3 UK’s Sneak Peek Video | Nokia E7 To Be Available Early 2011

Three UK has today confirmed that the Nokia E7 will become available in early 2011 in their sneak peek video preview of Nokia’s Communicator Successor. With its 4″ capacitive touch display with ClearBlack technology, an 8 megapixel camera with Dual LED flash and full QWERTY keyboard, I can assure you that there are a lot of people waiting for the Nokia E7 to hit the market. Hit the jump for this exclusive preview.

Avatar HD For Symbian^3 | Gameplay Demo On The Nokia C7

Check out this gameplay demo of Avatar HD on the Nokia C7. If you crank up the video to 1080p, you can really see how crystal the gameplay is. You can download Avatar HD for £3.00 GBP from the Ovi Store. Check out the video after the break.

AR Drone Test Flight With MeeGo On The Nokia N900

Kate over at Forum Nokia has managed to get her MeeGo powered Nokia N900 to take control of the Parrot AR Drone, a Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) quatrocopter. Using Qt she created MARDrone to support MeeGo, and took the AR Drone for its first test flight. Check out the video after the break.

Ovi Store Continues Rapid Growth | Up To 3.5 Million Daily Downloads

Nokia’s Ovi Store is continuing its substantial growth month-by-month and continuing to break personal records. Today Nokia announced that the Ovi Store is currently serving up 3.5 million downloads per day. That’s a staggering 40 downloads per second, and up from 3M in November, and 2.3M in October. Hit the jump to find out more.

So how has the Ovi Store progressed over the past few months? Well, download rates have drastically increased, demonstrating a growth in awareness of Nokia’s app store. Nokia was undoubtedly late in the app store market, however this growth shows better late than never.

Ovi Store | October 2010

200,000 New Users Signing Up To Ovi Everyday
2.3 Million Downloads Per Day
140 Million Active Nokia Service Users Worldwide

Ovi Store | November 2010

250,000 New Users Signing Up To Ovi Everyday
3 Million Downloads Per Day
165 Million Active Nokia Service Users Worldwide

Spark 1.0 For S60v5 & Symbian^3 | Brings The Important Stuff To The Homescreen

Hiplogic today announced that Spark has been updated to version 1.0, its first update that takes it out of Beta. Spark is a homescreen customisation app that brings all your important content to the homescreen. From BSkyB news to Facebook and Twitter updates, Spark really makes accessing your content quicker when on the go. Find out more after the break.

Spark allows you to access and update your Facebook and Twitter streams right from you homescreen, as well as giving you access to the latest real-time news, on which you can comment or share via your social networks and or text message. Spark also provides you with the current weather forecast wherever you are, with it’s location-aware weather monitor, and brings you great localized deals every day with the new deals module courtesy of Groupon. Spark brings all this directly to your homescreen. Check out the short video demo below.

Santa Receives A Nokia N8 With Ovi Maps To Help Him Navigate This Xmas

Well he’s spent all his life giving gifts to others and so Nokia decided to reverse the roles for a change and give Santa a gift this Christmas. He arrived at Nokia Headquarters in Espoo today where the Nokia Maps team wished him a successful journey by fitting his sleight with a new Nokia N8 loaded with the newest versions of Ovi Maps. Check out the video after the break.

Nokia E7 ClearBlack Display Outdoor Visibility Test

Check out this awesome visibility test of the Nokia E7‘s ClearBlack display, and how it fairs in the real world. As you will see from the video, the visibility in daylight has significantly improved when put next to the likes of the Nokia N900. Hit the jump to see it for yourself. I really hope Nokia continue to use this technology on all future devices, whether touch or non-touch.

New Firmware v061.005 | Nokia C5 (C5-00)

Nokia has released a new firmware update for the Nokia C5. The new firmware v061.005 should be available for most of you right now, however it may take some time for the rest depending on your service provider or region. New firmwares contain important updates for your handset to function properly so we highly recommend you update your device. Hit the jump to find out more.

Unfortunately there’s no official changelog as of yet, so if you notice any changes please share them with us in the comments below.

How To Update The Firmware

There are many ways of updating the firmware on your Nokia handset. To install the software on your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Then select Options, Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts. If the firmware update is not immediately available via FOTA, or the device you are using does not have support for this service, you can also update your firmware using NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and or Nokia Ovi Suite on your PC. Once you plug your device in, select the PC Suite option, ensuring that the phone has a Sim Card inserted and the profile is set to General. Some devices support UDP (User Data Preservation), which will preserve all your data and content on your device during these updates. However we still recommend you do a full backup in order to guarantee the safety of your data. Please share your thoughts and experiences with the new firmware in the comments below.

New Firmware v061.005 | Nokia C5 (C5-00)

Nokia has released a new firmware update for the Nokia C5. The new firmware v061.005 should be available for most of you right now, however it may take some time for the rest depending on your service provider or region. New firmwares contain important updates for your handset to function properly so we highly recommend you update your device. Hit the jump to find out more.

Unfortunately there’s no official changelog as of yet, so if you notice any changes please share them with us in the comments below.

How To Update The Firmware

There are many ways of updating the firmware on your Nokia handset. To install the software on your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Then select Options, Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts. If the firmware update is not immediately available via FOTA, or the device you are using does not have support for this service, you can also update your firmware using NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and or Nokia Ovi Suite on your PC. Once you plug your device in, select the PC Suite option, ensuring that the phone has a Sim Card inserted and the profile is set to General. Some devices support UDP (User Data Preservation), which will preserve all your data and content on your device during these updates. However we still recommend you do a full backup in order to guarantee the safety of your data. Please share your thoughts and experiences with the new firmware in the comments below.

Loop For Symbian^3 | Create Music With Random Noises

Loop is an innovative music-making app for Symbian^3 devices and lets you create music by recording random everyday noises you hear around you. You can then use the mixer and one of the nine pre-loaded baselines to get you started. Hit the jump to see Poodle Loop, an awesome track created by Warrior One.

Collect a variety of sounds on your Symbian^3device and use your creativity to make your own track. Set it as your ringtone, share it with friends and get your track recognised. You can also check out some dedicated Loopers over at loopapp.net.

Lady Geek TV Episode 11 | London Evening Standard

This week we bring to you the final episode in series one of LadyGeekTV. Debs checks out the London Evening Standard app for S60 5th Edition devices, which lets you stay in touch with all the latest news for London 24 hours a day. Get the latest news, sports reports, business news as well as entertainment and lifestyle features. Check out the episode after the break.

Navteq Buys Trapster | A User Generated Speed Trap Aggregator

Navteq today announced that it has purchased Trapster, a user generated speed trap service, to bolster its location-aware content database. Trapster is an application for getting enforcement points and road hazards alerts on your mobile device. It crowd sources speed traps from across the globe, so you can avoid unnecessary speeding tickets. Hit the jump to find out more.

Navteq is a leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data and powers Ovi Maps. With the acquisition of Trapster it can use the service to enhance its current location based content. A Navteq spokeswomen said that “Navteq believes that community-generated data has a critical part to play in location content.”

