[UPDATED] Accuweather N97 WRT not working for UK/USA Locations
Written by mbrett   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 07:02

Accuweather

Any of you out there who have been using Accuweather with your N97 and have upgraded to the latest version (only released in the past few days) may have noticed a major issue in the UK.

A small investigation uncovered that Locational data is no longer available across the UK, other than London. Other countries are still fine, but Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Stoke-on-Trent now return a "Script Error" when the user tries to obtain weather information and no data is provided.

The response form Accuweather is as follows:

"We are aware that the widget is not allowing certain locations to be entered and are working on a correction in the near future. While we work on updating the application, you can still access all of the AccuWeather.com content right in your mobile browser! Simply launch your mobile browser, type in www.accuweather.com and enter a location. Access extended 15-day forecasts, animated radar/satellite, detailed current conditions, hourly forecasts, and more!"

Hopefully the near future is not too far away, as when working this is a very satisfying application/widget to use. Do love the Current Location option which uses the phones GPS location to provide a weather report and prediction for your current location.

[UPDATE] I have been informed that this issue is not limited to the UK and has been witnessed in the USA also.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2009 07:28
 
[REVIEW] Swiss Manager Pro
Written by mbrett   
Sunday, 06 December 2009 21:27

SwissManPro

Swiss Manager Pro (SMP)provides provides S60 smartphone users with a combination of File Manager, Task Manager and System Information in one package. This new port from Cell Phone Soft from their longstanding UIQ3 offering for Sony Ericcson devices is competing with the likes of FExplorer Pro, Active File, X-plore and Y-Browser as well as Best Taskman, Handy Taskman and JBak Taskman for the task management side.

Cell Phone Soft list the following functions:

  • Task manager, system information, file navigator in one application.
  • Full control over running and installed programs.
  • Advanced memory cleanup functions to maximize free memory, both manually and automatically.
  • Useful system information (device characteristics, system uptime, status reports, and much more).
  • File manager providing fast and convenient operations (copy, move, delete, rename, etc.).
  • Status icon displaying time, free memory, CPU usage, battery level, and drive usage.
  • Floating menu for instant access to all major services.
  • Fully customizable Favorite list for convenient application launch.
  • Recent list providing automated access to the most frequently used programs.
  • Key-press shortcuts for all major functions.
  • Many options for full customization and convenient use.

Now to my opinions on the new application for Symbian.

To be honest, as a previous user of the UIQ3 version of Swiss Manager Pro on an old Sony Ericcson M600i I had high hopes for this new offering. Unluckily I was left wanting. Now don't get me wrong. The application does what they state, but there are a few apps that can do this already, and better in most cases. The only advantage Swiss Manager Pro has over it's existing competition is it's indicators that appear on all screens, but these do need a graphical update in my opinion. It's disapointing that these have remained unchanged when in my opinion the old Sony Ericcson GUI was never as appealing as the Nokia GUI of the time and the nokia GUI has improved, not a lot, but has improved all the same in the last 3-4 years. The problem is the Swiss Manager Pro specific areas of the GUI do not reflect these GUI differences.

From a File Manager point of view Swiss Manager Pro is nothing new and the Task Manager functionality is surpassed by the like of Best Taskman, Handy Taskman and JBak Taskman. A number of these applications can reclaim memory in some form, but in this area Swiss Manager provides more comprehensive options, which acts in its favour.

To sumarise, I'll be staying with Best Taskman for my task management and memory reclamation needs and a mixture of FExplorer Pro and Active File for my file management, system information and screen capture needs.

 
[REVIEW] SlideIT BETA
Written by mbrett   
Sunday, 06 December 2009 21:25

For those of you who have been wishing that your Nokia S60v5 touch device provided you with a soft QWERTY like many have been drooling over in the Opera Mobile 10 BETA Browser GUI, it has arrived in the form of SlideIT BETA.

I downloaded it and tried it on my N97 as soon as I found out about it and I've not been disapointed. For me the only downsides as yet are the small touch keys when compared with the default phone "style" keypad, a fixed colour scheme for the keypad and loss of the Contacts, OVI Contacts, Groups tabs in Contacts when the SlideIT keyboard is enabled. Otherwise it's a nice little addition to any S60v5 device.

