New version of Nokia Sports Tracker available

I’ve downloaded the latest version of the Nokia Sports Tracker beta recently for my N95 (version 1.78), and was pleased to accidently happen upon a new feature. As well as tracking you by GPS, and allowing you to upload your journey to their site, for a while they’ve had the ability for you to add pictures and video taken along the trip. Now they have added a new feature, which will tag what you were listening to on the music player, and where you listened to it.

Now I agree this is not perhaps the most important or useful feature, but I feel it rates highly in the “that’s rather neat” stakes. It certainly works on the phone, but my first test of uploading put my pictures online, but not the music. So worth testing it out a bit more to see what is going on.

Review of the Skype Mobile Beta on the Nokia N95

When I first heard that Skype had released a beta client for mobiles, I was rather excited. I’m probably not the only N95 user that expected they could finally make VOIP calls easily through Skype. I wasn’t prepared for the disappointment that I couldn’t.

To be fair, it is listed in the details that it will make a local rate phone call to allow you to place Skype calls, but why? If I’ve got a Wi-fi connection, why can’t I use it? Okay, for long-distance and international calls, it will save me money, but that’s not what I was after.

The client itself is simple to install and set up, and once logged in, sure enough I could see my contacts fine (over the wi-fi connection). It is lacking in features compared to the full client, but the main reason for having it is to place calls, and this works well. It could really do with the same test call function that the full client has, as this is very helpful to make sure things are set up properly.

The beta Skype client runs on a range of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung phones, but in terms of the Nokia N series is only listed as working for the N95 and N80 (if I didn’t have one of these though, I would be tempted to try it out anyway just in case).

It would be perfectly acceptable if it did what I expect Skype to do, make calls online, however at the moment it just seems broken not being able to do that.

Related Posts:
Skype Beta for Nokia N95 now available
Getting Skype on the Nokia N95 with Fring

Nokia N96 Announced

Slightly behind on my RSS feeds, I’ve just found out that Nokia have announced the successor to the N95, the imaginatively named Nokia N96. It looks nice, they’ve recessed the controls a little, given it a darker sleeker look. Headline features are an expandable 16GB memory and a larger screen (2.8 inches over the N95s 2.6). It is a few millimetres longer, but a couple slimmer. It will use the same battery, so there are a few mutterings on the Nokia and Symbian blogs that it won’t particularly improve the battery life.

Overall it looks like a style improvement, but no massive advantage over the N95 other than memory. Of course there could be some tweaks to the spec before release, but there isn’t going to be a touchscreen or anything really exciting.

Nokia Mosh – Share Applications and Media

I’ve been meaning to write about Nokia Mosh for a while. It is a place to share all forms of mobile media, from images and videos to themes and applications, for all of their current and recent phones (including of course the N95). You can upload and download anything on the service. There is also a social networking side to it, as you can build up a collection of your favourite apps, comment on them, and share them with friends.

It is of particular interest to anyone interested in new Symbian applications. You can search for new releases and versions, and see what is popular with other users. It is fairly open, anyone can upload what they like, but they do police it, through a combination of observation and complaints (it isn’t a huge service, and is still in beta). It is worth reading the comments on an application to see how other people have got on with it, and none of the content is assured by Nokia, so any installation is at the users own risk.

I’m going to work through some of the applications I find on there, and talk about them on here over the next few months. I’ve set up my own collection on Mosh if you want to see what I’ll be looking at. I’ll make no guarantees for any of them either yet, but have a look through them, and obviously if you use the service yourself, add me as a friend.

Firmware update for the Nokia N95

Nokia have recently released a new firmware update for their N95 mobile phone. I have upgraded to this, and have to mark it as an update worth having. The main benefit is supposed to be improved memory handling, and thus battery life. I can’t say I’ve noticed this in particular, but I tend towards using it for one thing at a time, so I wouldn’t have seen much difference.

