Posts in the category "Thoughts".

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 :-)

Defeating Sudoku in five simple steps

I, like many others, have taken a liking to Sudoku puzzles. I started with some simple scanning techniques (examples 1-3) which worked with the easier puzzles. Angus Johnson’s Simple Sudoku program has a delightful Help containing many strategies to solving a puzzle. I haven’t got the hang of (or memorised) the most advanced techniques but recently I finished even the “Ultimate Challenges” in two Sudoku books (about 200 puzzles each) with the following strategies that I’ve found the most effective — and enough.

1. I always start a puzzle by looking at the smallest area possible which is the 3×3 square. I check the missing numbers starting from 1 and see if I can put a number anywhere.

Sudoku example 1

2. After I’ve gone through each of the 9 small squares so many times that I can’t add numbers anymore, I check each horizontal row.

Sudoku example 2

3. After horizontal rows don’t help, I check each vertical row.

Sudoku example 3

4. I repeat steps 1-3 until I can’t add any numbers. Then I write down the “candidates” in each square. Often this reveals new numbers to add when a square has only one possible candidate.

When the candidates are written down it’s easy to see pairs or small groups so I can strike out candidates in other squares. In the example there are three squares that have to contain the numbers 1,4, and 5 so I can discard them in the square that is outside the group. I do this scan on horizontal and vertical rows, too.

Sudoku example 4

5. With the candidates in view it’s easy to find numbers to strike out when I go through the rows horizontally and vertically and notice that a number has to be contained in one of the 3×3 squares. Then I can strike out the number in the other 3×3 squares on the same row. Also, if a number is restricted to a 3×3 square and a vertical or horizontal row, candidates can be struck out within the 3×3 square.

In the example numbers 3, 6, and 9 have to be found on the first row so they can be struck out elsewhere in the second 3×3 square.

Sudoku example 5

Before I learned the strategies 4 and 5 I had trouble finishing the tougher puzzles. I suppose I had thought of checking the pairs but not the larger groups.

Perhaps next I should take on making the puzzles because I tried that on Simple Sudoku and couldn’t get a single one pass the check (= only one solution).

Disclaimer: The examples are not trying to be realistic situations or solveable puzzles, they’re just diagrams.

The joys of being first-born

Does the youngest child have it easier? Or is it only in this family? Or maybe if I had been a typical teenager I wouldn’t be ‘rent whipped now.

I have a sister who is 6½ years younger than me, which is a lot, but I feel like our parents treat us as being about the same age. She also demands things at a younger age on the pretense that I have them (not just material things but privileges too); no matter if I’ve been 6½ years older when I’ve got them.

On Monday she’ll turn 18, and right away she’ll get to be home alone: Mum got a “great” idea that she, Dad, and I (and the dog) go to the summer cottage and leave my sister home because “she’s always wanted to be independent, let her be independent.” I can’t tell Mum that “I really need a vacation from you not with you” so I suppose I’m going (bye-bye to my plans of getting the passport stuff rolling next week). What bothers me is that I was 22 when I was home alone for the first time. Of course, it’s only a matter of circumstance. Maybe I could’ve been home alone when I was 18–21 if only a situation like that had presented itself, but no luck, Mum was always there. Sometimes it would be nice to get some distance between the parents and I. At least I can take comfort in knowing that in February there’ll be 15200 kilometres between us for at least 2½ weeks. (Better not jinx it by thinking that I’ll probably break my leg or catch a horrible disease and can’t go…)

My sister gets everything without having to do anything. When she needs things — we all need things every now and then — she refuses to pay them herself because she’s “saving.” For what? An apartment! Because she’s never spent any money, she’ll probably get together enough to move out first (and I’ll be a bitter spinster left living with the parents — hurray!)! My sister is anxious to move; I worry how my parents would be left with the dog and 4 walks per day. I am, however, musing of and half-planning to move out by the end of next year; if I have the money.

In our previous apartment my sister and I shared the bedroom (I had a tiny room for myself in a walk-in closet), this was over 12 years ago. One time when she was sick and threw up on the carpet I was left alone in the room (and in the stench) and my sister went to sleep in my parents bed.

Maybe I’m just imagining things, maybe it’s just some sort of sibling rivalry and envy. At least I’m better in the brain department.

Ps. Maybe I should create a new category, “Whine.” :)

What makes a home?

True to my nature I get overly excited about something even though it’s not going to happen in the near future. Recently I’ve started seriously thinking about moving out. This coming December I’ve saved for 2 years which is the minimum, but I definitely don’t have the planned 12 000€ saved yet. On Monday I’m going to the bank to change my monthly deposit but I’m afraid I’m stuck here for quite a while. On Wednesday I told my boss that I want a raise, but we’ll see…

I already know that I won’t live in a studio; I want separate bedroom and living-room. The other night I couldn’t sleep, instead I started thinking what I need for my own place.

