Sunday, December 10, 2006

More bugs

A popular web site dedicated to online bets shows this information for NBA games this morning:

I had not seen a NaN in the web for ages and it reminds me my first bugs in software programmed in C when studying first courses of computers sciences :-)

Besides, the 1X2 signs are useful for football games where both teams can tie the match, but not in basketball games since several years ago (and I think that it was never allowed in NBA games).

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Unforgivable bug

Some days ago, I closed and opened again S60 3rd edition web browser and it stopped working. I get nothing but a message saying "Web: Already in use" since then. It seems to be a problem quite often found in this browser. The only fix found seems to be a "hard reset" of the phone or a firmware upgrade. I hope Nokia works on it in future versions of the browser.

As I won't update firmware until I manage to force a version including support for Spanish language (see this post to know why), I cannot fix it with the latter option. And, dear friends at Nokia, I cannot hard reset everytime that an application gets corrupted.

I will try to seek for any file playing the role of a lock by using Y-Browser or SExplorer. Anyway, I do not feel confident to succeed, taking into account that no one else seems to get it working again but by using any of both previously commented methods.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mobile thieves

Have you ever tried to get software, ringtones, themes and so on via SMS for your mobile phone? Have you then realized it did not work for your phone? I was watching weather forecast this afternoon in Antena 3 TV and the weather guy started offering a weather forecast tool for mobile phones. You can get it by just sending a word to a phone number. I had already heard of those companies sending stuff after a chain of SMS asking for the brand and model of your phone but... I had only 6€ left charged in my pre-paid card and I was in the mood to try how serious Antena 3 is.

Previously, I had read that each message cost 1€ and something (I could not read the whole number thanks to the small font used to inform about such an important thing). Well, not much to lose anyway.

After sending the first message, I received an SMS telling me to respond sending a new SMS containing the brand of my mobile phone :-)

I sent it and afterwards I was told to send the exact model of my mobile phone. The answer was that the software was not available for my phone.

The application looked like a JavaME app as it was shoen on TV. There are ways to make Java applications for mobile phones regardless of screen size. My N80 supports every JavaME API needed to communicate with a server and get weather information. There are nice tools to help you to serve the same application to different MID devices (J2ME Polish is one of them). Besides, all the "complex" information could be asked in one single message :-) and the cost of the SMS might be lower if your phone is not supported.

What really worries me is not me losing some few euros (I knew the big chances to fail but I decided to play)... it is those kind of behaviours supported by important companies and stopping people from using their mobile phones for more than voice calls.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I need a firmware update

Yes, but not in my N80 or any other gadget I own.

My car (Citroen C4) stopped working last friday. No response to remote control to open door. Anti-theft system reported not to be working by the boot-up diagnose system. When trying to kickstart the engine, it wanted to but looked like no fuel was injected.

2nd key was kindly sent to me by my father and, although diagnose system stopped reporting the problem with anti-theft system, the engine could not be put to work.

Over 1 hour and a half waiting for the assistance and the guy fixed it quickly. He explained to me what he had done: remove one of the terminals of the battery and connect it again after some seconds.

Does it sound to you? When it freezes, just push reset button :-)

Any firmware upgrade fixing this bug? ;-) I was told that first Ford Focus cars managed to consume almost a 20% less by upgrading firmware.

It was all so easy when cars were just mechanic stuff. I hope that so much electronic is for good ;-)

2nd asturian F1 World Championship

Fernando Alonso did it again. Congratulations to him and to Renault Team for 2nd pilot and constructor championships in a row.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

TV in your mobile phone

Not by broadcasting (as with DVB-H), but by streaming.

Sony already has in the market LocationFree solutions: you buy a LocationFree base station and put it below your TV set, then run LocationFree player on your PC, laptop or tablet (or even on your PSP)... et voilá... you see the same TV shows as if you were at home.

The good news is that Sony Ericsson supports this technology in the P990.

And more rival technologies are coming into the market, bringing TV streaming even to your S60 gadget.

Looking forward to trying some of them.

Nokia S60 3rd edition browser 2.0

I have found today some good news about the coming of a 2nd version of the S60 3rd edition browser.

