Salling Clicker – iTunes remote control through your phone

May 29, 2007

When I first got my N80 I loved the idea Nokia had of being able to use the wifi to remote control your PC and play video and all that wonderful stuff.  What Simon didn’t love was that the software used to make it all work was slow and shonky.  It would take days to find the songs and videos, hours starting up seeing if anything new is there, minutes to respond to anything you told it to do and seconds to eat up half the memory you had to just sit there and do nothing. Very very shoddy and horrible to use.

So I read about this here Salling Clicker mobile thang and am cautious but you know hey its a Monday bank holiday, if you cant go crazy then, then when can you. Armed with my sense of adventure I give it a go, it supported my N80, that was a good start, it sorted out all the what to install for me, lovely, so I fire it up and connect using the Wifi. Right away on my phone I can choose iTunes, Media Player or Powerpoint, I choose iTunes and holy crap my PC fires up iTunes and its good to go, you even get a little iPod style display on the phone to use, awesome.

Using the trial version is a pain in the arse as it disconnects after 30 commands but I’ll give it a go and see if I actually end up using it. I think I will as I hate leaving the kitchen to skip tracks while cooking, I’m just glad someone made this program well enough to only use 10meg of memory so I’m happy to leave it in the background. Simon is a happy techie.


Seven cool little things about the Nokia N80

November 16, 2006

I was hoping to have found a few more things digging around this phone by now but hey it’s not as if I’m under a deadline or anything and I’ve written enough about what I don’t like so here a few things I found that I really like about my N80 🙂

  • Holding the menu down to see whats running

This really is the life saver most people do not know about, been thrown back to the main menu in the middle of an application? hold down the menu button, it will list every application the phone is running, kind of like the task manager in windows. More importantly you can select to close down an application if it has crashed. Very handy.

  • Holding the quick menu button opens the gallery

When you press the quick menu button, the one with the 4 arrows pointing away, this called the multimedia key which took me a while to figure out when customising the quick menu itself. By default it will send you to the media options of your phone, I wish it would send you straight to your pictures but hey close enough, and cool to know when you want to show someone a photo.

  • Faster MiniSD card, faster N80.

This was the case with the old firmware anyway, V3.014, possibly not so much now with V4 as it is pretty nippy by comparison. While using V3.014 and the default SD card seemed to hold operations back slightly. Was worth going for a faster, larger card, seemed to help.

This little app keeps the camera `Flash` on which can be kinda handy when stumbling around somewhere, worth getting.

This god-send of an app lets you run bittorrent off your phone, it is still in development (as is all open source stuff) and does not seem to be to willing to upload back, despite now supporting incoming connections, to other users at the moment but it does download perfectly. It seems to currently not like reseeding a torrent after you’ve finished it aswell. But anywho shove a large flash card into the phone and you got your self pretty much the lowest power bittorrent client known to man 🙂

Yet to really use this but I have tried and it is quite good, I havn’t had time to find the right settings to convert my videos to play on the phone (and the bundled converter in demo mode black and whites the videos every 30 seconds which defeats the whole point of a demo I feel) but when I have solved this, no lunchtime will ever be without Dragonball and Family Guy ever again, woo 🙂

  •   Holding down the right menu button turns on Speech Recognition

This is quite possibly the best speech recognition I have used to date, my last encounters with SR was a few years ago back in the days of good old train your voice and it barely works method.  Now it seems you do not need to train it to your voice, it just kinda works. Just hold down the top right menu button and say the name of who you want to ring or SILENT to put it into silent or BLUETOOTH to turn on or off the bluetooth. I would say when it’s noisey, like on a street, it will not work but when it is quiet and everyone in the area has maximum chance of knowing what your are doing it works like a charm. Of course you will look like a tit when it goes wrong but it is all worth it when you can bathe in the glory of having activated your bluetooth on a whim and just as easily turn it off with the power of your own sultry tones. Marvelous.


Nokia’s N80 Firmware 4.0623.0.41

October 25, 2006

Having recently been able to update my N80 using the Nokia Phone Software Update from the release V3.0614 to V4.0623 there appear to be some very noticeable changes. I think perhaps the most interesting of them is that the phone actually appears to work, it has been 5 days and I have not had a crash yet despite my best efforts of even using it’s dreaded internet browser.  Inspite of the problems I have had with this phone the geek in me still loves that it is now mostly fixed.