To find out more on Trapster and its virtual radar technology, check out trapster.com/presentation. Let’s hope this service comes to Ovi Maps soon, as it would be great to share and discover this sort of information when on the road, especially when you’re in unfamiliar surrounding.

MeeGo Developer Website Launches In Beta

As we are all aware, the Nokia and Intel collaboration is well underway, with Meego making some good headway. With an estimated release timeline of mid 2011, today we learned that developer.meego.com has gone live in private Beta, allowing application developers to get cracking. There’s a whole lot available for developers from simple, clear, tutorials/walkthroughs for beginners to code samples and reference documentations for the more experienced developers. hit the jump to find out more.

The goal of the developer.meego.com site is to present and market the Meego Application Developer offering. As the site is in private beta, it requires you to log in so simply enter the username ‘meego’ and password ‘developer’ to gain access to the wide range of content as well as the Meego 1.1 SDK.

How To | Activate Torch On Symbian^3 Devices With Dual LED Flash

Nokia’s new Symbian^3 powered devices have brought with them some innovative solutions. This is one huge factor about Nokia that I love – Convergence. I fter the break of how to activate the torch feature on the new Symbian^3devices that sport a Dual LED flash (Nokia E7, C7, C6-01).

Blockfest Deluxe For S60v5 & S^3 | Gameplay Demo

Blockfest Deluxe is a cool, 3D, Tetris-like game for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 devices. The difference with this however is that you’re actually inside the game similar to a first person shooter. Hit the jump for the video demo.

Blockfest Deluxe is available for S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 devices for £3.00 GBP from the Ovi Store. However there is also a free version supported by advertisements available to download here.

New Firmware v501.21.001 | Nokia E71 (inc. Changelog)

The Nokia E71 has today been updated with a new firmware taking it up to v501.21.001. The new firmware brings some great improvements including a new Music Player and the new Ovi Store. Other updates include Ovi Maps 3.03 Lite with free voice guided navigation. The new firmware will gradually make its way round to you over the coming weeks depending on your region and product code. Check out the full changelog after the break and share your experiences.

If you have already managed to update your Nokia E71, share your experiences in the comments below.


  • Ovi Maps 3.03 Lite with free navigation
  • New version of Music player
  • New version of Ovi Store
  • Office 2007 support
  • Usability and performance improvements

How To Update The Firmware

There are many ways of updating the firmware on your Nokia handset. To install the software on your device using FOTA (Firmware Over-The-Air), type in *#0000# on the home screen or go to Device Manager. Then select Options, Check for updates and follow the on screen prompts. If the firmware update is not immediately available via FOTA, or the device you are using does not have support for this service, you can also update your firmware using NSU (Nokia Software Updater) and or Nokia Ovi Suite on your PC. Once you plug your device in, select the PC Suite option, ensuring that the phone has a Sim Card inserted and the profile is set to General. Some devices support UDP (User Data Preservation), which will preserve all your data and content on your device during these updates. However we still recommend you do a full backup in order to guarantee the safety of your data. Please share your thoughts and experiences with the new firmware in the comments below.


Soundtrckr Beta For Symbian^3 | A Geosocial Internet Radio

Nokia beta Labs have released a pretty cool new app for Symbian^3 devices. Soundtrckr is a Geosocial Internet Radio application that lets you listen to more than 8 million tracks, create and share personal radio stations and search your city for people with a similar taste in music. Hit the jump to find out more.

Soundtrckr Features:

  • Listen to more than 8 million fully licensed songs – any artist, any genre, anytime
  • Create and share personal radio stations
  • Play music with friends in real time
  • Search your city for popular music and people with similar taste
  • Share your favorite stations on social networks

Soundtrckr is the first Geosocial Internet radio. Soundtrckr has the largest fully licensed music catalog for Internet radio in the world. 8 million tracks to create and share station with any artist, any genre, any language. Soundtrckr is social listening and discovery, where friends share stations and listen together in real time. Soundtrckr is also hyperlocal listening and discovering allowing users to tune into nearby stations created by other users, play what’s hot around the city.

Lady Geek TV Episode 9 | Gig Finder

This week, the Lady Geeks use Gig finder to hunt down a world class band using the integrated Ovi Map facility. Gig Finder can also be used to buy tickets and search listings by artist, genre, location and date. Hit the jump for episode 9.

Nokia Ovi Suite Beta Updated To v3.0.0.254

Nokia Beta Labs has today released an updated Beta of Ovi Suite 3.0. This Betarelease has gone through private alpha testing for about a month now, and the stability, syncing and the experience with downloading maps has been much improved. Also introduced in this release is a new Home View and a new Music Player. Hit the jump to find out more.

What’s new in Nokia Ovi Suite 3.0

Home View

  • Quick access to my content and sync
  • Recommended apps, games from Ovi Store
  • Recommended music from Ovi Music *
  • Notifications to update your phone software and to take a backup from your phone
  • Smart way to connect to the Internet when you’re without fixed connection or WLAN

Ovi Music

  • Full playback controls
  • Discover and download your favourites from the millions of tracks available on Ovi*
  • Drag and drop music to and from your phone
  • Ovi Music Unlimited support *
  • No need for a separate player

Other Improvements

  • Faster and simpler installation
  • Maps view improvements: Single item delete for maps in phone, performance improvements for maps downloading.
  • Stability and sync: We have focused on improvements for sync and stability

Opera Mobile 10.1 Updated | Download The Final Release Now

Opera today announced that it has released the final version of Opera Mobile 10.1 for Symbian, with significantly faster JavaScript performance for a quick browsing experience. The new version can be downloaded for S60 3rd Edition, S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 handsets from our relative application pages for free. Hit the jump to find out more.

“Making its debut in Opera Mobile 10.1 for Symbian is just-in-time compilation (JIT) performance optimization to the Carakan JavaScript engine, the same powerful engine that drives Opera’s desktop browser. Speed trials of today’s release show that Opera Mobile 10.1 races ahead of its predecessor, performing nine times faster than Opera Mobile 10.0 on the SunSpider JavaScript test.”

Also making its debut in Opera Mobile 10.1 is support for geolocation, which puts you and your mobile on the map. Geolocation enables web services such as maps and travel applications to recognize your location to provide you with customized, relevant content. Your privacy is in your hands, and you choose if and when Opera Mobile shares your position.

“Powerful smartphones deserve an equally powerful browser,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software. “Opera Mobile 10.1 today brings the best mobile browsing experience to the world’s most popular smartphone platform.”


Soundtrckr Demo On The Nokia N8

A few days ago we brought to you the release of Soundtrckr Beta for Symbian^3devices, which is a Geosocial Internet Radio service that allows you to enjoy music in a whole new way. Similar to Pandora, yet with many more songs, Soundtrckr lets you create, share and discover radio stations within your locality. Hit the jump to watch the app demoed on the Nokia N8.

