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December 5th 2007, 01:12



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Russ mentioned this report over at Market Share. I don’t really have anything to add beyond Russ’ comments, but it really does make me wonder where they get their stats from. I think the idea of the report is that its showing a percentage breakdown of operating systems that are accessing the Internet. Of course, Windows XP comes out on top - whatever the Linux users like to think, there’s no toppling Windows from its throne any time soon.

While I’m not a fan of the iPhone, I’m not surprised to see its doing reasonably well, almost claiming a decent fraction of a percentage in the stats. What gets me is that they put Series60 down at 0.01%. Maybe they are considering the fact that many (most?) users of Series60 don’t even know what they’ve got in their pocket. They have a funky phone that can play music and has a nice camera, and maybe that’s all they see of it beyond text messages. But even so, Symbian and Series60 have been doing this for quite a few years now, and have a far greater portion of the mobile market than any competitor. It’s laughable to think the iPhone is a worry to Nokia and Symbian. I have no idea how many Series60 devices are out there (though a bit of Googling could probably guestimate for me), but Russ says its far more than there are MacOS devices. I seem to recall someone mentioning in terms of volume, it even gives Windows a run for it’s money (well, not its money, given Windows makes Microsoft a lot per unit sold, whereas a Symbian license costs peanuts by comparison).

Still, it makes the mind boggle where some of these numbers come from, and it shows just how little awareness some of these market surveying companies have of the markets they are surveying.


rare

Coming Soon

November 14th 2007, 03:11

The Nokia N810 is just around the corner, and its current firmware is already available online. It won’t be until after its official release that OS2008 is available for the Nokia N800. That said, a few adventurous geeks have come up with a way to hack the N810 firmware onto a N800 now (see here for info). Now, the question is, do I want to try this on my device, at the (small) risk of bricking the device. On the other hand, I did buy it so I could have a gadget to play with, as well as for its functional uses…

In other news, I’m working on creating release-ready versions of a few of my little coding projects from over the years. Hopefully I’ll get a template for some of this up on Phlipside soon. I miss the days where I used to be selling software :(


Scrabbling

November 1st 2007, 01:11

Like many, I play the occasional game of Scrabulous online. Now, I’m not one for encouraging cheating (I don’t in the games I play), but there do seem to be a number of sites emerging that allow you to give it a list of your letters and it’ll return the possible words.

One thing I’ve noticing have a look at other sites, is that most of them take up to 7 letters, and just return results starting with the longest word.

So, I set out to do better. While I don’t dare to consider mine as good as Scrabble Solver (which is by far the best at what it does, even if it’s a little sluggish/buggy at times), it does have a couple of little features that others lack.

So, I present my Scrabulator. It’s main differences with many others is that it orders its resulting words by their scores, it can easily handle both blanks in words it finds (and adjusts scores accordingly) and you can give it some letters separate from your rack that you know are available on the scrabble board.

The last of those features is particularly of interest, as it is designed to only return words where only one of these additional letters are in the resulting words, and are near to the end of the words (just how far from the end can also be set with Scrabulator).


Left and Right

October 30th 2007, 08:10

One thing that I really wanted from the outset with my N95 is the ability to rotate the display to landscape without having to close the keypad (in applications other than the web browser). One little app for other handsets exists called RotateMe, allowing you to rotate the display based on the pressing of a hotkey.

Well, good news from yesterday that the guy that created RotateMe is doing a N95 version. Even better is that it makes use of the little sensor in the phone that the camera uses to make sure pictures are the right way up - in other words it’ll rotate the display based on what way the phone is being held without pressing any buttons. Very nice.

The N95 Blog has a video of it in action. Go take a look for geeky cleverness. Shame we have to wait a month to actually get it on our phones.


Closed In

October 26th 2007, 08:10

Whenever I start my blog up again, I always feel a bit closed into my own little corner. I don’t really have many readers, and I’m based in the UK so I miss all the really interesting release events and so on.

Today it feels even more so… While I don’t know what I’d put in an entry, the competition to win N810 being held over at TabletBlog sounded interesting until I saw that it wasn’t open outside the United States…


Smaller text please

October 25th 2007, 10:10

Just a passing thought, but one thing that always gets me a little about Nokia’s interfaces is that they insist on using fonts that are large enough to fit no more than about half a dozen lines on the screen. I know that they do this to make things readable for everyone, but what happened to the days of being able zoom the interface in and out (like back in the EPOC days)?

