Nokia Ovi Suite is meant to replace Nokia PC Suite, Map Loader, and Software Updater. It doubles as a shopping mall, because Nokia doesn't want you to ignore their music and software stores.
If all works as planned, Ovi Suite will be lighter on system resources and faster than PC Suite. But that's a long way down the road, because the latest beta test version is still slow, buggy, and crashes often even though Nokia claims many bugs were fixed.
Ovi Suite shares PC Suite's requirement for Microsoft's .NET framework. A Mac version may be available in the distant future, but it's unlikely that Nokia will make a Linux version. Nokia PC Suite does not work under WINE, and nobody knows if Ovi Suite will be WINE-compatible.
Ovi Suite requires a screen resolution of at least 1024x768 pixels, which may be a problem for netbooks, minilaptops, and other computers with small screens. But because Ovi Suite in its present state consumes way too much RAM and processor power it's useless on such computers anyway.
Thinking of using Ovi Suite to sync your mail and contacts? Then think again. Nokia believes that everybody uses Outlook. If you use Lotus Notes or Mozilla Thunderbird, Nokia pretends that you don't exist.
• the new Nokia Ovi Suite
• the old Nokia PC Suite
• trick to make Nokia PC Suite let you into the system folders of your phone memory
Alternatives for Ovi Suite or PC Suite:
• Linux programs with a little bit of PC Suite functionality
• DAO4Sync, a lightweight computer-to-phone-and-back synchronisation tool
• download maps for Nokia Maps with just a web browser
• backup options for hacked phones: access points, bluetooth devices, bookmarks, calendar, cookies, messages, notes, profiles, and T9 dictionary
• ActiveFile backs up and restores SMS messages much better than PC Suite
• Contacts Transfer backs up, restores, and transfers contacts including pictures and caller groups
Friday, 31 July 2009
Thursday, 30 July 2009
WeFi finds Wi-Fi on feature pack 2 and touchscreen Nokias too, BlockGPRS prevents unwanted internet connections (GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, ...)
The connection manager of your Symbian mobile phone lists the Wi-Fi networks within reach of your phone, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can connect to them.
WeFi analyses the nearby networks to check if they're really free and open and helps you connect to the best available network.
It maintains a community-generated online list of free, open Wi-Fi access points. Using this feature requires that you already have a live internet connection, but it might be a useful method to find out about open Wi-Fi availability before you hit the road. But don't expect too much, because the vast majority of open access points is absent from the WeFi database.
WeFi only used to work on ancient phones, but now it talks to Symbian S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 2 too, which is what most Nokia phones run unless they're really old. WeFi also works on Symbian S60 5th edition, so you can use it on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and other touchscreen Nokias.
WeFi doesn't like being switched off, and kicks and screams when you try to make it go away. Exiting WeFi leaves two WeFi procsses running, to close WeFi completely you'll have to choose "Stop WeFi service" instead of "exit" from the options menu. WeFi asks for permission to start automatically when you start the program, and there's no way to tell WeFi that no really means no. Next time you start WeFi it asks for permission to autostart again. And again and again and again.
The WeFi website has maps where you can search and browse Wi-Fi hotspots. It would be nice if WeFi would talk to Nokia Maps and other mobile navigation programs to make it easier to find free Wi-Fi access.
• WeFi for Nokia
• WeFi Wi-Fi hotspot map
Similar programs: FreeAir and Easy Wi-Fi
Chat and VoIP program fring has a WeFi plugin.
You don't always notice when programs on your mobile phone go online. For example, GPS only talks to navigation satellites, but if you forget to switch off assisted GPS every localisation attempt results in a data traffic between your phone and a GPS positioning server. If you're roaming abroad, this may result in expensive surprises.
Other programs may use GPRS or 3G (UMTS, HSDPA) when you don't want them to. For example, Google Maps may automatically use an expensive connection before you get the chance to tell it to use a free Wi-Fi access point instead. And all programs that automatically check for updated versions may not always ask you for permission to go online first.
Enter BlockGPRS. This patch for ROMPatcher kills all 2G (GPRS, EDGE) and 3G (UMTS) connection attempt. When BlockGPRS is running, your phone can only go online through Wi-Fi, which is usually free.
Of course you can simply delete unwanted access points from your phone settings, but if they're stored on your SIM card they may come back when you don't want them to. And if they're not stored on your SIM card they may be dfficult to restore when you want them back.
So if you don't have an unlimited data plan, or if you travel to places where mobile data traffic is expensive, just fire up BlockGPRS.
