Sony Clie purchase

Th and keybd
It may be goodbye to the Revo and MC218 shortly if my latest eBay purchase turns out to be a good 'un. Yep it's a Sony foldout keyboard for my Clie TH55 which I picked up for £25. It\s basically brand new and was unopened. I must say it looks very nice although I'm yet to download and install the requisite driver. Actually, I don't need to download anything as it comes with an installation cd. I think it works with the TH55 although it doesn't state that specifically but I read om some forums that others have got it working okay.

It also comes with a nice soft carrying pouch which is a nice touch. It's not that much bigger than the TH55 itself when folded up. The keyboard when folded out is a decent size and should prove to be better than that on my Revo if my initial testing is anything to go by.

Once it is up and running I will give a short review and more pics. You can't tell from the pics but the outside is a very nice metal finish, it's a very nice looking gadget.


Symbian foibles

There are some things that really annoy me about the s60 platform. One being the insistence of every application that connects to the internet, when you try and update something that needs an internet connection, to ask if it is okay to connect to the internet and then when you press the "yes" button it then asks you which connection you wish it to try…aaaggghhhhhh. Just bloody connect dammit and cut the Spanish Inquisition. There doesn't appear to be any way in the settings within that application or generally to stop this happening. It's another example at times of s60 just wanting one or more key presses too many to get something simple done.

And another annoyance concerns the 3rd party threaded SMS app I purchased a couple of weeks ago. This generally works fine but again there are too many menu presses needed to do simple things. First up, when looking at the screen with all your messages listed by friend. When you click on a person you would expect it to go straight to the messages but no…that would be too simple. Instead it brings up the option to open that thread or start a new message which is silly because if you choose the "go to messages" option the next screen lists all the chat plus the option to send a new message anyway. Why then have the latter option on the previous page? Bad design in my view.

Next up, when you are reading a threaded SMS chat you can't just hit one button to go back to the main message page. Nope, you have to press Options then View then select either Main menu or All Messages. It drives me mad at times. all that uneccessary extra key pressing. This is fairly typical however of s60 and 3rd party apps unfortunately.

My blogging software, Bloglines, is very good but has this hugely irritating flaw. When you wish to insert a picture into a post you need to search for that image obviously on the device. Every folder you go hunting in, and you have to do a bit of digging is greeted by the message asking you if you will allow the application to access data in that folder…every single page, it's hugely annoying to have to press "yes" about 14 times before you can use the image and again there is no way to turn off this in the settings.

At times, it is a blessed relief to go back to the simplicity of the palm based Sony Clie TH55.

Sam Software dock enhancers

Noticed this mentioned in MacFormat magazine this month. It is a selection of enhanced Dock launchers for opening different applications such as the iLife or iWork suite. The major advantage presumably is that you can then remove other apps form the Dock to free up space. He also does a Twitter client for iTunes.

Dock is an application that was created to help organize work
environment, maximize efficiency working with Apple's iWork, and to
reduce dock clutter. I built this in a response to my Office Dock


I had to let some people go off my Twitter friends list as they were frankly posting drivel, who cares that they just put the cat out with a bowl of milk? My Twitter useage tends to be on a different level to others, I see it as a means of posting random info once or twice a day at the most, some see it as a way to document each exciting half hour period of every day of their lives.

No offence to the ladies out there but some of those I stopped following, their sole purpose of tweeting was to tell everyone else which male celebrity they found the most attractive that day, which is a tad ironic given that they are the first to complain about being "pressurised" (yawn) by society into looking good. They're not exactly adverse themselves to judging/commenting on members of the opposite sex by their looks.

I also stopped following tweets from sites as I tend to prefer to visit the site anyway and I find the site tweets superfluous. Twitter is turning into some big fat monster thing that I'm not entirely convinced that I wish to be part of going forward, I don't mean in a "I'm far better than all of you sort of way' but more actually it's all a bit dull sort of way via a whole load of people exchanging uninteresting snippets of their magical lives. Mind you, that's probably what others think about my tweets….

Locked or unlocked ?

