Traffic animated


Just playing around with the Galaxy S IV camera…

(update doesn’t look like the phone to wordpress share includes the animated image.  bummer)

All Nokia Media

I decided last week that I wanted to simplify my mobile media experience and ordered a 6GB microSD card so i could my N95-3 and N810 for evrything instead of also carrying my iPhone just for a few albums and podcasts. I’ve had an iPod since it was first released and have had my computer media experiece live inside iTunes. The full Apple ecosystem is strong and I’m a firm advocate of sync and go … Or at least I was.

For the most part the songs and albums stay the same on my ipod and it’s really podcasts that change with any real frequency – daily to weekly as things update. I thouht the 6GB card would be mainly in the tablet vs the phone as I started planning this but thus far (day 3) my plan has shifted a bit back to the phone. I’ve actually ordered a second 6GB card to use in the tablet so I don’t have to share and so each device can focus on some key pieces of the experience. A surprise arrived on Friday as well in the form of the Nokia N81 8GB which is designed to optimize the mobile music experience and I’ve been playing with that along with the N95.

Music and Video

Right now I have music on both phones and a limited amount of converted video on the tablet. The phones serve as really nice music players – quality seems solid on both. I have yet to do an A/B test as my recently updated iPhone (1.1.2) has not been reactivated… I’ve yet to swap its sim back from the N95 to complete the activation process!

The Nokia podcasting application does a great job importing my opml from iTunes and is able to update on a schedule or manually with a wifi connection or via cellular data. I’ve been manually switching things between wifi at home and cell on the go so I can get the latest stuff for my commute. Since I am unable to install anything on the work machine and do not have an itunes there’s no way to get an updated set of podcasts … Or even a quick download during the day on the iPhone. The Nokia phones however easily take care of business without the assistance of a computer which has really been quite awesome.

The N81 integrates podcasts directly into the music player which is something I’m hoping makes it back upstream to the N95 with a firmware update. In either case you can access podcasts as a genre and using the keypad you can live search through your collection of both music and podcasts. The Nokia Podcasting app also supports video which works nicely too though I’ve gone into the app to playback rather than use the music player which does not show video. When there’s an update to the Nokia Video Center application for the latest tablet OS2008, I will also subscribe there and predict my viewing preference will be the tablet’s larger screen.

Movies and TV shows are pretty easy to convert for the N810. Unfortunately video does have to be converted which takes time, but is relatively straight forward with the right tools. MediaConverter is probably the simplest to use and with the promise of making a file the tablet can play it’s hard to pass on it. Handbrake and (if you use Windows) Nokia’s new video conversion application also work well though if Hanbrake is your preference you might want to copy the settings from one of the other apps to make sure you get playable files.

Phone + Media Player

Like you would expect the Nokia phones pause and resume playback for phone calls much like the iPhone… So there’s no magic there, but it works relieably and well. The N81 has a dedicated music button next to the naviwheel and the N95’s multimedia key serves the same purpose. I discorvered today that a press and hold which brings up the music player on the N95, can also bring you right back to your previous application … A nice and I am sure not well known function.

The more I’ve used the phones as media players I can really see the potential benefit to an A2DP headset which would deliver stereo sound and also let me handle calls without switching things around my ear. My Shure E4C earphones are great but if I knew or needed the flexibility daily a wireless single unit would be killer.

What’s missing?

Amazingly the N81 is not supported by Nokia’s recently updated Multimedia Transfer application which would let me take advantage of playlist syncing as well as photos through iPhoto (though I use Aperture). While the N95 is supported, I’ve chosen to maintain a parallel experience and did a bulk copy (~4GB) using mass transfer mode on the N81 and a card reader for the N95. As it happens my mac mini media server crapped out at home so I had the external media drive on my desk and did a hunt and find to then drag over on both devices. This process took considerably longer than it would in iTunes to find what I first wanted and then actually to copy over. The Mac finder estimated over 2hours and after about 30 min I walked away. When I returned both were ready to roll. Sync is a really great thing to have and I hope that the Nokia Multimedia Transfer application (which has also been brutally slow for me) supports the N81 or that Nokia develops an actual plugin for itunes much like they did for iSync.

Copying video to the N810 was also done through a card reader and I will continue to do that as the video files I am using for my mobile needs are not really things I want clogging up iTunes.

Final thoughts

Outside of the initial bulk load, day to day use has been a pleasure. Music and podcasts are easy to access and update and video podcasts as well as converted video on the tablet all play well. Since I am already well converted as a two-piece mobile user, this plan works great for me though there’s no reason why the phone alone would not also do a lot of good. Of course you can’t playback any iTunes Store content as there is no Apple DRM access on anything other than their mobile devices, but that’s far from a deal breaker for me. Most of my content is from my own physical media collection and Amazon’s MP3 has an excellent DRM-free collection for “need it now” moments. I’ll probably dabble with the Nokia Music store when it eventually works in the US, but I’m less of a fan of Windows DRM.

Just as a sidenote, this entire post was written on the N810. That’s definitely not something I ever considered with the iPhone.

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Nokia GPS Question…

Is it possible to get a Nokia GPS to be active in always-on mode without leaving a navigation app open? It seems that when active both the LD-1W and LD-3W save their tracks locally which is cool. You can read this through most apps that can read NMEA info (Google Earth works nicely) when you get back to your computer to see where you’ve been. With the appropriate additional tools, you can even use the time-stamp to match against pictures you take with a DSLR.

My main purpose though is to ping it throughout the day via Shozu and I’d rather not leave Nokia Maps running which tends to eat my phone’s battery if in constant tracking mode.

