Nokia–A New Beginning?

 

Well doesn’t 2 years go fast sometimes? But when you are waiting for your mobile phone contract to expire it seems to last forever, especially the last few months.

Having just reached the end of my contract it has been time to upgrade, and with all the new phone and operating system launches in the last few months, I have been spoilt for choice.

And what would match to the HTC HD2 I am waving goodbye to? Yes I know it runs Windows Mobile 6.5 and was the last of the line really as far as Windows Mobile went, over the last few months and years it has felt more and more rejected as Microsoft turned off the services it launched with like MyPhone and the marketplace.

myphone

But with the initial help of the HTC Sense overlay, and the wonderful XDA Developers site with things like Cookie Home Tab I have had a productive and useful phone for the last 2 years. And because of the wonder that is the HD2 have even been able to run numerous Android builds from the SD card, so have become familiar with that as well. So what to do……

 

Well one obvious choice would be an iPhone, but it would not be the iPhone 4S as there is no way I am paying that much for a phone! So it would likely be down to the iPhone 4 if I could get one at a resonable price. And you know the iconified interface is just so Windowsy and old fashioned now, even my HD2 with Sense let me get the essential information without running up an application.

And the most obvious choice would be one (of the many Android) phones, but which one? The Samsung Galaxy S2 is a fantastic phone, but a couple of people at work have it and it just feels too plasticky for its cost. Eventually it looked like it would be either a HTC Sensation or Sensation XE for the best blend of price and performance, but still the nagging feeling of that certain unfinished nature to Android with multiple email clients, a mix of styles in the widgets you want to use and everything else just made me hesitate long enough…….. to visit a Phones4U store a week ahead of the Nokia Lumia 800 availability and fall in love with Nokia all over again. My last Nokia was the wonderful 6310 over 7 years ago (and I still have that phone as a generic spare) and it was just a brilliant phone of the time.

So why the Lumia? And why Windows Phone? Well the phone itself is just beautiful, as good as, if not better than the iPhone 4(S) which was arguably the best designed phone of recent times. It fells fantastic in the hand and you just want to keep holding it, it feels that good.

And Windows Phone? It was just so different to everything else out there, and feels designed for what you really want to do with your phone when out and about, because that is when you really want to use all the smartphone features. So having picked up my Nokia from Vodafone on launch day last week, so far I still love it. One slight downside is the battery life, although this is now worse than everyone’s Android phones here at work, and I am still learning how to get the best our of it.

Next, I have been enticed to building some apps for the phone, so keep an eye out for them as I start to work them out fully and get things going.

Is this a new beginning for Nokia after being left behind with Symbian for so long, well it is a great start, and if they can keep turning out phones this good, who knows what will happen. One thing is that the other Windows Phone vendors are going to have to up their game to compete now!.

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Dennis Ritchie–RIP

Just read Herb Sutter’s post that Dennis passed away. This is another huge loss for the technology scene over recent weeks. For me, arguably even more pertinent and more relevant than Steve Jobs. Even though I respect what Steve did with Apple, and have used his products at various times over the years (including trying to figure out how to eject a floppy from a Mac), I have never owned an Apple product myself. But my life, and the course of my life, has been profoundly impacted by the work of Dennis Ritchie.

 

Having graduated as an Electronic Engineer I quickly ended up writing software as an integral part of that career, and ultimately becoming what defines me. Although initially this involved various assembler variants, and other (electronic) engineering based languages, like Fortran, Ada and PLM/86, I eventually came to know and love (at times) C, and it’s derivatives like C++, C#.

I am sure most professional developer’s have the definitive tome on C by Kernighan and Ritchie somewhere in their book collection. If you don’t, I wonder whether you can call yourself a professional coder.

From Herb’s post I think this closing summary encapsulates everything Dennis Ritchie stood for, and what looking back those first unsteady steps into C started: “C is a poster child for why it’s essential to keep those people who know a thing can’t be done from bothering the people who are doing it. (And keep them out of the way while the same inventors, being anything but lazy and always in search of new problems to conquer, go on to use the world’s first portable and efficient programming language to build the world’s first portable operating system, not knowing that was impossible too.)

My condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends at this time, thank you for giving me the tools to do what I do and love.

Phone Hacking and Security Awareness or Not

31125732_a9c0396956It’s enough to send a techie mad, all this talk about phone hacking. We all know that it is not really about hacking a person’s phone but simply getting access to their voicemail by assuming that the majority of people don’t change the default pass code on their voicemail, so armed with someone’s mobile phone number and network you can easily gain access to their voicemail.

I mean we struggle to get people to secure their bank PIN codes, computers, and the other paraphernalia of modern life so how do we hope to get them to set up a pass code for their voicemail. For instance a quick search tells me that Vodafone’s default voicemail PIN is 3333 and the short guide (which no-one reads anyway) has no reference to the need to change your voicemail PIN. Also most networks I have been on do not start prompting you about setting a PIN unless you phone in from a landline, and even if it does who cares most of the time.

So let’s firstly try to use this to make people understand the need to be aware of security in general, and secondly the need to change their voicemail pass codes to avoid them becoming targets for so called ‘phone hacking’. Surely the press should be raising awareness of this, but then again they would have no-one to ‘phone hack’ if they did.

Update

Just read ‘Smartphone users choose convenience over security‘ where we get the following information;

When asked about password protecting their mobile devices:

  • More than half of respondents said they do not use a password or PIN to lock their smartphone or tablet
  • 44 percent who do not lock their mobile devices said that using a password is “too cumbersome”
  • 30 percent who do not lock their mobile devices said they “are not worried about the risk”.

Says it all really.

Picture by Garrettc

Professions ‘reserved for rich’?

Warning! Potential political points may be made!

Young Doctor

The BBC recently published an article suggesting that Professions ‘reserved for rich’ discussing the fact that top professions such as law and medicine are in fact being reserved for a smaller rather than large pool of people. And then you read about the government’s threat to independent schools through the reappraising of their charitable status and gradual destruction and removal of grammar schools and you have to ask – WHY? Surely looking at this new report it is obvious that both wide access to grammar schools and schemes like assisted places were the route to giving people equal access to top professions and universities.

Trying to make everyone have the same education experience is never ever going to work since not everyone learns the same way, has the same skills, etc. We need to ensure that everyone gets access to the best education for them and destroying academic excellence, however divisive it can seem, is not the way to do this. We need to improve the access to academic excellence not remove it all together and then we stand a chance of both improving our standing in the world league and giving everyone a fair chance at the best professions. Currently the government’s stance is that now we have all but eradicated grammar school options for everyone, now let’s kill the independent option for all but the rich, firstly through the killing of the assisted places scheme and now through the potential of increasing fees at the more affordable schools such that those that can afford fund a new assisted places distorting the whole market once more.

 

Join In – Save Jodrell Bank

Again we have the problem of the UK missing the point in putting Science development on the Agenda with the plan to remove critical funding for Jodrell Bank’s future in being able to make new discoveries. For the sake of £2.5m funding the whole future of not only Jodrell but the whole of the UK being at the forefront of astronomical research is being put at risk. We are continually implored to get more kids studying science and technology, and yet we continually loose key parts of our scientific past and future. Jodrell Bank stands out for all to see, lets keep it going.

Our local radio station has put together a song and video to add to the campaign. Join in, watch the video and spread the word, the blogosphere can and does make a difference to public and, even more importantly, government opinion.