Posts Tagged ‘phone’

Lost your Symbian applications?

Update 2008-11-15: Sadly, I lost my apps again. This time it seems the installed apps folder was wiped out, along with data. Looks like another re-format is needed. This is very frustrating. None of my other mobile devices have been this unreliable. Being a long time user of Nokia phones, I’m very disappointed in Nokia. I’m using an N81-3 with latest firmware, and a Kingston 4Gb micro-SD…


I got a Nokia Symbian phone about a month ago, and I soon discover that one major annoyance is that applications installed on the memory card may disappear. After a few trials and errors, and having had to reformat the memory card a few times (and painfully re-installing everything), I deduced the following:

  • The Nokia Symbian OS apparently keeps a filesystem cache on the card. It is this cache that causes the card to get corrupted.
  • This worked for me at least the last time it happened to me: When the applications appear to be lost, and re-inserting the card doesn’t seem to work, remove the card and do a filesystem check. I use Linux, so it’s fsck for me. I don’t know about chkdsk/scandisk/whatever. The recovered lost clusters are from the Private folder and are probably the newer one. fsck will put them in a folder called “000”. Rename the “Private” folder to something else and rename the “000” to “Private”. Do another fsck to ensure the filesystem is all nice and proper. Re-insert the card and hopefully you’ll find the apps all back again.
  • Based on the above observation, I believe it is probably a good idea to backup the “Private” folder every now and then.
  • The right way to remove a memory card is as instructed by the phone – remove the card first and then click ok. I don’t know what are the chances of filesystem corruption if you don’t adhere strictly to this procedure, but better safe than sorry…
  • When re-inserting the card, wait for a while. Don’t rush to open the Applications menu.
  • Don’t remove the card while in the Applications menu. I believe the last time I corrupted my card is because of this. I think you should not remove the card while using the file browser too. Likewise, don’t re-insert the card when in these places too.
  • Removing the card every now and then may not be a bad thing, so that all apps are closed and all open data flushed to disk, provided you heed the above point.
  • You may want to check your filesystem everytime you need to take out the card.

Please note that the above are empirical observations and some of them may simply be superstitious behaviour from a paranoid soul. Your mileage may vary. I hope this is the last time I lose my apps. Boos to Nokia and Symbian for coming up with such a lousy OS design.


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I’ve been using TequilaCat’s BookReader for some time now on my Nokia phone. It’s pretty useful, especially with JSR-75 support, so I can read text files directly off the memory card. However, that doesn’t work with Unicode files… What does work though is to use the provided shell program to package the Unicode files into stand-alone jar files. Now I can read Chinese text files on my phone. I also discovered to my surprise that my phone can display Japanese text too. Cool… I would still prefer that the author can provide a JSR-75 version that reads Unicode files properly, but for now I’m a happy user.

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Phone rants

Everyone’s talking about Apple’s recently announced iPhone, but I’ll just rant about my new phone instead. Yep, I finally retired my good ole Nokia 6230 (the 2-year contract is almost up anyway), and got a no-frills, low-end (going by today’s standards) Nokia 6288, the twin brother of the older 6280 that has been around for quite a while. Even though the 6280 is going for dirt cheap right now, I went for the 6288 which costs like twice more because the firmware according to online reviews is much more stable and it does A2DP, and it’s a cool all-black design (haha, yeah right).

Anyway, here’s my 2 cents worth on my tinkering with the phone for the last couple months:

What I like:

  • It has everything I need and don’t need – 3G with video calls, mp3/4 player, 2 megapix cam, J2ME, miniSD, USB cable, Bluetooth, etc etc
  • Fairly large ad clear display in a not-too-big form factor.
  • More J2ME APIs to play with – I suddenly feel the itch to go back to writing mobile apps again.
  • Themes! Ok, so I’ve been living under a rock for the past year.
  • So far so good, no crashes yet.

What I don’t like (oops, looks like a longer list):

