Archive for the ‘Applications’ Category

UPDATE Oct. 4, 2010: Eyal had posted a comment with an additional fix he identified and his steps are below. If these don’t work for you continue reading on for the original fix I posted. Thanks Eyal!

1. Close (shut down) the Ovi Suite.
2. Rename the IntelliSync folder to something else like “IntelliSync_OLD”.
3. Now open Ovi Suite and try to sync your contacs. You won’t be able to do that (due to the previos step) but this forces the Ovi Suite to re-create that folder (so now you have 2 folders: IntelliSync and IntelliSync_OLD).
4. Shut down the Ovi Suite once again.
5. Open the “IntelliSync_OLD” folder and copy “ApplicationConfiguration” to the newly create IntelliSync folder.
6. That’s it- when I tried to sync my contacts, it worked like a magic

Original Post:

We all love our N900’s but like me, lately you may have been running into issues when syncing to your Outlook calendar, contacts, notes and tasks. With some pointing in the right direction from @NokiaCareUS on twitter, and some trial and error, I finally got Ovi Suite working again, though I have no idea why it stopped working in the first place.

The repair is very simple and involves only a few steps, but it does take some time. Below are the steps:

  1. Uninstall Ovi Suite from your PC
  2. Delete the IntelliSync folder found in Documents and Settings\YOUR USERNAME IS HERE\Application Data\Nokia (you won’t find “YOUR USERNAME HERE” listed, I added that to show where the name you use to log into your PC will be placed in the string)
  3. Reboot your PC
  4. Reinstall Ovi Suite
  5. If Ovi Suite starts on it’s own do not log into it,  just close the application
  6. Reboot your PC again and while it is booting up restart your N900
  7. Ovi Suite may start on it’s own after rebooting, if not open it manually.  Finalize the set-up steps and connect your N900 at step 2, the step where you identify if you will connect via USB cable or Bluetooth. Connect your device before you go to step 3 (device set-up) and select PC Suite mode on your N900 then select the next button to go to step 3.
  8. If you get to step 3 and it goes through the process to find your device and doesn’t then unplug your N900 and select the back button to return to step 2. In step 2 connect again and select PC Suite mode on your N900 and select the next button to go to step 3 once again (I had to do this 2 times before Ovi Suite finally recognized my N900)

Once your device is recognized you can finish your set-up process and sync your device. Please note that the initial sync will take quite some time as Ovi Suite needs to rebuild the configuration files on your PC. After I got everything working my initial sync took close to 40 minutes to complete so make sure you don’t unplug the device and you start the process when you have plenty of time.

Good luck!

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If you’re like me you updated your N900 to the latest firmware as soon as it was available in your area. And if you’re really like me you probably re-installed all your apps and then went to see if Ovi Maps is any better. Then if you’re really, really like me you connected to your computer in PC Suite mode to see if the Ovi Map Loader is still working.

Were you shocked when you saw that it wasn’t? Probably not and I wasn’t either. But after about an hour of work I was able to get Map Loader working on PR 1.2. The steps below outline what you need to do. Please note that if you didn’t use my other fixes for PR 1.1 those steps will probably work for PR 1.2 as this fix is based upon the earlier steps. To view the first fix go here and for the follow-up fix go here.

PR 1.2 steps:

The entire process described below took about 45 minutes to complete. For obvious reasons do not disconnect your N900 until the indicated steps. Doing so will probably force a reinstall of PR 1.2 and you’ll have to start everything all over again.