• BlockGPRS (for everybody)
• BlockGPRS at Symbian Freak (for members only)
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
PC Suite restores your old SMSs and deletes your new messages, but X-SMS restores your messages in a non-destructive way. When you restore a backup with X-SMS, the messages you received after you made the backup are preserved. You can store your messages as .txt, .doc, .pdf, and .html.
The latest version adds the touchscreen Nokias N97 and 5800 XpressMusic and the Samsung Omnia HD to the list of supported phones.
X-SMS only backs up messages from your inbox. So move all your messages to your inbox before you make a backup, or else you may lose the messages from your sent folder and custom folders. To install and use X-SMS you'll need to have Python installed on your phone.
File manager ActiveFile comes with an SMS backup and restore function that backs up and restores messages from all messaging folders, including the custom folders you've made yourself. But if ActiveFile won't work for you, X-SMS is the most suitable alternative.
• X-SMS for N97, 5800 XpressMusic, and Omnia HD
• X-SMS for Symbian S60 3rd ed.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Google Translator Widget doubles its languages, Doc2Txt converts Microsoft Word files into plain text
Google Translator Widget
The Google Translator Widget can translate words and entire texts from and to english, french, german, spanish, portuguese, italian, chinese, finnish, japanese, and korean. The latest update adds russian, arabic, danish, latvian, polish, romanian, serbian, slovak, slovenian, ukrainian, czech, and swedish.
The source language is detected automatically. The Google Translator Widget works with Symbian S60 3rd ed. phones, and also with the touchscreens of Symbian S60 5th ed. phones like the Nokia 5800XM.
• Google Translator Widget v.1.01 on Mobile Castle
The Google Translator Widget only works with a live mobile internet connection, which can be expensive when you're roaming abroad. If you'd rather have an offline dictionary, get MDictionary, or try DictionaryForMIDs, Dicts.info for Java, KODi, or JLearnIt.
Doc2Txt converts Microsoft Word documents (.doc files) into plain text (.txt). This can be useful if you need to edit a text on your phone without access to a mobile MS Office version, or if you need to read a .doc file that's formatted in a way that makes it unreadable on a small mobile phone screen.
If you convert .doc to .txt you'll lose all formatting, so don't throw away the original file.
You need to have Python installed on your phone to use Doc2Txt.
• Doc2Txt 0.4 (english translation by Shashank1976) on Symbian Freak
• Python 1.45
Monday, 27 July 2009
Hackers versus Nokia 4-3: HelloOX2, SetMeFree, and the MapDrives methods open up phones that Nokia tried to lock down
Symbian hack method HelloOX has its own site, and version 2.0 sets new Nokia firmware versions free that resisted the previous HelloOX versions, such as firmware version 30.0.33 of the Nokia N96, version 300.21.012 of the Nokia E71, and the previously unhackable Nokia N97.
HelloOX2 doesn't seem to work on the Nokia E51 firmware version 400.34.011.
HelloOX installs ROMPatcher on your phone, which you can use for a lot of things, including installing unsigned Symbian programs.
Just like previous versions, HelloOX2 needs to be signed with a "17 capabilities" developer certificate. You can also buy a signed version (US$5 as of July 27, 2009), but IMO that's an expensive way of getting a DevCert that other sites give away for free.
• HelloOX2 site
• HelloOX2 at Mobile Castle
• HelloOX2 discussion at Symbian Freak (login/signup required), the place for technical support questions
• how to get a free developer certificate to sign HelloOX and other programs
• list of Symbian 9.x phones and firmware versions that can be hacked
AUGUST 19, 2009 UPDATE: There's a new version of HelloOX2.
There's a thread from abgnokia on the Symbian Freak forum that explains how to hack your phone with MapDrives, ROMPatcher, and file browser X-plore. SetMeFree (see below) makes it a bit easier, and HelloOX2 is the easiest Symbian hack for phones that resist the old HelloCarbide hack, but if these methods don't work for you the manual MapDrives method may help you out.
This method may open up the "unhackable" Nokia 5630 XpressMusic a tiny little bit.
• MapDrives method on Mobile Castle
• MapDrives method on Symbian Freak (login/signup required)
• very limited Nokia 5630 XpressMusic hack on Symbian Freak (login/signup required)
SetMeFree is a bundle of MapDrives, ROMPatcher, and Y-Browser to hack Symbian phones that resist other hacking methods (but try HelloOX2 first). The bundled ROMPatcher patches are meant for S60 3rd ed. Feature Pack 2 phones.
Like all other hacks that appeared after HelloCarbide, you'll need to sign SetMeFree with a "17 capabilities" developer certificate.