The first thing you notice with the new firmware is that the menus do consistently pop up quicker rather than taking their sweet time in with the older dog slow version, that in itself makes you feel a lot more confident in using this thing.  Exploring a little deeper into the menus and I suddenly find that Nokia / Orange have taken their time to preinstall an anti virus program, Adobe Acrobat, Local Search utility and Orange TV.  I’d just to step aside here to ask, Orange TV? If Orange are charging me £4 for 4MB I certainly bet that they would want me to stream video over that but I don’t think I can ever seeing me urgently wanting to watch an indistinguishably rubbish picture for half an hour and pay £40 for the privilege, sorry Orange.  Any who Adobe, thanks probably won’t be using that, Anti-virus ok you never know but the last thing I want to do is make my N80 slower and last the Local Search, humm how interesting.  Having spent 5 minutes setting the program up and having a quick go I can see how this could be useful, its 2 in the morning and I need to get a taxi from somewhere new and scary and not a yellow pages between any of the bouncers, not a problem my phone will tell me.  I think time will tell if a situation arises for that app to prove it self.

Using the Home Network Media thing again, I was very suprised, it didn’t take half an hour to list 10 items, my network/computer/files came up in no time at all.  Unfortunetly the PC software is still absolutley appalling in every conceivable way, clunky, VERY slow, memory hungery and awkward to use.  Not a chance in hell that software is sitting on my desktop when I’ve got Oblivion sucking the very life from my system or in fact ever.  The phone side of it appears sorted however which is nice to know.

Reading about the rumors of improved battery life I am yet to be convinced as my first charge lasted the usual 2.5 days although that was with two good half hour sessions playing with the wifi so maybe, just maybe.  Its been a day and a half since its last charge and still on all six bars although I am sure it will do its usual 3 bar drop in a day soon enough, time will tell.

Camera wise I remember in low light conditions the image was very noisy but then again thats the way it is.  The camera does appear be to not as noisy as I remember however it could just be me setting up the conditions.  Once again the next drunken photo taken with the N80 will prove this point or not.  I was hoping the new firmware would remember the last settings you put the camera in but it appears not.  One day maybe.

A little change I noticed was that the writing text messages text is not in BOLD which was a good move as I hadn’t realised I was squinting slightly reading the txt I was writing.  It is just a shame that you still get a brief flash of the messages menu when starting up to write a message, just seems a little unprofessional, if I would have programmed that software I would have seen indirectly accessing the write message bit as a bit of a hack, but hey ho.

Just to mention the voice recognition, I am not sure if that is new or I just missed it for 5 months but wow, a system that very consistently recognises your voice commands in quiet conditions without training it first, very nice.  Its very satisfying trying this out for the first time, just holding the phone and saying someones name in your phone book and off it dials, very cool.

So yeh, first impressions are good, the phone feels a lot more solid and reliable, if only Nokia had held the release on for more 5 months. Shame.


My Big’ol Orange N80’s Firmware Update

October 21, 2006

Ah the Nokia N80, my N80, what a journey. I have never made buying the things I like easy on myself, I always want something that is new and complicated and probably doesn’t work yet and I always enjoy getting those things working as I learn about it in the process. Unfortunatly for me it seems I was a victim of timing and bought an N80 from Orange a bit too soon. What is all boils down to the software on the phone, the firmware, and a few little numbers that pop up when you dial *#0000# that suddenly make a difference as to whether your phone works or not. I was unfortunate enough to have the numer `3.0614.0.3` back in June I would have needed 3.0617.0.6 to fix my problems and the most current one (22.10.2006) `4.0623.0.41` apparently make the phone work pretty well.

The Nokia Software Update site finally listed the N80, 5 months into owning the phone, but then this software tells me `No updates are currently available` which I know is a lie, but soon find out that because of Orange’s own brand of firmware Nokia’s program won’t fix my problems. Having recently moved I was finally near a shop that would update my phone for me and so off I go and they do and I smile. Well I smile until I find that they have only updated my N80 to `3.0617.0.6` which is a start but probably wouldn’t have solved my problems entirely. Slightly annoyed I get back to my computer and restore my phone’s contacts, out of curiosity I try the Nokia Software Update again and all of a sudden it says I have an update available. It could have been the software suddenly works with Orange phones but far more likely the update I got instore opened up the phone for updating by the software. I flashed the phone and bamm I finally had the newest version which supposedly fixes my N80 up proper.

