Screenshot by Anthony Pranata used to be the best screenshot program for Symbian. But not anymore, because now there's SuperScreenshot from the OPDA team.
SuperScreenshot looks like a carbon copy of Screenshot, but it comes with two extra features. You can overlay your screenshots with a watermark, and since version 1.02 SuperScreenshot can add a timestamp to your pictures.
Just like Screenshot, SuperScreenshot can save your pictures in different formats (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .mbm), and it can make screenshots in continuous mode automatically every few seconds. You can choose different shortcut keys to shoot your screen, and it works on phones without an edit (pencil) key.
SuperScreenshot is unsigned, so you'll have to sign it yourself or install it on a hacked phone with certificate checking switched off. Or you can get the old version of Screenshot by Anthony Pranata. This has less features, but it is signed so you can install it straight away.
Tip: if you can't remove the OPDA watermark on your screenshots from the settings menu, go to C:\data\SuperScreenshot on your phone (or E:\data\SuperScreenshot on your memory card), remove the watermark file, and restart SuperScreenshot. Now it should shoot clean pictures without any watermarks.
• SuperScreenshot versions 1.01 and 1.02 on Mobile Castle
• Screenshot by Anthony Pranata
Saturday, 28 February 2009
Friday, 27 February 2009
Mobile surveillance program Total Patrol reminds you of missed calls and messages and tells you when you're battery is running low. You can set any alert frequency you like, and get warned by sound, light, and vibration. Even when your phone is running a silent profile.
The new version offers many more alert customisation options and consumes less battery power.
Total Patrol is unsigned, so you'll have to sign it yourself or install it on a hacked phone with certificate checking switched off.
• ТОТАЛЬНЫЙ ДОЗОР (original site in russian)
• Total Patrol (Google-translated into english)
• version 2.1.24 (direct download)
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Contacts on Ovi (formerly known as Nokia Chat) is Nokia's instant messenger application that integrates with your phone's contacts list.
It does not connect to MSN, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, etc. It only connects to Google Talk and other Jabber-based networks, but you can't just install the program and log into Google Talk. You have to make a Contacts on Ovi account first. You can use a fake phone number and a fake email address if you don't want to share your contact info with Nokia. You'll need to add your GoogleTalk contacts to Contacts on Ovi, and when you update your GoogleTalk contact list you'll also have to update your Contacts on Ovi contacts. You'll appear twice in the contacts lists of your friends, because they'll see your Contacts on Ovi identity in addition to your Google Talk name.
Contacts on Ovi is far from ready, and in its current state it ranks among the worst instant messengers for Symbian. But Nokia says they've fixed a lot of bugs in the latest version, although they won't say which bugs.
• Contacts on Ovi from Nokia Beta Labs
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
AvMapsLoader by Andreas Vogel is a Nokia Map Loader alternative that doesn't require PC Suite. You don't need to install it, so you can run it from a USB drive. It's a lot lighter on computer resources than Nokia's own Map Loader.
It runs on Windows (unfortunately it needs .net) and Linux (MONO required), but not on Mac OS X or Symbian. AvMapsLoader won't talk to your phone: you'll have to take your memory card out and put it in a card reader, so it won't work on the Nokia N95 8GB or other phones with fixed memory. It doesn't dowload maps for Nokia Maps 3.0 beta yet, but it gets all the maps and voices for Nokia Maps versions 2.0 and 1.0.
New in AvMapsLoader: improved download statistics and log messages, and errors because of overwriting read only files are gone.
If you can't use AvMapsLoader or if you want maps for Nokia Maps 3.0 beta, there's the Nokia Map Loader Alternative site, which works with all web browsers on all operating systems, even with the web browser on your phone.
• AvMapsLoader by Andreas Vogel
• Nokia Map Loader Alternative
Monday, 23 February 2009
The built-in Nokia web browser is pretty good, but there's something missing. Most Symbian web browsers let you copy text so you can paste it into a note, an email, your contacts list, or anywhere else.