However where it does score highly is in several little updates to the GUI, and to some of the applications. Search and the music player have been improved. In particular, the music player has had the podcast functionality merged into it more tightly, and the player will now remember a bookmark for each track you’ve listened to. This is very helpful with podcasts, as it means you can shut down the application, come back to it later, and if you play a track you had been listening to previously, it will remember where you were. I really missed this from the iPod, and in fact it is better, in that it seems to remember your place in multiple tracks. Also improved is the camera software, which definitely takes pictures much quicker than before. Finally, there are new applications as part of the Ovi rebranding, including a demo of the forthcoming new N-Gage platform

This is the first time I’ve properly upgraded the firmware, and I have two points to make. Firstly, I just can’t see a way to either upgrade using Linux, nor to upgrade directly on the phone (I’ve certainly done the latter in the past on previous Nokia phones). This is just wrong, even if you’re not going to support Linux, at least let me use the Wi-fi you’ve put on there to allow me to run an upgrade directly. Secondly, back up your files. This WILL wipe your phone. The way to do this is to go to the Memory Card application, and to select the option to back up the Sim card to the memory card. Once you’ve done the upgrade, you can restore from this back up.

Sync to your Nokia N95 using Amarok

I received an email today from a new reader, Mark, asking me if I had managed to sync music and podcasts to my N95 yet using Amarok on Ubuntu. This reminded me that I had been meaning to, but had been distracted by the podcasting application Nokia provide. So tonight I’ve had a look at it, and it is relatively straightforwards. This little guide assumes you’ve got Amarok installed and working in Kubuntu or Ubuntu.

1) Open Amarok.

2) Plug the USB cable into your Nokia N95, and select the Mass Storage mode on the phone. When connected, Ubuntu will ask you what you want to do, and choose to open the device in a new folder. Note the address of this folder (the mount point), it will be something like /media/name_of_your_memorycard .

3) Amarok should open up the following dialog box to allow you to set up the N95 as a device:

Manage devices in Amarok

If it doesn’t, go to Settings > Configure Amarok > Media Devices. In both cases, now click on Add Device.

4) Fill out the Add New Device dialog:

Add New Device in Amarok

Select the Generic Audio Player plugin, enter the name you want to call your N95, and the mount point for your device (that you saw in step 2). Click on OK, and OK again.

5) In Amarok, you should now have something that looks like this in the top left:

Connect to your media device in Amarok

If you’ve connected an iPod before (Amarok is pretty good at managing iPods in Ubuntu too), you may need to change the device showing in the drop-down menu. Click on Connect, and it should pick up the N95 and show you the folders on your memory card:

Nokia N95 connected to Amarok

This is the view on the Devices tab in Amarok. Go to the Collection tab to search for music, and right-click on tracks or albums, and choose Transfer to Media Device to add them to your transfer queue. Podcasts take a little setting up, but once done, you have the option to automatically add new episodes to the transfer queue.

When you’re done, click on Transfer, and then Disconnect when it’s finished. Once this is done, go to the icon for your phone on the desktop, right-click, and select Safely Remove. Your phone will been and show a message to let you know when you can remove the USB cable.

Let me know if this little guide is useful to you. I think personally I am going to go back to managing my podcasts through Amarok, it is a good podcasting application, and a bit better to use than the built-in Podcasting app on the N95.

My current list of podcasts

Last night I entered a list of podcasts I listen to into delicious. I’m going to try later to turn the full list into an OPML file, so they can be loaded into a podcatcher or indeed into the Podcasting app on the Nokia N95 if you want. They’re a good mix, obviously leaning towards tech, but if nothing else you’ll get some new shows to try.

Channelflip shows on the Nokia N95

When I heard about Wil Harris and his Channelflip network, I had to check them out. Wil is based here in Oxford, and looks like he is trying to replicate the sort of video podcast offerings that Revision 3 have, but from a UK point of view. Which is fine with me, nowt wrong with getting some more British accents into the podcast world.

Channelflip has three offerings at present, Unwired, a tech show presented by Wil, Play:Digital, a gaming show, and Discus, a DVD review show.

I did hit a slight issue trying to get subscribed to these shows on the Nokia N95, the issue being that none of the stated feeds worked for me. However I had a sudden flash of inspiration, and realised that I needed the iTunes feed, but needed to open it without the itpc protocol that the URLs for those feeds use. So I copied those, put http at the start instead, and they all worked for me in the Nokia Video player app. If you want to do this yourself, the links are:

Unwired: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Unwired-iTunes
Play:Digital: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Playdigital-iTunes
Discus: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Discus-iTunes