Archive for December, 2006

Too much PIE

December 14, 2006 Leave a comment

As a Firefox user, one of the first apps I installed on my Hermes was something to replace Pocket Internet Explorer. The P-series come with Opera, so I tried that, and also Netfront for good measure.

Netfront, I have to admit I was looking for a reason to discount, and when I tried out the rough-around-the-edges interface, it was enough for me. That left Opera, currently at 8.60.

Now – for some reason, I tried Opera for most of the trial period, and then dropped it to return to PIE. I’ve stuck with PIE for another month, until I read a column by ?? In this month’s PCPro, where he also installed Opera in favour of IE. So: I gave it another go.

This is why you should use Opera:
– Its Small Screen Rendering works excellently, most of the time – it accurately detects the menu frames, side frames and main text, and balances these in the most usable way for your screen, for you to read the information in a clear and consistent manner
– The multi-tabbed browsing is better than PIE, even with SBPPlus’s multiple instances – easier to switch between tabs, easier to locate any tab. However, SPBPlus’s “Open in Background” is very useful when using PIE.

However, I’ve also rediscovered why I’m not going to use Opera:
– The start-up time is terrible – perhaps 15 seconds, compared to 2-3 for PIE.
– Leaving Opera running in the background is also a no-no; it appears to be enough of a memory hog that I even have to shut down all other apps just to load it
– There’s no softkey for “Back”. It sounds trivial, but either having to use 2 clicks for each Back action – or moving to click the on-screen “Back” button in the top-left corner – really slows things down!

So – these few trivial things make PIE more usable overall.

However, what would be useful, and is missing from ALL browsers, is an option to define what display mode each bookmark should be opened in, and even WAP or Web mode. So if you’re visiting BBC News PDA edition, which is formatted for PDAs already, then no ‘one-column’ mode is required; but if visiting for live train times, it’ll automatically open the page in WAP mode, rather than Web mode (which takes you to an overview screen).

Categories: Mobile

An early start this morning

December 14, 2006 Leave a comment

My Hermes’ alarm went off at 7.30, as it usually does. However, for some reason, it’s not flashing up a “Notification” alert on the Today screen – so I can’t cancel or turn off the alarm. I’ve turned it off on the “Alarms” screem, but it’s still buzzing. I resorted to putting the phone on Silent, which disables all notifications of alarms, reminders, and calls… and still it buzzed! So I took the battery out.

The other thing you don’t see in the specs, is the vibration mode. On the P910i, there are a number of different types of vibration to indicate what type of alert it is:

“Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz” – Incoming call
“Bzz Bzz Bzz” – Incoming SMS / MMS
“Bzzzz Bzzzz” – Alarm/Calendar appointment

OK – it sounds like a bee convention, but in practice it works well. So – if I was expecting a reminder around that time, and the buzzing sounds like a reminder, I can hit a button to cancel the alert without even needing to take the phone from my pocket.

Compare this with the Hermes’ vibration alerts:


Yep. Not only is any vibration alert identical, but the persistent, harsh nature of the Buzz grates on the nerves of anyone around, and reminds me of an injured fly trying to get out from under an upturned glass. It’s that type of annoying.

I imagine the varied vibration alerts for the P910i come from the days when watching the LED on an Ericsson phone for 10 seconds could tell you everything from network coverage, to how many messages you had, to the weather in Adelaide. It’s not quite as convoluted these days, but it still allows you to know what’s going on immediately, efficiently, and without being annoying!

Categories: Mobile