Werner Ruotsalainen's blog

Do you have a Symbian S60 smartphone and a camera-less desktop / notebook / tablet? Mobiola WebCamera is offered at a 75% rebate

I’m using my newly-acquired HP TC1100 (a REAL wonder, if you ask me; I’ll post more on it later) tablet PC as a communications device (also) for MSN calls while at lunch at work to call home (for free) via my unlimited HSDPA plan. So far, the lack of the built-in camera has been a big problem. Now, with the massive (75%) debate of Just Another Mobile Monday, you can get it for almost free.

It’s working just great between my N95 and TC1100 over Bluetooth with all video call-capable apps like MSN.


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Review & Strategy guide: the best game add-on this year (so far): Orions: Deckmasters

Topics:

The new add-on, Orions: Deckmasters, for probably the best (native) Windows Mobile game of all times, Orions, has just been released. It not only adds 45 (!) brand new cards, but also implements most of the custom features I’ve asked for in my previous Orions articles.


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REVIEW: Pocket Commodore 64 3.0 released with multiplayer (!), VASTLY improved core and VIC-20 support!

A major breakthrough in C64 emulation: the long-awaited version 3.0 of Pocket Commodore 64 Plus Vic 20 has just been released!

If you’ve read the Commodore 64 Emulation Bible (make sure you read it; in this article, I will NOT elaborate on how you can import / run games under the emulator), you already know that Pocket Commodore 64 has, apart from the CPU usage problem, always been the best C64 emulator for the platform.


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REVIEW: mDesktop, a brand new phone controller app; comparison to Jeyo 2.1

Motionapps’ mDesktop (homepage HERE) has got pretty much press coverage in the last weeks; it’s been frontpaged at PPCT / SPT (link), Dial.ca (link), PalmAddicts (link) etc.


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A REAL, MULTIPLATFORM Bluetooth stereo (A2DP) headphones roundup: FIVE headphones

Anyone having been into the audiophile / Hi-Fi business knows loudspeakers and headphones should never be tested alone, without comparing their audio quality (and other parameters) to other, comparable headphones (speakers etc.). This is why strictly comparative tests are needed to fairly compare the sound quality of each set to one another. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the A2DP stereo Bluetooth headphones reviews doesn’t belong to this category and, therefore, shouldn’t really be taken seriously.


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Storage card speed optimization – long-time & real-world tests. A MUST!

After having downloaded the latest Shadow of Legend beta, I’ve realized it has 9422 files and 424 directories. If you’ve followed my articles for more than a year, you may already know that this means really slow transfer rates to even the fastest cards. (For example, to a (cheap) 1 GByte Kingston SD card, formatted with the most storage-saving FAT32/512 format (and not using a backup FAT table to speed up operation), it took exactly 2:28 (h:mm) to transfer all these files.


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An excerpt from my forthcoming BIG and REAL A2DP headphones roundup

I’ve, among other things, been working on an A2DP headphones roundup. While it’ll take at least 4-5 days to publish it (I’m still running some battery life tests), I already publish a chart of five (!) A2DP headphones so that you can avoid going for a pair of headphones that is completely incompatible with your handset / PDA and/or is plain sub-par.


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SkyFire, a brand new and promising Web browser: (technical) review & comparison

As yet, I haven’t had the chance to give SkyFire, the latest Web browser a thorough try. Fortunately, I’ve recently got an account and could, at last, test it.


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A_C’s S2P, S2V and S2U2: excellent iPhone-alike apps (music player, screensaver, pic viewer)

A_C’s S2P, S2V and S2U2: excellent iPhone-alike apps (music player, screensaver, pic viewer)

I can’t say I’ve been lazy in the last few days. Thanks to the excellent feedback the XDA-Develeloper folks provided, I realized I need to check out XDA-Develeloper coder A_C’s latest, pretty nice and, if you’re a big fan of iPhone-alike interfaces, pretty much recommended, free (!) utilities.


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Final version of Opera Mini 4.1 out and Finnish mag Tietokone publishes desktop browser speed comparison

The final version of Opera Mini 4.1, one of the best Web browsers available, has just been released; see THIS for more info. I’ll post a detailed multiplatform review in some days, after having used it for some time on all my three mobile operating systems. Finnish computer mag Tietokone has just published a summary of their desktop browser speed test published in their (offline) papermag.

