||Bird’s eye view. Handy for scrolling.|
Detailsoption from the options menu, but the cursor is not active inside the window that gets displayed, so you can’t copy from there. The way I get around this is to select
via text message. This opens the message editor with the link inserted in the body, and you can then easily copy it, or save it as a draft for copying later. This isn’t that bad of a hack, but I still think that there should be much better copying functionality in the browser.
If you edit a textarea near the bottom of the screen, the cursor can end up below the bottom of the screen, without the scrolling catching up. So you can’t see what you’re typing. The only thing to do is hit return a few times to insert a few blank lines, then scroll up a bit.
So far, I’m satisfied with the WiFi performance. The browser is quite snappy, as is SSH.
One feature I hadn’t thought about beforehand that I’ve definitely been enjoying is the ability to use the browser and other WiFi applications while making or receiving phone calls. Of course you can’t use the GPRS or EGPRS while on the phone, but you can use the WiFi. This is great while on hold or to look up or send by email information needed by the person to whom you are talking.
I’ve successfully connected on my home network, at Starbucks, and at some random other cafes.
The reception does seem on the weak side, but I have not tested this directly. I have noticed that it will maintain a connection that it has already establishesd even in situations where that access point does not show up as available.
The device doubles as a handy network detector. You can configure it to display at a glance on the
Standby screen what networks are currently available. This is very handy for deciding whether you want to get your laptop out in a particular spot. I’m sure that constant scanning does have a negative impact on battery life, but I don’t know how much.
The voice recorder does a very good job of recording. I used it in an area packed full of loud drunk people. Even though it was held at around waist level, it was able to record the nearby voices clearly while dimming the background noise.
However, it cuts off at one minute maximum, and there is nothing you can do about it. This is annoying. There are some software solutions to this floating around, but I haven’t tested them yet.
The voice recorder isn’t that important to me. But apparently it’s really important to other people—there is a dedicated button on the left side of the phone to start recording. It’s right next to the volume up and down buttons. I find this placement very unfortunate.
It’s too easy to turn it on by accident. Maybe this is why the clips are limited to a minute. There is no space between it and the volume buttons, so it is easy to hit it while trying to change the volume. The heavy part of the phone is at the top, so I usually pick it up by the top. And the recorder button is right where I want to grab it. Finally, the thing has actually come on by itself a few times, as if it were motion sensitive. Maybe my device is defective.
Of course it’s not that big of a deal if it does come on, especially since I have a 2 GB card. But still, it shouldn’t do that, and personally I have no use for such an easily accessible record button.
VOIP is not a gimmick on this phone. Every menu where you can make a voice call, you also have the option to make a data call. There are numerous preferences to set to determine how you send and receive these calls, and when your calls should be made with data and when they should be made with voice. Contacts have separate fields for internet phone numbers and for SIP addresses. It’s pretty damn cool, and a big part of the reason I got this phone.
I was unable to get the phone to register with my provider, Junction Networks. However, I had no problem at all registering it with my home Asterisk server, and have been able to make and receive calls. I followed the first set of instructions listed in the links section below. It sounds great!
Registration does have some stability problems. Sometimes it just refuses to register until I reboot the phone. But it’s not such a big deal, and will often stay registered for several hours at a time. Because it does occasionally also lose the connection while idle, I don’t know if I would rely on it as your only handset.
There are a couple of problems that I’m trying to solve. First, there is some kind of delay after the other party picks up when I’m making a VOIP call. It seems to be about 3 or 4 seconds, which is long enough to be annoying. After that, the call kicks in as normal. Second, I have not been able to get DTMF tones to work. This is a big problem for doing things like accessing my work voicemail or navigating customer service menus. This could be something with my Asterisk setup, but I am able to issue those tones from my softphone, so that seems unlikely. The phone does include a special menu for sending DTMF, but it hasn’t worked so far. If I was cool like Cap’n Crunch, I could whistle them, but I’m not.
The phone can be ready to receive both VOIP and cellular calls—you don’t have to choose between them, which is great. When I’m at home, the phone functions as an additional handset on my VOIP line, so I can make and receive calls without using my cell minutes, and with better quality. As soon as I configure my server correctly, I will also be able to make these calls whenever I am on a WiFi network anywhere.
I have not yet been able to make calls to SIP addresses, but I suspect this is an Asterisk problem and not an E61 problem. Unfortunately, trying such a call locks up the phone and I have to reboot.
One other disappointment is that the IP-Passthrough access point is not available for VOIP. I have no idea why, but it’s very unfortunate. If it were available, you would be able to make VOIP calls with your phone connected via USB to your laptop/desktop connected to a wired network.
I am successfully using the phone as a modem via bluetooth from my laptop. I run Debian GNU/Linux on an IBM X40 Thinkpad. I’ll add my configuration files to this page shortly. This was another important feature I considered before purchasing the phone. Blackberries are notoriously difficult or impossible to use as modems, and other phones will let you do it but not over bluetooth.
I’m getting along well with the Nokia calendar so far.
It also doesn’t work with eventful.com. However, you can subscribe to the RSS feed for a calendar with the Web Feeds application, and import items from the feed to the Nokia calendar.
