Archive for the Gadgets n Techies Category

Taxco TX60 as GPRS Modem

Posted in Gadgets n Techies with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2008 by Firstiar N

Last time, I review about Taxco TX60’s user interface. Now, Let’s talk about it’s other functionality, GPRS modem.

And how we can use the phone as dialup modem? In my review of TX60, when we connect the handset to USB port, we propted for three options. The last one is COM Port. Select that one and it will recognized as new hardware and request for driver installation. Question: where can we obtain the driver? Well, usually china phone are similiar one and another. Usually they are marked as MT6227. You can googling for MT6227 driver for one. Or you can go here since I aquired it from googling myself :p. Now, point the installation source to the downloaded and extracted directory/folder and install the driver.

After the driver installed, we need to Install the modem. For this, go to “Control Panels” -> “Phone and Modem Options”. The steps are:

  • Chose Modems tab. There we can se list of installed modems.
  • Click “Add…”. This will open modem installation wizard.
  • Check “Don’t detect my modem; I will select it from a list.” for manual installation and go Next.
  • Don’t select available modems. Click “Have Disk…” instead. This will open “Install from disk” dialog.
  • Point to previous extracted directory/folder and select “MTK GPRS USB Modem.inf” and click OK.
  • Ignore the warning about the driver is not digitally signed. I’ve test it and I have no problem with it. Go Next.
  • Here we will prompted for which COM port we will use. Use the appropriate com port and go Next.

Viola … your modem is installed. But wait, how can I ensure that the modem installed properly? Select your new installed modem and open it’s properties (by clicking “Properties” if you don’t follow what I mean (-_-)a ). Go to “Diagnostics” tab and cick “Query Modem” to test modem connection. If the command ATQ0V1E0 return “Success”, it should be ok.

Next, We need to set the modem for appropriate mobile operator. Still at modem properties (the one we query the modem), go to “Advanced” tab and enter this command:

AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,”APN_of_operator”

The examples of APN are: “www.indosat-m3.net” for IM3, “3gprs” for Hutchison 3, etc (these examples are based on Indonesian operators). Note that in those initialization commands, the quotes are needed. For Indonesian operators, find the appropriate APN for your operator here.

Next, the final part, We must create a dialup networking connection. Go to “Control Panel” -> “Network Connections”. The step are:

  • Click “Create a new connection” and go Next
  • Select “Connect to the Internet” and go Next
  • Select “Set up my connection manually” and go Next
  • Select “Connect using dial-up modem” and go Next
  • Select your new istalled modem (MTK GPRS USB Modem) and go Next
  • Type in your ISP name (the connection name) and go Next
  • Type in “*99***1#” (without quote) for default GPRS dialup number (most GSM operators use this) and go Next
  • Select the user (either Anyone or just ourself. This is based on our own policy) and go Next
  • Fill in username, password (and retype it). Where I get this? see this again. You can check the two options or not. It’s self explanatory :p. Note that this form are fully optional. username and password are just saved and re-prompted when we want to connect to the internet (of course, if you fill it now, they will filled automatically when prompted). go Next.
  • You can optionally create this connection’s shortuct on desktop or not. click Finish.

Your modem is ready to use. Try to connect it (double click it or right click and chose connect). If your username and password correct and no signal distortion exist, it should be connected to the server. Congratulation. You’ve been connected 🙂

PS:
Sometime, the DNS of the operator(s) doesn’t work well. You can set it manually (of course, it definitelly slower than operator’s DNS). Go to connection properties (by right click and chose properties). Go to “Networking” tab. On “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)”, click properties again. Let the IP address assigned by server (Obtain an IP address automatically) and change the DNS setting to manual (Use the following DNS Server addresses) and fill in the DNS IP address. One example of free public DNS server are listed here.

Taxco TX60

Posted in Gadgets n Techies with tags , , on October 14, 2008 by Firstiar N

Taxco TX60

Doubtful. Maybe that’s what we think when looking at chinesse cellphones. Bad material, bad finishing, bad anything. But for short-budgeted people, chinesse cellphones can be an option. Specially for those who after quantity over quality. Chinesse cellphones usually packed with numerous feature and sold at low price. Taxco, is one of them.

Taxco has released value based phone named TX60. This phone offer VGA camera, mp3 player, FM radio, and external memory slot. I bought one at IDR 575,000.00 for phone only (no microSD included). Considerably cheap for above feature. Of course, the quality it self are limited. Let’s review it one by one.

Design. Well … not much to say. In my opinion, it resemble one of nokia model with almost no variation.

