Busy making things: github, links, photos, @mc.

My Nokia 770 Is On The Way!

Posted: November 9th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Linux, Open Source | 11 Comments »

I just got “the email” saying that my Nokia 770 developer device was ready to rock. It’s been ordered up, more when the device arrives!

Update: It’s here, more later.


Ajax In Your Pocket

Posted: November 7th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile | 55 Comments »

Mobile GMaps

There goes Google, taking it to the next level again. Their latest offering is Google Local for Mobile. What they’ve done is essentially taken the Ajax model for desktop browsers and brought it the phone using J2ME. The idea is to have a fairly lightweight MIDlet (38k for the MIDP2 version) that then grabs all the data neccesary from the network.

While this isn’t a horribly new idea, I think in this case it’s all about execution. Check out the tour to see everything that they’ve crammed in to this midlet. Your basic search is there, directions are there, simple smooth navigation is there. The interface is clean but at the same time there is a ton of information at your fingertips. They’ve also managed to cram driving directions in there, which is something I miss from MGMaps. To be fair, MGMaps has had a j2me interface to Google Maps for quite some time now and it’s the most used MIDlet on my phone. More than once it has helped me figure out where I am or where I’m trying to go.

I’m glad to see Google pushing the mobile space like this. At the same time with mobile devices and J2ME you’re going to run in to some glitches. For example, I snagged the JAD by going to google.com/glm with Opera on my phone. It snagged the JAD and started installing it. After downloading it promptly ran out of memory and quit the installer. This isn’t Google’s fault, it’s the 6682′s known lack of a decent amount of memory. What worries me is that if the installation process failed on a rather high end device, I worry about how it would do on a super generic low end flippy. What is even worse is that after downloading and bluetoothing the JAR to my phone, I don’t get any farther than a bunch of “Loading…” on my screen. It looks pretty and fun in the emulator though.

While there are still some growing pains to get through, Google is definitely on to something. To get around the problem of mobile browsers sucking, why not just get rid of the browser completely?

I predict that 2006 will be the year of mobile Ajax. While I might be stretching the Ajax term a bit beyond Javascript and XMLHTTPRequest, I expect to see a new breed of apps and services with that Ajax feel to them hitting mobile devices in 2006. Google’s offering is just (as usual) before its time. On the horizon we also see Nokia’s WebCore based browser which will be more than capable of traditional Ajax, more devices shipping with Flash and SVG support, connected tablets (Nokia 770 and the PSP), and more. Trust me, 2006 is going to be a wild ride.

Update: Thanks for the comments everyone. On Niels‘ suggestion I tried Other -> Nokia -> 6682 and it worked like a charm. Someone needs to fix the Cingular -> Nokia -> 6682 JAD.


Several Announcements from Nokia

Posted: November 2nd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Mobile, Open Source | 9 Comments »

Lots of stuff is coming out of Finland via Barcelona today from their Nokia Mobility Conference. Here’s a quick roundup:

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff to digest, but I’m really excited. Like Ewan, I think the N80′s form factor along with its quad-band dual-WCDMA-ness could just about make it the killer allover worldphone.


How Did I Live Without iSync?

Posted: November 1st, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: Apple, Mobile | Comments Off

iSync on my Powerbook

I really don’t know how I ever got along without iSync. It managed to do in just a few minutes what I didn’t have the patience for: synching the contacts between my three Series 60 phones. I had been putting off typing or transfering contacts to my 6682 because I wanted to give iSync a shot, and I’m glad that I did. Now everything is up to date on my 6682 and as a bonus so are my taco and 3650 in case I feel the need to grab them on the way out the door.

Active Standby Screen

Another thing that I’m really excited about is the active standby screen on the 6682. I saw a precursor to this on the Sendo X and really liked it. Nokia are definitely on the right track by allowing quick access to as many as 7 apps without having to click the application button. I have access to five apps on the top (Contacts, Messaging, MGMaps, Python, and WirelessIRC) as well as the two softbuttons (Gallery and Opera). The camera app also opens up if the camera cover is opened. That really is quick access to a nice core set of apps for me, with others still available as before.

The other brilliant thing here is at-a-glance access to your calendar and your todo list. With a single click on either you can pop up those apps, bringing the total number of apps just a few clicks away on your standby screen to 9. I find myself using the calendaring system a lot due to the combination of iCal/iSync and the fact that calendar events from today show up on my standby screen. It’s also great to be able to set up alerts for certain events. I had been using (and absolutely love) Backpack but like the tighter integration of iCal and it also saves me SMSes (since Cingular charges a bit much for them).

While I’m happy to have access to the todo app on the standby screen, I wish that the message displayed on screen were a little more helpful. If you only have one todo (yeah right, nobody has one todo) your todo text will be displayed on screen. Once you get past one or two todos they get smoshed in to one line that says something like “Slacker, you haven’t done x things yet.” I hope that Nokia takes a look at this in the future, because a soimple change there can improve the experience a ton. I wouldn’t be afraid to have your active standby screen scroll if you have a bunch of appointments or todos as long as the highest priority todos and soonest events are still above the fold or on the main screen. I can see a list of 2-3 todos and a link to “and x more todos” being much more useful than going from one todo to none on the main screen.

All nitpicking aside, I’m totally in love. The synchronisation is flawless. It Just Works the first time without any glitches (YMMV). What I really love is that I have a vast amount of PIM information available to me on a device that was going to be in my pocket anyway. I’d say that the 6682 does every major function that a PocketPC or Palm based organizer would for me on the PIM side and it’s more than capable of running an array of apps and games. The 6682 really does a good enough job at enough of the functiosn of a PDA that carrying one would be redundant. The only thing I really miss from a PDA is a higher rez screen and Wi-Fi. I think Nokia has that covered in the new E Series though.

Update: I forgot to mention that there’s an app on the 6682 designed specifically to help you move contacts and information from your old phone to your new phone. It copies a program to your old phone over Bluetooth and then allows you to transfer it over to your shiny new phone. It’s really a one way street, but the guys in #mobitopia tell me that it works perfectly.