I received an envelope from the travel agency today and it contained a lot of papers. White papers, yellow papers, important looking papers, for-my-information papers…

I’m all confused about which papers I actually need to take with me on the trip and will the people at the airports really believe that they are official papers. They don’t look very official. I was expecting a wonderfully thick booklet of all the different plane tickets I’d need (well, only 2 and 2) but now I only have a receipt, an itinerary, electronic ticket/receipt/itinerary, and I printed an eTicket Receipt Duplicate Copy which sounds very shady.

I think I’ll go to the travel agency on Thursday to get my head screwed on straight and get all these papers sorted out — I should be able to get the Visa through them so I get two birds with one stone. Now that I think about it, maybe I get more official papers after check-in.

I really wanted a thick plane ticket booklet that I could laminate or frame…

eBook experience

The library website for our capital city area started offering eBooks in July this year. The collection is still quite small and seems to include only non-fiction books at the moment.

I like the idea though. Of course, I wouldn’t read a 400-500-page Stephen King on the computer screen but for example the CSS guide I test-borrowed works better than well as an eBook. (It is a silly beginner’s book but I just wanted to glance through it quickly.)

A downside is that there (currently) is no way to book an eBook (ha ha). The loan periods are 1 day and 7 days (I think I saw 3 days, too) and you see how long a loan lasts, but because the book can be returned before the loan period is over there is no way to anticipate when a book might be available. And often someone snatches it first. That happened with the CSS book. Every time I went to check, the book was loaned for 5 more days or 2 more days. With books that have more than one copy available this isn’t much of a problem.

Can’t complain though, don’t really have a reason to either, because it’s all completely free (except for the electricity) and very convenient.

Recycling UI strings is bad

I work in localisation among other areas of translation and I know it’s very tempting to re-use texts that one might think are “the same”. (What a money-saver it is, too!)

If only it was that simple.

One problem is caused by the grammatical gender. Here’s a simple example from a text I was working on today (it won’t give anything away): the word “Saved” — that was the whole UI string. In English and many other languages it can easily be translated and re-used without a problem. But in for example Spanish (I pick a language I know) you need to know what has been saved because the adjective/past participle is inflected depending on whether the subject is masculine or feminine (salvado or salvada respectively). You can’t use the same 7-character string in all contexts; I suppose most of the time it would just be annoying, in worst cases it might even be confusing.

Just now I borrowed an eBook from the library and looked at the file properties in Adobe Reader 7.0. Here’s what the window looks like:

Adobe Acrobat 7.0 file properties

I’ve circled the word Tulostetaan (Finnish). In an English program I’m sure it would say “Printing”, that is “Printing is allowed/not allowed”. The word can also be used when you print a page and the program lets you know that it’s busy doing something by displaying “Printing” or perhaps “Printing…” with animated fullstops. The words do look the same but they don’t mean the same. The problem in Finnish (and other languages) is that, if translated correctly, the words do not look the same. “Tulostetaan” can be used in letting us know that the program is busy but not in this context. Here the word ought to be “Tulostaminen”.

Usually recycling is encourageable — not in localisation I’m afraid.

Addition, Thu 5th October

I don’t know what has “gone wrong” with the above localisation, and I don’t know if the two (or more) strings are perceived as the same (i.e. use the same resource) or if they just have been copied to save money/time/trouble. They shouldn’t be perceived as the same because they clearly aren’t. Some problems could perhaps be solved if at least words that are of different parts-of-speech would be separated from one another (noun printing vs. gerund printing). Perhaps they are. Do remember that I don’t know a thing about application development or the inner workings of Windows applications (among others) so I have no idea what’s going on under the hood.

I suppose WordPress functions similarly (“the wrong way”) because it uses GNU Gettext framework where texts are translated on message level. At closer look it does look like the context is taken into account, though, so problems like in this example on multiple meanings of “post” are avoided. Way to go!

If I spat on the plane while in Singapore…

… would they throw me in jail?

That wasn’t one of the questions I asked when I went to the travel agency this morning. I did ask about the Bunch o’ PapersTM (now I know which one of them is The Ticket — it’s not the one saying “Receipt Duplicate Copy”) and also got a Visa because I couldn’t find a way to get one through the website. So, now I have the Visa — or actually an Electronic Travel Authority. I was also given a cool plastic pouch where I can keep all the important documents.

I did ask if I needed any extra vaccinations because the plane stops in Singapore (I guess some countries require vaccinations etc. if one changes planes there…? I don’t know!). There are no mandatory vaccinations to take before being allowed to enter Australia.

