Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Information Overload

First, a nice camera toss recently posted and shared in the photo pool to illustrate the subject of this entry.

toss + tv (by André di Lucca)
originally uploaded by André di Lucca

I stated previously that my participation in the Nokia Urbanista Diaries was going to be an experiment on several fronts. One of those fronts is being "constantly connected" and in communication via an array of applications on the Nokia N82, a Symbian S60 3rd Edition platform. Information overload indeed! Phones that are also computing platforms are entirely new to me, so this will either be a wonderful resource, or simply a huge distraction while traveling. ;-)

Here is a list of applications I've installed and configured, and other relevant info if you wish to be in touch via any of them:
  • Nokia Sports Tracker
    A GPS logging and route recording application geared towards athletics and training, but more powerful in that it will allow you to export your GPS logs in several formats including GPX and CSV. This is the one that drives the Urbanista Diaries interfaces provided I can get it to behave and upload photos as expected with minimal fuss.

  • Google GMail Mobile
    Very nice interface to my gmail account. Much better than using the built in browser to access the mobile friendly web pages at gmail.

  • ShoZu
    Probably the best "general purpose" tool for posting media from the phone to a host of social networks and media sharing services. You can configure automatic cross-posting and only have to push it once from your phone. It does also support some geo-tagging features such as when pushing to flickr, but alas it does not actually result in JPG EXIF geo-tags on photos, just service specific geo-data. Things I share in real-time will probably be posted this way... otherwise postings will occur at semi-regular intervals. It also supports subscribing to "ZuCasts" of media from your contacts etc. Seeing new photos from my flickr contacts on the phone is kinda cool, but I also have over 1000 contacts... definitely data overload category. Photos I upload with ShoZu will end up on my flickr. Movies on my Vimeo. (whoops, just looked and ShoZu doesn't have vimeo uploading yet).

  • Google Maps Mobile
    A great implementation of Google Maps for mobile devices. The verdict is still out on weather Nokia's bundled map application or google will be more useful while traveling.

  • Slick Instant Messanger
    I tried several IM clients, including the built in features... but this app is by far the most elegant. Supports: AIM, MSN, Y!, GTalk (clickykbd), ICQ, and Jabber. It also claims to support VOIP calling over protocols that have it, GTalk for example. I think I'll even forgo giving my phone number to my services like Twitter/Pownce/Jaiku in favor of the chat relayed version of such messages.

  • Metr0 (Public Transporation Guide)
    I look forward to trying this one in practice. I don't live in a city with a real Metro system, but boy do I love using them when they are available, which is everywhere on my trip. Up to date routes and stops for all lines in a given city, also calculates directions via metro systems in both "fastest" and "least connections" solutions. Wish it had some maps integration though.

  • Mobile Weather
    Just what it says, you can configure which cities to get updates for and when it uses the network, or opt to update manually on demand. Will be handy to know if I need to purchase more layers before Helsinki.

  • Fring
    Primarily designed as a VOIP client to save money on calling, supports many chat protocols and VOIP including Skype! I will probably only use it as a Skype chat or VOIP, because I much prefer Slick IM for general chat use.

  • Opera Mini
    Complete browser alternative to the bundled one. Great scolling and navigation features... the only downside seems to be I don't know how to integrate it so that other applications call it when opening web content.

  • MOSH (Nokia's File Sharing Service)
    I just started to play with it, but already found some nice themes and ringtones (keyword FREE).

  • Jaiku
    A Twitter/Pownce like service, recently aquired by Google. Also does media sharing and you can roll in your other RSS feeds out of the box so that they also post notifications to your contacts. I'm currently sharing the feeds for this blog, my del.icio.us, and my flickr. But another Urbanista reported he had a hell of a time getting the client to use his networks available (and never succeeded). I haven't tested the N82 with a SIM yet, but I know that the Jaiku app refuses to use the WLAN when it is available.

  • Locr (GeoTagging Photos)
    Yet another way to geotag and post photos. I was playing with this one when I was looking for a solution that actually embedded the locations into the EXIF data. This service, however, is not it. Their stand-alone desktop app would do it but unfortunately doesn't read any of the log file formats that SportsTracker exports... and I really don't feel like running two gps logging apps simultaneously. Also it appears you can only directly post to Locr's photo sharing service... so not nearly as versatile as ShoZu. For reference, I did also try ZoneTag but it appears to be relatively, if not completely, broken on this platform. I did eventually come up with an elegant EXIF geoTagging solution, which I'll use while traveling. I'll share it in a later post!

Any Symbian Guru's reading this? Have suggestions for indispensable applications I might have missed? Most notably ones that are useful while traveling?

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