Planet maemo: category "feed:6f8015c0c6c3f487047a2ede545652f0"

zulla

vowe.net on the N900

2009-12-11 18:52 UTC  by  zulla
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German tech journalist Volker Weber has an N900 to play with and he already has some insightful observations:

“I like it. Not as a phone, but as an adventure. This will be a fun ride. [more..]

The N900 has zero navigation buttons. The iPhone has one. While the iPhone is easy to understand, the N900 is not. A beginner will have a steep learning curve. The first thing you have to learn is that the Maemo 5 UI has four distinct layers you need to be aware of: [more..]”

Categories: en
zulla

A non-Nokia Mer / Maemo device?

2009-03-27 14:44 UTC  by  zulla
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The Smart Q5 MID – now this might be a device for Mer: ARM11 cpu, WiFi, Bluetooth, 1G storage, SD-slot, 800×480 screen, touchscreen and a sub-150$ price tag. (Now that price sounds way too good to be true!) Originally designed to run Ubuntu for ARM, but seems to have everything needed for Mer / Maemo.

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By the way, where is the next Nokia tablet hardware?

Categories: Computer
zulla

The Battery Rant

2008-07-31 07:40 UTC  by  zulla
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When it comes to portable electronic gadgets, there are three major annoyances.

  1. The three hour limit must fall

    Photo by AndyArmstrong via flickr

    There is an unwritten rule when designing portable computers:

    The battery will last three hours.

    Once technological advances allow the next generation to run longer – be it thanks to more efficient hardware or more powerful battery technology – the manufacturers decide to shrink the battery, capping the device back to the three hour limit.

    Three is a nice psychological figure. “Lasts three hours? – not too short!” “Less than three kilogramms? – not too heavy!” After all these years, today’s 3 kg laptops usually still run for 3 hours or less.

    This must end.

    Three hours is not enough for a true mobile device (especially since the advertised three hours of battery time usually result to less than two in real use).

  2. Batteries should be replaceable

    Photo by merfam

    A rechargeable portable device that doesn’t allow the user to replace its battery is a disposable item, it was made to break.

    Enforcing planned obsolescence by making it hard to replace the device’s consumable parts is a design choice that should be opposed.

  3. We need a standard battery for gadgets

    Photo by Eva the Weaver

    This is the hardest task for the future and it’s unlikely to happen soon. But we desperately need a new battery standard.

    Good luck when you try to find the battery type used in a laptop or cellphone at a reasonable price just few years after its release.

    The AA battery‘s format was standardized 60 years ago. Battery technology has improved since then, yet you can still use today’s AA in a 1980s walkman or a 1950s flashlight.

    There are several manufacturers. You can buy AAs anywhere in the world. Recycling is possible.

    It’s insane: Gadget manufacturers keep a stock of fast-aging device-specific batteries for a limited time and sell them at premium prices. There are no or few competing offers and formats change with every new device generation.

    We need standard battery formats just like AA for laptops, cameras, cell phones and other portable gadgets.

#1 is just my personal requirement. The technology exists to design sub-500-gramm computers that run for a whole day, but few customers buy them, so unless people decide that a three hour MID isn’t really such a mobile internet device, the industry has no reason to change.

But #2 and #3 are ecologically disastrous and I’d even welcome government regulation to enforce these if the industry doesn’t come up with solutions by itself.

Photos via flickr by AndyArmstrong, merfam, Eva the Weaver.

This article was written for umpcportal.com.

Categories: Computer
zulla

Nokia: Ogg is “proprietary technology”

2007-12-11 12:02 UTC  by  zulla
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Several requests for OGG in Internet Tablets, but no definitive answer why not.

Now there is an answer: According to Nokia, Ogg is “proprietary technology” and they fear that it is “encumbered”. The reasoning behind this appears to be “risk of submarine patents”.

Which is curious, since Nokia is one of the supporters of software patents in Europe. So do they like software patents or not? It’s not clear. This particular choice of OGG being risky is also curious, since Linux, Gnome and Mozilla and other software foundations of Maemo Internet Tablets are IMHO equally at risk of being plastered with submarine patents.

There are other companies happily selling OGG-capable hardware and software. Why is (e.g.) Samsung not afraid of the very risk that Apple and Nokia fear?

So, what is the problem with OGG? The whole explanation doesn’t add up. And the way we handle patents still sucks.

Categories: Computer
zulla

Nokia SU-8W Bluetooth Keyboard Mini-Review

2007-10-31 21:26 UTC  by  zulla
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bt-keyboard.jpg
If you have a table, this keyboard is really fine. But without a table…

Click to read 1020 more words
Categories: Computer
zulla

Vote for your favourite bugs!

2007-04-23 11:04 UTC  by  zulla
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Nokia’s Maemo-Team seems to be using Bugzilla primarily as a tool to collect hints where they should improve the firmware. Would be nice if they would comment on Bugzilla more often, though.

So submit your bugs and enhancement requests, but please make sure that noone else already did! And vote for those you want fixed!