  1. After doing your upgrade to PR 1.2 open Ovi Maps and accept the terms
  2. Connect your N900 in Mass Storage mode
  3. View your N900 mass storage or internal memory drive (view image)
  4. You will see your old qf file from PR 1.1 from the previous repair I published. You will also see a new .qf file created after your upgrade to PR 1.2 (view image)
  5. Rename your old qf file to something else (I used qf_old)
  6. Make a copy of your new .qf file and paste it into the folder where you found it  (I used Copy of .qf)
  7. Rename your .qf file to qf
  8. Disconnect your N900 from your computer
  9. Reconnect your N900 to your computer in PC Suite mode
  10. Open Maps Loader and your N900 should be recognized. You will know if it is as a screen appears telling you that there is new map data available and that it will be updated (view image)
  11. Select the check mark and you should see a screen that says “Preparing” (view image)
  12. Map Loader will automatically delete your old map data (view image)
  13. After the old data is deleted it will take Map Loader a little bit of time to prepare the device to go to the next step (view image)
  14. Once your N900 is fully prepared Map Loader will automatically replace the previous data it deleted (view image)
  15. Once all updates are done you will see a screen stating it is completing the process (view image)
  16. Your N900 will go through a quick update process and then send you to the Map Loader page. In the bottom left you should see your N900 connected, the connection mode and the map version (view image)
  17. Disconnect your N900 from your computer and open Ovi Maps. Do a search for a place in maps and when you select your results you should have your map load instantly. VIOLA!

As we all know Symbian based phones have a few browser choices, with the native Nokia version not seen as desirable as some of the others. Unlike the Symbian phones the N900 has only a couple of choices for browsers, though Opera Mini entered the fold as I was writing this article (see update at the end of this article). For now the only true choices are the default Maemo browser and Firefox. In this article I have reviewed the Maemo browser and Firefox 1.1 side-by-side to see if one is better than the other. Now on a PC I’ll use nothing other than Firefox instead of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. There are too many security risks with IE and the ability to customize Firefox on the PC makes it unmatched in my opinion. But does that strength carry forth to the N900? Below are the results of my comparison and I think the answer is obvious, at least to me.

Select the feature to view screen shots

Feature

Maemo

Firefox

Winner

Fast open

X

Maemo

Maemo browser opens almost instantly & the Firefox speed is up to 5 seconds with a blank page & longer depending upon home page
Supports Flash

X

X

Maemo Maemo is Flash ready and with Firefox you need to go to the Adobe site to install
Access/hide tool/menu bar

X

X

Maemo Both do this but Maemo’s is far superior. Hide the bars using the open/hide button or the bars auto-hide after a few seconds. Moving left or right is clunky in Firefox and the page won’t automatically hide the bars
Access to URL entry

X

X

Maemo Again both allow this but with Maemo the tool bar is always present unless you have hidden it. Firefox does not remain at the top and you must go back to the top  to enter a url
Bookmark addition and management

X

X

Maemo

Maemo’s bookmark tool is much easier to get to as the tool bar is easy to access.  With Firefox you need to swipe the screen to the left to add a bookmark. Maemo also wins as it stores thumbnail images of your bookmarked pages.
Import book marks X X Firefox Weave will sync bookmarks and tabs between the device and your PC. The N900 browser will only import bookmarks from a folder on the internal or external memory
Save pages to desktop X X Maemo When saving a bookmark in Maemo you are given the choice to save as a bookmark or a desktop short cut. Firefox saves bookmarks and has a desktop bookmarks section but I could find not find a way to add bookmarks to the desktop
Open multiple Windows X X Tie
Move back and forth between pages X X Firefox Maemo PR 1.2 is supposed to fix this but we all know the frustration with the current back feature
Add-ons available X X Firefox While both devices have the ability to load add-ons Firefox has more available
Settings/Customize X X Maemo Maemo has many more settings available with the most noticeable difference being that cache size can be changed
Save Usernames & Passwords X X Tie
Ability to zoom X X Maemo Without question Maemo wins as there are 3 ways to zoom in or out by swiping circles on the screen, double tapping portions of the page or using the volume key. With Firefox your choices are the double tap or the volume keys.
Ability to highlight text X Maemo Using Maemo Gestures like Manipulation or Hover you can use a cursor to highlight text or view drop down lists in pages without selecting the list
Ability to copy text X Maemo If Firefox can do this please let me know how as I could not get it to highlight text or see an option to copy
View drop down boxes in pages X X Tie
Shortcuts menu in pages X X Maemo Both allow you to press on the screen to access shortcuts but Firefox offers only opening links in new windows or saving images. If you press in an area with unlinked text or no images then nothing happens
Save images X X Tie
Copy link addresses X Maemo Holding down on a  link or image gives you a choice in both Firefox & Maemo to open a new window but Maemo also allows you to copy the link address to the clipboard
View page details X Maemo If Firefox has this I couldn’t find it
Find text in pages X Maemo If Firefox has this I couldn’t find it
View downloads X X Tie