Nokia Universal Holder CR-114 Review | For The Nokia N8, N900, 5800, E71 & More

Recently I bought my wife the Nokia N8 as an early birthday present and with free voice guided navigation out of the box, she was left in need of a suitable car holder. So I began the search and found many available options. Hit the jump to find out why I settled for the Nokia Universal Holder CR-114.

Well the first car holder I looked at was the Nokia Mobile Holder CR-122 which is designed specifically for the Nokia N8. Its clutter-free form factor was quite appealing, however as I have the Nokia N900 and the Nokia E71, I wouldn’t be able to make complete use of it.

Secondly I looked at the Nokia Universal Holder CR-115, Nokia’s latest universal in-car solution for hands free navigation. However the compatibility was limited to slimmer phones, and although it would be suitable for the Nokia N8 and my trusty Nokia E71, it would still not suffice for the N900 as we all know its in need of some serious dieting.

So this search took me to Nokia’s previous universal charger, the CR-114. This has a compatibility list of more thicker devices, but as it uses a clamp mechanism, it will literally support every device out there. What’s more is that it will also hold your device if you have a cover on it, such as the Nokia Silicone Cover CC-1005 for the Nokia N8. Check out the gallery below.

The Nokia Universal Holder CR-114 Usability

You won’t need the manual to use the Nokia Universal Holder CR-114. The clamp mechanism is very easy to operate, simply press the button and the clamp will open. Then place your handset in the holder and click it shut slowly until your device is secure. Once your device is secured in the clamp, you can attach it to the mount with a simple push and twist. The mount has a sucker on the end which you can easily lock/unlock by twisting the rotating bezel. So place the mount on your windscreen, apply some pressure and twist the bezel to the lock position. Now all you need to do is rotate your device and position it for the best viewing angle for you.

The Nokia Universal Holder CR-114 also comes with a flexible rubber plate with an adhesive back. You can stick this to your dashboard and secure the holder onto this mat if you prefer not to obstruct your windscreen. The Nokia CR-114 is definitely a good long term investment, as its versatility is reassuring and no matter what your next device is, you’ll be able to use it with the Nokia CR-114.

The Nokia Universal Holder CR-114 is available at the Nokia Store for around £29.95 GBP. I’d personally recommend our good friends over at MobileFun, who are currently selling the Nokia Universal Holder CR-114 for £17.95 GBP, and if you order before 6 pm they will ship the holder the same day.

Lady Geek TV Episode 10 | Angry Birds For Busy Gamers

In this episode of LadyGeekTV, the lovely Debs is joined by Ann Scantlebury, the co-presenter of the popular video game radio show One Life Left. Gaming is the focus and both agree that casual games are more suited to a busy lifestyle as there is no time commitment. Angry Birds it is then. Hit the jump for episode 10.

SW Update | Nokia N8 Gets Real Golf & Nokia 5800, 5230 & X6 Get Music Player With Lyrics

Nokia has released a few software updates for the Nokia N8, X6, 5800xm and the 5230. Hit the jump to find out more.

Updating your Nokia N8 will bring you Real Golf, which is a free game for that let’s you experience on the green action with top golfers, including an exclusive appearance by Lee Westwood in over 15 hours of realistic game play. The Nokia X6, 5800 and 5230 on the other hand have received a music player update that brings lyrics support.

The new lyrics feature displays the embedded lyrics of the song playing on your device (Nokia 5800, Nokia X6 and Nokia 5230). Simply click the ‘Options’ menu when in ‘Now Playing’ view to enable this feature.

To get these updates simply go to Menu > Applications > SW Update.

Hand Gesture UI For MeeGo Based In-Car Infotainment

We’re starting to see more and more of Meego and with the recent sighting of a Meego Based mobile phone, the anticipation for the arrival of a Meego powered Nokia is increasing. This video however demonstrates a gesture based user interface that most probably will be implemented for in-vehicle-infotainment (IVI). I can also see this becoming very useful in places like schools and universities. Hit the jump for the video.

Intel Atom Powered Hi/Lo Vibrant Spotted Running MeeGo In Moscow

During an Intel press event held in Moscow yesterday, an Intel Atom powered phone was spotted by Anton Spiridonovan of Mail.ru, who managed to take a few pictures of the Meego based handset. Check out the pictures after the break.

Symbian^3 Themes Page Launched

Today we launched our brand new Symbian^3 Themes page where you can download some great themes for your Symbian^3 device. So just like before, you’ll be able to see the latest additions in the ‘New Symbian^3 Apps’ section in the far right sidebar. Simply click on the ‘Themes’ page and navigate to Symbian^3 Themes. All themes can be downloaded via a single click on the picture or name, just like in the Applications section.

Ovi Maps For Mobile v3.06 Beta Updated | Download Maps Directly On Your Phone

Nokia Beta Labs have released an updated version of Ovi Maps for Mobile v3.06. This updated Beta brings with it some great enhancement and new features but the most significant addition is the new ‘Update’ feature. The Update option has been added to the main screen and lets you download street maps directly to your device without the need of a PC. Hit the jump for the full changelog and to test out this beta.

New Ovi Maps for Mobile v3.06 Changelog

  • Download street maps directly to your device! A new feature called “Update” on the main menu which allows you download Street Maps directly (via WiFi) to your phone without a PC!
  • My Position and Search are now integrated (now called Map). When accessed, it will show your last map view
  • Back button in Favourites
  • Long tap functionality to delete & rename collections & routes
  • Pop up for first time use – to inform user to download new map data (when upgrading 3.04 > 3.06 for the first time)
  • Improved behaviours of transit lines settings in map toolbox (no more grey out)
  • Compass calibration hint
  • Refreshed place details information view

You can download the New Ovi Maps for Mobile v3.06 Beta using the links below.

Swype Now Officially Available For The Nokia N8

We previously showed you how to download Swype on the Nokia N8 as it was available for the Nokia C7 but for some reason was not ready for the Nokia N8. Well, now you can hit the Ovi Store icon on you Nokia N8 and you’ll find Swype available to download. Alternatively check out our Symbian^3 Applications page and grab your copy there.

If you’re not familiar with Swype, it basically provides a faster and easier way to input text on your phone by using an innovative new method of one continuous finger motion across the screen keyboard through the letters of the word you want. We highly recommend trying it out if you haven’t already, especially with the Nokia N8 as the current keyboard isn’t exactly ideal.

Lady Geek TV Episode 4 | Go Shop With Grazia Magazine

Today we have a special episode for the not so geeky ladies out there as the lovely Debs gets fashion advice from none other than the Editor of Grazia Daily, Angela Buttolph. The app on hand is Go Shop which provides you with an up-to-date directory of all the shops around you and helps you navigate through them by giving you lists and reviews. Hit the jump to see episode four.