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Yet another major YouTube Bible update

I've just posted a new section to the YouTube Bible. See section UPDATE (05/12/2008) at the bottom.

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(Multiplatform) REVIEW: TiVi - a multiplatform video (!) phone application

Because of the huge prices of traditional (non-Internet-based) video phoning services, several Symbian users have been praising TiVi, a VoIP app / service with video phoning and, at least on Symbian, front camera support capabilities. As it also has a Windows Mobile version, I gave it a very thorough, three-platform (desktop Windows, Symbian and Windows Mobile) ride to find out what it's really capable of. 1.1 Registration, Web page Fortunately, using the service for TiVi - TiVi connections is absolutely free (as opposed to what some people state in some Symbian forums) and works over fully (on both sides) firewalled connections. To being able to reach your buddies, you'll need to register a nickname on the central server. This is pretty easy and can be done HERE. You'll also need to download the client software; it's available for the desktop HERE and for mobile platforms HERE. Install it; after starting it, press the left softkeys on both mobile platforms and go to Config. There, fill in your login name / password. After this, you'll become available for the others; using your nick instead of a "traditional" number will work when calling you. Note that it also has a built-in Contacts list and also has access to the system-level contacts, offering (of course, non-free - as opposed to in-network calls) dial-out capabilities for them. Note that the page and the service themselves are pretty far away from being professional. Latvian is used on some both the Web pages (even when using English) and, which is even worse, in the answering machine. This, of course, isn't that problematic, particularly if you speak some Slavonic language because, then, you'll understand at least the last two words of the answering machine message and can deduce what takes place. And, it's only in the first occasion that this can cause any kind of confusion. 1.2 Screenshots (a Symbian shot showing the output of the HTC Universal - that is, the Nokia itself, me trying very hard to make a screenshot on it. In the upper left corner, you can also see Nokia's own camera image (of the Universal, with 180 degrees rotated screen, in front of it). Note that the Symbian version, in addition to stopping / restarting video, also supports switching between the front/back cameras if you press 0. By default, the front camera is used, of course.) (a Windows Mobile HTC Universal screenshot showing the image received from the Nokia N95 and its own picture in the upper left corner. As you can see, the client doesn't even display a button shortcut to switch between the front and the back cameras)

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TUTORIAL: Make Opera Mini (4.1) your default system browser!

In my last (and, now, heavily outdated) article on making Opera Mini 4 be invoked on by just clicking a URL, I’ve already elaborated on the advantages of doing this (and, actually, the advantages of Opera Mini 4 itself). Please do read it if you want to know why making use of direct invocation can be really advantageous. Because there’s a lot of news worth reporting on (and I’ve been asked by Serola to join the Opera Mini Fan Blog as the first blogger, because of which I've decided to update this really important tutorial) and the original article didn’t elaborate on other mobile platforms like Symbian and BlackBerry, I’ve decided to devote an entirely new article to this question. 1.1 badbob101’s StartOperaMini (the download is at the bottom of the first post; as of 05/12/2008, 09b is the latest version, which you'll want to go for.) I recommend this solution the most because it’s really-really easy to install and maintain and it’s much more flexible than, say, superdave’s, otherwise, in some respects cleaner and faster solution. All you need to do is, in order to set it up, downloading and installing the free MortScript (just copy the MortScript-4.1-PPC.cab file from the cab subdirectory of the ZIP file to your handset and tap it there) and, then, just copying StartOperaMini.mscr anywhere (including a storage card) on your handset and, as with MortScript, clicking it from File Explorer. It’ll automatically find the current location of Jbed, the index of Opera Mini and set up everything just fine. Unlike with the early solution, absolutely no manual setup is needed.