Yes there is quite a bit to consider. Yet of the 22 features I compared Maemo was the winner in 14 of them and Firefox had the advantage in only 3. As the browser provided with Symbian phones leaves a lot to be desired Firefox may make more of an impact by building a browser for Symbian devices. Since they’re not browsers like Opera Mini and Skyfire are creating tools that by name alone Firefox could dominate.

Maemo is hands down the winner of this comparison. Is it perfect? Almost. Fix that feature going going back and forward between pages and I see no reason to use any other browser with the N900. You can learn more about Maemo and Maemo’s Gestures here. Please go Mozilla’s website to learn  more about Firefox 1.1 for the N900.

UPDATE added May 11, 2010 – As stated in the beginning of this article Opera Mini was made available for the N900 just as I was publishing this article. After reading about it at the Nokia N900 Applications site I believe it would have done no better than Firefox had I included it in this review. In fact it may have done worse as it is not yet compatible with Adobe Flash at all. You can read more at Nokia N900 Applications.

In my posting of March 15th I identified a process to fix the Map Loader for the N900. Well believe it or not I broke my fix and spent three frustrating days trying to repair it. It was my fault, not the device’s and fixing it was easier than I was making it. To understand how I fixed it one must also understand how I broke it.

Around April 20th I was having issues with Mail for Exchange on the N900 (the beginning of the steps I took to break Map Loader). When the device was syncing with the server I was getting a message stating that there was an error syncing with the server yet I saw that everything was syncing fine (contacts, tasks, notes & calendar). I deleted and re-created my MfE profile and was still getting the error message after a successful sync. Since I was having some other challenges with applications like PC Suite I decided to reinstall the firmware.

After the reinstall I reloaded all of my apps and repositories for Application Manager, re-created my MfE profile and tested Map Loader. All worked perfectly, including Loader. Then I decided it was time to save space on my drive and I started removing as many folders of stuff I thought I didn’t need…

Remember on Symbian devices how, as a quicker method to remove unused maps, you could delete the “cities” folder for Ovi Maps and restart Maps to reload it? DON’T DO THIS ON THE N900! You guessed it….I deleted the cities folder and Map Loader stopped working. Yes I fixed it, but first, to save you time, here’s what I tried that didn’t work.

  1. Manually creating the cities folder with diskcache & voices (useless anyway on the N900) folders – Maps didn’t save to the manually created folder no matter how many times I tried, and Map Loader didn’t recognize that I had opened Maps
  2. Rebuilding, moving and copying the qt file – I had them in the root and external memory and even tried adding one to the cities folder
  3. Copied the cities folder from a Symbian device via PC to the N900 – I tried it with the E71, 5800 XM, & N97 and no version worked
  4. I found a folder called .maps in the N900 root and have no idea what it is for. It looked almost like the cities folder format so I made a copy in external memory. I renamed .maps to cities,  created a sub-folder called diskcache and moved all of the numbered sub-folders into diskcache – No negative side-effects, it just didn’t work

So, how did I fix it? The answer was right there all along and was completed in three easy steps:

  1. Reinstall the firmware (assuming you have 3.2010.02-8.002)
  2. Open Ovi Maps before anything else
  3. Answer the questions related to licensing and terms

Once these are done only four more steps:

  1. Close Ovi Maps
  2. Use file manager to confirm the cities folder has been created (worked perfectly for me)
  3. If you renamed the .qt file to qt as stated in my earlier posting then nothing to change as the firmware update does not affect the file (see the original posting here if you have the .qt file)
  4. Connect to Map Loader in PC Suite mode and you’re off and running!

