All posts by Toni Nikkanen

Windows Phone 7.x backup files

A few days ago the USB port on my Nokia Developer gift device Lumia 800 died. I need to get another phone, and as I don’t have another phone where I could restore the backups from my dead phone, I started wondering what could I salvage from those backups that are on my hard drive?

The first order of business was to discover where the Windows Phone app for Mac actually stores the backups. I wasn’t familiar with the "Containers" stuff on Mac, so it took me a while, but now I know they can be found under the following location:

 /Users/<username>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Windows-Phone-7-Connector/Data/Library/Application Support/Windows Phone/Devices/<deviceid>/Backup

Armed with this info, I can now dig deeper. Already I would appreciate if someone could tell me is there any nifty way to recover data specific to an app ("Isolated Storage") ? I need to recover a save file for the Dragon’s Blade game.

Updated 7.3.2013: I soon discovered that the backups are encrypted using some Microsoft encryption method, but also found a way to wiggle the USB cable just the right way to be able to charge my phone, and so I was able to manually retrieve my data from the device. So my investigations on this front have come to an end. However, I would like to use this space to complain that after getting a Lumia 820 to replace my dead 800, I’ve found that while the cloud backup features in WP8 are very nice as such – or "als solcher" as German patent language says – there appears to be NO WAY to backup any APPLICATION DATA. App makers are expected to save any important data to the cloud, however seems that many of my favourite apps actually don’t do this. Sigh.

Running Mac OS X on a Olympus E-P2 digital camera

Yes, this was an April Fool’s story.. but, like all the good ones, this one is also possible if someone was crazy enough to do it!

I was the first to run the full-blown version of Mac OS X on a smartphone (The Nokia N900), not even Apple did it before me. But I thought, why stop there? I’ve spent the last few weeks digging into the firmware and hardware of my digital camera, the Olympus E-P2 Micro Four Thirds camera body. As you know, digital cameras these days are pretty powerful machines, with plenty of RAM and storage space (in the form of a memory card) – you can get tens of gigabytes of storage with these things. And the display resolutions are nearing the level of yesterday’s desktop computers.

Continue reading Running Mac OS X on a Olympus E-P2 digital camera

Amazon Kindle Fire first impressions

Amazon Kindle Fire from an European perspective

I’ve been interested in tablet devices for years (Maemo devices, anyone?), even before the iPad created the current tablet market. However as smartphones became increasingly more powerful and meanwhile I got myself a really light laptop (MacBook Air), even though devices like the iPad and some of the more serious competing offerings are undeniably very well implemented, amazing devices, I simply didn’t see the need for those. On the other hand, I’m almost always carrying the ultralight Amazon Kindle WiFi e-book reader with me on travels, and often it also lives inside my coat pocket.

When the Amazon Kindle Fire was announced along with a cheap price tag and a size mostly comparable with the Kindle WiFi, I wanted to find out how useful it is and how well does it really work. I also knew that content services (books, magazines, videos, music, apps) are the main selling point for the device, and being an European – Finnish, currently living in Germany – I would probably be missing out on a lot, at least initially.

In this article I’ve collected my initial experiences, and I will continue to update this as I discover more, or as the Amazon offering gets updated. 

Last Updated: 14th February 2012

Continue reading Amazon Kindle Fire first impressions

Qt Dev Days 2011, Munich

Hi all, I wrote a short piece on Qt Developer Days 2011 (Munich), you can read it on my company’s blog:

http://whatsyourideaoftomorrow.blogspot.com/2011/11/qt-developer-days-in-munich-nov15.html

I took some pics there as well, with my new-old Olympus E-p1 digital camera. Too bad the LCD screen broke during the flight, so framing the shots was “challenging”. I managed quite well anyway, but I wasn’t able to use my ├╝ber oldie manual focus Canon 50/1.2 lens for Leica Screw Mount that I was planning to use, alas. The pics are on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/32856926@N06/sets/72157628014737024/

