August 31, 2007

Wikipedia: Looking Ahead

Looking at the *overwhelming* response the Symbian Wikipedia Project's gotten, I was thinking along the lines of working on a new and improved version of the encyclopedia having a greater number of articles.

However, as amazing as that sounds, there are many restrictions littered along the way. For instance, popular Nokia phones like the N73, N80, N93i and E61i all have an upper limit of 2GB when it comes to memory card size. The N95 (along with the newly-released N81), is currently amongst the few that support upto 4GB.

And therein lies the dilemma. The actual English Wikipedia, with tonnes and tonnes of articles, can certainly not fit in such a small space. However, as done previously, a selection of articles can.

Currently, I was working on doubling the capacity of the article count in the Symbian Wikipedia to somewhere around 5000. Size will definitely remain an issue for future releases though.

Which is why I figured it's best to ask what you, the readers, have to say on this i.e. how much space on the memory card do you think should be reserved for an encyclopedia? Do drop a line or two. Your inputs are invaluable!

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August 27, 2007

Having iSilo Trouble?

It has come to my notice that some of you are having trouble with the Symbian Wikipedia on iSilo. Given that it isn't the most intuitive ebook reader on the planet, this doesn't come as a surprise. Anyway, here's a short step-by-step guide, complete with illustrations, that's sure to help you out.

Special Notes:

First up, please ensure you've installed iSilo to your memory card. Now send the Wiki.pdb file to your phone via bluetooth or via cable using Nokia PC Suite. In this example, I've placed it in e:\documents

Using iSilo:

  • When you run iSilo, you may come across this screen

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  • Using your phone joystick/navipad, navigate to the tab on the extreme right (i.e. by pressing the right arrow a couple of times)

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  • Using your phone keypad, press the "c" key a couple of times until you get to this screen

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  • Now click on "e:Storage Card" and navigate to the folder where you've placed your file. For instance, in e:\documents

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And there you have it! As always, if you have any queries or comments, feel free to write in :)

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August 26, 2007

Wikipedia: Finally Available!

Hey guys, if you've tried the demo version of the Wikipedia Encyclopedia I posted earlier, I'm sure many of you must've been eagerly awaiting the latest release of the Symbian Wikipedia. Well, without further ado...Wikipedia is *finally* available for download (for free, ofcourse) on your S60 smartphone! But before you scroll below to download it, I'd like to mention a few things about this release.


  • WinRAR (to uncompress the files). The trial version is available here.
  • iSilo (installed on smartphone). The trial version is available here for all S60 devices.
Key features:
  • Approximately 2050 full-length articles, and over 3.5 million words (equivalent to a 4,000+ page book in text alone)
  • Storage Card & Phone Memory Compatibility
  • Keyword Search
  • Adjustable font sizes and styles
  • Cross Reference Links - tap on a link to easily go to the related article
  • An easy-to-use alphabetical index for all articles
  • Compatibility with ALL S60 devices, from the Nokia 7650 to the N95 :)
Special Notes:

I've split the file into 6 "dial-up-friendly" parts. Please note that you need all 6 parts to extract the file. Once you've downloaded all the parts, simply double-click "Wiki 06.part1.rar" and specify "" (without the quotes) as the password.

Then just click "Extract to" to extract it on your hard drive. You can later send it to your phone via the Nokia PC Suite or beam it via Bluetooth.


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Download Links:

- As a single file

Parts 01-06

- As a single file (mirror)

Parts 01-06

- As multiple files

Part 01
Part 02
Part 03
Part 04
Part 05
Part 06


Hope you guys enjoy this release! I'm sure you will, since this has really taken up a LOT of time and effort. As always, I'm open to any comments :)

UPDATE: New download links added!

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August 21, 2007

Wikipedia: An Update

Hope I haven't kept you guys waiting for long. Anyway, I'm terribly sorry for not posting earlier. After a few hiccups along the way, the good news is that I'll finally be releasing the iSilox version of the Wikipedia soon. Unfortunately, I still haven't figured out an appropriate size for resizing images etc, so I've decided to exclude them for now and release a text-only version. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on that :)

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August 13, 2007

Wikipedia comes to Series 60!

