Monday, 30 April 2007

Mobizines Exclusive!

Got an N73 or an N95 folks?
Well just in case you haven't - why not have a look in your applications folder for something called 'Download!'.
FYI - That's the icon over there ---------------------->

Found it?
Now click on it - you should see a screen that looks like this:

Got it? No? Missing some icons? Ok...
Hit 'Options' then 'Refresh list' to update the content...
Got it now? Cool.
Now click on 'Services UK'.
And you should see a screen like this:

That's right... Mobizines!

Not only is it now available for download onto the N95/N73 care of the Nokia Download App (Or 'Nokia Content Discoverer (NCD)' as we call it in the business, but it is also the super-whuzzy flash client too!
So no more having to email us your operator/number etc... while we wait for Symbian signing.


A big thanks to all the guys at Nokia for helping us get this live.
We really really appreciate it.

Ooo - and in keeping with the blogging tradition - a big shout out to Neil at for being one of the first bloggers to notice...

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Orange joins the data club

This just in from the Blogroll via Ewan @ smstextnews:

"Well, will WONDERS never CEASE?

Butter me in jelly and call me Christopher!

Look again. Yes, Orange, uh huh, ORANGE are launching an unlimited data add-on. This is from the company who most recently brought us the unbelievable and downright laughable ‘unlimited’ off peak data deal if you signed up to their 75 quid a month price plan. As if ‘off peak’ was any use.

Muchos kudos to SMS Text News reader Barry O’Connell for spotting this in The London Times!

So, the future’s bright, right? Have a read..."

The link Ewan is referring to is here.
But cutting to the meat of it - (as we do often do) - it works out like this:

Contract: Internet “snacks” – 30p for 15mins with daily cap of £1.50 or a “bundle” priced at £1 per day or £5 monthly for evening/ weekends or £8 monthly “anytime”.

Pay-as-you-go: Internet snacks – 40p for 15 mins with daily cap of £2 or a daily £1 bundle

Orange has (at last) joined the elite!

This is great news for Mobizines users -

T-Mobile, 3 and now Orange are clearly leading the way with their data bundles...
Vodafone are following up this summer and o2?

Well put it this way - they're not on our Christmas card list.
What about yours?

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Not the N95!

There have been a few mutterings around the office of late that we're concentrating too much on the Nokia N95 on this here new(ish) fancy blog of ours...


We're happy to announce that the Mobizines service is now live on the Nokia 6300.

To quote Nokia:

"Clean, modern design with stainless steel covers, 2 megapixel camera with 8x digital zoom, music player and FM radio, multimedia messaging, and a video player and recorder..."

Well they should add 'Mobizines Reader' to that list too!

The Nokia 6300, the Nokia N95 and the Nokia E65 are all over the press (certainly in the UK anyway) at the moment and we're happy shout out that we support all of these handsets.
The current clients are all Java but we are working on Symbian variants for both the N95 and the E65.

On a personal note - a friend of mine got the 6300 a while back and I almost dumped my (then) N73 for it overnight!
It is a great little phone and probably the best choice for non-techie/non-business mobile phone users.

Anyone out there got one of these handsets?
Have you tried Mobizines?

Let us know!
Leave a comment or email us at

(note - we've got a new email address)

PS - Click here to see our handset compatibility list

Monday, 23 April 2007

Taking your lovely new N95 to the beach

A couple of words of warning if you are taking your new and lovely N95 on holiday with you...

1. Avoid sand.

The slider mechanism really hates it and mine now makes a terrible grinding sound.

2. Take a spare battery.

The MP3 player gives a good few hours worth of playing but I frequently found myself having to limit my phone usage to stay charged for a full day on the beach.

Still, minor gripes, it really is a fantastic phone...

Thursday, 19 April 2007

What's in yours?

Got an N95?
I have. So has Richie.
Rich got his from T-Mobile.
I got mine from Vodafone.

Let's have a quick comparison, shall we?

