General1 Comment
Mar 09

DoubleTwist not living up to promise

DVD Jon is a great guy to some, evil to others. Responsible for cracking DVD DRM schemes right and left, he decided to pursue new challenges and is now leading development on a Mac-only application called doubleTwist (sic) that aims to seamlessly transfer files, encode and transcode, from your Mac to virtually any device. Great idea, especially to owners of Nokia devices burdened with dreadful software to support the phones. While Nokia’s software on the Mac is far better than the bulk and heft on the PC, it is far from great and hence I was eager to try double Twist.

doubleTwist looks nice and simple; very much like iPhoto and without the clutter and noise of iTunes. It tries to incorporate social features which I had a problem understanding their use. Probably sharing media sometime in the future, maybe file sharing – who knows?

My test was pretty demanding: transfer a video to my N95-8GB phone. It failed. Twice. I was using a MP4 AVI file and well, it told me it was done but nothing really happened. The phone was initially not detected by doubleTwist (it was by the Mac) but reading a support forum posting I changed the connection type on my device to Mass Storage which fixed that issue. Still, no files were transferred.

Another test was connecting it to my PSP. Again, same video file (that works fine on the Mac and on a PC) – and again doubleTwist appears to be doing something but in fact nothing really happened.

Both devices are on the product’s website as fully supported (N95 is a Symbian S60 Series 3 phone; PSP is there outright).

I hope it improves sometime in the future – premise is interesting – but for now, a fail.

Dec 08

Living with the Nokia N95-8GB: Why Nokia is a laggard

Wanted to share my experience, month two of owning the N95-8GB.
My main bone of contention with Nokia – is the fact that they cannot communicate. They would not find their way out of a paper bag. The big issue is with their software and services – the two things that are there to enforce the bond between you and the company and much more importantly, are there to convince you that your next phone should be Nokia.
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Nov 08

Nokia N95-8GB: Using it in the US and the joys of 3G tethering

When I first thought of getting the Nokia N95-8GB I was not sure how you would go about using it in the US. I never owned an unlocked phone and having been with AT&T for the last two years in a rather satisfactory fashion, I wondered what I needed to do.

In essence, all that is necessary is to take out the SIM card from your old AT&T phone and pop it into the N95. Still, to take advantage of it to the fullest extent, and for me that means a mobile photo studio with immediate uploads to Facebook and Share on Ovi, you need broadband. The N95 is great with WiFi connectivity that puts my truly awful Lenovo T61p laptop’s to shame. But on the go, you need 3G and AT&T has it. The upside, though, is that you can apparently spring for the cheapest of their mobile plans, the $15/month (MEdia Net Unlimited) as it does not count as a PDA (no QWERTY keyboard). For the money, you get unlimited data connectivity which with the N95-8GB means – tethering.

In other words, the N95 can be used as your cellular network broadband modem for your laptop. Connectivity is a snap using a USB cable and the dedicated program provided in the Nokia PC Suite. While I would not recommend running BitTorrent off of it so as not to raise the ire of AT&T, you will get a very impressive (for a phone) 3.5G 460Kb/s speed. It already saved a couple of sales meetings for me where wired and wireless connections were impossible to use. This being a Symbian phone, once you are done with your connection, you better reboot the phone as it will go into a weird state – not that it would tell you about it. Phone calls were not made or received. In short – just reboot. Oh, and the battery gets drained very quickly so play it safe and lug around the phone’s charger.

That said, tethering (or MMS…) is impossible with an iPhone. I take my joyful bit and run with them…