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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nokia Belle Refresh

Two days ago I installed Nokia Belle Refresh (aka Feature Pack 1 or FP1) onto my Nokia N8. Let's just say that I was pleasantly impressed right from the first moment the OS booted up and I started using my phone again with the new software.

The UI was more responsive than ever, feeling very fast, snappy, and all-around good. The default Belle wallpapers were applied, with 4 homescreens being active out of the box (and two more can be added). The new widgets added are a welcome adition, my favourites being the ones I can control the functionality of my phone with, like Profiles, quick buttons for Bluetooth, Silent, Offline Mode, 3G on/off, Wifi on/off, as well as the mobile data tracker. Also, the clock widget got more styles, as well as the music player widget got a smaller version, which clutters up less space.

Apart from widgets, there are more things worth mentioning about Belle FP1. First and foremost, the music player on S^3 up to Belle was lacking a basic functionality. You could search for individual tracks sorted by track name (Songs) or by Albums which were sorted via artists themselves. Downside is that you couldn't search via Artist only. Belle FP1 fixed that. You can now sort via Artist, Albums, Songs, Playlist or Genre. The equalizer functionality is still rudimentary, since we only get access to the built-in presets, but that functionality can be expanded via a small app from the Nokia Store.

Application installations went fine, without any problems encountered. All installs completed smoothly, from the Nokia Store and from my own memory card. Apps run more smoothly (at least for my eye they do), and the OS is all around better optimized.

In the changelog there's mention of a new version of the built-in browser, with added speed, functionality and features, but I don't use the built-in browser, so I won't review it. There are plenty of reviews out there that are better than mine, and contain more technical data that to some of you may or may not make sense. This review is just a quick little hands-on of my experience.

One thing to note for the N8 is, for example, the lack of features added to the Camera app, which is the N8's go-to thing. The Camera app seems the same, feels the same, and it's a shame that we didn't get manual shutter control. It would have been bliss. But maybe there's a technical or mechanical obstacle preventing us from having that.

Multitasking seems ok, given the phone specs: Blob (the Blogger client I am using), Music Player, FolderPlay, Opera Mini and Gravity all running at the same time, while the phone is connected to a Bluetooth stereo headset. The phone works fine, no sudden restarts, no low memory messages, and not so much lag (even tho there sometimes is a little).

All in all, Belle FP1 is a welcome addition, and I really hope that there will be a FP2, and that it will get released for the N8 as well. For starters, since inception, Symbian^3 came a long way, and I hope there are still improvements coming, they are welcome additions.

And yes, this review was written on the Nokia N8, with Belle FP1, with all of the above applications running, while listening to music via Bluetooth.

- David aka. Tassadar over and out.

About life, love, and happiness...

While getting bored at work, I decided to get my phone and write a blog entry today... About what love means for me, personally, and what it means to other people around me...

Let me start off by saying that I was always a difficult person to be around, always the drama king, always seeing the empty half of the glass. It has its upsides and downsides. It has helped me in the past and in the present, but it also hurt me some. It's easy to make mistakes if you're always too optimistic. I'm not saying it's bad to make them, but it's easy to make them. On the other hand, if you're always prepared and expecting the worst possible outcome of a situation, you mostly tread carefully, watching your every step. Of course, the downside might be that, 1) If something bad happens like you've expected it to, you don't feel something good or 2) you get depressed. The upside is that if something that should've gone wrong goes swell, everything is fine and dandy, you're surprised and your spirits get up.

But what about love and relationships? As I said, I for one am a complicated and difficult person to be with. Even so, some people took a chance with me and more times than one it ended up being a total disaster. Who was to blame? Everybody. I've realized that I've made mistakes, but those mistakes were amplified tenfold when the persons next to me started lying, hiding, and drifting away. They were amplified tenfold when people from outside started interfering with my relationships and started pushing the people I cared for away from me, by using small steps combined with psychology, together with manipulation. And when I see that some persons in my past relationships (and who the fuck knows, maybe future ones) tend to be so damn naive, I explode. And that wasn't good. 12 years of explosions aren't good for anyone. Especially for me, because I'm a special little snowflake.

But how could I recover? How could I forget? Simplest of answers: drinking. Everything was easier to handle when drunk. I forgot what I was mad about in the first place, let myself go, and had at it. The world changed colours. The people became interesting again. Everything was going swell. Until I hit a brick wall, and somehow, every time someone managed to break down my 'high', and get me raging. And me, drunk, raging, is not a good combination. I get blacked out and do stuff I can't remember, and even I don't believe when told.

That's what I've become. That's what people whom were the center of my universe and took me for granted made me become. I've become a shadow, a husk, of my former self. And there's no coming back from that... Not for me. I can't lose these demons that are inside of me, raging, screaming, forcing their way out.

But I also can't be the kind of person who tells someone "I love you" today, and a week later tells the exact same thing to someone else. Love can't "change" or "erupt" so suddenly. Chemistry can. Love takes time, it needs to mature, it needs to grow and flourish into its glory and splendor from the bottom of the foodchain. It doesn't erupt suddenly. That's something else entirely. And the persons who can 'redirect' that expression to two or more people in two weeks' time, have no idea on earth what true love is. They may want to know what it is, they may need it, but, actually, they can be so shallow, that they are in love with the idea of love, and, until they don't change their ways, until they don't fully let go, they will always lack that 'special little something' that needs to be there for true love to exist.

I'm grateful that I've been in love, and that I managed to truly love, more times than once in my life. The experience and the feeling you have when you love someone, as much as you can, with all your heart, 'truly, madly, deeply', beats the shit out of the suffering and pain that eventually comes afterwards. Take my word for it. Even if you're afraid, you shouldn't be afraid to give yourself a chance to be happy. When and if you lose someone, dust yourself off, give yourself some time, see where you've gone wrong and where your other 'half' did, analyze everything in depth, and, after you've learned from your mistakes, move on, get up, and go out there again. It's a fucked up world we live in these days, and, mostly, feelings are dead in most people you meet. But every now and then, maybe fate will smile down on you and you'll meet your next 'special little someone' who will turn your world upside down. It took me almost 5 years to dust myself off after the last trainwreck of a relationship ended. This time, I don't know how long it will take. But I am certain that, when I am ready, I will do what I always do: get up, stop feeling sad, and be awesome instead.

- David aka. Tassadar over and out.