Nokia’s New Flagship Store – London

Alright folks,

Happened to be passing through London town yesterday and, whilst I was Jaikuing away, my new friend Steve from S60Blogger requested some photos of the BRAND NEW Nokia Flagship Store on Regent Street…

These I took and, after eventually uploading them to my Flickr (via ShoZu – my new favourite app) for the world to see, I thought I’d post some here… see below


WOOP WOOP!

And also, to show that there’s no favouritism, I also followed through on Stefan from Intomobile‘s request for a QIK video tour too!

Big love to Ricky Cadden, Symbian-Guru, who reported on these FIRST over at SMS Text News and then again over at Symbian Guru.

Top Bombin’ Chap!

MIR: How-to: N95 + ShoZu + Geotags + Flickr + GeoRSS + Google Maps = Mash Up Central!

This week Whatley is going all Web 2.0 on your ass. It’s all very well having these magnificent tools at our disposal — but how do you actually get them working? I’ve always liked the concept of geotagging my images — but haven’t quite got round to working out how to do it. It’s actually refreshingly simple. Here’s James with the overview:

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There’s been a lot of buzz online lately about Nokia Beta Labs‘ latest software release – the Nokia Location Tagger.

A quick overview from Nokia:

‘With Nokia Location Tagger, you can automatically tag your location data to your pictures. As you take a picture, your GPS coordinates are saved to the EXIF header of the JPEG file. You can use this data later, for example, to locate your pictures on a map.

That’s a great feature – Fantastic!
(more on the application of this functionality later)

Nokia also go on to say:

‘In the near future, we hope to make location tagging a seamlessly integrated part of your Nokia experience. Until then, Nokia Location Tagger is a small standalone application that gives you a sneak preview. We are not planning to productize this application as such, but we’d love to hear your thoughts already now, so that we have time to take it into account in the mainstream development.

EVEN BETTER!

However, I will not be using this application. I have absolutely no need for it whatsoever. Installing the Nokia Location Tagger onto my handset would be a complete and utter waste of time.

Why? Well, since downloading and installing Share Online 3.0 (another Nokia Beta Labs product) the Web Upload part of my N95 has been rendered useless. I’m told this is probably something to with http protocols on Vodafone; an early Jaiku beta release had similar problems. However the difference is I could uninstall Jaiku. This is not the case with Share Online 3.0. Grr…

So how do I upload media from my N95? Answer: ShoZu.

Yes it does all the cool things like photo/video uploads to all my sharing sites etc but Ricky covered most of that yesterday.

The ‘other’ cool thing that ShoZu does is… *drum roll please* …Geo Tagging!

That’s right. Exactly the same thing that Nokia’s Location Tagger! ShoZu however announced this feature at LAST YEAR’S 3GSM! …nearly a full year ago.

But I’m not here to moan about Nokia playing catch up AGAIN…

I mean, that thing that the iPhone does when you turn it like *that*?
SO cool.
Wouldn’t it be great if the N95 could do that?! If only it had something like a built-in accelerometer…

No wait.
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As I said – I’m not here to moan about that – I’m here to show you what this kinda stuff can DO!

Right then.

First you need a GPS enabled phone – an N95 for example.
Then you need ShoZu, (with the GPS tagging switched to ‘on’).

Once you’ve got those two sorted get yourself a Flickr account and enable the two following options:

1. Import EXIF Location Data – http://flickr.com/account/geo/exif/?from=privacy
2. Import Geotagged Photos – http://flickr.com/account/geo/import

All done? Good. Now take a few photos and upload as you like. Got that far? Excellent.

Now go to your Flickr page – here’s mine http://flickr.com/photos/whatleydude

Scroll to the bottom and you should see some feeds – you want the geoFeed.

Image

Right click on that and then ‘copy link location’.

Once you’ve done that – get off to www.google.com/maps and right click, paste into the search box and ‘search maps’.

You SHOULD end up with something like this:

N95 + ShoZu + Geotags + Flickr + GeoRSS + Google Maps = Mash Up Central!

Give it a go and see what you come up with. I was chuffed to bits when I finally got mine together and working correctly. Hence the desire to impart knowledge I guess. Two quick notes before I sign off. First a big thanks to the my Jaiku buddies who inspired me to put this post together and second to point out another great use of ShoZu.

Enjoy!

MIR: Taking a firm hand with firmware

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FW: Whatley on Wednesday - 12/12/07

Two weeks ago, after writing my review/rant about the N81 8GB, Stefan Constantinescu (of IntoMobile fame) left a comment:

‘With the new N95 firmware out that breathes new life into the device I too can’t understand why anyone would want the N81.’

