Nokia N95 Firmware upgrade

Because we won't be getting the sainted iPhone in the UK until the end of the year, I have a Nokia N95 as my current handset. It's good but not great and today I discovered why. The mobile operators int he UK seem to have hobbled the phone firmware down at a crappy version (10.0.xxx) in my case which gives an old set of software for the camera, GPS, battery life etc. Well Nokia is currently running at around version 12 which is better in every respect. So I found this site which tells you how to flash the firmware by changing the phone's product code. Half an hour and a 115mb download later and I have, effectively, a brand new phone that has better battery life, camera, GPS support, 3.5g data and more that I haven't looked into yet.

The only reason that I can think of for Orange to not allow me to upgrade my firmware without the fairly deep hacks required at the moment are to prevent me using VoiP and thus earn them more money, so you can be sure that the first thing I do over the weekend will be to download the latest version of Skype for Symbian :)

New Toys

You've got to love them. Over the last couple of months I've played with Wii's owned by friends and had a good laugh, so this week I got a decent price on one on eBay and it arrived this morning. Even when you play the one player games it's still a cracking way to spend half an hour, certainly better than vegetating in front of the TV. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not at all into video games but this is so far removed from the PS3 or X-Box 360 that I'm not sure it even qualifies as a console game in the traditional sense.

Anyway, Wii Tennis beckons ;-)

Annual New Phone

I got the annual call from Orange over the weekend asking whether I'd like to renew my mobile contract. I'm never sure why they bother as I always end up getting more service for less money and a new handset into the bargain. I'm not an especially good customer for them, I mean I do have a monthly contract but I rarely exceed my package talk, text or data limits.

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, however, I managed to wangle a spanking new Nokia N95 out of them plus free, unlimited data on evenings and weekends (not sure if they know what they've let themselves in for there!) and a few more free SMS messages per month.

The N95 is a really impressive piece of kit with every type of connectivity you can think of, a GPS receiver, a 5 megapixel camera and even a proper 3.5mm headphone socket! There are so many toys on it that I was kept busy all yesterday afternoon playing. Bizarrely the camera on the phone now has a higher resolution than my old Sony point 'n' click, I still think the pictures from the Sony are better but the convenience of everything in one device can't be overstated.

Of course with the Symbian operating system there are lots of software goodies to download and play with as well... Jaiku, Salling Clicker and Shozu are three of the first. I may give the Nokia podcasting application another try as well.

Ah, you have to love shiny new toys. :-)

Macbook Pro Experiences

So at the weekend I couldn't hold back any longer, I went and bought a spanking new MacBook Pro 17" behemoth of a machine. I justified it to myself because I have to use my own kit in this new contract. Lovely as the Powerbook is, running Virtual PC all day long is just no fun at all.

The first thing to say is that this is, by a long margin, the fastest computer I have ever owned, notebook or desktop. Of course I spent most of the weekend rebuilding it to my requirements. The OS X element was very easy with the migration tools which Apple provide you just plug in a firewire cable to your old machine and leave it for an hour. When you come back everything including all of the applications data and, most impressively of all, configuration, has been copied across and you're just ready to go with no more effort required.

Of course the big draw for me of the new machine is the Intel chipset and BootCamp which allows me to run Windows on a new partition on the disk. For beta software it was very easy to get going, just decide what size disk you want Windows to have (I've gone for 40gb) and then run through the usual Windows installation process and install the Mac  video, sound and network drivers that BootCamp provides for you. Everything was all set up within a couple of hours, after which I spent the traditional 6 or 7 hours installing all of the various software I need for work and securing the leaky sieve that is Windows security.

So I've been using the Windows installation at work all week and as a pure Windows machine it flies along quite happily. There are a few little annoyances to do with key mappings... There is no delete key (the Apple delete key becomes backspace by default) so I have used Remap Key to change the right Apple key to be delete. The other problem is the one button trackpad, you can't work in Windows without a right mouse button so you need to download this little program which makes the Control key act as the right button in the same way it does in OS X. But given that BootCamp is beta software and in the end Apple really don't want you to be using Windows much anyway I am incredibly impressed.

The beauty of my setup now is that I effectively have two computers, an official work one and my "real" computer which can be used when I'm not in the office. If you can afford the premium of going for the Pro I can heartily recommend it, whether you're a Mac user or not. Overall I am guessing this is exactly what Apple want to happen, their kit is so much better than any of the other manufacturers, so if they can tempt some Windows users across with the lure of BootCamp I can't believe that many wouldn't enjoy the experience and become confirmed Mac accolites for the future.