Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx vs Polar RS800cx G3

A while back I read a Garmin Forerunner 405/405cx review which was pro- the device. This text was intended as a comment on that review, but grew a bit out of hand for a comment. Here first a few words on the Garmin – just for context. Garmin, the word is yours:

“The Forerunner 405/405CX is the evolution of GPS-enabled training. This sleek sport watch tracks your distance, pace and heart rate, then wirelessly sends the data to your PC for later analysis. The 405CX features heart rate-based calorie computation and comes with a second wrist band option suitable for smaller wrists”.
For a comparison on the Garmin Forerunner 405 and the 405CX I suggest you go here:

Now, while all that Garmin marketing and the products themselves certainly do make you think about how you can use one of them in your training, there are a few things that should make you think twice. For instance the battery life of Garmin 405/405CX is not impressive and will require frequent charging. If you go somewhere far away for training or competition, do you really want to have to worry about charging your heart rate monitor too?

If you compare the Garmin 405 to the Polar RS800CX with G3 (GPS) sensor – the premium product from Finnish company Polar you’ll find both pros and cons for both. Let’s start with some of the Polar’s weak points:

  • too many devices: heart rate band, wrist unit, GPS-unit;
  • since recently: the Polar is a very closed platform with no current options of exporting Polar data to other platforms – although I haven’t tested it, the Garmin does offer export to Endomondo and other tools that allow for mapping and sharing of training routes and data through various social networks.

The advantages of Polar vs Garmin are:

  • The disadvantage for the Polar can also be turned against the Garmin: More devices in the Polar solution also ensures that if for instance the GPS runs out of battery during training you will still get heart rate data for the remaining session. Not so with the Garmin where it’s all lights out if the wrist unit dies. Furthermore the Polar’s battery will take you MUCH further than the Garmin battery – probably because the battery doesn’t need to support the same amount of functions.
  • Final comment on the battery: Battery change with the Polar doesn’t happen often, is easy, and relatively cheap.
  • Soft heart rate strap on the Polar. With the Garmin the heart rate strap is hard and a soft is only available for an additional $70.

I’m missing more information on social network integration. The Polar is completely unfit for any type of social network interaction. The Garmin has an own network with a few shortfalls, but more importantly allows exporting training files to services external to Garmin.

Conclusion: For me Polar wins this battle. The shortcomings in the Garmin package are a source of irritation if experienced while training. I have a feeling that I might find myself without battery really often.

Still, one has to often if Polar is fighting the right battles. Presumably the consumer market is where they get most of their money and they might want to watch it more closely and avoid what has happened to the Navigation device manufacturers: Mobile devices with minor additions grabbing market share with free software.

It’s happening in the training device market already: mobile devices from Apple, Nokia, HTC and more now include GPS for positioning and speed data, software for the tracking and uploading, and finally all they need is a 3rd party bluetooth heart rate monitor and off you go. I’m not aware of any heart rate straps that will do the trick, but as soon as they come out, Polar should get worried.

More about that in a future post.

Nokia E71, E66 get Free Navigation (aka “OK, I take that back blogpost”)

A while back I wrote about reasons that Nokia wouldn’t come with a free version of their Ovi Maps navigation software for older models. Now, as it turns out, Nokia has proven me at least 95% wrong by coming out with Ovi Maps navigation for the E71 and E66.

Of older devices the N86 and now the E71 and E66 will have free Ovi Maps navigation. All other feature pack 1 or older devices will not have Ovi Maps with free navigation. In addition the E71 and E66 will not have the Lonely Planet and Michelin guide premium content. While some may whine at this, I consider it to be of little significance that the premium content only goes with newer phones and if the navigation software works with E71 and E66 it increases the life of those devices – good job Nokia.

Find the download for your E66 or E71 by clicking here!

Nimbuzz+Skype=Cheapest International Mobile Calls

At the end of this guide, you will be able to call other countries for free or nearly nothing – from your mobile phone!

Your contacts will be able to see that you’re calling and respond or call back!

Usually when you want to call family, friends or other contacts in other countries with your mobile, your left with no other option than to simply give them a call and pay hefty fees to service providers who charge you way more than their costs justify.

Here’s a small guide to how to work around that in a few, simple steps.
What will you need to complete this guide:

  • Your mobile phone with 3G or Wireless internet connection (this guide was made with a symbian based Nokia E72)
  • That’s it !!!