N950 Firmware Beta 2 (34-2) comments

A few days ago Nokia released the long-awaited first firmware update for the N950 at: 

http://www.developer.nokia.com/info/sw.nokia.com/id/db230178-aa63-4c73-ba7f-20930da13cad/Nokia_N950_OneClickFlashers.html

As Tuesday and Wednesday were such busy days for me, I didn’t want to risk bricking my phone. But today I bit the bullet and installed the upgrade, making sure to take backups first of course. Some random experiences, I will update this as I encounter more:

  • Generally the device responsiveness is lots better – scrolling is smoother, there are less delays etc. Feels very good now.
  • I restored backups. Upon completion it said something about not being able to restore everything, but then rebooted faster than I could read the notification.
  • To restore backups, I had to copy my backup file from my PC via USB, then manually move it from /home/user/MyDocs/Backup0 to /home/user/MyDocs/.backups so that the Backup application was able to see it.
  • After reboot, all Contacts were missing in Contacts app. However executing "tracker-search -c" on the command line revealed I do have some contacts. After waiting for a while, a part of my contacts started appearing in Contacts app. A few minutes later, they were all there – so if you’re worried you lost your contacts, just wait.
  • There is now an official Twitter app and Twitter feeds show up in the feeds page
  • The famous swipe downwards to close an app gesture can now be enabled from Display settings.
  • There’s a SIM menu (or what you call it) thats shows my operator’s services that are on my SIM
  • Feeds view can show weather as well. Default is Helsinki, Finland for some reason :)
  • There is Angry Birds, and it works very fast and smoothly, much better than on WinPhones for example!
  • Developer mode now has to be separately enabled in settings, but after you do it, Terminal and the usual goodness reappears
  • Markings on "Developer Edition" are gone
  • Ovi Store app no longer crashes all the time, and there is Ovi Music.
  • Upon starting Maps, it asks me for an username and password. It doesn’t say what service they are for, but I assumed it’s the Nokia ID, which was correct.
  • There is a WiFi Hotspot app, which is very welcome! 
  • Terminal app has gained new features, an ability to switch between an Shell and Arrows toolbar with the swipe gesture among them

Dealing with duplicated contacts on the N950/N9

I had problems with duplicated contacts. I tried a couple of different solutions, but the one that worked was: export all contacts as vcard files (.VCF). Then delete all your contacts in the contacts app. After that, you can delete .VCF files that match the pattern *(?).VCF (because duplicate contacts will be dumped with file names like JANEDOE.VCF, JANEDOE(2).VCF, JANEDOE(3).VCf etc.) and finally, re-import these VCF files using vcardconverter. Watch out, vcardconverter will fail if you have "funny characters" in filenames, so it’s a good idea to wrap it around in a for statement, something like this: for i in *.VCF;do cp $i tmp.vcf;vcardconverter tmp.vcf;done;rm tmp.vcf.

Nokia N950 arrived!

The N950 "dev kit" device arrived!

I’m super-busy during the whole week, but I did manage to get some Nokia N950 unboxing photos taken, and I’ve made it my primary device right away, so I will find out all the good and the bad that there is to find soon enough. Maybe I’ll write more during the weekend, but now, on to the unboxing pictures!

(Rest of the unboxing pics on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32856926@N06/sets/72157627056484127/

A couple of words on the Nokia Windows Phone strategy

On 11th of February 2011, Nokia’s new CEO Stephen Elop dropped the bombshell that Nokia is switching to Windows Phone 7 as their only smartphone software platform. There are thousands of blog posts already covering this, so I am not going to write at length. I only have one point to make, which is:

 Developers, developers, developers!