NOTE// The video is shown on a Windows Mobile touch device, but the opertaion and appearance is the same on Nokia S60 touch devices.

The main features of the application include:

  • Predictive Text
  • SlideIT BETA includes powerful prediction and disambiguation capabilities.

    Just start tapping the desired word and it is quickly displayed, along with other likely solutions.>

  • On/Off line correction
  • SlideIT corrects some online spelling errors and Offline corrections can be performed by selecting a word in the editor and choosing one of the displayed alternatives.

  • Graffiti
  • A powerful, universal Graffiti function recognises digits and special characters. Graffiti motion can be combined with sliding motion as well as tapping.

    In the landscape mode, the Graffiti area is located in the main layout. Therefore, there is no need to change the layout mode when writing digits or special characters.

  • Shortcuts (abreviations)
  • For instance, when you slide or tap “LMK”, ‘let me know’ is displayed in the editor.

    Not only does SlideIT have a long list of builtin shortcuts, but the user can add to or delete from the list to personalise it.

  • Multilanguage
  • SlideIT supports Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and of course English.

    The keyboard is provided with primary and secondary languages, and the user can switch between them at any time.

    Users have the option to change the primary or secondary languages by loading other language packs.

    More supported languages will be introduced soon and will include alphabetical and non- alphabetical languages (oriental languages).

 
REVIEW: Maps Booster
Written by mbrett   
Sunday, 29 November 2009 19:38

Maps Booster 1

I recently got my hands on a copy of Maps Booster from Skyhook Wireless and I must say that I ws impressed. Instead of using satellite signals like GPS, Maps Booster uses local Wi-Fi signals to determine your location. Maps Booster searches for Wi-Fi hotspots and compares signals to the Skyhook Wireless Wi-Fi database to triangulate your position.

Once installed you will see a new application icon for Maps Booster and if you go to "Location" / "Positioning" / "Positioning Methods" you will find a new item at the top of the list of Assisted GPS, Integrated GPS, Bluetooth GPS and Network Based positioning, namely Maps Booster providing Wi-Fi based positioning. The location manager/server then picks the best available positioning method based on some criteria defined by Nokia and switches between the positioning methods as conditions change. Worldwide there are about 150 million Wi-Fi access points mapped in the Skyhook Wireless positioning system and is receiving about 250 million new location requests per day.

The Maps Booster "application" enables the user to choose the network connection and verify that Wi-Fi positioning works. The app does not need to run for Maps Booster to be active, and you can go to "Location," "Positioning," "Positioning Methods" to enable/disable Maps Booster or GPS. Wi-Fi positioning is available in most built-up areas where GPS struggles, and in general, you get the best location available. If no app is requesting location then no power is consumed by the Wi-Fi positioning service.

Maps Booster 2

Maps Booster does require a data connection, either via 3G/GPRS or a Wi-Fi access point. The reason is that the application scans Wi-Fi access points and their signal strengths, and then downloads a subset of the Skyhook Wireless' Wi-Fi access point location database to the device, so that no data has to be transmitted for subsequent location requests in the same general area. If you choose your carrier's data connection, then you do not have to be connected (or attached) to a local Wi-Fi network. As an aside, the time it takes to establish a data connection can be improved if you go to "packed data" in the Symbian settings and change the connection from "when requested" to "when available," and key in your access point.

The main thing I need location based information on my phone is Navigation, but you shouldn't forget geo-blogging, geo-tagging and other location-aware applications, like Gravity, OVI Lifecasting, Location Tagger, many of which you may want to use indoors.

Reading the initial blogs around the ether many have warned of possible battery issues based on the power drain you see from a constant WiFi connection or leaving WiFi searching on. The truth is that the power you use is related to the positioning method and the time it takes to acquire a fix. Wi-Fi positioning provides a very quick fix indoors, whereas, GPS keeps searching for GPS. GPS is relatively energy efficient when in "tracking mode", after aquiring a stable satellite fix, quite power intensive whilts trying to acquire a new fix.