To make VoIP calls possible on your phone you will need an application that supports such services. For Nokia phones a few well-known services are available: Fring, Skype, and Nimbuzz. In this test I’ll make use of the Nimbuzz client – that’s the app I like the most. Like Fring, it supports several chat clients incl. Skype as well as SkypeOut and Nimbuzz’ own VoIP service, NimbuzzOut. On to the first step of the test.

1. With your mobile browser, on your phone – go to or take your computer’s browser to and have Nimbuzz downloaded to your computer, or an sms download link send to your mobile phone.

2. Install Nimbuzz to your mobile phone and create the instant chat, VoIP and SIP services you would like to use. Make sure to add your Skype account.

3. Go to and log in to your account at

4. Buy some Skype credit. If this is your first time I recommend starting with the lowest possible amount to avoid disappointment.

5. On set your caller ID to your mobile phone number. This is what makes it possible for people to see that you’re the one who’s calling and to call you back.

6. In Nimbuzz, make sure to set your VoIP provider correctly. Start the app on your mobile, select options, settings, VoIP provider settings, choose SkypeOut. The reason not to choose NimbuzzOut is that they currently do not offer caller ID, which is key to making the whole thing work.

7. Finally, set your connection in the Nimbuzz app: select options, settings, Connection. I recommend that you  indicate under Default connection that the app should Always ask which connection to use. In addition make sure that you answer Yes to using Wi-Fi when available.

8. If you now would like to call people directly from your address book, you need to make sure that their address book telephone numbers include international dialing codes (+country code or “00country code, ie +31 or 0031 for the Netherlands).

You are now all set to make your first international or local telephone call using Nimbuzz to call through SkypeOut.

From the chat contact list, go twice to the right to arrive at the SkypeOut menu and call someone – nearly for free.

Enjoy !!

You should now

Free Ovi Maps Navigation on Nokia E72 unlikely to show on E71

A few days ago @_bjorn send over an alert about this blog post, which essentially underlines my thoughts on what Nokia is doing with Ovi Maps.

There’s been speculation among users of legacy phones like the Nokia whether the recent release of Free Navigation for Nokia E72, E55, E52, N97 and mini, X6, 6730, 6710, 5800, and 5230 would also be released for other phones – like the E71.

Now, I don’t KNOW any of this, but here’s why that won’t happen:

Nokia presumably likes when their new phones get good traction. As mentioned in the blog post I link to above, Nokia is getting traction by offering a service on new devices for free, which would otherwise cost quite a bit. In this case Nokia has chosen to offer free navigation to the Nokia devices mentioned above and (currently) not on any other devices.
That will move customers in direction of a move from their current device to a new device. Some would argue that Nokia is playing a risky game as disgruntled users might choose other smartphones like the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or even Windows Mobile devices in the market currently.

So, from Nokia’s point of view: They already sold the phones that currently can’t do free navigation  – not with Ovi Maps, anyway. They made that money already. To now risk that users move from their Nokia E71 to another platform other than Nokia’s own is (almost) as bad as that users keep their current Nokia devices without making any change at all. No change at all equals no extra revenue for Nokia, so it’s better and more profitable for Nokia to risk alienating users through not offering free Ovi Maps for older devices than to put efforts in supporting users of phones that already got sold.

Or anyway, that’s one way to see it. What are your thoughts?

My Favourite Nokia E71 Apps – 27/6 update

Here a quick list of installed worthwhile apps which I need to reinstall upon E7¹reinstall:

– shozu (social networks):
– gravity (twitter):
– google maps:
– nokia sportstracker:
– nimbuzz (im):
– mail for exchange:
– totalrecall:
– sms preview:
– flixwagon:
– qik
– Enterprise One (Seven) theme for E71
– mobbler
– coreplayer
– google translator
– wordmobi + python
– screenshot
– accuweather
– google app:
– pathe cinemas

In addition:
– update share online

– Youtube app
– Nokia maps

Part 2: Tweeting E71 – Enter the Challenger: Twittix

Twittix Followers In the series on Best Tweeting Experiences for Nokia E71 we’ve been having a look at Gravity from so far. Gravity seems by many to be the king of twittering on S60-based mobile devices including the Nokia E71.