Two sections: Box & Handset

In the box for T-Mobile:

  • Handset (obviously)
  • Mains Charger
  • TV-Out Cable
  • Hands-Free Kit
  • Mini-USB Cable
So that's what Rich got.
Me and my Vodafone package?
Well I got all of the above PLUS the following:
  • In-Car Charger
  • 512mb MicroSD Memory Card + SD Adaptor
  • CA-44 Adaptor (the thing that changes old Nokia charges to new ones - you know the one)
First round to me then... er...I mean Vodafone.

Ok - moving on - What about on the handset?

T-Mobile - Rich got LOADSA stuff!
Vodafone - I got LOADSA stuff too! Except...

I'm missing my Internet Telephony Settings - (just like the Orange variant).
Not only that but also on Richie's download app - he gets cool stuff like:
System Rush, EA Games, Gizmo VOIP...
What do I get?


No matter how many times I refresh - ALL I GET IS SNAKES!

T-Mobile (Richie) wins that round then!

Conclusion? It's a draw*.
If you want loads of accessories and stuff (and you don't mind missing out on a few features) then get your N95 from VFUK.
If you want access to all of your N95 features & software (and are quite happy to purchase your own accessories) then get your N95 from T-Mobile.

Happy shopping!
Obviously we haven't checked Orange and/or 3 - so if you have this handset on either of these networks - let us know what you have and haven't got!

*On this note - Rich thinks that ultimately I'll win as I kind of have a bit of a reputation for flashing the odd phone or two... ahem.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


Are you Pay As You Go or are you Fleeced As You Go?

That is the question...

We all know the Mobizines Service is Free right? RIGHT?!
And we all know that the operators are very slowly coming round to the idea that we might not want to pay through the nose for our data charges, right? RIGHT?!

And although some people take issue with this - at least the operators are trying...
They are trying right? RIGHT?!


I get in this morning and start my usual 'pre-work blogroll browse' and thanks to the lovely Technokitten...

(whom I also happened to meet at a mobilistic soiree last week - cheers lass)

...I have now been enlightened to the world of PAYG Data Charges.
To use a common web phrase... OMG!

Vodafone seems to be leading the way with a whopping £7.50 per mb!

That's insane!
Almost as bad as their (current) contract prices!
But hey - it could be worse...

You could be paying for mobile data in Canada, OUCH!
Now THAT hurts.
(thanks to Ewan @ smstextnews for that one)

Edit: I've just been told off for being too negative - I'm going to go and do some research on PAYG prices - see if I can find the best offering.
Not just the worst.

My Mobizines for mouseless devices

Rich just showed me the coolest thing ever.

When we were putting My Mobizines together for the website we decided that it would be the coolest thing ever if we made the interface all drag and drop and Web 2.0ish. (I've now recanted and a more accessible version is in the works, but bear with me).

About that time Robin bought himself a PSP "for research". The website rendered OK but of course the PSP is mouseless: there's a pointer but you can't drag. So I hacked in the ability to triple click a Mobizine icon to subscribe. All was happy, the PSP project was kind of forgotten, and we went back to drag and drop as a metaphor - but triple click remained.

Scroll on six months and mouseless browsers are popping up everywhere. We tested My Mobizines on the Wii and - with triple click - you can indeed subscribe to a Mobizine.

And now for today's discovery: Rich just brought his brand new N95 over and showed me My Mobizines running on it in zoom mode. Triple click an icon and - bingo - Mobizine subscribed. This is obviously really bizarre as the point of My Mobizines was to provide configuration of your mobile device from a web browser, and here was a mobile device configuring itself.

I think this says more for the clever people at KDE, Apple and Nokia for making the N95 do proper web than my coding (no, the Javascript isn't obfuscated: that's how I code). It also says an enormous amount about the rock solid frameworks My Mobizines is built on: prototype by Sam Stephenson and by Thomas Fuchs et al. As I side note I made a right tit of myself at a conference yesterday when I met Ryan Singer from 37Signals and I utterly gushed over prototype and the great stuff 37Signals has given the community. Oh well, sometimes its good to be a fanboy.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Overclocking madness

Make Magazine (they really ought to be on our blogroll...there...done!) is reporting that someone has figured out how to overclock (and underclock, which is handier when you're trying to beat a game) a Nintendo DS Lite.

Which makes me wonder...overclocking the DS Lite requires the dexterity of a brain surgeon for flies. If someone's prepared to put that much effort into a games console how come there are no hardware hacks for mobiles?