The second biggest lesson here (first being don’t remove the cities folder) is that what Ovi Maps is looking for somewhere on the device is the licensing and term agreement records. When I went through the first 4 steps to try and fix the device after deleting the cities folder I wasn’t asked to accept terms when starting Maps. I was asked after I did the initial firmware reinstall  so removing the cities folder also removed the licensing record. There are 5 files in the diskcache folder (0.0.0.0.tmcinfo.cdt, 0.0.0.0.tmcquant.cdt, CachedatHeader.cdt, config.cfg and srand) along with the numbered cache folders so my guess is one of the files has the license information.

Anyone feel like trying this fix on a device where my previous posting hasn’t helped?

May 26th update…

PR 1.2 was released today for the N900. If you’ve installed it and tried to use Map Loader it is once again not working. No fear. My fix for the post PR 1.2 upgrade is posted here

In February I posted a side-by-side comparison of AccuWeather and SPB Weather for Symbian 5th devices. Since then I have been using a N900 (I really love this device), and as there are two weather apps available for it, I figured why not do a follow-up review. So here it is, a review of the default weather app ForecaWeather and the down-loadable OMWeather:

Select images for a larger view

ForecaWeather

Pros Cons
  • Free
  • Homescreen widget with current conditions
  • Up to 7 day forecasts on homescreen
  • Save up to 4 locations
  • Hourly & 9 day forecasts, and animated maps available for all locations
  • 4 main areas to customize – Units of measure, Steps (number of days for homescreen), Forecast type and Update frequency
  • Easy to add locations by name search and selection from a results set
  • Cannot scroll through saved locations in homescreen widget so must open app to see all
  • Must add a new location as there is no ability to get current conditions at current location with GPS
  • Adding a new location changes location order and deletes the last location from quick view
  • Hourly forecasts and animated maps are not internal and can only be viewed via the built-in browser

OMWeather

Pros Cons
  • Free
  • Homescreen widget with current conditions
  • Save up to 4 locations
  • Can scroll through locations on homescreen widget
  • Can view current conditions on the homescreen via GPS location in addition to preset locations
  • Multiple day views that expand to individual days and hourly forecasting
  • Select number of days for forecasting
  • Vertical or horizontal display for the homescreen widget
  • 1 default icon set (animated) with 6 additional available in Application Manager
  • Very easy to search countries, regions and cities for preset locations
  • Settings for Units of measure &  update frequency
  • All data resident on the device and no links to internet via browser
  • GPS current conditions refresh does not work unless another GPS app like Ovi Maps or the location widget is active
  • A choice is available to select weather source yet the only choice allowed is weather.com
  • No weather maps

Both applications are great apps and offer so much more than those offered on the Symbian platform. The speed and responsiveness of each is great and the visual appeal is unmatched. But the conclusion I reached is that OMWeather is just a much better app. It offers more in the way of selections to customize the app to meet what I want. I also like that I don’t have to worry about connecting to the internet to access what should be device resident data like hourly forecasts, though adding maps would be an improvement. Current conditions via GPS without needing to add a location and down-loadable icon sets are the biggest advantage OMWeather has over ForecaWeather.

Have you tried both? Which do you prefer?

May 26th update…

PR 1.2 was released today for the N900. If you’ve installed it and tried to use Map Loader it is once again not working. No fear. My fix for the post PR 1.2 upgrade is posted here

April 28th update…

I broke my own fix a week ago and after much frustration fixed it. If the fix detailed below doesn’t work you may also want to look at my other fix shown here

A quick update added April 9, 2010….

I originally wrote this article on March 15th and it has been a little over 3 weeks since I wrote it. Everything is still functioning fine as I can still connect the device in PC Suite mode and Maps Loader recognizes my device and allows me to remove and load maps.

Original article:

Like so many other postings I’ve read many of us still have not been able to use Nokia’s Map Loader with our N900s, even after the update. I kept receiving an error that stated I either had an older version of Maps and needed to update, or that my device was plugged in as PC Suite when it should be in mass storage, or that I have not opened Maps yet.  Of course none of this applied so I decided to do a little snooping around and I found a simple fix.