The interface can handle smaller fonts - there are third party tools that force rescaling them. It’d just be nice to be able to see more than 4 text messages (as an option) on the screen at once without resorting to unpredictable hacks…


Mowsing the (Mobile) Web - Mowmarking as you go

October 23rd 2007, 09:10

With a N800 and N95 in my pocket, if I’ve got access to a wireless connection then it’s great - I can view most web sites easily enough on the N800 screen and browse almst as if I were at home in from of my desktop. If I’m forced to use my mobile phone’s GPRS connection, then loading times, screen size and how many bytes I’m downloading become an issue (yes, I still have a contract that doesn’t really consider data as an economical use of my phone).

I’ve been exploring the various sites out there aimed at being viewed on mobile devices (they seem to be everywhere now, http://mobile.google.com, http://m.facebook.com - though don’t expect them to ‘just work’ on a PC). However, the vast majority of sites don’t offer a mobile version, and so its time to turn off images and hope the site fits into the screen and RAM my N95 has.

This is when I happened upon Russell Beattie’s Mowser comes in useful. It will happily take apart web sites and redisplay them in a usable manner that will work nicely on a mobile device. It shrinks images, rearranges content and so on, without actually breaking the site (usually). It’ll even act as a reasonably simple RSS feed reader.

Sadly, it lacks a feature for storing bookmarks. Russ tells me he’s got some ideas for ways to store links, but that could be a while off. In the meantime though, I’ve cobbled together my own little site specifically for storing (and vaguely organising) Mowser links. Behold Mowmarks. At the moment it’s probably a bit rough round the edges - it has a very basic user account system, and passwords are never stored unencrypted so by all means have a play. It should look ok on most mobile browsers as well. All the links are aimed towards Mowser, but I’m open to requests and suggestions for improvements.


Just Round the Corner

October 21st 2007, 02:10

A little late on the uptake, I know, but I’ve heard a lot of mixed reports about the upcoming Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. The numbering suggests it’s “just a little more than a N800″, but under the hood it seems to be quite a bit more. The new device has a slide-out hardware keyboard, built in GPS, and is noticably smaller than the N800 (though the actual screen is identical).

I don’t think I’ll be buying one of the new devices. I’ve got GPS in my N95 (which I’m told would be vastly improved if I just took the dive and updated to the latest firmware), and I could get a keyboard that much cheaper by finally buying a Bluetooth gadget (which would work on my N95 as well).

What is good news though is that at about the time the N810 goes on sale next month, and with it the updated operating system (Internet Tablet OS 2008, Maemo 4.0, whatever you want to call it) becomes available for us N800 owners as well. Apparently it’s been developed with N800 devices in mind completely, and so should just work. Ignoring GPS functionality for the moment, this boasts a sleeker interface and apparently will actually speed up the N800.

I was quite interested to find that Nokia had intentionally underclocked the CPU of the N800 to 330MHz because of battery life issues, and they have now resolved this issue with some clever dynamic clocking magic. And so, with OS2008, they are going to remove this limitation and let the processor run at its full 400MHz (bringing it inline with the N810, which contains within it an identical CPU to the N800).

Roll on November…


News habits

October 13th 2007, 11:10

Oh, I’m doing well at this new blogging habit.

I’ve never really been one to read the news. Sure, I look at the BBC News site now and then when I remember, but it never really became part of my daily routine, despite my best efforts.

The n800’s RSS feed reader is a long way off being a polished product, but it has made a big difference to my keeping up with news. I get the feeling I miss a lot thanks to it only showing me a few things that it thinks I haven’t read, or persisting in showing me things I have, but it does prompt me to look at a bunch of headlines for things I’m interested in on a regular basis thanks to having them listed on the Home screen. Often it’ll inspire/remind me to look at the main web sites for said news, meaning such an activity is slowly slipping into my daily routine a little more.

What I need now is for someone to create an application for the Internet Tablet OS that has all the features of the RSS reader it comes with, plus a few other bits:

  • A way to control the font and/or the number of entries that are displayed on the Home applet. It’s clear it understands scrolling from the preview it gives when you select a headline. The ability to scroll all available headlines would be nice.
  • A less clunky UI for actually reading the RSS feeds themselves, rather than something that looks like they’ve just created a scrolling window of text and thrown the content into that.

