The N95 Is The Next Gadget I’ll Buy

I missed yesterday’s Science Week blog post but couldn’t Thursday’s one as it’s an easy one for me. The question is asked, “What’s the next gadget that you want to buy?”. My answer, the 8GB Nokia N95.

As mobile devices to it’s a massive step forward and one towards the ideal mobile device. Connectivity-wise you’ve got everything you need if you’re working in an online environment – bluetooth, 3G and WiFi. The recent opening up of some Eircom wifi hotspots if you’re already an Eircom BB customer makes public internet access that bit easier. I won’t always have my laptop with me but need a solid mobile device that will allow me to

  • Make and take calls (a given).
  • Have a good quality camera. The N95 shoots at 5mp and I would miss the 3.2mp on my Sony Ericsson K800i.
  • Access the internet over WiFi thus allowing easier access to emails, connections to the office, grabbing music and last minute details around gig weekends, upload photos on the go to my Flickr account and more.
  • Keep up with Jaiku via the S60 client (thus reducing my SMS bill).
  • Allow me to grab and store podcasts on the go (to feed my habit).
  • These points are just for starters…

Again, in a non-laptop situation there’s always the possibility of mobile blogging, VOIP calls, mapping and more. I’ve written about the N95 being my Christmas present to myself this year, though admittedly it looks like I’ll be waiting until the New Year or whenever O2 sort out getting the N95 8GB model so I can make use of my contract upgrade. You can discover the N95 yourself here.

When it comes to phones I’m not a gaming person and in the 13 months I’ve had the K800i I can recall just the trip to Toronto last year that lead me to play games on the phone. I’m more about getting things done and having a device that will assist me in day to day activities.

Having used the first N95 briefly (briefly as in for a few minutes) and working alongside an N95 owner I can see the benefits of the device immediately. The use of IM before / after a client meeting, the ability to hop online and pull messages from MySpace or grab last minute mails before a gig (when you’re dealing with bands that communicate primarily through social networks as opposed to your actual phone then this is a must), passing spreadsheets or PDFs or word documents, plotting a trip on a map before you head away somewhere – and keeping that map in your pocket – that and the abundance of S60 applications that are available to run on the Nokia N95 to enhance your working experience.

Plus, it fits nicely in your hand or pocket and the call quality and speakerphone quality is also good (somewhere the K800i lacks.)

It’s been decided and I’ll wait patiently for my upgrade I think.

iPod Hack – iPod Video becomes iPod Classic (How To)

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Update: Updated on February 29th 2008 with latest versions of firmware (1.2.2 version at time of press). See main site here.

After picking up on a new firmware release for the iPod Video (both 5G and 5.5g), I’ve gone and replaced the original firmware on my iPod to that resembling the iPod Classic. (via)

The ‘Before’ images…

Original iPod interface Original interface (menu)

What you’ll need…

  • Latest version of iPod Wizard
  • Access to a Windows machine (no Mac version at present)
  • Firmware for your video iPod (5G Version or 5.5G Version). I’m on the 5G version, no search feature and it’s the 60GB model. If you’re on the slim 30gb / 80gb model and/or have the search feature then it’s likely you’re a 5.5G model but be sure! See my warning note below.
  • iPod cable

How to modify the iPod’s firmware…

  • Connect iPod to PC (iPod Wizard is windows based). If iTunes opens on connecting, you’ll need to close it and make sure that nothing else is accessing your iPod at the time. If connected properly, you will see the ‘Do Not Disconnect’ warning on your iPod screen.
  • Open up your copy of iPod Wizard (it doesn’t require installation, but does need to be unzipped to a folder).
  • Browse (via My Computer) to your downloaded firmware and if zipped, unzip it to a new folder. Unzipping should create a folder called ‘Classic Firmware for 5G v1.0’ (depending on what firmware version you downloaded).
  • In iPod Wizard, set your edit mode (top left corner) to ‘Firmware File’.
  • Click the ‘Open Firmware’ button and navigate to your ‘Classic Firmware…’ folder and open the ‘Classic Firmware…’ file (Windows displays the default icon if no filetype associated). Once loaded, the firmware’s version name will appear beside the ‘open firmware button’.
  • In the ‘Firmware Information’ box, press ‘Write To iPod’ (top left). The writing process may take 2-3 minutes.
  • When finished, you need to eject your iPod safely from your computer – whether via the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon in your system tray of via My Computer (right click on your iPod and press ‘Eject’. Ejecting the iPod will restart the iPod automatically, booting with the new firmware.

The ‘After’ images…

Now playing (track view)Now playing
iPod Interface (Video now playing)iPod Comparison

See full photoset here

Feedback

I hadn’t seen the interface on the iPod classic before today but really like the split screen approach. I don’t feel anything is lost by adding the firmware. Navigating through the menu system is quick, though the slide from left to right could be a lot smoother (or instant). The new fonts are bigger, smoother, clearer though the fonts in the title bar look a fraction distorted (menus are fine).

I also realised through the new interface that I really need to update my album artwork across the majority of recent additions to my iPod. Also, it’s worth going through the iPodWizard forums if you’re up for a bit of hacking!

Warning (a.k.a How Not To Update Your iPod)

Adding this firmware does not erase the contents on your iPod. BUT – make sure you’re using the correct firmware version for your iPod. The wrong firmware on your iPod will leave it in the infinite loop mode (as I did with Aidan’s). To get around this you need to restore your iPod to it’s original settings, effectively wiping whatever music is on your iPod. Resyncing with your library will restore your music.

To restore your iPod you must hold the middle button (centre of wheel) and ‘Play’ at the same time, forcing the iPod into Disk Mode (like safe mode for all the world). Reconnect your iPod to your computer and pop open iTunes, the iTunes software automatically recognising the iPod needs to be restored. The restoration process takes 1-2 minutes.