But Symbian's web browser won't let you copy text from any web page.
Mobitol provides a workaround. Feed the URL of a web site into the box on cousinisaac.com/mobitol and it will put the text of the site into a form box, from which you can copy it to paste it somewhere else.
Mobitol won't work with text in Flash, and it has problems with framesets. But on many sites it works. It also has an option to display the HTML source of a page ready to copy.
Sunday, 22 February 2009
AvMapsLoader by Andreas Vogel is a lightweight alternative for Nokia Map Loader that doesn't require PC Suite. You don't even have to install it: you can run it straight from a USB stick.
It runs on Windows (.net required) and Linux (MONO required). There's no Mac version yet, and it won't run on Symbian.
AvMapsLoader won't connect to your phone, so you'll have to take your memory card out and put it in a card reader first. If you have an N95 8GB or other Nokia with fixed memory instead of a microSD card, AvMapsLoader won't work.
If you have a Mac, if you can't or don't want to install .net or MONO, if your phone doesn't have a removable memory card, or if you want maps for Nokia Maps 3.0 beta, you can use the Nokia Map Loader Alternative site, which works with all web browsers on all operating systems, even with the web browser on your phone.
• Nokia Map Loader Alternative
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Nokia Map Loader Alternative updated: get maps for Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta from any web browser on any computer with any operating system
Nokia Maps can do something that competing navigation programs like Google Maps can not do: read maps stored on your memory card. This can save you a boatload of money on data roaming charges, and you'll always have the maps at your fingertips wherever you are, even in places where there's no mobile internet available.
Nokia's "official" way of preloading maps on your phone requires Nokia Map Loader, or Nokia Maps Updater for the latest beta test version of Nokia Maps 3.0. No problem if you have a PC with Windows XP or Vista, plenty of free memory and hard drive space, and unlimited install privileges.
But if you run Linux, if you have a Mac, if you want to load maps on your memory card straight from within Symbian, or if you're at work, school, in a hotel, in an internet cafe, or anywhere else where you can't install software without fighting with the local system administrator, Nokia Map Loader and Nokia Maps Updater are totally useless.
That's where the Nokia Map Loader Alternative comes to the rescue. This is a collection of links to all the maps on Nokia's very own Nokia Maps server. You can download all maps with any web browser on any computer using any operating system. Unzip 'em to the map folder on your phone's memory card, and you're done. Works on every computer with every operating system. No need to install anything. You can even use your phone's web browser to get the maps.
And now the Nokia Map Loader Alternative has the maps for Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta too. Of course it also has the maps for Nokia Maps 2.0 and 1.0, so all Nokia Maps versions for all phones are covered.
You can download the installers for Nokia Maps 2.0 (1.0 for older phones) from Nokia's web site. To install Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta you'll need to use Nokia Maps Updater, or get the .sis installer from elsewhere (see links below).
Keep in mind that Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta is an experimental test version full of bugs. It's nice to play with the beta test edition, but for real navigation use Nokia Maps 2.0 or 1.0.
• Nokia Map Loader Alternative
• Nokia Maps 2.0 and 1.0 and Nokia Map Loader
• Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta at E71Blog.com (does not require Nokia Maps Updater)
UPDATE: Nokia Maps 3.0 is out of beta testing, and is now called Ovi Maps 3.0.
Thanks to mailjony2 at Symbian Freak for reminding me it was time to update the Nokia Map Loader Alternative.
Friday, 20 February 2009
The user interface of Symbian chat and VoIP application Talkonaut looks better, the number of bugs has gone down, battery consumption is reduced, sound quality improved, and SSL encryption now works with every Jabber server.
Talkonaut lets you chat and call with Jabber (including Google Talk), ICQ, MSN, AIM and Yahoo, and you can call with just about every VoIP service that uses the SIP protocol.