Pixelpipe Share Online v1.03 Released

Pixelpipe has officially released Share Online v1.03 with some cracking new features. If you’re not already aware, Pixelpipe is a content distribution gateway that allows users to share content once and distribute to over 100 social networks, photo/video sites, blogs, and online storage clouds.With seamless integration with most applications supporting the Nokia ‘Send’ menu, Pixelpipe Share Online offers a unrivalled sharing experience, and is available to download for S60v3 FP2, S60v5 and Symbian^3 devices after the break.

New In Pixelpipe Share Online v1.03:

  • New enhanced UI for handsets with Qt installed.
  • Option for prompted uploads after capture of photos & video.
  • Ability to set scaling factor for photos at the time of upload or as a default value.
  • Option for automatic ‘zero click’ uploading of new photos & videos after capture.
  • Automatic prompting for over-the-air application updates

You can download Pixelpipe Share Online v1.03 for S60 3rd Edition FP2, S60 5th Edition and Symbian^3 devices using the link below.

New Custom Firmware H2O For The Nokia N8 (inc. Changelog) | Brings Many Great Features

H2O is a new Custom Firmware for the Nokia N8 based on Firmware v11. Thanks to the awesome work of faenil of i8910tuning.com, Nokia N8 users can enjoy some great new features including full system file access, faster navigation, faster music library load time, higher voice recorder quality, the use of the dialer in landscape, additional blacklist folders in gallery to remove random system icons from you images, as well as the ability to record videos with continuous autofocus and at 30 fps. These are just some of the new features included in this custom update, hit the jump for the full changelog and download links.

H2O Custom Firmware Changelog


H2O Mods:

  • Hacked InstallServer.
  • Full System Dir Access File Browser.
  • More CPU time to alfappserver.exe.
  • Theme Effects complexity reduced to speed up system.
  • Music harvester will now only look in E:\\MUSIC\\|F:\\MUSIC\\ to speed up library refresh. NOTE: you have to create the MUSIC folder manually.
  • Doubled MPX heap size.
  • You can now use the dialer in landscape mode.
  • Media Player’s percentage of max volume raised from 40% to 60%.
  • WLAN wizard icon unlocked in menu.
  • HTTP cache set to Infinite and moved to RAM to avoid browser from easy crashes and to speed up navigation.
  • Voice Recorder max time set to 5 hrs instead of 1 hr.
  • Voice recorder quality set to High by default.
  • Voice recorder set to 256 kbps instead of 128 kbps.
  • Max data object size set to 4096 bytes.
  • Added many folders to the blacklist for Gallery, so that you won’t see software icons and stuff like that in gallery
  • Added shutdown animation and sounds.
  • You can change Startup/Shutdown animations in C:/Anim/ (startup.gif, startup.mp3, shutdown.gif, shutdown.mp3) Note: You have to create the Anim folder manually.
  • Removed Default accessory connected notification.


H2O Camera Mod:

  • Continuous autofocus. Note: It only works for short distances. Disable it to record videos of far objects.
  • Video 30 FPS and bitrate lowered to 9 Mbps for HD videos to allow lag-less video recording. (It will miss frames when going from short to far distance all at once, because the camera changes focus mode, but this is normal).
  • Audio quality set to 288 kbps instead of 128 kbps during video recording.
  • Picture quality set to 95 instead of 85 (photos will be bigger in size and more definite).


H2O Network Mod:

There is also a NetworkMod.sis package which you can find in C drive. This will set this options as default. (PLEASE NOTE: INSTALL IT RIGHT AFTER FLASHING AND REBOOT)

  • Local Network set to ONLY WIFI (it won’t auto connect to 3G anymore).
  • Roaming network set to ONLY WIFI (it won’t auto connect to 3G anymore).
  • Wifi Auto-Search is DISABLED.


H2O Theme Mod:

The theme is Aurora by BabiNokia, modified for the purpose of H2O. (You’ll notice the H2O app loader in the upper right corner of your open applications).

Nokia N900 PR1.3 Review | Walk & Drive Directions In Ovi Maps

I’m not too sure if walk and drive directions in Ovi Maps was available on the Nokia N900 prior to the new firmware v20.2010.36-2 (PR 1.3), but I’m sure it wasn’t there the last time I checked, which I guess was a while back as Ovi Maps isn’t exactly an asset for this Maemo 5 powered palmtop. However I stumbled across it and thought I’d give you guys a quick heads up, so check out the mini preview after the jump.

To start with, as you launch Ovi Maps on the Nokia N900 you’ll be presented with this screen. The two rectangles in the top left will show you the multitasking screen, pressing the time next to it doesn’t do anything at all and of course the cross in the top right will exit the application. On the bottom of the screen you’ll see the ‘Search’ option at the bottom left and the ‘Get Directions’ in the middle followed by the ‘Clear Map’ and ‘Full Screen’ toggle on the bottom right.

Pressing the ‘Maps’ bar at the top of the screen will bring up the maps settings. Here you can select the type of map you wish to view i.e. ‘Map View’, ‘Terrain’, ‘Satellite’, and you also get the options to activate ’3D View’, ’3D Landmarks’ and ‘Night Mode’. I’d recommend ticking the ‘Tips’ option as it gives you some pretty useful pointers in getting familiar with the new features. Further to this you have the ‘More’ option, which will give the option to change the units of measurement and time format.

Hitting the ‘Get Directions’ button will bring you to this screen. Simply enter the destination in the ‘B’ box and hit the search icon to set the route. The purple ‘Plus’ icon lets you add more destinations to your route which is pretty cool.

The walk and drive icons will bring up the options of the ‘Route Type’ and let you set the means of which you wish to travel by.

On the left, in the walking options you have the choice to set the maps to avoid ferries on your journey. On the right, for the drive directions, you have the options to select a number of travel methods or deselect the same. You also get the option to choose whether you wish to travel using the ‘Fastest’, ‘Shortest’ or an ‘Optimized’ route.

Once your route is calculated, hit the ‘Full Screen’ toggle in the bottom left of the screen and you’re set to go!

The right and left arrow keys on either side of the street name will let you skip through the different turnings on your route.

The two other keys within the address bar will let you search the database on your location or destination, and let you view your route in a list.

In the ‘Search Bar’ you can enter a destination and you will be shown details of that location. It would be good to integrate contact numbers, etc, within this feature of Maps but this is a small aspect on the list of desired features that I’d want Ovi Maps to provide on my Nokia N900.

The list of you route shows you the journey itinerary, with the name of the streets you’ll be turning into and the distance to each turning.

If you’re familiar with Ovi Maps, you’ll recognise the zooming keys. However pressing in between the plus and minus keys will bring up a cool optimized zoom function. This will give you the option to zoom instantly to either ‘Street’ level, ‘City’ level, ‘State’ level or all the way out to ‘Country’ level.

One feature that is still not up and running properly and is a common issue in Ovi maps across the platforms is ‘Street View’. A constant ‘downloading data..’ notice is displayed and even when connected via WiFi the maps just don’t seem to appear.