Note that with the new firmware, you have to hold down the blue function key and press the shortcut key at the same time.
|*||Cycle between calendar views|
|#||Goto today’s date|
If you have network auto-update time on, and you change time zones, all of your appointment times will be adjusted according to the time zone adjustment. I really don’t like this, but at least it is predictable. However, if you then turn auto-update off, it seems like the appointment times are not changed back. I don’t know exactly what the deal is yet, but be careful!
Also, it looks like the calendar can’t handle it when you want to have an event that starts in the evening on one day, and goes into the morning of the next day.
Do not get the Nokia “fashion headset”. These are quite simply the worst headphones of any kind I have ever used. They sound terrible and they will not stay in your ears. If I turn my head even a tiny bit, they fall out. Also, it looks like the microphone is way too low on the cord (it hangs at around my sternum) and it seems to not be adjustable! I’m not 100% sure about that, but it doesn’t matter. The first two problems are enough to make me want to return them. The cord is also strange and uncomfortable.
The proprietary connector limits your options unfortunately. Bluetooth A2DP (stereo audio) appears to not be available out of the box, which is a criminal omission. I still have hope that maybe it will be enabled via software in the future as it has been for the Windows Mobile phones.
So, I don’t have a great answer here. I ended up giving up on the idea of having headphones with a microphone. Instead I bought an adapter on EBay that allows me to use regular headphones, and then bought a $12 pair of Sennheiser earbuds. It’s working out ok.
The firmware upgrade does nothing to fix this. Unfortunately, it looks like Cingular went with a different IM client for their version of the phone. Maybe T-Mobile will provide a server when they start offering the phone?
In the meantime, there are some 3rd party clients that you might try.
(Updated 2006 November 4)
I’ve started collecting some other blogs and sites about the Nokia E61.
After a few failed attempts, I managed to update the firmware on my phone. I’m not a Windows user normally, and you have to have Windows to install the firmware. I hauled an old Windows laptop out and tried that, but the firmware installer actually enforces a 256MB minimum RAM requirement, which I find unbelievable. That laptop has only 192MB, so the installer refused to proceed. I had to enlist the help of some friends.
The new firmware seems mostly good so far. Here’s what I’ve noticed.
For a while I was locking the keypad by hitting the power button and selecting Lock Keypad. That’s ok, except for the few times I accidentally turned the phone off when trying to do it quickly.
It turns out that you can lock the keypad the same way that you unlock it, by hitting the top left soft button (the one that is bound to Notes by defaut on the standby screen), then the blue function key (lower left of the keypad). Just repeat this sequence (following the on-screen instructions) to unlock it.
I probably won’t get one of these, as I don’t have much use for the features, but just in case, I’ll save the links.
There is an Adobe PDF viewer available via the E61’s catalog application. However, I can tell you that I have yet to successfully view a PDF with it. It usually complains that the file is too large, and refuses to open it. If it doesn’t do that, then it displays something that has only a vague relation to text—squiggles, basically. And yes, I did try changing the zoom levels. There is another program called QuickOffice in the catalog that may be able to view PDFs—haven’t tried it yet.
I finally got around to playing with printing. It was easy to set up the basics. I’m currently able to print notes and other plain text from the E61 over my home wifi network. The printer is a Panasonic P7305, connected via parallel port to a GNU/Linux Server. I’m using
lprng on the server to handle the printing.
On the phone, I created a new printer with the server address as the IP of the machine hosting the printer. I set “bearer” to be
LPR, username to be a user on the machine, and queue to be
lp0, which is the name of the queue in my
/etc/printcap file. And it works! I’m shocked to be honest.
I thought that maybe printing to a file would be a way to save a web page for later viewing or offline reading, but strangely, the phone won’t display the documents that it prints to files. Weird.
Although this phone is advertised as having UMTS, it is designed to work on European networks. The frequency is wrong for the US networks. Perhaps this isn’t true for all carriers, but with the help of a friend’s Cingular SIM and time on the phone with one of their techs, we have verified that the phone will not work on their 3G network. This is a major disappointment. T-Mobile is rolling out their high-speed network, and some areas are supposed to have access by mid-2007. It seems likely that their network will work with the phone. In the meantime, EDGE may be the best you can do in the US.
I could really use a countdown timer for the phone, but in the meantime, I use this Stopwatch J2ME program.
Is there a countdown timer out there?
Updated 2007 08 12
For SSH, I use Putty. It has some strange bugs, which become apparent when I attach to Emacs running in Screen. After some time, control character sequences will stop working. I have to switch away from the Putty window, like to the Standby screen, and then back to the Putty window. After that, they will start working again, for a while. Strange. Also, changing the font size while connected often crashes Putty.
I tried MidpSSH to see if it was better, but it isn’t usable. I can’t type anything once connected, unless I select the Input option from the menu and send my input line-style, which I’m not willing to do.
Both of these programs are free software.
In Putty, you can send ESC by hitting the lower left soft key. I didn’t figure this out for a long time, and it makes using Emacs from the phone much more pleasant. The alternative way to do it is via the Putty “Send Char” menu, which requires several more keystrokes.
Sometimes while attempting to connect, I get a hostname lookup error. Generally it works if I just try again.
Backpack is a tool that lets you easily build pages with lists, notes, images, and files.
It's a great way to get organized, publish your ideas, and collaborate with others. You pick what's private and what's public.