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An updated list of mobile User-Agents

In several of my articles, Bibles, W3C presentations etc., I’ve explained what HTTP User-Agents are, what they can be used for if you’re a webmaster etc. As my previous articles (see THIS, THIS and THIS, in addition to the W3C presentation and the two Web Browsing Bibles HERE and HERE) on the subject got a bit outdated with the latest browsers and firmware versions out there, I’ve re-checked the User-Agents. This time, I also provide you with all the other headers, should you want to correctly identify the mobile browser even if it’s User-Agent spoofed (that is, it’s trying to hide its identity). Note that I don’t explain what this info is used for – I’ve already done this several times in the above-linked articles, read them first if you need more info on the usage of all this info. Internet Explorer Mobile (IEM) WM6.0 Classic (HP iPAQ 210, official ROM): Accept: */* Accept-Language: en-us UA-OS: Windows CE (Pocket PC) - Version 5.2 UA-color: color16 UA-Voice: FALSE UA-pixels: 480x640 UA-CPU: ARM Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.7) Connection: Keep-Alive

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CorePlayer 1.2.4 released: major YouTube fixes and enhancemens; YouTube Bible updated

I've just added a new "UPDATE" section to the YouTube Bible introducing the brand new CorePlayer 1.2.4 and elaborating on the quality differences between the three (four) streaming formats used by YouTube. Well worth a read if you'd like to play back YouTube on your Windows Mobile / Palm OS / Symbian / BlackBerry handheld!

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My W3C speech on Web browsing + a full explanation - 2

CONTINUED FROM HERE



Now that we’ve reviewed the browsers’ approach to rendering pages / textual page content originally designed for at least 800-wide screens on 176…640-wide screens, let’s turn our attention to other questions like (easily) controlling the browsers – for example, scrolling pages using hardware buttons.

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My W3C speech on multiplatform mobile Web browsing + a full explanation - 1

As has been announced some weeks ago, I had a W3C speech a week ago devoted to Web browsing on mobile devices. You can find the (English) slides HERE. (Sorry, some of the example screenshots are in Finnish. This, however, doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the overall understandability of the material.) In order to understand the slides, I’ve also decided to comment on all of them so that the entire Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry mobile community can benefit from my speech – in written form. Finally, note that, albeit this article is over 80kchars long, it in no way can provide a FULL, absolutely thorough overview of the Web browsing scene on these platforms. That is, if you don’t understand something, don’t despair: in my referenced, previous articles, you can, in most cases, find a very thorough dissemination of the subject. Just an example: in this article, I only devote some 2kchars to the subject of downloading files while my original, devoted article, along with its (recent) updates, amount to over 100 kchars.

I also provide in-line screenshots in this article so that you know what I'm speaking about without constantly switching to PowerPoint; however, to see the original document at its full (and copy/pasteable) glory and resolution, you'll need the PPT file.



(Sorry for the comparatively bad quality – captured from the 1024*768 M-JPEG video(!) recording of my Canon 960IS camera.)



(no comments needed)

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Symbian users attention: just posted an ALON MP3 Dictaphone review

If you love recording your calls on your Nokia handset, you definitely will want to know which the best call recorder app is. I’ve just finished testing ALON MP3 Dictaphone (which is sold at 10 euros only at mobile2day.de) and thoroughly compared it to the alternatives. It’s been posted in my yesterday’s mobile2day rebate announcements. The app turned out to be absolutely the best call recorder (and dictaphone) app for Symbian S603rd I’ve tested so far – don’t miss the mobile2day.de rebate!

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Misc news (DivX Mobile Player quick review; great Pocket Controller rebate etc)

1. Machines at War (see review of a previous version HERE), probably the best RTS (Real-Time Strategy) for Windows Mobile, has been updated to version 1.2, introducing even some new units. Well worth checking out.

2. the free and excellent (!) Doom clone, DoomGLES, has also been updated, now delivering far better GoForce performance.

3. if you still haven’t purchased Orions (the best turn-based strategy game for Windows Mobile) during the last, 40% rebate, now, you have a chance of getting it for free if you post a reply to THIS thread

4. PDAmill has released Pachinko Go!. The blurb is as follows: "What the heck is Pachinko? Gravity, Skill, and Luck! It's a unique game which is kind of a cross between a vertical pinball game and a slot machine which is extremely popular in Japan (and growing more popular worldwide every day). This simple, yet addicting game contains 3 unique Pachinko games in one package, including many unlockable extras to acquire, extending the gameplay even more!"

5. Still speaking of PDAmill, now, after a year of their completely stopping porting their games to the platform, they’ve made available all of their Palm titles for free (!). You can find them HERE.