Ovi Maps for the Nokia N900 (PR 1.3) has been improved quite a bit. However voice guidance in still missing along with the familiar navigation screen with relevant details being displayed. The word at Nokia World 2010 was that since the Maemo platform is a department in which Nokia will be paying less attention to due to MeeGo, it all now depends on whether or not the code for the Meego version of Ovi Maps works on Maemo. If it’s going to be too much work, Nokia is not going to develop the service further for Maemo. Fingers crossed eh!

Yahoo! To Power Ovi Mail & Ovi Chat

Earlier this year, Nokia announced its collaboration with Yahoo! and that together they aim to offer compelling Internet experiences. As part of this alliance, Yahoo! would become the exclusive, global provider of Nokia’s Ovi Mail and Ovi Chat services branded as “Ovi Mail / Ovi Chat powered by Yahoo!” Well, over the last six months there has been substantial progress with this venture, and Nokia has today announced that Ovi Mail / Ovi Chat will now be powered by Yahoo! Hit the jump to find out more.

You will still get free email and IM accounts from Ovi by Nokia, which you can set up and access from your mobile phone, and you’ll get enhancements that let you do even more with Mail and Chat. A few additional features that will be rolling out over the coming weeks include:

  • Grow your friends list: Chat users will be able to invite Yahoo! Messenger friends into their friend list.
  • Use the brand new Mail website: Mail users will soon get themes, improved attachment support, and Ovi Chat integration into the web mail experience.
  • Chat from the web: Chat users can start chatting with friends from any computer as well as from your Nokia, giving you more opportunities to stay in touch with friends and family.
  • If you currently use Mail or Chat, you must take special action.

Because of the major changes, you must accept additional Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to keep using Mail and Chat. You can accept these by visiting https://t.ovi.com and entering your Nokia account details and clicking Next. Ovi will also send you a reminder email and, if you are a Chat user, an instant message from ovi‑chat@ovi.com that includes a link to the website above. If you check your email on the Mail website, you can accept the additional Terms and Privacy Policy when you login.

If you currently use Contacts for instant messaging on your Nokia, you need to do a little bit more to take advantage of the new features. To get started, you first need to find the Chat application. It may already be pre-installed on your handset, or you can download it at the Ovi Store. Then launch Chat on your phone, select Register/Create Account, and follow the instructions to log in with your existing Nokia account credentials and you’re set.

Lady Geek TV Episode 1 | Ovi Maps

The Lady Geek App Show aims to break down the cliches of the gadget industry by putting smartphone apps to work in real women’s lives. Each show will showcase the latest and greatest apps for the leading smartphone brands and was devised following government research – which showed that more smartphones were bought by women than by men in the past six months, but twice as many women have still not downloaded a SINGLE app. The Lady Geek TV App show aims to end that. Check out the Ovi section from the first show after the break.

Nokia Ovi Store Reaches 3 Million Daily Downloads

It seams like only yesterday, and in fact it was only last month, when we brought to you the news that the Ovi Store has reached the milestone of 2.3 million downloads per day. Well, Nokia has pushed the bar further, and today announced that the Ovi Store has reached a new milestone, with over 3 million daily downloads.

Whats more is that almost 250,000 new consumers are signing up for Ovi every day. I guess its a long way away from Apple’s App Store which experiences almost 10 million daily downloads but Nokia are definitely making good progress.

The total number of users of Ovi now exceeds 165 million people, across more than 190 countries. Each registered visitor, on average, downloads 2.6 apps.

Nokia is also gaining significant software developer momentum with over 400,000 new developers signing up to Forum Nokia over the last 12 months, and over 1.5 million downloads of Nokia’s Qt software development toolkits.

Nokia N8 Power Issues | Nokia Clarifies Problem

A number of Nokia N8 users have been experiencing power issues recently as their handsets refuse to power up. Once the device has powered off it cannot be switched on, even plugging in the charger does nothing. Well Nokia has heard your complaints and Executive Vice President Niklas Savander takes some time to explain the situation. Interview after the jump.

So remember, if you’re experiencing issues similar to this then head down to your nearest Nokia Care Centre as the warranty will have you covered.

Gig Finder Beta Now Available For Symbian^3 Devices

Gig Finder beta has just been updated and is now available for Symbian^3 devices. Gig Finder is a cool little app that lets you discover gigs in and around your current location, with support for underground bars in small towns to major concerts in larger cities. Gig Finder also learns your music tastes in order to provide the best events for you. Check out the full list of included features along with download links after the break.

Key Features:

  • Improved: Get gig recommendations based on your music taste and location.
  • Search for concerts by artist, genre, city, venue and dates
  • Add artists to your music profile to be notified when they play concerts near you
  • Find where to buy tickets and compare prices
  • Get directions to the venue using Ovi Maps
  • New: Preview tracks from that artist or go through to Ovi Music to purchase songs
  • Improved: Invite your friends using Facebook, SMS or e-mail (Selecting Facebook friends from within the app was a requested feature)
  • New: Artist page with information about upcoming events & most popular music tracks
  • New: Ability to manually change the location used to recommend Gigs (This was another requested feature)

Known Issues:

  • Music Event database currently includes music events in USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland & Spain (Live music entertainment from other countries not in scope of this release)
  • Link to Music Store only available in countries with a Nokia Music Store/ Ovi Music
  • If you don’t have a SIM card in the device, the location defaults to the UK
  • On the Nokia C7 you may need to manually force the installation if it does not complete the first time

Download Gig Finder from our Symbian^3 Applications page.

Lady Geek TV Episode 2 | OpenTable

Last week we brought you the Lady Geek App Show Episode One, which focused mainly on Ovi Maps. Well, the ladies are back with episode two. This time with a great app for dining out – OpenTable. OpenTable allows you to find restaurants around your current location with availability and lets you book a table right there on the spot. Check out the full episode after the break where you will also find the links to download OpenTable for your device.

Nokia Silicone Cover CC-1005 Review | For The Nokia N8

If you’ve managed to get your hands on the new Nokia N8, you would have instantaneously noticed that although its matte aluminium finish looks exquisite, it is quite slippery in the hands, and the last thing you’d want to do is drop it. Well, unlike in the past, Nokia has created a very cool custom silicone cover for the N8, instead of some belt clip case or a glorified sock to ‘protect it’. The Nokia Silicone Cover CC-1005 is a must have accessory for your Nokia N8 and we highly recommend you to get one. Hit the jump to find out more.

The Nokia Silicone Cover CC-1005 comes in four different colours: black, blue, green and pink, which compliment the different colours of the Nokia N8 perfectly. If you’re a bit of a trend setter than you can also try a different coloured case other than the colour of your N8, which creates a pretty funky look with some combinations.

The silicone case is pretty flexible yet has a rugged feel to it. You’d have to twist and stretch it a lot to get it to tear. The case allows easy access to all the buttons and ports on the handset without obscuring any parts of the device. But aside from all this, the one thing I really love about the cover is the fact that it doesn’t take over the Nokia N8. Most silicone cases like this add unnecessary bulk to a handset, which kind of defeats the object, especially when the device is praised for its slim form factor.

