S60 Phone Software Update Utility – List of Bug Fixes

By now you’ve probably seen on some other blogs that Nokia now offers a Phone Software Update program to let people update their S60 phones such as the 6630, 6680, N70 and others themselves. So I wondered what bugs an update of my N70 would fix. I came up with the following links which list the fixes done by each software version for a variety of phones:

The lists of bug fixes are quite extensive. Quite interesting, I never encountered 95% of them with my usage pattern. Unfortunately, the web sites do not mention where they’ve got the information from. I wished Nokia would officially post such lists.

What will the US do with the money of the spectrum auction?

Just read a report about the ongoing spectrum auction in the US. T-Mobile is already willing to pay over 3 billion dollars to get a nation wide spectrum allotme nt. Observers expect the total revenue generated by the auction from all companies involved to be over 15 billion dollars. It kind of reminds me of what happend
in Germany a couple of years ago when the total sum for 3G licenses was about 50 billion euros or about 70 billion dollars.

So what will happen to the money? Will the US be as short sighted as Germany and just use the money to reduce the national debt or will they reinvest at least a
part of the money into the wireless industry? Just imagine what 10% of this sum would do when invested into wireless projects and new services…

Anyone aware what will happen to the money?

Mobile Web Sponsoring

Wapreview recently ran an interesting article on Yelp Mobile, a service featuring user reviews of everything from restaurants to services and businesses. What I find particularly interesting is that they are sponsored by Palm. To me sponsoring web sites, particularly in the wireless domain, seems to be a win-win situation for the site, the sponsor and the mobile web in general.

On the one hand it’s obviously a win for the sponsored site. On the other hand it’s also a win for the sponsor in several ways. Big web companies like Yahoo and Google and also hardware manufacturers like Palm, Nokia and others live from their image. In my opinion this is one of the reasons why they offer so many services for free.

Sure, they do advertising on those sites in many cases. Nevertheless, I think many services might not be sustainable simply from the advertisement money they generate directly. I rather suspect that the main revenue stream of those companies is the advertising included in some of their other products which are loosely coupled to their services like search or sold ads on other web sites (e.g. Adwords). Free services get additional attention for profitable services which in turn generate more money which in turn again generates revenue to sponsor free services. A nice ecosystem.

Yahoo’s mobile activities around the recent Football world cup is another good example. They surely invested a lot of money into the mobile site for the event. At the same time they also advertised their involvement and thus generated attention for themselves and the mobile web. So a lot of people did not only become aware of Yahoo but also of the mobile web.

Many companies want to expand into the mobile space. So their sponsoring and advertising does not only help their brand but also helps to expand a market which is still in its infancy.

Wind’s got EDGE in Northern Italy!

Agreed, the Lago di Garda is not really a remote area in Northern Italy. However, it is just remote enough that none of the four Italian operators (TIM, Vodafone, Wind and Tre (H3G)) does yet have UMTS coverage in the small village up in the mountains where we have chosen to spend the final week of our vacation. Two surprises though: TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) does not have EDGE coverage here. Very strange as they use EDGE in areas where their UMTS coverage is o.k.!? The positive surprise is WIND: I checked on the web and found no trace of this. Nevertheless, they’ve definitely got their network at the Lago di Garda equipped with EDGE. Great stuff, accessing the Internet is just smooth. Happy holidays 😉

3G Video Calls are now in the Wild

It’s incredible but true: For two years I knew nobody but myself who was using 3G Video Telephony in a real network. But yesterday, I finally saw the first 3G video call "in the wild" between three persons unknown to me.

It was interesting to watch the person casually holding the phone while wandering through the supermarket, joking with the person on the other side, showing him some stuff he discovered and showing his girlfriend who was with him what was going on at the other side. It was good to see the practicality of the whole setup. They didn’t use a headset but used the hands-free mode of their Sony Ericsson V800. The audio quality must have been o.k. since they had no problem communicating.

I am more convinced than ever now that once 3G phones become more widespread and a critical mass is reached mobile video telephony will become a mass market application. 3G coverage is now widely in place in most countries in Europe and video telephony has a major advantage over many other advanced services: It is as easy to use as voice telephony!

24 Aug. 2006 – Update: While in Verona the other day, I’ve seen another peroson engaged in a video call. Once again no headset was used. The person, a man in his best years was hardly in the age group that is known to try out freaky new things. So it looks like video telephony is slowly entering the mass market of the ‘non geeks’, too.

How to share your 3G connection

In an earlier post I was speculating how disruptive a Nokia N80 or other WLAN enabled phone could be as WLAN access point which lets several people share the same UMTS Internet connection. We are not quite there yet but there are other ways to share your 3G connection. The easiest but still somewhat complicated one is to use the Internet connection sharing functionality of Windows XP. Here’s a short description of how to do it:

Settings for the computer with the 3G connection:

To use the Internet sharing feature, the 3G ‘modem’ has to appear in the Windows Network settings as either a dial up modem or a network card. This is shown in figure 1. Sorry for the figures being in German but I think the icons in the windows should give you an idea where to look for the settings on your PC. Right click on the icon that represents the 3G connection and select ‘Properties’. In my particular case shown in figure 1, the phone is connected via Bluetooth. Phones being connected by a cable and PCMCIA cards (*) work fine as well as long as the connection appears as a dial up modem or network card to Windows. Next, click on the last tab of the dialog box and check the box which says that this connection will be shared with other users.

Next, select the network adapter to which the other computers are connected that want to share the connection. In my case, the other users are connected via the Ethernet port. Once you click on the ‘OK’ button the following will happen: Windows configures a fixed IP address (usually for the network card to which the other users are connected (**). This is shown in figure 2. Do not change this setting as otherwise the connection sharing will not work anymore.