Guess the title says it all for this one...well, the truth is I've been wanting to get a handy encyclopedia for quite some time now for my phone.

Most of us are familiar with Wikipedia -- it's one of the best free resources available online. There's already a Plucker version available but that's only meant for Palm devices and has a small selection of encyclopedia articles, so Series 60 users are out of luck there. There's also a Tome Raider version but the usual incompatibility woes persist and it isn't exactly small-sized.

Sadly, there hasn't been anything worthwhile in this regard for S60 users. However, all that will soon change. Recently I decided to do something about this problem, and starting from today, you can find a small Wikipedia sample for download on my blog for your S60 phone! :)

Fortunately, I managed to find an amazing resource in the Wikipedia CD Selection -- an assortment of carefully chosen articles suitable for print, CD and DVD. Although it is by no means Wikipedia in all its entirety, it still is a very handy reference that deserves a place in everyone's pocket.

Here are some screenshots:

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P.S The download below is just a demo as I'm still working on converting the whole thing. The current version is set to expire at the end of this month and currently has 400+ articles of the index S. Also, note that this is just a text-based version of Wikipedia -- without any images etc to keep the size down, as I want it to be used on old and new devices alike. Lastly, you need to have iSilo (an excellent ebook reader) installed on your phone. You can get the trial version of iSilo here for all S60 devices.

I'll eventually be posting the entire selection of articles soon in iSilo format. Keep reading!


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August 11, 2007

Time-Lapse Photography on the N73!

Yup, you read that correctly. In case you're not familiar with the term, time-lapse photography involves the manipulation of time to speed up processes.

Processes that would normally appear subtle to the human eye -- such as the motion of clouds in the sky, the opening of flowers or the growing of plants, people commuting, everyday traffic in the city or even an ice cube melting -- become very pronounced.

Although time-lapse cinematographers use sophisticated (and often expensive) equipment, S60 users can now do the same at no added cost! Infact, all that you need is a simple Python script for your phone, and ofcourse, some sort of a mounting system if you're going to capture moving pictures at any rate slower than the standard 24 frames per second.

Credit goes to Anteater @ the Foozia Blog for developing a Python script for the N80 -- although it is incompatible with the N73. Hence, I decided to play with it a bit and voila! Click here to download! Before running, create a new folder called 'timelapse' in e:\Python

Once you set this up and run the script, it'll ask for a project name, followed by the number of images that should be taken along with the time delay. Other parameters include image size (0.3MPix to 1.3MPix), flash mode, exposure mode and white balance. When its done snapping, you'll get a prompt on the screen. You can later use QuickTime or a GIF Editor to make your own movies. Enjoy!

P.S You need to have Python installed on your phone first. In case you're not familiar with that, follow the steps below:

  • Download the Python for S60 interpreter application and the script shell for your phone from here

  • For the N73, the files you need to get are named as follows: PythonForS60_1_4_0_3rdEd.sis and PythonScriptShell_1_4_0_3rdEd.sis

  • Send these to your phone and install Python, followed by the Script Shell to your memory card.

  • Send any python script (*.py) to e:\Python

  • Next, run Python from the Menu and select the script you want to run.

UPDATE: This script also works with the E90.

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Part II: Top Apps for the N73

Here's an extensive list of some of my favourite apps for the N73. The best part is that these essentials are free, so you definitely need to get them.

I've also included a concise description of their functions along with some screenshots and links for free download, so that you can get the specific version that's made for your phone.

1. AutoLock: Autolock is a simple, easy-to-use automatic key lock for S60 3rd edition devices that starts up automatically whenever you switch on your phone. I'd recommend you to install it to phone memory. A great utility!

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2. cCalc: cCalc is an intuitive, function-rich scientific calculator. The reason why I prefer it over any other app -- such as Calcium, for instance -- is simply because with cCalc, you can make your own conversion tables as well as perform advanced calculations. Install it to phone memory.

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3. HourPower: HourPower is quite a simplistic app that can read the current system time aloud upon the press of a key. You can, for instance, have it as one of the softkeys on your phone for easy access.

