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How To: Changing Fonts in Symbian^3 (very easy, done in a minute) Nokia N8, C6-01, C7

November 23, 2010 32 comments

UPDATE 2: Major apologies for those trying this and finding errors. As noted, try at own risk. This already mucks up Ovi Store and prevents it from starting. Also I’ve had problems with Nokia Panorama but that’s been buggy since this morning.

Back in June we asked should Nokia change their icons and fonts. From 496 votes as it stands, 71.98% agreed on both, with 8.47%% only wanting icon change, 7.86 just font change and 11.69% were happy with fonts and icons the way they are (not exactly encouraging).

Well icons change variably with themes and are mostly up to the theme designer (check out screenshots at end of post to see different icon styles). Fonts on the other hand is soo easy to change yourself thanks to this tip from gadgetbuff to mynokiablog.com/tips! That’s great because the Nokia font has been heavily criticized as one of the factors making Nokia phones look a little old. We were exstatic when we saw a different font in Symbian^4 leaked screenshots only to find out they were modified.

“A font says a lot, though quite subtly, and so often overlooked.

The narrow Nokia font made sense in older phones when trying to conserve on pixel usage. But now we’ve got high res screens and can afford wider fonts, narrow, sharp fonts look much less appealing than their plumper, rounder counterparts.

The curviness of “Century Gothic” [Very similar to “Prelude”, used in Palm Pre I think] is often found in children’s books because of the emphasis on classic alphabet shapes and thus readability. Prelude is probably the best font at the moment being used on phones. The letters are very curved, a little more readable than Century Gothic (E.G. letter r), but less wasteful on character spacing.”

So how can you change your font too?

Click to read the rest of this article to change your icon fonts!

Read more…

How to: Downloading Ovi Store .sis installation files from Desktop Web Browser for offline phone install

November 22, 2010 10 comments

Here’s a very quick and useful tip from Iain Wallace of doitdifferent.wordpress.com on how to download the .sis/.sisx installation files directly from Ovi Store. Now why would you want this? Well you might not have WiFi or mobile data on your phone but may have access to a desktop with internet.

I’d sure as heck like a PC download and installation of apps as my uni accommodation this year has pants signal and NO WiFi. (Come on Ovi Suite!)

Installation instructions after the break!

Read more…

Symbian web browser sluggish?? Javascript to blame

October 20, 2010 47 comments

 

While this is by no means an empirical test, I’ve seen mention in a number of places on the web that the main reason for the dismal performance of the Symbian Web browser is the lack of adequate CPU power, I can categorically say that this is a false assumption. I’m currently using a regular old Nokia 5800 here in the US of A and have been having problems loading certain, *full* websites while still maintaining a degree of usability and not wanting to toss my phone against a wall.  Before you people come at me saying “Just use Opera!!!11222!”, the default browser is still the one that comes up everytime I hit a link in any program, email, IM conversation, etc in spite of my having changed the default browser to Opera. That said, I stumbled across a comment the other day that really stuck with me for some reason. In essence it said “Turn off Javascript and the browser is soo much faster!”

 

Well I tried it and by God does it work wonders. The Engadget homepage that would take an age to load and render and would require me to manually stop the loading in order to even use it half-way properly finished loading in a matter of seconds and scrolled magnificently, regardless of the measly 434Mhz processor. Those of you with N8’s or other Symbian powered devices are urged to try this for yourself to see just how big a difference this minute change can make to the general usability of the browser.

 

That said, there are caveats to this, some Javascript-heavy sites may not render with all the flash, bang, whizz etc that may be expected though in my experience the majority remain unchanged. Also, Disqus does not work unless Javascript is turned on (big loss eh!). Let’s hope that the upcoming Web-browser for S^3 devices comes with a damn competitive Java-script rendering engine amongst other things!!

This improved web browser would also have the knock-on effect of improving all WRT based applications and widgets, including the Social and FourSquare apps. Just food for thought.

 

 

NB:

The current browser on my 5800 gets a Sunspider score of  ~130,000 as compared to a Motoral Droid with a score of ~34,000 ms (Higher is worse!) and I from results I’ve seen around the internet, processor speed is nigh on irrelevant in this case.

 

 

So much for “the browser is one of the places where the N8 is definitely bumping up against the raw limits of its “mature” processor” eh. Chances are that with an improved Javascript rendering engine this statement will have to be retracted.

Video: Nokia N8/Symbian^3 How to: speed up homescreen swiping/remove perceived lag between screens

October 18, 2010 10 comments

Now for some reason or another, the Symbian^3 homescreen introduces a perceivable “lag” when switching between screens. This is apparently designed that way (due to the active widgets on screen). The homescreen lag is less visible when in landscape (where the swipe movement would be more obvious than a possible mispress in landscape. You could of course just press the middle homescreen button to switch, but that’s unidirectional. What happens if you just want to go to the one on the left? Press Twice? No.

