Nokia e71 bugs and a software update

December 20th, 2009 by sebastian

In September D and I were on the search for a suitable smartphone for her work stuff (She is always on the go but is communicating more than any other human being I know). We had searched for a smartphone, which is easy to handle and just does its job (text, email, calendar, calls and contacts) – without any fancy facebook, flickr or whatever feature. And after some research we decided to purchase Nokia’s e71.

Nokia e71

So I told D that from now on she is free and can communicate and work wherever she is ;-) . And of course I showed her how to use the phone as a UMTS modem…

…so the first really bad bug came up: I configured the phone to show up as a modem when it is connected to a PC via USB cable (the other modes are mass storage or pc suite). This configuration made her phone function not work and thus unreachable by any caller :( . D had started working in the morning and started to wonder that nobody had called by the time it was lunch time …
…when I came back home that day, I learned a lot of new words in her mother tongue ;-) . So I started to investigate the problem: If you are using the phone as an UMTS modem the phone will not allow you to use it as a phone function – so she never used it as a UMTS modem again.

A few days later the second problem showed up: The menu button didn’t work anymore – To make it work again you have to remove the battery and restart the phone. Today (several weeks later and after having removed and turned off/on the phone hunderds of times) we have learned, that you can work around this problem by changing the menu button. (Just take away the menu function from the left soft key and use the Home button to access the menu ;-) ). This problem drove her crazy and over the weeks I’ve learned some more vocabulary words to describe crappy phones ;-)

That wasn’t enough: D started to use her new smartphone for what it is made for – writing emails…
…after her best friends asked her what is wrong with her because she is constantly sending empty emails.  Suddenly as I was trying to fix this issue, and shortly before the phone was to die, I had to remember my goal keeper skills (yes, I played soccer for many years…) to catch the phone before it landed on the ground of our tiled kitchen ;-)

I luckily three days ago read that there is a new software update for the Nokia e71 available on the internet (http://nokiae71.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/new-firmware-400-21-013-available/) – Great! I just have to update the software and she will finally be happy with her new smartphone….so I thought! I blocked my entire Saturday afternoon for this digital open heart surgery ;-)

It started with the problem that the Nokia Software Updater (NSU) is only supported on Windows XP and Vista. So my laptop has Ubuntu and her laptop has a Windows 7 instance running :( . OK, I’m a computer engineer – I will find a solution *chaka*:

  • Windows XP in a VM (in Virtualbox on Ubuntu): The NSU is not working because the VM is loosing the USB connection to the phone while you are trying to update the firmware.
  • NSU installation on Windows 7 (64 bit): You have to use the Windows compatibility mode (Vista SP2) for installing the NSU on Windows 7 (64 bit).
  • Running NSU on Windows 7 (64 bit): You have to use the Windows compatibility mode (Vista SP2) and you have to disable the services “Internet Connection Sharing” and “Windows Firewall” before you start the NSU ;-)

Having managed to run the Nokia Software Updater (NSU) on her laptop with Windows 7 (64 bit), I was faced with the problem that the NSU didn’t realize that there is a newer firmware available on the internet. Google told me then, that the NSU is deciding because of the phone’s product code whether there is an update available or not. So I first had to change the product code of the phone. Therefore I needed to figure out which product code I should use – http://nokiae71.wordpress.com/2008/08/04/product-codes-for-e71/. After that I had to figure out how to do it – http://www.e71blog.com/2009/01/how-to-change-your-e71-nam-product-code/. So, changing the product code of an e71 with NSS works from within a VM in Virtualbox on Ubuntu ;-)

After changing the product code to one which is signaling that the phone is not branded by the service provider the NSU decided that there is a new update available and installed it to the phone without any problem *puuuuh*.

Luckily the only data that survived the firmware upgrade were the photos on the memory card :)
So I had to configure the phone again (adding the email accounts, taking away the menu function from the left soft key again, changing the tones etc.). So far we haven’t experienced any new problems… *puuuuh*

PS: Did I mentioned that we were at an E-plus shop one day to change the phone? They offered D that they would send it to Nokia for troubleshooting and wanted to give her an ordinary cell phone (without email, calendar and stuff) for the time it takes to repair. You can imagine that that day I once again learned some new words  ;-)

Share

How will I know where to go, if I don’t already know where I am?

