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Mobile phones and PDA's


VOIP on the Nokia n80

Mobile phones

As the Nokia N80 has VOIP support, I was eager to test this out. So I first tried setting this up with Ekiga, but got stuck. Apparently, there are some problems using Ekiga with the N80, so I switched to Gizmo, which is included in the Download section on the phone. Gizmo is easy to setup : starting the program, it will fire up the WAP browser, redirecting you to the Gizmo website where you can create your account. Your internet telephone number will be assigned to you, along with a userid and password, which you can define then in the Gizmo plugin. After that, you can login on the Gizmo network, where you're available to internet calls.

I tried then to use Ekiga again, to see if I can make a PC-to-phone call. Create a new account in Ekiga with the following data :

Acc. Name: Gizmo
User: 123456789 (your SIP number assigned to your gizmo user)
Pass: yourpass
Auth. User: 123456789 (your SIP number again)
Time: 3600

Now to call any Gizmo user just use:
The sound isn't the same quality you get from a Gizmo client, but if that's due to a wrong setup in Ekiga, or an incompatibility between Ekiga and Gizmo, is yet unknown.

Of course, this is only regular telephony; if you want to make video calls over the internet, you better use some messenger software. But that's a test for later.

Nokia N80

Mobile phones

Screw the iPhone ! I thought about waiting untill the device was available in Belgium, but
a. it will be insanely expensive
b. it will be sold out immediately

So I was looking around for a device that had some of the same functionalities. It had to replace my MP3 player too, contain a camera, and offer WiFi access. Enter the Nokia N80 Internet Edition, a smartphone featuring WiFi 802.11a/b/g, UMTS, SIP, uPnP, Bluetooth and infrared. How's that for connectivity ? Other features are FM radio, MP3 player and a 3 mp camera. With some luck it might even replace my GPS PDA. I'm using the device now for 3 days, and I'm impressed. The screen is of excellent quality and the WiFi browser (based on KHTML) is a bliss;

Only disadvantages that I see are :
a. slider is weak; sometimes the phone unslides while in my pocket or in its case. It would be nice if the back cover for the battery would be fitted more thightly, too.
b. the 720mAh battery could be better; I expect this to improve the next couple of days. Now I have to reload the battery every 1.5 days, but I used the phone *very* intensively the previous days.

Does anyone know a good Symbian software site ? The software stack seems smaller than for WinCE, and that one I even found small, certainly in comparison with PalmOS.

Panasonic VS6

Mobile phones

I seem to have dropped my current mobile once too often : the reception contained way too much interference to understand the one calling me. So I decided it was time to look out for a new mobile. I almost bought the Nokia 6101 as it contained an FM radio, but the counter guys at Vandenborre were so unfriendly I decided to shop elsewhere.

The same evening I stumbled onto this (Dutch) review of the Panasonic VS6 on, and found it too good to be true : a clamshell phone with a 16 million color screen, a 2 megapixel camera and bluetooth support for a sub 200 Euro price was unbeatable in its category. Panasonic seems to be only available in the PhoneHouse, where they offered also a Bluetooth USB dongle for an outrageous price of 45 Euro, whereas you can find a 10 Euro specimen in every grocery shop.

The phone itself then : the screen just blows you away with its crispness and colour, and the pictures the 2mp camera takes are quite good of quality. The keypad layout could be a bit better (IMO only Nokia produces phones with nice large keypads), and the contact book can only store contacts attributes if you save them in the phone's memory instead of the SIM card, which is a bit sad.

I was a bit afraid for Bluetooth support under Debian, as gnome-bluetooth wasn't available in the default repository, but kdebluetooth is a nice solution also. Time to personalize the phone with some cool graphics and realtones !

Hacking my mobile, part 2

Mobile phones

FUSE, the userspace mount utility in Linux, is prepping itself for inclusion into the main Linux kernel. Hence the last upgrade to Fuse 2.2. This version was recently introduced into the Debian unstable branch, which made it onto my computer after the last apt-get dist-upgrade. However, I noticed that the combination with siefs, the Siemens filesystem driver, refused to work after the Fuse upgrade :

# fusermount /mnt/usb siefs /dev/ttyUSB0
fusermount: old style mounting not supported

which was very annoying, cause I couldn't download the pictures I took with my mobile camera any more. The solution was to upgrade to siefs 0.5, and to kernel 2.6.11. Mounting the device with fusermount still isn't possible, but the regular mount works like a charm :

# mount -t siefs /dev/ttyUSB0 /mnt/usb


Mobile phones

The neat little mobile in the snapshot box is the Sony Ericsson T100, which I bought for my girlfriend M. Mobile phones are so cheap nowadays; I recently saw a Siemens GSM for only 50 Euro ! What a difference with 5 years ago, when I bought my first (Kenwood) mobile : 150 Euros for a phone that was 6 times heavier, had only SMS features, and the battery was dead after 3 days...


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