No, seriously. While I see the logic behind choosing WP7, and while I lament the minimized role of MeeGo in Nokia’s future plans, I think that they missed one very important thing altogether. One they can still fix. I am talking about a migration plan for the current Symbian developers who have been told to use Qt/QML and have been doing so. When Nokia has completed the migration to WP7, the developers who have been writing apps using Qt/QML will have to throw all their code away and start from scratch, at which point many might choose a non-Nokia platform to target next, just as well.  This is because (according to http://blog.qt.nokia.com/2011/02/12/nokia-new-strategic-direction-what-is-the-future-for-qt) there won’t be an officially supported Qt for WP7 port.

And for Nokia WP7 devices, there will be far fewer apps available from day 0 if the Qt apps can’t be easily brought over to the new platform, thus hurting WP7 as well as Symbian device sales.

Possible solution? 

Now I am no expert on how the Microsoft .NET CLR exactly works, but with my limited understanding at least, I don’t see why a Qt/C++ application couldn’t be statically compiled into .NET code just like C# and all those other currently available languages are. A QML app would work with a 10-liner C++ loader that pulls in QtDeclarative to run the QML. So technically the idea of Qt Everywhere is just as sound as anywhere else, also this would bypass the perceived fragmentation problem as the target device wouldn’t have to have any Qt stuff pre-installed for the app to work.

This is all I had to say for now. If someone convinces me I got it all wrong, I will update this post accordingly and be glad I was wrong (for once ;)

Update1: Waiting to see what this comment from Elop’s MWC 2011 talk will mean in practical terms:  "The question is, what do we introduce into the Symbian environment to ease the transition to Windows Phone. So that’s part of the mission that we’re taking on now."

Update2: Forum Nokia’s Vice President, Purnima Kochikar, clarifies the Feb11 message in this open letter to the developer community: http://blogs.forum.nokia.com/blog/nokia-developer-news/2011/03/25/open-letter-to-developer-community

While I appreciate his way of re-iterating what was said on Feb 11 (some people still didn’t get the basic points of that day, such as, no they didn’t stop making Symbian devices cold-turkey) and adding some details, I still don’t see anything concrete for developers transitioning from Qt/Symbian to WP7. Maybe the answer will be the reverse of what I was thinking at first: Silverlight for Symbian?

Steve Ballmer

I couldn’t resist putting Steve Ballmer here, sorry. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dublin

I’ve been very quiet on the blogging from because since August I have been getting married, quit my job, gone on a honeymoon trip around Australia, and moved to Berlin to work in a new job. Now that yesterday I got my ADSL set up I feel like writing some blog stuff again. I will be putting some MeeGo Conference 2010 / Dublin photos here soon, but first, please go and check out what I wrote about the MeeGo Conference on the Teleca "What Is Your Idea of Tomorrow" blog, parts 1, 2 and 3:

http://whatsyourideaoftomorrow.blogspot.com/2010/11/meego-conference-2010-dublin-part-1-nov.html

http://whatsyourideaoftomorrow.blogspot.com/2010/12/meego-conference-2010-dublin-part-2.html

http://whatsyourideaoftomorrow.blogspot.com/2010/12/meego-conference-2010-dublin-part-3.html

More pictures available now at my flickr account!

What Is My Idea of Tomorrow?

I have not written anything new here for almost 4 months. I have been very busy with various things such as getting married, planning a honeymoon trip and lastly, I am going to start a new job in Berlin, Germany in October! This means I won’t be able to concentrate on blog writing for at least two more months. Except maybe, given sufficient connectivity, I will be able to post brief greetings from our Australia-Singapore honeymoon trip.

I will arrive back in Finland with my lovely wife on 6th of October and my new job in Germany starts 18th of October, so it’s going to be interesting until everything settles down….

The topic of this blog post is a hint towards what company is my new employer ;)

Lastly, I did manage to release a fixed version of Luxus light meter application for the N900. It took a while since my development machine’s motherboard and PSU were fried a while ago, and it took some time to get the replacement components – see here: http://maemo.org/packages/view/luxus/

 See you at the Meego Conference in Dublin, November 2010!