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Free services free software Highlights Mobile

Sony Ericsson K850i test: Google Maps for Mobile with My Location works

Google Maps for Mobile‘s My Location feature works in the Sony Ericsson K850i, the latest in the Cyber-shot line to hit the market. My Location is a cool feature that places your approximate location on the map using GPS (Global Positioning System) or mobile towers.

If you have one of the recent phones that report cell sites, Google Maps will draw a blue circle on the map to represent your approximate location, as determined through the use of cell sites.

Sony Ericsson k850i running Google Maps for mobile WHERE AM I? Anywhere from Fuente Osmneña to the middle of the Cebu harbor, according to this location data provided by Google Maps for Mobile running in the Sony Ericsson K850i. I was inside the Sun.Star Cebu office on P de. Rosario St. when I ran the application. Click on photo to enlarge image.

I previously tried the service with the K750i and K800i but both units don’t report cell sites they are using to connect to the network My Location won’t work with them. Last week, I tried it with a K850i demo unit lent to me by Sony Ericsson Philippines for testing and got it working in no time.

I used my Smart account in testing the K850i so its cell towers were the ones being used to plot the phone’s location.

It isn’t GPS, which is accurate up to a few meters, and the blue circle that indicates my general location covers an area that seems more than a kilometer wide.

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free software Highlights Mobile

New Google Maps for Mobile tracks your position using cell phone towers

Google released last week a new version of its Google Maps for Mobile application. The release, as with many of Google’s products, is designated “beta,” a label used for software that is still being actively tested and not yet released to the public.

I’ve read about mobile maps applications before, including the earlier Google versions, but I never bothered trying it out because I don’t travel much. In fact my daily travel is such a routine I can tell you what size of potholes are located in which part of the highways in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu Cities.

Google Maps for Mobile GOOGLE MAPS FOR MOBILE. A satellite photo of Fuente Osmena rotunda as seen through the Google Maps for mobile application running in my Sony Ericsson K750i. Click on photo to enlarge.

But what caught my interest in last week’s announcement is a new feature in Google Maps: it can now plot your location using the cellphone towers of your mobile network. The application then displays a blue dot showing a bigger light blue circle to display your approximate location. That feature is called My Location.

Previously, you can plot your locations in mapping applications if you have a GPS (global position system) device or module. With the new Google application, the software can plot your location via triangulation of your position using the cellphone towers that connect your phone to your mobile network.

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Internet Mobile

Sony Ericsson unveils the K660: ‘engineered for mobile Internet’

Sony Ericsson has unveiled a phone that I’m sure will give second thoughts to those already set on upgrading units this Christmas. The company announced earlier this month the coming availability of the Sony Ericsson K660, a phone that the company said was engineered for the mobile Internet.

The phone will only be available early next year so you might want to postpone your Christmas phone upgrade by a month or two.

k660i FUNKY COLOR FOR A COOL PHONE. The lime on white version of the Sony Ericsson K660i, an HSDPA-enable phone that has been engineered for the mobile Internet. Click on photo to enlarge.

The K660, which will be marketed as the K660i in the Asia-Pacific region, is an HSDPA-enabled phone. The phone can access so-called “mobile broadband” networks that offer higher connection speeds. This not only makes browsing on the phone faster, it also makes it a good laptop accessory—as mobile modem.

I don’t know how wide HSDPA coverage is in Cebu but in my previous experience with PLDT WeRoam, I got strong and consistent HSDPA signals within downtown and mid-town Cebu City areas. I got a consistent GPRS speed at home in Lapu-Lapu City but this was a few months back. I suspect things have improved since then, based on my wife’s experience with using her Sony Ericsson K800i as modem.

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Highlights Mobile Personal

Sony Ericsson makes me sing the blues

Inside the junk food section of a downtown department store, I decided to stop listening to my jazz collection at home.