As in all stories involving a king you usually also have someone out to get the king’s crown and the kingdom of S60-Twitterers. In our story, the most likely contender at the moment among paid Twitter clients seems to be Twittix from Viking Informatics, sold and marketed by

Now, Twittix is a native S60 client for Twitter. It costs about €5 and brings you all the things you’d expect from one of the top two applications in the market: timeline, tweeting, replying, direct messages, My Tweets, people you follow, followers, etc. In my last post on this topic I said that Gravity has set the bar, so naturally we will be comparing Twittix to Gravity. In the following I will focus less on what these two great applications have in common and a lot on what makes them different from eachother.

Twittix packs a few features that Gravity doesn’t which changes the user experience a bit. You can forward tweets via sms, which means that you can share interesting tweets or just your own tweets with anyone with a mobile phone – you’re no longer bound by who’s on Twitter. Personally I’m a big fan of breaking down barriers like that so this is a definite plus for Twittix and something Mobileways should seriously consider implementing in Gravity.

With Gravity you can see how many followers and how many following a profile has. Twittix takes it further and lets you view profile and even browse who is followed and who is following. Smart feature which makes Twittix a stronger tool for finding new connections.

Twittix Profile In addition you can pick any profile and introduce that person to anyone currently following you. This too is a plus point for Twittix.

Twittix has other features which Gravity is missing, but the above features are the ones that in my mind makes Twittix more than just a “wannabe Gravity”.

Twittix is missing some features too, though.

One major missing feature is the ability to create and store multiple Twitter searches. That feature makes it possible for you to not just use Twitter as a social engine, but also as a knowledge engine. Twittix is missing literally endless searches and Twitter trends – two features which are much more about what is going on than who it is going on with. Twittix does have one search and more on this front is coming in version 1.01, but at this point it’s just not enough for content focused users.

Essentially this is what it’s going to come down to for many users: What kind of Twitter user am I? Am I a user-focused Twitterer or am I a content focused Twitterer. Many user focused and social twitterers will choose Twittix for its ability to stay in touch with people and connect people to other people – including connecting themselves to all of those people. Content focused users should stick to Gravity for its access to a wealth of information about things that interest you regardless of who it’s coming from. If I were to come up with a tagline for Twittix it would be “The Social Twitter client”.

With both clients it’s a bit of a give and take and both are excellent software products. You have to make up your own mind, but for me the graphics of Gravity, the many searches you can make along with the ability you do have to stay up to date with people still makes Gravity my Twitter tool of choice – even at €5 more than Twittix. The look and feel of Twittix is not polished enough for me – very subjective, I know, but that’s my opinion.

All that said, it looks like Twittix is carving a niche for itself and judging from some of the activity in the blogosphere the kingdom might not be entirely safe for Gravity just yet.

Have a look at the feature by feature comparison on this Google Doc.

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Part 1: Best Tweeting Experience for Nokia E71: Gravity

Twitter client Gravity on E71 Packing my E71 for a series of tests of various applications for the E71. This time I’m taking a look at the best applications for twittering with focus on what works on E71, which in turn will work on most other S60-based handsets as well. Each Part will hold a rather in-depth test of each application hence why I’m just putting a single test in each post.


Brief on Twitter according to Wikipedia:

“Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).”

So far so good. Same as with many other internet related services also Twitter works really well on Symbian S60 in general and especially well on Nokia E71. To create a bit of an overview I’ve grouped the choices into three categories: Paid for installed clients, Free installed clients, Browser-based clients (all free).

Paid, installed clients: Gravity

Gravity is the leader of the moment (see image), providing:

  • Timeline
  • Replies
  • Direct Messages
  • My Tweets
  • Favourite tweets
  • Friends (people you follow)
  • Followers
  • Browsing of User Tweets, User & Replies, Search
  • Nearly endless Twitter searches
  • Twitter top trends
  • Picture tweeting with Twitpic and Mobypicture
  • Full-screen mode
  • – and those are just the Twitter specific features.

For the rest Gravity holds settings for the profile, timeline updates, replies updates, messages updates, and auto-update settings. In case you loose your phone your account and password seems secure as the password is represented by asterisks. In-application update feature makes sure you have the most recent version at all times – if you want to. You can add several additional Twitter and Laconica accounts.

Finally and probably most impressive of all the graphical design and touch and feel of Gravity is unparalelled on the S60 platform and rivals the best of other platforms. Oh, and in case you were wondering I actually coughed up the 10-or-so Euro for the application. It rules supreme and has set the bar for what Twitter applications should be able to do on the E71 and S60.

It comes with a full-blown trial to test the whole thing for what I remember to be 10 days, which should be more than enough to get a good idea of what you’d be paying for – just the way I like it.