The Nokia Silicone Cover CC-1005 for the Nokia N8 is available from the Nokia store for £18.00 GBP, which is a pretty hefty price to pay for a cover. I’d personally recommend popping over to our good friends over at MobileFun, who are currently selling the Nokia Silicone Cover CC-1005 for £9.95 GBP and should have it available in all the colours pretty soon.

Galaxy On Fire For Symbian^3 | Gameplay Demo On The Nokia N8

Galaxy On Fire is a sci-fi adventure made in a special version for the Nokia N8. In a huge galaxy of hundreds of planets and space stations, you take on the role of a skillful mercenary with the Terran Armed Forces in the fight against the aggressive alien Vossk. You can download Galaxy on Fire free from the Ovi Store. Check out the gameplay demo after the break.

Another Nokia N8 Production | Fatales: Hot Girls Solving Crime


Yes that’s right, the Nokia N8 has done it again. This time capturing three sexy ladies solving crime in 720p HD. Check out the film after the break.

WordPress Now Available For Symbian^3

Earlier we brought to you the release of the official WordPress for Nokia app for S60 5th Edition devices.. Compatibility however was limited to the Nokia N97 Miniand the Nokia X6. Well, today WordPress for Nokia has taken another step forward in its development and has released a version for Symbian^3 devices. You can download WordPress for Nokia for your Symbian^3 device from our Symbian^3 Applications page. Hit the jump to find out more.

Supported WordPress versions remain to be 2.7 or higher (WordPress.com or self-hosted). To download WordPress for Nokia visit our Symbian^3 Applications page or hit the download link below.

Symbian^3 Applications Page Launched | More Apps & Games Coming Soon

Yesterday we launched our new Symbian^3 Applications Page. Here you will find easy to download apps and games for your Symbian^3 handset. There are a few apps on there already but just like we’ve done with all the other application pages, we will gradually increase the content and make it easier to download for you guys, so make sure you check it out. Also note that most S60 5th Edition Applications are also compatible with Symbian^3 so make sure you check them out too. Hit the jump  to find out more.

Downloading apps and games from The Nokia Review has never been easier. You can either visit the download pages from your computer and transfer the .sis/.sisx/.install file to your handset, or visit the page directly on your device. We recommend the later as this way you can simply click on the picture of the app you want from your handset and it will automatically begin downloading and thereafter install on your device. This is by far the easiest way to get the apps quickly and easily, so if you’re a smartphone user make sure you bookmark the relevant applications pages on your Nokia handset.

Also, the Applications sidebar on the far right of the page -> has been updated to display the most recent Symbian^3 apps or games that have been added to our collection.

WordPress Beta For Nokia S60 5th Edition Released

The WordPress for Nokia app is here. You can now post new articles and pages, edit existing content on your blog, manage comments, check stats and more on the go. Hit the jump to download WordPress for Nokia or to find out more.

Currently supported phones include the Nokia N97 Mini and the Nokia X6. Supported WordPress versions are 2.7 or higher (WordPress.com or self-hosted). Symbian^3devices are not yet supported but I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before this well sought for app by bloggers becomes widely available. To download WordPress for Nokia visit our S60 5th Edition page or hit the download link below.

USB On-The-Go With The Nokia N900

Check out this awesome video demonstrating how a 1.46 GB movie is copied from a USB flash drive to the Nokia N900 in just 3 minutes, having connected it using a standard USB cable and a USB A/F-A/F connector. Video after the break.

Nokia N8 Drop Test (Video)

As we’ve seen in the past Nokia handsets are put thorough a rather vigorous reliability test in order to guarantee the reliability of that device before they go on sale. This was no different for the Nokia N8, which was put through its paces in a drop test at the Nokia Testing Centre in Beijing. Nokia put every new handset through almost 200 endurance tests to ensure they’ll survive in the real world. Check out the video after the break and find out just what Nokia do in these tests.

Some key tests include:

  • Extreme Weather: Devices are exposed to extreme temperatures from around -40°C to 85°C.
  • Humidity: The device is put in a special chamber for several weeks, where it experiences humidity levels as high as 95%.
  • Clothing: Special machines bend and twist the device, and one uses a real pair of jeans to test friction and wear and tear.
  • Pockets: Devices are placed in a special “shaker” machine with hard particles to see how resistant they are.
  • Buttons: The keys are pressed up to one million times in the lab.

Maemo 5 Applications Page Updated

This is just a quick heads up to let you know that our Maemo 5 Applications page has been updated with some more cool apps, so make sure you check them out. You can also find some great themes for your Nokia N900 in our Themes section.

Grid Touch By OffScreen | Enhance The Symbian^3 UI

Grid Touch by OffScreen lets you find, organize and launch all your apps faster than ever. It organizes your applications in a grid of nine zoomable pages. You can then move from page to page by swiping up,down,left and right. Grid Touch also lets you search for apps installed on your device. Check out a video demo of Grid Touch after the break.

You can download Grid Touch By OffScreen from our Symbian^3 Applications page.

Nokia N8 Messaging App Review | Conversate

The Nokia N8‘s Messaging application will be familiar to anyone who has used a Nokia device before; depending on your perspective, that’s either a good or a bad thing. Hit the jump to read the full Nokia N8 Messaging application review.

In terms of the overall feel of the application, there are relatively few changes to the existing functionality, bar one major addition in the form of Conversation view. Conversation view displays text messages between you and a contact in an IM-like style, with speech bubbles for each text message. It is a great way of displaying text messages exchanged in a rapid fire way over a short period, as it allows you to keep better track of what has been said within the conversation.

This functionality has become increasingly popular as unlimited text plans become more common place and is widely available on other platforms. It was previously available as a beta on a selection of older Nokia phones, so its good to see it become a standard part of Symbian^3.

For those who prefer the basic list style messaging inbox, there is an option within the settings that lets you choose the default display mode, giving you the choice of how you want to view your messages.

The core message creation functionality is handled by Nokia’s unified SMS/MMS editor, which offers fine control over the contents of messages and intelligently selects the appropriate message type based on what’s entered in the editor. These days there’s little to choose between the competing MMS editors, however Nokia still offers one of the most easiest to use. What’s particularly helpful is the ability to create audio messages, ideal for on the go usage.

One peculiarity of Messaging, compared to other built in applications, is the ability to set the font size used in the application independently (small/normal/large) from the overall system setting (found in Settings -> Display -> Font size). It is a welcome addition to Messaging, where it has clear benefits (small: more information on screen, large: easier to read for those with poor eyesight). Irritatingly, the Conversations module does not follow the Messaging setting for font size because technically it’s a separate application. Hopefully an update in the future can fix this issue.

The experience as a whole is hard to sum up as the weak keyboard really ruins the overall experience of messaging with the Nokia N8 (read my rant here). With Conversation view and support for the use of smileys, the messaging app manages to finally come on par with most other OS’s. However an updated new keyboard similar to the one we saw earlier, could make the messaging solution on Symbian^3 near perfect.