  • Slider mechanism is a bit loose duh. Hope it’s durable.
  • Too many J2ME apps floating out there were designed for tiny screens. It’ll be nice to have an auto-magnify feature. An older app at 128×128 might be still usable at 256×256 losing only 8 pixels (from the original screen) off the sides. Or perhaps I should just slap on a fresnel lens so I don’t have to squint.
  • No Flash lite. Thought Nokia announced it some time back for this model…dang…one less fun thing to play with.
  • Cannot adjust display brightness – The screen is too bright for my sensitive eyeballs. I’m using this free e-book reader right now and I’m setting it to only 10% brightness duh.
  • Sending SMSes take a bit too many keystrokes – why give me so many choices just to insert the SMS recipient? Unnecessary step in my opinion. Sometimes no choice is the best choice.
  • I also wonder why you have to select between SMS, MMS and email. I feel it should be clear enough from the context to make the right choice of message type. i.e. if I’m sending to an email address it is of course an email. If I attach a picture it is an MMS.
  • Another pet gripe I have about general phone designs is that many phones today have convenient up/down volume buttons, but it is never clear whether I’m adjusting the ringtone volume, the handset volume, music volume, loudspeaker volume, etc.
  • The battery meter should display a colour change (probably red) if it’s really going out of juice soon. I’m always left guessing how long that final notch will last.
  • Okay, I’m digressing a bit, go back on track…
  • This phone has a rather capable web/wap browser but for some brilliant reason the designers did not allow it to read local HTML files on the miniSD card. And I can’t get onto the Internet except via GPRS/3G.
  • No macro lens for the camera.
  • I would prefer to plug my own earphones into the phone than to use the stock earphones with proprietary connectors. Frankly I wish these consumer electronics manufacturers can just stop doing this and save us some money. I already have a collection of unused earphones from various devices. I went out to buy an el cheapo made-in-china adaptor immediately.
  • And I should be able to plug normal earphones and use it as an antenna for the radio function as well. If my Samsung mp3 can do it, why can’t the Nokia phones?
  • And oh yes, it’s a finger-print magnet… 😛

I’m starting to wonder if I should have gotten a Series 60 phone instead. I can do probably do a lot more with a Symbian-based phone, but then again I feel the S40s still have a cleaner UI than the S60s.

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Nokia Headset Mods

I would love to use my Nokia 6230 as an mp3 player, but I don’t carry my nokia headset around as I don’t like the earphones. It would be nice if I could use my favourite headphones instead. It turns out many people wish to do the same thing (and for the same reason), and several have taken matters into their own hands and modified the headset. It’s not rocket science – you just need some soldering skills, and a willingness to rip apart your over-priced original Nokia headset.

Here are the mods I’ve found:

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One problem I have with the above mod is that you can’t get rid of the mic. The circuit board inside is necessary for the phone to recognise the headset. And from what I read in the forums, essential for the phone to output in stereo mode.

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Nokia 6230 review

I’ve been playing with my new phone (a Nokia 6230) for the past few days. Decided to get one after I realised my 2 year contract with MobileOne is ending, so I upgraded from my Nokia 6610 (which has served me well over the years) and got the Nokia 6230. The Nokia 6230 is not a new model – it has been out since end 2003, but I can’t stand some of Nokia’s latest design direction. Yeah, I’m an old fogey when it comes to phones. I still prefer the traditional “soap bar” designs.

I think this is probably the most feature-packed of all the Series 40 phones that Nokia has rolled out. MMS, Java, infrared, TFT screen, camera, FM radio, MP3 (can set as ringtone too!), XHTML, Bluetooth, MMC card…it probably cost a bomb when it first appeared. Here’s my brief review of this phone:

Things I liked about the Nokia 6230

  • To my surprise, it’s actually slightly smaller than the Nokia 6610.
  • Java apps also load faster than the 6610.
  • MMC card gives you expandability (unit comes with a 32 Mb which is probably not enough if you want to use it as MP3 player. I heard it can slow down if you load too much stuff into a large capacity card).
  • MP3 player, plus the fact that you can set them as ringtones. Cool!

Things I don’t like about the Nokia 6230

  • Camera is VGA 640×480 only (I suppose I can’t gripe too much about this since this is not a new model).
  • The “select” has shifted from the top left button to the middle button, which is also used for navigation. While I can get used to the different button press sequences, the physical one-piece design of the middle button makes it hard to hit “select” instead of one of the 4 directions (well, at least for me…).
  • No way to adjust brightness of screen. Beats me how they could’ve left this one out…
  • Still have to change phone language to Chinese before I can type in Chinese (this gripe is carried over from the Nokia 6610. I think they fixed this in some of the later models. Obviously this is not one of them).
  • The screen will turn on again when going into locked mode. I suppose this may be useful for some people, but I’m concerned about the battery life.
  • The missed call and received message indication has changed from a big alert box which stays there until you banish it, to a small little icon near the time display when the phone goes into “screensaver” mode. This is so dumb. These are the two most important things the user wants to know and the designers decided to make them harder to notice?
  • Phone can hang when repeatedly sending files over IR. I haven’t seen it hang in other contexts yet, but I’m sure it hangs every now and then (it’s amazing how Windows has managed to train us to be more tolerant people over the years).

Gripes aside, overall I’m quite satisfied with the phone.

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