newness: nokia e70

Posted in gadgets on November 29th, 2006 by fabienne

open side by side

this is a nokia e70 above and a nokia 6230 below. those of you who may have seen my previous work hacking popport cables for nokias may have noticed that i tend to overlook semi-badly built stuff because i rebuild it. however, i decided that a full flip over keyboard is sexy, and the addition of unlocked 3g and triband and wifi and voip compatibility puts this phone over the top. apparently i’m not alone in this sentiment, because even though this phone isn’t the newest of devices, a ton of people around me thought the same thing at the same time. hopefully i will have some time to enumerate the bugs/hardware deficiencies and share some fixes as well as do some mini-reviews and how-tos for software for the phone. i bought it through dynamism, but i think i got the last one they had.

the first order of business on functionality, i found that the sim card holder was a bit loose. my phone kept losing contact with the sim card (error message: no sim found). it turns out there was a bit too much space between it and the battery, so i folded up a little torn off piece of paper and placed it between the battery and the sim holder. now i don’t lose sim connectivity.

the second semi-annoyance was that when i set up the navigation joystick right push to go directly to my email inbox, i couldn’t get back to the main menu. workaround: none for the moment, just activate incremental email checking and when “you have a new email” pops up on the desktop, then you can easily navigate to your inbox. maybe a firmware upgrade is in order for this one.

i will enumerate how i got my email working with a private email server in the next post. for the time being, this phone is so feature-full that i will need some time to put it through its paces. i do love the feel of the keys on the keyboard and the screen is of excellent quality so you can view larger chunks of webpages zoomed out and still read text. pictured below are the nokia e70 and 6230 in the dark.
open in the dark comparison

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don't buy this suitcase by c.comberti

Posted in blawging on November 25th, 2006 by fabienne

don't buy this suitcase from c.comberti

this carry-on sized suitcase made by c.comberti was the result of a long search through two department stores and a luggage store. my last small carry-on suitcase, a 30 dollar black no-name brand from chinatown in nyc, lasted four years before the wheel housings broke. this new fancy blue one is something you don’t want to buy.

1. the main zipper is of such poor quality that it catches and doesn’t zip at certain places, and not only when the suitcase is stuffed.

2. the front pocket is too deep and unpadded.

3. there is a hard plastic hook on the back which presses into your thigh when carrying the suitcase up and down stairs. the hook caused a bruise on my leg.

4. the pull out handle is rickety and looks like it may break.

verdict: don’t buy this suitcase.

Workshop for the 23c3 in Berlin

Posted in berlin, conferences, hardware hacking on November 21st, 2006 by fabienne

inside of wifi detector we'll be hacking

I will be giving a hardware hacking workshop at the 23rd Chaos Computer Congress, aka the 23c3, in Berlin, Germany (exact location: 52.520693,13.416452) on the first day of the conference, the 27th of December from PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE 11:30 to 13:45 (11:30am to 1:45 pm). This workshop will be a hands-on workshop where attendees will repurpose an existing wifi detector into a soft housing that can be velcro-ed around a messenger bag strap or a backpack strap. When I built this project the last time, I built everything into the backpack strap. However, today’s world with vacillating fashion trends and frequent security checks demands more flexibility. The wifi backpack strap will therefore be removable in this newest iteration. There is a flickr tag for the project which goes into a bit more detail about the materials you will receive with payment for the workshop (about 35 euros / 45 dollars).

The materials for the project include: a wifi and spy wifi detector, usb cable to recharge batteries, rechargeable batteries, and a handy wrist strap which you can use for something else, black techie fabric pre-stitched with velcro closure, el-cheapo soldering iron, solder, bits of cable, glue gun to borrow, needle + thread, screwdriver to borrow, and the materials for squishy switches (foam, aluminum foil, paper, wire, silver conductive paint).

There are only about 30 seats in the workshop room, so attendance will be limited to that many. Also, if you prefer to use your own materials, by all means contact me to reserve some space in the workshop room and let me know what brand wifi detector you will be bringing to hack and if you need any other tools. To register with me for the workshop, please contact me using “mail” @ the name of this site with the subject of “23c3 workshop”.