As you may know Ovi Maps uses a file that is installed in memory when Maps is initially opened and this file is called “qf” (without the quotes). As I investigated I found out that the qf file is stored in the root directory of the internal memory of the N900 but it is called “.qf” (again without the quotes). Even though the file is there Maps Loader doesn’t recognize it. Following the steps below I was able to get my device to be recognized by Maps Loader and I am now able to load maps.

1. Open Maps and once it loads close it.

2. Connect your N900 to your PC in Mass Storage

3. Go to your internal memory drive in My Computer (F on my PC) and open it (make sure you have the ability to view hidden and system files turned on for your PC)

4. In the list of files and folders look for a file called .qf

5. Rename the file from .qf to qf

6. Disconnect your N900 by removing the USB cable

7. Reconnect the USB and select PC Suite mode (yes I did this in PC Suite mode, not Mass Storage)

8. Open Maps loader and be patient

Once I got to step 8 it took about 5 minutes for Maps Loader to view my device and update it accordingly. Once that was done I was able to view the various countries and load the maps I wanted.

I opened Ovi Maps and searched for a city I have not been to with the device that I knew would be in a map I loaded. I selected the city when it was found and when I went to the city it loaded the map instantly. SUCCESS!!!!

Good luck all. Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

One of the first widgets included with the N97 when it was released was AccuWeather’s. Then in December Symbian-Guru.com brought us news that SPB Weather was released as a replacement for AccuWeather. Is it really a replacement? In this article I will list the Pros and Cons for each application and you can decide for yourself.

AccuWeather

Pros Cons
  • Free
  • Homescreen widget with current conditions
  • Future day forecasts
  • Hourly forecasts
  • Maps with zoom
  • Precipitation graphs & calendar
  • Easy to add locations by name or zip code
  • Obtain conditions at current location with GPS (no need to add city)
  • Advertisements in app slow it down
  • Very few map choices
  • Very limited settings choices
  • Cannot scroll through cities
  • Homescreen widget color set to only black & will not change for 3rd party themes

SPB Weather

Pros Cons
  • Multiple Days shown on homescreen widget
  • Multi-day forecast
  • Forecast given by morning, afternoon, & night
  • View forecast by time of day for future days
  • Scroll thru your cities to view conditions for each
  • Updates can be scheduled by user
  • Global view of weather conditions
  • Layers available include clouds, sky, temperature and rain
  • 15 day trial and $14.95 purchase price
  • Gives forecasted conditions instead of current conditions on homescreen widget
  • Does not give hourly forecast, only by time of day
  • Difficult to add cities as you cannot view identifying info other than country
  • Font on homescreen widget turns to black at refresh on 3rd party themes making info unviewable with dark wallpapers or backgrounds

I do have mixed thoughts about SPB in dealing with the issues I had with their homescreen widget. They were responsive when I reported the problem and I would make the changes and provide information as requested. Their responsiveness was great until my 15 day trial ended. Once I told them that the trial had ended and that I wasn’t going to pay for an app that didn’t work they disappeared. No offers for a free certificate to help them fix the problem? I cannot imagine I was the only one to experience this issue. As a part of writing this article, and as I have done a few hard resets and reformatted the  mass storage, I was able to downloaded the application again to get the screen captures . As you can see from the screen captures the issue hasn’t been addressed. Makes me wonder what their support would be like for future challenges.

My opinion as to which is better? With so many pros and cons with each app I need to look at what matters to me the most, and that is knowing the current conditions at my current location. Scrolling through cities is nice and it’s fun to play with the global maps in SPB’s application, but I don’t find those worth the $14.95, especially since the fonts disappear in third-party themes with dark backgrounds.

I’m sticking with AccuWeather. Which is the winner for you?

Download AccuWeather from Ovi Store here and SPB Weather here from SPB’s web site.

Read about my recent comparison between ForecaWeather and OMWeather for the N900 here.