Today's Project: Wacking my 3650's RAM

Ooookay. As you might have gathered from snide comments in past posts, the memory situation on my Nokia 3650 has been slowly but surely disintegrating. There's no known cause for this on any forums, it just *is*. Welcome the wild west world of Symbian OS! Who to blame? Your guess is as good as mine.

Now, the 3650 remains a kick-ass phone both from a hardware and software perspective - both preinstaled and available - however, the memory problem are seriously me pissing me off. I now can't use any app that needs decent amounts of RAM including Opera, NetFront, Doom, or some 3D games. This is very, very annoying. Not because the problem exists, but because there's no where to find out *why* and *what to do about it* short of completely resetting my phone and starting from scratch again.

Is it Nokia's fault that I can't get more than 1.9MB free of RAM when I'm supposed to have around 3.7? Is it the Series 60 UI that somehow causes this wacky situation? Is it the SymbianOS? Does it have a memory leak or some situation where it slowly decomposes over time? Is it something I've done by installing and deinstalling dozens of different software titles, dozens of times. Does it have something to do with my 128MB MMC storage card which may somehow leave "stubs" in RAM sucking up available memory? I don't know.

What I do know is that this phone deserves a hell of a lot more RAM. It's a smart phone with the power of a circa 1995 Pentium, but with memory like my circa 1990 286. That's not fair. I bashed the Siemens SX1 the other day, but they at least see this as a problem and have bumped up the RAM on that Series 60 phone to almost 8MB. Nokia is only raising the bar a tiny little bit in the 6600 to 6MB. That's *not* enough.

I've tried to figure it out myself. I downloaded both AppMan and TaskManager to see if there's some resident process sucking up precious resources, but I'm clueless to understand exactly what the deal is. Basically, the phone needs to be brought out back and given talking to. I've just restarted (i.e. rebooted) my Nokia 3650 and when it comes back up (without starting even Bluetooth - which I know uses at least 600k of RAM) I only have 2.2MB of RAM. But that's right this second.

Soooo. First I'm going to do a backup to my PC, just in case I really screw up and pray that this works when I restore. Then I'm going to take an inventory of the apps I have installed, try to write down as much of the settings as I can find - S60 is relatively easy to use, but the the phone's settings are all *over* the place on the phone. I need a Mozilla-style about:config to see them all in one menu. Then I'm going to wack the phone using the reset *#7370# which should restore the phone to factory setings and clear the memory and all that. Or I could be destroying the phone, one or the other really. The problem is that I don't know what sort of GSM/operator-specific magic is stuck inside the phone that I may not be able to recover. This isn't a Palm, it's a licensed wireless communications device...

Actually. I'm going to post this and wait for comments before I do this. Yeah. Any thoughts on why I have such crappy RAM and what I can do about it?



Alright! So I backed up my Phone with the PC Suite in two ways, one by copying the settings into a file and also through the auto backup. You don't need the code above to reset your phone, you can simply go to Menu -> Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> General -> Orig. Phone Settings. Both ways will prompt you for your "Lock Code" which, by default on the Nokias, is 12345.

After I reset the phone (which died the first time and required me to rip the battery out before it worked, giving me quite the scare) I re-paired the Bluetooth connection, then used the PC Suite to restore the settings (which included all the Access Points and SMS stuff, but for some reason none of my email settings) and *only* the calendar and contacts. That's great as I don't want any other cruft and all my documents, etc. are on my 128MB SIM card anyways. I took that card out and replaced it with the original (and blank) 16MB card that came with the phone just in case.

I'm not going through and restoring apps now, and we'll see what happens to the memory after. Stay tuned.

Later still...

WOW! So I plugged my MMC back in and *poof* all the apps that were on that card just appeared. There were some problems, but it's much better than tryin to find all those apps again and install each one! The problems were:

1) The icons just appear in the Main menu instead of where they last were. This isn't just because I wacked the main phone's memory, I've seen it do that before as well. It's annoying.

2) Some of the registration settings got lost, so I had to rifle through my emails to find them.

3) All of the apps on my MMC have disappeared from the Tools -> Manager app! I decided to take this opportunity to clean out a few trial apps and they're not there! Thanks to a tip from akisan on #mobitopia, I learned that getting rid of a Symbian app is as simple as erasing its directory under E:\system\apps. Get rid of that, go back to the main screen and poof, the icon disappears as well. I hope there's not too much cruft left around when you do that though.

So. Final result? More than 2.5MB for me to play with. All that work for only 30k? Yep. And it's worth it to see Opera work for the first time in 3 months! I'm going to try re-installing Doom as well to see if I can that running. Woohoo!


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