Unlike Nimbuzz and fring, Talkonaut won't use your phone's contacts list, and it won't work with Skype. But Talkonaut lets you store multiple SIP VoIP settings, which the competition does not, so it's a useful addition to Nimbuzz and/or fring. Its smiley support in chats is very good too.
Thursday, 19 February 2009
If your mobile phone camera has autofocus, you can point it at something small, keep the shutter button pressed halfway down, and see the tiny focussed object magnified on your phone display.
Nokia Magifier automates the process. It switches your camera on and autofocusses without your finger on the capture button. You can "stabilize" the image, which just reduces the capture frequency and doesn't stabilise anything. Colors can be inverted, contrast increased, and of course you can take a picture of whatever you're magnifying. You can zoom in and out, but not with the volume rocker/zoom button combo. You'll have to use the navigation button instead.
But the picture is blurry because macro shooting and Nokia's cameras don't mix well. To get a sharp image, you have to keep the camera at a sufficiently large distance, so the magnifying effect is mostly lost. It doesn't work under normal indoor reading light conditions either. You'll need to turn the lights on to the max or wait for daylight and get out in the sun to read the small print.
Nokia Magnifier is a good idea, but the cameras on Nokia phones are not ready for it yet. Don't rely on Nokia Magnifier to read the legalese on your contracts.
• Nokia Magnifier
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Nokia likes to make things complicated. Nokia's chat program used to be Nokia Chat. Now it's called Chat on Ovi, err, I mean Contacts on Ovi. This name suggests all messaging will eventually end up in this application, but...
...email is handled by Nokia Email.
Oh wait. Not anymore. They renamed it to Email on Ovi, consistent with their chat program.
Just kidding. Nokia didn't. They renamed Nokia Email into Nokia Messaging some time ago. Does this mean Nokia's instant messaging program Contacts on Ovi will be integrated in this program, or what? And will SMS (Short Messaging Service) be part of Nokia Messaging too, or will Contacts on Ovi run away with it?
Nokia's names work in mysterious ways.
The latest update of email client and push mail service Nokia Messaging repairs a mistake that shouldn't have been made to begin with. Now you can select your access point again. Good news for those who move in and out of 3G coverage, swap SIM cards often, or use whatever Wi-Fi network happens to be nearby.
Access point selection is not free of problems: Nokia Messaging keeps asking me to select an access point, even when my phone already has a running Wi-Fi connection. But Nokia says some bugs were fixed (they didn't tell which bugs), and Yahoo mail users get notified in a new way of new mail.
If you buy a Nokia E55 or E75 you can use HTML email, but these phone models are not for sale yet. HTML mail will become available for other phones later. Yes, you guessed right: Nokia didn't tell how much later.
For some reason Nokia wants to know my phone number before it lets me download Nokia Messaging. Why can't they simply put a download link online instead of insisting on an on-the-fly install from an SMS?
The push email service is free for the time being, but it may cost money after the beta trial is over. Maybe that's why Nokia wants to know my phone number?
The verdict: Nokia Messaging works, but download and installation are unnecessarily complicated, and the user interface could use an upgrade too.
• Nokia Messaging
Monday, 16 February 2009
FreeFSWP by junnikokuki replaces your theme background with any image of your choice. On your standby screen, in the menu, in folders, and in every application that uses your theme image as background. Symbian's own wallpaper option won't display the top and bottom part of your image on your standby screen, but FreeFSWP shows the full picture everywhere.
New in version 1.01: preview, optional autostart, and you can choose if your custom bakground show everywhere or only on the standby screen.
FreeFSWP only works on Symbian S60 3rd ed. phones with feature pack 1 or older. This includes popular phones like the Nokia N82 and N95. It doesn't work with feature pack 2 phones like the Nokia N79 or S60 th ed. phones like the Nokia 5800XM. Maybe newer Symbian versions will be supported later?
• FreeFSWP on junnikokuki's site
• FreeFSWP v1.01 mirrored on Mobile Castle
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Python for Symbian can do many things, but sometimes many is not enough and you need more. The UltraPyModulePack adds 76 extra Python modules to Python for Symbian.