So basically if the Software Update program dosn’t like your phone try and get a shop update which will probably only up to version 3.0617.0.6 as Orange has not currently authorised any higher version (as of 22.10.2006). Then try the Nokia Software Update program again and at least in my case, I was sent version `4.0623.0.41`. Problem solved.


Disabling Orange’s Photo Service on the Noka N80

July 23, 2006

I only found this out while messing around with the phone a while ago.  It certainly was not documented clearly anywhere cause Orange wants you to upload all these photos everywhere and spend lots of money. Not me, no sir, I got Flickr for all that stuff.  I did not see any instructions for this on the Internet either and assumed it could not be removed.  Turning this service off take away the annoying menu post photo and also speeds up turning on the camera as it dosn’t have to load up Orange’s photo service.  Nice.

Basically:

  1. Go to Menu
  2. Select `My Own` (oh the irony)
  3. `Photography`
  4. Accept their T&C
  5. Click `options` with the left selection button
  6. `Settings`
  7. Select `Camera Prompt` and `Yes` to change setting
  8. Select `Auto Start` and `Yes` to change setting
  9. Select `Disable Photography Service` and `Yes` to change setting

And your done.  Do not go back into the photography application though otherwise it will default those options back on and you will have to do this again.


Nokia N80, why you should & shouldn’t

July 11, 2006

I’ve had this little monster for quite a few weeks now and have began to loose the initial ohhh factor I get when ever I buy anything.  I have given up my inconvenient but 0 cost arrangement of my old 6230 and moved on up, but was it worth it?

First reason why you shouldn’t, well if you don’t care about your phone being able to use the net, watch DivX and Flash videos, play mp3s, listen to the radio, use messenger, read email, wirelessly connect to your media centre, play 3D games, take `reasonable` photos, work on Office documents and make you a better person then you should probably not get this phone.  If your like me and revel in the fact that you’ve got a mini computer in your pocket then your going to love it.

You can search anywhere and find a list of specs on what the N80 is and can do, but you rarely see a list of what it does that is good enough to actually be useful. So, what makes this thing good:

  • The Internet browser is actually quite good and once you’ve figured out the buttons it’s actually quite good.
  • To some extent the Camera, look on my Flickr photos, you’ll see lots of the usual rubbish camera phone style indoor shots, eg Vics BBQ, but the outdoor shots went way beyond what I expected from a phone, eg Thorpe Park.
  • My large manly fingers have had problems with phone keypads ever since my 3210, my minute Samsung A300 was a nightmare but this keypad is excellent, feels nice and solid and not chance of missing a button on this thing
  • The screen is really sharp and a pretty decent size for looking at photos.
  • Dosn’t feel too heavy in my pocket, 132g is borderline i’d say, but not uncomfortable, this is my main plus about the phone as I hate heavy phones since my P800 brick.
  • Its a frickin Smartphone that isnt enormous.

The things that bug me about it:

  • The battery life, the specs say 8 days, I do not know where Nokia got that from but it is a huge huge lie.  With it sitting there doing nothing I have got 4 almost 5 days, day to day use 2-3 max.  I’ve gotten used to having to charge it after the 2nd day now.  I suppose I was spoilt with my 6230’s 10 days.
  • The blinking blue light when it is in stand by mode, come on Nokia, I know I haven’t turned my phone off, I don’t need a reminder in the corner of my eye every 5 seconds.
  • Out of memory errors, supposedly fixed when you upgrade the phone’s software which I have not yet done, but as a developer I fail to see how such an obvious bug was not noticed.
  • As it is an Orange phone, Orange saw it fit to add a little message asking if I want to send a photo I’ve just taken over their expensive extra service and no option to turn it off.  Suprisingly I do not want to do this, quit bugging me. ahhhh.
  • The Nokia music software is just plain rubbish, I use iTunes alot and swear by it, Nokia’s attempt at a music manager is laughably awkward and just plain SLOW SLOW SLOW, I just put the music on there manually.
  • I also found Nokia’s Music Centre to be just plain slow and awefullly done, for a program that is supposed to sit there until its needed, taking up 80 MB of memory just seems ridiculous.  Also connecting to the Media Centre on the phone is very slow and takes a good 10 seconds before the computer responds.  How ever this could just be because of my network, I have not used this function a lot yet.

