Tuesday 30 October 2007

My New Phone – Nokia N95


My mobile phone contract was up for renewal so yesterday I rang T-Mobile to see what they could offer me as an upgrade, and as luck would have it, I was able to get the exact phone I had been wanting for months and for FREE. I’ve only been with the company 10 years (joined when it was still one2one) and finally I’ve gotten a free upgrade!

I’ve spent half the day fiddling with my new Nokia N95 trying to get it set up the way I want. There are still a few things I want installed but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow when the 2GB microSD card I ordered arrives, as I really don’t want to be filling up all of the phone’s internal memory with applications, photos, video or audio files. My old phone (N70) uses the MMC Mobile type memory card so I can’t keep using it in the N95. Shame, as it’s not even that old.

I have also ordered a screen protector. One of the first things I do now when I buy expensive electronics with easily damaged screens. Creative ZEN Vision:M, Creative ZEN, Nokia N70… all have screen protectors fitted, just in case! I absolutely hate scratches.

I tested out the GPS function this evening, by standing outside while opening the Nokia Maps application. I had tried it once on my N70 which doesn’t have GPS, so I’d have to find my location manually, but with the N95 you just wait for it to get a fix on your location via GPS and it moves the reticle to where you are and zooms in automatically. It’s quite freaky the first time you see it, but very clever!

One thing I hate about mobile phones is the built-in tones, you can’t extract them and copy them between phones, and this includes the network’s branding. On my N70 T-Mobile had added their own Message Alert tone which I used for incoming SMSes, I couldn’t see any way of getting it out of the phone and onto the N95, searching on Google was coming up short too. So the only thing I could think of was to position a microphone next to the speaker on the N70, hit record and play the tone, then copy the result onto the N95. After a bit of fine-tuning I now have the tone on my new phone, just what I wanted!

UPDATE: Having Wi-Fi in your phone is awesome. I was browsing the internet at home via my wireless network, instead of wasting T-Mobile’s bandwidth, much faster too!

I got my new 2GB memory card this morning, so I have transferred the data I want to keep from my old phone onto it (which wasn’t much tbh). I can now install the applications I want without fear of filling up the internal memory too.

UPDATE 2: Following on from my little rant above about built-in tones and branding… well, I should’ve known better than to let a little thing like hidden files get the better of me. After downloading and installing FExplorer to my N70 I was actually able to see the location of all its internal audio files, and I copied the T-Mobile Message Alert to the N95. It doesn’t sound quite the same though as it must be a polyphonic tone. I’m not sure whether I want to use the one I made or the one I transferred. Decisions, decisions!

Monday 29 October 2007

Damn Clocks

British Summer Time, the name us Brits give to DST ended yesterday. My bedside clock is radio controlled so was changed to the correct time automatically, as was the display on my DVD Recorder which picks it up from Teletext. I had to change my wrist-watch manually. No problems there.

My PC runs Vista and XP. Both are capable of changing the system time when they detect the start or end of DST. This is something you need to watch out for if you dual-boot! When I first turned my PC on, I booted into Vista which saw the date and took an hour off, so it was back to GMT.

After playing the Crysis SP Demo, I then rebooted into XP. Here’s where I found a problem – XP also saw the date and doing the right thing, took an hour off… but since my PC had already been set back, it was now running at GMT-1. D’oh!

And of course, all the clocks in the kitchen hadn’t been changed, so they were all still GMT+1.

So I’d look at the time on my DVD recorder while watching TV from my bed, I’d go and sit at my PC for a bit, lose track of the real time then look at the PC’s clock and not realise it was actually wrong, then go downstairs and get even more confused because the time was shown 2 hours more than my PC.

All in all, Sunday was a very confusing day for me!

Sunday 28 October 2007

Stupid Fireworks

I hate this time of year. The run up to 5th November, Guy Fawkes night. The night when everyone sets off fireworks to celebrate the foiling of a Catholic plot to blow up Parliament.

I don’t have a problem with the night itself, in fact I used to enjoy going to fireworks displays and standing around bonfires waving sparklers, but it’s the days before and after which annoy me. It’s currently the 28th and for the 3rd night in a row people have been lighting fireworks.

Why is that such a problem? Well… the noise scares the crap out of my dog Mo, and it will continue for probably another week after the 5th, maybe two. So I’ll have to comfort my dog and keep telling her it’s OK, the noise is outside, for a fortnight… all while she’s scared stupid.

Yes, I have a “fraidy dog”, but you know what? I love her anyway.

Saturday 27 October 2007

Saw IV

Just got back from the cinema to see Saw IV. Another excellent episode in the ever-continuing story of Jigsaw. There was a fantastic twist at the end, one I didn’t see coming at all! That’s all I’m going to say on that matter.

If you a fan of the first 3, you have to go see this one. Go now!

By the way, there are at least another 2 films in the pipeline.

UPDATE: Saw VI reigned supreme at the US box office on its opening weekend by pulling in a staggering $31 million. The movie coming in 2nd place only managed $12 million in comparison.

Thursday 25 October 2007

24 Season 7 Trailer

Roll on January 13th! This season looks awesome.

(Updated with a better quality trailer, the UK version which has an extra line the US one doesn’t)

Sunday 21 October 2007

Computer Pics / Backup

Since my last entry about my new computer, I’ve added a blue cold cathode which is positioned vertically so it shines into the main part of the case, and also through the transparent 120mm fan behind the front panel, which saves on having to replace it with an LED fan which also means I can turn off the cold cathode and there’ll be no light to keep me awake.

My Desk


As I wrote in my last entry, I wanted to have 2 hard drives hooked up so I could dual-boot between XP and Vista. With the Enermax PSU I bought I am able to have both drives connected and I can dual-boot just as I wanted. I still use XP as my main OS, Vista is mainly for DirectX 10 compatible games and to gain experience in using it.

I have also bought a Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500GB which has eSATA and USB 2.0 connectors. I will be using eSATA once I get a cable as it doesn’t come with one unfortunately, so it’s currently hooked up by USB. eSATA is much faster than USB, eSATA can transfer at 300MB/s and USB 2.0 can only manage a measly 40MB/s.

FreeAgent Pro

I have installed and set up 2 scheduled backup tasks using Acronis TrueImage 11 Home. It’ll do a full backup once a month and an incremental backup every Sunday evening, of both hard drives. Considering my installation of XP has been going since October 2004, there are a LOT of personal files that I could not afford to lose. I started getting a little worried that my last full backup was a long time ago, and an entirely different computer ago as well, so I thought that a simple external drive would be by far the easiest way to perform the backups I want, instead of being spanned over a ton of DVDs.

UPDATE: I bought an eSATA cable, but for the life of me I cannot get the FreeAgent to work with it. After a bit of Googling, I don’t seem to be the only one having trouble with it. It also appears that Seagate have messed around with the firmware in the drive that severely reduces the speed of eSATA to almost the same as USB 2.0 – apparently to keep the noise to a bare minimum – so there is hardly any benefit to using it anyway! I wish I’d known that before I bought the drive, considering eSATA support was one of the major factors in my decision.

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