Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How make your Nokia N Series phone display Chinese fonts correctly!

Several months ago, I bought this Nokia N82 from Amazon.

It's a great cell phone that comes with everything I need: a 5MP camera with real flash, WiFi capability, 3.5G data speed and fulll MS Exchange support. Okay! Almost everything I need! It doesn't display Chinese characters in my mom's emails!

So instead of taking my cellphone to a shop and pay $50 to replace it with Chinese version software, the savvy geek went online and found a solution. Since N82 is a smart phone based on Symbian 9 / S60v3 platform, it's like a mini computer and therefore is very easy to customize. It only requires a piece of software that tells the system to load an alternative font and then the actual font file itself.

The software I found is called FontRouter LT, developed by Oasis Feng. The latest version is Build20071109 (click here to download), which is "Open Signed." (Having open signed is very important for software you wish to install onto S60 and we'll get to that later!)

The font file I'm using is Microsoft YaHei that came with my Vista. If don't have it, you can download it from Microsoft's website directly . FontRouter really works with almost any font file (*.ttf) you prefer to use. So theoratically, this method can also help you display Japanese, Korean or other Asian languages correctly if your S60 cell phone doesn't support them, even though I haven't tried it.

(Before you start, it is recommended that you back up all your important data using PC Suite.)

Now, there are only 4 easy steps to install:
1. "Sign" your FontRouter software:
  • Go to Symbian Signed
  • Fill in your IMEI, Email and select the FontRouterLTxxx.sis file from your computer
    (To get your IMEI, type "*#06#" on your cell phone)
  • Check your email and click on the verification link
  • Check your email again in 2-3 mins and you should receive a link to a signed FontRouterxxx.sis
  • Download and save the file
2. Installed the signed FontRouterxxx.sis
  • Use USB Cable (or Bluetooth) to connect to your cellphone, under PC Suite Mode
  • Use Nokia PC Suite to install the signed FontRouterxxx.sis to your cell phone
  • Remember to select memory card when choosing location
3. Loading the font file
  • Copy font file you wish to use from [Control Panel > Fonts] to cellphone's [E:\DATA\FONTS\]
4. Restart your cell phone and Chinese characters should be displayed correctly from now on:
  • It takes a bit longer to restart so be patient!
See! That's easy and cost nothing! Enjoy! Feel free to let me know if you have any problems or questions installing the software! Now some info for more advanced users:

What if my cell phone fails to start?
Remove battery and memory card and restart it. Then remove FontRouterxxx.ini from E:\DATA\FONTS. Your phone should be able to restart.

How come I can no longer connect to PC using data mode?
Because you're using a font file that is stored in memory card. Therefore, memory card can't be modified. To solve this, move your font file from E:\DATA\FONTS to C:\DATA\FONTS and restard your cellphone.

What's with this Open Signed thing?
To ensure software installed is 100% compatible with your cellphone, the developers have to attain a verification from Symbian. Therefore, it used to be a hassle to install an unsigned 3rd-party software as you'll need to register as a developer yourself and sign the unsigned 3rd-party software for yourself. Symbian started this Open Signed program earlier this year so that independent developers can "open sign" their software so that all you need to do is enter your IMEI and Email to final verify it, which is so much easier to users!

A cheap way to achieve highly available office internet connection

When savvy geek's office grew to more than 10 people, our 1.5 Mbps SDSL line was finally not enough for them -- we use a lot of internet! The logical next step is to upgrade to a 3 Mbps bonded T1 but not only does it costs 3-4 times more, it also doesn't provide that much more reliability than a single SDSL line.

So I did some research online and found out that there are routers out there that let you "bond" two internet connections together, regardless of what type. (Well, technically, it's not bonding but more like load balancing.) With that feature, I can get an additional DSL lines and than just combine the bandwidth. This is much cheaper than the bonded T1 solution and it offers a bonus fail-over capability. Plus, I got a 8/1 ADSL line as the second line and end up with much more downlink bandwidth than a 3 Mbps T1, which provides my co-workers a much faster internet surfing. In terms of the products, Cisco has several models but their machines are expensive and nortoriously hard to manipulate. Then I found this company, DrayTek, which specializes in dual/multiple WAN routers. We've been using the 2910VG for more than half a year and, at $250, I have to say it's the single best IT investment I've made so far.

DrayTek Vigor 2910 VG

Not only is its Dual-WAN connection extremely easy to setup through its web-based UI, its additional features just make my life so much easier, such as setting up load-balancing policies based on ports, QoS -- we have VoIP, which I'll talk about next time, built-in "ping" and "tracert" -- the list goes on and on.So the end result is I'm paying less than $150 more per month on my additional line and I'm getting almost everything a bonded T1 has to offer. Savvy enough? I think so!