Monthly Archives: July 2007 Queue Lengths

I’ve just made the decision to increase the maximum queue lengths in the Members Area. The reviews queue can now hold 75 reviews (up from 50), and the comments queue can now hold 250 comments (up from 150). is really busy at the moment, which is fantastic news, but it’s making enormous demands on my time. Normally the Members Area can cope with approving most of the reviews and comments, but the Members Area activity is low at the moment (probably because it’s Summer), and I’m having to personally cover the gap between what the Members can do, and the large number of comments and reviews currently being submitted.

In order to stop things blocking up, and to allow me to sleep, and fulfill a few personal obligations (basically a Perfect Storm of social events), I’ve increased the queue lengths, so the site can manage about 2 days with only minimal attention, without having to block the addition of new reviews and comments.

I still aim to get most reviews and comments approved within 24 hours, but occasionally (this coming weekend for example), it may have to slip to 48 hours, as there’s only so much I can do in snatched moments with my N800.

Apologies for this, and hopefully it will be a very infrequent occurrence.

Max-width Content

I’ve just made a small change to, to see if applying a CSS max-width to large block of text content improves the visitor experience, by keeping the line lengths from becoming too long.

Internet Explorer 5 & 6 users won’t see the change (max-width isn’t supported in those browsers), and nor will most users of small monitors, but hopefully restricting the text content to a width of 33ems (ems being used so the max-width scales with font size), with auto left and right margins, will make the reading experience more pleasant for visitors.

As usual, if this change seems to be positive, I’ll roll out the change to the car and mobile phone sites.

As an aside, for tracking the effect of small changes like these, I’m finding the Google Analytics Pages/Visit figures very useful.

Nokia 6120 classic Impressions

On Friday night I had the chance to play with a Nokia 6120 classic for 10 minutes or so, and here are my quick impressions.

The 6120 classic is a very small HSDPA Series 60 phone. Basically a very stripped down N95, which is no bad thing. Because of this, I’m going to compare the 6120 classic to my experience of owning an N95.

N95 features missing from the 6120 classic:

  • GPS – GPS is getting better on the N95 with the new Assisted GPS feature. However, it’s still more of a nice to have than an essential feature in my view
  • WiFi – This is a significant loss, but is mitigated by the presence of HSDPA
  • Infra-red port – Not a big issue in 2007
  • TV Output – How many people actually use this in the real world?
  • Micro SDHC card support – 2Gb plain MicroSD in the 6120 classic vs 4Gb SDHC (and maybe higher) in the N95 – See the comments

Important features shared by both phones:

  • HSDPA – Super fast data. You’ll never want to use GPRS ever again. Note that you’re going to need an “unlimited” data package to make proper use of this feature
  • Series 60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1 – lovely mobile optimised WebKit browser
  • Bluetooth 2.0 – Fast data transfers, and A2DP for audio
  • Audible hiss on the headphone socket – I’ve heard this on all four N95s I’ve played with, and the 6120 classic was no different. Not a phone for audiophiles
  • A navigation pad – A tiny joystick, as used by many phones, is a deal breaker for me

Other differences

  • Physical size – The 6120 classic is a super small phone. Photos don’t do it justice. It’s very very thin for a candy bar phone. The N95 is like a brick compared to the 6120 classic
  • Button size – The numeric keypad and the nav pad on the 6120 classic are good, but the buttons surrounding the nav pad are a little too small for comfort
  • Build quality – The 6120 classic is very solid, and feels much better made than the N95. Annoying, given the N95 is a lot more expensive. I worry about my N95 being damaged by keys in my pocket, whereas the 6120 classic felt like it would have no such problems
  • Screen size – The 2.0 inch screen on the 6120 classic is noticeably smaller than the N95’s 2.6 inch screen. The small font size in the N95 web browser (which I use) is about the same size as the normal font size on a 6120 classic
  • Camera – The 6120 classic is passable with a 2 megapixel fixed focus camera, and 320×240 video at 15fps. Not a patch on the quality of the N95 though. I took the same photo with both cameras, and the N95 shot was clearly much better
  • Speakers – Both the N95 and 6120 classic have very loud speakers. The only difference is that the N95 is stereo, and the 6120 classic is mono. Given how close the N95 speakers are, this is a very minor point
  • Stealth – No one would ever guess the 6120 classic is a powerful smartphone; it looks just like a standard Series 40 Nokia phone
  • Price – My friend who owns the 6120 classic got it for £29.99 on a £15 a month Three contract (18 months). By way of comparison, an N95 on a £20 T-Mobile contract is £249. That fits with Nokia’s suggested sim free price for a 6120 classic of 260 Euros (£176). I’m not sure if that includes tax, but as a comparison, the N95 sim free is still going for around £450. That’s a huge difference