4. MobiReader: If you're into ebooks or enews, you must get MobiReader for your phone! I love this app as it gives me the flexibility to convert ebooks, comics, articles etc using its Creator Publisher software on the PC and later, to read them on my phone in landscape mode. You can even use the Web Companion on the PC to schedule enews downloads and read the latest news or weather on the go! MobiReader also supports dictionaries -- but they must be purchased separately.

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5. ActiveFile: This is an excellent file manager that you can use on your phone to browse or sort your files. It uses two panes instead of one so that you can easily copy and move stuff around. It's also faster than other file managers -- like the commercial Xplore from LCG and doesn't have any expiration date -- like the popular FExplorer that's currently in beta testing. Plus, ActiveFile also features a nifty landscape mode, a decent task manager as well as a memory monitor all bundled into one! A must have that deserves a place in your phone memory.

P.S Make sure you get the signed version if you're unsure about the signing process for S60 3rd edition devices!

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6. RotateMe: Another great app to have. RotateMe lets you use your phone in landscape mode. What's the advantage, you ask? Well, for starters, some apps that do not include a landscape mode switch can easily run in landscape using this and besides, it looks amazing! So far there's just an unsigned version out, so you'll have to sign it by yourself.

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August 10, 2007

Review: PhotoAcute Mobile

I've been a fan of the 'original' PhotoAcute (v2.0 and v2.1) ever since it first came out for the Nokia 3650 and Nokia 6600. With its remarkable capability of taking a full 1.3MPix snap using a tiny 0.3VGA camera, it was sure to make waves.

And it did too, since it wasn't really as gimmicky as it sounded. The 'superresolution' algorithm employed by it basically worked by using a series of continuous snaps and combining them together to produce a larger sized and higher quality image.

Although it wasn't as good as a dedicated 1.3MPix camera, it still did do a fairly decent job at getting a greater amount of detail as compared to the installed VGA camera.

However, with the introduction of newer handsets -- the 6630/80/81, N70 etc, the software market saw another, updated release of PhotoAcute (v3.1) for the newer platform. Since this app offered nothing new, the original hype wasn't really there. After all, it was just a port to the newer version of Symbian OS and nothing else. Quality was quite pathetic too and the installed camera always seemed to yield better images than the ones processed by PhotoAcute.

Come 2007, and there's yet another version of PhotoAcute (v3.5) out for S60 3rd Edition devices. I tested it recently and found it to be better than the previous release, but obviously not as great as the first release.

The reason why I said 'better' and not 'revolutionary' or anything else is simply because the N73's 3.2MPix camera is a delight to use by itself. The only problem lies in the high amount of jpeg compression that it does in saving the final snaps – most probably to keep a check on the file size, which is quite ridiculous as the N73’s supposed to be an imaging specialist! You can spot these compression artifacts in areas where colours sharply contrast. And the problem seems to have been made worse with newer releases of the N73's firmware. Another caveat is the blue haze you encounter on some photos under ordinary room lighting conditions.

Anyway, the latest version of PhotoAcute transcends this barrier somewhat, yielding 7MPix images with a resolution of 3072 x 2304 pixels with lesser compression artifacts. That’s more than two times the resolution of the N73’s camera. Check these comparisons out and decide for yourself:

P.S All snaps to the left are taken with the N73’s default 3.2MPix camera. The ones to the right are processed with PhotoAcute, after setting jpeg compression to low and enabling brightness as well as geometry correction, and resized to make the comparison easier to understand. Finally, to your extreme right is the self-explanatory magnified view :)

- Have a look at the first picture of the calculator keypad. Although both snaps look quite the same at first glance, it’s only when you magnify portions that you see the difference. Notice the area around the “Multiply” key in both photos.

- In the second photo of the calendar, you can immediately make out the varying levels of compression in the unprocessed photo.

- The final photo’s more of a closer match, even though PhotoAcute does show lesser compression artifacts than the default camera.

Verdict: I'll be frank. The latest version of PhotoAcute isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, you can in no way compare it to a top-of-the-line 7.2Mpix digital camera, but it does tend to improve on the images taken with the default camera, albeit slightly.