Here are my favourites. Vote for my bugs, please! ;-)

  • 673 Maemo browser crashes when getting results from IMDB.com search
  • 1052 The image viewer should cache the previous and the next image
  • 1129 Media player doesn’t save the timeposition on close
  • 1210 video playback on Media Player gets jerky or freezes
  • 1228 Media player does not offer practical ffwd & rewind buttons
Categories: en
zulla

x86 UMPCs are getting sexier (continued)

2007-04-18 09:00 UTC  by  zulla
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Didn’t expect that… What a surprise: Intel and a few hardware partners are betting on a hildonized Linux-UI for a new class of consumer devices very similar to Nokia’s Internet Tablet. Check out UMPCPortal’s coverage of the news from IDF. The first batch of these devices is slated for summer 2007, but they claim that even smaller devices will be possible with their new chipset in early 2008.

intel-menlow-02.JPG
A PSP-sized x86 UMPC prototype, scheduled for 2008. Image via Golem.de.

Categories: en
zulla

Watching the wrong Movies on the Subway

2007-04-13 09:55 UTC  by  zulla
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It’s nice to watch feature-films on the N800 while on the bus and subway; usually, I record them from TV using vdr and transcode them using 770-encode (with slightly higher bitrates, since the N800 can handle higher quality settings than the 770 could).

Problem is that other commuters on the subway notice that you are watching a film, especially if the player screen is as big as the N800. They’ll try to catch a glimpse of it.

Recently I recored John Carpenter’s Vampires from German TV and transcoded it for the N800 to watch it later. Didn’t know much about the film. Expecting a tongue-in-cheek B-movie, it turned out to feel uneasy to be on the subway, watching a film about a group of professional vampire hunters on a gory killing spree, using a bitten prostitute to lure the vampire master…

Never thought of that situation before.

vampires-on-n800.jpg

The media player for the N800 works nice, but it needs a bit of polish, though. It doesn’t save the position to continue watching a film later, playback can get jerky or freezes, the player sometimes turns unresponsive for unknown reasons. And once again: Please, Nokia, with the next hardware revision, please make 800×480@30fps playback possible. That’d be wonderful!

Categories: en
zulla

LWN: “a slow death sentence for the 770 tablet”

2007-04-12 08:31 UTC  by  zulla
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An interesting article on LWN about the “WONTFIX. No fixes to N770 anymore.” dispute and Nokia’s closed / open source dilemma:

Two examples of abandoned hardware (subscription required, non-subscribers have to wait a week.)

“It’s tempting to say that, since the 770 is a Linux-based device, the community should be able to support it into the future. As long as people care about the platform, it should continue to work. The problem is that the 770 contains a fair amount of non-free software at all levels. [..]“

“That will severely limit the degree to which the community can support the platform; it’s a slow death sentence for the 770 tablet. [..]“

“There are hints that more components will be opened in the future as well, but no promises. The end result is that the 770 will, for many users, hit the end of its useful life much sooner than it should have, and that the N800, while hopefully lasting longer, may well encounter similar issues. This state of affairs is unfortunate, it makes a nice piece of hardware less valuable than it really should be.”

It’s a chicken and egg problem, though. Developers and users claim that they would like to work on the 770 sources to extend the hardware’s usefulness beyond Nokia’s support.

But do they? Nokia counters that even those driver sources they did release haven’t found much response from outside developers.

In the meantime, users enjoy insulting Ari Jaaksi in his blog because of this issue. Yeah, I’m sure that will help the community making friends at Nokia…

Categories: en
zulla

x86 UMPCs are getting sexier

2007-03-28 08:45 UTC  by  zulla
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“I saw the N800 and fell in love.. but then i saw the Sony UMPC… and wanted marriage… but saw the price tag and decided I was too young for marriage…” (from IRC)

Click to read 1076 more words
Categories: CeBIT
zulla

Nokia N800 – My Review (2nd look)

2007-03-20 20:54 UTC  by  zulla
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After using the N800 for a few weeks now, here are some follow-ups to my initial review.

Steven from UMPCPortal reports that his N800 broke after accidently dropping it from just a few centimeters of height. Ouch! So to reiterate: This is a fragile device.

palmm100-vs-nokian800.jpg

It is just slightly too long. Unlike the Palmpilot, which was designed for a shirt pocket, the N800 cannot be carried comfortably. If Nokia could just cut a few centimeters off the case… (Does the N800 really need stereo speakers?)

Thanks to its size, it’s hard to find a good case for it. This is the ugly thing I use right now. It’s too big for my coat:

ugly-bag.jpg

Siarhei Siamashka, the developer of mplayer for Maemo, made some benchmarks and found out that the graphics bus bandwidth to the video framebuffer is 3 times slower than on the Nokia 770. So despite its better CPU, the N800 will most likely never be able to display full-resolution video at 800×480 @ 30 fps. Daniel Stone confirmed this and explained in related discussions that the N800 uses a different hardware architecture. Since the TI OMAP CPU’s system-on-a-chip LCD controller was not suitable for the N800′s screen size, the device required the use of an external LCD controller.

Frankly, this looks like a design mistake on behalf of Nokia: They have chosen hardware with closed drivers and apparently it’s still not the best fit for the targeted screen of the device. This is a major disappointment, since video on the go is my personal killer application.

Disclaimer: This was a personal review of some small issues that bother me, not a general “Nokia’s hardware sucks!” complaint. Actually, I like the N800 quite a lot.

Categories: en
zulla

Porient H9: It’s not Maemo

2007-03-19 12:23 UTC  by  zulla
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Visiting CeBIT, I had the chance to meet Steven from UMPCPortal. He owns an N800, too, and we were both intrigued by Beijing Peace East Technology Development Co. Ltd‘s claim of an UMPC based on Linux, so we arranged to visit their both together.

Click to read 984 more words
Categories: CeBIT