The latest version fixes a bug in Python module uikludges. So if your Python has been acting strange, this update might fix it.
The UltraPyModulePack can do much. Too much for the serpentophobia of Symbian Signed, so you have to sign it yourself with a developer certificate, or set your phone free from the chains of Symbian Signed.
• Python for Symbian
Saturday, 14 February 2009
If you set a background image on the Symbian standby screen of your phone, the top and bottom are cut off. You can spend money on SymbianOn Advanced Theme to force the wallpaper to fill the entire screen, but you can also do it for free with FreeFSWP.
FreeFSWP by junnikokuki replaces your theme background with any image of your choice. Your picture will show up all over your phone. On your standby screen, in the menu, in folders, and in every application that uses your theme image as background.
The program only works on Symbian S60 3rd ed. phones with feature pack 1 or older. This includes popular phones like the Nokia N82 and N95. It doesn't work with feature pack 2 phones like the Nokia N78 or N79. Maybe the next version of FreeFSWP will cater for newer phones?
• junnikokuki's site
• FreeFSWP v1.00 on Mobile Castle
Friday, 13 February 2009
HelloOX by bugb is a simple way to hack Symbian on phones with firmware that resists the old HelloCarbide method. With HelloOX you can install unsigned programs and give yourself full access to Symbian's system folders on your phone, so you can customise the way your mobile phone looks and behaves in ways that are impossible on locked down systems.
You used to have to sign and install HelloOX together with MapDrives, and remove the mapped drives that it created by rebooting your phone. ROMPatcher was also installed by default, which could cause problems on some Feature Pack 2 phones.
But not anymore. Hacking your phone with HelloOX is now a simple process with just one program that does it all for you. Sign, install, run, ready.
• HelloOX on the Symbian Freak forum (login/signup required)
• HelloOX 1.03 with extended installation guide
• List of phones firmware versions that can be hacked fully or partially
• All Symbian hacks indexed
MARCH 3, 2009 UPDATE
You can now patch installserver.exe on new firmware too, so you can install programs without having to sign them first.
MARCH 16, 2009 UPDATE
There's a special version of HelloOX with ROMPatcher for the Nokia N96.
JULY 27, 2009 UPDATE
There's a new version of HelloOX. HelloOX2 opens up phones that Nokia tried to lock down.
AUGUST 19, 2009 UPDATE
Improved version of HelloOX2
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Mobile phone web browser Skyfire loads your pages through its own proxy servers. Skyfire supports Flash, Ajax, QuickTime, video, audio, and other features of the "full" web. You can choose between the full web page and (if available) the mobile version.
Skyfire 0.9 comes with Facebook and Twitter integration for those who care about those things. It also comes with better text fitting and page rendering, and you can download media files in addition to playing them. File size and battery consumption are down too. And Skyfire doesn't force you to do an on the fly install on your phone anymore. You can download the installer from the Skyfire site to your computer now.
The start page of Skyfire is crowded with an overload of USA-centered news headlines, but you can clean it up by removing all the excess junk from the "Customize" screen.
We're still waiting for T9 predictive text and multi-line text entry, and Skyfire is a very slow web browser. But it can play media files that no other mobile web browser can play, so it's a useful program to keep on your phone for music and movies. For example, Skyfire is the only browser for Symbian that can play the concert videos from concerts.site666.info.
Update: Skyfire for Symbian is dead.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Official english version of UCWEB 6.3, unofficial UCWEB patch for clean start page and full Google search
Proxy based, data compressing mobile web browser UCWEB 6.3 completed beta testing some time ago, but the official version was available in chinese only. There were unofficial, unsigned english translations all over the web, but now there's an official english version.