How much effort would it be to clock an N95?

Whatley adds: A prize for the first person to correctly guess why Jim has chosen Bob Hoskins as his referral picture for this particular blog entry...

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Top 10 Worst Phones (part 2)

As promised the top 5 suckymost handsets...

5. The Danger Sidekick.

Continuing the strange American obsession with souped up pagers, we present the Sidekick. Not a lousy device (seems a little unfair to call it a phone) by any means and it did have one really whizzy feature: the rotating screen. Flick it and the screen spins out. Which is fine so long as you can remember which way the screen spins. Try to push it the other way and...look mum, I've got a wireless screen!

4. The Pogo.

What happens when you get a bunch of web designers in severe glasses in a room with a bunch of hardware engineers. The of wireless. I might be slightly biased as the Pogo was tenuously connected with a Web agency called Razorfish who have subjected me to some of the dullest meetings ever. Plus I used to work with someone who'd worked for Pogo and every new bit of technology you came across and got excited about was met with a curt "yeah, we invented that at Pogo." Which is impressive the first couple of hundred times you hear it.

3. The iPhone.

Of course it's going to be fantastic. It'll revolutionise everything ever and usher humanity over the edge of the singularity into which technology develops so fast that we mere moderns won't be able to comprehend what's happening. But Steve Jobs won't let us put Mobizines on it (yet, the Apple TV doesn't seem to be very tinker-resistant) so it's therefore no good.

2. Ericsson T39.

It's a WAP phone...with a single line display! Great if you like scrolling but the buttons are sized for a two-year old. Frustration in a clamshell. The T89 nearly made this slot thanks to the irascibility of its pointer thingy (for correct term see this slightly nsfw cartoon strip) but the T89 was colour which had much the same effect on the WAP development community as gravity did on physics. After all before Newton invented gravity stuff kept flying off didn't it?

But, I mean, the jury's least favourite mobile phone of all time is...

1. The Siemens U10.

I have a particular horror of this phone stemming from my time working with the team setting up the UMTS for a large network operator beginning with T. And ending in -Mobile. You could not get it to do anything for longer than 30 seconds before it would "spontaneously power-cycle" as one QA report had it (that's crash to you). It was about the size of the XBOX 360 power supply and despite a generous screen the OS vendor (Motorola) had decided to use a font that was about this big thus rendering the advantage of the big screen redundant. It was like using a large-print book as a phone. Siemens did produce some good phones before their ultimate demise, this wasn't one of them. My job was to pair this beast up via bluetooth with a Microsoft PocketPC device (see Pocket PC, above) and use that to test browsing over 3G. Now, the Pocket PC of the time had a uniquely nerve-jangling chime to indicate that the bluetooth connection was broken, which would require restarting the U10 and the PDA. I used to hear that chime every 5 minutes or so as the U10 would crash, or drop radio power because its battery was low (read: always) or simply forget what it was doing and just shuffle about looking dazed. After a while I was hearing that chime in my sleep. I would happily drive over a road made of kittens and puppy dogs in cute little bows just for the satisfaction of smashing one of these to plastic shards. Bleurgh.

Phew. And relax.

They don't make 'em like they used to. Thank God.

Perhaps Nokia users are just easier to please

Robin, our chief technologist (he posts here occasionally as "Eyemags"), has done some interesting research on user voting patterns on eyemags. He's posted the preliminary analysis at the Nokia Forum blogs, but the gist of it is, that when asked to vote on the quality of an Eyemag, Nokia users tend to rank their experience higher than any other handset owners. We've a bunch of theories about this (they have better screens, they can only see the first option, they're more enthusiastic by nature than Samsung owners) but nothing definite. Robin's story also got picked up at the Register in their inimitable nudge-nudge, wink-wink style.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

A cool quarter mill for Shozu

I'm a big fan of Shozu. It's the ideal mobile app for me as it integrates so nicely with something I actually use the phone for. It augments rather than interjects if that makes sense. Anyway, Shozu rather cunningly inserts "Shozu" into your Flickr tags to make pictures posted via its service easy to find and it's just clicked over the 250,000 mark at the online photo service I use - Flickr. I reckon that's about £25k's worth of pictures at Truprint prices.

