Friday, 15 August 2008

Notes from the N95: v4

Another collection of random notes from the new smartphone, composed on the phone:

I must have just about done everything: it's been more than a week now without seeing something new. But I suppose there's always something else:

When using the phone in landscape mode, it is still possible for the display to go to screensaver mode. At which point the strip displaying the time and date, which is just visible in a good light, stays determinedly portrait in orientation. Oversight?

This is an odd one: I am using a very black theme from Taieb, and Dedit uses it's own interface, and a little bit of testing revealed that this problem is entirely a problem between these two: when T9 enters "spell a new word" mode in Dedit, the text is white on white. Which makes life a bit difficult.

More about the red key: I've noted it's frustrating inconsistencies before in these notes. I have just, the other day, had to rewrite a Livejournal entry I was writing in Lifeblog twice, because I accidentally hit the red key instead of the C back-space key, which it's right next to. This is VERY ANNOYING.

The icon for the Settings menu is a spanner. But it's got square jaws, not hexagonal. I hope this doesn't reflect the quality of the programming.

What the frack is a "visual radio"? Apart from, say, a standard radio that does exactly the same job of letting you listen to what is, after all, an auditory medium?

I can not help but notice that the full QWERTY keyboard E71 has a form of learning predictive text. Come on, guys, put this in an update for the N95, please?

When going into the settings for the camera, there is a choice of four different shutter sounds, which is nice to have. But changing the setting doesn't play the sound to let you know what it's like. Which is annoying. You need to actually take a photo to find out. This is not friendly behaviour.

Also on the subject of the camera tone: you can't turn it off. You're not allowed to. This has, apparently, come from privacy concerns. But it's bloody annoying. Not only for the obvious reasons where it's okay to take photos but it's not polite to make noises while doing so, but also because I am now using my N95, with it's nice big 5MP camera, as a scanner, taking photos of text books for reading later. It works quite well, but I'd really rather not be going CLICK every page inside a library.

I an currently trialing Opera Mobile, the made-for-S60 version, next to the java Opera Mini that I already use. Mobile is not free, but there is a trial period of 30 days. Which is good, because I'm not sure that it's actually as good as the free one. The first time I used it it was painfully slow, but I don't think that was Opera's fault.  However the navigation within pages is, although slicker and fancier, not actually as useful. The front page is less useful. Navigation short-cuts are less useful. It doesn't offer you multiple search engines off the home page - just google. It doesn't have a clock. Now, some of this may be me not investing the time in learning it and customising it. But some of it is actually less functions, or more difficult to access functions. Which, combined with not actually loading or working any faster than the non-native java version, in fact working slightly slower, has me scratching my head over why I would want to pay for it. 

This is a little weird: there are fields in different applications where, sensibly, text entry defaults to predictive off. But in the various bits of Contacts, it defaults to predictive on. Come on, what's the chance that the dictionary holds all the names you'll need and, more to the point, email addresses? There are some extremely non-language addresses out there, and many contractions that lead to REALLY non dictionary words. This doesn't seem to me to be the most effective default.

At the beginning of this installment of Notes From The New Smartphone, I noted that I may have just about found everything. In retrospect, I may have been wrong about that.

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