2007 and filed under Apple, Gadgets, Hardware.

iPhone Coming to Europe?

Apple had scheduled a special event in London this Tuesday (September 18th). Rumors are that the European iPhone is being announced. As you might have read, I started saving money for 'my' iPhone when it's arriving here in Holland. But I'm not so sure any more. First, my cellphone provider (KPN) isn't mentioned (yet) among those who MIGHT sell it. Second, the phone must be simlock free (see the first reason), because I already have a SIM, with all the goodies enabled (GPRS, UMTS, HSDPA, etc.), and it's being 'paid' for by my employer. Third, I kinda like my Nokia E61i. It's got a keyboard. I can surf the web, and access my (private) e-mail. And ever since I got the Nokia, I haven't watched a single movie on it, or listened to a mp3 (on the phone). Guess I'll be saving my money for a iPod touch. Just in case my iPod photo (20GB) goes up in smoke.
Posted on September 14, 2007 and filed under Apple, Gadgets.

Choices, and Even More Choices

Yesterday, Apple Launch a complete new line of music players. Every player is renewed. The biggest changes are: As I might have mentioned my 'old' iPod Photo 20GB is acting up, so I was kinda going to buy me a new one, but which one do I want? The iPhone touch is just gorgeous, but the iPod Classic holds ton's of music and video's...... *sigh*. Guess I have to let fate decide....
Posted on September 6, 2007 and filed under Annoying, Apple, Gadgets, Hardware, Personal.