Go Shozu!

Incidentally there are some very amusing pictures in the Shozu/Interesting stream. Modesty forbids me from posting the Starbucks one, so here's some dogs.

10 Worst Phones Of All Time (part 1)

OK, so the N95 is a lovely piece of engineering, but it's time we celebrated the other side of the coin, the turkeys that wouldn't fly, the phones that should have been codenamed, "but seriously, WTF?"

In order to get in this highly exclusive list a phone needs to have some serious design or conceptual flaw (or simply not work), a flaw that really should have spotted and ironed out. Either that or the phone in question should have been placed in a burlap sack and dropped off a bridge.

In reverse order then:

10. The Nokia 7110

Actually, the 7110 wasn't the worst phone ever. As a phone (for making phone calls) it worked fine, with triband GSM and a really usuable UI. Its reason for getting in the list is that it was the first phone to demonstrate exactly how much WAP was going to underdeliver. "WAP is crap" started with this phone, although that really isn't the phone's fault. The other reason it's here is for the spring-loaded keypad cover which was slick as you like for 1999, but required the owner to hold it at exactly the right angle to work properly. And you had to put up with loads of people telling you it wasn't actually the phone used in the Matrix.

9. The Motorola P7389

This phone came out at the same time as the Nokia 7110 when I was working for a company developing some of the first WAP sites. You could get either the 7110 or the 7389 from O2 and my colleague Ben volunteered to get the 7110. I got the 7389. A week later after missing dozens of calls and still unable to find my texts I swapped it for the 7110.

8. Any phone running Windows PocketPC Phone edition

Just for the genius decision that you couldn't start calls from the missed calls register. If you could find it. Er...but...The new OS is much better (you can let my arm go now, Scott)

7. Nokia N-Gage

Partly for the notion that you could beat Nintendo at mobile gaming, but mostly just for the genius placement of mic and speaker. A whole new internet cult was born: Sidetalkin

6. Motorola V100

It's a pager. Not a phone. You can't fool me, I'm a professional. on tomorrow for 5 to 2 and then I'll do a big countdown in my best David "Kid" Jensen style over CCS's version of Whole Lotta Love (stops, realises that at least half the people in the office won't have the faintest what that is, feels old) before getting to number one!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

We love our N95...

...So much we made a video of it !

Not only did we film Mobizines on the N95's beautiful screen - but we utilised the TV-Out port to our best ability too...

Scroll down to the vid and have a look see what I mean...

(in order of appearance)

Richie's N95,
Mobizines - Java Version*,
Mobizines in vertical & horizontal screen format,
MAXIM Mobizine in vertical & horizontal screen format,
Our very own Mobizines Daily...

...and a Mobizines Blogspot exclusive:

The new 'Autoscroll' feature that will be built into our next release...


*Yes yes - we know the N95 is a Symbian handset - but Richie is our Java fiend and as the vid was his idea we used 'his version' of Mobizines.
We do have a Symbian version of it mind, we just haven't released it yet but;
If you'd like to give it a go - email us (along with your phone number and operator details) at and we'll send you the necessary files to install it yourself!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Tube Map you say?

"Whassat den?!"

Well - we've been trying to collate a list of all the apps we like/admire/use daily to share with all of our lovely readers out there (all five of them).

So far Jim and I are yet to receive anything back from the group email we sent out last week along the lines of:

"Oi! Give us something for the blog!"

But to be fair to the guys upstairs - they do work hard - and the next release isn't far away.


In the interim - one of our 'blogrollers' - the lovely technokitten to be precise - reminded me of a handy little app we found a while back via the wonders of Transport for London.

Basically - on some handsets you can download a lovely interactive Tube Map via their wap site.
Unfortunately you're unable to get to this if you use an N73 or an N95 for example.
That's what TFL would have you believe!

We managed to find the source of the downloads and we've decided to share it with all you lovely people.
Got a phone? Gonna be in London Town anytime soon?
Then get this super duper Tube Map!
It's easy peasy... Ready?