I’m not sure this lag was designed at all (if the reason being due to prevent widget action confusion). If you go into

MENU>SETTINGS>THEMES>OPTIONS>THEME EFFECTS>OFF

You’ll notice that your homescreen swiping is now INSTANT. The “animation” is obviously now gone but the trade off is an instant homescreen with no perceived delay. Were there an issue with widgets, shouldn’t the speed be the same? I don’t know what the reasoning is for the unecessary swipe delay other than to fire up the transition.

The much bigger disadvantage of this is that you lose the animations everywhere else too (though everything does become a pinch faster too). The theme effects which actually (for me any way, dunno about you) made S^3 that extra bit more palatable than S^1 (S^3 has other major improvements, don’t get me wrong).

I’m not sure why we couldn’t have had something like Maemo 5’s homescreen – which was both responsive but also WITH the active swipe animation – but that’s another story (a possible battery saving one)

___

Eagle eyes amongst you would note the unintended demo of the iPhone death grip. It’s T-Mobile. The signal is very, very bad and cycles around between having signal and not having signal regardless of being gripped or not. Tried SIM in a Samsung genio and it doesn’t even pick up signal here. O2 sim in N8 – full signal.

Two interesting how to’s on the Nokia N8

Two interesting videos have appeared from youtube demonstrating some of the N8’s capabilities

First up how to edit photos on the N8

Second how to use the N8’s web browser

Thanks to Chandru for the heads up

How to: Porting Apps from iPhone and Android to Qt

July 22, 2010 17 comments

Got an Android or iPhone App? Want an even larger audience and another distribution point? Port to Qt and get your awesome app on the Ovi Store. Forum Nokia has a helpful page on their Wiki detailing instructions on porting Android and iPhone apps to Qt.

The page was updated last in June, so now Nokia have 24 Million smartphones, and 41% of the GLOBAL smartphone market share (up from 40% and 21 million). Today, OPK mentioned Nokia expects 50 Million Symbian^3 devices to be shipped over next few years (though what exact time scale is not mentioned) Now also note the possible Millions of MeeGo devices, not just from Nokia, but from the 20 partners lined up to make MeeGo devices. Plus there’s the Maemo 5 crowd (N900 users).

The programming language for Qt is C++. Modern classes and functions that are familiar from other technologies make it extremely easy to adapt to this language. If you are experienced with the Objective-C or Java™ programming language, you will have your first Qt C++ project running within hours.

Qt C++ is ideal for application logic, and the script-like Qt Quick speeds up the creation of advanced user interfaces. You can also write native platform code and call it from Qt, to reach each and every feature of the device.

Selecting one approach does not tie your hands. You can freely code the network functionality with low-level Qt and make things look smooth with QML and scripts.

Qt provides all modern classes and functionalities familiar from iPhone and Android. This makes it easy to keep the application logic close to the original when porting

How to Proceed with Porting

WordPress Developer Story

As linked above, this is a neat one to take a look at as it’s first hand example of porting from iPhone to Qt.

To make a long story short, it is easy to keep the original structure of the application when porting from iPhone to Qt. You can directly rewrite the core code to Qt just by looking at the original source

Compared to many other platforms, tweaking of the UI is incredibly quick. You can set values, launch it on the desktop, and, if it looks good, add to the device style sheet and deploy for verification’

Forum Nokia Via @bperry

Using your Nokia smartphone as a modem.

July 8, 2010 12 comments

One of our readers Gemma sent us an email asking for a short how-to on using your Nokia smartphone as a 3G modem. Given that it’s something I felt like a great deal of our readers would benefit from (if they didn’t already know :-P) I decided to take up the torch and do a quick post showing this.

As we all know, when buying a Nokia device, Nokia provides their software suite installation CD in addition to other accessories. Although the CD itself is not mandatory for installing the software suite (It’s just as easy to find on the internet) the majority of users will gain access to Nokia’s Ovi Suite or PC Suite via this method.

1st step:

Install the darn thing! As much as you may be inclined to do without it there are quite a few features included with this that’ll amongst other things, allow you to use your mobile phone as a modem!

2nd step: connecting your phone to the PC.

This can be accomplished in two main ways, Bluetooth or via the USB cable provided with your phone. Either method works, though for faster download  speeds it’d be best to go the USB route (saves battery life as well!)

3rd step launch Ovi Suite or PC Suite on your PC.

You’ll be greeted by a screen much like this one. (For the sake of privacy my photos, contacts and text messages have been removed LOL 🙂 )

Provided that your mobile has been connected via USB, it’s really a very simple matter.

Click there and voila, you’re phone is a USB modem. This is a free feature on every sim-free/unlocked Nokia that I’ve ever owned, EVER. I’ve never incurred any extra cost for doing this and for those conscious of your data consumption, Ovi suite will provide information on the amount of data transferred and the time elapsed since the connection was opened :-).