Ok so thats my little breakdown of things that I love and loath about the N80.  In its defence though most of the loathes are fixable and the battery life is fair enough considering what the phone is doing with a teeny battery.

After having had this phone for a while now I’m glad it was not another one of my stupid haze of crazy-fog buys, isnt too big, isnt annoying to use and once more cool programs come out for it I’m sure I won’t shutup about it 🙂

Photos taken Outside

Photos taken Inside-ish


Nokia N80

June 1, 2006

Wooooo, I’ve finally got it, woooooo. Two seconds to decide on the phone, three weeks of searching for a suitable tarrif, two days to deliver and a whole lotta fun for a whole lotta time, my new phone the Nokia N80 smartphone.

My previous experience with a smart phone was an expensive, fun but ultimately unsucessful one. My Sony Erricson P800 cost a fortune was bigger than I thought and pretty much unhelpful as an actual phone. I spent £340 outright for the phone then used my Orange payg in there, I then proceeded to buy the memory stick and the memory stick reader and the case and the screen protector and a few bits of software for it. All in all quite a bit of money for something that I then sold a few months later for, yep you guessed it, £340 after I realised I stopped taking it out as it was not comfortable. But I had good clean geeky fun, which is surely the whole point. I had learned my lesson, don’t go crazy over something shiny without thinking if I actually wanted it or not.

As posted last week, after having gone crazy over something shiny, I finally had it in the show room and decided all calm and collected like, that I physically needed that phone for the sake of all that is good and pure. After my `set back` I had time to decide properly about the phone and concluded that I wanit I wanit I wanit and that in fact it is only a little bit bigger than my 6230 and actually looks like a phone aswell, which was a plus. With my 2nd trip to phones4u resulting in a sucession of initally heavy handed sales people getting very confused after the word Smart-phone, offering deals that required more and more math to equate the total cost, I decided to get out with my life and go with Orange online. £25/m, £50 phone, shiny thing in Simon’s grubby little hands, nice.

Where was I, oh yeh, so I got a new phone, there isnt much it can’t do to be honest. Its a 3mp Camera, but who cares right cause all camera phone photos look rubbish, its a radio, its an mp3 player, its a video player, its a games console, hell it can be a frickin server on my wireless network if i set it up right. Oh and it’ll make ringing noises and vibrate at random times in the day, yet to figure out why. Stay posted.

But all those things pale in comparison to what I really want it for, GPS in Simon’s, also very shiny all over, car. I’ve read about phone GPS stuff and people have said that its all good and just as useful as the standalone GPS units, so off I go. Gone will be the days of watching Hywel speed off into the night in central Birmingham after a nationals with me having absolutly no clue where to go, woo.

From what I’ve played with so far I really really really like this phone, it’s comfortable to hold use and carry and purdy to look at. The screen is an ok size but very clear, it’s great how a light sensor makes the backlight darker or lighter depending how bright it is. The photos even come up looking reasonably good (for camera phones photos) when taken in automatic, will post some later. I have not managed to setup the internet through Orange yet but through the house Wifi having Google on your phone is something to feel very smug about I feel, pub quizes here I come ;). Since I last saw the symbian OS, the OS on the P800 and this N80, its come a long way and the programs people have made are a lot more funky and useful from what I’ve been reading any way. Will get back to those at some point when I’ve had a chance to play.

If I was going to gripe about something, it would be the response time to using the basic stuff, a few times I’ve had to wait a few seconds for a text message to come up other times its been instant, i’m sure it’ll be ok once I’ve sorted it out. Using it really quite a lot for about 6 hours I found that the battery was on 2 bars out of 7 which annoyed me a bit but I suppose I have had the Wifi and bluetooth on for most of that time so I blame me entirely for that. Oh and when its in standby mode it wants to blink a bright blue light at me so I have to turn it face down which is kind of annoying. I really doubt it that will be enough to make this another P800 though, will it, no, will it? ahhh..

Time will tell if once I’m past all the `ohhhhh` factor of it, if I actually end up using all this stuff on this thing, I really hope so as its very pretty 🙂