If I owned a VERTU phone I probably could not resist an opening line such as “Patience is a Vertu” but for the ordinary person like me, there’s a saying, “Good things come to those who wait!” And wait I did for the day when computing became mobile. Not just the convenience of going online on the road but doing so without giving up the speeds we’re accustomed to at home! Or not. I’ve waited and waited for the day when mobile broadband becomes a reality—for me, that is. I consider myself a late adopter of stuff so last Christmas I bought a 3.5G Nokia E51 phone to replace my (cough, cough) Nokia 6020. Without knowing it, I got a HSDPA phone before I knew what it meant and certainly before I got to know that my carrier would be providing this service.
© Jan Shim Photography
To cut a long story short, I discovered much to my delight that a previously obscured modem driver installed by Nokia PC Suite software has twice the the connection speed that I wish I had discovered sooner. Some of the more obvious places I had looked showed a maximum speed of 480 Kbps. I wasn’t thrilled considering there was a possibility of connecting at much higher speeds in HSDPA mode and capped at 480 Kbps this was going to be same or slower than my home broadband. To cut another possibly long story short, I “found” the right menu where twice the speed of 921 Kbps can be configured (applies to Windows XP). There are a number of places where the modem driver can be found and for some strange reason the other menus do not go beyond 480 Kbps. What you want is Control Panel | Network Connections | Right-click “Properties of Nokia E51 Modem (OTA)”
You’ll see the following window possibly showing 480 Kbps or so and the drop down menu reveals the magic number, 921,600 bps.
I took an extra step of disabling the internal modem of my Dell Inspiron 8500 so that the Nokia modem becomes the only default I need. I took the opportunity to update the Nokia PC Suite software to the latest release 200.34.36 including an phone software and USB Cable Driver 18.104.22.168 upgrade.
This morning I took my laptop and phone on the road and decided to surprise my IM contacts from the BILLIONTH BARREL MONUMENT parking where the team DONNAVVENTURA visited not too long ago. One laptop, one phone and a bunch of cables later, I was online and chat with a few friends whom I thought would be keen to share the experience. Mobile 3G broadband isn’t exactly new technology but when our first 3G provider made its debut everything was costly. The cost of 3G phones alone were prohibitive to say the least and I wasn’t keen to have another monthly bill to settle. So I waited.
© Jan Shim Photography
This is a 150w inverter that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter socket and it powers my laptop. It has enough juice to power items such as TV, game consoles, fax machine, mobile phone and camera chargers among other things. The inverter allows me to use the laptop as long as I want to as long the engine is running and the car battery is being charged. I drive a roomy MPV that has a second power ciggy socket right behind the driver seat so it’s perfect aligned to my needs.
© Jan Shim Photography
I’m satisfied for now that I’m able to connect at speeds twice that of my home broadband when I’m on the road. I now have a back up broadband connection when the home network suffers an outage as it has proven worthy a number of times. Whether or not I’m connecting to the internet from a laptop of just accessing the net on the phone, the Nokia E51 has become an indispensible productivity tool. Being able to choose between WiFi or 3.5G connectivity gives me the best of both world.
That said, I am going to be knocking on Nokia’s doors (again) for a modem driver that gives us at least 3.6 Mbps considering that 14.x Mbps HSDPA is rumoured to be in the pipeline. At the car park, I ran a speed test and at the request of an associate who insisted that I publish the result of this one test I did from the car park, here it is! This might just be a spike but even at 1 Mbit it’s already twice as fast compared to the 480-ish Kbps I’m getting at home.
What I consider TRULY MOBILE computing taking into account data risks, power consumption etc is when emerging Solid State Disk (SSD) technology replaces the hard drive. Although companies such as Dell now offers SDD as an option, 64GB at SGD$1,200 is far from being affordable but I’m very excited at the possibility. Imagine all the advantages that SSD attracts: extremely reliable data storage, no moving parts means no heat or risk of crashes, and certainly longer lasting battery performance.
WARNING The phone’s new software performed a reset and wiped out all my SMS and Email messages including my Gmail and Yahoo mailboxes and configuration. Even my MP3 songs and custom dictionary entries were not spared. Wiping out the previously stored dictionary entries was a good thing though. Some words that I had added to supplement predictive texting turned out to be a nuisance, am glad to have them reset.