My bittersweet relationship with the Nokia E71x, part 1

So, it’s been months now and I can honestly say this about the Nokia E71x phone (pros and cons):

  1. It’s a great starter QWERTY device. I love the keyboard layout and the fact that the @ symbol does not need the shift button to be depressed (you’d be dismayed at how often device manufacturers put extra hoops for you to access this all important symbol). I came from my Palm Treo 750 device which I loved so I was sorta of used to the feel of the keys and I didn’t have a problem with the keys being too small.
  2. Out of the box, it comes with a lot of ATT craplets which (to be fair) are meant to be used through ATT’s data connection. If you signed up for this phone as an upgrade or a new line, chances are you had to pay $30 for the data plan. Don’t ask me how I managed to dodge that bullet, but suffice it to say that I would NOT have purchased this phone if I had to have the data plan. The take home message is: you can get more user-friendly phones for the price you’re paying.
  3. If you purchased this phone to use the built-in GPS properties, save your time and money because my experience with the Nokia Maps software has not been positive. It is worth noting that the Nokia E71x device is not officially supported by Nokia Maps. Thus, it is quite tedious and a bit daunting to install by yourself. The entire idea of the E71x phone was to bring the E71 (worldwide version) to the USA market and thusly, the name E71x. I should also note that ATT preloaded the E71x with their own drive/navigation software which requires another subscription fee. By all accounts, the ATT Navigator software is quite good, but it is NOT available if you don’t have an ATT data plan. the take away is: skip the pain and purchase the E71 phone which is free of ATT’s crippled applications.
  4. My disappointment in the Nokia/Ovi Maps software has been the biggest turnoff for me with this phone. As of today, I’ve uninstalled the Maps application because it royally blows on the E71x. I mean, how hard is it to tell the application to take me from point A to point B? At one point, I had a sneaking suspicion that Ovi Maps had my starting location ‘stuck’ as both the start and end point!! To test my growing suspicion, I decided that I was going to follow the Ovi Map directions strictly. Well, whaddaya know? We ended up right where we started! I would definitely recommend that you do NOT depend on Ovi Maps on the Nokia E71x phone in an emergency. It takes at least 10 minutes or more to get a GPS fix so it’s useless for spontaneous joy rides. I’m officially looking for another alternative software for drive navigation on my E71x. This time, I’ll make sure that the software is 100% compatible with the Nokia E71x phone. Handango’s InHand mobile app recommends the Wayfinder Navigator North America, but I’m not dropping down the asking price of $109 until I read some concrete reviews of the application itself.
  5. Emoze, which is a push email application, can’t handle attachments. Shock and awe! I didn’ t know this until a commenter asked me about it. Sure enough, Emoze could not send a test message and an attachment to save its life. I downloaded Profimail to give it a whirl and I was instantly turned off by the black/white interface. It makes me wish that app developers thought like Apple developers do. Give software some color and soft edges. It makes a world of difference to your software’s usability!
  6. The available twitter clients for E71x are Twittix and Gravity. Save your money and buy Gravity. After suffering in silence with Twittix, I decided to give Gravity a try and I fell in love! His application has color (yes!), it does not require a thousand click (yes!!) and I actually get shit done on it! This app is simply beautiful and it makes living with my Nokia E71x device worthwhile. πŸ™‚ It’s awesomeness is more apparently if you use touch phone. Check this review of the Gravity application out!
  7. For medical professionals, there are a plethora of applications for things like drug interactions, manuals of medicine, etc. Being the curious kitten that I am, I obtained the Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference and the Harrison’s Manual of Medicine. It’s safe to say that I’ll soon become a repository of random trivia about the human body and random drug interactions. The user interface could do with some work, but then again, we are talking about a QWERTY device and not a fancy pants touch screen device. πŸ™‚

I wish I could say I’ve never been happier with this phone, but that would be a lie. Sadly. I’ve got all the applications I thought I’d need so what more do I want? Plain and simple, I am bored with this phone. I thought I’d always be a keyboard/QWERTY girl for life, but I’m a bit tired of peering at small screens. So, my issue is not with the E71x per se, but the fact that I want bigger screen ‘real estate’

PPS: In line with my wish for bigger screen, I’ve purchased a used ATT/HTC Tilt phone!

Atlanta Linux Fest

Sooo, today is Software Freedom Day slash Talk Like A Pirate day (remind me to watch Spongebob Squarepants today. :D) slash Atlanta Linux Fest!!! It’s an exciting day to be online and be grateful for things like free (not as in beer) software & the developers behind free software. I’ll be attending the Atlanta Linux Fest and if you are attending as well, feel free to seek me out! πŸ™‚ I’ll be rather easy to spot actually if you’ve done your research. I look forward to meeting some of the people I follow on Twitter and perhaps some savvy readers of mine! Who knows!

Some of the sessions that I’m interested in are:

1) Multi-site management with Drupal: This is particularly timely for me because I currently manage 3 domain names (janeullahphotography.com, fadingwhispers.org and janetalkstech.com). Of these three, Fading Whispers is the oldest and I’m loath to get rid of it. Granted, it is not what it used to be back in 2004 (i.e. repository for my school essay, TV shows, etc). In fact, it is very much a shadow of its old self and part of the problem was the absence of a content management system that I could tweak to suit my needs. If I can come away from this talk with an idea of how to use Drupal to manage all 3 domain names?? I’ll be a very happy camper. This talk is by David Tomaschik (who was at the Southeast Linux Fest as a guest and is a speaker at the Atlanta Linux Fest! He also dropped by the Free IT Athens booth during SELF and I actually remember him! I’m somewhat legendary for not recalling things at times.) and Michael Haynes, an IT guru at Kennessaw State University.

2) Open Source and the Cloud: According to the ALF website, “The talk will cover all of the stack open source tools from chef, puppet, openqrm, and Hadoop. It will also include Cloudera and AWS.” Sadly, this may conflict with #1, but I thought I’d put this out there.

3) Securing Your Networks With Open Source Technologies: This session is at 3pm and given my obsession with network security despite not knowing the first thing about it, I’ll attend if only to increase my non-knowledge of this area. This is by Nick Owen and I’ll update this post when I actually get there! Cheers! πŸ™‚

Georgia’s official State Amphibian: Green Tree Frog

At midnight, Matt & I filmed this green tree frog outside our apartment with my Nikon D90 and the 50mm f/1.8 lens. It turned out well my opinion and I’ll shoot more videos using this lens. We weren’t sure what the type of frogΒ  it was, but Matt had a good guess. His aunt cleared up the mystery via Facebook! Enjoy this beautiful frog! πŸ™‚