Evaluating the Nokia N78

The nice people at WOM World / Nokia have sent me a Nokia N78 to play with it for a couple of weeks. I got it on Friday and I’ve already been testing it during this long weekend in Belgium. I must admit the device is pretty impressive, specially if you compare it with my previous one, a Nokia 6230i (which is not bad at all).

DSC04615It supports wi-fi connectivity (with WEP keys), Bluetooth, camera (actually two, the ‘normal’ one in the back –Carl Zeiss, 3.2 MP– and a basic one in the front, for videocalls I guess), integrated speakers, USB connectivity, expansion card, MP3 player, web browser, maps and GPS, and ufff… much more.

Ah, it also send messages and make phone calls :)

It has a bunch of handy applications preinstalled (Flickr sharing, for example), and getting new ones is straightforward (I got Google Maps and Gmail within seconds, this is not a damn iPhone ;)). Speaking about Flickr, I’ll be putting in this set the photos I take with its built-in camera.

I’ve found however some annoyances:

  • It has a welcome wizard which helps you configuring the cellphone. With it I managed to set up everything except, I don’t know why, the possibility of sending SMS messages. Maybe it’s something I have to check with my carrier, but the rest is working.
  • The central squared button is way too sensitive. You don’t actually need to press it to get movement in the screen. I wonder if this is an expected iPod-like response, or something the Nokia people need to adjust.
  • The GPS is working well and includes the lat/long information in the photos (love it), however there’s an issue with Flickr getting confused with the numbers. Let’s see if we manage to solve it.
  • The numeric pad is pretty trendy, right, but a bit uncomfortable. The keys are thiner, harder and smaller than in my previous mobile. I suppose it’s a matter of progressively getting used to them.

Well, I promise not to be too boring with this thing but I can’t help posting about the N78 from time to time. Nokia likes it, I like it (who doesn’t?), and prospector buyers (anything you wanna know?) may find it interesting. Game on!

Update: N78 – hands on review.

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Movin’ Out

During the next days I’m gonna migrate hosting servers for zugaldia.net and friends. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility some things might fail. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Fail

Update: The blog migration is completed! (please raise your hands if you see something not working well), the domain migration is gonna need some more time. The feed is still the same, you don’t need to do any change.

Pecha Kucha Brussels Vol.04

I heard of this Pecha Kucha thing several months ago but unfortunately I didn’t have time to attend the previous edition. It’s a kind of lightning-talks on architecture, creativity and design topics. The presenters can show 20 images, with a maximum of 20 seconds for each one (400 seconds ~ 6.66 minutes each).

I read the website and I don’t get what’s this all about so I’ll attend next one and will find out :-) I’ll keep you posted.

Things I learned in Delft

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  • Delft.
  • The Delft Blue (its ceramic), I have to admit I didn’t know it before.
  • You can see The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam from the city’s main tower. Well, you cannot see Amsterdam.
  • The number of steps in the tower are two hundred and… three hundred and… damn it.
  • I think I’m more scared at the tip of a tower than floating at the International Space Station.
  • Willem van Oranje (aka William the Silent) had to be buried in Delft because the traditional family place (Breda) had just been conquered by us the Spaniards. Take that.
  • Next time I have this English conversation in a tourist office someone is gonna die:

Me: Hello, good morning.
They: Hello, are you Spanish or Italian?

  • I have pending experiences with Japanese and Swahili but, as far as I can tell, Dutch is a perfectly unintelligible language.
  • Cheese is classified in The Netherlands according to a particular scale like “48+ Volvette” (meaning: delicious). It’s perfectly explained here: Kaassoorten per vetpercentage. Any Dutch speaker in the room to clarify?
  • Best memory you can bring from a neighbor country is: food.
  • The “Girl with a Pearl Earring” was painted in Delft, by Vermeer, who lived his whole life in Delft. However, the painting is not in Delft but in The Hague.
  • Vermeer painted dozens of paintings with different characters and situations, but using always the same background (see photos above): a corner, a table, and the light coming from a window located on the left.
  • After the BE and the NE, I can’t wait to visit the LUX.

Setting up the Broadcom BCM94311MCG in Ubuntu 8.04

Ubuntu, by MKE1138

In case you want to install Ubuntu 8.04 in a laptop with a Broadcom BCM94311MCG card (like the Acer Aspire 9410Z) please note that:

  • The proprietary driver that Ubuntu suggests to install is NOT working.
  • The instructions here are the best approach, although they’re slightly outdated (you do NOT actually need to recompile ndiswrapper).

So, all you have to do is:

  • Install the NDISwrapper software; just install the package ndisgtk with Synaptic or apt-get, it’ll automatically mark all necessary dependencies.
  • Download the proprietary driver from here, and unpack the file.
  • Configure NDISwrapper using ndisgtk, or by hand:

sudo ndiswrapper -i /path/to/bcmwl5.inf
sudo ndiswrapper -l

  • Edit the file /etc/modules as an administrator (e.g. with sudo) and add a line containing “ndiswrapper” (without the quotes).
  • Check that modprobe is working and save the configuration:

sudo modprobe ndiswrapper
sudo ndiswrapper -m

  • Reboot.

NetworkManager should be working fine now.

Why the hell manufacturers like Broadcom (or Acer) are not yet releasing their drivers for GNU/Linux?? Sad.

Update: Few days ago in Slashdot: Major PC Vendors Push For Open Source Drivers.

Update: The problem has been corrected and now the default Ubuntu driver is working! No need to follow the previous steps.

In the media: The educated guesswork of estimating Darfur deaths

Darfur

Fortunately our reports get (biiig) media attention from time to time. Several days ago I promised I was going to speak a little more about the things we’re doing here, so I’ll start linking some of these articles from now on. I’m gonna start with this one published yesterday by Agence France-Presse (AFP), titled “The educated guesswork of estimating Darfur deaths“:

When a top UN official released a new estimated death toll of 300,000 for Darfur this week, he reignited a lively debate about just how accurate such statistics are. […] In an Op-Ed to the Financial Times in 2005, Professor Debarati Guha-Sapir, head of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and a professor of epidemiology at Louvain’s Catholic University in Brussels, warned that “sensational numbers do not help the Darfur cause.”

The full article is here.

Other selected articles from this year:

Update: En français.

Update 2: Suffering lost in a numbers game — “While the UN and Khartoum disagree over exactly how many people have died in Darfur, the long-term outlook remains grim.”