Settings on the other computers:

Here, some manual settings are required as well. Go the ‘Windows Network Settings’ and select the network adapter which connects this computer to the one that shares its Internet connection. In my case this is the ‘LAN network adapter’ as shown in figure 3 (***). Go to the TCP/IP setting and set the following values: IP address: Set this to an address in the same subnet as the sharing computer (e.g. Standard Gateway and DNS Server: Set these IP addresses to the IP address of the sharing computer (e.g.

That’s it! Once the computers are connected with each other and the 3G connection is established all participants can use the single Internet connection. Enjoy!

And here’s the fine print 😉

(*) Personally, I don’t have experience with certain software, e.g. from Vodafone, which is supposed to make your life easier and integrate the connection management in their own graphical user interface. Therefore, feedback on this would be appreciated.

(**) If you sometimes use the fixed line LAN connection for other purposes, you have to deactivate the Internet sharing on your modem connection again and reset the IP settings of the LAN connection for automatic IP and DNS address retrieval.

(***) It should also be possible to be able to share an Internet connection via the Wireless LAN network adapter. In this case however, the WLAN network adapter needs to be configured for ‘Ad-hoc connections’ or a Wireless LAN access point has to be used. In both cases it is important to remember not to change the static IP address of the adapter (usually that Windows has configured when the Internet connection sharing was first activated.

3G Roaming – Pleasure with Pitfalls

Thanks to an international 3G subscription I have long ago given up searching for Wifi hotspots at the locations I travel to. Instead, as the Sprint guys put it, the 3G network is following me wherever I go. I see it the other way round. Wherever I go, the network is already there. While I have always managed so far to find good 3G or EDGE connectivity, there are some pitfalls which I wouldn’t have thought existed anymore three years after the commercial launch of the first UMTS networks. Here are some strange but true examples:

France: For a month or two now, Orange, the mobile operator that allows me to roam to its 3G network, seems to have a new software version running on their UMTS network in Paris. Since then, my almost brand new Nokia N70 behaves strangely and has trouble establishing a dedicated bearer during a packet session after some time of inactivity. This results in very long delays in the order of 10 seconds or more when I click on a link after some time of network inactivity. The only remedy is to trick the network into letting me have a dedicated channel continuously by constantly sending pings to a host on the network. While this helps for notebook use, I can’t use this trick while web browsing via the mobile phone. So I prefer using Organe’s EDGE network by forcing the mobile into GSM only mode. In other parts of the country things work flawlessly. This is probably due to the fact that Orange uses different UMTS access vendors in different parts of the country: Alcatel in Paris, Nortel and Nokia in other parts of the country. Well done, Orange!

Germany: Here, I have a greater choice of UMTS roaming partners: T-Mobile, E-Plus and O2. The first two work flawlessly with my Nokia N70. O2 also works well if the mobile can find the UMTS network. Sometimes, however, the mobile just refuses to see the network, especially after the mobile has lost coverage for some time like for example if I have parked the car in an underground garage. Switching the phone on or off does not change anything. Even a manual network search, which shows that the 3G network is available, does not force the mobile back into O2’s UMTS network. The only action that helps sometimes is to go back to the place where the phone has no GSM or UMTS coverage of O2’s network for a minute. It’s a repeatable phenomenon and I’ve only seen it in Germany and only with O2. Also, I have to restart the phone much more often than in other networks, about once per day, as after some time I can’t connect to the Internet anymore.

Austria: Again, I have several roaming partners for UMTS: T-Mobile, A1 and One. In the A1 network I have detected the strangest problem yet. With both my Nokia N70 and my somewhat older Sony Ericsson V800 I have problems to send data from the notebook to the network. An analysis with Wireshark, a network tracing tool, revealed that the network has problems with large IP packets in uplink direction. At first I thought it was a specific mobile problem in combination with the network components used in the A1 network. However, as two completely different phones have the same problem it seems to be a general network issue. What helps is to reduce the Maximum Transfer Size (MTU) of the notebook for dial up connections. After changing the MTU size to 480 bytes as described in this Microsoft bulletin, things worked a lot better. But quite frankly, I prefer using ONE’s network where things work as they should. Just in case I ever end up in a part of Austria where ONE’s network is not available, I still have my MTU jocker ready.

All of this is very strange as both of my UMTS phones are widely used in these countries. But I think it shows that 3G interoperability is still not where it should be. Nevertheless, things are not as bad as they might seem after describing these three cases for the following reasons: Even in the countries described above I have found at least one network in which things work flawlessly with my mobiles. In addition, here’s a list of countries where I didn’t encounter problems, at least not in the networks I used: Switzerland (GPRS and EDGE), Spain, Italy, Belgium (EDGE), The Netherlands, U.K. and Portugal.

CoComments Big Brother Plugin

CoComment is a great tool to keep track of comments left by you and others on blogs. Lately, they have added a Firefox plugin which makes the service even more comfortable to use. Unfortunately, however, the plugin raises a serious privacy issue about which CoComment does not inform its users about.

I’ve tried to get in contact with them to get a statement but got no response. O.k. so let’s discuss it in the blogsphere. While the plugin’s functionality is doubtlessly interesting, it contacts the CoComment server after each and every download of a web page. Part of the message sent to CoComment is the visited URL. In effect, CoComment is thus aware of each and every move a user takes on the Web. Cookies pale in comparison to this! What is so unacceptable to me is that CoComment does not inform users about this to let them choose if this is acceptable to them or not.

For my part I’ve uninstalled the plugin again and have reverted back to their bookmarklet. It offers less functionality but preserves my privacy except of course of keeping track of my comments, which is what it’s supposed to do.