It looks like the same browser will display WAP (1.x and 2.0) and (X)HTML contents so we shall all be able to get rid of the WAP browser included in S60 3rd edition "gadgets".

I still wonder how it will be made available to the user: a SIS installer? a firmware upgrade? If people at Nokia think about the latter, please bring Spanish language back to my phone :-D

Another thing that I like a lot is the chance to rotate the browser so we can choose between landscape and portrait layout. I wish I could do that with all the applications, as many of them would be much more usable.

I also love all the other cool stuff, but it is up for you to read it in the link above.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nokia N95

I had seen these videos about the new Nokia N95 some days ago. I was talking to my sister-of-soul, Hilweh, about how cool this phone is and I said to her that I would send her some YouTube references. I think I'll better share them with the audience (if this blog has any :-) ). So I want to change my N80 for this:

Anybody up for the deal? :-)

Another video here showing a Nokia 95 working:

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tuning your phone memory

As I said in the previous post, reinstalling software to fix some secondary effects in my N80 has led me to write about configuration of memory in mobile phones.

The N80 with its firmware v4 had a cool application called Mobile Search from Nokia. The problem is that it is installed in the memory on-board the phone. This is normal as it is a pre-installed application, although I do not like all the local plug-ins (english, french, norwegian and almost all of the languages supported by the phone - excluding spanish, as mentioned in my previous post).

Mobile search takes 1 MB of memory, plus 228 KB of global plugin and about 40 KB per local plug-in. Local plug-ins are in charge of the burden of searching in local context (looking for spanish companies, for instance).

Taking into account that the phone has 40 MBs on-board and comes with a 128 MBs miniSD card, we should have the option to move applications to our memory card. What I did is uninstall all the plug-ins and then the app itself. I installed it from the web page (directly via WiFi, thanks to the Safari-based browser) right to my memory card, including the spanish local plug-in. The 1 MB that phone memory gained lets me now open some complex web pages that made the phone display an Out-Of-Memory message.

Unluckily, this can be done with Mobile Search as it is downloadable free software. I wish I could move to my 1 GB miniSD stuff like QuickOffice (2 MBs) and Adobe Reader LE (2 more MBs). Can't uninstall and reinstall as they are not freely downloadable, AFAIK.

This should be a must for next S60 (3rd ed FP2?) or Symbian (9.4?) version.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Updating Nokia N80's firmware

Yesterday, I went to a Nokia support centre here in Gijon. I asked for a firmware upgrade. The person in charge told me that if I had noticed any important bug they would upgrade it for free. But if I was just looking for new functionalities, then I'd have to pay 18€. Nice try. It sounded annoying to me: I have not seen any firmware in any device in which the number of bug corrections is much much higher than the number of new functionalities (if there are any).

The real thing is that my N80 was behaving OK but the list of bug corrections is large and many of them happen in scenarios that I have not experienced yet (but that I will, in a near future). Besides, my v3 firmware does not support FOTA and v4 does.

I would only have to print the list of bug corrections and justify a free update. But today is holiday in Spain so I started to search for information about people talking about the 18€ thing in this country.

What I finally found was even better: a page in Nokia's UK site for the download of a tool called Nokia Software Updater. It was only available in English version, but my phone was multilingual and came with English by default (which I quickly shifted to Spanish).

I downloaded it, plugged my N80 to the laptop and upgraded the firmware. Of course, I lost PIM information but it was obvious that this would happen and it is nothing that a new synchronisation would not fix. Also, some software installed in the mempry of the phone disappeared (obvious too) and most of the software installed in the miniSD was there. In fact, all of the Symbian applications were there and working. Only Java apps stopped working: they were shown in "My Own" folder but nothing happenned by clicking their icons. Re-installation fixed it all.

The main problem is the loss of Spanish language: English, Français, Deutsch, Túrkçe, Italiano and Nederlands. Still wondering why Spanish is not in the list, but I think I will be able to deal with it :-)

Installing and re-installing applications has made me think about some decisions that phone manufacturers take on our behalf and that I would like to get changed. In my next post :-)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mobile Web in Fundamentos Web 2006

After being the chair of a face-to-face meeting in Gijón of the Mobile Web Best Practices working group (belonging to W3C's Mobile Web Initiative), Dan Appelquist presented his ideas about the use of mobile devices to access the web in Fundamentos Web 2006.