Gravity can be picked up through the vendor’s website at The author is to be found on Twitter (of course)

Have a look at the feature by feature overview on this Google Doc.

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What Would Google Do? – review

As I recently purchased and downloaded my first audiobook from, Jeff Jarvis“What Woould Google Do?”. At that point in time I promised to add a few comments on the book, and Jeff was kind enough to wish me a good time with his book and add a few insightful comments on writing versus reading books.

Well, Jeff, it was not bad – not bad at all!

The “What Would Google Do?” (“WWGD”) audiobook is a 9 hours unabridged version of the usual old-tech versions. As previously mentioned it comes with some of the benefits and drawbacks of  audiobooks. While it from a technology point of view is much better than another recent consumption – the audiobook version of Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” (3,7 hours with no chapters) – it still has a long way to go to create the right kind of experience for audiobook consumers.

With two sound files of 7 chapters each, all of those chapters entitled Chapter 1, 2, 3 through to 7 there is little possibility to navigate the audiobook (making this blog post much more work). That is where audiobooks can most easily win the most ground. Not this time. Maybe in the future.

As for the content of WWGD, Jeff has put together an interesting account of how we got this far. How did the Internet change the game, how has that impacted the old-style, atom-bound, based on making stuff companies, and what does everyone need to do to survive and thrive in the new, transparent, distributed, free economy. And that’s all good and well.

But not great!

Jeff claims that WWGD is “one part prophecy, one part thought experiment, one part manifesto, and one part survival manual”. Jeff, that’s not entirely accurate, is it!? The thought experiment is limited to reflections and ideas that are not new. The prophecy is not new either – Jeff just chimes in with the other internet gurus.

And while his observations seem accurate and his suggestions seem interesting, I can’t really get rid af the feeling that Jeff could have done better – gone deeper – spend more time analyzing. And I start thinking about why he wrote this book and the way he wrote it. I read his own words on his own hypocrisy again and conclude that Jeff solely made this book to make money – and not so much because he has a message that needs to go out.

Jeff, you mention tbat the way forward is the free economy – if done right. So, why didn’t you try to get it right? Why not just give the book away – free of charge, and earn money on the side-effects? Is it because you somehow don’t believe in your own content – or is because you don’t believe in free?

I’ll not go into further detail than that it’s a pity you didn’t. I – for one – would have had a lot more respect for you and for “WWGD” if you’d eaten your own dog food. Not eating your own dog food always raises concerns with your potential customers, since what you’re essentially saying is: “It’s good enough for you, but not good enough for me”.

And that’s how I’ll think of “What Would Google Do?”. It’s a good account of what has already happened, but not good enough to become the next prophecy of what is around the corner for any of us. I recommend reading it if you would like a book about the past ten years of business and the internet.

For prohecies I will go somewhere else. At this point I’m looking very much forward to Chris Anderson’s book about the Free economy. Will tell you more about that as soon as I get my hands on it!

Thoughts on Reading Audiobooks

Around the 2009 presidential inauguration of president elect Obama, started sponsoring I heard about it in the Slate Political Gabfest podcasts. In true internet fashion were giving away a book if you’d sign up for a test membership.

For a few years now getting the time to read books has been very challenging, but staying up to date with news on business and politics has been no problem thanks to podcasts, and for a while they have indeed dominated my listened tracks.

So if there is time to listen to news, there will probably also be time to do that and read a book per month, and I went to the special offer at and downloaded my first book.

I’ve now been testing the format for about a week, and I’ll comment a bit on the format.

While you can consume a book without stopping whatever else you’re doing – cooking, cycling, walking, etc. – and while you do get the same content, the format of Audiobooks – for all its advantages – also has some shortcomings:

  • if you’re listening to a book, which has interesting graphs, you don’t get those
  • if you’re interested in quoting from the book you’re reading you’ll have to write the actual quote by listening and writing, listening and writing, until you get it right.
  • BIG ONE: you can’t easily search through an audiobook. I’m listening on an iPod Nano, and it just doesn’t have the entire text of the book in the “show notes”, and the chapters don’t necessarily come with easy navigation either. So flipping an audiobook open and finding a specific reference is tedious, and can’t be recommended.

There are probably plenty of other reasons that audiobooks aren’t even close to replacing books at this point, but I’ve downloaded my first audiobook and trying it out. It’s a very recent book by Jeff Jarvis with the title “What Would Google Do?

I’ll get back to that book and talk a bit about it in a future post – for now, I just want to get on with the book!