Read this post this morning at pda247 and it got me thinking whether it is best to buy locked phones or the unlocked version. Taking the example that is mentioned, that is a fair difference in price when you consider that the Treo Treo pro
Pro will set you back around £350 online. I tend to buy unlocked because I dislike getting a carrier branded version. They tend to come with a whole lot of added crud via extra software that can’t be removed and in the case of the Bold I had on T-mobile, when you opened the browser, it went straight to the awful T-Zones web page.
Very annoying especially when it could not be removed and it was not even formatted properly for the Bold screen. It proved impossible to remove.
Another big factor in favour of unlocked is when you come to sell, on ebay you may recoup £30 plus more for an unlocked and branded version.
Plus of course the device unlocked is what the manufacturer originally intended, virginal almost and you are likely to get updates for it quicker than with a carrier branded version. Not always though.
My previous experience with carrier phones has been disappointing, I’m sure the Vodafone Treo Pro was hampered by the addition of Vodafone’s “enhancements” as was the Treo 500v I had before it, both devices possibly slowed down by extra bloatware resulting in less free running memory. This previous Vodafone experience has put me off buying another phone from them, unlocked or not, even if it is £100 lower in price which is probably me being silly but if I can get an unlocked non-branded one and it works better that is an important consideration too.

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E71 and Treo 680

This will show you how sad I am and how much free time I have over the weekend. Now and again over the past month I have had these strange longings to get the old 680 back out. I thought buying the TH55 Clie would stop these odd cravings but no, it appears not. Every couple of days I dig into the drawer, pull out the 680 and sort of turn it around in my hands for a minute or so, looking at it and just wondering…all rather odd and it's almost as if I expect it to have changed form factor since the last time I looked, to have become less chunky and miraciously acquired wifi/3g capability. A minute later it is back in the drawer, where daylight never shines, for another couple of days.

Anyway, I drew up a list in ListPro, as I am prone to do, of the best features of the Nokia E71 and the 680 and was surprised to see a theme developing whereby the E71 wins hands down on the hardware specs such as having wifi, 3g and the much nicer form factor whereas the Treo gave it a sound beating when it came to the software side of things with far better 3rd party and built in applications. Symbian is really lacking when it comes to this aspect, there is so much built in in terms of software yet most of it is pretty low quality, anyone who has had the misfortune of using drivel like the Nokia Gallery app will know what I mean here. For multimedia, it is poor as are the Notes apps, the Messaging app desperately needs an overhaul and it is hard to find decently priced and good 3rd party software. I think they should put on less stuff and make what goes on of a higher quality.

Keyboard wise too the E71 probably just edges it mainly thanks to having word completion ability built in but had the 680 had that then I would reverse my decision.

I can't help come to the conclusion that the E71 though is a nifty little device and it is okay for me now that I am back using a seperate palm pda as the latter fills the blatantly missing software gaps of the former. Thing is, the E71 is what the Palm Treo line should have evolved into down the years and had it done so, the Pre wouldn't have needed to be the saving-the-company device/vapourware that it is turning out to be. It also emphasises the old adeage about the perfetc smartphone needing to be a good marriage of hardware and software, the E71 is 3/4 of the way there but in its present guise is unable to make the final jump.

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more on the Nokia Store

"they are accepting submissions for selling applications, games, music, videos, podcasts, themes, wallpapers and ringtones. It could well be that non-app content will dominate the service, especially if the content is easy to navigate and purchase"

Oops, did you see that?….."themes, wallpapers and ringtones"…you might as well substitute "farting and tip calculator applications" to get the App Store equivalent. I can see it developing into a mass of cheapo themes/wallpapers that you will have to wade through at first to find anything half decent. It is good that there is an app store of sorts coming for Symbian and that Nokia are going to try and filter out all the fluff to intelligently match your buying habits but we shall see. Location specific stuff too, what is that all about I wonder, I can't ever recall a situation on any previous device where I was somewhere and thought I needed a bit of software specific to that place.

A look on any site selling s60 software reveals that themes and wallpapers take up a large chunk of the shop floor space, once you get past that it can be hard to find suitable software. I'm still looking for a semi-decent RSS reader as compared to those available for the iPhone, they are 1) poor and 2) extortionately priced for what they offer. I must admit though I have fallen out of the habit of looking for decent
productivity apps on the iPhone too as they get hidden under a deluge of
crud and sifting through the flotsam can be tiresome, I seem to end up buying £0.99 tat more often than not.

The guys at AllAboutSymbian, which must be the most level headed and un-biased platform specific website out there, have compiled a list of reasons why this is going to be an important thing for Nokia and as they are seldom wrong then it is worth paying attention to.

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