N97 Camera Tripod

September 8, 2009

I found a mobile phone tripod that works very well with the Nokia N97.




This fits the N97 perfectly without pressing any of the buttons.  The mini tripod seems a little bit flimsy but the phone holder portion can be screwed on to any generic tripod. 

Available from focalprice.com for only $5.11


My Home Theater, Then and Now

August 26, 2009

After my 42″ plasma HDTV  finally died after 6 years, I decided to replace it with a Samsung 55″  LCD HDTV.

My HDTV in 2003

My Home Theater in 2003

Back in 2003, even seeing Cameron Diaz’s flat cleavage in 720p resolution looked almost amazing.  Back in those days, a decent 42″ plasma run around $6,000.  I ended up going cheapo with a low-end Sampo 42 incher.  Yeah, I never heard of the Sampo brand but word on the street was that they were rebadged Gateway plasmas with Samsung glass.  The quality was subpar but back in those days, having a flat screen plasma was pretty impressive.  In any case, in its 6 year life span I think I got my money’s worth and in 2009, I upgraded to a 55 inch LCD.

My Home Theater now in 2009

My Home Theater now in 2009

This Samsung LN55B650 model so far is fantastic.  I still haven’t calibrated it yet but I did some minor setting tweaks to get rid of the “soap opera” effect where everything moves so smooth it looks fake.  One of the neat features is something called DLNA where you can access and view files on your home network on your TV.  I haven’t quite figured this out but it seems pretty nifty.  Final price for this sucker including shipping and taxes: $1,700.  Way better than my old Sampo plasma which cost a ridiculous $3,200 in 2003.

Nokia N97 GPS Nav App Round-up

August 9, 2009

I’ve compiled a list with video demos of all the GPS navigation applications that work on the Nokia N97.   After some testing, I also included my thoughts on the pros and cons of each.

NDrive 3.5.18



  • 3D Maps of important landmarks
  • All input is through a on-screen keyboard so you can navigate without openning the slider


  • None (so far)

TomTom Mobile 6.01



  • Intuitive interface (IMO)


  • No touchscreen support
  • Gets stuck on some screens because of inacessible buttons
  • No spoken names of streets
  • Qwerty input does not work (have to use T9)

Sygic Mobile 7.71



  • Similar intuitive interface as TomTom


  • None (so far)

Garmin Mobile XT 5.00.50



  • 3D Maps


  • Images sometimes get cutoff in landscape mode
  • Seems a little slow in recalculating routes

Nokia Ovi Maps 3.0



  • 3D Maps of major landmarks


  • Seems to require a data connection to search point of interests

Since I’ve always been a fan of TomTom since I have my Dell Axim x51v, my personal favorite nav app on the N97 is Sygic Mobile since its a copycat of TomTom.

Home Sweet Home!

August 3, 2009

Well I’m back from my trip to Rome and I know one thing for sure, Nokia is alot bigger in Europe than in the US.  The moment I get out of the train from the airport and I see this:


and in the Metro stations I see these:


Yes, an actual ad showing a Nokia phone.  I never see this in the states.  As far as users I saw plenty of N95’s, some N82’s, and even a couple of N70’s being used there. 

During my trip to Rome, I noted some keypoints while I was using my Nokia N97 to keep myself “wired”:

  • The Gravity app works very well for mobile tweets.  My only gripe is the fact that you can only upload the 10 or so most recent pictures.
  • GPS navigation on the N97 is absolutely useless in Rome without a data plan.  Using only the internal GPS receiver, I was not able to get a GPS lock at most locations in Rome.  On my next international trip, I make sure I get a prepaid SIM that will give me data and a quick GPS lock.
  • The battery doesn’t last a day taking casual tourist pictures even with the phone in offline mode.  For my next trip I’ll make sure I carry at least one extra battery.
  • Qik works great.  I like the fact that you can upload videos later when you have an internet connection.  I was able to post my Qik streams onto my Twitter.
  • NDrive provides great 3D maps just like Nokia Ovi Maps:



  • Even with the flash turned off in camera mode, the LED still flashes before taking an actual photo.  You’ll need to remember this whenever you go to any art museum that ban camera flashes.
  • The N97 camera does not have a shutter sound when in offline mode.
  • Using the touchscreen shutter button seems to produce better focused photos than when using the hard-shutter button on the side of the phone.
  • The Metro app comes in handy to figure out the best transportation route using subways.
  • You can’t upload pictures in Facebook like in Gravity for Twitter.

Off to Rome!