However, the reason why I wouldn't give it a 'Recommended' rating is because practically, it is quite stunted since photographing anything in motion (and I mean even the slightest motion) is totally out of the question as it gets you blurred results.

Also, I feel future releases should definitely offer something more than just selecting a group of photos and clicking OK as has been the case for so long now. A nifty photo editor, maybe...or perhaps the option of selecting the final image resolution would be some welcome additions.

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August 5, 2007

Part I: Tweaking the N73!

OK, so you've bought the N73 and don't know what to do with it yet. Well, before you you start installing your favourite apps, be sure to follow the steps outlined below in the order listed. These can be a real lifesaver and help you get optimum performance as well as amazing battery standby times for your phone!

1. Head over to Nokia UK, download and install the Nokia Software Updater, connect your phone to your PC and update it to the latest firmware. The best part is that it's free of cost and beneficial for your phone as it fixes potential issues that may exist with your gadget.

P.S Prior to this, make sure your phone's properly charged and that there aren't any electricity issues in your area! The latter can especially be lethal!

2. Once you have the latest firmware installed, it's time to optimize your phone settings for getting the best performance out of it. From the main menu, navigate to Tools and click Settings.

- Ensure Active Standby's set to On. You can also change the Active Standby apps on the idle screen if you wish.

- In Display, click open Light Sensor and move the slider all the way to the right to really pump up the brightness. Also, set the Power saver time-out to something like 1 minute; set Sleep mode to On and Light time-out to 15 seconds. These settings will help you get outstanding standby times for your phone.

- In Call Settings, you may, if you wish, set the Reject call with SMS option to No.

- In Network, click open Network mode and set it to GSM (given that 3G isn't available in most places currently). Set Operator Selection to Manual and let the phone search for the correct operator.

The reason why I chose not to leave this to Auto is pretty simple. What's obvious to us isn't necessarily obvious to the phone. Besides, it may even help the phone processor by letting it focus on things that aren't as clear as day to us. You may, if you like, set the Phone & Writing Language to English instead of Auto too :p

3. From the main menu, head over to Logs and click on Settings. Set this to 10 days. Anything more really taxes the phone.

That's it for Phone Settings. I'll discuss my Top Apps for the N73 soon!

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The Nokia Series 60 Experience

To start things off, I've been a huuge supporter of the Series 60 platform for a long while now (In case you don't know what Series 60 is, please take the time and google it!) Anyway, it's what makes ordinary cellphones much smarter...more like small 'multimedia computers' (the term that Nokia's coined for their Nseries).

I've had quite an experience with Nokia Phones...from my first Nokia 6610 to my current Nokia N73 Music Edition. Some years ago, having a diminutive colour screen, the ability to write messages on the fly and playing a few java games on your cellphone meant a lot to everyone. Infact, it was the Nokia 6610 that had me thinking about Series 60 in the first place. Could phones get any smarter? Sadly, I thought otherwise.

It was only when I was introduced to the 7650, followed by the 6600 that I realized how wrong I was. Here were phones that could clearly do a lot more -- record videos, take quick snaps, serve as excellent ebook readers, as dedicated music players and gaming devices or even as talking dictionaries and television remote controllers! Yup, these phones were streets ahead of the 6610 and the rest of the pack. My fascination with Nokia phones grew tremendously as a result and soon I 'graduated' to the Nokia 6600 after spending a fortune, followed by the Nokia 6630, before my recent acquisition.

The point that I'm trying to get at here is that smartphones are the future. Sure, they cost more than regular, conventional phones, but I guess one has to pay a certain price for cutting-edge technology. In a few years time, you won't find anyone lugging around a portable radio, music player, ebook reader, a video recorder, a digital camera and a phone all the time.

No matter what people say or believe about the superiority of having separate devices today, convenience is what we, the human race, look for in everything. We epitomize's a proven fact. Don't believe me? Ask yourself a simple question...would you rather walk or take a ride to work? Next question...would you rather carry a sleek smartphone that does everything you can think of or all of the items mentioned above on your next trip to the beach? A simple answer, really.

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My First Post!

Heyy all! Posting for the first time!

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