Nokia N96 Review

I had a chance over the last 10 days to review Nokia’s N96 for the tech section in one of the Indian Publications:

Here are my takes on the phone:

Good things that I like about the phone:
1.       Huge memory
2.       Quick application Install speeds
3.       Much better camera (thanks to the 5MP Sensor and 2 LED flashes)
4.       Ergonomics (two way slide, tactile feel, button placements)
5.       2.8” display
6.       Car Charger – a must have these days for folks on the go
7.       Dual Camera (though VGA) – A secondary camera which is good and is quite handy to take “self portraits”
8.       Personal GPS Device – Attach the Phone to the Deskboard of the car, connect it to the car charger and you have your own personal Navigation device which will guide you, “telling” you to take a left or a right at the next turn (Nokia Maps is really a great app to have)

Things that I dislike about the phone:
1.       Smudges on the screen – It’s a fingerprint magnet
2.       Slow application response once filled with data (I copied a 3 GB movie file on the phone – and it took me 40 seconds to open up the gallery )
3.       Startup time – it took me more than 30 seconds to turn on the phone post the initial configuration – the time increases as you install apps on it
4.       Average sound quality – with such a high price for the phone I would have expected a “premium” headphones along with the box
5.       Battery Life – significantly reduces as you start using the music/video player + camera (it lasted me 3 hours with continuous video/music play).
6.       Value for Money: Not a good value for money as a complete package – can be good if you think of it as a Avg Phone + avg Cam + Avg Music player


Update: Here’s it in the publication – Monday’s HT Cafe.

PS: The views of the phone were as “Hardik Shah, tech enthusiast” and not as a Microsoft guy

Student Partner Boot Camp – August 08

It’s time of the year again when a few bunch of excited students – who represent Microsoft in their respective colleges – gather for a two day Technical Session on various Microsoft Technologies.

Day one comprised of WinForms; SQL and .NET basic framework along with C# Patterns. A 8 hour training session and at the end of it – this is how the gang appeared


Same Place; Different People

What is the future of Technology? Where is the age of Internet going to lead us to? Do we think the last mile connectivity is still an issue for the majority of governments of developing countries? Is there something that I can do – to bypass the limited resources of my knowledge and think bigger?

These were some of the questions that I had to ask to myself before I decided to put in my papers with the Regional IT Team. It had been a tough decision for me – I had been around in the team since couple of years, serving in different capacities and roles. Unlike other CompSci / IT Grads, being a part of Field IT was always the first choice for me (not that I hate coding, but I simply do not like the term “Developer” and the abuses it comes along with), throughout my college life and also during the various interviews that I had been though. Being a part of IT, guys who give your company an environment which is not only robust but also scalable and efficient. The guys who every employee runs to for simple queries like “The Printers are not working”; “Is there something wrong with our VoIP Phones?”, “I need 40GB storage space on the server, do you think you can provide that?”, to more complicated ones like “I need more bandwidth on my laptop, can you please pull a pipe for me?”. In fact, the IT guys are interface between the new employees and the older ones, they take responsibility of getting them introduced (albeit during Xbox Gaming Session or TT or Snooker) and then happy live the life of “King of the Jungle”. It defiantly was a journey, which will still be a part of my life – a part – which has given me confidence, courage and most importantly lead a team in true sense.

I move onto doing bigger and more exciting things. I join the Digital Advertising Solutions team – as a Solution Specialist – Brands-  being an interface between the sales folks and the technology folks. I would primarily be a blend for the Media Industry with the IT Industry. Which mean, I’ve moved domains, and look forward to an exciting career in the Media Industry.

Until the next update on my job role (which I am trying to analyze / see though) – you guys have a great time surfing the net 🙂

And now it’s Apple in front of the Law

The recent buzz around – ZapMedia based in Atlanta had filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc, for using it’sU.S. Patent Numbers 7,020,704 and 7,343,414, each of which is entitled “System and method for distributing media assets to user devices via a portal synchronized by said user devices.” – in iTune and iPod.

iTunes is the famous media player cum online marketplace for songs which gave back Apple it’s brand name, image and share in the consumer market. It was because of iPod’s and iTunes (and now iPhone) that Apple is called a company which is Digital Media & Consumer centric.

