Devices Mobile & Devices News

Nokia phone firmware updater

For the longest time, many Nokia users who want to update their phone’s firmware have to either send their phone to Nokia service centers, or dig around the net for often illegal software. Although newer phones can be updated over-the-air, most (even slightly) older phones don’t have FOTA (Firmware-Over-The-Air) support.

Today, Nokia releases Phone Software Update, an PC application that updates selected phones to the latest firmware.

Currently supporting the following phones:

E50, E60, E61, E62, E70, N70, N72, N80, N91, 770 Internet Tablet, 6131, 6630, 6680, 6681, 6682 (recently added in red)

As usual, updating device firmware can be risky (such as ending up with a paper weight). However, Nokia’s Phone Updater is implemented nicely, and the update process went smoothly for my 6680.

Make sure to read the FAQ before updating, as it addresses many important issues.

Devices News Others

In pursuit of the perfect keyboard

Over the years, I’ve used many different keyboards. From the flat Atari 400 keyboard, to the DEC VT100 terminal keyboard, to portable systems such as the Hyperion keyboard, to Apple II and so on. As a developer / programmer, the keyboard is the main interface to the computer, and I always look for the “perfect” keyboard.

The last keyboard I used is the Microsoft Keyboard Elite for Bluetooth, and I just bought a new wired keyboard two days ago.

Why get a wired keyboard again? It’s basically because I’m tired of waiting for the Bluetooth keyboard to respond. You see, it can get pretty frustrating when typing something and there’s no response. Sometimes it would take a good 15-20 seconds before the keyboard is fully awake. I’ve tried re-installing drivers and what not, and it’s still up to the keyboard to decide if it wants to accept my input! Even though this Bluetooth keyboard is nice and comfortable with a large palm rest, convenient Forward/Back keys, and a scroll wheel, the waiting is unbearable.

In terms of ergonomics, the standard Apple keyboard is rather mediocre. There is no palm rest, and the keys layout just don’t feel “right” for some reason. The old Apple Extended Keyboard II felt much better in comparison, although it isn’t particularly ergonomic either, but I’m not the only one who feel this way.

So I got adventurous this time and bought a Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000.

The layout will definitely take some getting used to. The odd shape and profile do provide comfortable typing, as it is the major selling point. The reverse slope attachment tilts the keyboard backwards (i.e. the front of the keyboard is higher than the back), changing the normal hand posture. Only time will tell if this is the right keyboard for me.

As a side note: I’m still extremely happy with the Logitech MX 1000 Laser Cordless Mouse. In fact, I have two of them – one for the main PC and one for the Mac (the original Apple Mighty Mouse is horrible compared to the laser mouse). I know, colours don’t match (the Mac), but it’s function over form for me in these cases.

Which is your favorite keyboard or mouse?

Devices Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Nokia 6131 with Flash Lite

My mom bought a Nokia 6131 phone, and it was a nice surprise to see Flash Lite already installed. The version of this player is, which is Flash Lite 1.1. The phone itself is a S40 3rd edition device, and it’s a nice and compact phone for the general consumer.

I tested a couple of Flash Lite 1.1 games and applications, and they all work. Because this phone’s screen resolution is 240×320, most Flash Lite content are scaled to full screen but are not taking advantage of the higher resolution.

What is also nice is not only standalone Flash Lite content are supported, this phone also supports Flash Lite as screensaver, wallpaper, and for the external (smaller) LCD screen.

Not bad for a Cdn$360 quad-band phone.

Check out other Nokia S40 devices with Flash Lite, or the other Flash Lite handsets from Adobe.


There are two Flash Lite files that I found: A Sudoku game, and an animated introduction to the phone.

The Nokia Catalog application even lists Flash content, even though there are only two clocks that are available for download. It’s a good sign that Flash content is now listed under the catalog.

News Others Visual Design

Yang Rutherford

Congratulations to the launch of the Yang Rutherford website – a branding, design, and media firm based in London and Hong Kong.

This is a new company formed by my brother Jimmy Yang (founder of Y-Associates in London), and Andrew Rutherford (in Hong Kong).

Devices Events Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Another platform to deploy Flash content

At the BREW 2006 Conference two days ago, Adobe announced Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW*, an important milestone since the alliance with Verizon Wireless. Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW offers developers another platform to deploy applications, games, and screensavers.

At the conference, Adobe is showcasing some Flash Lite 2.1 prototype applications developed with a few selected key partners such as The Weather Channel, Smashing Ideas, and Rocket Mobile.

I’m excited to have developed one of these Flash Lite 2.1 prototype applications with one of the key partners, and it is an honor that it is used as a showcase during the launch of a new platform.

