SmartConnect and the wonders of DRM

When I updated to firmware 210, I found I needed to reinstall a lot of software. BirdStep SmartConnect was one of them.
SC provides a function that is standard with many other phones, that of automatically selecting a useful Internet connection from those currently available. This is missing in S60 3fp1 which the E71 (but not the E71x, with the same hardware) uses. This was quite the drawback for an ambitious E series device, so Nokia found a workaround. They licensed BirdStep SmartConnect.
It still required the user to find the program, though. You do so using the Download! service, where it is one of a myriad items marked as costing 0. Or was – now it’s marked “try for free”. The first time I installed it, it worked fine. The downside of installing this way is that I got no SIS file, so when I needed to reinstall after a firmware upgrade, I had to find it all over again.
So I did. It was marked “try”, and after installation, considered itself unlicensed and refused to work.
I looked the issue up on the ‘net and found two plausible culprits – an online license check during installation and stale data files from the previous install. It turns out that enabling online license checks merely causes the download to fail. The other fix, which was listed on BirdStep’s FAQ, actually worked.
After three reboots, two manual erasures, and a bunch of reinstall attempts, I had managed to wipe the botched licensing data, and the newly installed program automatically reported a licensed E series device, for a feature that should have been included from the start (and could – remember, this was with a firmware update). How astoundingly convenient and helpful for the customer, wouldn’t you agree?

Update: The Download! service is no longer available. Nokia now expect you to use Ovi Shop, which requires a huge download, apparently does invasive stuff to your system as it demands you reboot the phone, and yet leaves the now useless Download! app in place. It also forces updates, which mean downloading and rebooting all over again. I haven’t searched through that to find SC again, but it certainly complicated the process further.

Firmware 210.21.006 for Nokia E71

I found out that Nokia had put out another firmware update, 210.21.006. As per usual, installing it required me to use NSS to switch product codes.
The update is a stability patch. It’s said it finally does something about the camera’s purple haze, although it seems to me this is merely a fix to the white balancing. It’s still very noisy, but each improvement is appreciated.
The simple bugs are left alone: Contacts still uses a custom pure white background instead of the theme and Messages still shows names backwards. What I’m hoping they did fix is internal bugs, that have previously caused graphics corruption, program crashes and even phone reboots. Since I had no known way to trigger those bugs, I can’t confirm it.
The rumour mill also says hacking the phone to remove the signature requirements for installing programs has become harder. Personally I’ve used the tedious symbian open signed online process, so it makes no difference as yet.
This time around I chose to restore my settings from the PC Suite backup. This led to some confusion as apps largely, but not completely, disappeared from the menus. Reinstalling them fixed most of it, though the Maps 3 beta required an extra procedure – manually erasing the maps, running Maps 2, then reinstalling Maps 3 with the updater. Had they provided a SIS for Maps 3 it would have been a simple reinstall.
In conclusion, I would recommend this update; it should contain bug fixes that matter, even if they’re not the visible ones.