UCWEB 6.3 features an improved user interface and it can save form data automatically, so you don't have to enter the same text on web forms again and again. This comes in addition to the usual UCWEB features such as tabbed browsing and more customisation options than any other mobile web browser. The skins are a nice touch too, especially the night version that lets you browse in dark lecture halls without the bright light of your phone giving you away.
There's still stuff to fix, though. UCWEB doesn't support T9 predictive text yet, the sidebar with links to the built-in email client and rss feed reader speaks chinese instead of english, and the "Clear" menu keeps forgetting that I want it to delete my cookies.
The advantage of going official? If you use the official version you can use the patch by jbpseudo that removes the sponsored links from the start page, uses Google search without the limitations of the official program, and adds an online synchronisation option to the side panel.
• UCWEB from ucweb.com
• jbpseudo's UCWEB patch
• back up your UCWEB bookmarks and settings with MyUCWEB Backup
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Nokia Maps 3.0 beta is not just for Symbian S60 3th ed. Feature Pack 2 anymore. Feature Pack 1 users can try it too.
And trying it is, because the new beta test version of Nokias navigation program is still as full of bugs as a bedsheet in a backpackers hostel.
Let's start with the good news. The new test version goes straight to your position on startup, or to your last known position if it can't get a GPS fix. You can rotate all maps (including those with 3D landmarks), the new "point me to" option routes you straight from your current location to any saved place or landmark, and you can plan routes on Ovi and send them to your phone. The user interface is cleaned up a little as well, although the map is now overlaid with an ovi logo, which gets annoying real quick.
But in order to try all these things you'll need to install it first, and then get the program up and running. That's easier said than done.
Nokia Maps 3.0 beta doesn't come as a .sis installer. Well, it does, but Nokia tries really hard to hide that installer for you. The official Nokia way of installing Nokia Maps 3.0 beta is through Nokia Map Updater, for which you need a PC with Windows Vista or XP, and Nokia PC Suite, and .net framework from Microsoft. It won't work with Linux, it won't work on a Mac. Fortunately there are ways to get it on your phone without having to find a PC and struggle with Map Updater and all its requirements (see links below).
There's a good chance that Nokia Maps 3.0 beta shuts itself down straight after you launch it. Or it may complain about an "out of memory error," which you can fix by deleting the Cities folder and the file called qf from your memory card or internal phone memory.
But before you start, back up your phone memory and the maps stored on your memory card. The uninstaller for Nokia Maps 3.0 beta will likely give you a "removing failed" message, so restoring a backup of your phone memory may be your only way to get back to Nokia Maps 2.0 if you don't want to format your phone. The uninstaller didn't work in the previous test version either. Unforgiveable, really. When people test your program for free, making the uninstaller work should have priority over everything else.
Maps for Nokia Maps 3.0 beta and those for Nokia Maps 2.0 are not compatible, so make sure to have a backup of your old stored maps if you don't want to download them all over again.
Don't expect too much from the maps. I tried to make it display the Taj Mahal (which is on the map and satellite image in Google Maps), but the greatest piece of architecture on the planet is not on the map. The entire city of Agra and the river that flows through it are terra incognita according to Nokia Maps. So for the screenshot in this post I zoomed in on the Ponte di Rialto in Venice instead.
Enough warnings. Time for the links:
• Nokia Maps 3.0 Beta .sis installer at E71Blog.com
• Maps on Ovi
• One week Nokia Maps navigation trial
UPDATE: Nokia Maps 3.0 is out of beta testing, and is now called Ovi Maps 3.0.
Monday, 9 February 2009
Music player Kugou plays mp3, aac, wma, fla, and other audio formats.
The latest edition has more equaliser presets, an ID3 tag editor in english, and the rest of the (originally chinese) interface is in english too. Well, sort of. The translation looks funny and there are plenty of chinese symbols all over the place, but it is functional anyway.
Kugou displays all your music in a big list without filtering by artist, genre, or other mp3 tags. It can sort your files by artist or title, but if you have hundreds of tracks on your memory card, don't expect to find them quickly or easily in Kugou. On my phones Kugou couldn't write the names of the songs in the music list, so they were all displayed as E! instead. All six hundred of them. Which made the program totally useless for me. Kugou is no match for Nokia's own music player, PowerMP3, or TTPod.