Though the guys back at the Cupertino based company refused to comment on the media reports – Apple has been known as a company which has a loyal fan following.

…. more about the report here

Am I Legend?

One more premier to attend yesterday and my bad luck still continues. After Saawariya and Beowulf this was the third bad one I had.

“I’m Legend” – a Will Smith movie, with bang Bang and bullets all around – as everyone would have expected, is not. It’s not a typical Will Smith, and sadly disappointed me.

I won’t write the plot here – however – a word of advice – it’s not worth a 200 bucks on a ticket and about 150 bucks on popcorn and cola. Watch something else – not this one.

“I’m Legend”? Of course not!!!

iPhone – Jail Broken and Activated

It’s Sunday morning, 9th of December 2007, and in comes the call at 0800 hrs of a friend who recently got an iPhone from US. I had promised her to activate and sim break it as a birthday gift (Her birthday was last week). I was wondering – on a Sunday you gotta sleep till 12 noon rather than leaving for Andheri and cracking up the phone :).

I got up – 8:15 was the time and took a public transport to her office, which had WiFi Connectivity. That’s the first thing that you will need before you jail break the iPhone. A WiFi connection (non-encrypted, unsecured) is required in the process of jailbreaking and unlocking the iPhone.

So there I was at her office and ready to hack into the iPhone, activate it and give her an awesome birthday gift. We got ready to unlock – a coffee & a coke as our only refreshments – and an awesome WiFi connection. Mind you – the phone was pre-installed with ver 1.1.1 of the firmware and it was upgraded to ver 1.1.2 by the seller. The crack is not possible if you have the newer iPhones which come pre-installed with ver 1.1.2

I stated up my Vista, installed iTunes (yes – you need to download a 51.08 MB of crap) and connected the iPhone to it. The idea was to first downgrade the firmware to 1.1.1 and then jailbreak in. We downloaded the ver 1.1.1 of the firmware on our local machine, got into the Apple Recovery mode (turn off the iPhone, Hold the Power button & the home button, release the power button after 10 seconds and you will enter into the recovery mode). Once in recovery mode, iTunes detected it and asks us to restore it to the latest version of the firmware – in our case it was 1.1.2 – however we did not want to do that. We had to manually select the downloaded firmware by holding the “Shift” key on our machine and then hitting the restore button – where it will displayed a “Windows explorer” type window. The firmware was highlighted – which was just downloaded and the restore process progressed (it just took about 10-15 mins). At the end of the restore we got an error (1015), and just as mentioned on forums, ignored it.

Now came the most crucial part of Jail Breaking into the phone. We had to search for “iPhuc for Windows” to get out of the recovery mode. Once installed on the system, shot three commands to get it out of recovery mode:

cmd setenv auto-boot true
cmd saveenv
cmd fsboot

A wait for 20 seconds and we were able to see the screen which says “Slide for Emergency” We were now ready to JailBreak the iPhone. Then followed the coolest and sexiest part of jailbreaking. We followed the process till Step 9 and the phone restarted – however to our surprise it went automatically into the Recovery mode :(.

After a lot of R&D, and searching onto other forums, upgrading to 1.1.2, and again downgrading it to 1.1.1, we still would get stuck up on the same screen. There was a moment in doing this when the Phone just didn’t respond for couple of mins and our heart were in our mouth (I was just praying that I didn’t iBrick the phone – it would have been the worst ever birthday gift to anyone then). However – I was lucky and the phone rebooted after a wait of 5 mins.

I later realized the mistake I was doing when downgrading the iPhone to ver 1.1.1. When you downgrade the phone, only the firmware get downgraded. It was also necessary to downgrade the “BaseBand“firmware as well. Hence I followed steps mentioned here under section “Downgrade the baseband firmware”. Once the baseband was downgraded, we had to restore the firmware to 1.1.1 and follow the steps of “JailBreaking” mentioned here. This time the screen changed to “Slide to Unlock” rather than “Slide for Emergency” (This is when I said to myself – the phone is about to get SimUnlocked – and the birthday treat would be awesome).

Then followed a series of simple steps right from installing the AnySIM application to doing all the patches. It was all unlocked and activated ready to use in under 15 mins :).

And finally the iPhone springboard came up without any glitches

In all – it was an awesome beginning to a rocking Sunday 🙂