• SetMeFree v1.00 on Mobile Castle
• SetMeFree discussion on Symbian Freak (login/signup required)
Some things you can do with a hacked phone
• install unsigned programs without having to deal with Symbian Signed
• change or remove your phone camera shutter sound
• customise your Active Standby screen
...and much more. Check symbianhack.site666.info for details.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
PhoNetInfo shows almost everything you need to know about your mobile phone. Your phone's firmware version, IMEI and IMSI numbers, Wi-Fi and bluetooth MAC addresses, the Wi-Fi SSID and security mode of your active wireless connection, network signal strength, the amount of RAM your phone really has and how much of it is available for your programs, which tasks are running (including those that Symbian's own task manager hides), and much more.
PhoNetInfo can restart your phone with less button pushes than switching your phone off and on. This feature works on my Feature Pack 1 phones, but not on my Feature Pack 2 phone.
The latest version adds bug fixes, copying of selected information to the system clipboard, and correct processor speed info for more phone models.
PhoNetInfo is unsigned. You can sign it yourself, install it on a hacked phone with certificate checking switched off, or you can download the old, signed version.
JBak TaskMan lets you see hidden tasks, memory status, disk usage, and detailed task info. When the program is running, long-pressing the menu button launches Jbak TaskMan instead of Symbian's built-in excuse for a task manager.
The latest series of test versions feature bug fixes (reboot and autorun should work without errors now), make the program work better on touchscreen phones, add a quickstart folder, and there's a new experimental "kill all" function. The latest signed version doesn't have all the new features and the official site doesn't have the latest unsigned test version, but Mobile Castle does.
You can sign the test versions yourself, or install them on a hacked phone with certificate checking switched off.
• JBak TaskMan site (latest signed version and some unsigned test versions)
• JBak TaskMan v1.0 R12 (unsigned test version)
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Mobile Java multi-network chat program eBuddy connects to MSN, Yahoo, AIM, GoogleTalk, ICQ, and Facebook chat.
The latest edition uses less data, logs you in faster, fixes some annoying bugs (custom messages work again, no more double Yahoo entries), and it lets you choose the color of the user interface.
Unfortunately eBuddy displays a big ugly advertisement in your contacts list, and it can't send files or voice messages. You're better off with Nimbuzz, fring, Talkonaut, Palringo, or Slick. eBuddy is no longer a suitable choice for phones that run on Symbian 9.x.
eBuddy wants you to do an on the fly install from your phone browser, but you don't need to put up with that. Just select your phone brand and model from the dropdown boxes on get.ebuddy.com, download the jad file, and open it with a text editor to read the location of the corresponding jar file. Or download the jar and jad files from Mobile Castle.
• eBuddy v1.4 on Mobile Castle
• check the instant messaging label for better chat programs
This review was stolen by the copycats of nokiashare.blogspot.com because these thieves are too stupid to write their own stories.
Friday, 24 July 2009
JoikuSpot Light internet connection improved, FreeAir Wi-Fi scanner remembers your settings, Devicescape Easy Wi-Fi gets you online with less clicks
JoikuSpot Light turns your mobile phone into a wireless router by linking your 3G connection to Wi-Fi. If your phone can only go online by 3G (UMTS etc.) because there's no open Wi-Fi router around, simply make your own wireless hotspot with JoikuSpot and share your phone's connection with your laptop, PDA, or iTouch without fighting with cables or complex programs.
Internet connection quality and stability have been improved in the latest version.
JoikuSpot Light only supports http and https, so it won't work for email of the POP and IMAP type, P2P file sharing, media streaming, or FTP. If you can't live with the limitations of JoikuSpot Light there's a €15 premium version that handles all the internet protocols.
• JoikuSpot Light at joiku.com (free, but limited to http and https)
The trial version of the latest version of JoikuSpot Premium expires after only two days, which may not be long enough for you to test it under all the relevant conditions (at home, at work, abroad, etc.). Mobile Castle has an older version of JoikuSpot that you may try for longer than two days. You'll probably find that JoikuSpot is worth buying, unless you have a very difficult internet setup.
• JoikuSpot Premium at Mobile Castle (unofficial trial edition, no limits, unsigned)
FreeAir by KloNom finds free and open wireless internet connections for you, so you don't have to scroll down a list of locked access points to find an open connection option. You can tell FreeAir when to search and how often to search.
The latest update kills bugs, remembers your preferences, and comes with notes.
FreeAir requires Python. You'll also have to sign the .sis files or set your phone free to avoid Symbian's Signing Madness.
• FreeAir at symbian-freeware.com
Devicescape Easy Wi-Fi keeps your mobile phone connected in a way that Nokia's built-in Wi-Fi manager can only dream of.