6. SOTi’s Pocket Controller, which is without doubt the most powerful PDA remote controller solution (see THIS for more info & comparison to the alternatives), is offered for 10 euros (about $15), incl. VAT for EU residents, only till 05/11/2008. Go get it – it’s really a bargain for this price.

7. There’s a new, free platform game Greedy Penguins HERE for both Windows Mobile Pocket PC’s / Smartphones and Symbian S60 / UIQ3.

8. If you’ve read the latest updates to my iPAQ 210 review, you already know this, but it’s still worth devoting a separate bullet in here too: I’ve thoroughly benchmarked the brand new Marvell Xscale PXA310 platform and found out that, unlike even Samsung’s low-end CPU’s, it has the same (high) power consumption upon high CPU load. It’s certainly bad news. The good news is that it’s certainly faster than the PXA270, particularly at playing back AVC stuff now that CorePlayer 1.2.x has added WMMX optimizations. And, according to the CorePlayer folks, this is just the beginning – a lot more optimizations and performance enhancements will follow! (Also see my related, new chipset reports HERE and HERE)

9. The DivX folks have released a new (0.90) beta of their free (!) DivX / XviD player DivX Mobile Player for Windows Mobile and Symbian (note that while they state there’s no 0.90 for the latter, only 0.89, the internal version number does state it’s too 0.90). Note that you’ll need to register yourself in order to be able to access the app; after this, click the URL that comes in the e-mail, change your password and, then, go HERE to directly access the downloads.

Back in the pre-1.2.0 CorePlayer times, several Symbian people used to state (see for example THIS, THIS, THIS, THIS and THIS) CorePlayer was definitely inferior to this application. This is why I was extremely interested in the results of my tests. CorePlayer 1.2+ (on all the three test devices) has beaten DivX Mobile Player in every respect.

I’ve quickly tested it on several real-world (high-resolution; mostly 576- and 640-wide) DivX- and XviD-encoded videos. It delivered acceptable results on both the two Windows Mobile handsets (HP iPAQ 210 and HTC Universal running Ranyu’s 7.6 of WM6.1) and Symbian (Nokia N95 with firmware version v21) when playing back most DivX videos. There were rarely dropped frames (albeit the playback wasn’t as smooth as under CorePlayer).

Playing back my XviD-encoded test video, however, was painfully stuttering under Windows Mobile and a little stuttering under Symbian. (I REALLY recommend THIS video; pay special attention to the camera moving in the second sketch with the office dialog). The same videos played back flawlessly under the latest versions (1.2.3 for WinMo and 1.2.0 for Symbian) of CorePlayer.

It isn’t able to play back standard ASP videos created in Nero Recode (after renaming them to .AVI’s so that the player finds them); it complains about being incompatible. (The same videos, of course, play back OK under CorePlayer, as has also been explained in my H.264 Bible.) Of course it won’t play back the much more advanced AVC (H.264) videos either.

All in all, you may want to give it a try if you prefer free stuff – but don’t forget: CorePlayer is still much better, more compatible and more efficient. The only drawback of the latter is not being free.

10. New hardware-wise, there is a plethora of new information. See for example THIS (a generic overview), THIS and THIS (HTC Diamond) etc. Of course, these threads / articles will be outdated today with HTC’s official announcements, which will be reported on by many portals; see for example MoDaCo’s related thread HERE and MsMobiles’ HERE).

11. There’s a nice hands-on review of the DVB-T receiving capabilities of the Gigabyte gSmart t600 HERE at MsMobiles. Before I finally publish my Digital TV Bible, it gives you a clear picture of what you can expect of DVB-T-capable handsets, reception capabilities- and battery life-wise.

12. The Xperia X1 will be released in mid-September; see THIS and THIS. According to one of my sources, who received it for beta testing, it does have 3D hardware acceleration, which is certainly very good news. It, however, has a rather bad thumbboard – much worse than those of the HTC Universal or the HTC Kaiser / AT&T Tilt. Now, I only wish it had a digital TV (DVB-T and -H at least for us Europeans; MediaFLO / DVB-H for Americans, T-DMB for Koreans etc.) receiver.... Too bad S-E’s engineers didn’t bother including one or don’t plan to offer a version (even with slightly bigger size) with one.


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