|If you have like me used the HTC Magic built-in magnetic compass for a while you might have noticed that it is not always properly aligned. Here is a procedure to re-calibrate the compass and accelerometers in the mobile so that it should give you pretty accurate readings once more:
The calibration of the compass and accelerometers should now be pretty good.
If at any time you feel the compass is not showing you the right direction or seems ”stuck” even if you are turning, then repeat this calibration and it will come alive again. Certain applications such as the metal detector application may also screw the calibration and you might need to repeat this after using such software.
|Om du som jag har använt dig av HTC Magics inbyggda kompass ett tag så har du kanske märkt att den inte alltid visar så rätt. Här nedan följer en procedur hur man kan få den kalibrerad enkelt och visa rätt igen:
Accelerometrarna i telefonen skall nu ha hittat sin jämvikt och kompassen bör stämma relativt väl. Du behöver göra om denna kalibrering ca 1 gång om dagen i normalfallet.
What I have used before…
So this is my new friend and toy. I have previously been an Ericsson fan until they released the ridiculous K600i telephone and then I switched to Nokia N95 for a short while and I detested the Symbian OS completely. So then I tried a Windows Mobile based HTC the Dual Touch model and my current work provides me with a HTC S740 which is also a windows mobile but with some nice features like GPS and so on. Last thursday however I went and bought myself the first big Android phone released in Sweden, the HTC Magic through the operator 3.
I can honestly tell you that this mobile has become one of the best gadgets and most useful tools I have ever possessed and in a very nice package. The mobile looks a little bit like an iPhone, slightly smaller display area and with a few more buttons on the front side. However when it is started it is obvious that it har borrowed even more from the iPhone in terms of the interface but also it is far from the special locked down feeling that I get from all Apple’s stuff.
First of all the multiconnector contact on the phone is a slightly modified USB connector. The modification is only there so that you won’t insert audio connectors into a normal USB but they will fit your phone. However normal USB cables will fit the phone so you can connect it to any laptop or desktop PC or mac just like that with any normal USB connector.
The phone charges over USB and syncs really well. This has been the standard for HTC phones for quite some time now and I hope that other makers of phones will abandon their special connector solutions and just use a normal USB plug or a lightly modified one like HTC does.
The battery is depleted quickly if you are surfing a lot, streaming music running the GPS and so on but if you are using it in stand-by mode it will keep you happy for a couple of days at normal use. In the beginning you will probably – like me – need to charge it nighly because it is just so fun to try all the features and bring up the GPS assisted maps, stream YouTube when you are bored and so on. Of course using heavy applications and lots of 3G and HSPA data networks will definitely use up the battery quickly.
But I have no complaints really, if you are conservative with you will probably not have to charge it more than every second or third day. It also recharges pretty quickly if you use the wall plug charger. Charging over USB from a computer that can only deliver 500 mA maximum takes of course much longer.
The software for syncing and backing up is included on the phone. Connect it to your computer using the USB cable, then mount the SD card that comes with it and the sync application, manual et cetera is showing up on a removable disk volume. Just install the software straight from the phone and you are ready. Or look something up in the manual.
Adding your MP3 music is just as easy, just drag them to the music folder on your phone, allow the copy to finish and then you are done. The copying is pretty fast as well, seems to be USB2 which is so much faster than my older HTC mobiles that was taking forever to store music.
Oh, and the mobile can be used like normal whilst connected to the PC with the USB.
Android OS and Interface
The Android OS is developed by Google and this is obvious from start when setting up the phone since it asks for your Google online username and password. Once given to the phone it syncs the calendar and mail account with the online GMail and Google Calendar and many other services you might be using such as GTalk and so on. Lovely stuff if you like the G approach to online life then this phone is definitely for you! It also have mail applications that can handle Exchange mail and normal POP/IMAP accounts as well of course though I have not had much use with these yet and gmail is doing the job rather nicely for me.
The interface is smart, sleek and very fast. I have not been able to make the phone slow down yet with the applications I have been running. The menus just slides out and back again really smooth and nice. The settings in the phone is very logically arranged and it just takes seconds to find something you don’t have to hunt around in an obscure menu system and most of the things just works out of the box.
