Saturday, 23 May 2009

Notes from the N95: v6

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

AppManager really needs to be able to filter by first letter, at the very least. It's so crude it looks as though they threw it together as a stop-gap and forgot to go back and fix it. "Broken gets fixed, mediocre lasts forever."

No facility to set appointments, memos or to-dos to repeat at set intervals, or to copy. What the fuck? Four years ago, my T630 could do that!

Massive credit, still, for letting you select the previous entry in the T9 options.

How can it lose a wi-fi interface it was using only two seconds ago, and have to search for it again? Repeatedly? This is REALLY ANNOYING.

If I send a txt to a number not in my phonebook, there is no way to then select that txt, and save the number. God dammit.

This is just plain stupid: the N95 has a dual slide mechanism, much hyped at release and re-used in just about every sliding Nokia since, that puts a line of audio player controls - stop, play/pause and forwards and backwards - at the top of the phone, accessed when you push the screen down. This also activates landscape mode. The thing is, although they apparently work as controls in the N-gage (what? Exactly) gaming application, they are otherwise stubbornly linked to the built-in media player. Which means that if you're in a third-party music player, or Nokia Audiobook player, which is a beta application written by a Nokia engineer who realised that if wanted a proper audiobook player he was going to have to write it himself, all that happens when you press one of the control buttons is that the media player launches. This is annoying enough, but what is totally ridiculous is that they don't work in the Voice Recorder application either, and that's part of the standard phone suite, not an add-on! Insanely, insanely, frustrating.

Essential free software installations:
  • Jbak TaskMan - The control panel that S60 should have built-in.
  • Active File - what the built-in file manager should be.
  • Dedit - Text editor - the world's most basic and useful utility. From the same programmer as TaskMan. Clever man, this Russian.
  • ShoZu - jack of all trades, master of none, but free and comprehensive. Just make sure it's what you want - it's too powerful to just use randomly.
  • Google maps - less annoying than Nokia Maps, has a neat non-GPS location finding trick using network towers (imperfect, but surprisingly good), and you don't need a subscription to get basic directions, but does use data.
  • Free iSMS - bringing Palm's threaded SMS to Symbian, by way of iPhone aesthetics.
  • Mobipocket Reader. Because it's just about the only option available.
I won't put in Opera Mini, because S60 is good and doesn't need replacing, unlike the built-in file manager. Opera is a nice adjunct, not an essential. N.B.: Most of the controls in S60 Web aren't documented. You'll need to do some googling.

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