December 14th, 2009 by dahlia

navi

Imagine this, you purchase a navigation system so that when you are driving you can program in your desired destination and the wonderful work of a navigation will lead you to drive there….unless of course, your navigation system is shit…

We have a Ford Focus with Navigation system from 2007 and guess what?  Yesterday we got in the car and entered in our address…only problem was the navigator was telling us to drive in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go.  Good thing we know the layout of the city, otherwise, you might just end up driving for hours- in the WRONG direction!

Knowing the streets of Berlin we were quickly able to determine that the reading of the navigator showed that we were on a completely different street then we actually were!  As a result, we pulled off the road and turned off the ignition and then restarted it.  Hmm…nothing different!  Drive past the street signs to determine if the street name has changed (in the last 20 years) and nope, same as it’s always been.  There must be a serious malfunction.  After attempting to turn the car off one more time, then turn the entire system off, then reprogram the address and zip for the second time…at last, it worked.  Our “navi” finally had the right point of location for our whereabouts and we were then able to drive to our desired destination…a little late, but at the right place!

Share

new ideas for multitouch computers

December 13th, 2009 by sebastian

10/GUI from C. Miller on Vimeo.

Share

backspace in firefox on ubuntu

December 11th, 2009 by sebastian

Since I’ve installed Ubuntu on my laptop I’m happy with the overall system performance and the very good usability. But one thing drove me crazy – The backspace key didn’t work in Firefox :(

You might think that’s no big deal, but it really is – try to search on google without the ability to go back to the search results by pressing the backspace key…

…so I’ve searched for a solution and found it pretty fast:

  1. Go to ‘about:config‘ in Firefox
  2. change the value ‘browser.backspace_action’ to ’0′

So, this little bug in the default configuration of the Firefox browser on ubuntu cost me 5 minutes…
…If you would count all the minutes from all users that are trying/using Firefox it would be a really big amount of wasted time :(

Share

playing DVDs on Ubuntu

December 9th, 2009 by sebastian

Yesterday I was trying to watch a DVD on my brand new 24′ monitor with my brand new Ubuntu installation. Although Ubuntu is able to use my onboard UMTS-card and connects to Vodafone even without the need for the PIN, it is not able to just play a DVD (out of the box).

490px-Logo-DVD-Video.svg

First I tried different DVDs, then I tried them on a Windows Laptop to doublecheck – it was always the same, on the Windows Laptop the movies started playing on my brand new Ubuntu installation it didn’t. So I started asking Google, which told me to go to https://help.ubuntu.com/9.10/index.html which is one the most clean websites I’ve ever seen. There it is written down in the first sentence:

In order to play DVDs you must install some additional software. Unfortunately, DVD support cannot be provided by default in Ubuntu due to legal restrictions in some countries.

OK, legal restrictions are stealing my time…
…but after installing everything that is needed (by just clicking on the links on that help-website) the first DVD (a german movie called “Sonnenallee”) started playing instantly after inserting. But now I wanted to watch an episode of “Frasier” from one of D’s DVDs – It didn’t worked *grrrr*

After banging my head against our brand new 24′ TFT monitor I’ve decided to rethink the situation – Heureka! Once upon a time I’ve heard something about region settings in DVD players…
…so Google this time told me to go to http://blog.moybella.net/2007/03/25/setting-the-region-of-you-dvd-in-ubuntu/ which is not as clean as Ubuntus help website but did give me the answer to my question (How to change the regional setting of the dvd-drive in my brand new Ubuntu system?). So, after installing a little command line application, starting it and setting the DVD region to 1, I’ve started enjoying watching an episode of Frasier :)

800px-DVD-Regions_with_key
In wikipedia you can read the following regarding the idea of DVD regions:

DVD region codes are a DRM technique designed to allow motion picture studios to control aspects of a release, including content, release date, and price, according to the region. DVD video discs may be encoded with a region code restricting the area of the world in which they can be played.

Share

Activating a Base (E-Plus) voice mailbox

December 1st, 2009 by sebastian

Some weeks ago my girlfriend got a new cell phone plan including a brand new cell phone :)
(About the problems with the phone itself she will tell you later in an extra posting ;-) )

Today she asked me to activate the voice mailbox – So I said: “Baby, I’ll do that for you ;-)
So I started on google with the words “e-plus mailbox” and got some postings that say, that you have two options: call the hotline (which would cost a lot of money) or do it online at http://my.base.de. So I tried to register my girlfriend at my.base.de – no luck, the website said: “Sorry it is not working – Please try again later!”.
Hahaha – somehow the admins learned to much from the cell phone networkers ;-)

So I’ve used google again and I’ve found
http://www.base.de/downloads/BASE_Bedienungsanleitung.pdf
which is obviously the manual of the service :)