When I tried to exit Kugou, it said that that feature was not supported, so I had to use brute force and shut down Kugou with KillMe.
• Kugou v1.39 (english version) at Fillmobile
• Kugou v1.39 (english version) at Mobile Castle
Sleep Music is a timer program that can switch off your music player or any other program on your phone. It can switch off your phone too. The latest version can change song if you shake it (of course your phone has to have an accelerometer to feel the shakes), and it can respond to the buttons of some headsets.
To make Sleep Music work, you have to install four .sis files. And you have to send the files to Open Signed Online first, or set your copy of Symbian free to avoid the Symbian Signed madness.
• Sleep Music 1.06 at Mobile Castle
Sunday, 8 February 2009
Y-Browser is an alternative for Symbian's own, limited file manager.
Unlike Symbian's own file browser, Y-Browser shows the system folders of your phone, and if you've set your phone free you can open those folders and modify their contents. And you can add plugins to make it do things like display text files and handle ZIP files.
Y-Browser is not the best file manager for Symbian. ActiveFile and X-plore do wat Y-Browser does, and more. And you don't need to install plugins to make 'em do it.
But... changes in latest version of Y-Browser and its plugins are meant to make the program work on touchscreen phones. That doesn't work very well yet (browsing works, typing doesn't), but the competition isn't ready for touchscreens either. So if you have a hacked Nokia 5800 XM and need a somewhat functional file browser to look into the system folders, Y-Browser may be the file browser for you.
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Symbian Dictionary program MDictionary has been updated. The new stuff is all behind the scenes, though. Some bugs were fixed, and MDictionary now supports new databases.
MDictionary has a very simple and efficient user interface. Changing the direction of translation is as simple as switching a tab. The number of available language pairs is modest, but since MDictionary is open source everyone can join the programmers and add new language pairs to the list.
The built-in calculator of Symbian is simple. Too simple. There are better calculators for Symbian. cCalc is one of them. It's a free scientific calculator with many functions, including programmable equations. Those who're into money will find a couple of financial calculation tools in cCalc. The latest update killed a bug, remembers your choice of "fix" and "sci," and you can customise the location where cCalc saves its data.
• cCalc by Chua Welic
Friday, 6 February 2009
There's a new, improved version of HelloOX. Click here for the new version.
HelloOX by bugb is the latest method to hack Symbian and set your phone free. With HelloOX you can install programs without having to beg Symbian Signed for permission, and by giving yourself full access to Symbian's system folders on your very own phone you can customise the way your mobile phone looks and behaves in ways that are impossible on locked down systems.
HelloOX 1.02 fixes a few tiny problems of the previous version. And there's good news for users of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia's touchscreen phone that runs the latest version of Symbian S60: HelloOX now runs on their phones too.
There seems to be one minor issue left. ROMPatcher doesn't work on the Nokia N96 and may even get your phone stuck in a continuous reboot loop. So if you hack your N96, better remove the copy of ROMPatcher that HelloOX leaves on your phone before it can do any harm.
• HelloOX on Symbian Freak (login/signup required)
• HelloOX 1.02 with extended installation guide on Mobile Castle (open for everybody, no signup or login required)
• List of phones firmware versions that can be hacked fully or partially
• All Symbian hacks indexed
There's a new, improved version of HelloOX. Click here for the new version.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Metro: updated cities and minor bug fixes
The latest edition of public transport navigator Métro comes with bugfixes and updated info for the public transport networks of a long list of cities.
Métro calculates the best route between subway and railway stations, tram and bus stops, tourist attractions, and other places. You can pick the fastest route or choose the route with the minimum number of connections. Métro knows the routes and stations of subways, trains, trams, buses, and ferry lines of all major cities on the planet and many smaller cities too. It's got the public transport lines of about 400 cities all over the world.