Fantastic point Stefan, the new N95 firmware does INDEED breathe new life into the N95 and anyone that comes anywhere near me with their pre-V20 firmware will get it upgraded in a flash.

What a great move by Nokia. That is, of course, if Nokia actually bothered to TELL ANYONE ABOUT IT!

Yeah yeah yeah, so Nokia told a few bloggers and released a techie press release (maybe). But fundamentally – WHO is actually going to benefit?

Ok – so as an old friend used to say – let’s do a quick fag-packet analysis:

I reckon, best guess, maybe 5% (and that’s being EXTREMELY generous) of all N95 owners are aware that they can update the firmware (or ‘software’ as a normob may refer to it as) on their handset maybe?

Of that 5%, how many actually are going to know/check that there is a new firmware available.

You could probably argue yourself up to quite a high figure, what with the ‘firmware aware’ having a higher propensity to be techies/mobile geeks. But still.

Of THAT percentage, how many N95ers are going to risk upgrading their firmware, having had their fingers burnt in the past trying to upgrade a previous handset?

Or, what about those of us who have no intention of going anywhere near the Nokia Software Updater (NSU) after having heard such horror stories about bricked handsets and nudged USB cables?

Right – ok – how many hands are left up? Not many.

And even you brave few who are left standing still aren’t guaranteed a new piece of firmware because guess what?! Computer says no.

(Or in this case: Your Operator/Carrier – see some of the comments from last week’s article as a case in point).

Moving on from this – let’s take a look at the iPhone model.

The sync cradle becomes (as I heard recently) the centre of gravity for the user. They charge it, sync it and, above all, update it from one place.

The user is told, at point of sale, plug this into your PC/Mac and register online. That is the first thing the user does and immediately the user-behaviour has changed. Or has it?

How many iPhone users out there own (or have owned) an iPod? A fair few? Ok so how many of those users already associate having an Apple product that must be plugged/synced up to their Mac to optimise usage? Again – I’d bet a reasonable amount.

Apple have been very clever in a) Tapping into that pre-defined user behaviour and b) Educating the new user on how to get the most from their iPhone.

Nokia, to me at least, have a lot of catching up to do in this department. My N95 is a phone that happens to play music. The iPhone is sold as an iPod that happens to make calls.

This one simple, strategic change has resulted in a paradigm shift in how the end user benefits from updates back at base.

To put it simply: Push instead of pull.

When updating the firmware on a handset, Apple have it nailed.

Nokia we love you but, to reach the masses, you have a lot of catching up to do.

MIR: Whatley on Wednesday: Vodafone’s MusicStation

whatley

I woke up on Monday morning with the intention of writing this week’s Whatley on Wednesday piece about firmware and firmware upgrades.
Recently a fellow Mobile Geek of London was exclaiming to me that “Nokia Rule for doing this [latest release of their firmware – V20]”

I disagreed. The idea is great, but the application and execution leaves a lot to be desired.

We argued… and then decided it didn’t matter and discussed something else, (like whose round it was next). I left the pub with every intention to write this argument up (or at least my side of it) and post it right here for your reading (dis)pleasure. Delete where applicable.

That was until, just as I was leaving the house, I heard the latest single from UK indie group Scouting for Girls, ‘Elvis ain’t dead’. And, as with every song that you hear just before you leave the house in the morning, it became stuck in my head.

By the time I made it to the train station I had hummed the bloody thing to death and had decided that I needed this track NOW.

So I thought I’d make the most of NOW and jump onto Vodafone’s new Music Station service.

Awesome, not only will I get the track I want but I’ll also make notes throughout and then I can write it up as a review the service for SMS Text News. Score!

This – rather oddly – all happened before Monday’s Unlimited Drinks and also before yesterdays Omnifone stories that Ewan ran… Hmm… Telepathy’s working then.
But alas, Vodafone were not going to make it easy for me.

I arrived at the Vodafone Live! music page and I’m asked to download and install the Music Station Application (I had no idea it was an app?!).

whatley

Not a problem, I thought, I’ve done this before. I wonder how good their user education/hand holding is. To their merit, it’s not too bad at all. I think any average normob could find their way through this process. Well. Right up until they hit this point:

whatley

Rubbish. I tried again: Same problem.

This is becoming annoying. I turn the phone off, turn it back on again, try again and…. STILL the same problem!

I hit 191 on my phone and call customer service. After a little explaining I eventually get passed through to the technical dept…

‘Hello Mr Whatley, what error do you have?’

‘It says here: “Certificate error, contact the application vendor”.’

‘Is there an error code?’

‘No, it’s a certificate error… No number. I have a screenshot that I can email over if that helps?’