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ShoZu vs. Mobup

Stefan from Ring Nokia thinks Shozu needs to watch their back now that Mobup has been released. I can’t say that I agree… In fact I can’t see this threatening Shozu in any way. The only feature Shozu does not have is the GPS integration which granted is quite cool, but far from critical.

Where Shozu shines is with native camera use – it’s seemless and the last thing I want to do it overcomplicate opening the shutter by first having to open an application to take a picture. You also get full access to your gallery of images for uploading later if you like and of course the fact that it runs as a service so when you snap a pic or shoot a video you can upload it on the spot which is totally kick-ass. You can also use the full picture size (vs. mobup maxing out at 640×480) which is great considering I can shoot 3.2MP.

One other key point of difference, pictures I take in Shozu actually upload. I tried three images and all failed to leave the N73.

Shozu now also supports video which means you can upload (less than 4MB) files right to YouTube if you like. I previous noted some S60 photoblog apps, and Meaning was one that could do the GEO Tag via GPS, but unfortunately does not work in S60v3.

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Gmail mobile updated…

Just doing a bit of email and noticed that Gmail now has a call action option as a reply… a nice and actually expected addition considering you do it from the phone.

I did not know apps could be updated automatically — pretty cool.

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Rocking the mobile tech

I received a Nokia E61 this week and will definitely post more on how much I am loving it but for now let me just say – well done!

i am posting this on the train from the amazing Nokia (webkit) browser and can’t believe how good the overall experience really can be from a small device.

i did not really do much river of news reading before but that’s´quite handy as well.

more to come…

Presence is key

There are two interesting things breaking this weekend on the mobile presence scene…

Twittr is from Odeo / Blogger and lets you set up a simple group on SMS.  It’s actually very slick especially given how simple it is. You just text your message to the universal short code – 40404 – and everyone in your social space gets the update.  You can choose to share your messages on the public homepage (I’ve opted out) or not. There’s some simple lingo that lets you ping or track a friend as well as control the level of messaging you receive.

Jaiku is another app that lets you socialize your contact list on Series 60 second edition devices like the Nokia N70.  I realize that’s a limited set compared to Twittr which lets you send to anyone regardless of carrier or phone type, but it’s a very interesting way to guage outside of the usual IM space what’s happening with people of interest.  I’ve added my status to the blog sidebar for a bit of “flare.” I like how it tracks the cell towers and lets you give the zone you are in a name like home for example.  It did pick up my city which is cool as I am in a small westchester suburb currently… My status page is here.

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Because you can

I am currently commuting home on the train to Westchester listening to a Podcast on the N91. At the same time I am using the phone as a modem for my MacBook Pro as I needed to quickly send a file which had already been sent via Exchange using Outlook Web Access. Since I was connected already I decided to check out a few feeds and decided what the heck, I’ll fire up Opera Mini back on the phone which amazingly still works quite well all on my GPRS connection. As I started to type this entry, I felt the familiar buzzing of a new email arriving in my inbox via N91 to top it all off.

Not so bad for a pocket-able system.

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Nokia N90 in Hand!
I received a Nokia N90 to play with this weekend and I am working through the new device like any good gadget geek.
The one thing that is really pissing me off, is an Apple thing, not a Nokia issue and that is that I cannot trick iSync to work with my phone so I cannot sync my contacts and calendar over… something I seriously want to work. I’ve read and tried the Mac OSX Hints page a few times and tried a reboot, but something is clearly not working.

Otherwise it seems like a very impressive unit. I’ve never owned a Nokia phone, so the UI is taking a bit to adjust, but I can immediately tell this is a VERY well thought out phone. You can customize it to sound or look like anything you need / want and you can easily install and move applications through the menus as well which is a nice bonus since you can clearly hold a ton of stuff.

I’ve only made one call so far — to voicemail and listened to some messages on speaker-phone which were left by my 2 yr. old daughter – the call was clear and the form factor feels natural in your hand and on your head.

I am (bluetooth) paired with my laptop for data usage and file transfer, as well as a bluetooth headset and and the car so I can be handsfree and safe while on the go.

The N90 if you don’t know is the N-Series phone that is designed for photo and video capture. There is a 2MB camera inside with Carl Zeiss Optics. Instead of installing Lifeblog on my computer, I’ve chosen to add Flickr as my lifeblog destination which is very cool. I’ve only uploaded one shot from the N90 for now, but I can see this being very handy once I’ve really begun to dive deeper into moblogging with the device. I really miss the camera from my Treo, and this blows that away. My work-issued blackberry is all business and has no fun built-in at all.

One thing to note, this is no RAZR in size. It’s substantial, but given what it does, I think the size is both comfortable and appropriate. The construction feels solid and the phone feels great in my hand in both phone and camera modes (of which there are 4 true modes). I’ll be sure to continue to post as I become more of an expert on Nokia and more specifically the N90. If you are reading and have some questions (it’s a bit hard to find around I know), please post and I’ll be sure to answer in the thread or possibly a new post if it’s a big enough topic.

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I just don’t get why you would pay extra for something as unattractive as a fake convertible top.

making eggs

making eggs

Originally uploaded by atmasphere.

I just happened to look in this window on my way to a meeting today and saw this woman making all these eggs. I think it was a small gallery and that it was called “East Meets West.”

That’s a lot of eggs…

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test from email

Testing another way to moblog via email into WordPress… After
yesterday, I thought it would be good to have a way to just send an
email without image (the Flickr method) and get it done.