Programming Nokia Smartphones

I really admire those brave souls who have ventured into the murky, piranha invested waters of Symbian programming. Maybe I’m too stupid or maybe it’s just too darn hard. The reality probably lies somewhere in the middle. Have you ever spent hours scouring the Internet for a solution to an irritating problem? And when you do find it you copy the solution verbatim since you really can’t figure out exactly why it does what it does. The SDK documentation really does not make your life easier. I have bought a few books but even the most recent one does not cover 5th edition.

I have quite a number of unfinished projects. Yes OK I lost interest. It’s so frustrating when even a “Hello World” app has a large number of files strewn all over the place. A simple concept can take pages of code. You have to keep track of the cleanup stack: what you have to put on it, when you shouldn’t or when a pointer belongs to the OS or to the man running the corner store. The emulator takes ages to start up. Your app panics with an undocumented code and it’s back to Google. Or it terminated suddenly and unspectacularly with no indication as to why. You watch endless lines of gobbledygook whiz by as your program gets compiled by a host of different tools. You tick a little checkbox hidden deep inside the bowels of Carbide. This whole system is in serious need of overhauling.

So maybe I’ll try Python. Hopefully I can gather up enough courage to join the Big Boys again later. Hopefully it’s not a snake that turns around and bites me.

Ovi Sync: The Quick Way To Mess Up Your Calendar

Today I discovered to my horror that my the calendar on my N97 was totally blank: The restore process had failed to restore my calendar. So I decided to restore it with Ovi Sync. I was left with a mess on my N97. Suddenly there were four or five entries for 1 January 2010 that were not even present on Ovi Sync. on that day. Oh and Ovi Sync had decided to move April’s Fool to 31 March. Some events were duplicated, in some cases three entries for one event with one entry on the previous day.

Nokia please fix your broken stuff before you announce hundreds of new ventures. Fix backup/restore, fix Ovi Sync and fix the N97. Please?


Weird Nokia Timezone Bug

This bug or “feature” seems to affect at least the N97 and the E90. When the phone creates a file it uses GMT+0 as the creation date/time. Whenever the phone accesses the file the OS reports the creation date/time according to the timezone. The problem arises when you read the file using data transfer mode or if you use a memory card reader. You get the GMT+0 date/time.
OK a simple example. I took a snapshot. The name of the file was E:\Images\200909\200909A0\20092009003.jpg. The first picture shows the details screen on the E90 and the second picture the details of the file when the memory card was removed from the phone and inserted into a card reader. Notice the two hour time difference: I’m in a GMT+2 region.

File details on E90
File details on PC

Ovi Store: Buyer Beware

I was wondering if I could wrench some more space from the c: drive of my N97. So I decided to do a hard reset using *#7370#. I attempted to do a backup but that failed: backup claimed that there wasn’t enough memory even though I had about 53MB free, even after a phone restart. Luckily the PC Suite backup succeeded. I reset the N97 and did a restore. This is probably where things went wrong: although I could see the icons of the apps installed on the mass memory, I couldn’t start them. Tapping the application icon seemed to have no effect. I decided to reinstall the problematic apps. When I got to Photorama I realised that I would have to download it again from the Ovi Store. I went to “My Stuff” and when I selected it I discovered I couldn’t simply download Photorama again. I would have to buy it again before I could download it again! So I went to on my N97 using the Webbrowser, bought it and downloaded it again. This put a .dcf file in my download folder. So it seems that if you use the Ovi Store app it deletes the installation file after installation but the browser leaves it behind. It’s probably a good idea to make a copy of the installation file in case you need to reinstall the app.