New Gravity Update | Brings New QWERTY For Symbian^3

Mobileways have released a new alpha version of Gravity (v1.32 – Build 6671) for Symbian^3, which brings a cracking new QWERTY keyboard for the Nokia N8 and Nokia C7. The current Symbian^3 QWERTY solution is far from ideal, with no support portrait mode. You can download Gravity for Symbian^3 from our newly launched Symbian^3 Applications page. Hit the jump to find out more.

Gravity is a fully featured Twitter Client with support for various other services including Facebook, Google Reader and Foursquare. It also supports multiple Twitter accounts, image uploading to MobyPicture, TwitPic, TwitGoo or Posterous, multiple Twitter Searches, Twitter Trends, Groups, Audio Alerts, Auto-Connect and much more.

The new keyboard is nearly perfect and features a translucent background. I personally would love to see this implemented by Nokia in the next Nokia N8 firmware update as would many others, however I’d prefer to see a completely transparent background if the implementation was made throughout the UI. Note that the translucency does have its purpose in Gravity.

Nokia N8 Software Update | Phone Apps

Last night the Nokia N8 received a new software update titled ‘Phone Apps Update’. This is not a new firmware but rather a core applications update to improve stability. Hit the jump to find out more.

The details of the update revealed a short description stating: This update improves the stability of phone applications. The update is around 2.9MB (2892 kB) which sounds promising. However after installing the update I haven’t noticed any immediate changes, but if you find anything noteworthy please share your experiences in the comments below.

One Local Summer: Week 1

It seems like the Dark Days Challenge just ended, but here we are at the start of the One Local Summer 2008 challenge. I’ll be posting not only here, but also at Farm to Philly as the West regional coordinator. Check on Tuesday morning for the first recap of the summer – I’ll be posting from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Of course, it hardly feels like summer around here with the weather we’re having. It’s been pouring most of the week and yesterday when I worked from home the warmest spot in the house was my arm chair next to the propane stove. I spent the whole day firmly ensconced there. Oh well, summer never arrives in the PNW until July 5th anyway.

We eat so locally and seasonally around here that it’s hard to choose a meal to be our “challenge meal o the week”, but I’d like to choose just one to write about each week this year. And to make it challenge worthy I think we’ll strive to include as many home grown ingredients as possible. That makes it a bit tough right now since the only things we have ready to harvest are eggs, herbs, lettuce and radish. Makes it hard to make anything more than a poor poached egg salad.

Since I was working from home yesterday I took advantage of the opportunity to get dinner started at the same time that I made lunch. It poured all day with the wind blowing, so comfort food was the name of the game. By sheer luck we had everything we needed to make a local beef stew, homegrown salad and homemade biscuits topped off with a 2004 San Juan Vineyards Cabernet-Merlot.

Not the best food photo I’ve ever taken, but it was dark in the kitchen and I was hungry. The salad wasn’t the absolute first from the garden, but it was the second. It included lettuce, french breakfast radishes and chive blossoms. I made the stew using Alice Waters’ recipe in her “The Art of Simple Food“. The only change I made was substituting rosemary for savory and in retrospect I would have omitted the orange peel.

The biscuits? Oh my freakin’ heck (trying to watch my language) they were the best I’ve ever made and Mike has dubbed them the best he’s ever had. They were melt in your mouth flakey perfection. They were heaven. They were amazing. They were even fabulous day old with leftover stew tonight.

– Salad: lettuce, radish and chive blossoms from the garden
– Biscuits: Fairhaven Organic Mill all-purpose flour, butter and half-and-half from Golden Glen Creamery
– Stew: almost the last of last year’s steer, farmers market carrots, onions, garlic and potatoes, home canned tomatoes and chicken stock, herbs from the garden and Yakima Valley red wine

The exceptions were salt, a bit of sugar, spices and baking powder.

Cream Biscuits
The Art of Simple Food

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
6 tbs butter – chilled
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used half-and-half)

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers or a pastry blender until grainy. Add the cream (setting 1 tbs aside) and mix until just combined. Turn out onto floured board and fold a few times. Roll out to 3/4″ thick and cut into 1-1/2″ circles or squares, re-roll the scraps if required. Place on baking sheet and brush tops with remaining cream. Bake at 400 degrees for 17 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

Why We Should Care That Hillary Ran

I usually try to avoid non-food/farm politics here, even though I’m usually more than willing to discuss them in person. And I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t vote in this year’s presidential primary because here in Washington state you have to pick a party and can only vote in their primary. Due to new rules this year, the Democratic primary was decided by caucus and not ballot and the caucus happened on a day that I was traveling for work.

So I’ve been watching the Hillary / Obama campaigns from the sidelines with much interest. Both of them are candidates that I could get behind, for vastly different reasons. I listed to their speeches on the radio, I was made teary eyed by both of them at different times. I waited to see if and when Hillary would give up once it began to seem inevitable that Obama would get the votes needed to secure the nomination. I listened to her speech on Tuesday night where she said she would make no decisions.

And I thought about what it meant to me that a woman had run for president and made it all the way to the end of the primary season. That while as a child I was always told that I could be and do anything, that I never really thought this country would elect a woman. And that that was too bad. Women often bring a different point of view to the table than men, something I’ve seen over and over again working in male dominated industries. Maybe it’s compassion, maybe it’s the ability to see both sides, maybe it’s that we’re less focused on “winning” and more on “how we play the game”. Doesn’t matter what it is, it just is.

Gail Collins over at the New York Times said in her op-ed today what I’ve been trying to articulate all week in various conversations with other women and men and myself.

Nobody is ever again going to question whether it’s possible for a woman to go toe-to-toe with the toughest male candidate in a race for president of the United States. Or whether a woman could be strong enough to serve as commander in chief.

Her campaign didn’t resolve whether a woman who seems tough enough to run the military can also seem likable enough to get elected. But she helped pave the way. So many battles against prejudice are won when people get used to seeing women and minorities in roles that only white men had held before. By the end of those 54 primaries and caucuses, Hillary had made a woman running for president seem normal.

That’s why you should care that Hillary ran for president whether you liked her, supported her, agreed with her, or not. She did something that no other woman in this country has ever done. And she did it while rarely focusing on the fact that she was a woman. She made it seem completely normal that she should be a contender, she made it about her qualifications and her beliefs, not about what’s underneath her clothes. And that makes this election historic in more ways than one.

Daily Photo: Salute the Chef

Last night we had friends for dinner. It was a nice relaxed afternoon and evening of hanging out, watching the Belmont Stakes, harvesting salad in the garden and grilling.

The salad was fantastic (all local but the organic California tomatoes), the two local chickens were grilled by Mike to perfection, the potatoes were roasted goodness. Unfortunately the asparagus got a little charred, but oh well, it still disappeared so it couldn’t have been that bad…

One friend brought an appetizer of pita’s spread with cream cheese and sliced cucumber – seriously so good. The other made blueberry cobbler from scratch – mmmmmm. Potluck dinners are my favorite kind, particularly when we can play to everyone’s strengths.