Métro stores its public transport info on your phone, so you can navigate the routes and times without a live mobile internet connection. Great when you're deep down in a subway station without network coverage, or when you're travelling abroad and you don't want to pay a fortune for international mobile data roaming. Métro works on Symbian S60 and Symbian UIQ.
• Métro from metro.nanika.net
Google Maps with Google Latitude
Google Maps has been around for ages. They've added satellite images, street view pictures, and cell tower triangulation to the mobile phone version of their map application. Google Maps is quite useless for navigation, especially in places where mobile internet is expensive (international roaming) or absent (remote places), because its turn by turn navigation can not be heard but only read on screen in small print, which equals suicide when you're driving your car. Voice navigation and offline maps would be welcome additions to their program, but it seems that Google is too busy making other, less useful additions.
The latest addition to Google Maps is Google Latitude, a service that lets you share your current location to Google Maps so your friends can spy where you are, and vice versa. Not a good idea when you're cheating your wife when she thinks you're working late, but it might help you track your kids. And of course teenagers and their friends can track each other, because they're the primary target audience of this Twitter-like location sharing feature. If you really don't want anyone to find you, you can set a fake location to fool your friends and enemies.
You can chat, call, mail, or SMS your contacts from within Latitude, because it comes with Google Talk too.
At first glance Latitute looks like the illegitimate child of a threesome between Nokia Friend View, Nokia Maps, and Contacts on Ovi. But Nokia's programs don't talk well with non-Nokia phones. Google doesn't have that problem, because there's a version for Google's mobile applications for just about every mobile phone type out there.
Latitude is not yet for everyone, because it launched for 27 countries only. But the list of supported countries will probably grow, although nobody knows when.
• Google Maps at google.com (on the fly install)
• Google Maps v184.108.40.206 on Mobile Castle (downloadable installer)
• Google Latitude
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Proxy-based mobile Java web browser Bolt is updated. Unfortunately Bolt didn't publish a change log, and when I tested the program I couldn't find any improvements compared to the previous version.
Bolt compresses data traffic but keeps the original page layout. Well, sort of. It shows bold and italic text as regular text, and it has problems with web forms and pulldown menus.
The new version won't show predictive text either.
Bolt handles flash video (Youtube etc.) by sending it to your phone's default video player, but the resulting video looks bad and sounds worse, if you manage to get sound at all.
Bolt has a pretty good and responsive user interface and its split screen mode is a nice touch, but under that thin shiny layer sits a web browser that's far from usable. Competing video capable browser Skyfire is slow and has many other issues too, but at least Skyfire shows web videos right, which is something that Bolt doesn't do yet.
Bolt is in closed beta testing, open by invitation only. But Mobile Castle lets you climb in through the window without an invitation.
• Bolt official website (beta test by invitation only)
• Bolt 0.83 at Mobile Castle (open to everybody)
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
A mobile phone can be a great place to store pin codes, passwords, credit card details, etc., but only if they are for your eyes only. If someone steals your phone, you don't want the thief to see all your secret data.
Enter the latest version of Secret Codes. This lightweight mobile Java program makes encrypted databases in which you can store multiple entries. For example, you can make a database for your pin codes, another one for your email passwords, etcetera.
The user interface of Secret Codes could use a bit of polishing. For example, the "C" key could clear databases instead of doing nothing. But this and other issues are minor, because the encryption used by Secret Codes is solid and that's what matters most in an encryption program.
You can back up your databases to computers running Windows and Linux, and restore them to your phone when needed. Don't forget your password, because the encryption used by Secret Codes is strong enough to lock yourself out, and there's no backdoor if you forget the key.
• Secret Codes
FileLock has been around for a while. This mobile Java program lets you lock any file on your phone. You can lock entire folders too. However, I found this program to be totally useless, because it doesn't encrypt your files. FileLock only changes the extension of your "locked" files so the default viewer won't launch, but renaming the files to restore the original extension or opening them from within the right viewer opens them anyway.