July 22, 2009

I’ll be off in Rome, Italy for the next couple of days.  Though I know I can still blog on my Nokia N97 using Wordmobi, I don’t plan on blogging on my vacation time.  I do intend to stay connected in other ways using only my N97.  For Facebook updates, of course I have the Facebook app and for Twitter updates I’ll be using Gravity.  To make calls to back home I’ll be using Fring with my $12 monthly World Skype account.  I wanted to use Truphone but my N97 is having problems connecting to Truphone over WiFi.  To make my way around Rome, I’ll be using an assortment of GPS Navigation apps on my N97.  I’ll have Ovi Maps, Garmin Mobile XT, Sygic, and NDrive, all loaded with Italy maps.  I’ll have a full report on how I managed (or attempted) to stay wired using only my Nokia N97 when I return.  Off I go!

Setting up the Nokia N97 with T-Mobile T-Zones

July 20, 2009

Here’s how I set it up on my N97. You can define all the Access Points by going to Settings->Connectivity->Destinations

For the “Internet” AP, I set up 2 access points. I set my home WiFi as the one having priority 1 and TZones as priority 2

Then for settings:

Connection name: T-Zones
Data bearer: Packet data
Access point name: wap.voicestream.com
(I can’t get epc.tmobile.com to work for some reason)
User name: None
Prompt password: no
Password: none
Authentication: Normal
Homepage: None
Use access point: Automatically

Then for Advanced Settings:
Network type: IPv4
Phone IP address: Automatic
DNS addresses: Automatic
Proxy server address:
Proxy port number: 8080

This way when I’m home, the widgets and apps go through my WiFi connection, then when I leave the house it uses T-Zones Edge to connect.

Dummy Nokia N97 Unboxing

July 17, 2009

So this is my unboxing of a display (dummy) Nokia N97 I posted on youtube way before the official release of the device.  I ended up getting alot of flak for posting this vid for some reason.  I don’t know what got people all ralled up about this video but I got alot of vulgar comments, many in multiple languages.  I’m thinking many thought I was passing this up as the real unboxing of an actual Nokia N97 even though the title and description clearly said display and dummy phone.  My reasoning for purchasing this was so I could get a good feel of the size, slide mechanism, and display size of the device before I decided to buy the real thing.  It wasn’t even too expensive either, less then $9 (including shipping) from ebay which is a small investment towards a $500+ phone.  I took the time to record and post the thing since I was sure alot of folks (like me) were intrigued by this phone.  I also thought it’d be kind of funny to mock the whole “unboxing” video craze.  Plus, that week I had alot of spare time on my hands.  So there you go.

Sandisk V-Mate Video Memory Card Recorder

July 16, 2009


The Sandisk V-Mate Video Memory Card Recorder is basically a VCR but instead of using VHS tapes it uses memory cards.  The device supports SD, SDHC, miniSDHC, microSDHC, RS-MMC, Memory Stick PRO Duo cards and can record in MP4, 3GP, and 3G2 formats up to 640 x 480 at 30 FPS.  You can plug in anything that has composite (yellow/white/red) outputs such as a DVD player, DirecTV receiver, cable box, or camera.  It has an IR emitter/receiver so it can control  your satellite/cable receiver.  In the following youtube video, I demonstrate how simple it is to record a TV show from my DirecTV straight to my microSD card which I can then directly play on my Nokia N97.

This little device is great for people like me that can’t figure out how to capture video onto their computer and encode it into a format thats playable on their mobile device.  The perfect sceneria for this device is if you want to record your favorite late night TV show and view it the next morning on the train to work.  You can program the device to record at your desired time and the next morning you just take out the memory card and watch on video on your phone on the metro.

Available at you local B&M Gamestop for only $9.99.  You can check for inventory in your area here.  I had to actually ask the Gamestop dude to check the stock room and they happened to have one in the back.

Nokia N97 Unboxing

July 15, 2009

Here a video of the unboxing of my Nokia N97.  I got in on the “price glitch” pre-order price of $507.29 including tax + shipping back in May which included a free BH-703 Bluetooth Headset.  Not a bad deal at the time.

Mobile Bar Camp LA

July 14, 2009
So on Saturday I visited my old stomping grounds at UCLA to attend a Mobile Bar Camp which was hosted by four bloggers who are touring around the country testing the Nokia N97 in real world applications. Have to admit I was a little intimidated at first since I had to google “bar camp” to figure what that meant but the whole event turned out to be pretty entertaining and well worth it. At first, no one knew what the hell was going on but once lunch arrived and more people came by the ball started rolling. They were given a list of topics to discuss and by the end of the day, they had covered everything from mobile navigation, public cell phone etiquette, mobile photography, and phone windshield smashing. All the big s60 bloggers were there along with HowardForum poster RodgerPodacter who could probably work as Christian Bale’s voice double.
Though it wasn’t as swag as the Nokia LA Mansion Party from a couple years back, it was still pretty cool to meet all these bloggers and HowardForum posters I read from on a daily basis. We even got this snazzy Nokia T-shirt.


In the end a good time was had by all. At the strong suggestion of one of the touring bloggers Jonny Bruha , I decided to start this blog.  Lets see how it goes…