Strange love affair between Nokia Maps and Google Maps

In the latest version of Google Maps, support is added for geographic favourites from builtin Nokia Maps and Landmarks applications. I haven't figured out yet how to add landmarks from within gmaps interface, but they are going in the right direction at least. Now, Google, please add routing, voice guidance and map caching management and we are speaking business. Somehow, with huge emphasis on navigation in Google's own Android, I think the wait for other platforms is getting shorter too.

UPDATE: Google released a new build yesterday (June 4th, 2008) where you can add favourites by pressing central joystick button. Here they follow Nokia maps too. Route calculation from Favourite to Favourite is working too.

N-Gage 2 protection broken

ngage binpda

I normally do not care to write about warez, but this is a new milestone in S60 world of gaming. N Gage 2 game protection have been compromised. More info in Russian is here with Asphalt 3D as an example. I did not have time to try it myself yet, but users report that it is working. Not clear if online and multiplayer features work, but I guess they should be, since crack only affect game itself, and works under unmodified N-Gage2 platform.


Nokia maps 2.0 out of beta, still unfriendly

I have used Nokia maps 2.0 since it appeared in beta, along with TomTom, Google maps and Mgmaps. And despite some nice improvements in the latest version, I still see 2 glaring usability screw ups, that make it almost impossible to use it to plan anything more than a trip within one city's borders.
I attached here screenshots from Nokia maps, Google maps and TomTom. They all show the same region of Poland that I want to visit next month. I want to make sure that my trip goes through certain cities and through ring roads rather than through city centers. The first problem with Nokia maps 2.0 begins when you realise that in regional view, you don't get to see any cities or major roads, unlike in Google or TomTom. Ok, I opened Google maps to help me orient in the region, and persisted to find corresponding cities in Nokia maps, adding some waypoints for my 1100km long auto trip from Riga through Lithuania and Poland, to Ukrainian border. And now we get to the next trouble. I guess that after route is calculated, you would like to check it? Huh?
Not so fast.
It will show you route as it looks on the map of Europe, but if you want to see it closer, say on regional level or just an overview of a single town that it goes through, Nokia maps skips that level of zoom and propells you into turn by turn view of the route, magnified to the largest zoom on the street level. Going through my 100+ waypoints in such view, in sequential order (what? Cannot skip those 50 points to see how it went around Bialostok?) drives me mad, especially that in street view you even do not get any clue if you are still in city A, or in city B already. Good that I still have TomTom around.
The third peculiarity of Nokia maps, which is not a deal breaker, but still quite stupid usability choice, is that in order to add a new favorite, you need to open another program (Landmarks) and add your favourite there. So when I wanted to add the place I just drove through, to favourites, had to open Landmarks, that showed my last position 300km from current position, and since I already moved 1km from place to be added, I could not use current location to be added as favourite, but had to browse manually the map to that point. Awkward. Slow. UPDATE: I found that you actually can add landmark in Nokia Maps. When in map view mode, just press central joystick button. Here Nokia Maps employ 3rd menu action button as shall be used commonly in S60 Feature Pack2. This is not so obvious if you are used to FP1.

Unfriendly. Not yet my prime navigation choice.


SVG themes crash Nokia N82 browser?


I have learned to my surprise, that N82 was unstable in web browsing, just after installation of couple of programs and my "favourite" theme. Browser would often close for no apparent reason, more often when in "menu" mode. All of this despite tons of free RAM, etc. So, I started to roll back installed programs until I found a culprit. This was something I would expect the last - a theme! It is hard to believe, I thought that a theme is just a collection of pics and colour definitions, but it seems that SVG theme from PiZero, can cause such a strange instability in N82 browser (in my case that was New Gold SVG theme by PiZero). I doubt it has anything to do with theme itself, more likely some bug in SVG theme rendering engine in firmware.

Removed the theme and my browser is stable again.

Evolution of mobile phones since 1985

Truly amazing, nostalgic, and mouth watering video. Must see.


TomTom 6.02 hacked to work with built-in GPS in Nokia

I tried it with my N82 and it works like a charm. Hackers have made a program that emulates external bluetooth GPS for the unsuspecting TomTom. Instructions here: uploaded.to/?id=9fn71y

Now I only wish that TT released proper maps of Ukraine and Russia.
Selling external bluetooth GPS receiver "Holux 236" based on SIRF III. Anyone cares?


My new Nokia N82 Black and iPhone Google Reader

I waited for several months for the black version of N82 to become available and this Monday I finally got one. I am delighted with it. Build quality is superb, despite of what people commented on silver version. Firmware is mature, and there is ton of free RAM to run a dozen of apps at the same time. It is quick too. I usually keep open 2 gmail apps, fring, palringo,and several tabs in browser (google reader, etc.) Today I received a call, and while speaking via bluetooth headset, I opened google maps and checked satellite view of the location that was discussed. All of it without a hitch. It worked really well with my home WiFi connection in parallel with GSM call and bluetooth headset.

Keyboard is a treat too, surprisingly so.

I will not comment on excellent photo and video quality, because many people have done it already. Suffice it to say, that this is the first truly multimedia and multitasking computer from Nokia in the smallest form factor and at affordable pricepoint. Prices have dropped from 600 EUR on launch to 350 EUR now. Way to go, Nokia.

Autorotation is good for comfortable photo viewing. Youtube playback over Wifi connection is perfect.

Coreplayer 1.2 plays anything you can throw at it. Now I only need a 16 or 32 GB card to hold my media.

GPS easily picks up inside my flat, something even my SIRF3 bluetooth module couldn't deliver.

This is also a device that finally can run QuickOffice smoothly and I even splashed on buying 5th version with Office 2007 support.

And finally, S60 browser has enough memory to shine opening several heavy tabs at once.Which leads me to the last point for today - it works really well on iPhone version of Google Reader, making it so easy to follow my feeds. I attached some screenshots of this. Now, you can view post summaries within the same window, and if needed it opens full posts in new tab. I abandoned Opera now. But if the Opera 9.x for S60 will deliver promised improvements, then this phone will replace my Everun UMPC for 99% of my mobile computing needs.

Thank you, Nokia. This is a great device. Now, that my cigar is starting to burn my fingers and cognac glass is empty, I will finish this post, written on Nokia N82, and will go inside. Good night.


Nokia N82 Black finally coming to Latvia


This phone has been available in neighboring Sweden for some 3 weeks and in Russia for some 2 weeks already, but not in Latvia yet.

Called BM.lv, expected availability one week. Will check others tomorrow.