Nokia N97 – is it something special?

December 2, 2008

Nokia N97 - is it something special?

Nokia announces the Nokia N97:

The N97 isn’t a device that will trigger knee-jerk hysteria, but instead it should breed cool-headed excitement at the prospect of a new era of mobile experience.

It may be an Nseries handset, but the N97 carves a new space in the otherwise blurred realm between smartphone and laptop – a product built on a foundation of rock solid mobile principles, Nokia innovations, and tangible new technologies, pushed to the extreme and embodied in a slimline pocket shell.

I really like the Nokia N95, as a phone it allows me to do lots of different things. The main weakness for me with the Nokai N95 is the browsing experience. More often I will use JokiuSpot on the Nokia N95 and use an iPod touch for web browsing.

I did consider getting the Nokia N96, however early reviews did put me off, though others did like it. Likewise having seen the adverts for the Blackberry Storm on the London Underground I was tempted by that (especially as I am having problems with my work Vodafone N73 which is due for an upgrade) however Stephen Fry put me off that one (and others it would seem). Another choice was Nokia’s E71, as that was getting some positive recommendations.

So do I have the obvious choice, Apple’s iPhone?

No, partly as when it came out it did not meet my needs, no tethering, no 3G, no applications. Even the 3G model has some limitations, in the main the poor quality camera and lack of tethering. With the Nokia N95 I can use it as a 3G modem or as a wireless hotspot, likewise the 5MP camera does make it quite capable of taking decent photographs.

The other issue with the iPhone was that at work we use Vodafone and my personal phone is with T-Mobile, do going with O2 was not really an option.

However I am not a fan of text entry on the Nokia N95, I have never liked entering text via a phone keyboard. The Nokia N97 looks like it could be a real option for me with the slide out keyboard, S60 operating system and touchscreen.

There are some early reviews out now, CNET and ZDNet.

Will have to wait and see how it works for real.

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Fishing Boats and Seagulls

November 3, 2008

Fishing Boats and Seagulls

I have spent the last few days away on holiday in a place called Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast.

Lovely place, however connectivity was seriously lacking. The place we were staying at had no internet which generally isn’t an issue for me as I have a 3G USB stick (or I use my phone as a tethered modem or using JoikuSpot as a wireless hotspot).

However despite the area being very trendy and popular could I get a mobile phone signal? No I could not! No signal from T-Mobile or Vodafone…

As a result I had no connectivity apart from when we travelled to an area with a mobile phone signal or at a place with wifi.

Now generally when I am on holiday lack of the internet is not a problem – hey I am on holiday – but even on holiday it can be useful to have net access for holiday stuff: finding out opening times for attractions, locations and pricing. Also useful for finding out the times of In The Night Garden. It was also weird just having four TV channels, my Freeview Tuner for my Mac couldn’t pick up any channels in the area.

However this time (though I try and avoid working on my holidays) I had a meeting to organise in London and was also blogging at the JISC online conference, so as well as slightly inconvenient on my holiday, was annoying from a work perspective.

It did make me think about those learners who don’t have easy access to the internet, and despite falling costs of both broadband and 3G it can still be sometimes impossible to get online as the area itself does not have broadband or 3G coverage. Rural and coastal areas are often places with minimal 3G coverage and broadband access. Using 3G at 7.2Mbps in the centre of London streaming video and browsing really fast makes you sometimes forget that in some areas this is an impossibility.


Monitoring mobile content

August 30, 2008

Bill Thompson has written an excellent column on the BBC news website.

Suggestions that content-hosting sites like YouTube and Flickr should review material before they were posted were especially ridiculed. Observer columnist John Naughton pointed out that at Flickr, “uploads have been between 1,400 and 4,500 images a minute”, making the task somewhat less manageable than the committee seemed to realise.

But a couple of weeks later telecoms regulator Ofcom has agreed that content delivered to mobile phones should continue to be restricted. It suggested that although the current self-regulatory scheme managed by the Independent Mobile Classification Body is working it could be made a bit stronger in some ways.

Monitoring mobile content

Filtering just does not work, as Bill says

web filtering does not work. The filters either let through material that we would like blocked or, far more often, block material that is perfectly acceptable

It annoys me for example that Vodafone Content Control blocks Flickr, but does not block YouTube! One day I must get those blocks removed.

From an FE perspective, filtering though blocks a lot of undesirable content, is more often used to block social networking sites, or video and image sites such as Flickr and YouTube.

I would never say that these sites are free of undesirable content, but wholesale blocking often can remove many potential assets and resources which can be used for learning.

An astute institution will realise that filtering content is only one thing that needs to be done and that educating students on using the web safely is equally if not more important than jsut relying on technological blocks.