Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Nokia 3650 Essentials

I set up my sisters' Nokia 3650 this afternoon. Here is what I did :

  • Put the memory card into a reader
  • Create a "installs" and a "video" folder
  • Copy some Jonny Quest 3gp files (or whatever you like) into the "videos" folder
  • Copy the following apps into the "installs" folder :

    • Helix player - for MPEG 4 video. The Helix player supports more video formats than the Real Player that ships with the phone.
    • ReadM - ebook reader. Reads any text file. Even plays mp3s..
    • Calcium - Nice, easy to use calculator
    • Agile Messenger - fantastic, free, IM client
    • Card Deck - Free solitaire game from Nokia
    • Forward - moves INBOX messages to arbitrary files. Very useful.
    • Keyboard - Driver for Pocketop folding IR keyboard
    • Torch - Turns the backlight on. Yes, your phone is now a flashlight.

  • Remember, when you start installing, everything goes on the memory card
  • Put the card back in the phone and power up. I like to keep a installable copy of all apps that I regularly use on the memory card in the phone. The Nokia "Manager" installer application only installs SIS files that are sent to the phone via email or Bluetooth. To solve this. I sent FExplorer to her phone via Bluetooth, and installed it. Once FExplorer was in place, applications could be installed from the "installs" folder.
  • Install all the apps by selecting the SIS files in the "installs" directory with FExplorer. The Helix player is installed in 3 parts, in order.

Transparent technology

My friend Rod has a Sony-Ericcson T616 phone, which he hates. One day, the phone made a loud screeching noise while next to his ear. He complained that the phone was difficult to use; I would agree as my wife has one. I chose that phone for her because it had a camera and supported Bluetooth.

Unfortunately, the pictures are lousy and the menus are puzzling (to me at least). It's like going to a movie and watching the projector

I offered him the use of a Nokia 3390, which I picked up at a flea market. What a wonderful phone this is. Excellent reception, crystal clear audio, and very easy to use.

I would describe this as transparent technology. With this phone, you just use the phone. Simple, uncluttered, intuitive.

Rod is using the phone until his contract expires in March. But I am getting it back :-)

Radio is dead....

...they just haven't buried the body yet. I was in my van this evening, listening to "Coverville" a podcast from "" on the iPod. A 30 minute show that is not broadcast via radio anywhere in this country. At that point it hit me : Radio is dead. Noone needs it anymore.

Commercial radio in this country is pathetic. The big radio chains (Infinity, Clear Channel) have consolidated their programming into mush. Predictable playlists. Stupid DJ stunts. Their short term strategy of buying up radio stations and turning them into carbon coies of each other is coming back to bite them.

In increasing numbers, America is tuning them out. Viacom, the owner of Infinity, posted an 18 billion dollar loss this quarter, most of it due to lost radio advertising revenue. There are just too many alternatives to broadcast radio. Internet streaming. Portable music players like the iPod.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Something different....the Midibox SID

Though I administer computers and write software for a living, I have alwaye enjoyed working with electronics. Among my accomplishments....transplanting the logic board from a 5 gig iPod into a 20 gig iPod. And it actually worked. But I digress....

I recently started reading online about the SID chip. This was the chip that generated the sound in the Commodore 64. There is a Midibox SID project.

The Midibox SID project uses the SID chip as a sound generation device, but operates it under computer control from a dedicated microcontroller. This allows sounds to be generated that were never possible with the original SID.

It consists of a core processor board, a SID module and a DIN module, which provides for digital inputs to the SID, either rotary encoders (like a digital volume control) or switches. Combine this with a 24 character, 2 line display, this provides the ability to control the SID in real time interactively from the front panel.

I recieved the parts a few weeks ago and have started assembling the boards. More fun to come

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Nokia 3650 ages well

The Nokia 3650 is the most useful device I have owned. Almost two years later, Nokia is still selling basically the same phone (3660 and 3620). It has aged well.

  • It's small enough to go anywhere
  • It keeps my calendar, address book and to do list
  • It syncs almost flawlessly via Bluetooth with my Macs (iBook, G5 tower)
  • It plays MPEG4 movies
  • With an IR keyboard, it can take notes
  • Becomes a servicable flashlight with "Torch" software
  • It takes pictures (pretty decent ones)
  • Content is easily added or removed with a simple flash reader
    (I keep a SanDisk Cruzer flash reader in my pocket)
  • Lots of free software


  • not enough internal memory
  • only supports 128 meg flash cards (with current firmware)
  • Bet you thought I was going to say "the %%^&** keyboard". Actually, I don't mind it.

My sister and brother-in-law are now 3650 owners.