really nifty nokia E70 things, part 1

No, I’m not done jabbering about the damn phone. Sorry.

Nifty Thing #1: Nokia Global Settings Configurator. You tell it what model of phone you have, what country you’re in, and the carrier you’re on, and it sends you an SMS with all the settings you need to get that phone to work for that carrier. Just read the text message to install all the settings. Done. I initially thought ha ha, I’ll bet this works in enlightened countries but not for us here in backwater USA, but NO it works GREAT. NOKIA I LUV YOU. T-Mobile actually has one of these as well.

Nifty Thing #2: OMG the Web Browser. I’m used to WAP browsers on phones where pages are shown with crappy limited layout and style. Even WAP-designed pages are really stripped down to support tiny screens and slow bandwidth. The web browser on the E70 is a real web browser. It gives you the full page, with full CSS and layout, where the mobile screen is just a viewport onto the page. You scroll with the joystick, slowly at first and then if you’re scrolling a lot it switches to zoom mode where you have a little facsimile of the full page on the screen in which you can scroll the viewport window around really quickly.

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The little page facsimiles are also used for back/forward page navigation — its really sweet. This in combination with the E70’s high resolution screen and its gorgeous.

Javascript support appears to be kind of sketchy but there is Mobile Flash. So even on your phone you can get your choice of the spinning logo or the flaming logo.

Nifty Thing #3: iSync. iSync is the program that syncs the data you have on the mac (well, contacts and calendars) to various mobile devices. Apple does an update twice a year or so to add new device support to iSync. I figured since the E70 was new that I was going to have to wait a while for syncing to work. But it turns out that iSync is hackable. There’s a set of basic profiles for syncing and then a huge complex bunch of XML configuration files that define a new device based on those profiles. So to add a new device all you have to do is find a device that’s something like the one you’ve already got and copy it with the new information for your own device. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Apple seems to change the specifics of HOW you actually do this (where the XML files are, how they’re specified) with each new release of iSync and with each OS update. So by the time I bought the E70 there were instructions on the net for how to add iSync support to the E70. But they were all already out of date because in the intervening WEEK I had also updated to OSX 10.4.7.

sigh. On the bleeding edge, you bleed a lot.

I found this blog post from deconcept.com to be the most helpful in getting iSync set up. I found it linked off of macoshints.com. I found a nice icon on the my-symbian forums but it doesn’t seem to be linked up there anymore. You can use any icon or make your own; its just a TIFF file.

With syncing I can keep my contacts, calendars and to-dos up to date on the phone at all times. I sync the phone over bluetooth every other day or so. The E70 has this great calendar overview view right on the main screen that I just love.

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Nifty Thing #4: http://e-series.org. I could talk about the really cool stuff I’m doing with my E70, but this guy’s already pretty much writing everything I was going to say. His site’s more specifically about the E61, the sister device to the E70 that looks more like the treo, but its the same software so a lot of the same stuff applies. This is a hugely useful site.

Nifty Thing #5: autolock. I talked way back when (“new phone not laura-proof“) about the annoying habit my old Nokia 6600 had of sending me email 1500 times an hour when the joystick was pressed, as it might be when contained in my bag in my car. As a result of that really expensive experience I discovered the donation-ware autolock program (Nokia does not have basic autolock built into the software, strangely enough). The E70 does not have nearly the issues with overly touchy joysticks that the 6600 does, nonetheless it was nice to find out that good old autolock is supported on Series 60 V3 phones. The program is free but the author accepts pay pal donations.

Nifty Thing #6: 2GB mini SD cards, running at about $50. $50.

Ten years ago I bought a two megabyte PCI card for my digital camera and I think I paid like $250 for it. I know, I know, moore’s law, blah blah, but I am still to this day repeatedly astonished at how fast and how cheap flash memory is and continues to be every time I need to buy some. And how rapidly smaller capacity flash memory becomes completely pointless. How many 8, 16, 64MB SD cards do I have sitting around on my desk now? 10? 15?

I bought the 2G card for the phone so I can put music on it. Of course the phone has a music player. It even syncs to iTunes.