Computing / General2 Comments
Apr 09

Share Online: Why Nokia has it wrong. Again.

Being surrounded by oceans of happy, gloating, iPhone users is not an easy thing, especially in America. Having invested a very large amount of money in my Nokia N95-8GB means that I need to come up with angles to justify that decision. The best one I could think of is this: there is no other phone that could provide the ability to generate content and record life in image and video better than the N95.

The key enabler for this ability is a piece of software from Nokia called ‘Share Online‘. In essence it allows you to upload photos and videos to Flickr, or Nokia’s Ovi server or to any other service out there that offers a simple XML file with definitions. It is a great application that turns the phone into a veritable news agency. It has a few kinks, specifically the inability to upload more than 6 files at a time or schedule an upload when one is taking place.

I have seen several updates from Nokia discussing a new version of this wonderful application but oddly enough my phone, still among the strongest out there, was not on the list of supported devices. More digging around brought me to this message on the application’s discussion board, originating from a person on Nokia’s development team:

Hi MKR10001 and speedgrapher,

Unfortunately, the designers of Share Online took a dependency upon a feature of S60 v3 fp2 back in
version 3.1 of Share Online, and this has meant that no subsequent version can run on v3 fp1 devices.

So, I am sorry to tell you, that Share Online 4.3 will not be available for fp1 devices.

I appologize on behalf of Nokia. In the future, we are going to make a greater effort to make more thoughtful architectural decisions so that we don’t automatically exclude existing customers this way.

PM, Ovi Share Clients
Nokia US

For the uninitiated, the N95 runs Nokia’s Symbian Series 60 operating system version 3, with feature pack 1, or ‘fp1’. If you did not get it so far, like the multitude of N95 users, we are virtually screwed. While on a single application, in this marketplace where Nokia is under virtual siege at the smartphone level, do they really want to alienate its dedicated clients? Apparently, they do not care enough. Let’s move the next piece of plastic instead of enhance the experience on this really expensive phone you bought.

Really not great.

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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