Body. The material of this phone are made of plastic. Looks so fragile. Since it made of plastic, this phone has glossy appearance. Note that it also vulnurable to grease/oil-mark and fingerprint. Apart from material composition, the phone looks fine.

Camera. The resolution of this phone’s camera is 640×320 (VGA). Still image picture quality is not good. Too white. We need to edit the brightness and contrast of resulted image for only an acceptable quality. Still image mode has some settings. up/down for zoom in/out (not functioned on VGA res), lift/right for exsposure level (EV), numpad 1 for effect setting, 2 for white balance, 4 for delay timer, 5 for continuous shot, 6 for scene mode, 7 for image quality, 8 for image size, 0 for capture image (same as mid button on d-pad), and # for information display. On video recording, this phone use up/down for zoom in/out, right/left for Exposure level (EV), 1 and 2 has same function as still image capture, 4 for night mode on/off, and 0 for start/pause (same as mid button).

Audio player. The sound output of this phone when playing mp3 file over headset are crampy. For those who enjoy musics, this is definitely not accepted. But for me who only use the mp3 player for drive the boreness, or to keep me awake when driving, it’s acceptable. Audio player can be accessed via menu or simply press up button when standby. The control are, up button for play/pause, down for stop, left/right for prev/next, and */# for volume control (down/up). We can arrange songs on playlist. File selection can be one by one or by folder.

FM radio. Unlike the audio player, the sound output of the radio are surprisingly clean. This means the sound output quality of the hardware should be fine. The software is the problem. The control is up for snap search on/off. This is for when you search a station. Like digital auto search on TV. Down for radio on/off, left/right for search radio stations, and */# for volume control (down/up). The numeric keys are used to access respective stored stations.

File storage. This phone only has 500kB of internal storage. Way too little for store even an mp3 cut-song for ringtone. But worry not, Taxco provide a microSD slot (too bad, not hot swapable). The official record are this phone can hold up to 1GB of microSD. But I use a 2GB one and find no problem on it. Using USB cable, the microSD can be a flashdisk replacement by chosing mass storage when connected to PC/laptop. In this mode, the phone it self still operable and charging, but the card selection are missing, which mean we can’t access data on microSD from the phone. So all setting like wallpapers and ringtone which directed to card are revert back to original ones. But worry not. When we disconnect the cable, the setting back to what we set before.

Battery. The power life-time currently still unknown to me. At least, when nearly full charged, I use the phone as mp3 player and couples of call during the trip from tangerang to serang on bike. For arround 4 hour, the battery indicator still show 2 bars (max are 3 bars). enough for light to moderate use.

Conclusions. For those who shot-budgeted and only looking for cellphone mainly for call and sms with some addons, this phone can be one of the solutions. Cheap, has audio player, FM radio, camera, and file storage, packed on arround half a million rupiahs.

Google Chrome … new challenger of browser battle?

Posted in Gadgets n Techies with tags , , on September 3, 2008 by Firstiar N

Recently, google release a new browser, named Chrome. It still at beta phase though. So many people were excited about it. I’m one of them of course ^_^a

Lets go to the GUI aspect. Chrome has a simplified interface. Soo simple, yet so nice to cee. With minimum interface, It deliver a practical use for browsing. It even does not have menu bar on it. Just tabs, prev-next and reload button, home button which is hidden by default, address bar, page and browser control represented as dropdown toolbar button. It also has a dinamic tab system which detachable and dockable. Each tab has it own process which make when one tab is inflict some serious error, only that tab was closed. If we look at process list on task manager, we’ll have n+1 of chrome process with 1 is for main window handler.

The new inovative feature is web application’s shortcut which make a shortcut icon. If the icon is executed, chrome will open a browser window dedicated to that particular web application. Don’t know how though since it still not worked by the time I wrote this post.

Another new feature is incognito a.k.a spy mode. We go through any addresses, clean up every trails we make, as if we never gone there. Neat isn’t it?

As for main part, speed. Surprisingly, it boost up in front of firefox, mozilla, and safari as stated by Stephen Shankland here. According to this test, chrome has a great potential to rise in browser battle.

Since it still at beta phase, we can expect a lot of improvements such as plugin/addon support for this browser. As for me, I might migrate to chrome if It has, mainly, adblock and flashget integrator plugins/addons. let’s see 🙂

SanDisk Sansa C-240

Posted in Gadgets n Techies with tags , , , , on February 25, 2008 by Firstiar N

Over two month I confused which one I should buy for listening musics while on the way. I have two options in mind. First, Samsung YP-U3 1GB which entitled the best music quality for affordable price. And second, SanDisk Sansa C240 1GB which have slightly above average with micro-SD slot for extra room for musics. The other advantage of Sansa C200 series is their battery. It host a replaceable lithium polimer battery. And because of many reasons, I chose Sansa C240.