In summary, the 6120 classic is a seriously impressive phone. I’m not going to swap my N95 for one, but if I was looking to buy an N95 now, I’d struggle to justify it over the 6120 classic. WiFi, GPS, the bigger screen, and the better camera are definitely worth having, but I’m not sure they’re worth £250 extra.

See the All About Symbian 6120 classic Review if you want more detail and photos of the 6120 classic.

My Life in PDAs

Ordered by date acquired, with :

  1. PalmPilot Professional – faulty, so I only had it for a few days
  2. Psion Series 5 – never found a real use for it. Plus it was expensive, and the rubber skin started peeling
  3. Palm V – slim, and beautifully made
  4. Casio EM-500 – starved of RAM, but such a gorgeous screen for its time
  5. Palm IIIxe – Cheap, rugged, lots of RAM
  6. HP Jornada 568 – liked the flip down screen protector
  7. Sony Ericsson P800 – weird but promising. Felt like an alpha product
  8. Handspring Treo 600 – lovely build and software integration. Pity about the voice quality
  9. i-mate JAM – great form factor, but unstable, and poor telephony
  10. Dell Axim X50v – great screen, super fast, dual memory cards. It’s just a little too large
  11. Nokia N95 – see my review

Eleven PDAs in 10 years, and still the search continues for my perfect device 🙂

iPhone Thoughts

I don’t have an iPhone

I have never touched, or even seen a real life iPhone

But based on all the comments out there, I’m going to offer my personal opinion anyway 🙂

At a high level Apple have done an amazing job. It looks like a killer iPod, and the slickest phone I’ve ever seen. But for me, the devil is the detail. Many of the details below come from this great Macworld article and Engadget’s review

Annoying things I could live with:

  • 2 megapixel camera
  • No video recording – a silly omission these days
  • No 3rd party apps
  • No landscape keyboard – hopefully there will be a software fix soon
  • No support for memory cards
  • No Flash support
  • Non-standard headphone socket – what was the point of a non-standard 3.5mm socket?
  • No MMS – this is 2007, not 2003
  • No VOIP – annoying, but understandable
  • No instant messaging – taking things too far in my view
  • No GPS – if Apple add this, please make a good chipset. Fast acquisition really matters on a phone
  • No MP3 ringtones – I want to at least be able to upload MIDI and WAV files. Why should Apple force me into some walled garden? It’s like deciding to stop supporting MP3 music. So much for no DRM Steve

Critical issues:

  • No 3G – needs to be fixed before it arrives in the UK, otherwise the iPhone is dead to me
  • Network restricted – if I can’t have it in the UK on a decent unlimited 3G data tariff (Three, or T-Mobile right now), I’m not interested. Ideally I’d like it sim free. And, yes, I’m prepared to pay a premium. O2, or worse Vodafone, will not be considered unless there are massive changes to their data tariffs
  • Limited bluetooth support; no A2DP or OBEX – this lock really cripples the iPhone for me. I need the ability to transfer files and sync over bluetooth. My N95 is great at this, and it’s a non negotiable feature. A2DP would be nice as well
  • Can’t be used a modem – not acceptable

The good news is that all the issues above are fixable. The question is will Apple fix enough to tempt me away from my N95?

PDA Databases

For those of us who are never satisfied with our current PDA, I can thoroughly recommend the following sites: is Windows Mobile only (no Symbian), but is fantastically comprehensive otherwise. I’ve wasted many hours searching in vain for my perfect PDA.

Steve Litchfield’s 3-Lib hosts a great comparison of all the Series 60 Symbian smartphones. I’d also recommend his Grid comparison (which includes some Windows Mobile devices), and his All About Symbian site for general Symbian news.