Easy Wi-Fi finds free, open networks, remembers your login details for secure networks, and automatically gets you past login screens, terms-and-conditions pages, and other obstacles of hotspots that insist on excessive user interaction.
• Devicescape Easy Wi-Fi
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Browsing maps with Nokia Maps and Ovi Maps is free, but route calculation, voice navigation, and city guides are quite expensive. For obvious reasons you'd want to try 'em before you buy 'em.
Nokia used to offer a one week free trial. And then the web page with the free trial disappeared.
But the free trial is available again. You can try voice navigation on Nokia Maps 2.0 or Ovi Maps 3.0 for a week with the trial navigation license that Nokia sends by SMS if you give 'em your phone number.
• Nokia Maps 2.0 and Ovi Maps 3.0 navigation, one week free trial from Nokia
The free trial comes with limitations that may be too limiting for some. It's available in many countries, but not in all. It won't let you try the city guides sold through the maps application, probably because no one in their right mind would pay for them if they could see how bad these guides are before handing over their money. And what if you need to check if navigation works OK for you in different countries that you won't be able to visit in one single week?
Fortunately there's an unofficial extended trial for Nokia Maps 2.0. It's unsigned, so you'll have to get a certificate and sign it yourself, or set your phone free to avoid the draconian restrictions of Symbian Signed. This unofficial trial may also help you out if your license stops working and you have trouble repairing it, for example when you swap SIM cards often to avoid roaming charges.
• Nokia Maps 2.0 navigation and city guides extended trial edition
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Google Maps update adds layers including Wikipedia and public transport but comes with potentially harmful automatic connection
Google Maps (with maps, satellite and aerial images, and street view) is updated. Voice navigation is still missing, but Google has added layers to its maps.
You can overlay maps with Wikipedia entries, traffic information, and public transport lines.
The Wikipedia layer works well, but the public transport lines layer is far from complete. Public transport lines are missing for many cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Glasgow, Brussels, New York, Wasington DC, Buenos Aires, and Bangkok. Traffic info is only available in a very limited number of locations, so this feature is useless to most people until Google starts providing traffic info for more countries.
You can find public transport info (including route calculations) for hundreds of cities with Métro, but this program doesn't show maps. It would be nice if Métro and Google Maps functionality could be combined somehow. It would be even better if it would work with offline maps, because places where you need public transport info tend to be outside your own country and international mobile data roaming is still horribly expensive.
Speaking of international data roaming...
WARNING: Google Maps automatically connects to the access point you used the previous time, which may be very expensive if you used your 3G network last time and then crossed the border into another country. Google Maps does not offer an easy way to switch off this behaviour. You can change to a cheaper or free connection from the options menu when Google Maps is running, but by then the damage is already done. Google Maps really needs an "ask me first" option before ging online to prevent accidental connections to unwanted access points.
• Google Maps (on the fly installer, only works from your phone's built-in web browser)
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Locify shows maps from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and OpenStreetMaps, including aerial and satellite images. It also reads locally stored maps, but the process to add maps is quite complicated. GoogleMaps 2 Trekbuddy is the easiest way to preload maps to your phone. Navigation with Locify is quite useless, but location based Wikipedia search, events, weather info, and pictures from Panoramio work OK.
The latest update fixes bugs, prettifies the user interface, and adds support for GPX routes.
If the Locify download page says the program won't work on your phone model, try it anyway. Locify will probably work if your phone model is not ancient, even if the Locify download page says no.
• GoogleMaps 2 Trekbuddy (the easiest way to preload maps to your memory card)
Monday, 20 July 2009
Symbian S60 music player FolderPlay looks like a file manager. If you navigate to a folder with music, it will play all songs in that folder.
FolderPlay doesn't handle subfolders well: if you play a folder with songs and more songs in subfolders, it only plays the tracks in the first subfolder and ignores the other songs and folders.
FolderPlay plays MP3, WAV, FLAC, APE, AC3, OGG, and other files, but not WMA.
The latest series of updates add a playback progress indicator, rewind, OGG playback, and a couple of bugfixes
There are other ways to play music organised by folders. Music Launcher is similar to FolderPlay, but MusicLauncher does it better if you stick with MP3. PowerMP3 and TTPod sort your music by tags and by folder structure, and there's a folder structure workaround for the built-in Symbian music player.
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Mobile Java notepad MyNotes can protect your notes with a password, encrypt them, and organise them into folders.
You can now export all stored data to a single file, and import it back into MyNotes. The user interface received a few cosmetic updates too.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Mobile java calculator Calc4M for basic and scientific calculations comes with lots of conversion options, the important physical constants are built in, and the user interface is simple and efficient.