Maps Booster 3

If you are in an area that has poor GPS reception, the phone will keep trying to acquire a fix and consume power. In comparison, if you have an application that is looking for "a fix" indoors, or in "urban canyons," then Wi-Fi positioning is fantastic. If, in comparison, you have more sky visibility in more suburban areas with lower level buildings or in country side, then GPS is the best positioning method and it may be best to disable Wi-Fi positioning, as it isn't as useful in that scenario.

An interesting aside is that you can add Wi-Fi positioning to phones that don't have intgrated GPS, but do have built-in Wi-Fi built (e.g. the E51). This greatly improves the experience when compared to pure cell tower based positioning.

My conclusion on this app is that it is worth the small pricetag over at the OVI Store for indoor usage and positioning where GPS fix is not attainable.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2009 19:18
 
REVIEW: FExplorer Pro
Written by mbrett   
Sunday, 29 November 2009 19:35

FExplorer Pro 1

Well after having used FExplorer for over a month now, I thought it was past time for me to write a review. To give a little background I have never been a lover of Lonely Cat Games' file manager app (X-plore), or the default Nokia file manager, for differing reasons, but prefer DR Jukka's Y-Browser and Alie Tan's Active File. With Active File taking the edge as aresult of it's user interface. Basically X-plore has the functional edge, but I dislike the UI, which to me is a little dated, with the font too small for large screen phones like the N97 and of course you've got to pay for it. When it comes to the default Nokia File Manager I like the UI, but it lacks way too much functionality. DR Jukka's offering has most of the functionality claimed by Lonely Cat Games' and a better UI, but is a little bulky, leaving Active File. For me this is the best of the file managers out there for S60, until SBSH Software joined the foray with FExplorer Pro.

Now FExplorer Pro is by no means perfect, but it's a step in the right direction, merging the standard functionality of a file manager with other a few additions missing from Nokia phones.

File Explorer

    The file management is pretty standard, but the addition of an Image viewer is a nice touch speeding up image viewing. The Hidden folders support enables you to get to files and folders, hidden in the default Nokia file manager, which heavier users need to get to keep their phones behaving. The File editor is another usefull addition, but this is for the real power users, of course.

Tools

    Screenshot

    The Screenshot utility is one of my favourite tools, having used a few screenshot apps I have found this to be the best. This tool is, of course, only of real use for those user either testing, blogging or needing screenshots for support reasons.

    FExplorer Pro 2

    Backlight

    Next comes the backlight, which is really just a switch to over-ride the the auto-off timer on the backlight for users to see by this light, using the phone as a dim torch.

    Bluetooth

    The Bluetooth switch simply switches the default blootooth interface on and off. For me I do not see the value of this other than it's localisation into one place. I have the default Bluetooth Application as one of my homescreen shortcuts though.

    Restart

    Restart your phone with a single button click. No more turn-off, turn-on and re-enter passwords.

    Compress Memory

    Reclaim some of the very limited RAM which can be lost during prolonged phone operation and application crashes.

    Developer/Advanced Tools

  • Installed applications generates a list of all installed apps on the device, including their path and application UID and saves it as INSTAPP.txt on the C: drive
  • Dump file list geneartes a text file listing all files and folders within the phone.

Info

Info contains five categories,

  • Phone providing you system information about your phone, such as firmware version, IMEI number and more
  • Network providing advanced network details. This brings details such as network area ID, connected cell ID, network information and more
  • Media providing you with technical details and system information about the memory card currently used, when available.
  • System providing advanced phone information including Operating System, CPU, Memory, MAC Address and running time.
  • Fonts providing information on the current fonts being used on the device
  • This info is all very nice, but mainly aimed at advanced users and developers again.

Although FExplorer Pro is a very capable app for me when I limit my comparison to the UI I still prefer Active File but I have been advised by the developer that the UI is getting a look at and the larger appearance seen in Active File and the default Nokia file manager will be introduced to FExplorer Pro. I can't wait.

The Future

For me there are a few more things I'd love to see in future versions.

The first would be a real Task Manager, like that seen in Handy Taskman, Best Taskman and JBak Tasman (You need to use the selfsign BETA of this app), to replace the dissapointing default Task Manager. Another would be the introduction of a RAR extractor and one last thing I'd love someone to introduce is a Location Method Manager where the user can select which applications use which location methods.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 November 2009 19:39
 
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