Another oldie is ActiveLock by Alie Tan. This program protects applications by requiring a pin code to launch them. You can use ActiveLock to make sure nobody can open the messaging application, your email program, or your notes. Keep in mind that ActiveLock only locks access to programs. It doesn't encrypt files, so if someone copies your data to a computer or to another phone they can read your secrets anyway.
Monday, 2 February 2009
Chat and SMS: instant messaging with Slick and onesoup, copy and restore SMSs with Oxygen, undo the Curse of Silence with Nokia SMS Cleaner
Slick, multi-network instant messenger (free while beta testing lasts)
The latest version of multi-network instant messenger Slick now works with Nokia's touchscreen phone 5800 XpressMusic "Tube," and the ICQ and AIM bug (sends empty messages) is fixed.
Slick connects to GoogleTalk and other Jabber networks, and to MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, and AIM. It supports file transfer, but not voice chat.
The beta test versions are free. Slick is supposed to go commercial one day, but the free beta test has been going on for so long that it's hard to believe it will ever turn into payware. And if Slick ever asks for money, there are plenty of other instant messengers that won't cost you a penny.
Most Symbian mobile phones have an instant messaging program built in. But hardly anybody is using it because the program doesn't know which messaging server to use until you tell it where to connect to. If your phone operator doesn't have a messaging server, or if they want you to pay extra to use it, you can still use the built-in messaging program of your Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, or Siemens, or BenQ phone with onesoup.
Onesoup is not a program. It's a website and a messaging server that lets you use the built-in instant messaging program of your phone. So now you can do something with that strange program on your Nokia with the yellow icon that's called IM.
If you use onesoup, your options are limited by the limitations of your built-in messaging program. You can send pictures, but not other files. And no voice messaging either. For those things you can use programs like Nimbuzz or fring, which let you send anything you want and do VoIP (including Skype) as well.
UPDATE: Connecting through onesoup is a hit-or-miss affair which fails very often.
Copy and restore SMSs with Oxygen and the tutorials from eViLrAcEr
You can backup and restore SMS messages with PC Suite or make a full backup of your phone memory with the built-in backup option of your phone, but if you restore the backup it will overwrite everything, including the messages that you received after you made the backup.
And it's hard to transfer your SMS folders to another phone without killing the messages that are already there.
But eViLrAcEr found a solution. He explains how you can copy your messages to another phone with the free trial version of Oxygen. Even better, he describes how you can restore backups in a non-destructive way: restoring a backup won't delete the messages that are already on your phone.
• Copy SMS messages to another phone
• Restore messages from a backup in a non-destructive way
Nokia SMS Cleaner
The Curse of Silence is an SMS exploit that hits many Symbian S60 Nokia phones. If you receive a malformed SMS, your message box is effectively blocked and you'll no longer be able to receive incoming SMSs and MMSs.
If you've hacked your phone to set Symbian free, you can simply remove the offending SMS from the Symbian system folder. Those who're not in control of their own phones can use the FortiCleanUp Tool. And now there's another way of getting rid of the Curse of Silence, because Nokia made its own cleaner, a month after Fortinet did their job for them. Better late than never...
• Nokia SMS Cleaner
Sunday, 1 February 2009
There's a new version of mobile Java map viewer 8Motions. 8Motions shows maps and satellite images from MSN, Google, Yahoo, and Ask.com. It's designed for geotagging: it can display FON Wi-Fi access points and geotagged photos and notes from Flickr and Twitter on the maps, and you can upload your own so others can see them. It has traffic info, and WikiMapia is integrated too.
8Motions asks you to register and log in before it lets you download its program, but you can also get it from Mobile Castle without having to register with 8Motions.
• www.8motions.com (signup/login required)
• 8Motions v0.9.68 on Mobile Castle
• 8Motions v0.9.71 on Mobile Castle