The latest update lets you choose how many decimals to display, and the central navigation key now equals "=" so you don't need to long-press "#" anymore to run a calculation.
GraphViewer draws curves from your maths, including first and second derivatives. You can make it display multiple parametric, carthesian, and polar functions at once in different psychedelic colors.
The program now speaks 15 languages.
Friday, 17 July 2009
SuperTuner is a mobile Java musical instrument tuning aid. It can play notes of a lot of different instruments, and the guitar fret noise option is a nice touch. SuperTuner works like the tone generator of The Musicians' Swiss Knife.
Unlike Guitar Tuner Mobile SuperTuner won't record your own instrument to check if the tune is right.
You'll need to have warning tones switched on to hear sounds from SuperTuner.
• SuperTuner at GetJar
SuperTuner from zimbleTech UPDATE: this link expired
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Chat and VoIP program Nimbuzz connects to Skype, standard SIP VoIP, GoogleTalk, Jabber, MSN (Windows Live), Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Twitter, Gadu-Gadu, Facebook, MySpace, orkut, and Hyves. It does Twitter too.
The latest edition fixes some Nokia N97 specific issues, and kills a very annoying Facebook bug which used to bite many phones: many Facebook chat contacts were displayed as numbers, but now Nimbuzz shows the correct names.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
The version of RealPlayer that comes with Nokia phones sucks. The best video player for Symbian is CorePlayer, but you have to pay for it.
Enter UCPlayer. This free video player plays movies in avi, mp4, wmv, flv, mkv, 3gp, and 3gpp format. It doesn't play movies with an .mpg or .asf extension.
UCPlayer works, but it has a very annoying habit: when you start it and play a video stored locally on your memory card or phone memory, it asks for internet access and it doesn't tell you what it wants to do online. There's no way to switch off this behaviour.
But apart from that UCPlayer is a good program, and unlike CorePlayer UCPlayer doesn't cost you a penny.
• UCPlayer v18.104.22.168 (english translation) on Mobile Castle
• check the video tag for other movie players
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
eBook reader AnyView reads .txt, .html, .pdb, and .umd texts and .gif, .jpg, and .png images. The latest update kills some bugs, but there are plenty of issues left.
AnyView crashed often on my phones, rendering of .html files took ages and was full of errors, and it couldn't open any of the .pdb files I fed to it. The latter problem is because of the multitude of formats hidden under the .pdb extension: AnyView can only open TEXt/REAd .pdb files.
If AnyView won't suit your needs, here are some alternatives:
MobiReader opened all my eBooks in .mobi format (which AnyView can't read).
Book Reader by TequilaCat can turn many eBook formats into .jar files which open on just about every mobile phone that can handle Java.
QReader reads .txt, .tcr, .prc, and .fb2 files. It's supposed to read .pdb texts too, but there are many different types of .pdb files and QReader only works with some of them. The QReader website just has a download link and the text "will be updated soon," but there's a review with screenshots on reeed.ru. The list of supported phones dates from the early Feature Pack 1 days, but QReader also works on my FP2 Nokia.
Some sites with free eBooks:
• Project Gutenberg
Monday, 13 July 2009
FreeFSWP turns your standby screen wallpaper full screen, KeyLockClock shows the time when you lock your keypad
Symbian's own wallpaper option won't display the top and bottom part of your image on your standby screen, but FreeFSWP by junnikokuki shows the full picture everywhere. It 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.
Version 1.01.1 fixes a wallpaper selection bug that bit some phones.
FreeFSWP only works on Symbian S60 3rd edition phones with feature pack 1 or older. This includes popular phones like the Nokia N82 and N95. It doesn't work on feature pack 2 phones like the Nokia N79 or S60 th ed. phones like the Nokia 5800XM. The program needs to be signed before you can install it, unless you've hacked your phone to get rid of the Symbian Signed madness.
The latest version is not yet available on the english part of the official site, but you can already get it from Mobile Castle.
• FreeFSWP on junnikokuki's site
• FreeFSWP 1.01.1 on Mobile Castle
KeyLockClock by DrJukka displays a clock on your screen when you lock the keypad. You can choose your own clock font and set the light timeout period.
This entry was stolen by the copycats of nokiashare.blogspot.com because these thieves are too stupid to write their own stories.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
UTube is a mobile Java application which loads www.s60v2.110mb.com/tube.html into your mobile phone web browser. Through this site you can download YouTube videos to your phone.