[Jay: Alternatively you can share your 3G connection over WiFi with apps like JoikuSpot. This is free, and the paid premium version will let you secure your connection. I like the USB function too as it also charges your device (if that’s a feature)

Do be careful as some networks prohibit the use of your connection as a modem/data tethering. Also note that it becomes so much easier to consume data when browsing over PC.]

As a bonus feature to this little How-to:

How would you like to be able to send and receive text messages on your phone and reply to them without ever picking the phone up? Click on the messaging section and you’ll be brought to an area where you can back-up all the messages on your cell either manually or every time your phone is connected to your PC, send text messages to any contact you desire, read conversations in threaded, IM-style fashion and receive unobtrusive pop-up notifications on your desktop every time you receive a message.

This feature is VERY useful for texting while in class! 🙂

NB. Don’t know what the scenario is for you mac users out there, but I’d imagine it being a somewhat similar procedure provided a PC-suite-esque program exists.

Send your tips and article suggestions to tips@mynokiablog.com!

How to: AIM, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo! QQ, GaduGadu, Sametime, Google Talk, Ovi Chat on N900’s inbuilt messaging client

January 31, 2010 7 comments

[To download, you will need Extras Level Catalogue for the app manager. Click here for instructions.

As well as Instant Messaging style texts, you also get IM built in. However, there are only a few clients available by default (Google talk, Ovi Chat). When I saw “Pidgin protocols…” highlighted below, I thought it was for the separate Pidgin messenger app and ignored it. Then I saw zehjotkah‘s video  (scroll down) which showed this was actually for the built in IM client on the N900, so you can add accounts from: AIM, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, GaduGadu, Groupwise, QQ and Sametime.

Then you just go back to Conversations>Accounts>New and you’ll get some new IM account options. You just Read more…

How to: Fixing “Unable to install application” error on N900

January 5, 2010 17 comments

If you delved into the realms of “Extras Testing” applications, an app there may possibly have caused a fault in your N900 giving you “Unable to install __insert__app_name” errors. Since Christmas day I’ve been unable to find the answers to fix

  • Unable to install ‘Bounce Evolution’
  • Unable to install ‘Hermes’
  • Unable to install ‘MooBox’ etc.

Reinstallation/formatting memory card did not work.

Thanks to Jon Shipman’s reply in my plea post “How to Hard Reset your N900?” [not a tutorial] there’s now a working solution! By following the simple steps below (it’ll take a couple of minutes], you’ll be able to install applications again.

  1. From your N900’s Web Browser go to http://maemo.org/downloads/product/Maemo5/rootsh/
  2. Download that file and install it (you may have to find the download using file manager. Once you open this file, App Manager will take care of installation)
  3. Open X Terminal on your N900
  4. Type
      • sudo gainroot
    • You’ll see “BusyBox v1.10.2 …../home/user #”
  5. Type
    • cd /home (not sure if this part’s necessary, I don’t understand this all, but this is how I got it to work)
  6. Type
    • mkdir opt
    • Refresh application catalogue in download. You’re done!
    • I was unable to reinstall “MooBox” before, but now it’s back. And so will a whole bunch more other apps now this error has been fixed.

    Many thanks again Jon!

    Now if the “unable to install error” was self inflicted by extras testing app, you’ll know to be more careful. If you ever do come into similar problems again however, you’ll know what to do. (Hopefully nothing worse than this)

    How to: Tethering your N900 to your PC – One Touch Access

    December 23, 2009 1 comment

    Out of the box, the N900 supports data tethering. No settings to endure or subscriptions to pay. This means you can connect your N900 to your computer should you need to connect to the internet other than ethernet/WiFi. [Though you must check you’ve got a data plan and your network supports this]

    This has been one of the saving graces of my N97 and it’s faithfully efficient too on the N900. The ability to save my butt when Virgin Media at the most inappropriate of times malfunctions is priceless. (Uni research for essays project/Submitting work/sending off important email/confirming online payments etc). Plus if you’re travelling around and staying in hotels, you can keep connected without having to pay the abominable internet charges (do check roaming charges though).

    Just connect up the N900 via micro USB and launch “One Touch Access” [from PC Suite or Ovi Suite]

    It automatically connects and you’re good to go.

    Network, location and signal dependent, you can get pretty decent speeds whilst tethered to the N900. Browsing pages from the computer feels like I’m on broadband [I don’t know what that says about my broadband experience :p] – speed is sufficient enough to stream youtube videos, though I don’t recommend it unless you’ve got a good data plan.

    There’s the Bluetooth option – though I’m not sure if there’s any easier way to do it than what’s listed here. Not sure either, if as that post mentions, N900 could get JoikuSpot like app where you can share your mobile data over WiFi.

    Though I’d prefer to have a wireless option [I might not always have the cable, but do have BT/WiFi] it’s fantastic how simple it is to get back to be #onlineasithappens :p with the N900. Either directly from the N900 itself or a computer.

    [There are pros and cons with the cable – battery charging N900, good when latop is plugged in. Not sure how it fares against WiFi battery grain]