Daily Photo: Spring Pickles

Asparagus season is in full swing and I scored 5 dozen used canning jars on Craigslist for a fraction of their retail price. So what better way to preserve some spring for later this year? Why pickle it of course!

Neither Mike nor I is a fan of canned veggies, but we’re both pickle fiends. The ones I made last year have been such a big hit that I thought I’d try my hand at pickling some asparagus as well.

I’m a bit concerned that these might not be as good. I used a different brine recipe and they seem a bit wrinkled which I understand to be a symptom of too much salt. Oh well, it didn’t cost much. $15 for the asparagus, $3 for the cider vinegar. The jars were $0.50 each and the fresh dill (garden), salt, peppercorns, cloves and dill seed were all essentially free. Total cost of $22 for 6 quarts of pickled asparagus, so about $3.50 each. Not bad.

Can’t wait to give these a try in a month or so.

If you want to try canning, but the idea makes you nervous, I highly recommend pickles as a first try. They’re easy to make, don’t really need to be put in a water bath (in my humble experience) and are hard to screw up. Give it a try! You can pickle asparagus, green beans, onions, cucumbers and pretty much anything else you want to try your hand at.

I’m traveling this week, so indulge me as I share photos from the last couple of weeks. Also, this week’s One Local Summer West Region recap is now up!

Daily Photo: Spirea?

I took this more than a week ago and these have now disappeared thanks to the rain and wind of last week. I think it’s a spirea, but I’m not 100% sure.

They remind me of snowballs and somehow make me wistful that spring arrived before I was really done enjoying winter. This bush is about 5′ in diameter – very impressive in full bloom.

500 Year Flood

I’m not going to amend this post as I’d like to let it stand. BUT, the situation here is far more serious and dire for both life and property than anyone thought even just 24 hours ago. I am safe, as are all of my friends and co-workers as far as I know. The bridges and sidewalks in the pictures from last night are now all underwater, and in the case of the railroad bridge, gone. I’m working on an update post now.

I’m in Cedar Rapids this week for work, and in case you missed it on the news, there are some serious floods here. Our office started evacuating servers and employees fairly early today. Our hotel where we were staying and meeting was evacuated at 3:00 pm. We’ve moved hotels and are safe and dry, staying out near the airport.

Interestingly it seems much more dramatic on the news than it’s been been here so far. Everyone has been very calm and efficient and focused on doing their best to save property and life. I’m more than impressed by the response of the residents and local government.

There wasn’t any water in the downtown area when we left and for us, as visitors that get to leave tomorrow, it’s been mostly an inconvenience. But, if you live in the area and it’s your basement or street or business filling with water, it is A BIG DEAL. Please think positive thoughts for the people that live and/or work here.


Flood Update

I’ve been staring at this page for a while, not sure what to write or how to say what I’m feeling. It’s amazing how fast the situation here went from feeling completely under control to feeling completely surreal. I am still at the airport trying to get a flight out to Seattle tonight. Ironically we’re being delayed not by the conditions here, but by bad weather in Chicago.

Yesterday, even when the river was high and fast, it seemed that perhaps officials were overreacting. Partly that feeling was because everyone has been so calm and matter-of-fact throughout the experience. I’d forgotten how stoic midwesterners can be. Partly also because this has been an ever-evolving situation. The predictions for the flood have been steadily revised upwards ever since we arrived. The river is now above the level that they were predicting it would crest at and still rising.

The streets that we walked all week are now underwater, the railroad bridge gone, our office building submerged and the images of loss and tragedy everywhere. You cannot be here and not be profoundly moved by the loss that those who live here are experiencing. A city and community are being forever changed by the Cedar River and it’s wanton destruction.

Amazingly there have been few reports of injuries or deaths. People have been fairly quick to evacuate when asked and officials, as far as I have seen, should be commended for their efforts. The water is expected to keep rising until tomorrow sometime and then not to recede until next week. To top it all off, there are tornado warnings for the county for tonight and tomorrow morning.

If you’d like to keep up with what’s happening, the Cedar Rapids Gazette is regularly updating for conditions in Cedar Rapids – the photos below are all from their website.

This is the train bridge that the river was lapping at last night, now collapsed and completely underwater.

This is the bridge I stood on yesterday to take the photos of the rising river.

This is the government building that stands on an island in the middle of the Cedar River. I took a photo of it yesterday when the waters were rising.


First Summer Saturday

Yesterday felt like the weekend of summer. Of course, we all know it’s an illusion since summer in Seattle doesn’t start until July 5th. But that’s okay, it’s nice to be fooled for a couple of days. Of course, the lettuce starts wish that I’d realized how hot it was sooner… But we only lost 5 of many, and I’ve got new starts to go in their place later this week. Oh well, chalk it up to a personal growth opportunity.

Taking advantage of the beautiful day I went down to the Edmonds farmer’s market with friends Missy, Mia and Sierra (she’s 4!). As much as I like the U District market I went to all winter, Edmonds meant the return of “my farmers” to my life. It was so great to see familiar faces and ask how winters were. To trade comments about the weird weather patterns this year. And buy just a bit of something from everyone. No berries yet, but the variety of things available is definitely on the upswing.

There were radishes of every color, salad greens, asparagus, rhubarb (yay!), onions, spring potatoes, herbs, honey and even cucumbers from a greenhouse in Snohomish. Of course, I didn’t buy nearly enough salad greens to get us through the week, I never do. But that’s okay – I’ll run down the street to the organic farm stand on Wednesday and pick up some more. And maybe by next weekend we’ll have our own.

When I got home, I discovered friends Megera and Kevin here at the house with Mike. We’d talked about going mountain biking, but decided it was too flipping hot to ride. Hey, were Seattlites, that’s what happens when it goes above 80.

Instead we hung out enjoying the shade and breeze on the covered patio watching Mike mow. Then Megera and I did some emergency watering on the garden. I didn’t realize it was going to be so hot yesterday and hadn’t watered Friday night. I think everything but those lettuce starts will survive. The very first of the radish seedlings, potatoes and asparagus were up. And I saw signs of the bush beans and peas. So exciting! And so late…

Eventually some cloud cover rolled in and the wind died down so we ventured out onto the freshly mowed lawn for a game of croquet. Jake isn’t a fan of the game because there’s all those balls shooting around and he’s not allowed to have any of them.

Then, since it was Megera’s birthday we decided that we should have the first cookout of summer to celebrate. I won’t say which birthday, but suffice it to say she’s not as old as she likes to think she is

Dinner was burgers on the grill, roasted potatoes and green beans (last year’s from the freezer) in the grill basket, local salad (except for the BC hothouse tomatoes – hey it was a summer cookout), peach cobbler with last years home canned peaches and vanilla ice cream. It tasted just like summer. We ended the evening with a fire outside, the first at the new house. I hope the great evening was just one of many we’ll have in this house and on this property.