‘Er…(small amount of confusion at this point on my keenness to help maybe?) No sorry. We’re not actually allowed to give out our email addresses.’

‘Okaaaaaaaay…’

‘Can I call you back on a different line?’

So I say yes, and they do. And lo and behold I’m requested to repeat the process (obviously my word isn’t good enough) and guess what? Same error.

THEN I was asked to do something, and I must state that VF UK have NEVER EVER asked me to check this in the history of being a VF customer, they asked me to check my firmware!

To the layman – this is the software version that your phone is running. Same thing on every Nokia, got an N95? Try it now. *#0000# – anything below V20 means you really should think about upgrading.
(Benefits here.)

Anyway – ‘Sam’ (I think that was her name) informs me that my current firmware, (V20, obviously) is the problem as “the Music Station is only compatible with Vodafone branded firmware versions 10b and 10c”.

Let’s just pause and take that it in for a moment.

That’s right. Vodafone’s flagship ‘Hero’ service, The MUSIC STATION, the big one they’re pushing this Christmas does not work with the latest Nokia N95 firmware.

‘Sorry Mr Whatley, you’re going to have to go back to version 10.’

‘That is not going to happen.’

Thinking on this now, a few hours after the event, when I originally got the handset from Vodafone it was running V11. I didn’t even know VF had V10. On top of that – I didn’t know you could go backwards with firmware either! That’s a new one on me.

VFUK suck for not making sure their leading application is compatible with the latest Nokia firmware.

So I’m sorry folks – no MusicStation review from me today. I do have a MusicStation handset but alas the generic Nokia firmware that I’m running is not compatible with the service.

Doh.

EDIT: I met Terence Eden of Vodafone at the Unlimited Drinks on Monday. He explained to me that the Vodafone MusicStation is only compatible with Vodafone’s own firmware. He also assured me that the MusicStation does work above V10 as he has seen it working on (Voda’s own variants of) V11 and V12.

Terence’s defence was that I should not have changed my firmware from VF’s to Nokia’s Generic.

Thinking on this now – that’s not a bad argument – anyone who knows me knows how much I like to hack… ahem… augment my phones so I can the optimum functionality out of them.
Well. It’s not a bad argument when you consider someone who might not buy their handset directly from Vodafone. Whose firmware is already generic upon purchase, what about them?

Next week: That rant on firmware and firmware upgrades, (the one I wanted to write this week).

R.I.P. N95

This morning, my phone died.

It ran away… then came back… but I think… I think, in its absence it must’ve caught some horrific disease or something…

The screen has broken…

The phone is no more!
It has ceased to be!
It has expired and gone to meet his maker!
It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If I hadn’t nailed it to my hand it’d be pushing up the daisies!
It’s metabolic processes are now history!

It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, its shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!

THIS IS AN EX-PHONE!

Network Throttling

Ok – so a few of us N95 users at Refresh Mobile have noticed a thing called ‘Network Throttling’.

Basically, when browsing the mobile internet your operator chooses what kind of kb per image you can download.. This is usually a low number.. So that when you first get to a webpage, more often than not, the pictures on said site are usually grainy and horrible..

Now, this wouldn’t normally matter on a small-screened phone – but on the N95, it is VERY noticable indeed!

Ok.. The example I’m going to use is when I was chatting away on Jaiku earlier on today and my friend Chibbigirl uploaded a link to her m.flickr account.. (i’d tell you what it was – but you’re about to see it anyway!).

So, said link appears in my (fantastic) Jaiku client, I click it to go through and see the pic..
And what do I see?

A grainy rubbishly loaded version. Grr!

However, a simple ‘reload page’ fixes this issue..
Which is fine..

Until you realise you have to double load EVERY PAGE YOU GO TO!
Aaargh!

See below for before & after shots…

Do you see what I mean?!
Shocking…

And following up on Adonis’ comment:

Dude! I’ve got auto-reload on already and I still get this problem!
Rubbish!

Nokia N91 8GB Comparison Shots

Right then!
Obviously I’m going to have this lovely little phone for a little while… and obviously this phone is predominantly a music phone, (not a multimedia phone), so it wouldn’t really be fair to compare it to my Nokia N95… would it?
Oh I don’t know..
We’ll see…

First I think I’ll just do some size shots..
Enjoy..

I must admit – it is a bit bigger than the current range of Nokias on the market.. but more than that is the sheer weight of the thing.. it’s just so damn heavy!
When I had the N93i I mainly demonstrated the uses of the camera but as I’ve already mentioned – that’s not what the N91 8GB is for…
So really I should make this sort of comparison… No?

You tell me…

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