Friday, November 19, 2010

Two Weeks With The Nokia C7

OK.. So you’ve probably read all the C7 reviews floating around for the past couple of weeks. Good. That means I needn’t go into detail about how good the phone looks, the amazing screen, how awesome it feels in your hand, etc.. etc.. :) Also, I won’t list the phone specifications here. There are several websites with much more professional descriptions than I could ever hope to put up. This is my opinion, as end-user, of the C7, having used it a little over two weeks. This is, by no stretch of the imagination, a ‘techie’ review, so there may be points here better classified under Symbian^3 rather than under C7, but since one runs on the other, I think for the end-user it’s one and the same. So let me just jump into what I think of the phone.
Unboxing and setting up
Having heard about USB On-The-Go and TV-Out, opening the box was quite a let-down because there were no cables provided. Come on, Nokia. How much would it have cost to include the required cables? Imagine the excitement the user could have had connecting his/her brand new phone to see the first photo / video shot on TV… Well, you killed that all right.
On the other hand, it was nice to see a carrying pouch included in the box. It would offer some protection for the screen, if it actually did fit. The pouch I got was so tight, it was, and still is, impossible to slide the phone even half-way in. But I tried anyway. And then, the phone being brand new and all, taking it out was quite an effort because I didn’t want to grip the phone too tight (I might have broken it with my strength) or scratch the screen (alas, no Gorilla® Glass). So it took me all of 5 minutes to coax it out of the pouch. BTW, I’m still stretching my pouch with one of my daughter’s similarly-shaped toys.
Setting up the three Home screens, choosing backdrops, deciding which shortcuts and widgets would feature on them, was a bit of fun. This was kind of new for me, coming from S60v3. Found it a bit strange that shortcuts had to be added in groups of four. Oh well.. Just one lil gripe with the Notifications widget.. Instead of being visible all the time, why doesn’t it disappear when there are no missed calls or unread messages to notify me about? Here’s where my E66 was smarter. The screen does have its unresponsive moments, but thankfully they aren’t too frequent. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Phone calls
Talking on the phone was another source of amusement/annoyance, depending on my mood. Many times after hanging up, I’d find myself in various apps.. the messaging app, I think was the most frequent. Also, on several occasions, I found the phone call would mysteriously get muted, so I’d essentially end up talking to myself, only realizing, when there was no response at the other end. I have now learned to hold the phone well away from my face, with only the top part touching my ear. Makes me look retarded – sticking my elbow out like that, but what choice do I have? On the other hand, call clarity is excellent.. better, I think than my old E66.
Messaging is a pretty nice. There’s a Conversations view I use all the time.. keeps things in perspective. Typing, however… UGH! I used to type much faster on my E66. Portrait orientation has only the alphanumeric keypad, which is probably a good thing. Landscape orientation gives you the QWERTY keyboard which, for me, is horribly inaccurate. In fact, it’s quite a pain typing on it. Multi-touch would have been useful here, but I guess Nokia didn’t think so. Installing Swype helped a lot. But I still think my good ol’ E66 was faster. Also, there’s a noticeable lag when switching between portrait and landscape views, and I find it more pronounced while in Messaging mode. Quite irritating, in fact.
Social networking
The C7 boasts a Social Networking app which is just OK. It integrates with the phone book so that’s nice. But displaying social profiles for contacts is quite a drag as the app connects to Ovi each time giving you that splash screen EVERY TIME you want to check someone’s profile out. Plus, it just takes too many clicks to get to a person’s profile. I’ve noticed that you’re allowed to add only Facebook profile pics as contact images in your phone book. Why not Twitter? Also, when saving them to the phone book the Facebook profile pic gets converted to a really low res image that looks just horrible. The widget cycles through tweets and status updates displaying them one at a time. But I’m happier now that I’ve removed it from my home screen.
The Mail client does most of what it’s supposed to do. But for some reason it just REFUSES to sync. I’ve tried various settings, even deleting and reconfiguring the mailbox.. No luck. As a result, I avoid using it as far as possible, because I end up having to delete mail twice – on the phone and on the computer. So for me, it’s just a feature that I know I have, should I decide to use it someday. Sad. Nokia should do something about this. C7 eMAIL FAIL.
The camera seems excellent.. on paper. However, the less said about the images it produces, the better. I will never understand why Nokia decided to go with fixed-focus here. I would have gladly done with 5 megapixels with auto-focus, rather than 8 megapixels with fixed-focus. I’d really love to know if there’s anybody who disagrees with me on this point. Huge, HUGE disappointment. I expected better.
After seeing the pictures, I had no hope for the quality of the video recording. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m pretty happy with the video quality and I see myself shooting more videos than photographs. Actually, scratch that. I’m very happy with the video quality.
Music & FM Transmitter
Music players on phones have never really been of interest to me. I don’t usually listen to music on the phone because I don’t particularly like using headphones. And then I discovered the FM Transmitter. Nice app. Now, the only time I play music is in the car – if I want to listen to a particular song that I know I have on the phone. Ocassionally, the music does stop transmitting, for some reason or the other, but I’d like to believe that it’s the car FM receiver that’s at fault and not my beloved C7.
If there are other features of the C7 that I’ve left out, it’s probably because they work the way I expected them to and I have no real gripes to point out here.
So, would I recommend the C7? Sure. As long as you’re not expecting quality ‘focus-able’ photographs. That’s not to say C7 photos are out of focus. They are in focus, but the entire photograph is in focus.. which is just not something I like. Also, closeups are a no-no. But I don’t need to say that.. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Fashion Conscious Daughter

