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System Tools (by PsiNT)

PsiNT - System Tools

Reviewed on 27 September 2002

Price: US $9.95 (trial available)
Available from: http://www.psiloc.com/nokia/eng/systemtools7650/index.html

Version reviewed: V1.11F

PsiNT’s “System Tools” utility application is definitely a must for those who want a greater level of control over their 7650 smart phone. Although the name may suggest “technicality”, I assure you that most people would find this little application useful and easy to use (just make sure you read on and learn about what it can do!)

Initialisation

Nothing much needs to be done beforehand to have System Tools (sTools) working for you. Oh yes… you will need to install it first of course! :)

A look at the tools - and a short explanation…

Not all functions in the sTools application are for everyday usage. But they may come in handy at times when you least expected them to be.

Below is a list of all the functions sTools has to offer and are ordered by mostly-used to least-used:

Alarms
This improves on the alarm function offered by the built-in “Clock” application on the 7650 by providing advanced scheduling of numerous and different alarm types. You can set up to eight different alarms and have these activated based on a once-only, daily, weekly (once-a-week) or working days (Monday to Friday) schedule. A date for the alarm to commence and a message for the specific alarm schedule can also be specified (to uniquely identify what the alarm is for).

Compress RAM
Opening and closing applications on a regular basis may leave some usable memory unavailable for other applications on your 7650. This function attempts to make more resources available by compressing the overall random access memory (RAM) - which would increase the usable memory space.

If you find yourself in a situation where the phone may be lacking in system resources (for example, applications slowing down) the “Compress RAM” function can help in alleviating this on a temporary basis.

Restart phone
Similar to the “Compress RAM” function, this function does a “reboot” of the 7650, clearing everything from the phone’s RAM and reloading them into the phone from boot-up. Using the “Compress RAM” feature will only compress and not remove the fragments of information that may be existent in memory. Therefore, if you find that your phone memory is way low and compressing the RAM is not helping, doing a restart should solve the problem.

Turning the phone off and back on will do exactly the same thing - but with the difference that you do not need to wait for the phone to shut down and PIN entry (if set) is not required.


Flight mode
This is probably the second-most useful function in sTools - but probably not one that you would use on a very frequent basis (excluding frequent flyers!)

“Flight mode” doesn’t mean you have to be on a plane to use it! Adopted from the Nokia Communicators, this concept allows all the 7650’s functions to be used whilst in environments where mobile phone communications are disallowed (for example, planes, hospitals, etc). This is done by disabling the GSM radio feature only.

In other words, you can play Snake EX, sort through your list of contacts or make schedules on your calendar on those long and boring plane trips.

Once confirming the “Flight mode” function, sTools will need you to remove the SIM card after it powers off the phone, and its own version of the “Menu” and task manager application (which does not require a SIM card to work) will be loaded once you restart the phone.

Using the 7650 in “Flight mode” is virtually the same as you would normally use the phone, but less the “telephone” function. Also, in some instances you may find yourself with a blank white screen after entering and quitting applications. To resolve this problem, simply press or hold down the menu key (the button on the left of the joystick) which would bring up the “Flight mode” menu and task manager respectively.

“Flight mode” will continue to be activated until you enter sTools and disable it (a dialog will be displayed on loading the application). Although the 7650 may load as normal when a SIM card is placed back in its slot, the “Flight mode” option will still be available to you when you use the phone without a SIM card inserted.

Restore factory
Short for “restore factory settings”, this function resets the phone’s settings back to those that it came with originally - but will not erase any information from the phone’s memory. Most people would not need to use this feature.

Format phone
This function is definitely NOT for the faint-hearted, and should only be used if you truly know what you are doing.

“Format phone” gives a user the ability to remove all user information and settings from the phone, and restores the phone back to its original in-box state. This procedure is non-reversible and sTools provide sufficient warning to the user before this operation is performed. Conveniently, the “Format phone” option has been moved off the main screen (now as the fifth choice on the list of selections) to decrease the probable likelihood of this function being used.

Once the “Format phone” function is confirmed, it will restart the phone and erase all existing data from the phone’s memory leaving only the phone’s internal software, and all settings will be reverted back to their default.

Problems encountered

One of the confusing areas of using sTools was when the “Flight mode” function was activated. As mentioned previously, there were situations during my review where a blank white screen was displayed when I tried opening or closing an application. This does not happen all the time - but for the unaware person, one would probably think the phone has “hung” or something.

To get out of such situations, press the menu button once to display - where the “Flight mode application launcher” (sTools’ “Menu” application) is shown. From here, you can attempt to re-open the previous application and see whether it would work again.

Alternatively, bring up the task manager by holding down on the menu button. From here, select the application that you tried to open previously and press down on the joystick to switch to it. If your first attempt persists to work, try 1-2 more times and you should be able to get into it.

I do not believe that this is a “bug” in sTools - since all applications are supposed to run properly only when the 7650 is in its normal state. PsiNT may be able to resolve this issue in its later versions - but in the meantime, this will have to make do :)

So what’s the verdict?

System Tools is certainly a very useful piece of software in various different aspects. I personally would use the alarm and memory management features - as well as the “Flight mode” function if I was to travel (one of the more useful features of sTools).

As for the other nifty features, they are certainly good to have around (just in case that I decide to use one of the functions possibly to diagnose problems). But take extreme care when you have such a powerful application on your phone. Curiosity may just kill the cat at times! :)

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