Next step: Travel insurance
I’d only bought luggage insurance via the website (because there was a checkbox for it!) and hadn’t thought about getting an insurance for myself. (Who cares about me as long as my clothes and books are safe!) So, now I’ve got a bill I can pay if I want to and I’ll get the insurance in the mail. The price isn’t awful. Sounds good to me.

For the whole story, see category Tourist of Oz.

Here it is, a better photo of an armchair!

My new armchair on N73

The colour is more realistic and the chair does look more comfy. And you know why the picture’s better?

That’s right. I caved in, surrendered, gave up… I bought Nokia N73.

Actually, I did something worse — I got a package deal! I hate package deals. They make people’s lives way too easy. But it allowed me to take the phone home without paying a dime. Sure, I’ll have to pay a whole lotta dimes each month but I figured it’s not a bad deal because in the end, the phone usage (calls and data, I pay for SMSs per message) is not a big part of the monthly fee. And I was planning on changing service providers anyway.

The subscription isn’t working yet because they have to move my number from the current provider but the phone works anyway. It’s good, because now I can play with it and learn it first without having to be afraid that I’m using something that costs a lot.

First impression: I’m loving it! :mrgreen:
(I’ll elaborate once I’ve actually used the phone for a while.)

Note to self: Try and postpone buying a memory card until the MU-36 (2GB) is available in Q4/2006. Why wait when you can buy a 2Gb Kingston miniSD right now with less money. :)

My wait is over!

Tomorrow I can finally start using my new phone! It’s SIM locked so I’ve had to wait for the new subscription to start working. I suppose I’ve had to wait this long because they’re moving it from a different provider. Quite odd that it takes so long because already on Monday someone from the current/ex provider called me asking why I was changing. I told him I bought a package deal and he said, quite sourly, that I’ll be stuck with it for the next 2 years (not with those words but I got the gist). I should’ve told him that ‘maybe so, but boy do I have a fancy phone now’.
[edit Oct 17] Actually, there is apparently a one-week “reconsideration period”. Therefore, I had to wait. [/edit]

I’m planning on buying protective film for the screen (if it seems like it won’t leave horrible sticky patches when removed) and headphones (I’d like the HS-20+AD-41 if it’s available) tomorrow before the lecture. Now they had at looong last (the shop opened in August) added the opening hours for Nokia store so if I get to the city around 9 am I’ll have plenty of time to shop.

Now, to carry both phones or risk it and leave the new one at home? I have no idea when the old subscription will stop working. Then again, there is pretty much a non-existing chance that someone would try and call me so I guess it won’t do much harm if my old subscription stops working in the middle of the day. Or, I could just carry the SIM card with me…

Nokia N73 – My thoughts

Update on November 25. Added a bit about the game selection and joystick…

Today the package subscription finally started working and I can start using my phone for real. I’ve had a chance to play with it offline so this is what I think about it at the moment.

I think I should mention that this is my first S60 phone; my previous phones, Nokia 3210, 3330 and 6101 have been Series 40. (If that’s all gibberish, Forum Nokia has a nicely presented Device Specification section. Those two 3xxx phones I’ve had aren’t included, though.)

You navigate with a joystick that is located between the call start/end keys and the softkeys. It is quite easy to get used to the joystick even though at first it felt very weird. Pushing up is a little bit awkward still. Some have reported that the joystick has broken off — let’s hope that won’t happen to me. It does feel a bit flimsy, true, but I’m not planning on manhandling my phone.

I like the menu structure very much. It’s nice when there’s only a few options, the submenu pops on top of the main menu.

Screenshot of a submenu

(I’m using the default Nokia theme for the moment. I’ll have to look for a nicer, less blue, one.)

Also a nice feature is the tabbed menu. In many submenus e.g. Settings I can go to the next selection of settings by moving the joystick left or right.

Tabbed browsing

The Active standby screen is heaven-sent! It shows the calendar, to-do list, currently playing radio channel or music track and probably much more. On my old phone I used calendar and other memo features, but only way to be reminded of the events was an alarm which I never use. Now I see current (a week ahead?) calendar entries right away!

Active standby

(Yeah, I know there aren’t any calendar entries for this week. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any plans. Well, yeah it does, personally, but I have lots of work plans :) )

On the screen there is also a customisable list of six shortcuts.

Media key gives 4 more slots to customise shortcuts. I’ve chosen to have shortcuts to multimedia applications but it’s not restricted what you can have there. There is one grief with the Media key, though: it makes a sound when the view opens. I haven’t found any way to silence it except to use Silent profile.