Dan had a hard job as his presentation was just after lunch so I was wondering if he could atract audience's attention. He surely did. After a brief presentation, he asked everyone to get up. Then, people who had never used the "mobile web" were asked to sit down. It was nice to check that most of the audience stood still.

Then it was time to sit down for people having used it more than once and my first impression turned from :-D to :-) as a lot of people sat down. Anyway, many people stood still when Dan asked people to sit down if they had not used the mobile web in the last month.

Later came time for the ones using it in the last few days and , at last, in the the last few hours. Only 3 or 4 guys stood still and were asked for their use of the mobile web. I was banned by Dan for being part of the working group anyway.

Well, let's take into account that the audience were people crazy about the web, but anyway the "statistics" were not bad at all.

There is a lot to do to bring the mobile web closer to the general public (or should it be bring the general public closer to the mobile web?).

By the way, the slides of Dan's presentation is available in Fundamentos Web 2006 web site (by the way, a really mobile-friendly site). In few days, slides and videos from the interesting presentations done by all the speakers will be available soon.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Nokia N80

I bought a Nokia N80 two weeks ago. It was a great offer (I consider) to get one by only 379€. The rest of the offers I could find in the internet were about 120€ more expensive. By the way, I'd swear I had post that I was going to buy it the day before
I struggled with hundreds of people in MediaMarkt to get it, but the post does not appear. Maybe I saved it as a draft and drafts expire in Blogger :-?

I am quite happy with it, although I think it was a sales strategy to run out of stocks and put the new Nokia N80 Internet Edition into the market. The basic differences among this new one and my N80 are some software included (Mobile Search, Flickr client, Adobe Reader and maybe something else I cannot remember now) and firmware version (mine is a 3.0617.0.6 and N80 Internet Edition will bring a version 4.xx firmware).

The new firmware will bring FOTA (Firmware Over the Air) so users will be able to update their phones more easily. For my N80, I will have to take it to a support center so they flash it for me and then I got FOTA enabled. It is said that certain versions of these old N80 won't support (I hope that's not true or at least it is not my phone's problem). Anyway, I also read that it is FOTA push what won't work on all older N80s and I hope this is what really happens.

Well, I do not care very much about the software included in the Internet Edition: Mobile Search can be easily installed from, Shozu is a great alternative for the Flickr client since it supports S60 3rd Edition (Symbian OS flavor installed in this mobile phone) and PDF+ will soon be a good alternative for the official Adobe Reader (although it is beta now).

By now, I got Shozu in my phone, created a Flickr account and some pics uploaded. I will keep on reporting about my mobile world :-)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Nokia N92 and DVB-H

As I had already commented, I was going to test a Nokia N92-1 Prototype. Nokia N92 is not out on the market at the moment of writing this entry but there are some devices out there for testing purposes.

It has S60 3rd edition platform on Symbian 9.1 running on it. The operating system is really buggy. I thought it was due to the prototype thing but a workmate has just acquired a Nokia N80 and it is the same for him: bugs in WiFi connection, also in Bluetooth when trying to use some GPS which give no problems with many other phones and PDAs, browser saying it has run out of memory and not any other software is running.

On the other hand, N92 (and N80) both support FOTA (Firmware Over The Air). I checked this feature on the N92 but no new firmware around. When I commented this to my workmate, he said that there is no FOTA option available in the N80. Later, after some search, he told me that he should send his phone to the support service so they can flash it there. It looks like the new firmware will have FOTA enabled.

The keys feel great, the screen looks incredibly (the best one I have ever seen on a mobile phone) and the camera shoots good pics and records fairly good videos. For me, no phone is good at pics and videos no matter what the megapixels (a matter of lens quality and size). But it is the best in that too in the mobile phones I could ever experience.