For those who know me from the Flash community, I was always an early adopter. Whether it was OOP, design patterns, or other technologies. However, when it comes to Flash Lite, I played with it a long time ago, but hold off when there was only Flash Lite 1.x because of the primitive Flash 4 way of development. With Flash Lite 2 now, it is much easier and more enjoyable to develop rich mobile content in ActionScript 2.0. Building the prototype application using other technologies would be either impossible or very difficult in the tight schedule, with an intuitive UI for rich user experience on mobile phones.

Besides the excitement, Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW is significant for the consumer, mobile operators, content providers, and developers:

First, it offers a simplified way to Flash-enable a (BREW) phone. Unlike the current situation (in which the consumer either buys a phone with Flash Lite built-in, or purchases the Flash Lite Player from Adobe), Flash Lite supported BREW phones from Verizon Wireless will download and install the Flash Lite Player when Flash content is requested (if the Flash Lite Player is not already installed). Second, over-the-air download and installation of Flash content is simpler than manual installation from a computer. Third, mobile operators can charge for data access and purchases of Flash content. And last, which is important for developers, is a simplified way to distribute and sell Flash applications, games, and screensavers.

Currently there are two announced BREW phones that supports Flash Lite 2.1: Samsung SCH-a950 and LG VX9800, both are available from Verizon Wireless in the United States. In Canada, the Samsung SCH-a950 can be found at Telus Mobility.

What is the difference between Flash Lite development for the Nokia (S60) platform vs. the BREW platform? Other than the requirement of being a registered (paying) BREW developer, getting the application certified, and using the BREW AppLoader vs. Nokia’s File Manager to upload files to the phones, there’s really not much difference. A Flash Lite 2 application requires minimal or no change to run on both S60 and BREW, even though the two platforms are quite different. The application I developed runs on both the Samsung SCH-a950 and my Nokia 6680. This is the beauty of Flash Lite.

With Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW, Adobe offers a rapid development platform for BREW and Flash developers. I’m looking forward to create more mobile applications and games, for both Nokia S60 and BREW, as well as other rich internet and desktop applications. Who would have thought that a rich user experience application can be deployed on multiple platforms so seamlessly?

Here are some helpful resources:

* BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is a common mobile platform from Qualcomm that is used in many North America CDMA phones.

Events Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Want to chat about mobile development?

Here’s a chance to meet face-to-face with other Flash Lite developers, and talk about making things for mobile devices.

At this year’s Flash in the Can festival, I’ll be one of the panelists for It’s A Mobile World: Build It and They Will Call (I didn’t make up that title). Bill Perry (from Adobe) and Scott Janousek will also be there, and I believe others will be joining us in this panel discussion.

This year’s speaker list is the longest I’ve seen, with people coming in from all over the world, to the city where I live. There is even a student scholarship program to attend the festival for free.

Check it out.

April 13 Update: Bill Perry won’t be able to make it to FITC; instead, James Talbot (also from Adobe) will be there. And Gabe Sawhney will be joining the panel as well.

Devices Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Forum Nokia PRO: Flash Zone

For Flash Lite developers: New zone at Forum Nokia PRO is formed. Check out the benefits. Notice the word ‘pro’ is all caps; I guess that means for real professionals only – with a membership fee of 4000 Euros (just a little over US$5000), per year.

Don’t worry though, because “Forum Nokia PRO program and its services are targeted for the most visionary mobile developers, not all (membership) applications can be approved.”


According to Adobe, there are now over one million Flash developers around the world. How many are Flash Lite developers? How many companies would pay 4000 Euros a year to join this zone when there are various other sources of information, and Adobe labs.

The Flash developer community is rather unique, compared to other developer communities I’ve been in. I believe this is because it is a mix of creative and technical people, achieving innovation on web design, application design, and now mobile design. The openness and sharing of open source material helps this community grow.

Personally, I’d love to be part of this forum, except I can’t see how to justify the entry fee.

Flash News

Adobe Acrobat 7.0.7 fixes bug with Flash 8 content

Version 7.0.7 of Acrobat just came out today. Other than supporting the new Adobe Acrobat 3D, it also fixes the embedded Flash bug I mentioned in a previous post. If you work with PDF and Flash, this is a must get update. For Acrobat Reader or Acrobat Standard/Professional (Mac or Windows).

Thanks to John Nack for the follow-up, and link to Lori DeFurio’s blog entry about this update.


Flash Media Server 2 Public Beta

Flash Media Server 2 Public Beta is now available for download, but only for USA, Japan and Europe, and not Canada? Hmmm…


Nintendo Revolution controller

Wow, this new Nintendo controller for their next generation game console Revolution is really revolutionary, and may change the way video games are played. This bold move may bring Nintendo back to the front of the line among the next generation consoles.

Make sure to check out the mini review from IGN.

Also of interest is the keynote speech by Nintendo president at the Tokyo Game Show today.

I wonder which TV manufacturer will start using this concept for digital TV interaction. Imagine using this for Flash UI control…