The on-screen keyboards
There are several of on-screen keyboard to chose from and whenever you touch something to type the phone gives a tactile response by a very short vibration. This is really great because most touch keys are difficult to see if you hit or not because even if the key gives a visual response the finger usually blocks the view! Great thinking here.
Swedish keys are located on one of the keyboards directly and in the others you will have to press the A button or O button down to bring up a row of accented characters and then slide your finger off to the Å, Ä or Ö characers as desired.
The mobile features a GPS receiver, a magnetic compass and accelerometric sensors that can tell how you are holding the phone. And of course google has released a real killer app to go with that, the google stars. Go out on a starry night, give the GPS a few seconds to locate your position (or use the cell towers to triangulate your position down to a few hundred yards accuracy) and then start the Google Stars app and hold the mobile up to the part of the sky you are viewing. Instantly the mobile will show you the stars and their names, constellations, where the polar star is and show you the positions of the planets and so on. I can’t really tell you how fun this is – you just got to try this out yourself. Incredible!
Navigation for car and by foot
Oh I already mentioned the GPS. It loads information over the network where the satellites are so it aquires a position within seconds when outdoor. If it can not find a GPS fix it will still give you pretty accurate position based on information from the cell towers if your operator supports this. The magnetic compass shows where you are heading and the GPS plots your current position on Google Maps. Now just find where you want to go and it will take you there. Really good for finding addresses, stores, shops, people… searching on the map ties in to many other databases on the Internet and usually gives you really accurate information. I am a jogger as you might have come to know by now.
One of the more esoteric application is a metal detector that detects ferro-magnetic materials. It’s quite funny and uses the compass of course to do this but it is great fun. It may even be useful to locate stuff in walls…
The phone with GPS and magnetic compass also have applications for Geocaching through the Application Market (where most apps are free) and I have tried out the GeoBeagle application which is a really great app. Press a key and it will take you to the Geocaching online site listing the closest caches for you that you have not already found. Select one of them and then press view as a google map and GeoBeagle snatches it up, shows you a directional compass where to go, distance, accuracy of your position and you are ready to go.
When you find it you just press a key to log your find (or DNF, did not find, as it may be) and you have logged another cache. So simple
Cardio Trainer application
Yesterday I found another killer app that you can use that plots your running on a google map, keeps track on your progress in tempo (minutes per km or mile) and distance and time in km or miles and minutes. The application can also be set to regularly announce the tempo you are currently keeping and how many kilometers you have been doing so far and on what time. So, with the built in MP3-player and this application I sat off. One minute later the mp3 music fades slightly, then a voice announces that I am doing 6:30 minutes per km. Later on when I reach my first km running the voice tells me that I have now done 1 km in 6 minutes and 52 seconds and so on. Makes you really aware on how fast you are going, if you are keeping a good tempo or slacking off or if you are pushing harder than you wanted. When finished you can upload your track to the web to have more information about it there, share with people or just compare several runs with each other.
I really really like this!
Some of you already know my fascination for wrist watches and therefore I thought I should share with you my latest aquisition, the Suunto Core outdoor wristwatch. Suunto is Finnish and means direction and this is a good name for these watches. There are many different models to chose from and I decided to get the Suunto Core model which seems to get you lots of functions for small money and the most all-round watch there was. Or, sorry, wristtop computer as these watches are sometimes referred to.
I am a guy who like walking in the woods, hiking, trekking and just generally being outdoor when possible especially in the summer time. I try to make at least a few day trips and if possible an overnight in a tent as well every summer as a minimum, it is something special when you are cooking in the wilderness, sleeping in a tent and generally having to struggle a little more than you normally do every day to and from work. If nothing else you appreciate a nice bed when you come home again :)
On top of that I am an unchangeable gadget-guy, and I really enjoy knowing the altitude I am on right now, the bearing I am walking in, my position, the time, when the sun rises and sets on the latitude that I am right now and many other things. So my latest addition to things I won’t leave home without now is a Suunto Core wristwatch.