What about DVB-H? Abertis Telecom is broadcasting some spanish channels from one single point of Gijon. That makes it hard to receive the signal with enough power in some parts of the city. Here sitting on the sofa, I get a signal with 40% of power.

TV looks great on the phone, except for some lags once in a while. I guessed it is due to the power of the signal and the decoding chip having problems with it. But being 15 metres close to the antenna broadcasting the signal shows that those lags happen from time to time (including short periods of signal loss).

It is a pity that they are transmitting EPG (Electronic Program Guide) just saying the name of the channel and that it is being broadcasted from 3 am to 3 am. A proper EPG would have let me experience some features of the N92 like turning on RealPlayer to watch a given program selected by the user or record it in the background as I normally use the mobile phone (while being idle, for example).

I have enjoyed the experience a lot and I guess the problems will be fixed if they decide to bring DVB-H out to the market. One point that worries me about the success of this technology is signal coverage. DVB-T is mostly useful for people travelling (for example, by train) and if I do not have it available all the way through, it is no fun at all.

About the phone and the software platform, I am a Symbian enthusiast and I have just read an offer of N80 phones by just 349€ (pretty cheap here in Spain... how much is it abroad? comments expected) so I am going for it tomorrow. Only 200 units available so I hope I do not have to use my Jiu-Jitsu or Aikido. Especially, because I have never practiced either of them ;-)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Powered by Google Analytics :-)

I decided to use Google Analytics in order to track the accesses to this blog. I will comment in some weeks about it (the time given to myself in order to stop being the only one reading this blog) ;-)

.NET CF on S60 ?

I will have to try it to believe it. By now this PDF document is all I know about this topic.

USB transfer: not that easy

As it is read in Esos aparatos del demonio, a blog that I like a lot which is created by a colleague and friend at the University of Oviedo, USB connection of an external device to a PC can be achieved by two different "methods": USB Mass Storage (UMS) and Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). As the original article (written in Spanish) says, some people experience problems with certain devices because of the "method" being used by "those gadgets from hell" (my personal free translation of the title of the blog that I am talking about).

Another great blog, S60 Multimedia Blog, talks about WinAmp support to transfer music to S60 mobile phones by using a plugin. It seems to support both methods and, by the way, USB Mass Storage is referred as MSC and not UMS in that article.

I will have to try it and, from now and on, I have found a new hobby: check which of my gadgets are UMS/MSC or MTP :-)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

DVB-H tests in Spain

I am the lucky user of a Nokia N92 by means of the place where I work (Fundacion CTIC) in the test program of Digital TV on mobile phones by Abertis. The underlying technology being in use is DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast for Handhelds). I shall be posting about the experience in the next days.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I do not seem to be very original

I put the title to this blog as the spanish set phrase "un poco de todo". So I made a direct translation to english. That was yesterday and now I decided to search for "a little bit of everything". I did not think there were so much entries. Many of them are blogs. There is even a CD from 50 Cent :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Magic Alonso

Fernando Alonso is the current Formula One world champion. In the last championship (2005) he put an end to the reign of Michael Schumacher (seven times F1 Champion). This year he managed to set a new record of points between the rest of pilots and himself but three victories in a row by Schumacher and a worse behaviour of his car and his team (Renault) made a difference of only 11 points. Last weekend, in Hungary, everything seemed lost when he was punished with 2 seconds of penalty in the final qualifying rounds. Luckily (for Alonso), Schumacher made his mistake too and was punished the same way. Alonso started from position 15 and Schumi from position 11. Alonso reached 1st position but a mistake of one of the mechanics when he changed wheels made him retire. It was Schumi's chance but he had to stop when there were only 3 laps left for him and he was in second place (I guess it was due to tires completely without grip). How is it possible that a pilot reaches 1st place after starting from 15th position and in a race in which rain was one of the guest stars? See it here (thanks to YouTube for hosting the video):

Last seconds show how Alonso passes Schumacher.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A little bit of everything

Welcome. "A little bit of everything" is my personal web log. I will talk, as its title says, about anything that comes to my mind: technology, sports, cinema, music...

I hope I can find the time and strength to write something once in a while. I am lazy about this kind of stuff although now I feel determined to do it. Only time will tell.