Get your Firefox browser + WAP browser plug-in (if needed) and go to here:

Once you get there use the following as a guide:

6230 - does 128px screens - Er.. 6230 then.
6600 - does 176px screens - That'll be your N70 etc...
S700 - does 240px screens (QVGA) screens - N73, N95, etc, etc...

Tube map wonderment for all!

Why do you have to go to the above wap/website to get the map?
Well - you don't.

Go to the official wap site site on a 6230 and you're laughing.
Go there on an N73 however and you will not be shown the link to download the app.

Boo! Hiss!

New Handsets from T-Mobile

T-Mobile UK adds Nokia N95, BlackBerry 8800g to its offering...

Us lucky Brits!

The first one is the Nokia N95 "multimedia computer", whose price starts from £0 and goes up to £289.99 (one of our guys has already done this - expect a video update soon)

The other one is RIM's flagship BlackBerry 8800g, priced in a £0-159.99 range. Of course, in order to get any of these devices, you'll have to sign for an appropriate contract.
Still, it's good to see two of the top devices available on any carrier/operator.

Maybe the others will catch up soon?

We just love testing out new handsets in this office - as you can see we've got Mobizines working on the N95 and we also support some Blackberry handsets - but not all.

Guess we'll have to get the Tech Team working on the 8800g!
Just out of curiosity:

Have any of our readers tried the Blackberry version of the Mobizines client yet?
If so - we'd love your feedback - email us at or leave your comments below...

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Not all that quickly though

Maths-phobes look away now.

Something about James' post struck me as a little odd. Not anything James said, but the quote from Voda: "Currently, you’re charged £2.35 for each MB. But from June 1st 2007, you’ll only pay £1 for up to 15MB per day. That’s 30 times more pages for the same price."

Huh? How does that work out? If 1Mb equals £2.35 before the change, and 15mb equals £1 now then actually you get 35 times as much data per pound! (35.25 to be precise).

No wonder it's taking the mobile operators so long to figure out that flat, or at least predictable, data tariffs are what we want. They can't even work out the basic maths in their pricing models.

Incidentally, that comparison above is only valid for the 15Mb you get for a pound. Stray over the 15Mb and Voda will charge you £2 a megabyte. For £2.35 you get 15.675 megabytes. Put another way that means you only get 15.675 times as much data for the same price as before not 30 times.

The thirty times statement comes from the proposition that you are paying for the first 0.5Mb of use per day and the other 14.5Mb are free. This is what's know in the trade as a bit of a strange 'un, rather like buying a chassis and getting the rest of the car for free. You can't buy a smaller bundle than the 15Mb offer, so the actual price of the thing is a pound for 15 megs however it's presented.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Slowly but surely...

The operators are coming round to the idea that not all of us want to pay hideous fees for our data! As you can see here, the Mobizines service is FREE(ish). However - with some network operators it can cost you an awful lot of cash for that little thing we like to call Data.
As one of the lass' here at Refresh Towers used to say:

"Mobizines! Getta Bitta Data on ya Dog! Innit?!"

The T-Mobile Web 'n' Walk is clearly leading the way with their 'all you can eat' tariff. That combined with Three's X-Series demonstrates that very soon, draconian data download charges will be a thing of the past.

Good news today (well - ish) - Vodafone have just announced some of their plans for their data strategy...

The link is embedded up there ^ but for those of you who just want the meat - the site says:

"Currently, you’re charged £2.35 for each MB. But from June 1st 2007, you’ll only pay £1 for up to 15MB per day. That’s 30 times more pages for the same price."

It's not exactly the tidal wave of change we were hoping for but it's a step in the right direction (if only a little one).

To be fair to the guys at VF - they do allude to a monthly web browsing package but unfortunately give no details.

So we wait...

Opening up the floor

A small number of us started the business planning process for Q3/Q4 2007 earlier today.

Lots of ideas flying around between the Refresh Mobile elite this morning...

Our next meeting, with an expanded set of attendees, is Wednesday 11th April.
I'm always happy to have our folk bring along their own ideas into where we should be heading next - but I thought I'd open it out even further:

Do any of our readers/users have any ideas or comments about what they'd like from the Mobizines service?

Leave a comment and let me know - be great to hear from you,