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Mon, 14 Jun 2004
Nokia 6600
During last weeks trip, I was testing out a new cell phone, a T-Mobile Nokia 6600. T-Mobile's service seems to work well in all the places that I need it to, so I think it's going to be a keeper. Next we'll move Julie's phone over and get onto a family plan -- which will save us quite a bit versus AT&T Wireless, and gets us usable phones to boot. I was even able to use the 6600 as a Bluetooth enabled modem when I missed my intended boat last night. It made the hour and 20 minute wait less tedious.

Here are my observations on the 6600, comparing it to my 6310i. The screen is a lot larger and nicer. This makes it much better for text messaging (which is one of my big usages for a phone -- when I worked at Apple, we had really long compile cycles, so I wrote an MPW script that got tacked onto the end of a compile job, which would e-mail page me -- I used to walk down to a co-worker's office to help them debug). The Series 60 UI makes good use of the 6600's little joystick control. I find the entire phone to be much more usable than the 6310i.

I didn't have very high expectations for the camera in the 6600, and that's probably good. The camera is pretty low resolution and there are hardly any controls. The picture quality isn't that impressive either. It'll do if you need a camera and don't have another handy, but I don't think I could use this as our only camera. It's probably good enough for those impromptu shots that you'd otherwise miss without a camera.

The Bluetooth support on the 6600 is miles ahead of what was there in the 6310i -- partly because it didn't work in the 6310, and getting the firmware flashed to the right level in the 6310i would have cost me half of what I'll end up paying for the 6600 (must remember to send in rebates!). I had some weird false starts with iSync (that needs a bit of work), but I finally was able to sync my iCalendar calendars and my Address Book with the phone. This means that I can stop carrying my iPAQ 3635. The big things I used the iPAQ for were the address book, calendar, and keeping track of billing hours (something I no longer have to do). I could probably also figure out how to use the phone for e-mail, but I'm to paranoid to allow my mail to go over unencrypted POP or IMAP. Maybe I'll get motivated and allow IMAPS access, but I doubt it. Reading e-mail on a phone just isn't going to work for me, mostly because the messages that I need to respond usually require enough text that trying to do it with the keypad would give me carpal tunnel for sure.

In addition to iSync, I have the phone working with Apple's AddressBook Bluetooth support (for dialing and caller ID) and with BluePhoneMenu. I like BluePhoneMenu because its under active development, although I wish the calling out interface were a little better developed. Also, it appears that having BluePhoneMenu running inhibits my ability to use GPRS over Bluetooth. This is almost getting me to the goal of doing all phone management through the computer (how I hate the telephone!).

As I mentioned, I was able to get the 6600 to act as a Bluetooth enabled GPRS modem. I found that this is a bit flakier than I would like. There were some problems related to BluePhoneMenu -- if I quit BluePhoneMenu, I could connect. But sometimes the modem connects and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it helps if I manually connect the phone to T-Zones. So there's still a little ways to go there. I used these GPRS scripts for the modem functionality. Here's what I did:

  1. Setup the modem using the Bluetooth Setup Assistant
  2. At the section where it talks about accessing the internet using the phone:
    • Use Nokia GPRS CID1 script
    • Supply wap.voicestream.com as the phone number
  3. Go to the Network Prefences Panel
    • Push the PPP options button on the PPP tab of the Network Preferences
    • Send PPP echo packets - On
    • Use TCP header compression - Off
I was also able to tunnel ssh over port 80, so that I can use ssh port forwarding via T-Zones. ssh -p 80 is your friend. Of course the GPRS is slow enough that the encryption does make things pretty slow. This is one area where I feel a little disappointed.

Next up on my list to try: Sailing Clicker -- so that my IRC, iChat and other status will update based on my location.

I'm also looking for a decent Bluetooth headset that I can also use with iChat. From what I can tell Jabra's Freespeak BT250 seems to be the leader but I'd be interested in opinions on this.

[23:39] | [gadgets] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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