Because this device is a music player, let’s talk about it’s sound quality. For my ears, the sounds this device produces can be acceptable. Slightly above average. Specially after updating it’s firmware. Good enough for listening various type of musics. It’s also have a 5-band equalizer for customization if the preset equalizer aren’t match your needs.

Next, about it’s interface. I can say that this device is friendly enough and easy to understand. With 5 direction dpad (play/pause, prev, next, menu, OK) + main menu / power button on the face, volume on the top side, and hold and record button on the bottom side, user can operate this device without to many steps to set something. The user interface of the device also easy to follow. It has standard interface which adopted by various player which make easier for user who switch from other brand. And the important thing is, it’s UI is fast enough to browse.

Next, the battery. As I stated before, it has a replaceable lithium polimer battery with 530 mAh capacity. The spare batteries are sold separately. With it’s capasity, when fully charged, SanDisk claim that this device can run approximately 15 hours of playback. NOTE that using equalizer can decrease battery lifetime.

Last, an extra feature, this device support external memory slot. It host a microSD card slot for up to 2GB. Which quite enough for various of musics. The other nice feature is firmware update. We can update our firmware just using auto-updater provided by SanDisk Sansa. Unfortunately, this auto-update software isn’t provided on the installation cd whithin the package. You must download it manually at here.

So, with affordable price, I can grab an acceptable quality music player, with external memory slot and replaceable battery. Good deal I say 🙂

iPAQ rx4500 series

Posted in Gadgets n Techies with tags , , , on February 1, 2007 by Firstiar N

Great!! That’s what I can say about this pda. When I’ve read the review, most of them said that although it’s compact, somehow it not that comfortable for right handed person. But when I tried myself, it’s not that bad. I can operate my ipaq with my left hand only (right handed usually hold the handheld with left hand and stylus with right hand, right? ^_^a). Either on portrait or landscape mode, I can operate it easily. I know it’s hard for the first time, but you’ll learn that it wasn’t that hard.

OK, enough with design, let get in to the features. First, wireless connections. This handheld already implanted bluetooth 2 with EDR on it. So, say no more to slow data transfer via bluetooth. When I try to pair it with my K800i, it run smoothly. Setting for bluetooth services also easy. With only some steps, we can acquire bluetooth services of paired object. In my case, one of them is Bluetooth DUN (Dial-Up Networking) which the most important service when we can’t connect via ActiveSync or wi-fi. When I try to connect using Bluetooth DUN to my K800i and access 3G network, it’s connected with no problem at all.

The wi-fi also great. It’s support 802.11b/g while others usually still applying 802.11b only to their pdas. I’ve tried it to connect to wireless access point with no problem. Except that we can’t connect to access point when we connected to activeSync. This also applied to bluetooth DUN.

The other advantage of this pda is, it has 1 GB internal flash memory which make me can delay to buy memory card for it. While it has 1 GB internal memory (aside with internal 64MB RAM), it also has SD slot for SD memory card or SDIO devices. I’m not sure yet how much it can handle for external memory. If it can handle 4 GB, it will nice. But 2 GB also enough (with 1 GB internal, it will be 3 GB in total).

Lastly, the battery. The battery life are not that great. If we use it to intense, the power will depleted really fast. But when I use it to play musics using GSPlayer (music player for Windows Mobile) and turn off the display, it can run surprisingly at long lifetime. I’ve use it to play music for 4~5 hour and only used up the power for 20~25% which can run approximately more than 16 hours (until we run out of power, which we don’t want it :p) or around 10 hour with minimum use of pda function (almost no wireless connection used).

The cons are, the button. while d-pad buttons usually not used to much, but when we need it, we can only use up-down function from scroll-wheel. and the scroll-wheel didn’t do the left-right function when we reach the bottom of list icon. Here’s the example. I assign the flip button (Portrait-Landscape toggle) to start button. I press this toggle button, the start menu appears. Using scroll-wheel, I move to “settings” and click it by pressing the wheel. In settings window, I can move up-down using the scroll from the last accessed icon. To select other icon, I must use stylus.

So, my opinion on this device is … great. compact, accessing all buttons is not that hard (at least by me :p) either in portrait nor landscape. Has bluetooth 2 with EDR and wi-fi with 802.11b/g specification which give me broader connection selection, and the price is affordable. So? … it’s great :D~