Two weeks back, my family sought shelter in a Cebu City pension house from a scheduled overnight brownout in Lapu-Lapu City. We went to a downtown department store to stock on food and refreshments when we ended up, inevitably, on the biscuits and junk food section.

Sony Ericsson headset, data cable SONY ERICSSON CONNECTORS. If there’s one weak spot in Sony Ericsson phones, it’s the way its data cable and earphone connects to the unit. After a year, you’d start to experience cutting off of connections.

Our four-year-old son kept saying he wanted potato chips so I brought him to where there were rows of various potato chips in different flavors. He got one pack, placed it in the grocery cart, and then sang “you like pot-ah-to, I like patata.” He sang the song repeatedly that night–on our way to another department store, on our way to the pension house, while eating the potato chips.

His brother got into the act, repeatedly singing the line “everyone’s gone to the moon” in a mock Nina Simone rendition. It was a room full of singing, out of tune.

I got the message.

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Highlights Mobile

Zyb goes social with new version

Zyb, a web service that provides free online phone data backups, has launched its new version with a better website interface and several new features, including social networking through phone contacts and micro-blogging.

I find Zyb a useful service and use at least once a month to make sure I have an off-site backup of my contacts list.

My primary backup of phone data—contacts, messages, and calendar items—is in my personal computer. I use Float’s Mobile Agent not only to manage my phone, a Sony Ericsson K750i, and send messages with it but also to archive messages and back up my contacts database.

zyb-new-version2
NEW ZYB SERVICE. The website now offers social networking via phone contacts and micro-blogging.

Zyb, however, provides an easier backup solution that’s also more convenient. The website allows you to store all your contacts online and synchronize it with your phone. If you add another contact in your phone, it will be uploaded into your Zyb account once you synchronize the data. The service reminds you at least once a month to synchronize your data to make sure your Zyb account has the latest version of your phone contacts.

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Mobile Photography

Sony Ericsson unveils K770

Sony Ericsson has released its latest model in the Cyber-shot line: the K770. The phone, which will be marketed as the K770i in the Philippines and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, will be available by the fourth quarter of this year.

The K770 belongs to a phone line renowned for it’s photo quality: Cyber-shot models have photo qualities good enough to be able to carry Sony Ericsson’s brand for stand-alone digital cameras.

K770 SONY ERICSSON K770. The latest model in the Cyber-shot line will be available by the end of this year. Click on photo to enlarge.

I still use my trusty K750i but my wife–having converted to Sony Ericsson purely on the fact that she lives with a company fan boy–already upgraded to the K800i.

To be honest, the K750i more than serves my needs. I use it to take photos, including images I use in this blog. I once dunked it into the sea in Camotes Islands while taking a water-level shot of my kids swimming. I shook it a bit to remove water that had gotten into openings, let it dry in the sun, and proceeded to take more photos after a few minutes.

I use the K750i as my main digital media player and, at times, file storage. I use it daily to send and receive e-mails. I even use it to capture data. But having played with my wife’s K800i stirred an urge in me to upgrade.

Categories
free software Highlights linux Mobile Open source

Open Source phone anyone?

Open Source development has brought the world a stable operating system, reliable web server and thousands of free and very useful programs and scripts. Will it bring us the next great phone?

Last July 9, OpenMoko started selling from their website the Neo 1973 phone, which runs the company’s eponymous open source mobile software package. This is an early version, geared more toward developers and hackers. neo19732

OpenMoko is an open source operating system for mobile phones. It is built on the Linux kernel and various other open source software packages. It even has a software package management system that will allow users to easily manage, install, and remove applications in their phones.

I am an open source advocate so I may be a touch too optimistic about the project. But it’s easy to feel that way. You only have to use software such as Firefox, web content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal, or a Linux desktop (get Ubuntu!) to know that open source is a very viable development framework.

There is no need to list the merits of open source development as these are more than amply covered in a lot of websites.

But what makes the project hold such promise is that unlike in PCs where most people have become dependent on popular closed-source applications, in mobile phones there are no such dependencies.