You can download YouTube videos in FLV, 3GP, and MP4 format, and you can choose different quality settings too. Keep in mind some formats won't play in RealPlayer. Choose 3GP to be sure it plays in RealPlayer (FLV and MP4 may work, but you may also get sound without video in RealPlayer), or use an alternative player such as CorePlayer.
The interface of the UTube downloader needs to be improved. It doesn't have a built-in YouTube search function, and you have to type or copy/paste the full YouTube video URL into the UTube downloader. Since most Symbian browsers don't let you copy the URL of the current page to the clipboard, this means lots of typing or saving the page as a temporary bookmark to copy the URL.
Videos are downloaded to the standard downloads folder of your phone.
Instead of installing the program you could just as well save the UTube downloader site as a bookmark, since all the program does is launch your browser anyway.
The program is still in beta testing, so lets hope the UTube downloader will improve. A few suggestions:
1) let the downloader capture the currently open YouTube URL from your browser so you don't have to type or copy/paste the URL yourself,
2) let the user choose in which folder the video is to be saved,
3) let the user choose a name for the saved video, because "video.mp4" is not very informative.
UTube v1.00 beta at Mobile Castle UPDATE: this link expired
UTube downloader page, second UTube downloader page UPDATE: these links expired
The built-in Symbian music player sorts music by tags, but not by folders. Enter FolderPlay. This program looks like a file manager. If you navigate to a folder with music, it will play all songs in that folder. Unfortunately FolderPlay doesn't handle subfolders well: if you play a folder with songs and more songs in subfolders, it will only play the tracks in the first subfolder and ignore the other songs and folders.
FolderPlay plays MP3, WAV, FLAC, APE, AC3, and other files, but not WMA. The latest FolderPlay update also plays mono FLAC and AC3, and Wave List chunks in WAV files.
There are other ways to play music organised by folders. Music Launcher is similar to FolderPlay, but MusicLauncher does it better. PowerMP3 and TTPod sort your music by tags and by folder structure, and there's a folder structure workaround for the built-in Symbian music player.
Hide your ringtones from your music player
Symbian's built-in music player adds all sound files on your phone to its library. This includes your ringtones, and also your voicemails and other recordings if you save them in MP3 or AAC format.
But there's a way to keep unwanted tracks out of your music player library: use a file manager like X-plore, ActiveFile, or Y-Browser to set the attributes of the folder with unwanted tracks to "system" and update your music library. Now your ringtones won't show up in your music player. They will also be hidden from Symbian's File Manager, but they stay visible in the Profiles personalisation screen and the contacts program so you can still change your rintones. If you want to add new ringtones, you'll have to remove the "system" attribute from your ringtones folder first. Don't forget to reapply the "system" attribute, or else your ringtones will reappear in your music player when you update its library.
You can also use PowerMP3 instead of the built-in music player. PowerMP3 makes it easy to exclude ringtones from its music library.
Monday, 6 July 2009
In the early days of the HelloCarbide hack, all Nokia phones running on Symbian S60 3rd edition could be hacked. Nokia responded with HelloCarbide-resistant firmware updates, but then came HelloOX and all S60 3rd and 5th ed. Nokias could be opened up again.
But Nokia fights back. After Nokia's hackproof firmware updates for the N96, E51, and E75, the list of phones with HelloOX-proof firmware has grown a bit longer. New victims: Nokia N85, E63, E66, and E71. And if that's not bad enough, the Nokia N86 and N97 can't be hacked at all yet, no matter which firmware version you have.
So think twice before you update your firmware if you want to stay in control of your phone. There were four long months between Nokia's killing of HelloCarbide and the invention of the Y-Drive/Modo hack and the first version of HelloOX, and nobody knows how long it will take to open Nokia's new locks.
More about Symbian hacking and Nokia's counterstrikes:
• list of phones and firmware versions that can be hacked
• overview of all Symbian hacks
• the modding section of the Symbian Freak forum (signup/login required)
Saturday, 4 July 2009
YouTube for Symbian
The YouTube movie player for Symbian mobile phones has been updated to version 2.2.6. All new stuff must be under the hood (bugfixes?), because there's nothing new to be seen in the program. You still can't log into your YouTube account (that means no adult movies), the option to erase your search history and other private data is still hidden in the help menu, and on first launch it makes you choose from one of 11 countries, but it still doesn't matter which one you pick from the list.
Google only offers YouTube for Symbian as an on-the-fly installer, but if you want to download the program as a .sis file you can do so from Mobile Castle. This may also help if you can't download the YouTube player because your IP address is not on Google's list of supported countries.
