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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 :(

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…

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.


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…

Back in the Blog

October 5th 2007, 05:10

I’ve been a bit of a Nokia fanboy for a few years now. My friends know it - every year come upgrade time, I spend weeks looking at all the handsets, expanding my awareness beyond whatever has been my recent focus.

Generally I’m a Symbian/Series 60 geek. I used to have a Psion Series 3a and a Series 5. Beyond that I stepped out of mobile computing for a time, while it shifted its feet under the weight of mobile communications, as Nokia (and others) started to find its way alongside Symbian.

Anyway, here’s my track record of devices since EPOC because Symbian (and a few words on each)…

Nokia 9210 - ahead of its time, a ‘brick’ of a phone, but well worth it for the technology inside. Shame about the low memory and bugs, but it was some years ago now. [Where is it now? In a cupboard, not working - possibly battery dead and won’t charge]

Nokia 3650 - when it came out, it’s circular keypad was praised by enthusiasts for being novel, and now I see the same individuals asking what on earth Nokia were thinking in their 2007 blog pages. It took some getting used to, but as my first Series 60 device, I was pleased at the time. It took a pretty decent photo of Canterbury Cathedral at night too (though that was the only good picture I got out of it). [Where is it now? In its box under my desk, having just been returned by a friend that needed a handset to borrow for a few weeks]

Nokia 6670 - an update to Symbian to kill off some bugs, and a normal keypad. It brought me back into reality a bit, and away from the novelty factors. It gave me a ‘normal’ handset, that had the features of Symbian under the hood. [Where is it now? On loan to a friend that’s not local any more]

Nokia N70 - the NSeries is heralded by Nokia as its multimedia devices, and the way they advertise them (or did back then) they seemed to be suggesting they were good at multimedia at the cost of other functionality. Well, it was a step up from my 6670 in every respect, and I got a good deal, so no arguments here. I always felt like it was a device that surpassed those that were before it, but with photo and video features that outdid most other handsets at the time.  [Where is it now? In my drawer, doesn’t seem to work, maybe a dead battery]

Now, let’s move on a little to what I have now. For the first time ever, I find myself carrying two devices around with me - a phone since earlier this year, and a ‘PDA’ as of a few weeks ago. I lie, I did try carrying a Windows Mobile device around with me once in the past, but the novelty wore off quickly.

Nokia N95 - It does everything, and it does everything pretty well (certainly better than my N70). It’s got a decent camera, wireless, decent software, and so on. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve read the reviews. Ok, it has its niggles and bugs, but compared to what came before it (and most of what else has been around since) it really is ahead of the game. More than just a multimedia device, it really is an everything-device.

Nokia N800 - My new ‘toy’; calling it a ‘PDA’ isn’t really accurate as it wasn’t designed as such. It’s an ‘Internet Tablet’ officially, and is a pretty funky little device. The fact it runs a variation of Debian Linux means it’s a hacker geeks dream - you could in theory do just about anything with one of these. More on what I do with this (and my N95) in later posts…

So, that’s an introduction to what I’ve owned in the world of Nokia devices for now. Let’s see where this attempt at a blog takes me in the future…