Removing the Orange Homescreen on the Nokia 6630 and Others

It appears that Orange, in their infinite wisdom, decided that they were better than Nokia at creating a usable phone, and are in the habit of replacing the standby (home) screen on their some of their smartphones with a custom Orange one. It’s actually pretty awful, as it’s unreadable, doesn’t always update correctly, and doesn’t show some useful information such as the current profile. Orange were too arrogant to admit this at first, although in their defence it looks like there will be a way to disable it on future models. I have a Nokia 6630 and this has annoyed me for some time - I also have a suspicion it has contributed to many of the crashes I seem to encounter with the phone. Fortunately someone has written a small application called HSKiller to kill this homescreen and bring back the default (the page is in French - the download link is right at the top). It has a few minor niggles, but seems to be working relatively well so far for me.

Incidentally, JJLKeyLock is also a pretty handy application for the 6630 and other Symbian S60-based phones, as it provides a timeout-based keylock, as provided on some earlier Nokia phones, but not these.

My Kingdom for a Wallet

Why oh why can’t someone make a wallet that:

  • Can hold at least ten plastic cards, some cash, and some receipts so they are easily accessible?

  • Isn’t so huge that it looks like I’m carrying a copy of War and Peace in my pocket?

  • Looks fairly smart, preferably made from leather, but not like I just bought it from Armani or some other o-so-faishonable label?

  • Lasts more than 2 weeks?

  • And most importantly, has a zip _all the way round so your stuff doesn’t fall out_?

Is this so hard? (grumble, grumble).

Wallet manufacturers: I will pay you £200 for a wallet that fulfills the above criteria. I realise this won’t cover your R&D; costs if it’s just for me, but I’m sure you could sell more of them. Please feel free to design the wallet before manufacturing it if that helps.

ESB Negates the Decline of J2EE?

Cote’ posted an article recently discussing the possible death of J2EE (Andy Piper, another blogger from here in Hursley, has noticed this too). It’s pretty hard to assess the likelihood of that happening, and I’m not sure I’m in a position to comment. However, it’s probably truthful to say that J2EE is a complex platform to get to grips with. In a sense, J2EE, although a standard and a platform, has always really been Java plus some other stuff (EJBs, Web Services, Servlets, JDBC, JMS, etc.) rather than a single entity. This means you really need to be able to claim an understanding of all of these to fully ‘get’ J2EE.

However, I feel this is one area where products such as WebSphere ESB can help. ESB builds on top of WebSphere Application Server, which is IBM’s primary implemention of a J2EE-based server. ESB allows mediation - i.e. modifying the content of Web Services, JMS-based messaging, and so on - without having to worry about a lot of the J2EE world. In fact, under-the-covers, ESB mediation modules are EJB applications that are Web Services clients, JMS clients, and so on (and this is easy to see if you know something about J2EE), but normally this is all handled by WebSphere Integration Developer and ESB without the need for understanding the nitty-gritty or doing any programming.

So it will be interesting to see software like ESB, which is enabling the development of SOAs without fully understanding J2EE, will affect the J2EE landscape. Perhaps it will be able to stay as-is and will become another layer that many people don’t want to concern themselves with. Time will tell.

How Do You Know When Documents are Ready?

So let’s imagine you’ve sent a document out to a bunch of people for their review and comments, and you’re currently going through the process of updating it with their corrections, clarification requests, and so on. How do you know when the document’s done? Well, how long is a piece of string?

I’d propose the following rule of thumb:

Take the number of valid review comments you receive from a particular person, and call that a. Take the number of times you recieve comments that require you to point someone at a part of the document they’ve missed (let’s assume it is well organised), and call that b. _ Divide _a by b - this is the review quotient.

As this number tends towards zero, you know that the document is becoming ready. For most purposes, 0.1 is probably a good threshold for determining when to stop making further changes. It’s close enough to zero that the S/N ratio is now overwhelming you, and your time is better spent on something else.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is an easy-to-watch movie about five teenagers in detention. It’s definitely a teen flick, and most of the more serious friendship-building scenes are clearly aimed squarely at this age bracket. Having said that, the (partly) slapstick comedy appealed to me, although I think it’s probably necessary to be in a mood for something a bit silly.

The only poorly drawn character in this film is Mr. Vernon, the school principal, who reacts inconsistently and is hard to follow. The students all fit into clear stereotypes at the start, but unsurprisingly move out of these molds as the film progresses. I was expecting good things of Emilio Estevez, and indeed he delivered, but Judd Nelson provides a standout performance as probably the hardest character to play: the rebel, who, despite some softening, stays a rebel to the end.

As is usual in Hollywood, the film is let down by the use of some adults to play high-school ‘children’ (Judd Nelson was 25 during filming). The reality of the film suffers a little accordingly, although the quality of the acting goes some way towards negating this.

A good movie to watch when you’re looking for something short and not too intense - plus this gives you the dubious honour of being able to say you’ve seen **the **definitive 80s teen movie.

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