Review of the WRC Live App

This is my entry for a post by Nokia Connects regarding reviewing the WRC Live app. Having owned and beaten on a Subaru before moving to a Jeep, I have a solid experience of both being sideways in the dirt and snow, and flipping end over end to land on your bucket, safely saved by a cage of 1.50" DOM.

The WRC app is built using Qt technologies which means it's very easy to migrate it across platforms. It's currently available for Series 40, Symbian, Windows Phone and MeeGo devices. The experience is virtually the same on every piece of hardware. It's fast, responsive and lightweight.
So...what is this WRC Live thingy? It's a tightly knit app that provides access to the FIA World Rally Championship. This means you've got quick updates on current, upcoming and completed rallies. You get standing information along with driver and team stats. Want to know more about a driver? Check their bio and points. Want to see when races are? Take a look at the calendar, complete with itinerary and location staging that is tied into Nokia Maps.
The interface is fast and smooth. Transitions are quick, but unfortunately in order to keep such nice backgrounds and graphics, the app is locked to landscape orientation - which means no one handed use if you're lucky enough to be standing next to the track!
If you're not covered in dirt from being there live, then you'll probably want to check out the most useful section of the WRC app - Media. You can view stunning photos, exclusive feature videos like driver interviews, behind the scenes and live race footage. Videos are decent resolution (some of them were even shot on an N8) and sound is good, depending on how you're listening to it. The one thing that does bother me, depending on which device you're using, the videos may or may not play "within" the application. On the N8, they play seamlessly, but on an N950 the video file is opened by a new browser process and then loaded. Hopefully this is due to simple API inconsistencies and can be fixed.
Although I don't have a Facebook account, I will mention that apparently it has some sort of Facebook integration, if that's your thing. The app does everything WRC-related and it's a great way to stay on top of all the news if you're a rally junky.
If you're looking for the app, you probably don't need to speed at 130km/h anywhere to get it, just saunter over to the Nokia Store on your S40, Symbian or MeeGo handset or just tap the Marketplace icon on your Windows Phone 7-powered Lumia device. It's not even 2012 yet and the races don't start until late January, but who knows what might happen by then...maybe your phone will get run over. Just download it and enjoy while you still can.




Amidst Rogue SSL Certs, Your Nokia Smartphones Are Safe.

Unless you live under a rock or similar stalagmite, you'd know that DigiNotar was popped and over 500 possibly forged SSL certificates are out there. Why should you care? Well, since you're using a Nokia S40, S60 3rd/5th, Symbian^3, Symbian Anna or Symbian Belle smartphone - you don't actually need to.


After reviewing at least 2 devices from each platform listed above, I've come to the conclusion that the only Nokia smartphones that ship with revoked CA certificates baked in are the N900, N950 and N9. Unfortunately, the N950 and N9 have both Comodo and DigiNotar CA certs included. The N9 is yet to be released - hopefully somebody from Nokia can look at the possibility of having these removed or blacklisting the invalid certificates that were issued, before launching the N9.

 

Symbian, Maemo and MeeGo/Harmattan currently have an extremely easy way of removing top level CA certificates. You delete them manually through the certificate interface or you drop into a root shell and issue 'rm /etc/certs/common-ca/8868bfe08e35c43b386b62f7283b8481c80cd74d.pem' on the N900 or N950. Manually removing the certs without updating the Trusted Root Store may cause problems; as root issue "cmcli -c common-ca -r 8868bfe08e35c43b386b62f7283b8481c80cd74d" to do it the "proper" way.

On Windows Phone 7? If it's baked in, you have no choice. If it's added afterwards? You have to completely factory reset the device.
 
While regular iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 users have to wait for updates to be pushed by Apple, Google and Microsoft (unless jailbroken or rooted), those loyal Nokia users can rest assured that their devices are a smidgen more resilient to MiTM attacks (using the compromised certs).

#NokiaUnfenced - A Roaming Weekend


If a weekend in the Canadian Rockies, testing unreleased phones, lounging on treetops and galloping through Bow Valley in Alberta sounds like too much for you, then tighten the velcro on your shoes and walk yourself off a cliff. All others, read on to see what another weekend with Nokia was like.