• YouTube (official site, on the fly installer, download only works with the default web browser of your phone)
• YouTube v2.2.6 on Mobile Castle (downloadable .sis file for everybody, works with all mobile and non-mobile web browsers)
• MobiTubia, an alternative YouTube player
Kugou plays music in mp3, aac, wma, fla, and other audio formats.
KuGou version 2.05 has been translated into english by Chickenz, but the interface shows lots of chinese. Tip: if you don't want KuGou to go online on first launch, hit the right softkey.
The new release is supposed to fix some bugs, allow you to choose from eight skin colors, and have a better "shortcuts help panel." But I couldn't find the skin colors, and the shortcuts panel is not translated and therefore all in chinese.
Some things that didn't change:
- Kugou shows all your songs in a single list without filtering by artist, genre, or other mp3 tags. It can sort your files by artist or title, but that's nowhere near enough if you have hundreds of tracks on your memory card.
- On my phones Kugou couldn't even write the names of the songs in the music list, so they were all displayed as E! instead.
- When I tried to exit Kugou, it said that feature was not supported. I had to shut down Kugou with KillMe.
My advice: forget about KuGou, use PowerMP3 or TTPod instead. Even the built-in music player of your phone is better than KuGou, especially with this folder structure workaround.
• Kugou 2.05 (english version) at Mobile Castle
Symbian's built-in music player sorts your music by tags, but not by folders. So what do you do if you want to play all tracks in a folder?
You can use FolderPlay. This program looks like a file manager, but if you navigate to a folder with music, it will play all songs in that folder.
Unfortunately FolderPlay doesn't know how to deal with subfolders. If you try to play a folder with songs and more songs in subfolders, it will simply play the tracks in the first subfolder and nothing else.
There are other ways to play music organised by folders. Music Launcher is similar to FolderPlay, but MusicLauncher does it better. PowerMP3 and TTPod sort your music by tags and by folder structure, and there's a folder structure workaround for the built-in Symbian music player.
Friday, 3 July 2009
There's yet another new beta test version of chinese proxy-based, data compressing mobile web browser UCWEB. The new edition features a few eye candy improvements, and some Wi-Fi connection bugs were ironed out.
Before you rush out to try the latest test version, keep in mind that the official non-beta version of UCWEB is compatible with the patch by jbpseudo which removes the sponsored links from the start page, uses Google search without the limitations of the official program, and adds online synchronisation to the side panel.
• UCWEB 22.214.171.124-800-28-09070119 (beta test version) at Mobile Castle
• UCWEB 6.3 (latest non-beta version)
Mobile Java multi-network chat program eBuddy connects to MSN, Yahoo, AIM, GoogleTalk, ICQ, and Facebook chat. The latest update comes with color themes, faster login, and lower data consumption.
But eBuddy displays an ad on your contacts list, and it can't send files or voice messages. You're better off with Nimbuzz, fring, Talkonaut, Palringo, or Slick.
eBuddy wants you to do an on the fly install from your phone browser, but there's a way around that. Go to get.ebuddy.com, select your phone brand and model from the dropdown boxes, and download the jad file. Then open the jad file with a text editor to read the location of the corresponding jar file, and then download it to your computer. Or head to Mobile Castle to download the jad and jar files in one package.
• eBuddy v1.3 build 3703 on Mobile Castle
It used to be Nokia Chat, a good name that describes what the program does. Then it was renamed Contacts on Ovi, and now it's Ovi Contacts. Makes you wonder what Nokia will call this program tomorrow.
Ovi Contacts is not a contact manager but an instant messaging client. Which means that Nokia Messaging is not an instant messenger (it's an email program).
Ovi Contacts is a very limited instant messenger. It only connects to Google Talk and other Jabber-based networks. And you can't just install the program and log into your GoogleTalk account. No way! You'll have to make an Ovi Contacts account first, and then you can use your Ovi account to get into your Google account. I know that doesn't make any sense, but there are more things about Ovi Contacts that don't make sense. 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.
The good news: you can make an Ovi Contacts account with a fake phone number and fake email address if you don't want to hand over your private data to Nokia's marketing department.
If you have Nokia Chat on your phone, you'll have to remove it before you install Ovi Contacts.
But why bother? There are plenty of instant messengers out there that are better than Ovi Contacts. Just try Nimbuzz, fring, Talkonaut, Palringo, or Slick. Even mobile Java messenger eBuddy beats Ovi Contacts hands down.
The latest Ovi Contacts update makes it work on touchscreen phones, so now users of the Nokia 5800XM and Nokia N97 can see for themselves how bad Ovi Contacts is. Ovi Contacts is still in beta testing, so maybe it will become usable sometime in the future.