So I took her phone and called 9911* which is the number to call the voice mailbox setup. Then a computer voice told me “Herzlich Willkommen im E-Plus Mailbox-System. Diese E-Plus-Mailbox ist momentan nicht erreichbar – Bitte versuchen Sie es später noch einmal!” in plain english that means “Welcome to the voice mailbox system. This voice mailbox is actually not available – please try again later!”…

I’ve tried again half an hour later – same result: still no voice mailbox :(

Share

DELL Latitude E4300 Touchpad

November 30th, 2009 by sebastian

For work I use a DELL E4300, which is a really nice and handy laptop. But one thing that gets on my nerves is that sometimes when I type a long text the text cursor jumps to the position of where the mouse pointer is. After several minutes I come to realize, that a problem with the integrated touchpad has occurred. (I kid you not I was not even able to complete this sentence without this happening.)

latitudeE4300

So I’ve started investigating the problem in detail…
…I’ve tried to deactivate the touchpad via driver but the driver is also needed for the pointing stick :(
…I’ve tried to deactivate the touchpad via BIOS but there you can only deactivate both – the touchpad and the pointing stick :(

So there is only one way to work around this: Use an external mouse.

PS: Lenovo disables the touchpad if you start to type :)
PPS: My girlfriend also has problems with my laptop because the letters z and y are switched – Hahaha :)

Share

Alice – Internet Service Provider

November 30th, 2009 by dahlia

Upon realizing how much we rely on the internet, I was willing to take the day off work so that Alice, a Hamburg based internet service supplier, could come and install my internet during an 8 hour allocated time slot.  Sorry but off the bat: 8 HOURS?! That in itself is a JOKE!  Who takes a day of vacation so they can sit at home and have internet set-up which takes a grand total of 10 minutes?  So last week, here I was making sure to shower before 8 am so that if by chance I was so lucky that the internet guy would come in the morning, I wanted to make sure I would hear and be available for the visit.  No music, no TV, no blender, no washing machine, not one single electrical appliance was turned on so that in case the internet guy came I would be able to hear him.  Noon passed.  2pm passed. 3pm came around and by 3:45pm I thought, ok, time to call the company and confirm whether or not a rep would be there within the next 15 minutes.  Just then, I obtained a phone call from my boyfriend, Sebastian, asking me if I had heard anything from Alice.  I said, “nope, I’ve waited around here ALL day and NO ONE has come!”  Thus, Alice obtained a phone call from Sebastian, only to be told that a rep had come by the house and no one was there.  Talk about BS!  It ended up being one man’s word against another.  In Germany, customer service does not exist!  Thus upon calling Alice again in attempt to cancel the service and try another provider, Alice said, we cannot cancel the service.  If we were to do so, we would receive a bill for the visit of the Alice rep.  Excuse me?  We should pay for a visit and service that never existed? Haha….somehow I find that ironic!

Next steps: cancel Alice.  Research internet providers in Germany.

Result: alternate service providers listed in according to highest consumer ratings:

  1. Deutsche Telekom
  2. Arcor/Vodafone
  3. Freenet
  4. O2

Time:

  • 8 hours sitting@ home
  • 30 min wait time “on hold” before speaking to an Alice rep
  • 15 min discussion with Alice phone rep
  • 45 min to draft a letter of cancellation to Alice
  • 15 min to go to post office obtain postage and envelope and send to Alice

Total Time: 9:45 min

Share

Card Scanner

November 30th, 2009 by sebastian

Dahlia wanted to scan some business cards with the help of a USB card scanner (Cardscan Personal). Therefor she installed the software from the CD-ROM, connected the card scanner via USB and started the software – BANG!!! The software couldn’t find the card scanner…

cardscanner

After 5 minutes of trying every USB port and every order of plugging-in, start-the-program and install-the-software we took a look at the support-website, which reads:

*Only CardScan version 8 software is Microsoft Vista Compatible. Note: CardScan Personal is currently not compatible with 64-bit Windows systems.

So there wasn’t a chance to use this little card scanner on our computer…

Share

Hello world!

November 30th, 2009 by sebastian

Welcome to our new blog regarding all the tech-Shit, that’s stealing our time every day. We started this blog because we’ve become aware of all the wasted time we’ve encountered while troubleshooting tech things that aren’t working as they should…

…our hope is, that you as a reader can avoid loosing minutes and hours by reading the tips & tricks on this blog and maybe some companies will enhance their products to save their consumers valuable time ;-)

Share