Multimedia key

There is only one game pre-installed. In some nooks of the world people get also Sudoku in addition to the Snake that is installed on my phone. Whyyyyy oh whyyyy can’t we have Sudoku installed? I could do without the weird 3D Snake (nothing beats the Snake II that was on e.g. Nokia 3330) but I love Sudoku!

The world clock is also a fancy feature. I’m sure I wouldn’t find it useful if I didn’t have a trip to Australia to look forward to…

World clock

A great tip was given by Harri in a comment on Blogs » S60 User Experience. He told that he uses a camera (digital or phone cam) for taking notes of for example timetables. Well, I took a photo of the timetable for buses from work. Now I only have to remember that I have the timetable easily available.

A great shortcut is that by pressing # you can switch between silent and default profile.

On the N73 support page there is an SMS Accelerator application and “it is recommended that you install this application to prevent slowness in SMS sending.” I sent my first SMS today and it left very swiftly so I’ll just have to wait and see what this alleged slowness is.

I’ve had a bit of a ‘Scuse me? moment. There are “My Folders” for messages but I haven’t yet figured out how to move messages to them (or anywhere for that matter). Today I finally received SMSs in my inbox so I can try if it really is difficult or I just didn’t have any moveable messages. (I could only move old messages to drafts so I think I’ll leave them on my computer and not move them to my new phone at all.)

Today I went shopping and bought the Music Headset of HS-20+AD-41. The AD-41 audio adapter has a 3.5mm plug for headphones so I can use any pair I like, but the HS-20 earphones are pretty good too. It has 3 (pairs of) ear pieces in different sizes and the smallest is actually small unlike with Koss’s Plug. It fits in my unnaturally small ear (or ear canal) very nicely. Now I only need to get a 1 Gb or 2 Gb memory card to get some music on the road. Before that I can always listen to the radio.

I also ordered my preferred Robbie ringtone (I’m not going to say what it is because I don’t want to hear it from any other phone than Mine! ;) ) so I’d say this phone is all set.

Screenshot application: Screenshot for Symbian OS (S60)

Some nice links
Nokia Nseries
S60 Blogs
S60 Tips

All S60/Nokia website tips are welcomed :-)

Binary shopping

I just ordered a 2 Gb miniSD card from an online store (I’ll pay it when I pick it up from the post office so I feel more secure with that). I had read good things about it.

Last Wednesday I paid for the travel insurance with the reference number I was asked to use — I haven’t heard anything from that yet.

We’ll see how they go.

Update Oct 28th
The insurance arrived the same day (Oct 17) and the memory card a week later (on Oct 24th).

Speak of the dev… insurance

Just as I was starting to get worried about the travel insurance that I had paid for on the 11th but the papers hadn’t arrived yet. Today I received an envelope from the travel agency including a new Bunch o’ PapersTM along with a fancy schpancy black Traveller’s Safety Card. Hurraah.

Next step: waiting? And shopping for light (colour and fabric wise) clothes.

For the whole story, see category Tourist of Oz.

Minna on the Road configured!

I invited myself to open a Google mail account (“Minna, Minna has invited you to open a Google mail account”), created a new account, and set it to allow POP usage. Then I took up on setting up the phone.

“Neat, a settings wizard!” I thought. I ended up using a Gmail account because Gmail was in the list of available providers. (Didn’t help though, but at least Gmail has good spam filtering.) I selected the outgoing server, email address, username, password… Then I fetched my mail. It worked. When I tried sending an email to thank Minna (that is, me) for the invite, the phone got stuck on “connecting to Gmail…” Then I thought, “well then, I guess I need to use the operator’s outgoing mail.” I set the outgoing server and encryptions, ports, things like that, and left the username/password empty (I don’t have a username/password. Unless they mean the un/pw for admin interface for the phone subscription which is not mandatory to register to). Then I tried sending the mail but it kept asking me for un/pw. Oookay.

Luckily I decided to google “email settings nokia n73” and found “Push E-mail (sort of) on Nokia N80 and N73” at Alex’s space. I would’ve commented and thanked for the instructions, but the comments were closed. Perhaps this thank-you will reach him. :)

I followed the instructions #2 and got very close to the solution. I only had to define port and security settings for incoming and outgoing mail, and then — like magic — the mail that was stuck in the outbox suddenly disappeared into the ether and travelled to my main Gmail account.

Long story short, now I have a working email account for my mobile phone!
Why do I need an email on my phone? I don’t know…

Update: I didn’t remember reading Anthony Pranata’s instructions on setting up a Gmail. There you can find screen shots of the process.