The story of a NOKIA user


Late 2001

When my PSION 5 gave up, after PSION themselves had given up, I had a problem:  how to get a PDA that was not a Palm or a Palm clone?  NOKIA made the 9210, a mobile phone with a PDA inside (or a PDA with a phone inside?).  This device runs the same OS as the PSION:  Epoc.  It was also supposed to have similar applications.

Later 2001

For years I resisted the pressure to buy a mobile phone.  My observation was simple.  Mobiles are used for two purposes:  to cope with someone's disorganization and to exchange chit-chat.  I have little use for the latter, and I hate disorganization.  Worse:  mobile phones make people think they now suddenly have the right to upset your schedule:  "Hi Robert, something just came up and I can't make it to the meeting, just cancel it or find someone else to give that presentation."  That's office life; worse in private life:

"Hi dad, I'll give you my mobile number, so you can call me when you arrive in Paris."

"No, dear, I said that I will be in the hotel Beaulieu at 19:30 on Monday evening, I'll meet you there and we go for dinner."

"Well, I'll give you my number anyway, just in case something changes."

"No, dear.  I will be there at 19:30 on Monday.  That's the agreement.  You show up then."

Over and Out.  On that Monday the daughter was indeed at the rendez-vous, but very stressed because she had to believe it was going to happen and had to live for three days without constant feedback.

But resisting has become a full-time job.  I have witnessed kids making ten calls to arrange a simple evening out for two.  I have one colleague with whom it is very difficult to meet:  the mobile goes off every five minutes, and it always gets priority over me, who is physically there!

Not long ago I had to exchange a faulty item at a furniture shop.  The guy at the counter was interrupted three times by his mobile before I had even been able to state my case.  I told him that next time I should call him on his phone while standing at the counter, maybe I would get attention.

But I failed to keep to my resolutions and bought a mobile.  Not a simple thing either:  a Nokia 9210.  Colour screen, EPOC operating system, internet, memory card, everything.  In short:  I did it because my PSION 5 had broken down, and the 9210 runs the same applications.  Or that is what the rumour says.

I don't think I have ever bought an item so frustrating as the Nokia 9210.  Its interface is incomprehensible and not uniform.  Some options are not available in some applications.  Why can you close the word processor, but not the contacts data base?  Perhaps because the mobile phone part uses the contacts data base to find its phone numbers.  But then you could at least fake a close and let the window disappear.  In some applications you can save in multiple formats, in others you cannot.  The applications are indeed "like" the ones of the PSION, only worse.  There are fewer options.  But it is now in colour, and you can choose the background image, a feature you must admit that is difficult to live without.  The agenda is hopeless.  Fortunately the 9210 has a rechargeable battery, because power consumption is so high batteries lasts only a few days (and that's with the phone part turned off).  Exchanging information is now totally linked to Microsoft Windows applications:  you can synchronize with certain Lotus and Microsoft products, but the idea that you may want to manipulate your data in other ways clearly never entered the heads of the designers.

A proposal:

See my proposal for a data law.

Things the NOKIA 9210 does and does not have

It has

But it does not have

Profiles: sets of preferences that are useful in certain circumstances.  For example: a profile "meeting" might set the ringing volume to low, the profile "flight" makes calls impossible, even if attempted accidentally from the PDA part.  Useful in airplanes.

When entering a meeting appointment in the calendar, you cannot attach a profile to the appointment.  It is impossible to tell the thing to switch itself off at the start of the meeting and on again at the end.

Spreadsheets: useful for making lists.  I have 140 different items for which I need access passwords and user names.  A very useful list to carry with you.

Password protection of files. Thus on the PSION I protected my password file… with a password, but anyone who finds the 9210 can find my password file and open it.

A colour screen.  This allows me to tag certain appointments, spreadsheet cells etc. with colours.  Useful.

But I cannot choose my own colour palette.

A lot of computing power and weight and two-band phone access.

But only two bands.  So here I am with all my data in it, but I cannot make a phone call when I'm in San Francisco.

Is this not crazy?

That was 2001, it is now 2009 and things have not improved.  Apple's iCal 3.0.6 version is worse than version 2.0.5, at least for inspecting appointments.  And I can still not scroll by week in the month view and the 1994 PSION had a year view that is still not available.

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next planned revision:

next planned revision: 2009-11