This little gem can do a lot of things and it is a watch specially designed for outdoorsmanship more than anything else. This is not the first ”trekker’s watch” I have owned, I also have an ”Origo” watch but after a particularly rough outing in the United Arab Emirates a couple of years ago the altimeter broke on that one. So I have decided to get myself a new watch and now I recently bought it.
The Suunto Core watch keeps two times, good for traveling and it has what you expect from a modern digital watch, countdown (99 min max) and works wel as a stopwatch (24 h max). On top of that you can program it with the closest city and it will show the time the sun rises and sets for the date, something that changes drastically right now, the day becomes longer with about 6 minutes every day now and the nights shorter here in Stockholm.
The watch also contains three interesting functions for the hiker not normally found on wrist watches and they are altimeter that shows how high over the sea you are at the moment, barometer showing the air pressure (sea level equivalent) and an electronic compass.
The altimeter and barometer are actually two faces of the same coin here. You can select the profile yourself, if you want the watch to be in altimeter mode when you climb, then you can set it to barometric mode when you stop for the night and the watch will tell you the air pressure and assume that you are staying on the same level. You can not get both at the same time though because both the barometer and the altimeter works from the same air pressure sensor. If you climb a mountain the air pressure lowers with every meter you climb, the watch senses this change in air pressure and can therefore know how many meters you have scaled. In barometric mode you fix the altitude and the watch instead registers the changes in air pressure that preceeds an oncoming storm or weather front.
The watch can automatically shift between altimeter and barometer mode, it understands when you start climbing because the air pressure shifts too fast and then it switches to altimeter. If you stay it will after 12 minutes of no change in the altitude (or very small changes) shift back to barometric mode. Brilliant. Over a full days walking around I generally don’t have to recalibrate it for more than 20-40 meters error by the end of the day.
In barometric mode it can also tell you if there is a sudden drop in air pressure. This might signify an oncoming sqall or storm and you can set an audible and visible alarm on the watch to go off if this happens. There is also a 24 hour trend graph that will show you the changes in barometric pressure over the last day and night. There is also an arrow indicator showing you if the air pressure is stable, tends to rise, tends to drop and the attitude for the last 3 and 6 hours. Great for checking if the current weather is stable. I have observed the barometric pressure alarm go off twice. In both accounts it started snowing heavily hours later so I believe it is working pretty well!
The last function of the pressure gauge is the ”snorkeling feature” where it can tell you when you snorcle in the hot waters of the Maldives or some other nice place how deep you have been as maximum and how deep you are now. Not quite a diving instrument (watch should not be submerged more than 10 meters really) but it is still a pretty fun feature.
A logging function can be used to keep track of your climbing and descending over time if you want. It will log the altitude and the current time as often as you want and you may also save the log for a later review. You can also set a reference altitude and the watch will show you how much above or below your reference you currenly are.
You can also have it show accumulated inclines declines, something that I thought was pretty neat in a ski slope…
There is also a temperature measurement but since the watch is warmed by your arm it generally does not show air temperature. If you take your watch of and leave it for 30 minutes or so it should give you a pretty good temperature reading though. The temperature is also necessary for the accuracy of the air pressure measurement.
The compass is great, works well but uses battery more than other thngs and because of this the watch will turn it off after one minute of operation; you will then have to press a button to turn it on again for another minute. If you have the backlight lit during compas operation it will flash as it goes dark for each measurement that is done – about 2 per second. The compass can be set to try to stay in a certain direction, it will show with arrows how much in error your current direction is and point you in the right direction and the precision is actually pretty good in the woods. Calibration is simple, turn it on, slowly spin a full circle clockwise and it will recalibrate itself. In urban environment there are sometimes problems where there are heavy electrical machinery and other ferro-magnetic materials at work that will confuse it – try looking at it while a metro train in the underground drives past… but most of the time it can be used there as well.
All in all I really love this watch. I recommend it for everyone who loves to be outdoors, hiking, fishing, hunting, climbing, skiing… this is for you!
I rate it 5/5.