I, along with a handful of other lucky enthusiasts, were invited by WOMWorld/Nokia for an event aptly dubbed #NokiaUnfenced. Mountains bigger than planets? Check. Land further than the eye can see? You got it. Throwback transportation? Absolutely. Unfenced, it was.

We were put up in the plush Grande Rockies Resort, with rooms that rival apartments I've been in. We didn't spend much time inside our rooms except for recharging; phones and ourselves. Oh boy, we had phones. At any given time, I can safely say I had roughly $1900 worth of smartphones falling out of my pockets. From the trusty N8 for capturing the experience, to the unreleased Nokia X7, there were many a time when deciding on which device to use was more than a split-second decision.


If you spotted that slightly mangled iPhone 4 and felt a bit sad, I'd like to direct your attention to the 7 foot drop test featuring a Nokia C7 versus an iPhone 4.


When we weren't busy dropping phones, we played around for hours on an 18 station treetop rope course. We teetered and balanced on thin cables, swung on precariously perched ropes and finally zip-lined to terra firma.

It was a great mental and physical exercise, definitely worked up an appetite for a fine elk burger and set the tone for a relaxing horseback ride through the Bow Valley Provincial Park. A few hills, a couple valleys and a great view.

Of course there were many other activities peppered in through out the day. We took a stroll down by the river as well as learned how to saddle a horse, lasso and rope tricks and got great insight into the life of a rancher, in Cowboy College.


I got to hangout with some mobile phone aficionados, technology enthusiasts and social media mavens all weekend. We talked shop with some folks from Nokia Canada, providing feedback along with questions and concerns. Largest back pats to Tom and Donna from WOMWorld/Nokia for all the dedicated work. What seems like a weekend of fun for us, is no doubt stressful on a level I've never experienced.

Nokia N9 Service Manual


Well, what do we have here? A Level1/2 Care Academy service manual for the N9, depicting disassembly and some tidbits about the internals? Why yes.

Oh. You'd like a copy of it too? But of course, my friend, but of course. Look at that glorious engineering. I'll be giving a ton of love to the N950 for the forseeable future, but here's some hugs and kisses for those who are holding out for the N9 coming in October. Oops, did I let that slip too?

Pushing Wireless Limits on the N900

In a previous post, I unlocked channel 12 and 13 on my N900 with a simple modification of the regulatory domain variable. Being the 802.11 junkie I am, I also wanted to look at upping the TX power so I could really reach out and touch someone. This is normally controlled by CRDA and wireless-regdb which is digitally signed database of regions containing allowed channels and power usage. The great thing is, it allows generation of a self-signed database for binary reading - which means anybody with a brain the size of a lollipop can override it. Unfortunately for me. CRDA kicked in after 2.6.28 (wasn't backported with compat-wireless/bleeding-edge wl12xx) and left the old static regulatory domain setting in kernel space. No big deal. I modified the hardcoded values for JP to bump 20dBm to 30dBm

REG_RULE() is passed 6 arguments, first the low frequency (ch1) with a base underlap (2412MHz-10/1MHz), the upper frequency (ch14) with a high overlap (2484MHz-10/1MHz), band spacing (4MHz+1MHz over/under for total 5MHz), max antenna gain (600mBi), max EIRP (30dBm) and I have no idea what the last arg is for.

Patch in whatever new CRDA linker you want recognized for high transmit. I called mine "HX" and build your new modules. Drop them into /lib/modules/[whateverkernelyourun] and the easiest way to make sure they're loaded in proper succession is to reboot.


You can check your changes by watching dmesg and you're looking for the line that says; 
2402000 KHz - 2494000 KHz @ 40000 KHz, 600mBi 3000mBm 

This should indicate the driver is allowing 30dBm on all 14 channels.  I truly don't know if the WL1251 chip stores a max transmission power in EEPROM or tertiary firmware with wl1251-cal nor have I done any pseudo-scientific testing yet. 

What I do know is that I probably have the only phone in the world, that can completely disrupt and hose any 802.11b/g/n network with the push of a button...your phone is cool too though, you've got apps, right?!