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Mobile Personal Photography

Upgrading to Sony Ericsson K800i

When my wife needed to upgrade her phone several weeks back, there was no question on which brand she’ll be getting. The question was which Sony Ericsson model best fits her needs and our budget.

I am a Sony Ericsson fan boy and my fanaticism must have rubbed off on my wife because she decided to dump Nokia. Not even a recent marketing fiasco by Sony Ericsson Philippines can dampen my Sony Ericsson fanaticism.

Sony Ericsson K800i A PHONE ANY BLOGGER WOULD LOVE. The Sony Ericsson K800i comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera, which makes it great for taking photos for websites and blogs. The 3G phone can also display RSS feeds. Click on photo to enlarge.

My wife chose the Sony Ericsson K800 or, as it is being marketed here in the Asia-Pacific region, K800i. The phone is part of the company’s Cyber-shot line, phone products with image taking qualities good enough to carry the Sony brand for standalone digital cameras.

The K800i is no longer the latest in its line. Sony Ericsson has already upgraded the line by launching the K810i and announcing the coming availability of the K850i.

What stands out in the K800 line is the ability to upgrade the firmware over the air. In previous Sony Ericsson versions, you need to attach your phone to your PC via a USB cable to upgrade your unit’s firmware. With the K800, you can upgrade your firmware from the phone itself.

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Blogs Free services Highlights WebTech

Reinvigorate: the best hosted website metrics service I’ve tried

Hot on the heels of the release of the Automattic Stats came the sending of invitations to the beta version of Reinvigorate, a hosted free website metrics service that appears to trump most of the free website metrics services available today.

A day after installing and using the service, I think Reinvigorate is the most impressive website metrics package I tried. (Blogger’s note: the images in this post were taken a few hours after I installed the tracking code for the service). I found it so impressive that I immediately used it for my other blogs. Normally, I’d try out a stats package in this blog and then after a few weeks, I’d use it for the other sites I manage.

reinvigorate website metrics VISITOR PATHS. Reinvigorate tracks the pages readers visit in your site. This feature is very instructive and will tell you whether you did enough to provide links to related pages or articles. Click on photo to view larger image.

What distinguishes Reinvigorate from other hosted website metrics services I tried is that it tracks “paths,” the trail of web pages a reader visited in your site. The data it provides is really enlightening. I haven’t found a comparable feature in the several blog and website metrics services I’ve used.

Categories
cebu news Journalism Mobile Personal

Is Sony Ericsson trying to buy off Cebu journalists?

What if politicians announce, during their press conferences, that they will be holding a “writing” contest and the journalist who publishes the “best article” about the press conference gets to win P5,000 in cash.

What do you call that? If you were a journalist or a blogger, what would you feel?

That, in effect, is what Sony Ericsson is doing in its media campaign to launch its new phones in Cebu.

It was a good thing I decided not to join the press junket organized to launch the latest Sony Ericsson models in Cebu. It was a curious event–curious in the sense that they decided to hold it in Sumilon Island, a slice of paradise in southern Cebu that’s hours away from the city. The launching was scheduled for the entire day last Saturday.

I asked a colleague why organizers decided to launch the phone models in such a remote area where the telecoms signal might even be spotty. I told him that if I were to launch a phone, I’d gather reporters and bloggers covering the telco and consumer electronics beat in a room, have them play with the units and have trained staff on standby to answer questions they may have about the new phone models.

He said it was just an excuse to take the journalists into a junket.

I rarely join press conferences and the prospect of spending my dayoff attending a press junket scheduled for at least 12 hours didn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be spending time with my wife and kids, blogging, or working on my web experiments.

I declined the invitation and asked a UP Cebu mass communications intern to attend. Now if Karla Bautista, who is scheduled for an internship in Sun.Star Cebu (including in my section), had started her duties with my section, I would have sent her and I would have readily exchanged hours playing with Drupal to join the junket. Just kidding, I’d take Drupal anytime.