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Things every Communicator owner should know

(a.k.a. Top Tips for the Nokia 9210/9210i/9290)
Nokia 9210
Revised 2004

  1. Memory
    Memory is the scarcest resource on your new communicator. In particular, the 8MB of 'execution memory' (i.e. RAM). Installing a utility such as DevMan can help keep things in order, but if nothing else, then make sure you:
    • get your machine's firmware upgraded to v4.13 or later. All the v4.xx and v5.xx ROMs have memory-reclaiming features, closing down system applications and compressing the OS memory heaps when RAM is low. You can check your firmware number in 'Control panel | About product', right at the bottom.
    • soft-reset your communicator regularly. I do mine every other day, but then I'm a fanatic 8-) Performing a soft reset (either with Reboot, within DevMan or by removing the battery) shouldn't lose any data whatsoever and reboots the operating system, making sure RAM is kept as clear of clutter as possible.

    Firmware version
  2. Buy big
    Get the largest memory card that you can comfortably afford. But it also pays to think ahead. Rather than buying a standard MMC, go for a much newer DV RS-MMC (MMC Mobile). With their adapter, these will fit the 9210 perfectly, and with their dual voltage and reduced size, they'll also be compatible with any other smartphone you buy in the coming years. Why not be future proof? A 512MB or 1GB card will hold every application you ever decide to load, plus videos, audio files, etc. When manipulating very large files (e.g. short video clips), it's helpful to get yourself a USB card reader/writer, so that you can copy things onto card directly from your desktop computer. DON'T get a 2GB MMC card, by the way, as there are many issues with the Communicator trying to use these.
  3. Desk
    Learn to use the Desk application. Much underused and misunderstood, a bit like its Windows counterpart, Desk is a great place to put shortcuts to files and folder that you're working on. The files themselves can all be tucked away safely and logically in a folder structure of your choosing, but Desk will always give you a one keypress way of opening them up. Keep Desk (and Extras) zoomed all the way out, giving you 12 visible shortcuts without having to scroll the display.
    My 9210i Desk(top)
  4. Keep things safe!
    Use FreeCrypt to give you password-based encryption for any file on your communicator. For example, keep that confidential spreadsheet or Word file safely hidden from prying eyes. And it's completely transparent, the only extra keypresses needed are for the password itself.
  5. Keep it simple
    Don't get too carried away with background wallpaper, patterned toolbars and other operating system extensions and features - the more of this sort of thing you set up, the less free RAM you'll end up with. See point 1 above!
  6. Be patient
    The Nokia 9200 series doesn't have the speediest processor in the world (which partly accounts for its outstanding battery life). And the multi-tasking Symbian operating system often gets it into its head to do lots of things at once. For example, you close a Sheet file and return to Desk, then get frustrated because your next keypress takes a moment or two to get recognised. Behind the scenes, Symbian OS is saving your file, tidying up the communicator's memory, checking for alarms and other scheduled events, etc. So don't get impatient - work with the 9210 and not against it. Don't think that everything has to happen instantaneously just because there's no 'hourglass', a là Windows!
  7. Lock it!
    Something that's not obvious at first is how to lock the outside of the communicator, i.e. to lock the keys on the phone side to prevent accidental calls. In fact, it's 'Menu' and then '*'. So now you know. In fact, you can leave your 9210 locked most of the time, as opening up the unit reveals business as usual and you can always initiate calls from the Telephone or Contacts application. This leaves the front panel buttons for receiving calls and acknowledging alarms and messages, etc.
  8. Communicate!
    Make the most of your infrared port - the 9210 can talk to almost anything, from desktops to camera to other PDAs. And where infrared isn't possible, you can usually pass files along by MMC card or by email. Even away from your desktop, your communicator really is just that - excellent at communicating.
  9. Save time
    Where there are keyboard shortcuts, learn them and use them. For example, the 'Preferred application' in each of the group buttons (Internet, Office and Extras). And pressing Calendar repeatedly cycles through its views, with 'ctrl'+'Calendar' always getting you to 'Today', in the Day view. Pressing the Menu key cycles through tabbed dialog panes. There are many, many other quick keypresses and shortcuts that you'll pick up as you go along.
    Tabbing between dialog panes with the Menu key
  10. Check online
    Make sure get online regularly, on your desktop at least, touring the various Nokia and Symbian web sites. For example, Nokia regularly put up free updates to some of the core communicator applications. And there's a wealth of third party software appearing that can make your communicator even more valuable.