  • bed
    (Even though I have a bed I’m going to buy a proper one and leave my current bed here for visitors.)
  • bookshelf
  • couch (sofa bed?)
  • armchair
  • TV (and sidekicks)
  • subscription to some sort of TV guide (I’m a program circler)
  • stereos
  • desk (I hope I don’t need a separate desk because I already have a computer desk)
  • computer
  • Internet connection
  • phone (i.e. cell phone)
  • kitchen table + chairs
  • fridge-freezer
    (Ticked off on Sep 23. I don’t have to buy a fridge-freezer. It’s already there!)
  • coffee maker
    (Ticked off on Sep 23. We have 3 coffee makers. Mum says I can take one of them :) )
  • microwave oven
  • wall clock
  • washing machine
  • vacuum cleaner
  • iron + ironing board
  • 1 mug, 1 plate, 1 fork, 1 spoon, 1 knife, 1 cereal bowl :D OK, maybe something to make food in, too
    (Comment on Sep 23) Mum bought me a set of utensils for my nameday (in July). It has 6 forks, 6 knives, 6 big spoons, and 6 coffee spoons. Plus a cake cutter (?) and salad servers.
    My mug collection is huge and I have 4 or 6 cereal bowls (which double as soup plates). And mum has apparently bought me 4 soup plates.
    (Comment on Dec 8) Grandpa bought me 6 dinner plates and oven pan (for lasagne etc.) for early Xmas present.
  • a nice big plant (something looking like this)
  • sheets, towels, carpets of course

Hmm… What else?

I’ve decided I want to find a nice couch first. After that it’s easy to find curtains and such things. Wow, I can’t imagine a toilet without an orange sink. Don’t believe I have one?


I don’t undestand what the previous occupants where thinking! A very good reason for wanting to get out of here, don’t you think? :laugh:

Lost in journalism

Is this what writing a master’s thesis feels like? Endless revisions; choosing a word, no, choosing a better one (and most likely going back to the first one); trying to think of a catchy start; trying to think of witty headers; just trying to think of how to end this thing…!

I think I now only have two chapters to extend and reference links to check. Then I’m done. Ha.

Disclaimer: This post does not reflect my “journalistic” style. Not even close. And no, I haven’t seen Trainspotting in a while.

My id (Inner Despot)

After having been a project manager for a week now I’ve started to get annoyed by the technical people. I’m willing to work without a lunch break (let alone coffee or cigarette breaks (I do drink coffee, but I don’t smoke)) to get something urgent done — I did that on Friday — and in my naïvete I expect everyone else to do the same. I was furious when the person who was supposed to be working on an urgent project (deadline on Monday) was nowhere to be seen. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to do something snap, right there and then. I realise the work isn’t progressing, so I’ll probably have to do it myself on Monday. I can’t really tell the client that I couldn’t keep the deadline because the others weren’t doing their jobs, can I?

I know I’m horrible. I’m sure the others have lots and lots of more work to do than I — even if they have time to frolic and complain that they’re bored. On Friday I was panicking about the deadline and they laughed that I’ll probably throw something heavy at them. I couldn’t, I was too tired.

I’ll be very glad when this 2-week multiple personality disorder is over. I don’t mind doing the technical stuff and I don’t mind doing the project manager stuff (it’s been, despite everything I’ve just said, very interesting and refreshingly challenging). But I can’t do them both, full-time, simultaneously.

Despot — a person exercising power tyrannically

Picture of Mitler from South Park Create A Character

In all seriousness

Why is it that when I ask a question to which I want an actual answer, it’s next to impossible to know if the answer can be taken seriously? Is it a Man ThingTM to smirk while replying — always?

I didn’t ask for this job

Apparently I’ve been mistaken for an advertisement board. The phone I bought contained a pre-installed software for a wrong service provider. When I turn off the phone, it first displays this huge red logo for that wrong service provider and then Nokia (which I don’t mind). I guess when I turn on the phone it displays the same logo. The software is for easy-to-use WAP services which I wouldn’t mind, if they weren’t from the wrong service provider, thus unavailable to me. I wrote an angryish comment to the company (which sold the phone, not the wrong service provider) asking if the software could be removed, and the response was “the software must be updated, which costs 25 €”. So, I’ll just have to live with it. Perhaps one day I’ll make the wrong service provider a right one, if they offer good prices (I haven’t got a bill from my current provider yet — that’s how inexpensive they are), and can actually use the services already installed on my phone and flashing that annoying red logo in my face. Until then, I just have to keep my phone on all the time.

Hindsight is 20-20; I maybe should’ve asked if they had a phone without the darn pre-installed software. Or maybe I should’ve taken my money elsewhere. Agh, I’m so stupid. (But I still love my phone despite its huge red flaw!)

Discrimination on a public transport

When I hopped on the bus, a tall man in front of me shows his travelcard to the card reader; he pushes a button to pay for his trip but nothing happens so he walks away (into the bus). I show my card — unlimited, pre-paid travel — to the reader, nothing happens, I grunt and walk into the bus. But the driver stops me, “it didn’t read your card.” I say “the machine must be kaput” but wave the card again and luckily it works this time. Why did he stop me and not the man who should’ve paid for his trip? I must look like a juvenile delinquent.

delinquent; juvenile delinquent — A person who neglects or fails to do what law or duty requires. A juvenile guilty of antisocial or criminal behavior.

Why I like winter

  • Christmas
  • Birthday
  • Snow (or the possibility of it)
  • I don’t have to groom before taking the dog out because I can just hide my bad hair under a woolly hat.
  • It’s not sweaty.
  • I can sleep in properly because the sun (and the birds) don’t start invading my room at 3 am.
  • People don’t wear open shoes.
  • Apparently, in winter I get the energy to dive into my articles.