Google reader and so on are all well and good, but the Home applet makes the poor quality application ideal for my lack of discipline to look at things daily.


Overcrowding

October 6th 2007, 08:10

When I get my hands on a new mobile device - and by ‘device’ in this context I refer to a gadget with an operating system that I have some room to customise - one problem I invariably have is that I have to perform some kind of hard reset on it before too long. This is largely because I have a habit of going hunting for things to load onto my new device to see what its capable of, and to give myself as many options as possible for things that I might find a use for in making my day to day life easier.

Of course, I’m not made of money, so a lot of these things end up being demos and whatnot (not a huge issue with the N800 and its plethora of free software available). Either way, I end up with enough on the device that its easier to take note of what I actually use, wipe it back to the state it was in when I got it, and just put on what I want.

So, beyond the core functionality, here’s what’s on my current ‘devices’. The main list for each device will nicely show what I actually use and a quick thought or two, and I’ll try and put some idea of what else is actually on there too afterwards.

Nokia N95

  • Messenger - MSN on my phone. Other people seemed to get this with their phone, but I had to install it separately
  • Y-Browser - Useful file browser while waiting for FExplorer to get itself together for S60 3rd Edition.
  • QuickOffice - Upgraded to v4 with editing capability. Not really used it much, but its useful as one failing of the N800 seems to be there’s nothing that will work with Word documents.
  • Putty - By far my most used extra tool, for getting into my server over SSH, and logging into IRC as a result.
  • OperaMini - Proxied, lower bandwidth web browsing is always nice.
  • TSMobiles - Terminal Services client for logging into my Windows box at home while roaming.
  • Panoman - Shame about the limited resolution, but panoramic photos are nice.
  • DivX Player - The newer Nokia phones actually have screens with enough resolution to display detail in video.
  • Deep - An 3D expansive underwater game with clear influence from classics like Elite.
  • Tower Bloxx, Tornado Madness, Pyramid Bloxx - One button addictive gaming from Digital Chocolate.
  • Frozen Bubble, Bejeweled, Tomb Raider, Meteos, Insaniquarium, Lemmings Return, Chess Genius, Sim City, The Journey, Resident Evil, Download! Beta, NSysInfo, SExplorer, Y-Tasks, Web Server, Papyrus, Font Magnifier, MobiReader

And all of that is after I cleared it out once not too long ago…

Nokia N800

  • XTerminal - Always nice to be able to get at a command line on a Linux device. Gainroot gives me the power I like.
  • Claws-mail - The N800’s native email client sucks, and this gives me better automatic filtering than Outlook does on my desktop.
  • Gnumeric - Not really needed a spreadsheet yet, but this seems pretty fully featured if I do.
  • Xournal - I was tempted by Maemopad+ for a while, but this has won for the moment for quick note taking.
  • rdesktop - Though the N800’s virtual keyboards are useless when connecting to a Windows box with this, you can always pull up Windows own on-screen keyboard and use that well enough.
  • Gaim - Access to MSN is always nice.
  • MicroB - The Mozilla rendering engine in the web browser. Nice for a few sites that don’t quite work with the native rendering.
  • Skype - Not used it yet (the N800’s camera is a bit on the poor side), but I keep meaning to try it out.
  • MPlayer - Movies on the N800’s amazing screen - you can’t go wrong.
  • QuickSynergy - Ok, so I need to fiddle to get a mouse pointer to work, but the ability to use my desktop PC’s keyboard to type on my N800 is nice.
  • Maemo WordPy - one of the reasons I chose WordPress for my new blog
  • VNC Viewer, Maemo Mapper, Abiword, gconf, Puchi, Camera, GPE Calendar, GPE File Manager, Zip/unzip, DiskUsage, Keyboard, UKMP, UKTube, FBReader, Kagu Media layer, Mirage, Video Center, Maemo Recorder, XMaeme, lybniz, Maemo Periodic, Pidgin, Pipepanic, Nako, Lbreakout, Nethack, XGalaga, AisleRiot Solitaire, Four Rivers, Sgt-Puzzles (a couple of dozen little puzzle games in their own right)

The easy to access, easy to find, easy to use repositories of free software for the N800 are just way too tempting sometimes… I think I may need to reflash my N800 sometime and start again…


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