• Ovi Contacts
Thursday, 2 July 2009
Ovi Maps 3.0 (the former Nokia Maps) finished beta testing, and you can get it without using Nokia Maps Updater
After a long time of beta testing, Ovi Maps 3.0 is now ready for the masses. Ovi Maps is the new name of Nokia Maps, and the old Nokia Map Loader is replaced by Nokia Maps Updater.
The good news is that Ovi Maps 3.0 works. Many of the bugs that made the older beta test versions unusable have been killed. There are still plenty of bugs left, but on most phones these won't be worse than the bugs that remain in the old Nokia Maps 2.0.
Reasons to switch to Ovi Maps 3.0: weather, events, and movie info, faster zooming and panning, newer maps, and traffic info for North America. And the maps for India in Ovi Maps 3.0 are better than those of the old Nokia Maps (but still not good enough if you're outside the major cities).
The bad news is that Nokia managed to do something incredibly stupid: they won't let you download Ovi Maps directly. Instead, you'll have to get it through Nokia Maps Updater, and this program only works on PCs with Windows XP or Vista. There's no Mac version, and nobody knows how long it will take before one gets available. If you run Linux, if your computer specs are below the requirements of Nokia Maps Updater, or if you want to download and install Ovi Maps 3.0 straight on your phone, Nokia won't let you.
Fortunately Ovi Maps has been liberated from Nokia Maps Updater, and you can download the maps for Ovi Maps 3.0 with the Map Loader Alternative. Just check the links below.
Ovi Maps 3.0 won't work on older Symbian S60 phones. Check the Ovi Maps site to see if your phone model will run Ovi aps 3.0 or if you'll have to stick with Nokia Maps 2.0.
• Ovi Maps and Nokia Maps Updater from nokia.com
Ovi Maps without Nokia Maps Updater at MediaFire:
• Ovi Maps 3.0 for S60 3rd ed. Feature Pack 1 (N82, N95, etc., check this list of FP1 phones)
• Ovi Maps 3.0 for S60 3rd ed. Feature Pack 2 (N78, N79, etc., check this list of FP2 phones)
• Ovi Maps 3.0 for S60 5th ed. (Nokia 5800XM, N97)
Load maps on your phone without Nokia Maps Updater:
• Nokia Map Loader and Nokia Maps Updater Alternative
If you've installed Ovi Maps 3.0 and you want to go back to Nokia Maps 2.0:
• archived copy of Nokia Maps 2.0
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Proxy-based mobile phone web browser Skyfire is slow, uses way more data traffic than any other mobile web browser, sucks your battery dry real quick, and it doesn't redraw web pages to fit the width of your phone display so you'll need to do lots of horizontal scrolling. Skyfire is not a suitable browser for routine web surfing on your phone.
So why use Skyfire? Because it does some things that other mobile web browsers don't. Skyfire plays video, it plays sound, and it lets you listen to last.fm radio without buying a subscription no matter which country you're in.
The latest update reduces the amount of memory that Skyfire occupies when running, displays websites in the history list in the order you visited them, loads the last page visited upon reconnecting, and fixes little bugs in cookies and zooming.
Update: Skyfire pulled the plug on its Symbian version. All versions Skyfire for Symbian no longer work.
Skyfire competitor Bolt compresses data traffic but keeps much of the original page layout. Bolt has a pretty good and responsive user interface and its split screen mode is a nice touch, but the main reason for using bolt is to watch video.
The latest release comes with little improvements like faster page display, rendering of bold and italic text, support for cyrillic characters, and a better bookmarks screen. Bolt now does a sort of copy/paste too, but this needs more work because it is rather difficult to paste text from Bolt into another program. Bolt doesn't do T9 predictive text either.
Bolt plays YouTube and other video, and now it lets you upload movies to YouTube too. But Skyfire does it better, and it doesn't crash as often as Bolt.
If you don't hear sound, switch to a profile with warning tones on. This is probably necessary because Bolt is a mobile Java program.
You need to give your email address to Bolt to download it from their site, but you can download it directly from GetJar.
• Bolt at GetJar
If you have a very old phone, there's a lightweight version of Bolt with less features and lower system requirements:
• Bolt Lite
There's a new beta test version of chinese proxy-based, data compressing mobile web browser UCWEB, and it's been translated into english by Akushah.
The changes are mainly under the hood when compared to the previous test version. The official non-beta english version of UCWEB is compatible with the patch by jbpseudo which removes the sponsored links from the start page, uses Google search without the limitations of the official program, and adds online synchronisation to the side panel.
• UCWEB 6.7 beta translated by Akushah
• UCWEB 6.3 (latest non-beta version)