The fact that I have no fashion sense whatsoever is no secret to my family. (I can imagine my sister nodding vigorously in agreement!) :) I usually end up wearing the same t-shirts over and over again. Or so I’m told. And no, it isn’t because I don’t launder them after each use.. so don’t even think about suggesting that. They’re washed, folded neatly, and kept on top of the pile on the shelf, so when I need a clean tshirt, I grab the first one I lay my hands on. Thus the 4-5 shirts on the top of the pile keep getting recycled.
Now you may say that since I’m aware of this habit, I could do something to change it.. but I couldn’t be bothered. Really. I’m sorry my li’l darling, but it looks like you’re stuck with a terminally unhip mother.
A few days ago I wore a t-shirt given to me by my sister. Now I usually buy clothes that fit ‘comfortably’. If my sister were to describe them, I guess she’d call them ‘baggy’. So this t-shirt was definitely more ‘fitting’ (read as ‘tighter’) than anything I would have bought.
The first thing Tha├»s said when she saw it was, “Mummy, I like your t-shirt!”
I thought she was referring to the color. It is a nice shade of purple. “Thank you, sweetie.”I said. “Do you like the color?”
“No. Not the color. I’m talking about the shape, Mummy.”
“The shape?” I asked. “What do you mean?”
She thought for a second, then with a wicked grin, “It makes your stomach look fat!”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our Chapel Feast

Our Caranzalem chapel is finally ready. It was inaugurated today, on the Feast of Our Lady Of The Rosary. These are a few pictures I took inside and around the chapel. Here we have the old chapel in the foreground, with the larger, new chapel alongside..

And here’s the new chapel. As is customary with all religious feasts, we have the ‘chonne-biknam’ vendors outside. Sadly, no ‘kaddio-boddios’ or ‘ladoos’ :(

Walking around the chapel. I like the bay windows up there.. ;)

Continuing on, we have what I think, is the main entrance to the chapel, with the Souto Maior Community Centre building on the right.. The building at the back is the rectory/vicarage ( I’m not sure of the term; kindly correct me in the comments :) ) which we’ll see a little later..

The fountains in front of the Souto Maior Community Centre building..

Coming around, we have the rear view of the chapel and the pathway leading to the rectory/vicarage..

And that’s the rectory/vicarage on the left. If only we had a bell tower..

One of several identical floral arrangements at all entrances to the chapel..

The next two were taken from where I was sitting..

The rest of the pictures were taken after Mass..

And finally, we have the brass band, another must-have at all Goan church/chapel feasts..